June 6, 2019

Acknowledging Ignorance

There’s obviously a whole lot of political upheaval lately over various issues, not the least of which is civil rights, gender issues, and sexual legalities. But, what I intend to argue here, while indirectly addressing some of these important issues, is that these issues aren’t actually the ones that are being fought about. I hope that has either intrigued or enraged you already, because then maybe you’ll read on....

November 13, 2018

What's Wrong with Predestination (in Less than 1,000 Words)

As a theology teacher who also happens to be witlessly crass, people tend to gravitate to me specifically to ask difficult questions that other folks don’t like to deal with. One of these is the theological idea of creation, which, unbeknownst to many people, leads inextricably to another common religious problem—predestination. Predestination is something that most people who are “supposed” to believe in or who think they believe in, usually fall into one of three categories. They don’t actually understand it, they don’t like it, or they don’t actually believe it. So, rather than explain the whole creation and predestination mess, I’ll start simple and explain along the way. And, if you think this is blasphemy, don’t worry, it’ll probably be a blast for you too.

October 3, 2018

The Gypsy & the Thief - A Thirty-Three Short Story

"The greatest of convergences sometimes start with the humblest of beginnings. Today's snake in the grass could become the apple of your eye tomorrow. Even evil itself can give rise to good, and enmity to love."
-Randolph Midian

Maria pulled her hair from across her face. It was stuck over her eyes from the sweat that was now pouring down, despite the December night’s chill. “You insufferable jackass,” she grunted through clenched teeth, grasping at Taber’s hand to help pull him from the frigid muck of the swamp.

Taber, in a fragile attempt to hide his terror and mounting dread of the monstrous thing that was struggling to free itself from the mud, cut back at her with a sarcastic grin to cover his fear, “I bet you only say that to the fella’s you really like, eh doll?”

September 10, 2018

American Idol(atry)

If you were raised religious in the Western world, you’ve likely at least heard of the term “idolatry.” It’s all over the Old Testament, mainly talking about golden calves and whatnot that our ancient ancestors worshipped to ward off misfortune and inspire material prosperity. And, as such, we’ve come to associate idolatry with things like statues and gold, with popular culture even making the occasional theological joke (like Kevin Smith's Mooby the Golden Calf—a satirically accurate splicing of Mickey Mouse and the McDonald's franchise). But, the concept and problems with idolatry are really a lot more than just the simplified notions we have today that usually range from the seemingly innocuous golden calves of the Bible stories to the terrible bull statue-ovens of Moloch that the ancients roasted their own children alive in. There's the direly important quest to find a mate to make everything in life better (to own the golden calf), the ongoing "rat race" for status (to appease the golden calf), the insatiable battle for fame (to become the golden calf), and so many other things that are really just a hell of a lot of work for nothing.

So, this article is about conducting oneself in a world full of images and likenesses as well as their makers. It’s about recognizing the importance of transcendence. And, it’s about seeing the greater purpose of life, the universe, and everything.*

September 6, 2018

A Requiem for St. George - A Thirty-Three Flash Story

"Within every good man is a demon of sorts—lurking fears, temptations, and greed that he carefully keeps at bay. But, sometimes all it takes to turn the man into his demon... is a monster. St. George killed the dragon, but what did he do in the years to come? What dragons haunted his dreams and lurked around the corners of his feeble, aging mind?"
-Randolph Midian

“I hope you’re comfortable, Uncle Lewis,” he said dryly, exhausted as he stretched his stiff back and braced himself against the cold, masonry wall. He was not quite so able-bodied as he once was. Although, for a man of sixty-eight, Gregory Stonewall was unusually spry—he made sure to keep himself in decent shape. He was a survivalist, an enthusiast of preparation, as he might call himself. Uncle Lewis made no reply and Gregory sighed, “Alright, I’ll just get the door,” as he gently closed it on rusty hinges. “No need to thank me,” he grumbled.

July 9, 2018

Wisdom, Wigs, & Witch Hats

It’s easy to disagree on what a “mystical” experience is supposed to be, and all of the major traditions of the world propose different ideas of what it might entail. But, by understanding the differences between the ecstatic magician, the churchy charismatic, and the misty new-ager, it’s not too hard to see how they’re all fundamentally very similar. Aristotle believed the “Golden Mean”—the perfect middle between two drastic extremes—was where the best of anything could be found. Courage was at the middle point between cowardice and recklessness, for example. Taking that basic idea though, we can also see where truth and virtue lie between extremes like “the materialist [and] the magician,” as C.S. Lewis would say.*