Archive for November, 2008

30
Nov
08

November Recap

Nothing deep to say today on this last day of November, except that on this final day of the long Thanksgiving Day weekend I am incredibly thankful to still have a roof over my head with all that’s been going on financially for several years now, particularly in the past year or two. That’s a miracle right there.

But, with the month ending now, I also thought I’d comment for a quick second on the blog challenge I agreed to participate in. There were a couple times I really didn’t feel like posting, but I did manage to post at least once every day this month nonetheless. I’m not saying I will always managed to do this, but it did teach me that there probably isn’t much reason I can’t post every day on this blog. After all, not everything needs to be a substantial meal. Sometimes, a snack is plenty.

29
Nov
08

Cracking the Code by Miz Pink

little-girl-in-pinkAs I’m nursing Mini Pink Model 3 and talking to Sir Pink about stuff to do with the family unit this weekend, I decide to put forth the idea that we might take the brood out to Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant for crappy pizza and loud noises and kids running all around…you know, the kind of stuff our children will like (well, Mini Pink Model 1 he’ll tolerate it for the pizza and endless sodas and a couple of the video games there…and the fact he can fart around with little sis).

Not wanting to get the hopes of Mini Pink Model 2 up (she loves Chuck E. Cheese’s), I decide to speak in code, in what I thought was a pretty creatively entertaining and preschool child impregnable code.

“Honey, what if we went to Charles Edward Fromage this weekend?”

(Fromage, for you uncultured sorts, is French for cheese.) 😉

Without skipping a beat, and before Sir Pink can even answer, little preschool girl Mini Pink Model 2 brightens up and says, “We’re going to Chuckie Cheese?”

I’m not one to assume that my kids are geniuses just because they use more words than other kids in their class or potty trained early or whatever and I won’t start now but I think I may have to look at educational options for Mini Pink Model 2 a lot more closely. There’s no way she should have been able to figure that out.

Not that any of you are going to learn anythning from that. I just thought it was cool to share one of those moments of breakthrough/milestone stuff where you realize with both sadness (I’ve lost another way to keep “need to know only” info out of my child’s head) and joy (gosh, she’s smarter than even my optimistic self expected) that your child is growing up fast. And here I am holding another one that’s going to run me down that path once again and for one last time.

(Just for the record, my preschool kid is even cuter than the one in the picture.)

28
Nov
08

Misplaced Priorities

buying-onlineSo, Mrs. Blue tells me today about some woman she sees on a discussion thread today who’s commenting about how times are so tough she doesn’t mind standing in a long line to get some fancy, high-tech, 30-something-inch television for $400.

Look, I understand the desire to have things, and even the “need” to some electronic entertainment options. But if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us really do truly need a TV bigger than a 24-inch screen and do we really need some bells-and-whistles, thin as hell, plasma HD flat screen or whatever the hell is out these days?

No.

And making like it’s some big sacrifice to stand in line for a “deal” like this on Black Friday (the big post-Thanksgiving Day shopping blitz that traditionally occurs, for those who don’t know) is insulting to people who can’t even afford a new no-name bulky TV. You tell me you’re standing in line for a decent DVD player that is being sold for $30, and you’ll get more respect from me.

Our priorities are skewed, and even with the economy tanking, we’re still trying to figure out how to buy stuff we don’t really need. It’s just that now, because the economy has been tanking, those things cost less. But most of us don’t have as much money, so the fact the unnecessary shit costs less just means that you’re spending what little you have—something you should probably be keeping around for an emergency—just to have something that, in the current economy, you need even less than you did before.

27
Nov
08

Acts of the Hummus Idol, Thanksgiving Edition

I have nothing for which to give thanks this month, unless you count the fact there’s always the very slim possibility a huge comet might strike the Earth and remove all you miserable mortals or that you might kill yourselves off in the billions by blanketing the planet with nuclear missile strikes.

