Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Phil Robertson Does Not Hate You

I'm an atheist. I have views that I firmly believe in. If you asked me questions about religion, history, politicians, hunting, computers, or anything you might decide to ask me questions about, my answers would be beloved by many and yet disparaged by many more.

And yet, as I answer your questions, you will understand a simple truth about me:

I don't care if you don't agree with me. I will still love you and serve you dinner at my table.

Enter Phil Robertson, the poorly-named "patriarch" of the extended family, depicted on A & E's Duck Dynasty. I say "poorly-named" because, as you read the actual article in GQ, you'll see that the family loves this man, and yet he holds no iron grip or sway over them at all. They are all independent-minded individuals, holding similar beliefs, and yet love life like the rest of us do - most of us, anyway.

The problem with the recent hoopla about Phil's words in the GQ article is two-fold:

First, very few people actually read the article, as I have pored over it, and have minimal context to derive their opinions from. Second, in some respects, Phil's words were grossly misinterpreted. 

For example, nowhere did Phil ever equate homosexuality with bestiality or even suggest that the latter was derived from the former. In that quote, he merely listed a bunch of sexual acts that he deems sinful, according to his fundamentalist belief system. Included in that list was promiscuity.

The Religious/Political Right, including the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer DO actually say that homosexuality leads to bestiality and pedophilia. But Phil Robertson is not a card-carrying member of that movement. 

I like the guy. He watches too much Fox News and is obviously misinformed (e.g., he believes Mitt Romney was from Salt Lake City, UT; he thinks cultures that have no Jesus are the only cultures that kill people). He also has fundamentalist beliefs within his religion that dictate his idea of sin. He leaves the cantankerous judgments up to "The Almighty" and prefers to just spout the "Gospel," all the theological doctrines of salvation by Jesus Christ.

If you're gay, Phil does not hate you. If you're black, Phil does not hate you. If you're promiscuous, Phil does not hate you. Hell, if you have sex with animals, Phil does not hate you. He just thinks you need to repent and life will be perfect.

And, in the meantime, while you continue in your sin, he'll take you out into the swamps and hunt the f*ck out of the land with you. He'll serve you dinner and preach at you until you change the subject. His kids will ignore him and play games on their phones.

As much as I may disagree with Phil, I much rather his brand of religion and see a greater worth in winning the war of ideas against the Political/Religious Right. 

Carry on. Phil is not the problem.

Friday, December 20, 2013

M & M's Stops Making Red and Green Candies to Respect All Beliefs

The War on Christmas just reached a new level. Mars Candies, the maker of M & M's has just pulled all red and green candies from their inventory "...in order to respect the deeply held beliefs of all people," CEO Paul Michaels said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had recently sent a letter to Mars, Inc., stating that they would sue the company if they did not stop making red and green colored M & M's during the holiday season, being that it was religious discrimination against those that did not celebrate Christmas. Mars, Inc. complied quickly and removed the dyes from the production line.

Paul Michaels again:
Thankfully, as an iconic and well-loved brand, we have begun to insert the colors red and green into the Valentine's Day holiday season. This will help us unload our inventory during that holiday, as we will have a large amount of red and green candies to sell.
When asked about this prospect, the FFRF issued the following statement:
We will be following up with another letter to Mars, Inc, letting them know that we will be suing them for even celebrating Valentine's Day. This is an overtly religious holiday, specifically Catholic, and discriminates against those that would rather not partake in anything religious. Our lawyers are on swift standby.
So, there you have it folks, the War on Christmas (and Valentine's Day) is alive and well. 

If you would like to support Mars Candies, the maker of M & M's, please call them and voice your opposition to their decision, letting them know that you will buy extra red and green M & M's, should they insert them back into their product line. 


I. C.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Had Full Faith and Confidence in the Medical Community, Until...

Ken Hood is the kindest bloke you ever met. I knew him as the song leader at my childhood church. He would stand at the podium, waving his one arm to the stanzas of the hymns the congregation was supposed to sing, his arm and hand looking like the neck, head, and bill of a duck, twitching up and down. His voice would reverberate like those really bad singers on the radio, but his voice sounded soothing and good.

