Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Conversation With God...

A conversation between me and God shortly after I arrive in Heaven.

God: Okay, Pierre. Here's the deal. You accepted Jesus my son as your personal saviour. That gets you in. The bad news is that we haven't figured out where to put you.

Me: Okay.

God: You met the minimum requirements. But you haven't done anything else.  You don't evangelize, you don't witness, you haven't brought one soul into the kingdom.  You got in by the skin of your teeth. You don't even pass out tracts.

Me: Have you ever seen Chick Tracts, Lord? 

God: Okay, point taken.  I know you like to sing so we'll put you in the Heavenly choir. For once you won't be the only tenor in the section. 

Me: Cool! 

God: Now, for where you're gonna live. Obviously, we're not putting you in the high rent district. You won't be hanging with me, or Jesus. The Holy Spirit gets around a lot so you'll get to rub shoulders with him. But all the good digs will be taken by Mary, Joseph, the Disciples, Paul, the Old Testament Patriarchs. That bunch.  You won't be there. Besides, they aren't the most exciting crowd. Important, but not exciting.  So I guess we'll put you in the Heavenly Ghetto. 

Me: From what I hear the Ghetto of Heaven is infinitely better than the finest gated community on Earth. 

God: It is, but that's where all the praise singers will live. 

Me: You mean I have to listen to praise music for eternity? 

God: Either that or the campus where all the musicians who performed all that awful Contemporary Christian Music of the  70's and 80's will live.  Your choice.  It could be worse. You could be stuck where all the televangelists live. 

Me: Yech! Unless I get to smack the televangelist that convinced me to toss my ELO collection, I want nothing to do with those Brylcreem prophets!  I guess I'll take the bad CCM. At least some of them rocked. The lyrics were crap but it had a beat. Petra won't be there will they? 

God: You chucked away a perfectly good ELO collection because some idiot televangelist told you they were of the devil? Oh, he's getting a Heavenly Wedgie for that one!  I love ELO!!  Are you kidding? Petra's the house band! Especially with Greg X. Volz as the lead singer!  I rock to those boys!! Good choice in your choice of residence. I'm not looking forward to being praised 24/7/eternity. But them's the rules.  Welcome aboard and get your robe, and other goodies over at Processing.

Me: One more question, Lord. What about beer?

God: What about it?

Me: Is Heaven going to be a dry Paradise?
 
God: Oh, no. You know how boring this place would be if we didn't have good beer? In your case, all the Bourbon barrel Imperial coffee stout you can drink!!

Me: Yeeeah boyee! 

God Don't do that again!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Trying To Figure Shit Out.

Anymore, when I see the stupidity, evil and corruptive shenanigans that occur in the name of organized religion, Sometimes I have to wonder. 
      Did God make us in His image? Or did we make God in our image? I mean, there's a lot being done right in organized religion. The homeless are bring helped. The hungry are being fed, It does bring peace to countless people's lives. Faith has its place.  
      But there's a lot of stuff being done wrong too. The most vulnerable of us are being violated by people who are supposed to be in a position of trust. And those who are supposed to supervise them try to cover their asses by sweeping it under the rug. 
      There's thievery, there's squabbling and power grabs. Those in power abuse that power for their enrichment. Or to subjugate the powerless. People are mixing politics with faith. People making a buck off God's expense. God's words are being twisted to accommodate agendas. God's words being used to excuse all manners of evil. 
      And trust me, there are plenty of those who express no belief in God capable of both great deeds and evil ones too. No one corners the market on either good or bad. We're all capable on f*****g up on a biblical scale.  
       I don't know where I'm going with this. It just popped up into my head and wouldn't leave until I put it out there.  Kinda like verbal constipation.  That's how my blog works. A lot of the longer rants posted here end up there. Ex-Lax for my mind, as it were. 

 www.moonlightscribbler.info   Shameless plug. 😀

       But people are starting to be turned off to organized religion. It's not satisfying people's needs anymore.  More and more are no longer identifying with a particular religion, or they choose to pursue spirituality outside the walls of a church. My feeling? I identify as Christian of the Episcopal persuasion. I don't witness, or pass out tracts.  I don't evangelize. I accept people as they are, where they are. I don't always succeed. I'm trying to figure out my situation before trying to sell others on a cure. We all have to figure out what gets us through the long night. It's different for all of us.  We all gotta figure this stuff out for ourselves. I'm trying to do the best I can with what I got. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. But I try. And that is parting word to you. You may get it right. You may blow it all to pieces. But you still gotta try. 

