Category Archives: uu deist

it’s on the verge of flat lining


Last week The Deistette and I were winding down from the day and she came to my blog and said, “I think it’s dead.”
I’m starting to concede that idea.

I mean I’ve only put up two posts in five months not including this one.

I think part of the trouble I have is a lack of time but also this blog is more of a personal blog, vice being about a cause or product. I think the title insinuates religion and/or politics but I don’t really have the desire to enter the UU blogging community again… it’s become too… I don’t know. Too… silly. There is a contingency who have taken the Red Pill and I have other things I need to tend to right now rather than argue an unarguable debate.  And politics is more of a hobby which is basically me yelling at the AM radio hate-mongers of right-wing talk shows.

                                                    (part of why I have little time. I’m taking baby steps replacing all the siding on my house.)

And although this is pretty much a personal blog, I don’t really like the idea of posting stuff about my daughter, stepsons or wife. I have now and again posted about them and offered a picture here and there but it’s been few and far between. So not wanting to post things about the people who are most involved with my personal life, kinda turns the ol’ blog a little stagnant.

                                        a pic of the wife waaayyyy off in the distance watering some of our veggies in the elevated bed I built.

Not sure what I’m afraid of in that regard. I mean, I’m not a celebrity. I don’t have any stalkers. Hell, I barely have any active readers of this blog any longer. Amazing what happens when you stop writing how far the stat numbers go done huh.

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(I guess I could have kept my numbers up by writing about the super cool garden we have going on.)

Near the end of June, I’ll be at the five-year mark of this blog. To be honest, it feels like I’ve been at this so much longer. It feels like a lifetime since I first started writing down my thoughts and “met” some of my favorite people in the blogosphere. They’re not around much anymore and I miss them.

I bring up the time frame because five years is kind of a marker of sorts I guess and I’ve been thinking of starting over and letting go of this one. I don’t know.  If I do (which I’m really leaning to) I’ll be pulling away from WP.com and doing the self-hosted thing. I’m still looking into it. The thing is, blogging here on WP doesn’t feel the same as it did four or five years ago but it has been so important to me that I don’t want to just abandon it.

I guess we’ll see.
For now, know I’m still alive and kicking despite having posted anything in a while.

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June’s UU Big Question – The Other “U”


I don’t really write much about UUism or my church.  I pretty much write things that happen in my life from my Deist and UU perspective but over at a new blog called The UU Salon, the moderators post a question that invite UU bloggers to comment on it.

This month’s question is:
Universalism, the “other U.” What does it mean to you? Do you resonate with Universalism, or not? What about the Universalist perspective challenges or comforts you?

For non UU readers of mine you may feel a little left out by this post. Sorry. : (

So the “other U”.   Universalism… it’s the “U” that resonates with me most.  It fills me with a feeling of grace and humility.

But when I first found UUism and began attending my church it was the Unitarian aspect that I gravitated to at first.  I found comfort in the idea that all forms of the Divine were manifestations of one God.   I attended a showing of One: The Movie and was hooked on the idea that all are one.

As I have evolved in my spiritual growth though, I have found what is most important to me is the idea that God is too good, too loving and too forgiving to damn anyone to an eternity of suffering.  And so now it is the other U… Universalism that resonates most with me.

For me it means all will reach the ultimate goal of being one with God again.  It is comforting to me to have this idea.  Coupled with basic teachings of Buddhism and the philosophy Deism has to the nature of God, Universalism reinforces my idea that through learned lessons, our own works and a number of rebirths we will all eventually find our way back to our spiritual home.

There are of course challenges to reconcile with the idea of Universal salvation.  What of those who commit the most heinous of acts against humanity and other sentient beings.  Why do bad things happen to good people.  What is our responsibility to respond to those who destroy our earthly home and others in it.

I think this is where religion comes in and why I attend my church.

food poisoning sucks


Ugh… on Tuesday night The Deistette and I were doing the evening ritual of  figuring out something for dinner.  It’s been hard lately since my brother and I destroyed the kitchen (a post on that coming soon).

The Deistette decides she’ll just use some left over rotisserie chicken and make a salad for herself.  I can have a sandwich and add a little nutrition with some lettuce.  The boy can have left over chicken and fried rice.  Tah dahhh!… another dinner crisis averted.

About an hour later, Emmie started to feel a little clammy and nauseated.  Not 30 seconds after she told me she was feeling bad did she lose it.  I get really nervous when she hurls her food.  She is so tiny that she needs to keep every ounce in her that she can.  But she doesn’t have a gallbladder so she can only intake so much fat, she has celiac disease (she has to eat gluten-free) and on top of those two things is allergic to a few foods.

Anyway, so she feels better after her little episode and we try to figure out why it happened.  We have no idea since nothing was wrong with me.  Well about 5:30 in the morning Continue reading

thoughts on SB1070


Well I have managed to calm down a little from the passage of SB1070 in Arizona and a discussion with my brother in-law (my white brother in-law) who is married to my (Mexican) sister.  I also had some online sparring with a few others about the subject as well that got me a little pissed off.

