I posted this on A Lonely Life forums. The heading was “Hate Me.” For what it’s not really worth but what the hell, here it is…
NOTE: OK, so I deleted it from the forum but whatever…
Blue October. I love those guys! They so speak to me!
OK, so here’s the thing. I’m just all fucked up. Always have been. Oopsidoop kind’a nailed a big part of the reason in her post about being a bit too attached.
Ever since I was a kid taking crap from bullies most every day and coming home to a family who didn’t have a clue and who at times threw the same things at me that I got at school I did not, like many kids in that situation, get bitter. Instead I developed an incredible sensitivity to suffering people. I never understood why bullies are bullies. Still don’t. I have always identified with the victims.
For decades I was on a quest to find out why. Just why. WHY?! And what I could do about it. I could write a book about the times I either started up or was involved in efforts to help people. Every time I crashed and burned. Bam! The way people acted, what they said contradicted what they did. It’s probably my fault in the end that everything went to shit but still I did all I could.
I have studied in great depth many, many subjects that most people run from or hide their eyes from. I had two classes on Nazi Germany/holocaust. I studied satanism. I’ve been personally involved in an assortment of dealings with demonology. Once I worked for a christian counselor friend as his office manager. His special clients were satanic ritual abuse victims. On top of what I already knew about the incredible cruelty of nations, dictators and despots I learned about things humans do to humans that I simply cannot tell anyone. These were not the kinds of things one hears or reads about, they were case histories about the deepest levels of horror reality. When my wife and I became foster parents I dug into child abuse and was horrified to discover how some humans destroy their own children. What I’ve learned has so fucked up my head it just ain’t funny.
In the world outside my window I’ve seen bullies and fools run right over everyone else and take power. I’ve stood with my hands in the air trying to figure out how the public can be so blind and stupid. My generation failed miserably, chasing a buck or wallowing in entertainment that has taught them and their kids and their kids’ kids the worst kind of nasty shit. Courtesy, friendliness, kindness, respect, all gone. My wife and I are complimented so many times about our kids simply because they know how to say yes ma’am and yes sir and thank you. They are polite. What a horrid, nasty attitude people have. No wonder so many young folks show up here.
I cannot understand humanity. I’ve been married to my wife for over thirty years. I know her extremely well. I can taste something or see something and know precisely how she will react to it. But still how her head works is a puzzle. Because I cannot fathom how people think, why they say one thing and do another, how they will react, I have always fucked up.
I have never once given a damn for my own safety, pleasure, or financial status. Who knows how much money I’ve put into efforts. I never counted myself important. That’s pretty much why I’m stuck where I am with nothing.
For too many years my quest to save the world over-rode everything and I failed in being a steady provider. But that wasn’t all. I refused to compromise ethics and what is right. I’ve walked away from crooked employers. I filed a complaint about a supervisor who was a bully and incredibly cruel to people in our unit. One of my co-workers wound up having a nervous break down because of it. Being ordinary humans they did not in the least have the guts to stand up to her and when I did I was framed and summarily pushed out. …I could tell other stories, too, with similar endings. Bullies win because the majority kow-tow to them. Whatever it costs, I’ll never hit my knees or give in to them.
I’ve always been good at my job and I’ve had lots of jobs, so many that most people think I’m full of shit when I tell all I’ve done to earn a buck. If you’re curious I’ll give you the link to my blog. Anyway, I can DO a lot of things. Like that matters. I’m not working now because in ’03 we took in foster kids and my boss fired me for asking off to take the kids to the doctor. Another story for another time. I became full time foster parent, hell of a job for a forty-something who has never even been a babysitter.
Since then I’ve been “blessed” with physical ailments that severely limit my ability to do any kind of steady work. In this market, at my age, with my disabilities, I don’t have a prayer’s chance in hell to find work. I’m a good writer and have sold pieces, too, but everybody with a keyboard thinks they’re a good writer so the market is way over saturated and nobody is making money at writing unless they know someone or are a celebrity. So, I am unable to contribute to our household budget. This just makes the shit in my head worse.
I have never written all this out before and probably will not ever again. I will regret it. But it’s cathartic so here it is. Critique away.
I have always been plagued with two deficiencies. Although I can write a short story to make people laugh or cry, in general conversation I have found it impossible to convey what I think or feel without someone taking it the wrong way. Some on this forum have concluded a few things I wrote were meant unkindly but they were not. The other deficiency, related to this, is that in my experience people tend to judge superficially, or mis-judge, and leave me in the dust. I’ve become a bit paranoid, expecting to be criticized when I really mean no harm.
