Church

Atheists have as strong a belief system as anyone

Linus: Do you ever pray?
Lucy: That’s kind of a personal question, isn’t it? Are you trying to start an argument? I suppose you think you’re somebody pretty smart, don’t you? I suppose you think. . .
Linus, turning to Charlie Brown: You’re right . . . religion is a very touchy subject.”

Had a disturbing discourse the other day.

An atheist woman I know was annoyed to find that a friend was a Muslim. Religion, she noted was a bad thing. Her friend was smart, couldn’t she see how stupid religion was? Her god wouldn’t make horrible demands, kill people and do bad things, she said.

But let’s follow the bouncing ball of logic:

How does she know that God doesn’t kill people and do, what we would think, are bad things?

Because if she had a god he would not do such things.

But then, that makes her her own god.

The god of her mind hasn’t fashioned her in his image so much as she has fashioned him into her’s. Therefore her god, or lack thereof, can never be greater than herself at her best.

That is dangerous because people fail themselves all the time (I know I do). And if your god comes from within instead of without, I submit that you are headed for some grave times when misfortune does come.

And it comes – man, does it come.

Everyone falls to their knees at some point because, life is cruel.

Now, I’m totally ok with the fact that I could be wrong about everything I believe; my religion is all about that (Matthew 26:41) but it bothers me that atheists are often so smugly certain that I am wrong.

I’ve actually never met more narrow-minded people than atheists (I’m not saying all atheists but most). This one, for example, has completely cut off communication with me because she disagrees with me.

And for those that say atheism isn’t a religion, I submit that it is because: we both believe in something beyond our abilities to prove.

I cannot prove to you there is a god but you cannot prove to me there isn’t.

It’s the zealots of any religion that drive people crazy. Those that are so certain that they are right that they just don’t want to hear any other possibility. She’s a zealot for atheism because, she’d rather tune out someone rather concede she might be wrong.

I do believe in God.

To believe otherwise would mean that I’m solely in charge of my life. And that’s far too much responsibility.

As Martin Luther said to his friend, Pray, and let God worry.

I respect what you believe, regardless if you are atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, whatnot.

I worry enough as it is.

Location: still in front of a stack of papers
Mood: bored
Music: worry, worry, super-scurry; call the troops out in a hurry

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Friends

Your friends bring out different parts of you

Went to see my college friends again last night. We don’t get together as often as, I think, we would like.

Life gets in the way.

Heard once that JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and a third writer were all close friends and when the third writer died (Charles Williams?), CS Lewis said something along the lines of “When he died, I thought, ‘at least I’ll have more of JRR, but in fact I had less,'” meaning that, when the third friend died, CS Lewis found that the third friend brought out things in Tolkien that CS couldn’t.

In any case, I see my friends individually but when we all get together, it’s a different dynamic. I see things in my friends’ faces and hear voices from over a decade ago.

And it’s good seeing my old friends again.

I haven’t seen me in years.

Location: @3AM, taking the train home
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Good times, bad times, give me some of that

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Cowboys

Aren’t most friendships finite?

I’ve been stuck here for a bit. Don’t ask. But it reminds me of something from a while ago.

One of my closest friends in college was a guy named Crawford who was a god at meeting women – he was (a) good-looking, (b) charming and (c) shameless. We had a blast for two years.

He told me a story once. He said that real cowboys were hired, maybe five to eight at a time, in one state to drive cattle to the other end of the country. This bunch of guys was thrown together for months at a time and, during this time, they were each others’ friends, doctors, entertainers, cooks and guardian angels. They needed to keep each other sane and safe to get the job done.

And once the job was done, they separated. No emails, faxes, phone calls, letters. Just onto the next job.

The question Crawford posed to me was: were they truly friends? Is there such thing as friendship when there’s a finite ending?

What about when two lovers separate – was there any love really there?

My answer to all is yes.

Because at some point everything ends. Life will take everything and everyone you love. There is nothing you can touch that you won’t lose at some point down the line.

