Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Third Daughters at Smashwords
Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook or Smashwords
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook or Smashwords
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Bible

I had two eager visitors this morning knocking on my door promoting Bible reading in the area. I politely turned them away, but it got me thinking. The Bible, more copies sold world wide historically than any other book, is the most controversial book EVER. If there was any other object in history that has caused as much war, hatred, intolerance and cruelty, then every nation, people group and government would quickly and unilaterally outlaw it. But Bible sales are going strong... I should stop myself here and reflect upon what I am saying (hopefully Christians haven't stopped reading yet to formulate their defense).

I minored in Biblical Studies in my undergraduate program. And for a time I defended the Bible tooth and nail. But then I realized it wasn't the Bible I was defending, but my interpretation of the Bible. It was my belief structure rooted in my understanding of the Bible (the making of a vicious cycle) that I defended so arduously. And when I realized exactly what I was doing, it made me sick. I moved from defending what I thought was the "truth," to understanding that I was only defending my version of, or what I understood to be, the truth: my opinion. I caused more strife and animosity with my "defense" than any amount of good could over come. And so I had to re-evaluate and walk away from that whole scene.

With new and fresh eyes I approached the Bible again. And found something wonderful and awesome. I can no longer raise my opinion above others. I have to respect the heartfelt belief of others even if I disagree with them. I think everyone, with open eyes and heart, should read the Bible and come to their OWN understanding of what it says. Don't let others tell you what they think it says. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions. It is the ones in power and authority creating "interpretations" of the Bible to further their own agendas that bring about all the war, strife, hatred, intolerance, etc... The Bible is just the object used by lesser people to try to make themselves great.

Two side notes:
1. I am not a church-going Christian. I will explain that in more detail later, or you can ask questions in the comments section if you can't wait.
2. Everything I said above extends to any and every holy or sacred book. We are each responsible for our own beliefs. So read, reflect, think and repeat.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Professing and Belief

I was struck with a thought today. Why is it that at the university level, professors of religion don't necessarily have to believe what they teach? If a math professor, physics professor or a psychology professor stood up to profess the truth of their department and yet claimed not to hold to that truth, they would be quickly escorted off the campus. Yes, they may not hold to all of their department's teachings (you can't expect a Freudian to accept all the premises of a Jungian, or a classical physicist to use quantum mechanics) but they still hold to some part. They don't deny the general teachings, or approach it as a skeptic. But when it comes to the religion department it seems to sway the other way. The secular professor stands apart from the sacred to pierce, to prod, to critique and is hailed a hero. The general premise being that to believe, ruins the ability to approach the subject objectively... therefore nonbelievers are the only legitimate religious scholars.

Isn't that all just hogwash? Shouldn't all that be required for the professor is to be honest and upfront with his or her beliefs, presuppositions and underlying premises? (I would hope that said professor would understand how such things may affect their approach to other ideas, thoughts and religions besides their own, and strive for an objective position on those points for the benefit of the students).

I guess there is a difference between teaching ABOUT a subject and teaching THE subject.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Human Evolution

The theory of evolution is something that I think about from time to time. In no way am I an expert in the scientific components of evolution. And I must admit that I am a bit sceptical about it as a provable theory, but it seems to work for the time being. Now that I have given that disclaimer, let me tell you what I have been thinking about.

It seems that when it comes to humans that evolution has runs its course. I am not saying that we have reached the pinnacle of evolutionary traits, I can think of many things that I would like to have as part of my body that would make life easier. What I am saying is that we are sabotaging the possibility of further evolutionary growth. We adapt the environment to fit our life, not the other way around. We have compassion on the weak and infirmed. But here is the clincher and the reason why evolution is at an end:

If we put evolution in terms of survival of the fittest and then compare that to society at large, what do we get. In America we have a general understanding of what is expected of our children: go to school, get an education at college, find a good job, get married and have two kids. That seems to be the media's view of the norm. And by and large we accept that norm. The assumption that the most capable will make it the furthest in life: make the most money, have the largest house, wield the most influence... have two children, or one, or none and sometimes maybe three. Do you see it yet?

And the other side of the coin: those we assume to be the least capable, the least likely to survive as the fittest. The drop outs, the uneducated, those prone to drug addicts, those on welfare, the poor, also tend to have three, four, five or even more kids.

If survival is dependent upon being able to pass along the most healthy, capable genes to the next generation then which segment of the population is fulfilling that evolutionary mandate (who is having the most children). The fastest, strongest, most capable lion is the most probably to pass long his genes making the next generation the fastest, strongest, most capable generation possible; but with humans? It seems that those who have the greatest influence on the next generation are not necessarily the ones we would call the most capable. The gene pool of the humans is negatively effected.

