What May Seem Like Love

I’m taking in the new Wilco CD this morning. Can I still call it a CD or is there a new name for the post-disc/sleeve era of music ownership?

The final track, One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend), tells the story of a man’s struggle with his father’s rejection of his lifestyle, based around the father’s belief in God. It’s a haunting, beautiful song launched out of a dinner (apparently) where Jeff Tweedy met said boyfriend and heard the story told here, ending in the boyfriend’s relief at the death of his father. An interview with Jeff Tweedy at chicagomag.com offered this gem: “Now he’s going to know he was wrong and that there is an only loving God.”

Which begs the question from me: “Why do people always assume all loving means all accepting?” Give it some thought.

What It Means To Love

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a Christian. I’m sure some might call me an apologetic due to the amount of time I spend researching, reading, analyzing. Like everything I do, I approach my Christianity with a huge dose of analysis. My mom likes to remind me my first word was not “mom” or “dad”, but apparently, “what’s that”. Add to this the fact that I absolutely adore a good debate and I’ve become a willing participant in many discussions, be they with other Christians or with atheists, often in regards to the deeds of those who claim to be Christians themselves.

So what are my thoughts on Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Centre, who’ve proposed marking the 9th anniversary of the World Trade Centre bombings by burning a pile of Qur’an? I think it’s a perfect example of why we never accept someone as Christian because they say they are. The Bible tells us to do a lot things, from spreading the word to non-believers to working for the benefit of the least of us. It doesn’t teach us that the desecration of items sacred to others will somehow improve the understanding and acceptance of items we hold sacred. Do Terry Jones and his parishioners feel their Bible is somehow unable to defend itself?

There’s one simple fact of human behaviour and understanding: That we aren’t reached through irrational acts of spite or anger. Yet society at large seems unable to understand or accept this. We tell people who to vote for by belittling the opposition. We tell people what movies to watch or music to listen to by insisting what they listen to isn’t good. And, apparently, some of us feel burning the Qur’an will somehow awaken others to the truth we find in our Bible. Maybe we should extend a peaceful hand and an offering of selfless compassion instead? Maybe people will vote for our candidate through proof of action and educated promises? Maybe people will listen to your music after you provide them a CD to check out? And maybe Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Centre would find a better way to get back to the basics of what their God teaches – to spread the word in love.


Follow the Lights

So my thoughts on the Atheist Bus Campaign seemed to spark a bit of an energetic Zonkboard yesterday, which I suppose is their intention. For those reading this moons from now Justin Trottier and his Freethought Association of Canada (yes, with the spelling error) have launched the Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign, thieved in whole from a British campaign of similar nature. Both campaigns are surrounding a transit ad campaign advertising “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

So my first and foremost thought is, of course, that “There’s probably no God” is not an Atheist argument at all, it’s an Agnostic argument. Bring this up to an Atheist on Facebook and, apparently, it’s “semantics”. It’s not semantics, it’s the single piece of belief that makes an Atheist an Atheist. You don’t believe God exists. The secondary argument that the British wouldn’t allow a more steadfast comment is beside the point as we’re in Canada, not Britain, and their Facebook group is selling merchandise online with the same slogan. Besides, I feel strongly that God exists, and can assure you that if a regulatory body told me I wasn’t allowed to say “There is a God” I wouldn’t be changing my message. Chacon son gout?

Similar to the Mormons coming to the Christian rescue on California’s Prop 8 we now have the just-as-inexplicable United Church rising to the challenge this time around. The United Church, utilizing Toronto’s Smith Roberts Creative Communications, will be countering the Atheist ads with some of their own stating: “There’s probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” You can read up and complain at www.wondercafe.ca. For the record I think the United Church is a farce, and personally object to their use of “probably” just as much as I do the Atheists, although the humour/object is not lost on me.

For those angry at TTC Chair Adam Giambrone for accepting the ads to begin with his response was: “”We are going to accept the ads because we accept religious advertising on the (TTC) system. Our legal interpretation is that you cannot discriminate based on creed.. So we understand some of our patrons may be concerned about it, but there certainly are and have been ads (on the TTC) promoting one religion or another.”

In other news, Stains the Dog rules. Someone needs to give that dog a dang cupcake.

Now Listening
Calexico – Carried to Dust

Today’s Random Links
Top 10 worst TV movie edits; #1 is my all-time favourite.
Construction sign warns of zombies ahead!
They’re turning ‘The Office’ into a porno?
Railway cat is not afraid!!!!!!11

Monday Mission 2.48

As always, PromoGuy asks the hard questions, and we don’t shy away from answers.

1. Suppose God grants you one miracle. Consider the world in which we live. Consider your life and family. What would you request for this miracle? Are you sure that is the best way to use it? You only get one.
My first attempt would be to wish for 1,000 more wishes. There is no case history on the effectiveness of this wish, but in the highly probable case it didn’t work, I think I’d wish for God to show himself to all residents of Earth. Reason being, it’d be a lot harder to be evil if you knew for sure what was waiting for you around the next bend.