How or why people accept others is beyond my comprehension. I tried most of my life to “live up” to certain expectations. I put on the plastic face as best I could. It rarely worked but I played the game. But then, a few years ago, I said, “Fuck that!” Why should I play the stupid game? Even if someone became my friend because of my plastic face then I’d have to glue the damn thing on. I looked inside myself, figured out who I am, and I’ve been me ever since. I make no apologies for who I am, what I think or believe, how I live, or how I look. I’m genuine, I’m real, and what you see is what you get. This has not endeared me to plastic people… which is the majority of people I’ve known.
Christians constantly blather about how atheists have no moral standards or do not live by any ethics. That is bullshit. My atheist/free thinking online ‘friends’ are screaming about injustice, war, etc., while the religious nuts hate the poor and promote war. I believe in the value of the human race. I believe in the value of life. I don’t subscribe to bullshit religious rules that mean little even to those who promote them. Instead I respect every human, no matter who they are. Some things, many things, people do is horrible, but the person, the life, is valuable. I respect laws designed to keep us safe. Basically I am a nice guy. My wife has seen all my incarnations and even though she’s entirely puzzled about what goes on in my head she has stuck beside me all these years. She knows I am troubled but she does not know why, and does not want to know, and I wouldn’t tell her if she asked. What I know would fuck up her head. But she knows my heart. Nobody else does, with one exception, a young friend who is too much like me for his own good but too far away to spend time with.
I’ve been thinking about all this shit for a few days. I debated on laying it all out. But there seems to be a few here, at least, that might in some ways identify. Most won’t. But one of my other quirks has been saying too much, telling too much, putting people off. Whatever. I have nothing to hide.
The last thing I have to say is to the many young people on this forum. You should not disregard the advice or views of older folks. We’ve been on the planet long enough to pick up a lot of information by default. It’s true many of my generation and the older ones are full of shit. So am I sometimes. But we have been there, we’ve watched the world go to hell in a gunboat. We can give you a few pointers. Respect the elderly, they’ve paid their dues.
Another thing, when you’re twenty or twenty five and “different,” when you are stuck in an apartment alone or can’t figure out what life is about never forget that as long as you are breathing and are fairly healthy, you can do something. You can figure out who you are and be yourself. You can chose to be not necessarily “better” but more aware and more determined. Don’t run to shrinks or pop pills to fix your head. Figure your head out and learn to control it and move forward. But you have to have guts. You have to have a lot of guts. I’m not talking about walking over other people, I’m just talking about stepping out and being a part of the human race, learn to forgive, learn to keep your mouth shut sometimes, learn when to speak up, and for heavens sake don’t fall into a pity party and sit around waiting for someone to feel sorry for you. They won’t.
OK, that’s it. I feel better now, for a while. Take what I said however you want to. Like the song says, “hate me,” if you like. But I sure as hell do not want pity. I showed up here because there are times hanging around this house alone all day drives me up the wall. A friend with whom I can talk freely about the shit in my head is all I’ve ever wanted. Ever. Otherwise, life is just peachy.
Have a happy day! Time for a smoke…
When you don’t have the money to do things fancy you have to make do with what you have. That’s the story of my life. With the non-profit and all that went with it in the toilet it became time to do something to earn my keep around the house. I’ve been working on several projects in the past few weeks. One of the plans we made is to create a hydroponics system to get us some veggies. I decided to start that project with a small system built on the side of my shop. I built a little shelter using small timber I cut from our clearing some land. Before winter I plan on finishing it out to a greenhouse. For now it serves to protect the little project from harsh weather.
The shelter roof is supported by two cedar posts. Cedar does not rot like other types of trees. I made the roof using oak logs. For the support slats I ripped a couple of old 2×4’s. The only thing I had to buy was some plastic for the cover.
Next I installed a water line and an old kitchen sink I had lying around. The waterline was a bitch since the ground was hard packed and very dry clay. It took hours to put the line in the ground four inches! I did have to buy a couple of pipe fittings but most everything else I either scrounged or cannibalized from somewhere else.
The hydroponics system is also built from scrounged stuff. It consists of a primary water barrel, a flat water trough, a collecting barrel, and a little pump to cycle the water. I fill the barrel with water, trickle it through the trough, collect the water in the old barrel, and pump it back to the primary water storage. I
hope to collect rain water from the roof when I can afford some gutters to install. Of course it has to rain, too, and that’s not been happening!