Five months, fifty years, the time doesn’t make it any more or less real.

I take solace in that.

At some point, these people I loved, once loved me. It’s sad when relationships end but goodbyes are always sad.

Crawford and I both moved here to the big city. We met up once but then I never saw him again.

He was a good friend.

Location: @ 7:10 AM, taking the east side local
Mood: optimistic
Music: Its such a shame, Always ends the same

Expanding

Take up your space in the world

Reaction of two people whose personal space ar...
Reaction of two people whose personal space are in conflict. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personal space runs from 18″ to four feet from your body to another person.

In NYC, that number is probably two feet from you body. That would mean that your personal space is a 13 square-foot circle around you.

So in the past number of weeks, I’ve learned that three of my friends are involved in “secret” relationships, not with each other, where people don’t know that they’re involved. Two are women, one is a man.

Why would any self-respecting person want to be with something that isn’t proud to say, Yeah she’s with me?

That, and premium ice cubes, is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

  • I say, you’re entitled to your 13 square-foot circle.
  • I say, take up your damn space in the world – in fact take up more.
  • I say, if you don’t think you deserve it, you don’t.

Me? I’m expanding.

Location: Home sweet home.
Mood: grumpy
Music: I’m thrown and overblown with bliss.

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Burning boats

You can’t go back

Ooooh, my aching head.

One would think that, with the sheer quantity of alcohol I ingested last night, I would have slept like death.

One would be mistaken.

I saw a ton of friends last night and it was hella fun. It was my first new year’s eve as a single guy, I think ever in my adult life. Kinda weird. And as the night wore on, it got progressively weirder.

  • I got slapped at least once but it was totally worth it (not (exactly) what you think)
  • Almost dis-robed a very cool girl I met last night (totally by accident) – she did not look pleased but I hope to see her again anyway
  • Got hit on by a friend (that was weird)
  • Regretted not hitting on her back (that was weirder)

Alexander the Great used to burn his boats once his army landed somewhere so that they had no choice but either fight and win or die in a foreign land.

In 2006, I made my choices and burned my boats.

2007 then.

Let’s go, let’s go…
Location: @3AM-ish, stumbling home on Broadway
Mood: tired
Music: Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich?

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Living in America

Being the smartest person in the room isn’t always a good thing

Hola! For those of you that read the same Book as me, I hope you had an awesome Xmas; for those of you that do not, I hope you had a great holiday.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this but I’ve been working on an online sitcom with Rain for the past several months now and it’s rapidly coming to fruition.

It’s pretty freaking exciting; basically he and I play the worst versions of ourselves and we’re surrounded by talent, which reminds me of a story about a NYC chef; I forget which one.

He was asked if he was smarter than his father (also a chef) because he was more successful and he replied that he wasn’t as smart as his father, and that‘s why he was more successful. His father, he said, was the smartest person in his father’s restaurant. He picked out the linens, did the marketing, made the menus, etc.

The young chef said was not the smartest person in his own restaurant. He hired people far brighter than he so he could concentrate on doing what he was good at – cooking. With the talented folk we’ve got, we can concentrate on our strong points.

Rain’s doing what he’s best at: writing and directing – he’s got more talent in his pinky than most people have period.

I’m doing what I’m best at: managing people & money and being absolutely abusive to Rain.

Location: @5:30; doing 4 MPH on the LIE
Mood: bouncy
Music: When there’s no destination – that’s too far

Stretching the legs

We don’t make ourselves worse by walking so walk while you can

Woke up at 1PM today – fell asleep at 5Am or so but I had to take something to help me fall asleep.

Yesterday was full of little but expensive annoyances:

  • it was the first day of a shoot for the sitcom that totally bombed. We ended up canceling the shoot and taking the barebones crew out to eat breakfast
  • I got a $100 ticket parking ticket
  • I cracked the screen on my ultra-compact camera that I’ve had for a while – this may mean no pics for a bit

It’s all those little annoyances that make you want to scream.

