Archive for November, 2010
Because Christmas is quickly approaching, I decided to start looking for Jesus in the easiest places to find large numbers of people: big box stores. More specifically, I’m looking for large images of Jesus, not thumb-sized Jesus Babies tucked away in a little mangers.
I started my hunt at Lowe’s two days ago. I found huge Santas, reindeer, snowmen, elves, penguins wearing hats and fashion-model angels, but no Jesus. How odd, that when a celebration is supposedly only about Jesus, you won’t find any prominent images of Jesus. You’d expect to see huge inflatable images of Jesus on the roofs of the stores and on their parking lots. You’d expect to find life-sized Jesus images on people lawns. You’d expect to see large statues of bloodied Jesuses on crosses, his alleged moment of glory. But, except for those little Jesus babies you might find in an occasional manger kit, that doesn’t really feature him, you won’t find Jesus, even though he is the purported reason for all the fuss. Nor will you find stores promoting his alleged teachings. Such strange compartmentalization.
Why is it that we don’t see a life sized Jesus statue trying to get us to buy that new iPod? Or a Jesus image urging us to buy a life-sized Santa? Apparently, the image of Jesus doesn’t sell plastic goods and gadgets. Is that because Jesus is never alleged to have said anything about going into debt by buying lots of consumer goods. Is it because it would be tasteless to buy all of this crap with the image of the alleged creator of the universe, the man who allowed himself to be tortured to save your eternal life, staring at you?
Or is it because we don’t really believe the things we say about Jesus, and that we actually don’t believe in Jesus, but we only believe in belief?
I don’t follow gossip columns, or even broadcast news. But I do read a few blogs. Yesterday FriendlyAtheist posted Tony Danza’s Funeral Outburst Makes Sense. I don’t particularly care about the actor or the author involved. But apparently he has gotten some negative press for an action that I wish I’d had the cojones to do a couple of times. He cut off a a cleric who was in full stride in a fire and brimstone recruiting speech at the funeral of a friend, to redirect focus to the friend.
Personally, I think the cleric was misbehaving, not the friend. And I wish more people would stand up at funerals and demand that the subject be of the life departed, not of the faith of the orator. Better yet, make sure the minister knows beforehand that bald propagandizing will not be tolerated.
If the deceased had been a pious person, then discussing the faith and piety of the departed meets with my approval. But using the occasion simply as a recruiting drive is too common of an occurrence. I’ve been to a few funerals where the cleric/priest/minister had nothing particular to contribute about the guest of honor, but went on and on about how doomed the rest of us were unless we took his preferred sacrament. He simply knew a captive audience and marketing opportunity when he had one. Very dissatisfying to those of us who knew the decedent.
I have also been to good memorials, where the focus was on the life as lived. My two favorite memorial services ended with a participatory kazoo performance, or recessional music by Groucho Marx. They were fully celebrations of the life departed, not dire warnings to the audience. Unless as a cautionary example to enjoy life while you can.
Here is an example of an appropriate farewell, although NSFW:
The Onion network News reports on the new federal high-speed bus system:
A couple of years ago I became aware I was approaching 55 when all the AARP ads started arriving in the mail. If the US wants to find Osama bin Laden, tell the AARP he’s 55 and has diabetes and they’ll get a piece of mail to him at whatever address within a week! So, on December 6, 2010, I will be 55.
I met with some of the old crowd for lunch and then for the Rams’ football game last week where we bet on what new way the Rams would invent to lose in the last three minutes to break our hearts; no one picked a bad pass interference call. Most of my friends married much earlier that I. My friends talked about their kids in and out of college, their grandkids (yikes!) and ceaselessly gave me grief for having a 12 and 9 year old at home. We talked about business, the economy and stupid things we did when we were young that we never told our wives or kids about for fear of fury or fatal repetition after our own undeserved good fortune.
We had brief discussions of politics but, my friends have nearly all lost their minds to Faux News, vote Republican against their own and their kids and grandkids’ economic interests and don’t want to stop drinking the Kool Aid. I referred them to facts, posts at this blog and other reality based content but, to no avail. Really good chicken wings, decent ravioli and continued good company and wait service mellowed us all until we left with promises to meet again soon.
This is not about the falling value of our currency with respect to the rest of the world, but rather a reprise on my 2007 post, In God We Trust wherein I complained about the propagation of the cold war addition of God to our money in the latest series of presidential dollar coins. The had stamped “In God We Trust” around the edge, along with the date.
But the latest dollars have God on the face, and hide the date and the uniquely and importantly American “E Pluribus Unum” on the edge. Do they think that Sacajawea trusted in in the Old World God?
I really think that we should get rid of the old cold war legacies, and take God back off of our money and back out of the pledge to the flag (as I discussed in
The Changing Recipe of Pleasure Lesion Stew). One could argue that this would show the world that we are confident of our faith, instead of protesting it too much.
The crack reporting team of The Onion once again catches a story that has been missed by all other media outlets: “World’s Power Brokers Hold Annual Summit Where They Show Each Other Their Penises.”
ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND—One hundred fifty of the world’s most powerful people in the fields of politics, banking, business, and media met this past weekend at an exclusive Swiss resort for the 54th annual invitation-only summit where they show each other their penises.
Yes, these are truly extraordinary images, presented by Discovery Magazine featuring a new book by Carl Schoonover.
Consider, also, this terrific collection of high-tech medical images.