Belief, Christianity, Cultural Traits, Culture, Education, Faith, Family, Fun, God, Honesty, Intellectual Honesty, Mysticism, Nontheism, Parent / Child, Play, Reason, Religion, Skeptical Thinking, Thinking, Truth, Values

How Mom Raised Me to Think For Myself About Religion

(About a 9 minute read)

We used gold star stickers in Sunday School. You licked them and stuck them to you. I always wanted my teacher to lick them — because I would over-lick them — and I always wanted her to stick them to my forehead.

It was almost the only good and decent thing I could fathom came of attending Sunday School.

When we three sons would ask Mom why we could not stay home to play on Sunday mornings, she would tell us that “Christianity is your cultural heritage and you should be exposed to it.”

That was mildly confusing because not only did I fail to fully understand what “culture” and “heritage” were, but it also seemed to contradict Mom’s almost scandalously old fashion notion that we were not to make up our minds about religion until we had “reached the age of understanding”.  That is, until we were at least 18 and “preferably 21”.

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Family, Human Nature, Life, Living, Oppression, Quality of Life, Self-Knowledge

When Relationships Turn to Stone

SUMMARY:  The peculiar fact that couples can get into ruts that neither partner wants, but which both think the other one does.  Three possible reasons for such ruts are miscommunication, lack of complete self-knowledge, and personal change.

(About a 5 minute read)

A curious thing happened some years ago when a couple I knew broke up.  Since I tried to stay in touch with both of them, I was privy to how each of them took the break up.  After a predictable period of grief, both found other partners almost at the same time.  And that’s when the strangeness began.

Each in turn confided in me that they felt “liberated”.  But not from anything evil — they had not broken up because one or the other of them was a bad person.  They had simply failed to see eye to eye on so many issues their relationship became untenable.  What each assured me he or she felt liberated from was the “rut” they’d been in.

But that wasn’t all of it.  It wasn’t even the surprising part.  What astonished me was when now and then the two of them would — without knowing what the other had said — “agree” that it was the other person who had liked or disliked something — not them themselves.

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Adolescence, Adolescent Sexuality, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Family, Fatherless Children, Fatherless Daughters, Fatherless Girls, Friends, Human Nature, Jackie, Jerks, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Obsession, People, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sarah, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Society

All the Young Women

SUMMARY: I take a look at the women I met some years ago in Colorado Springs, and then draw a few conclusions about the challenges they faced at that time in their lives.

(About a 8 minute read)

People are often more predictable than life itself.  I can often predict, with surprising accuracy, what a long-term friend will do in almost any situation, but my life has taught me that it can be considerably more difficult to predict where I will be in a year or two.

I certainly did not expect when I came to Colorado that I would soon know — at least casually — about 200 young men and women twenty years younger than me, nor that about two dozen of them would befriend me.

Yet that’s what happened — largely as a direct consequence of my choosing to frequent a coffee shop that both served the cheapest cup in town and was the hang out of hundreds of local high school students.  Since it was also the oldest and most established coffee shop in town, it was also the hang out of everyone else — from the mayor and some city council members to several homeless people.

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Abuse, Bad Ideas, Community, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Family, Life, Living, Marriage, Memes, Morality, Morals, News and Current Events, Physical Abuse, Political Issues, Quality of Life, Relationships, Society, Thinking, Values, Verbal Abuse

Divorce

(About a 4 minute read)

A few days ago, I was reading about a pastor from one of the Southern states who is of the angry opinion (why does everyone think they need to be angry to open their mouths on nearly any subject these days?) that divorce was far too easy in America.

He blamed no-fault divorce for breaking up the American family, and warned that it would soon lead to the collapse of the nation. Consequently he was calling for laws that would make it much harder to get divorced.

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Attached Love, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotional Dependency, Family, Free Spirit, Hate, Human Nature, Ideas, Impermance, Jealousy, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Memes, Possessiveness, Quality of Life, Relationships, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Thinking, Unconditional Love

Death to Relationships! The Revolution Starts Now!

(About a 7 minute read)

Like most sensible people worldwide, I tend to uncontrollably froth at the mouth over certain concepts and notions that most people find reasonable, even innocuous.

Concepts and notions like “higher consciousness” (needs to be replaced by “higher awareness”), “love” (needs to be split into several words, one for each kind of love), and “small children” (need to be duct-taped in place).  Of course, I do not for a moment believe that any crusade I might go on against any of my pet peeves would have the decent chance of success that two teens alone in the backseat of a car on prom night have of retaining their virginity.

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Bad Ideas, Censorship, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Family, Human Nature, Internet, Love, Lovers, Loyalty, Masturbation, Mental and Emotional Health, Morality, Obsession, Political Issues, Politics, Pornography, Relationships, Sexuality, Sexualization, Values

Men, Women, and Internet Porn

(About a 4 minute read)

I am old enough to have known a time — long before the internet — when porn was something you could get hold of only by being man enough to face a real human in order to lay your sweaty hands on it.  A store clerk, or at least now and then, a postal carrier.