In all cases, none of us are lawyers nor do we know immigration law.  But we were giving it our best shot.  I even thought I had things nailed down when I told my brother in-law the bill is violation of the Constitution.  I thought it especially ironic that I had to give my him a civics lesson and had to explain what the Fourth Amendment is, although he claims the oath he took to join the Navy to defend the Constitution is a big deal to him still.

Anyway… in discussing as many angles as we could think of, one thing was quite clear.

The discussion was an “us” and “them” mentality.  And the underlying basis (at least in my opinion) of what was coming out of the minds of those I was sparring with was “them” are different from “us” and because of that,  “us” doesn’t like “them”.

You know there are all kinds of posturing and defenses the pro SB1070 folks claim as to why they support Arizona’s decision.  Loss of jobs, drain on the economy, crime is higher, strain on school systems, etc.

The fact is, the cost of illegal immigration according to one study I found here says it’s a wash.  Another here says the costs are minimal.  Now, I’m not saying I am pro illegal aliens.  I’m just showing some sources that discount the claims of those who try to justify their racism with economics.

The really sad thing about the passage of SB 1070 though is the underbelly that has been made visible.  It is a sad testament of those in support of the bill.  The line that has been drawn in the sand and those who stand in support of the bill has shown how we as human beings have not evolved at all.  We have lost sight of whatever religion we follow and the teachings that have told us to care for our fellow man.  We are fearful of those different from us. We lack the capacity to empathize with others and cannot see the savagery we display when we devolve down to our reptilian brain.