I used the extra plastic left over from the roof/wall to line the trough. It has one tiny leak in it from a screw sticking up through the old plywood I missed but otherwise it works fine. I used a couple of pipe fittings for the drain. The way to make a drain out of such a pan is to get two threaded fittings, a male and a female. Cut a hole the size of the mail threaded fitting. Put it through from the bottom and screw the female fitting on tight. Use some silicon to make it seal. Bingo. Works very well.
The barrel I used for water storage was one left over from our water supply back when we lived in a cabin out here and did not have water down here. We had a series of barrels tied together which collected rain water. Sometimes I had to haul water in. Anyway, the barrel already had a tap at the bottom. I put a water valve on it and created a drip line across the upper end of the trough. The drip line was made from part of a washing machine drain and an old piece of plastic pipe. I elevated the trough at the upper end where the drip is just slightly to help the water flow towards the drain. Once upon a time I made an aquarium out of the bottom half of a barrel. We took it out but still had it lying around the place so I used it to collect the water from the trough. I scrounged an old pump to return water from the collection barrel to the storage barrel.
Once I had the system working it was time to put some plantings in it. I needed pea gravel to put in the trough but couldn’t afford it so I used some flat pieces of broken cinder blocks to support a piece of chicken wire. That would hold the planters off the bottom. For the planters I had a pile of short pieces of large pipe we once used in the garden. (Another story!) The pipe pieces were from 2″ to 5″ pipe and about 3″ long. I cut squares of vinyl screen and fastened them over one end of the pipe. Some of them I used tape and then tried rubber bands to hold the screen on. Both works. I’m a bit worried the rubber bands will rot and break but hoping they will hold until the plants come up. I filled the containers with garden soil from a bag we had already. I put the planters on the chicken wire. We bought some seed and I sewed the seed in the planters.
I could never be a farmer. I hate waiting! Will this contraption work? Beats the hell out of me. We’ll see! My life is trial and error, lots of both! One thing I do know. I’m going to be fucked up for weeks from screwing up the nerve problem in my back finishing this thing. I will enjoy my new creation through blinding pain as I take hand-fulls of Gabapentin and Ibuprofen! Yay!
I often ask myself why I do this shit. I suppose it’s the masochist streak in me. And I’m bored to death with the computer and I have nothing else to do. And maybe the damn thing will actually work and we’ll have some tomatoes, cucumbers and squash in the dead of winter. Ya think? I have stuck in a few more pictures just for grins.
I have no faith.
I have no faith in an absent god and no faith in humankind.
Life is not going to get better.
People are not going to wake up from this hedonist, lascivious, selfish nightmare and realize “we are the world.”
Wars are going to get worse. Cruelty is going to get worse. Anger and meanness and resentment and selfishness and lying and stealing are going to get worse.
There’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
The American soul is dead.
Would somebody stop the world and let me off, please?
Years ago I used to tell the story I’d heard somewhere about a man who became a new Christian. In those days Christians were taught and expected to live a higher moral and ethical standard than people “in the world” or outside the church. A Christian was expected to stop living “like the world,” which mean not to curse, drink, or get involved in things that were “worldly.”
This guy, I’ll call Frank, became a Christian a few weeks before the annual fishing trip he always went on with “the guys.”
As he studied and learned about what was expected of him as a Christian Frank fretted over that trip. He and the guys always had plenty of beer, was loose with their language, talked about their sexual exploits, all that “guy” stuff. He realized the new standards he was supposed to follow were not compatible with what the guys did on that trip every year.
Frank shared his concern with his wife. She, too, was a new Christian. They had both tried hard to live the new life “in Christ” as they were being taught. A Bible had replaced Frank’s Playboy, movies they watched were G rather than R rated. Frank tried to clean up his language. He even began to hint about his conversion at work. But the trip with the guys! What will they think?
They’ll call him a religious fanatic, that’s what. They’ll say he wimped out on them. They’ll call him a “goody two-shoes” if he turns down a beer and a wuss for avoiding rough talk. Frank knew the guys. That’s what would happen.
Eventually the day for the trip came. He’d thought about just not going, begging off for some made up reason, but he did so enjoy that annual trip. As he got ready to leave Frank’s wife asked, “what will you do?”
“About your being a Christian?”
“I don’t know,” he muttered. “Something.”
When his best bud picked him up Frank leaped into the truck cab with glee. Time for fun! Frank’s wife watched him go, wondering how he’d fare as a Christian among those wild men.
A week later Frank was back. When he came in the door, ragged, sunburned, happy, his wife asked him, “what did they say?”
“About your being a Christian.”
“Oh, that.” He looked at her flatly and said, “nothing. They never knew!”
In the old days when I was a Christian in ministry I used to tell that story as an example of “compromise.” In those days Frank was an exception, not the norm.