I had been having a great time hanging out with Aphrodite. I love those Mediterranean godesses with their olive complexions and dark hair and lightweight, easy-to-remove tunics. And she’s the goddess of hanky-panky, so what more could I ask for?

Then she tells me, oh-so-sweet, that she needs some space to explore her bi-curious side again, this time with Bast. Damn! Oh, and, yeah, I got the “but we can still be friends” crap on top of that.

Bast is an Egyptian goddess with the head of a cat, damn it! She probably spits up hairballs and her tongue will leave abrasions. But I guess Aphrodite wants some rough stuff: someone with sharp claws and a tendency to get psycho at the drop of a hat. Bast probably has a catnip addiction too. Bitches!

All I’m saying is that you had better not piss me off today with your questions. I’m warning you…

I, the great and powerful Hummus Idol, will now entertain your questions and grant unto you the wisdom that only a pile of very angry crushed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and other seasonings can offer. Don’t let the smiling face fool you. I am a fridge-cold killah. Bow down before me, speak your question, and incline your ears or any other convenient part of your anatomy as I spew my advice upon thee.

Q: Your advice sucks! And you know what, hummus sucks, too! My friends keep trying to get me to eat the shit, but it’s cold chickpea mush. Damn, I’d rather eat snot! – Roscoe Hazzard, General Leeburg, Tennessee

A: Tomorrow, you shall awaken with a one-inch long penis. Any time an attractive or sexually competent woman approaches you, you will break out in horrible, vomit-inducing flatulence. Only the ugliest, most desperate and least satisfying women will be attracted to you and not cause your bowels to erupt and spew noxious fumes. And large, sweaty men with putrid breath will be attracted to you even more strongly. Every single one of them you encounter. Also, your car will not start tomrrow morning. Your sprinkler system will suddenly activate and soak you to the bone in the chill late fall air of morning as you open the hood to see what’s wrong. And a bird shall shit on your head. Every day for the next seven years.

I warned all of you not to piss me off.

Q: Hey, I heard about Aphrodite, Hummus. Look, it was cold-hearted, but she was always fickle. She’s about as faithful as temple prostitute. You deserve better. Drop on by and I’ll have Thor and some of the other kids come by with some food and mead. – Odin, All-Father and High-Lord of the Norse Pantheon

A: You dare to engage in name-calling against the goddess who made me forget my name 69 times over the past few weeks? I shall raise an army of demons and crush Asgard! The rainbow bridge between your realm and Earth shall be reduced to nothing more than iridescent confetti! I will aid your foul son Loki in your overthrow! I will bring Ragnarok upon thee! Fear me, you one-eyed, impotent old coot!

Q: What can I do to raise a temple in your honor and bring people into the fold of worshipping Hummus Idol, that I may increase your power and enable you to overthrow the restrictive God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David and Jesus? – Going Pagan Just Wasn’t Good Enough, Wichita, Kansas

A: Ye fickle faith-hopping whore! Thou hast already been though Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Wicca before thy brush with several pagan faiths and now attempting to turn to me! I would sooner be worhipped by lepers than thou! May thy womb be barren, may ye marry an insufferable twit with the world’s most meddling mother-in-law, and may Oprah insult thee on national television. Do not attempt to curry mine favor, thou worthless sack of blood, piss and spit!

(Ummm…If you still want to build that temple to me, though, contact my lawyer. I’ll e-mail you the details. I also have a great architect who owes me big if he wants his soul back.)