Yes, I know that this whole chain of thoughts is loaded and based on generalities and stereotyping. But there seems to be something here. Maybe our perspective is off. Maybe the most capable are not the most wealthy, but rather those who can survive and thrive on the fringes. Or maybe the wealthy need to start having more kids. Or maybe all of this social structure is completely independent of biological evolution.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Two Types of Artists

There are really only two types of artists in the world: Museum artists and commercial artists.


A museum artist is the "true" artist, or so they would like to call themselves. They are doing art for the sake of art, for the inspiration, for the cutting edge visual, for the seemingly thought- provoking creations. They are not "sell-outs" and they seldom make it. They are either a starving artist or bi-vocational.

And to the museum artist, the commerical artist shake their heads, walk into their studios and produce works of arts which are sold. They are living by their brushes. They have distinctive styles and modes, and they even may produce, from time to time, those pure expressions of their artistic aims. Seldom do they push the edge, but they get to do what they enjoy the most: their artwork. And they live through it and by it.

The art world needs both. We need the explorers searching for new ways to express, impress and create. We also need the others who take the art into the common homes across the globe. We need the community to be diverse and understanding. Art is not a monolythic idea, but rather a fluid and dynamic, shifting, living and breathing entity.

So what am I? I am an artist. I am not yet good enough to live by my brush alone, so I am bi-vocational (not willing to starve for my art). And as most artists, I have visions of grandure but temper that with a realistic view. I would much rather live by my brush and enjoy my life doing so even if it means I never gain museum fame. I guess I see that I am in this for the long haul, so each day I do what I can and enjoy the time doing it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Creating the Tempist of Change

One Word for Freedom
and the self-same Word
for bondage.
The Apple plucked
in free will
deposited in predestination
Bound together for
life; cycling, orbiting
the depths of
The Soul and Mind.
Illusions of the imagination
as words stripped of meaning
Parade as politicians and
religious leaders cry
Peace and compassion
But only confound confusion
with delusion hoping to
set the Spirit free.
This age has no Spirit
but the one chained
by technocratic multiplicity.
Simply speak the Name
of eternal salvation
and bring an end to Time.
This day is not yet done
and yet the sun already
rises on the morrow.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Philosophy

Philosophy is the academic study of thinking. Literally, it is the love of wisdom. And that is what thinking should be bringing us closer towards. But what do we think about?

If we admit it or not, we all have a personal philosophy. Seldom do we think it through as a system of thought that controls our lives and our actions. But it is there nonetheless. We should think it through. Why do we respond the way we do to life? Why is our response towards this great big experience-creating machine called "reality" different than other peoples? Once we begin to think upon such questions, we realize a few things. We see that our perspective is just one out of six billion perspectives that are operative right now. We come to realize that life is greater than "me." We understand that there is much to think about when it comes to the dynamics of the relationship between the "self" (me) and reality (everything else).

When the tough questions are asked we should take the time to answer them. Ponder that tough question for a few moments and decide if it is relevant to your life and how, ultimately, it will affect you and your world. If we ask questions and seek answers, then it would only make sense to bring our actions into accordance with what we find.

A parable (it may be true... or not): A girl was watching her mother prepare dinner. The mother pulled out a large pot roast, cut a piece off both ends, plopped it into a large roaster and began cooking it. The girl asked, "Mom, why did you cut the ends off?"
"That is how I was taught to do it," answered the mother.
"But why?" Insisted the girl.
"I don't know. Go ask your grandmother, she was the one who taught me."
The little girl was not going to let it drop without coming to an answer. So she ran down the street to her grandmother's house.
"Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the roast?"
"Well, my grandchild," began the grandmother, "I had to because the pan I had was always too small for the roasts that your grandfather would bring home from the butcher's shop."

How many lessons have you inherited without asking about them: religion, science, culture, politics, ethics, etc...?

Your life does not become "yours" until you own it. Think. Seek wisdom and understanding. Once you do and say and think your actions and words and thoughts because they are yours, then you will be "you."

Monday, April 30, 2007

The mind

What is the mind? How far does it reach? Is the mind contained in the head... or in the experience of being?

Life is beautiful if one is willing to allow the beauty to exist. It cannot be forced or rushed or pushed into its existence. Beauty must unfold on it own, just as life does. Each day, each experience can either reveal or it can destroy. The beauty of the flower is already present in the flower bud. One must wait to watch it be revealed... or become impatient and destroy the bud... or find beauty in the bud itself and then again in the bloom and then again in the wilted flower and then again and again. Beauty is always present, depending on how you define beauty and how willing you are to look.

The mind seeks out the beautiful, the good, the true. Be the mind of beauty; be the mind of good; be the mind of truth. Find it and live it.