#JustSayin

Friday, January 03, 2020

Christianity Done Messed Uncle P's Head Up!

I was raised in the church. Raised Baptist. Did the whole Sunday school/Easter/Christmas pageant thing. Sung in the choir, served as a youth usher. Got saved at 13. The whole schlemiel. 
     Then I went into the service, fell off the church radar until 1983 when I found a cool Christian servicemen's center and church in Alameda, CA. It rekindled my faith somewhat. Got into a lot of prophecy/End Times stuff. Read a lot of Hal Lindsay, Revelation/Daniel stuff. 
      Got so bad that some televangelist convinced me that rock and roll was of the devil and I threw away my entire ELO collection. D'OH!!!  The whole backmasking fiasco. I only listened to contemporary Christian music. And a lot of that music SUCKED big time. It REEKED! Just listening to that pap would give you diabetes. 
       Then I got out of the service and went back to the Baptist life until 1993, even got rebaptized because I felt that my first baptism and 'getting saved' was purely to please my parents. 
        Then God gave me a vision of my current church.  A small Episcopal Church in Homewood. I went there and I've been there ever since 26 years later.  I love that church. I feel like I can contribute. 
         But as I've grown older, my approach to Christianity has changed. I'm no longer an Evangelical. Evangelism is too much like selling something. And I HATE selling things. I got tired of the legalistic, punitive Christianity the Fundagelicals were pushing.  I no longer believe in biblical inerrancy. If the Bible was inerrant, why are there so many versions? Why were there so many additions, subtractions? Why do certain denominations recognize the Apocrypha and others don't?  Why do so many denominations twist the Scriptures to fit their agenda? 
         Anymore, I'm starting to veer towards a more Universalist approach. I can't really put my head around a loving God sentencing millions of people to eternal hell because they don't follow the script.    
         Try as they can, the church is not going to be able to preach the Gospel to every man, woman and child on the planet. There will always be those folks who live in too remote locations for missionaries to get to. Why should they suffer an eternal punishment for a circumstance not of their own making?  I don't know.  I'm not sure what to think anymore.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Christmas and Thanksgiving are just another day to me.

       Please forgive me if I don't share the same enthusiasm for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that many of you do. You see, those holidays are meant to be celebrated with family. 
      For all intents and purposes, I don't have much in the way of family left. Mother, father, both sets of grandparents, siblings are all gone. I lost touch with my cousins, nieces, nephews, and various other relatives when my last and oldest sibling died.
      I'm the last apple on that branch of the family tree. Didn't have the closest relationships with those folks. Probably because they all shared the same father while I was born to a different old man. I guess I was the odd one out. 
        I won't say that I'm estranged from that branch of the family, it's just that I lost touch with them. I don't have much in the way of contact information with them. No phone numbers or home addresses. And to be perfectly honest, I have no desire to reach out to them.  So if all that fits the definition of estrangement, count me as estranged.
         I have some friends who have 'adopted' me to one extent or another. And I appreciate them greatly. I don't think they have a clue about what they got themselves into. 
         But Christmas to me is just another day. Thanksgiving is just another day. Especially this year with the change in my job schedule where I'm working all weekdays and holidays. I've done it before, nothing new to me. I'll live.  
         But as I've said on multiple times, if you have family to spend the holidays with, if you have family to spend your life with, if you have family to love, hold on to them with all your might. Never let them go.  If you have beef with family, get that s**t straightened out. Don't let petty rinky dink stuff fracture those family bonds.  #JustSayin

Friday, November 29, 2019

In My Simplicity, lies Complexity.