Well, I concede you didn’t really have to be fully a man to get it.  In an earlier post on this blog, “How to Get Away with Buying a Playboy, Circa 1970“,  I confessed to how I would buy porn long before I  — much to my mother’s surprise — actually turned into a man.

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Abuse, Butch, Ethics, Family, Friends, Goals, Happiness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mature Love, Meaning, Morality, Morals, Parental Love, People, Purpose, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sex, Sexuality, Shannon, Society, Tara Lynn, Tomoko, Values

Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story

(About a 16 minute read)

Butch was such a nondescript man that he surely did not need a crowd to be overlooked by most anyone of us.  He was of average build, and just under average in height.  There was nothing either ugly or handsome about his face.   Blue eyes, a bit narrow.  Sandy hair.  Pale complexion.  Not only was he easily overlooked, he was even more easily underestimated.

Had you seen him during the time we knew each other, you most likely would have thought, “janitor”.  Arms too thin for construction, looks too unpolished to be a professional or even a store clerk.   And you would have been right.  At that time in his life, Butch was a janitor.

He was also one of those curious sort of people you sometimes come across in small towns and rural areas.  An honest genius with no more than a high school education, and no ambitions for himself.

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Abuse, Alienation From Self, Bad Ideas, Drug Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Family, Human Nature, Life, Love, Morality, Morals, People, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Sex, Sexual Abuse, Sexuality, Sexualization, Shannon, Spiritual Alienation

Is Ignorance the Root and Stem of All Evil?

(About a 6 minute read)

“Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil” — Plato

Trigger Warning: Explicit references to child sexual abuse, etc.

Shannon’s father and two uncles were widely reputed to be the three most evil beasts in Champaign County, Illinois.  For one thing, before the Chicago gangs moved in with their greater numbers, the brothers and their friends controlled the hard drug trade in the county.

To call them “beasts”, however, is somewhat misleading since it might imply that the brothers were somewhat on the dull side.  In fact, just the opposite seems to have been true.  The brothers had a reputation for brains.  It was pessimistically said, they could not be outsmarted.

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Abuse, Alienation, Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Education, Family, Free Spirit, Happiness, Human Nature, Life, Political and Social Alienation, Quality of Life, Relationships, Religion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Society, Spiritual Alienation, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Teaching, Values, Work

Divorcing Our Self from Our Self

(About a 7 minute read)

Shortly following university, I discovered I had a remarkably alarming problem: I had prudently made firm, long-term plans to eat during my life, but I was rapidly running out of money with which to buy groceries.  Some quick computer calculations showed beyond doubt that I would be out of eats significantly before my ideal lifespan had been reached.

I laid wise plans to rob old ladies of their Social Security checks.

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Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Family, Friends, Jane Paterson Basil, Life, Outstanding Bloggers, People, Poetry, Quality of Life, Society, Terese

The Currency of Community

(About a 2 minute read)

“Rihanna. I love her music, her style,
Just love her.”

One million or two? How many times today
Have I heard you praise one celeb or another?

Seems curious to me how the down to earth
Billionaires wear T-shirts, jeans, and sandals
To the office; how everyday became causal Friday;
How no one speaks more than two syllables
If they can help it, and none of us any longer
Are pretentious enough to learn the sciences,
But for all our down to earthiness, our hearts
Belong to the celebs, and only the celebs.

In the evening I once again tell you I love you,
But you only turn from your screen
When you want to say Johnny Depp
Has a new movie out that we must see.

Who lives next door to us now that Cheryl died
Do you remember? I never met her myself
More than to be surprised her voice was ice
When once I said “Hello”. I’ve fled from her,
And from you, to the blogs where my heart
Is still a bit malnourished by the distances.

But there I’ve found lives lived in immediacy
To the realities of mine. Terese is as gentle
As I try to be. Kat is as smart as I aspire.
Jane is like me a poet who tackles
Her life as it is. Riali’s kind and supportive,
Mark is brilliant as gold dust,
And most of the others have more than one thing
To recommend them to me.

You speak of Rihanna and Depp,
And others who are cocooned by wealth and staffs,
Who might as well live above us
On a station circling the earth.
Why are you so fascinated with lives
So unlike yours? It seems to me you’re chasing
Some dream of someday living among them,
But you’ve paying for that dream
In the currency of community.

Alienation, Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Censorship, Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Family, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Human Nature, Obligations to Society, Oppression, Society

How Small Town Reputations Work

(About an 8 minute read)

I think the best way to begin a discussion of how small town reputations work is by talking about Glen.

Glen shocked me that day I discovered he was an adamant creationist, but in hindsight I should have seen it coming, for evolution contradicted his faith.  In my shock I thought a few things I regret now.  Notions about him that lacked understanding and kindness, and that were absurdly false and misleading.

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Family, Logic, Love, Parental Love, Reason

My Rational Mother

(About a 4 minute read)

Almost certainly because I composed a poem about her this morning, I am missing my mom, who died a year ago to this month.  And as so often happens, one of the three or four top things I’m missing is her rationality.

I’m under the impression most folks simply do not closely associate rationality with their mothers.  I hope that’s more because they value other things, such as love, so much more than because their mothers were not very rational.  But it would not be much of an exaggeration to say, my mother was, not merely rational, but hyper-rational.

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