2. Have you ever had an experience where you truly believe your prayer was answered? If you don’t believe in such things, how come? What is your philosophy on prayer?
My grandfather survived prostate cancer and the replacement of the main valve to his heart last year, so yeah, I believe prayer can be answered. Unfortunately, people seem to think asking God for something means it has to come true, simply because they asked. So when bad things happen they instantly become cynical SOBs feeling they’re owed something. That irritates me.

3. Have you ever lost a pet? That is, have you ever had a pet get loose, run away or be stolen? Did you get it back? How did the loss impact your life?
My dog Bubba got stolen from the front porch when I was a very young child, probably 3 or 4. I still remember him, though. I used to ride around on his back and stuff, he was pretty cool. My Mom, sister, and I left to go to my Mom’s bowling league one morning and all that was left was a cut leash. I remember driving around trying to find him to no avail. Impact? It sucked, that’s about it. It’d probably hurt more if Taco was stolen now.

4. What is your favorite holiday food?
Dude, the chocolate. All the chocolate. Every last bit of it. Except Icy Cups, they suck hard. Honourable mention to turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and Nan’s punch.

5. Are there are dishes or desserts that someone in your family fixes better than anyone else?
My Mom makes the best Spaghetti, my Dad makes the best steak, my Grandmother (Nan) makes the best goose, and my other Grandmother (Dodo) can bake anything better than anybody. If anyone has a problem with any of these I’d be happy to take them out back for a whuppin’.

6. Do you have any siblings with children? How does it make you feel to be an Aunt or an Uncle? If not, would you like to be have nieces and nephews? Would you make a good relative to them?
I’ve got no siblings with children, but I really look forward to the day I get to be an Uncle. I love kids, and typically kids love me. Can’t wait.

7. I am putting together a CD of great holiday music. Do you have any suggestions of what songs (title/artist) I should include?
Yes, yes I do. The entire A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi, Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes by Bruce Cockburn, Old Toy Trains and Whose Birthday is Christmas by The Statler Brothers, The Greatest Gift Of All by Kenny & Dolly, and Senor Santa Claus and Blue Christmas by Jim Reeves. I could go more in depth, but that’s the A-list.


Friday Five 02.11.01

Well, obviously the snow has melted. That didn’t take long. I wish I’d thought to go build a quick snowman and dump it on my buddy’s lawn across the street. He probably had no idea it snowed, and since it wouldn’t have likely melted by the time he got home, that would be completely surreal. I always wanted to get a chest freezer, make a snowman, and then lay it inside until July. Then put it out on someone’s lawn and REALLY confuse them. One day I will do this.

Now, Friday Five time. WARNING: religious opinion ahead. I don’t write the questions, I just write the answers. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. If you do like it, comment. I’m all about the free exchange of opinion but I don’t want to see any bashing going back and forth or I WILL make use of my delete option for the first time. Play nice.

1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith?
As a really young child I only remember going to the Salvation Army. After my parents divorced I continued there with my Mom and went to an Evangelical church with my Dad. Although I always held close religious beliefs, I stopped attending church from about the age of 15 or 16 until about 23 or so.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not?
I still attend church (almost) weekly. If I can’t make it in person I’ll always catch Hour of Power on one of it’s many replays. My wife is a devout Catholic, and I’ll often join her at her Church, but my personal affiliation is still with the Salvation Army. I usually attend with my grandparents. Why? It’s a strange thing, but after going through a very tough period of my life between 1990 and 1998 I began attending to spend time with my grandparents. However, the more I went the more it felt right. It’s something that’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, but personally, it’s a good place to be. That said, organized religion is a big bone of contention with me. Because of the close relationship between God and religion, too many people are getting them confused. God does not cause war. There is no war over God. Anyone that kills in the name of God does not know God, end of story.

3. What do you think happens after death?
I believe in Heaven and Hell, for sure. Although I don’t subscribe entirely to the teachings of any given Church, I’ve begun to believe in the Catholic idea of purgatory a bit more, only because it makes sense to me. I, like many, have always had difficulty with the concept of bad people going to Heaven simply for asking forgiveness. The idea that they must pay these debts prior to acceptance in to Heaven just makes more sense to me.

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)?
Christmas, without a doubt. I may be a bit left of centre in a lot of things I say or do, but effective today, my favourite season is in full swing. The Charlie Brown Christmas CD and DVD came out of storage this morning. :) For a more strict ritual, I actually enjoy the idea of giving up meat on Good Friday, a practice that has become almost void for all the wrong reasons.

5. Do you believe people are basically good?
There is good in everyone, but the World has become such a cesspool of evil and corruption that I think the good in people is being constantly tested. There is no more responsiblity for actions or concept of denying oneself for the greater good. I think far too often people are so busy making excuses for their actions, in some vain attempt to justify it to themselves, that they don’t realize that before long the bad is pushing the good aside. It’s one rule that people tend to find difficult to follow, and it would make all the difference – treat others as you would like to be treated. The ability is in all of us, most of us just don’t want to bother.