THAT, my friends, is the truly ugly aspect of this bill.

~~~~~~~~~~

And now… a little comic relief to ease some of the tension.  This is a vid of couple of guys who hop the fence in Arizona.  At about 1:20 is where it gets kinda funny.  My Spanish isn’t very good but from what I can make out of this exchange between these two Mexican fellas goes something like this:

Guy 1 (with camera) “Hey so tell all of us your experience of being over on the other side.”

Guy 2: (the younger guy) oh it felt good. I was even able to speak English for a little bit. It even felt like the tone of my voice changed for a little while.

Ok… maybe it’s just funnier in Spanish.

Reflecting on the need of so many in Haiti


My blog friend Amuirin wrote a very poignant and beautiful post about how she feels (and I suspect many of us feel as we get pounded with stories of  ills of the world) that she cannot take another heartbreak on humanity.   I really encourage you to read her short post on this.  It’s quite wonderful.

I was going to leave a comment there but I knew it would go long so I decided to post here.  About seven years ago I worked for a small non-profit group whose mission was (well, still is) to help people.

As the public relations guy, part of my job was to get info out to the media about our programs. At the time, the Enron debacle was in full swing and we saw a spike in the number of people who were needing financial help.

I was writing a news release and for part of it I interviewed our director of the family assistance program to get her perspective.  She said that people who had lost all their life savings and were on the verge of losing everything else due to the demise of Enron were coming in seeking help. She had seen a significant rise in the number of families seeking financial assistance with utility bills, mortgage notes or groceries from our small food bank. This was on top of the normal flow of desperate, low-income families we tried to help every month.

Working in the department that wrote the grant requests, sent out letters to donors asking for more contributions and whose job it was to get more money for the non-profit group, I knew how rationed our finances were. I knew we didn’t have enough to help everyone who was in such dire circumstances.

And so I asked this person, “how do you… well, you know… how do you reconcile the idea that we have so many families coming in asking for help but knowing only a few will get it?”

She said when she first started with the non-profit about 20 years earlier she would literally cry herself to sleep as she thought of the families that were being turned away. But she came to grip with fact that she or the non-profit couldn’t help everyone… but she could help some and to those families she had made a difference.

It reminds me of this wonderful story that speaks to that idea as well.

The Boy and the Starfish

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, the man said, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied.

“I made a huge difference to that one!”

~Author Unknown~

a UU, Deist and Jew?… in Texas


No… it’s not the beginning of a joke about three guys going into a bar with one leading a donkey to a barstool.  : )

Last Sunday at my UU church our interim minister was preaching about Rosh Hashanah and teaching us about this important holy day of the Jewish faith. Judaism is part of his spiritual practice and it seemed like the first time that I’d seen him get really animated and passionate in the five or six times he’s preached on Sunday. (he’s a part time minister to our church and so only preaches once a month)

It was really cool to see him so… so… I don’t know, like I said, passionate. He even sang chants in Hebrew. very cool.

But the highlight of Sunday service for me was Continue reading

it wasn’t her time


The Deistette gave me a pretty bad scare about a week ago… a really big scare.

She almost died.

She has high blood pressure and on occasion her heart gets extremely elevated. She has meds for both but doesn’t take them on a regular basis for one, because she doesn’t have health insurance anymore and to get refills would cost money we don’t have.  And two… her blood pressure stays relatively ok half the time. So she takes them when she thinks she really needs them to bring either her BP or heart rate down should it get pretty high that day because she monitors her blood pressure and heart rate at least twice, if not three times a day.

Well, we were in a rush, we were hungry and trying to remember stuff to bring with us for errands to run later.  So she forgot about having taken her blood pressure medicine three hours earlier and after checking her heart rate, took the heart med that lowers it.  Not a good thing to do.

About an hour later Continue reading

That’s more than the number of UU’s


So The Deistette takes the quiz over at BeliefNet.com and I think, “what the heck… I’ll try it again.”

Hm. Imagine that… 100% UU.

But I was surprised there was no Deist category.

There was no place for us lowly, uncounted, blip of believers who count as our kindred spirits the founding fathers of this great country. (ok, so we count ’em as our own but according to Steven Waldmen, it ain’t true. What the hell does he know, the damn heathen) : )

So in that second link above, what I saw in the title of that article was “12% of Americans [blah blah blah] Deists”

Hooray!!! I’m not alone. Take that suckahs!

Well as I looked into his attribution, the research and the stats, I realized I failed to see that the title of the article actually said, “12% of Americans MAY be Deists”

😐

The stats come from the website The Pew Forum on Religious Life. It’s pretty interesting to take a peek at… well, at least to me it’s interesting.

This is interesting, too. According to this USA Today article many denominations are losing ground.

I would think in tough times people would be looking for solace anywhere they could get it… even in the pews. Apparently I’m wrong.

Although, a few weeks ago President Obama said our country is not specifically a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. nation… the fact is, a HUGE majority of people in the U.S. if asked would say they are Christian. My own personal opinion is most people probably mean they are Theists and don’t necessarily believe Jesus is God but a redemptive tool of God.

Anyway, in conversations I’ve had with family, co-workers and acquaintances most, if not all, believe in a God that has a plan for us lowly scabs of humans and believe in a God who can and does make things happen either as reward or punishment.

Doesn’t surprise me a whole lot. I mean we hear it all the time… “everything happens for a reason.” Whether it’s characters on tv shows, movies, books, articles, music or in conversations, we hear that statement implied or verbatim… “everything happens for a reason.” I imagine it’s comforting to believe there is some Grand Designer who intervenes on our behalf and when something shitty or out of control happens it’s nice to be distanced by believing that God’s grand design was at work.

It’s just as comforting for me to think that He/She/It is somewhere just watching… letting me call all the shots, cheering me on, applauding my efforts, getting pissed when I screw up, on the verge of tears when something awful happens to me or being very disappointed when I miss the mark.

It is comforting to me to be a Deist.  It meshes well with my Buddhist tendencies and my yoga-loving, bible-passage-using, season-observing, prayer-bead-wearing, talk-to-God-every-morning spiritual path.

claiming a faithful language


Lizard Eater is a blogger I stumble on now and again via the UU blog aggregator and she has a cool post about UUs claiming religious language. I was gonna leave a comment but it began running a little long and I’ve had this post brewing in my head for several weeks anyway. It’s as good a time as any to put it out there.

When I was in the military, the gunnery sergeant I worked for paid me a dubious compliment by nominating me for Marine of the Quarter. In doing so I had to go before a panel of senior Marines and let them grill me for a couple of days on various things.

There was a physical fitness test, room inspection, uniform inspection, drill command evaluation, Marine Corps history test and a leadership evaluation.

I remember one of the questions was on the 14 traits of Marine Corps leadership and which one I thought was the most important. I said I thought “initiative” was the most important because through initiative you put yourself in situations to exercise the other traits. Not sure if it was my hours of hand-polishing my old “chocolate bars” leather shoes or my answer to that question but I’m proud to say I won that board.

Anyway… in response to LE’s list of words she used in her sermon Continue reading

brother can you spare a dime?


Hello friendly blog peeps, peepettes and casual visitors.

Today’s post is asking for a HUGE favor.

If you look to the right… right next to the title of this post you’ll see a picture. If you click it, the link will take you to my page on the Lone Star Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

I’m writing about this because I want to let you know I’m riding my bicycle half way across Texas in an effort to raise funds for researchers to find a cure for MS. I’m riding in the 2009 MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin. It’s about 160 miles or so over two days.

I’m do it for two reasons. One… believe it or not, I find it fun and of course, challenging. (i’ve ridden this ride before) Two… I know I am extremely lucky to be able to move my body on my own and so I feel an obligation to help.

I want to help researchers find a cure for folks who don’t move so well because of this disease.

I’m no scientist. I don’t know much about this disease or what it will take to end it. But I can pedal my bike and ask people to donate to my ride so the smart guys can figure a way to help those who are afflicted with this disease.

So I hope you will.

I hope you can spare ten bucks… or five bucks… or three or even one.

I know five bucks or even one doesn’t seem like a lot but it all adds up.

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned a saying from the grunts… “ounces make pounds.” I first heard it when my unit attached with some grunts for training and we were going on a 13 mile hike carrying all our gear on our back.

A few of the guys took us “non-hackers” aside and said, “ounces make pounds, Marine. Let me see your gear.” They proceeded to show us how stripping every tiny piece of non-essential crap added up to a lot of weight.

“Ounces make pounds” folks. I know times are tough. Hell, I barely have two nickels to rub together but if you could donate whatever you can…

well, every little bit adds up to a lot.