Books Religion Writing

A story in parts

I’ve linked to 3 Quarks Daily before, and it has fast become one of my favorite sites. It’s up for a couple of different Koufax Awards: Best Group Weblog and Weblog Best Deserving of Wider Recognition. This quality site needs some votes, so take a few minutes and send an email with your vote for 3 Quarks Daily. In the meantime, check out the article on the melting of the polar ice, and the new beachfront property soon to be on sale in New Jersey.


Phil reviews the Brian Wilson album, “Smile”:

Smile would always have been a very strange album; now, it’s an extremely strange one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very beautiful album and probably a great one. I’d recommend it almost without reservation to anyone seriously interested in music: you won’t have heard anything quite like it, and you won’t forget it when you have heard it.

I checked out the album in iTunes, and from the 30 second examples, it’s not what I expected from a Brian Wilson album. I wish it was available at eMusic.

Karl was a mite peeved about the new Red America weblog at I should say, old, new because the young man in question, a Ben someone or another, resigned after accusations of a) plagarism, b) making blatant racist statements, and c) accusing Coretta Scott King of being a commie.

I don’t follow the primarily political weblogs. Well, none other than Norm Jenson, but that’s because Norm has such a wicked sense of humor. Oh, and PZ Meyers, but that’s because we both like squid, and PZ is a terrific scientist…who also has a wicked sense of humor. Personally, I thought it was hilarious that the had to pick a 24 year old plagarizing racist in order to staff it’s “conservative” weblog. Seriously — there wasn’t anyone better?

I would have had more respect for Atrios, and Josh Marshall, and others of the liberal persuasion if they had focused on what’s important: global warming, lack of universal health care, a growing move to criminalize illegal immigrants, not to mention a certain set of events happening over in the Middle East. Which is, to say, the reason I never read political weblogs anymore.

Loren met a poet who gave him a poem about owls in the Nisqually. The next day, he found the owl in the Nisqually. What a wonderful bit of serendipity–a moment of absolute delight. Yet another reason why I’m moving back to the Northwest.

Don from Hands in the Dirt had a wonderful post on Jane Austin. In one paragraph, he captured her essence.

She didn’t write about the emerging empire or the social issues of the day, or politics. She wrote about families, about domestic life, about parents and children, about dreamers and hard-hearted social climbers. It was how she made sense of her world.

Don also mentions in his comments about …feeling much but with little to say. That’s how I’ve felt lately. Sometimes, you want to sit quietly in a seat and let life flow over you, like butter on an artichoke.

Melinda at Sour Duck did a terrific writeup of the panels she attended at SxSW. She also pointed to the podcast site for the sessions for those interested. Of the “Women and Visibility panel” she had this to write:

While the panel outline had wings, it could never get off the ground because men’s part in keeping women invisible was the elephant in the room no one wanted to acknolwedge. The penalties for bringing this point up are pretty obvious: you can be accused of hating men; of blaming others when really you should get off your own butt and just “make it happen” (the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” argument that is so loved in America); you might even be accused of being a (man-hating) lesbian. (Oh wait. That’s already happened, despite the panel’s tippy-toey approach.)

In fact, the discussion progressed as if women were living in some vacuum completely sealed off from men. The irony, then, is that men as part of the problem of women’s visibility were completely invisible in that room. Instead, women were painted as the problem. All this had the cumulative effect of implying that women created their own difficulties. (For what? For kicks? As a hobby?)

I actually started writing a post on much of this that’s grown beyond being a weblog post and now I’m not sure what to do with it. At a minimum it’s a long essay; I’m even thinking of turning it into a book, but I’m already working on a book.

(Yes, I’m writing a new book for O’Reilly, working with my favorite editor, Simon St. Laurent. I’ll talk more on this when I reach the half way point. If I talk more on it now, I’ll jinx it.)

It’s interesting but I never noticed until recently how the people I read on a regular basis come from such different religious backgrounds. They (you) range from being atheist to Budhists to Jewish to Muslim to devoutly Christian, and variations inbetween. Oddly enough, I connect more with a person’s faith when they talk about every day things: taking care of their cats, their gardens, doing dishes, taking pictures of birds, delighting in Spring’s first rose. Sometimes I feel there’s a plate set at your tables, just for me — gives me hope that someday we’ll work this religion thing out.

Rob from UnSpace has been writing a story in parts: about his past, his Christian upbringing, and his reconciliation between his convervative faith with his friendship with Deb, a lesbian. I suggest starting in Part 1 and working forward.

In his next to last post he writes of being exposed to AIDS while working as a paramedic.

I had been a deacon for two terms in my church, and after the required year off, I wound up an elder. So it only seemed natural to get the church to pray for me. I asked the minister what the best way was to ask for that.

I’m still naive, no matter what I’ve seen as a medic, and I was no different then. The minister said something that, at the time was horrible. It’s still horrible, but he had to do it. He told me that I should not tell anyone in the church. He didn’t tell me why, and maybe if he had, it wouldn’t have hurt so much. At the time I thought that it was to avoid people fearing that I would expose them to HIV. That was part of it. But the minister also knew that people would suspect that I was gay. They would think the exposure a cover for a sinful hidden life. Whatever rejection would have come from fear of the disease would have been amplified a thousand times. I never thought of that aspect at the time. The idea that anyone might think I was gay never crossed my mind. If I were gay, I suspect I’d have noticed.

All I knew was that I was in fear for my life and my wife. My church expected me to be there for it, but it could not be there for me. I tried to be a good Christian soldier and accept it. I tried, but inside it ate at me. I was angry.

Rob reads my weblog and I read his, and we don’t always agree and I know I’ll never find God in the way Rob’s found God. But that doesn’t matter as long as there’s understanding, tolerance, and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of humor, and of humanity. Rob’s writing doesn’t seek to sell, to convince, to preach, to excuse, or to change. What he does provide, is insight. And it’s insight we need if we do seek to make this religion thing work out.

God is dead! — Neitzsche
Neitzsche is dead. — God

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