Think people like to read blogs because it gives insight into their own lives.

Another blogger, undergoing treatment for her own things, wrote that she saw an old man on crutches struggling to walk, despite it being easier to be in a wheelchair. She observed that, “We do not make ourselves worse by walking. I say walk while you can.”

I say, she’s right, so off I go…

Location: @1PM, snoring away
Mood: disappointed
Music: Everyone’s saying different things to me, different things to me

Kindness is valuable because it is rare

Liver anyone?

I believe that people are bad at heart. What with historical events (like Nazi Germany, the Inquisition, the Great Leap Forward), psychological evidence (the Zimbardo and Milgram experiments), and current events (pick up a paper) I’m fairly disgusted at our species as a whole.

However, that’s not entirely a negative sentiment. I think a bit of kindness is nobler against the backdrop of our craptastic-ness.

So I had four recent bits of kindness:

  1. I met a girl that lives in France a while ago who shot me a sweet email. She’s seeing a French guy now. It’s ok, the late night conversations were enough for me.
  2. I got another very personal email from a co-worker wishing me a happy holiday. It was nice to get because, while we work closely together, we’ve never actually met (like you and me).
  3. I met a girl tonight that I found refreshingly honest about life. Honesty without meanness is so rare.
  4. Finally, today, I got an Xmas card from a reader amidst my usual bills. As an aside, she looks completely Caucasian but she’s got a Chinese last name. It turns out that four generations ago, her grandfather was Chinese. I find that so cool.

Regarding (4) I think we’re supposed to meet up for coffee (just coffee – she’s in love with a boy from Indiana) but I’m reminded of a quote from Margaret Atwood:

Wanting to meet a writer because you like their books is like wanting meet a duck because you like pate.

Eh, I’ll risk it.

Location: the basement of my brain
Mood: pleased
Music: And so and now I’m sorry I missed you

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On your knees

Life gives us blows and we do what we can to survive them

(c) AP Photos

2 Samuel 12:22 tells of when: David had a kid with his buddy’s wife, killed said buddy, pissed off God, God took David’s son.

Now here’s why I like the story: David’s a wreck while the kid is sick; David won’t eat, won’t sleep, etc. But when the kid finally dies, he picks himself up and begins to live his life again.

When asked why he was such a wreck when the kid was alive but much better when the kid dies, David goes, “When the kid was alive, there was hope that he would live – that God would be gracious to me. But He was not and I can’t change what’s passed. My son can’t come back to me but I can go to him.”

At times, Life brings you to your knees.

Those phone calls you never want to get:

  • “It’s about your younger brother…”
  • “I’m sorry to have to tell you…”
  • “I thought it best that I be the one to tell you…”

Been brought to my knees twice in my life. I’m lucky because it was only twice.

Dreading the next time.

Thought about this because I went to a wake yesterday. It was my second third funeral experience; sadly, I’m sure they’ll be more.

Today is also the 65th and last official anniversary gathering of the Pearl Harbor veterans. And I’ve also been keeping up with the story of CNET editor James Kim; he wasn’t there when I was there but still…

Despite all the ugliness, we move through life with a balance of hope and acceptance. At least we try to.

Location: @2AM, missing someone I barely know
Mood: Contemplative
Music: you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking

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Marian Fisher

I was reading this article about the Amish girls that were killed the other day. The first to die was a 13-year old named Marian Fisher who asked “Shoot me first.” Her younger sister Barbie then said “Shoot me second.” Barbie survived. The thing is that that these kids never watched TV nor movies – they didn’t learn to be brave by why some actor taught them. They just were brave.

It’s hard being a Christian in the city – I admit, enjoy my sinful life a bit more than I should. But these are people who are at peace, even when they’re not.

It’s also hard having faith and being brave. I’m 20 years older than that girl was and half as brave (if that).

Maybe I just need a little more faith.

Location: @ 2:something – snapping this pic
Mood: Hopeful
Music: take these lies and make them true somehow
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