Saturday, January 26, 2013

Showing my son that I am not original.

I have watched Smokey and the Bandit and the Godfather 2 with my son tonight. He has seen where I have go ideas for owning a basset hound and nick names during his life time. It is really sad In a way that I am as shallow as a few movie references. But I guess none of us are original and we are as interesting as long as we can interpret our surroundings and other input in original ways.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


After a years hiatus from the old church I have had 4 people in ministerial or apologetic level reach out to me in the last week. Not sure what they want or the reason for the sudden attention after a year of being gone. It is nice to catch up but I realize that each time I meet up with the next guy they know facts that I told a previous one. Guess my family made the prayer list or they hoped I was unhappy at the new church I am at since it is so different than the old one. They probably think we are as socially petty as they are and how could we walk away from the status we achieved from lots of years of volunteering and playing the game.

I have 2 more mettings with these folks over the next day and a half. I like socializing and have learned how to engage my adversary from years of James Bond movie viewing, but I am starting to tire of the exercise. If this doesn't let up it may be time to meet with the pastors there and tell them enough. I could also share how I can never go back and their theology and people in the pews annoy me to the point that atheism is a better option. I know through my doubting and questioning you guys figured out that I am not dumb and if I could only believe like you I could be a star in your church. I would be a trophy that proved your theology really is superior. Or maybe it is not about me, you are seeing that other families are starting to leave too and I am the only one that takes on all that seek me out.

The problems at that church are bigger than any group of people within that see the issues. In that environment,  it is best to leave if the bubble pops and you can tell the place isn't perfect. So after this round of communication I may start to make myself a little more unavailable.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Hodgepodge of interaction

If I wasnt so busy I would have the time to over analyze all of the different interactions I am having with people lately. I never thought I would say that I am tired of free lunches and beer in the evening. How many people leave a church and are gone for more than a year and out of the blue have lunch or beers with 2 pastors and a lay apologist. On top of that my business contacts are touching base and friends and staff from my new church are reaching out.

Lets see, today I talked with my boss about about the potential move to Ohio I didnt think was possible and of course when I told him my fears about the move he didnt let me off the hook and told me they would make a descision next week. So that makes the situation at home more difficult since the uncertainty is no fun and wearing on my wife. On top of that my new church wants me on church council next year and then I have been asked to chair the property commitee.

I think I have made the prayer or follow up list at my old church so they are blitzing me with attention as well. Sometimes I wish I was born a little dumber so my life would be less complicated. My mind is tired and I am not sure why I am so popular now, I just hope a break from the grind comes soon. Oh yeah I figured out tonight that the family truckster has a blown head gasket too. This is a job I can do but not an added aggrivation I need right now.

I am flattered that people seek me out and I think it is for 2 reasons. Number one is that I am a good problem solver and number 2 is I try to have conversations that matter with people. I think vendors take me to lunch since I dont talk freight all the time and the church folk are interested since I am interested in the "ultimate concern" to quote Tillich. This doesnt even touch on family obligations, which mean everything to me and is a whole other bucket of bolts.

I wish I knew what I should do long term. Do I uproot and use my business skills or do I stay where I am and seek out graduate studies that lead to I dont know what? The joys of being at a crossroads.....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Year Later

Today marks the year anniversary of walking through the door of Lutheran church I now call home. Getting my family on board with the decision seemed like an insurmountable task. As I look back over the last year, I see each one of my 3 kids and my wife starting to see why I loved liturgy the first time I saw it. There was some hope by some of my family that we could enjoy worship at new church and still participate in activities at the old church. It seemed like all of the doors slammed shut at the old church because we were too open with what we were doing. I guess the door shutting with the old church was the clean break we needed.

It was great to endure an election year at a church where the political makeup is 50-50 instead of 100% faux news. No extreme position is safe as there is an educated contrarian to keep those types in check. I realize I may have been Lutheran all along and feel like I have found my tribe. From an anthropological standpoint we all need a place to go where we can find like minded people and retreat from the difficulties of our daily lives. In the mainline Lutheran world you are free to explore and take in new information.  There is no fear of other opinions and fear isn't used as a motivation to keep people in the fold.