       People often ask me why, at 57, I am still single, childless, and don't even have a girlfriend. (Actually, they don't. I just needed a spur to go off on this meaningless riff.)
      Reason's simple to my admittedly simple way of thinking.  The more people I add to my life on a close intimate basis (at the level of a significant other or dependent) the more problems I have to deal with.
        I try to live my life with as few problems as possible. My problems are many and varied, and I'm at my wit's end dealing with them. Adding the problems of a significant other, kids, etc increases my problems exponentially. And I don't need that level of stress in my life. 
          I'm used to being alone. And living a solitary life. I have friends.  But my exposure to their problems is much less.  And believe me, they don't need to deal with my problems. And i'm not the easiest person to deal or live with. 
          I don't like living by other's schedule or expectations. I like to keep s**t simple.  But in my simplicity, there is a remarkable amount of complexity. But it's mine and mine alone to work around. I embrace the solitary life. Even when it drives me crazy. I'm doing the world a great service by living like I do. You're welcome. 😆😆

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Veteran's Day 2019

I didn't join the Navy to uphold any great tradition of family service. Wasn't even particularly patriotic. I joined because I didn't have the grades, the money, nor the maturity for college, and Homewood in 1980 wasn't a great place to be post high school. 

In short, I needed a reset at 18 and the military is good for providing that reset. If I was smarter and a little more mature and a less impulsive snot nosed punk, and knew then what I know now, I would have probably retired after 20 years with a pension instead of just doing six years. It would have also helped if I had people in my military circles that could have given me some sound advice. 

But I have this really bad habit of doing things by the seat of my pants. And my dumb ass has all sorts of bruises and rashes from crashing rather painfully on said seat of my pants. Same thing when I finally went to college from 1992-2000. That experience was a case study on how NOT to go thru college.  Since then, I've munged my life up in all sorts of exciting ways.  But I'm still standing. Too dumb to kill, I guess. 

But water under the bridge. I'm still not one to chase veteran's discounts. Maybe if I find myself really between the devil and the deep blue sea, I might avail myself of such things, but even though I'm flying pretty close to the ground, thus far. By the grace of God, I haven't succeeded into completely splattering myself all over terra firma. 

I still prefer that things like veteran's discounts  go to those actually saw combat and came home with less than they went away with.  But to all those who raised their right hands, put on the uniform and put themselves in harm's way, so that this country can still breath free. Bravo Zulu (Navy slang for 'good job)  

A lot of you, like me came home with nothing more than memories of working hard, playing hard and staying hard. A few ribbons and medals, some uniforms that may not fit anymore, and still sound of body, if not necessarily sound of mind. 

Others came home broken in body and mind, still fighting that last war. And still others came home in flag draped coffins to grieving families. It is those latter two groups that America should honor first. 

Thank me for my service if you must. But it was no big deal, at least to me. I just wish that it wasn't just the poor, disadvantaged and underprivileged that disproportionately ending up fighting and dying in America's wars. Maybe if the children of the powerful, affluent and privileged were dying on far off soil, maybe there would be no need for any of us to send our best and brightest off to war.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

One Year Later...

     Today being the one year anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre. One wonders whether the occasion warrants the trope of where were you when you heard about the shootings. 
       In my case, I was heading to the South Side to watch the City Championship football game between Allderdice and Westinghouse. As I got off the bus, I noticed that the area around the stadium was quiet. No crowds, no teams, no bands or cheerleaders. I knew I was in the right place, at the right time.  Had no idea what had happened in Squirrel Hill. It was only after I got back home that I found out about the shootings.  
       I was chilled to my core. 
       I spend a lot of time in Squirrel Hill. I went to high school there. My American Legion post of 29 years is there. I've bought God knows how many books at the Carnegie Library book sale there. Only a few blocks away from those places, some evil diaperstain of a monster was ending the lives of righteous human beings who only wanted to worship their God in spirit and in truth.  
        It struck  me. Reminded me of the shootings at Mother Immanuel in Charleston.  The same bipeds with opposable thumbs capable of reasoned thinking are so capable of both unspeakable greatness and equally unspeakable evil.  
        I continue to pray for the souls of the victims and their surviving families.   I pray that their loss was not in vain. I pray that we as Pittsburghers never forget their sacrifice. As a Christian (who admittedly sucks at it) I pray for my Jewish cousins, friends and acquaintances that their struggles with anti-Semitism, discrimination and bigotry, much of which comes from those who claim to take their wisdom from the Jewish carpenter read about in the back part of the Bible, will eventually come to an end. 
         I pray for peace. The peace that passes all understanding.  Let us never forget. Let us overcome our differences and embrace what we have in common rather than what sets us apart. May the souls of those who died rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon them.