Ronald Reagan used to say of his leaving the Democratic Party: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.” To borrow his phrase, I didn’t leave Christianity, Christianity left me. Through the years I was a Christian the church grew more and more like Frank. By the time I’d walked away the differences between Christian culture and “the world” were so few that one mirrored the other.
Christians isolate themselves in their own clique and claim to lead “Christian” lives but what they do inside their little Christian Bubble is a mirror image to what goes on outside.
I’m working on a re-write of my book The Lies, The Truth, The Way that will greatly elaborate on this point. Today, though, I have a specific thing in mind: how churches sell God. In particular, I am almost speechless about the way the Christian youth culture has embraced non-Christian (in the old days I’d say “secular”) culture and blended with it. Corporations use gimmicks, give-aways and pop “music” to promote their new stuff. (I put music in quotes because rap and hip-hop is not music!) Church youth groups have adopted the exact same methodologies to “reach the youth” with the “message of Christ.”
The local First Assembly in my town is giving away a car. And an Xbox. And other trinkets. They’re giving it away today (April 15, 2009) at a “Christian rap concert.” The headline in the paper is this: “Lucky teen will take home a car from Lufkin First Assembly Church.”
“We are doing this because we feel this is our call here at Lufkin First Assembly to reach the next generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said outreach minister Alvin VanderLeest. “This outreach is a fresh and new creative way to reach the youth of Deep East Texas.”
There’s nothing fresh or new about their methods. Coca-Cola and Hershey’s and Chevrolet and the TV Networks have used this kind of marketing for decades. It’s nothing more than gimmick marketing. Snake-oil salesmen used similar techniques a hundred and fifty years ago. First Assembly is just selling God. That is all.
Consider two conversations between Frank and the Guys that might have been:
“Hey, Frank, have a beer!”
“Oh, um,” Frank stutters, “well, I’m a Christian now. I think I’ll pass.”
“Oh,” Bud shoots back, “gone religious on us have you?”
That conversation might have been fifteen or twenty years ago. Now here’s today’s conversation:
“Hey, Frank, Have a beer!”
“Oh, well,” Frank pauses, “I, uh, I’m a Christian now.”
“Cool,” Bud says, tossing Frank the beer. “Religion is ok if it’s not to radical. Let’s go see if the fish are biting!” Bud and Frank walk to the lake with their cold brews.
One might not see the comparison between Frank’s story and the First Assembly giveaway but I sure do. I didn’t agree with fundamentalist junk way back when but I did believe Jesus taught a standard of living that would set Christians apart. That standards Jesus set includes selflessness, modesty, ethics, and morals designed to improve the human condition and end greed and hatred. Frank ignored those standards when he went along to get along. First Assembly, along with most modern “Christians,” have not just ignored but redefined the standards. Christianity is fun. Jesus is cool!
The minister said the church’s goal is to reach the next generation with the “gospel of Christ.” But what is that gospel? It is a worthless and meaningless idea that all one has to do to be “saved” is say a few words, pull the Slap Daddy sticker of your car and replace it with “Jesus Rapper” sticker, say “Praise the Lord” a few times and drop a dime from every dollar in the plate.
Preacher VanderLeest, the youth “pastor,” said “I always thought church was dull and boring but it would have been different from the beginning.” Different how? Less meaning? Less reverence? Less respect? Less demanding? Bingo! True Christianity, based upon what Jesus taught, would be far too demanding for the Jesus Jumping Rappers at First Assembly. They might have to stop “having fun” altogether. The sad thing is that VanderLeest can’t see how stupid all this is.
Read the article here: Church Car Giveaway
Read the letter the paper printed here: Christianity Giveaway
More comments are on an update (150409) under “Lufkin Daily News and Me” at right.
These words may sound a bit out of place or just weird coming from a non-Christian and a Buddhist. They’ll not be as accepted as they might be if they came from a conservative Christian writer. They’ll be ignored anyway. Such is the reality in this country these days, pick and choose what makes you happy, what makes you feel good, what makes you rich, and go for it. Some find happiness in parties, others in Jumping for Jesus.
Religion should not be malleable. True Religion should be solid, consistent, unchanging. How can a religion be valid that changes with the seasons and blows with the winds of culture? In my lifetime I’ve seen modern Christianity move through phase after phase. Ways to “reach the lost” are changed and adjusted. What it means to be a “Christian” change. Right out front is the “cutting edge” youth ministers pushing the envelope of acceptability.