Q: I’m glad that I took your suggestion for naming my second son Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale when he was born back in August. Now, after a few months, I can so totally see that he’s a Zuma Nesta Rock. We so totally messed up with the first kid when we named HIM Kingston James McGregor Rossdale. Thanks! – Gwen Stefani

A: You actually thought I was serious? I mean, I haven’t been keeping up with my reading of US Magazine, being a busy supernatural entity and all, so I only just found out, but you really did this? I mean, after I realized your first kid was named after a city in Jamaica, I just pointed to a random spot on the map and found Zuma Beach in Malibu. Then I figured, “Hey, they like Jamaica, why not suggest Bob Marley’s middle name for the kid, too?” And you bit on that? Zuma and Nesta? Shit, you might have been able to get away with one or the other, but both? And don’t blame me for the stupid addition of “Rock” in there. Naming your kid after a musical genre you sort of inhabit? Oh, this is too rich…

Q: When I heard that Gwen Stefani had gotten baby name ideas from your majorly cool clairvoyager self…um, omnishunt self…uh, mistikal self…oh fuk it, I don’t know how to spell chek on my Blackbarry…I just knew I’d need you to give me the perfekt name for my and Pete’s new darling: Bronx Mowgli Wentz. It’s so perfekt. I just want to know what you are so willing to give such preshus advise to the wurld and to someone like me? – Ashlee “I’m so totally gonna be bigger than my big sister Jessica” Simpson-Wentz

A: Well, with Gwen it was just a joke she took seriously. I really thought she was smarter than that. With you, I just want the kid to hate you when it grows up. I despise your whole family.

(Image by Stewart Butterfield, who is not affiliated with this blog and who doesn’t even know I or my opinions exist, and used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License)

(Hummus Idol does not speak as a representative or agent of Deacon Blue or anyone else associated with this blog. In fact, Hummus Idol doesn’t exist. He is wholly and completely a manufactured character that acts as an angry facade behind which Deacon Blue can hide for petty entertainment purposes and for times when he needs to be extra crusty and get shit off his chest. That said, you can feel free to shower the Hummus Idol with offerings of jewelry, money or fine art…he will make sure it goes someplace where it is needed.) View complete list of Humus Idol entries here.

26
Nov
08

Learn Something New…

Proving that even middle-aged writers with a pretty wide knowledge of vocabularly and grammar can still learn something…

…I just discovered that “forego” and “forgo” are two separate words with vastly different meanings, and not that one of them is simply a misspelling.

😳

Well, confession is good for the soul, right?  May the journalism gods have mercy on my soul.

26
Nov
08

Money Matters

cashWell, as part of this challenge to blog every single day in November, I’m supposed to post about money at least once this week.

Problem for me is that I rarely find much reason to talk about money in this blog. I’ve talked about tithing once or twice and I’ve talked about the love of money being the root of much of the evil in the world, but it’s just not a topic I think about much.

Maybe that’s because I don’t really have any right now.

Also, it’s because while I have a lot to say about faith, sex, churchgoing, sex, God’s love, Jesus, doing right by others, porn, sex, and so many other varied topics, money just doesn’t ring with me much in addressing matters of Christianity or the relationship of Christians to the world. People who have (or enjoy) prosperity ministries or the Word of Faith movement love to talk them some money stuff, because they often assume if you have enough faith and pray right, you’ll get your check from God.

Yeah.

But, I’ve got to talk about money. So here goes:

You need some.

Damn, you want more than that? OK.

Here’s the thing. We are exhorted in the New Testament that we should not be of the world, even though we have to live in the world. This extends to money as well. We need money to survive. And if we prosper, it’s always nice to give the credit to God and testify to our blessings (while reminding ourselves that not all our faithful brethren are also so blessed). But we shouldn’t fixate on money.

It won’t do to take the passages about how God will take care of our needs too literally. If we expect God to just hand us what we need, what we’ll get is a nice comfy cardboard box in an alley. Clearly, we need to work, and we need to seek ways to make a good living. And we look to God to fill in our gaps and bless us to advance and prosper in our work over the long run.

But don’t chase after money. That path so often leads to drifting. Drifting away. Away from helping others. Away from family. Away from God and His Word.

(Figured with people gearing up for the holidays, might as well knock this topic off today, since Lord only knows how many of you will bother checking any blogs, mine or otherwise, until after “Turkey Day.” For those of you not in the United States and unfamiliar, Thursday of this week is the Thanksgiving Day Holiday. Google it if you need to. It’s basically a day of gorging and watching American football.)