There is also room in my new tradition to grow and see God as a larger entity than was possible in my evangelical past. The hardest part of growing is taking in new information and see if your previous worldview holds up in light of new knowledge. In Europe as evolution became  more popular academics used it irresponsibly to start eugenics programs and to further justify atheistic postmodern philosophy.  I guess being responsible with new information and processing in a responsible way is the moral of the story here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Comedy as a Refuge

Another facet of intellectual growth that blew my mind was good comedy. As a teenager I loved Kinison and Dice. As I have grown older I love Bill Hicks, Carlin and Stanhope. All of them are dead except for Stanhope. I believe that a true philospher/comedian in this day and age is a tortured soul. They are people who see American society for the consumerist fraud that it is and have no real tribe to join of like minded folk. I have always joked that if my dad wasnt stably employed in my youth I may have tried the standup thing. I have the burned by church thing that Hicks, Kinison and Carlin had. I am also a voracious reader and have figured out some of the authors that were source material for these guys. It has been enlightening to say the least too see how they combined current events with academia to make you laugh and think at the same time.

In a way the combination of comedy and punk rock killed my ability to be an evangelical. I lived in a personal hell (on every sunday for 2hrs) for 20 years as I though I was the problem for not getting it and I allowed the church from my youth that victimized me continue to do so as an adult. The next step in the process, independent films and documentaries come into my life 3 years ago and the evangelical bubble pops for good.

On a positive note comedy allowed for me a safe place to think and grow in private. It confronted all of the questions everyone else in my life were afraid to answer. I was beginning to see as I studied the lives of these guys that suffering adds a depth of character that occurs if you reflect on it and grow from it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting rid of Van Halen was the best thing for me

At the time I was pissed, I had just been guilted to sell my entire VanHalen tape collection to the used record store so I could only listen to Christian rock music. But little did my parents know I would start middle school and meet friends that would introduce me to punk and alt rock. It would end up being an internal safeguard against fundamentalism and cause me lots of cognitive dissonance. It would also help me 20 years later to appreciate the high church liturgy of my new Lutheran church.

The introspection of The Smiths allowed me to realize life was a bummer sometimes and you could revel in it. Minor Threat allowed a way to blow off steam when my church friends would redediacte their lives and leave me behind when I would listen to "Filler". Thanks to the evangelical fear of rock music in the 80's, I was introduced to a new genre of music that would make me a much deeper thinker. It is a blessing and curse since what gave me solace also put me at odds with all the schmucks in the bible belt town I grew up in.

So many people in my current locale check their brains at the door in all aspects of their lives and want an expert to tell them what to think and beleive. When you think for yourself and stand alone you start to second guess yourself and try to assimilate to placate family members. It is tough to embrace your calling as a leader and have the confidence to move fprward. Especially when it threatens the status quo in your family and points out where they have accepted mediocrity in their lives.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stuck in No Mans Land

2013 is off to a bizarre start for this fella. I told my boss last month that if a position in the company opened up down the road I would be interested.  Guess what, not morethan 2 weeks later a position came open 800 miles away. On top of that in the last week I have met up with friends from my former church for lunch after not seeing any of them for 6+ months.

The timing on the job opportunity is less than ideal and unless the company pays for relocation I will be staying put for now. On the other front, meeting up with friends from the old church was nice but I realized I have grown and changed and there is no going back to where I once was. They have stayed the same and I am on another trajectory that is incompatible with. I think I am gonna take a break from worrying about it and knock some projects off around the house just in case this job thing actually works out.

Visiting a Divorced Friend

We have a couple that we were friends with for several years that recently got divorced. During this time, we fell out of contact with both parties and recently we were contacted by the wife to get together. My hope was she was settling down after her post divorce partying phase and she was working on herself and the reasons why her marriage failed that she owned.

Well I was way off. This person was totally lost and has progressed to a much worse place than she was after the divorce. She went back to a guy who she dated 15 years ago that hasnt matured one iota since then. She has quit eating or started using some substances and lost 30+ pounds. This new old guy is the type that sneaks over when it is convenient for him to get a piece and wont commit to her. He is also involved in questionable photography jobs and setting up people to have their computers pirate tv shows for 150 bucks per.

Once again she has repeated the pattern of picking a man for a relationship that is unavailable and is probably getting money from the guy for services rendered. In a way she has sold her soul to the devil and is trapped again. I am not sure what to say or anything I can do to help. It is sad that a mother of 3 daughters is showing them that she is not worthy of a relationship with a real man that will take care of her. Friendships are not easy and the only thing I can do is offer advice and be there for her when this relationship fails.