Conservative Protestant Christianity as a whole should take a warning from the fate that befell Unitarianism. In colonial days Unitarianism was a strong movement. I could have been one easily. I did, in fact, subscribe to colonial era beliefs before my ability to believe anything crumbled away. Because they were a minority and trinitarians constantly fought them over doctrine their numbers waned. They joined with the Unitarians whose beliefs were more liberal but still somewhat similar. After the joining the new UU organization started listening to people in the group and changing things about the denomination rather than sticking with church roots. In the end UU became what it is these days, a religious organization devoid of any religious standard.
The Dali Llama said, “The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness.” How can giving cars and video games away, rap music and wild concerts accomplish any of that? It can’t. All First Assembly’s God Giveaway does is encourage greed, selfishness, avarice, and consumerism.
The image of Buddhism is of a person sitting in meditation, seeking understanding, calm, quiet, serene. The practice of Buddhism involves rejection of consumer goods, fancy things, and wealth. A Buddhist has no need for fancy cars or X-Boxes for the true Buddhist recognizes how those things are mere diversions that corrupt the mind.
A person whose heart and mind might be seeking truth, might be trying to understand the great questions of this world, will not be helped but terribly hindered by First Assembly’s God Giveaway. They’ll be shoved away the “still small voice” that speaks to the human heart that which is true and blasted with the noise of greed and selfishness.
My mom used to look at modern culture and moan, “what is this world coming to!?”
In the headlines today: Pay to Pray… by computer! Good grief!
I kid you not. You may have seen the news story, it’s making the rounds, but if you haven’t just look around on news sights. See if you can find it. I simply will not promote the site by posting a link here even though Nobody is my biggest fan. The website charges a fee (10% goes to charity, woo hoo!) based on the length of prayer. You can even choose your own God or god to pray to. Well, not just any god, they’re still working on setting up a link with a few lesser known deities.
For five bucks you can initiate a prayer for an assortment of things from world peace to a sick friend. Prayer for your kids rate only two bucks. Tacky!
I really am. I should have STUPID IDIOT tattooed on my forehead. I really cannot believe how totally stupid I was for so long. How in hell could I be so blind, so deluded, so stupid?
I’ve not had much time to read or reflect on the world at large. Like most people with a brain and the ability to see through the bullshit I’ve watched in horror as Americans with no brains and who thrive on bullshit suck up the crap the right wing is throwing at them. For God’s sake–for America’s sake–why in the hell won’t you people listen?
I know I am blowing in the wind. In my last post I think I mentioned something about how my brother the fundamentalist and I got into a squabble at the Whataburger over “religion.” I think I did. Anyway, he is a devout Evangelical quasi-fundamentalist. He’s not a pure fundamentalist any more since he does attempt to follow a bit of logic and he does go a short way into using his brain. But he is as brainwashed as every other Evangelical. He is as brainwashed as I was. It is highly doubtful that he will ever understand Truth. His mindset is the same as those who continue to believe the incredible –and highly verifiable–pack of lies being sold to Americans about 9/11, the war, the economy and everything else.
I make no apologies for that terrible header.
In the midst of my personal crises life goes on. The world is stirred and shredded and battered by conflict, war, hatred, conflict, cruelty. Politics go on. Struggle for Truth and stupid-think goes on.
This morning on Beliefnet I took another jab at the religious right’s insane attitudes and their crazy support for Palin. I shall share that post preceded by a few pointed comments.
My daughter has a myspace page. It worries me a little but at least it’s an outlet for her to find friends. Her being on myspace encouraged me to get on there once again and revive my myspace page. I did.
My updated myspace is here: http://www.myspace.com/texas_writer
The past few days I’ve been searching around for Buddhist groups. I found and joined one that lists the “Fourteen Precepts” as given by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. Here are two of the precepts:
8. Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
9. Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
Find the complete list here: http://groups.myspace.com/EngagedBuddhism
Notice the underlined portions. Are they not contradictions? I greatly admire the venerable master. I have another quote of his on my myspace page. I would very much like to hear his response to this post.
How is it possible to “speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten …safety” and NOT “utter words that can create discord?” How does one “speak truthfully and constructively” and “speak out about injustice?”
I’ve always had a problem with passion. No, I don’t mean romantic or sexual passion but passion for beliefs and points of view and morals and ethics and standards.
The problem is, I just can’t *not* have a point of view or keep my mouth shut. Somehow I got the idea when I was a wee lad that it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to stand up for righteousness and Truth. I have done that. And it has cost me dearly. I’ve lost several jobs and a couple of careers. I’ve become a pariah in my home town for writing letters to the editor. Never once was my intention to be mean or cruel or unkind. I simply did what my conscience said do. In the process I have pushed myself into oblivion.