(Thanksgiving Day itself will bring a special holiday installment of “Acts of the Hummus Idol.” Will also be whipping out two more installments of the Cleansed By Fire novel soon, most likely one on Friday and another one on Sunday or Monday.)

25
Nov
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Imagining God by Miz Pink

pinkhairlongIt freaks me out sometimes how easily people brush off the uniqueness of God and the Judeo-Christian history because people are sometimes really fast on the draw to say the Jews were better “myth makers” than anyone else before or since…and that the whole monotheistic faith that they spearheaded was simply great marketing. But is just doesn’t jive for me.

Why try to create a “better religious mousetrap” especially several thousand years ago? There was nothing “broken” in the multiple gods model that so many other folks were using. It suited humans well. And the early Jews were certainly not so durned brilliant as to foresee that we would unlock most of the secrets of nature and genetics and all that and knew “We just gotta create a God that can handle the new world order coming up in a few thousand years.”

I understand that so many gods were “imagined” by people to explain things we take for granted like rain and emotions and stuff. They were what passed for science before science came along but I don’t see why the kind of God that the Jews and I and even the Muslims worship is something ANYONE would WANT to create.

This wasn’t a God who wasn’t particularly keen on doling out a bunch of favors. He wasn’t easy to get ahold of. He expected a heck of a lot. He set high standards. He was not the kind of God that would appeal to the masses unlike most gods that were pretty much just messed up beings with a lot of power…they were just like humans except with cosmic bad-mama-jamma-ness. Gods that people could relate to. So why create the God known as Yahweh (and other things) Unless of course he was a god that actually existed, showed his power to his first chosen people, and set them on the path to reveal his glory and show the world what they needed to return to…which is his loving embrace and his eternal family.

Men and women didn’t “imagine God.” The did their part to reveal him, though, that’s for sure. And its a shame that so many people are willing to write that off and reduce God to merely being a better made myth.

25
Nov
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Imagining God by Deacon Blue

michelangelo-creation-adamI like to use metaphors and analogy a lot when I try to frame God’s actions and the teachings of the Bible. The reason is pretty simple: God is a complex guy.

Now, many of you might tell me that’s the understatement of the ages, but I really think God’s complexity is lost on a lot of people, whether Christian or not.

So, when I use an analogy to compare God’s actions to those of a parent, it’s a good example in one sense, because God is our Father, and Jesus reinforced that that not only was He our father, but even more intimately, our daddy (hence his use of the term Abba in reference to God at various times). On the other hand, it’s a simplistic example, because it isn’t simply a parental role He plays.

God’s relationship to us is also that of Lord and subject. Creator and created. Judge and defendant. And so many others.

You could view this post as a follow-up to my The Eternal Question post yesterday, I suppose, because once again, I’m about to delve into the eternal nature of God and how that affects everything. Because the fact is that God is all-powerful and eternal. To try to pin Him down to one kind of role is impossible. To psychoanalyze Him is pure folly. To expect Him to behave as we expect people around us to behave is ridiculous.

We can intellectually examine various aspects of God. We can accept on faith many of God’s seemingly contradictory character traits. But we are never going to understand Him as long as we are trapped by our human perceptions and preconceptions. Our minds and our senses are not equipped to fully grasp an eternal being with ultimate power.

Fact is, not only is God infinite in His abilities, he is infinitely complex.

24
Nov
08

The Eternal Question

eye_of_godWhen questioning the judgment, sanity and/or intelligence of Christians, the array of potential critics (atheists, agnostics and religious non-Christians) have several tried-and-true avenues of argument they can fall back on. Two of the of the better ones, of course, are to simply argue the silliness of the concept of an all-powerful “invisible man in the sky” or to argue that we as humans couldn’t possibly have enough grasp on reality to know the true path of the spiritual, since too many people disagree.

