Moving pains

I'm going to move some relevant stuff over from my four other journals. I'll backdate it all appropriately, but if it shows up on your f-list apologies in advance. I just want to chronicle better the spiritual journey in one place.

Deviathan goes back several years, and I used vahnia and mneme very heavily while they were needed. I expect to move quite a bit. Many of these entries were under a specific filter, so you may not have seen them before. For that matter, i've only gotten to know some of you very recently, so it may be completely new to you. Either way, this will be the first time I've posted some of this stuff publicly, so..

I don't know how long this will take, but I'll let you know when I'm reasonably happy with it.

Another current post to follow later with some news from the Christian-Left front, some thoughts on how today went at church and subsequently meeting up with my family for lunch only to accidentally dominate the conversation with god-talk, and neat stuff coming up both on the personal and the political front.

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We are precious in his sight

The morning was interesting. I seemed to get thumbs up from the older kids, but I think I completely went over the heads of the preschoolers. That's the problem with being intellectually theistic. Oh, and one of the 7-yo kids hit me with a whopper. “Is that a TRUE story?” I betrayed myself by saying, “Oh, it's true in the Bible.” That is, it's true as you read the bible as truth, but I'm not sure that it's true as you read the bible as fact. But that is just going to confuse the little ones and I am still getting a read for the theology that surrounds me, so I quickly drew out the bible and explained that it was part of a larger story about Paul and his travels.

But that's a question I never can answer. I am not of the “literally true” camp of Biblical adherents. Inasmuch as fables have morals, so the moral of this story is that you do not need to be afraid, ever, even when you're getting roughed up, locked up, and verbally abused. Nor do you need to be afraid when the walls are falling down around you. Believe in the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Did an earthquake really bust Paul and Silas out of jail? It's quite possible. It's not likely. But then again, nothing that happens that results in great accidents ever is likely, yet—these things happen all the time.

Have you ever had a great accident? Some vast cosmological aligning of good fortune that resulted in improbable blessings? A perfect coincidence? To what do you attribute it? Fate? Divine Providence? Or mere chance?

At any rate, the Bible is an interesting literary and historical document. More than that, however, it's as useful a spiritual guide as the dhammapada–but with *much* more action and adventure. I don't know how I feel about Paul and Silas being portrayed in cartoon-like goofiness while God's benevolence shines as a ray of smiley sunshine (do we really think they had tooth bleach back in those days, for that matter?). I think fully half my discomfiture at religion as a child was that it was made too familiar and saccharine. It is only as an adult that I could discern the artifice that surrounded these child-renditions, dumbed down and cartoonified, was a factor in sterilizing my ability to approach faith.

That said, I was extraordinarily happy when the reviews came in from the fourth graders. “Okay, that was funny,” one of them admitted after one of my punch lines. SCORE. Irony noted, but score nonetheless.

But that's part of the problem. It's hard to package religion for smart people en masse. We either float to the top of the right-wing hierarchy because we see the benefits of being there, or we watch it skeptically from the left, distrusting the institution by the rote force of ennui. By the time we wander back, we've done that whole “got married, settled down, sowed our oats, time to go back to church thing,” but I'm not sure whether that's transformational or still the same inertia.

Wow.

I've made more than $50 this month off amazon.com.

I think it defeats the purpose to spend it on books, but…

Storyteller.

I just wrote my first bible story.

I think I did a decent job of not overly undoing it. My strange hybridistic approach to theism doesn't always dance nicely with the Acts of the Apostles, even though it does a good job with the gospels. It's the story of Paul and Silas in the jail, and it took everything in my power to not add, 'Hi DAD!! I'm in JAIL!” Not that Was (Not Was) shouldn't be incorporated into bible teachings, but the humor would be lost on five year olds.

So anyhow. Tomorrow I get three chances to be a storyteller. Dean made an interesting point to me earlier, that these stories are better +told+ than read, because it incorporates the use of oral tradition. It's hard not to see opportunities for satire–not of the bible, but of the current administration.

He read my draft and told me not to worry about being too subversive, as it sounded just like a bible story to him.

Well, yeah. It says “Jesus” a lot. Can't help but hear Front 242's “Welcome to Paradise” in the back of my head. I'm happier talking about Christ. Not sure if that's a low-church high-church thing, but either way, I'm rather pleased with myself for having overcome my fears of participating in this on a creative level. Tomorrow, faced with the prospect of reading my little short story to grade-school kids, will be another challenge, entirely.

Grumble

I haven't the foggiest what's going on, but MSIE is totally crapping out on viewing comments right now. I thought it was just the browser at work, but it's happening here too==and here, I don't have four other browsers to choose from.

I think I'm going to have to change formats for a bit. Grumble.

Caffiene free

It's 1 p.m. and all I have had to drink today is a Capri Sun and 32
oz. of water.

Forward Day by Day

I've started getting my Forward Day by
Day
subscription through email, and today's is more eerily on
target than my Breszny horoscope, which I posted via deviathan.

Psalm 74. You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you made both
summer and winter.

I live in a part of the country notorious for its hot and humid
summers. We are used to going from our air-conditioned houses to our
air-conditioned cars to our air-conditioned offices, schools, stores,
and churches. The heat and mugginess seldom let up for long months at
a time.

But once in a while, they do. Every so often, the mercury will drop,
the air becomes less soggy, and the mood lifts. Sometimes we can live
comfortably in July with the windows opened wide, and a fan humming
lightly to help the breezes along. We awaken early to tentative
practice chirps and then full birdsong from the nests in the windbreak
beside the house, and the world seems more alive.

When that happens, it is like getting one of those moments when the
presence of God is clearly felt, when the curtains are pulled back and
the unclouded light streams in. It will not last; it cannot last, at
least for now. But it gives us needed refreshment, and a glimpse of
what we can hope to enjoy more fully in the future.

Today was the first day in ages that I walked outside and it actually
felt lovely. A front had moved through last night that kicked up
glorious storms. Today, it's 15-20 degrees cooler than it has been in
a week. It's also the day of our company picnic. I'm wearing shorts to
work; it's a beautiful day, and despite the awful headache I've had
most of the morning (doubtless dehydration: I have 32 oz. of water
that I'm trying to drink), I think it's going to be a wonderful
wonderful day.

And it is, indeed, needed refreshment and a glimpse of September. Hallelujah!