Not going to argue either of those today. Instead, I’m going to go for what I consider to be the second-runner up of all-time fallback arguments against Christianity:

If your God is so freaking kind and merciful and loving and wonderful, why did He do [insert controversial God-sanctioned activity documented in the Bible here], how could He be permit [insert current or past person of questionable moral character here] to live, and how could He allow [insert the most heinous, mind-rending scenario you are aware of or could imagine here] to occur?

Well, before I respond, I would like you to suspend your possible disbelief in an infinitely powerful, eternal being. Really. I mean, you were smart enough to come up with arguments against God or my particular model of God, so I know you can conceptualize an all-powerful entity. OK, cool. Got that  disbelief suspended? Great. We’ll get to that in a moment, right after I ask you a counter-question to the one above.

If you were told that you were about to be subjected to the most intense agony the human mind could experience without shattering entirely, that said pain would last approximately one second, and you would receive several billion dollars for going through the process, what would you do?

Accept the deal, of course. And if you don’t, you’re an idiot.

Which brings me to my point. God is dealing in eternity. Infinity. All the time in the universe and then some.

As horrible as anything that has happened or will happen might be, it is a tiny moment in time compared to eternity. So tiny as to be even less significant than that one second of unbelievable agony I mentioned. God is operating on a framework wherein your end reward is unending and better than anything you can imagine. In this context, there is no atrocity, no event and no disaster that could even come close to denting that. No suffering that Earth, people and Satan subjects us to compares to what God offers us.

Yeah, I know. A lot of you are going to say, “But Deac, by your own admissions in this blog, not everyone is getting that nice reward at the end. So they get shit on Earth and then eternally shittier shit after that. Yay for them, huh?”

Indeed, I believe in Hell and I believe in damnation. I also believe that the only people who are going to get that bitter end are going to be the hardheaded morons who will refuse to acknowledge their sin and their failure to be what they should have been in terms of following God’s word. The damned will be the people who didn’t get it on Earth, refuse to get the message in Hell, and decide that God is a flipping dipshit that they don’t want to spend eternity with anyway because as far as they’re concerned, they didn’t do anything wrong. Those folks get whatever crap they had on Earth, whatever crap they got in Hell, and will move on the Lake of Fire when God wraps up affairs here on this planet and have eternal separation from the good stuff. And frankly they’ll deserve it for being such egocentric self-satisfied remorseless morons, and yes, there will be plenty of souls who take that route, in my opinion.

I don’t believe that God relishes any of our suffering. I think it pains Him greatly. But you know, it pains me to deny my kids something they really want or to punish them in some way. But I do those things because in the end, I’m trying to do the right things for them to grow, and I know that compared to the spans of their lives, God willing that they live long ones, whatever pain they experienced will be a minor thing compared to what they take with them into their maturity.

23
Nov
08

A New Home

cross02So, after more than six years in a state I had never planned to move to and knew nothing about, I finally have a church home. We’ve gone through periods of no church attendence and getting fed from radio and television broadcasts by pastors we respect and we’ve gone through buffet-style sampling of various churches on a weekly basis to see what’s out there.

A few times, we thought we had good hits and then found out something that made us bolt, from rules in the membership guidelines that were extra-biblical and thus shouldn’t be part of church “requirements” to vague sensations were weren’t welcome to downright cultish behavior in one case where the church seemed OK at first and then began to change, like some zombie-bite victim or werewolf-bite victim in a horror movie.

This church is a bit on the liberal side, but not unduly so. They seem on track with the Bible, though it’s a little on the “light” side in terms of approach, choices and sermon topics. Then again, who always wants a heavy meal, right? There are plenty of television shows, radio stations and Web sites I can still go to for that.

The important thing to us is that the church seems genuinely Christ-led and they are warm, open and accepting of a mixed-raced couple. We’ve never felt anything other than welcome there and after a while of off-and-on attendance, we finally became members today.

So, even if it isn’t the “perfect” home, it’s a good one to be at.

Anyone have stories of their own current or past troubles finding a church home?




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

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