We both moved on in life and lost touch with each other and then, like so many modern stories, reconnected again on social media, Facebook, specifically.

I count Ken among my good friends that I never see and yet know are out there, ready to eat food at my table whenever asked. So, it hurts me deeply when I see his pain and suffering come across my view.

On November 20, 2013, Ken woke up to stabbing pain in his jaw. It radiated to his entire face, right eye and ear. The pain had begun the week before, but had gotten consistently worse, finally culminating to the point where Ken didn't even see a point in existing anymore.

In today's modern medical world, we rush to the dentist, doctor, oral surgeon, periodontist, anyone. Our confidence in the medical community is acute, built up over decades of success stories. We see the stories of Zach Sobeich, who died of incurable osteosarcoma, or the recent setback for HIV/AIDS research and think of them as anomalies.  We think nothing will ever happen to us that a doctor can't figure out.

I imagine Ken felt the same way. As you read through his November 20 - December 14 timeline you see that he was confident in his doctors and dentists, et al, and yet, that confidence was quickly shattered, turning into anxiety and hopelessness, driven by life debilitating pain.

Ken had x-rays. Nothing. He had a tooth pulled to no avail. He had more exams. He had dry sockets, which were packed, came unpacked, then packed again. He was prodded, tapped, cut into, sewed up, bounced around, denied access to care due to a poor state health provider network, was forced to make decisions based on finances, rather than health, etc. He had teams of doctors tell him they could do nothing. He was prescribed pain killers, taken orally, even through IVs. He wept (he's a weeper) with happiness when they worked, then suffered even more when they wore off. People were kind, but clueless. 

Only now, on December 16, does he claim that his pain is about half of what it grew to be. I can see Ken trying hard to smile and stay positive, even though his jaw is stiff.

The doctors are saying that they suspect 'necrosis of the jaw bone' now. I hope they find the true problem because my teeth will hurt until they do. And yes, I do still have full faith and confidence in the medical community. It's just that time is sometimes the worst enemy of the subjects of the research, especially when chronic pain is involved, and yet, time is a necessary component in getting things right.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

James Needs Advice for His Four Daughters

...and I am not the man to give it to him. Sure, I have six kids, four young daughters and two sons, but I rely on my cognitive faculties on a minute by minute basis and have no real grand plan or agenda to 'steer them on the right path'.

Things change so fast these days. One day, it's fun to shoot toy guns off in the living room without a care in the world, then there is a mass shooting and you still shoot the toy guns, but the kids learn about the bad things in life. One day, the kids think mice are cute, then they watch in horror as you stupidly break the skull of one of them with a small hammer.

One day, Renaya (11) is a small baby and giggles while you cuddle her and chew her cheeks, and then, the next day, she's telling you that she's going to camp by herself for two weeks - and is excited about it! You see that you didn't give her the love of horses that so obviously oozes out of her face. SHE did that. You just lived, clothed her, fed her, gave her as much wisdom as you knew how, and now she's only a few years away from flying the nest.

Rearing a child right is not a science. You'll mess up. It's inevitable. But, as long as you let your kids know that you're not perfect, I'm pretty sure it will be okay. Remember, kids can smell disingenuous people and know a hypocrite when one walks past them in their sleep.

But I'm not qualified to answer James' letter to me. I'm just a dad. I'll let my other readers do it in the comments below.

Here is the text of his email:
Hi Joe, 
I stumbled upon your website after googling "Doug Phillips affair." We had a bunch of CDs by that guy but I didn't listen to that many. To be honest he creeped me out. 
Do you know for sure it was underage girl?  Are all the quiverfull pastors bad? I am always leery of fundamentalists but I never can explain why, they just make me mad, thats all. And usually the ones really adamant about something (don't be gay, be the leader of the family) are the ones hiding stuff. Anyone else I should watch out for? 
After growing up in a Christian school with mandatory hair check (yes, they lined us up to make sure our hair didn't touch our collar) I thought I was done with fundamentalism but it keeps creeping up. Tell me what I need to know about some of these guys. 
Also I have four small daughters, I want to make sure I don't steer them in the wrong direction.  
I like James already, but I want everyone else to chime in.


I. C. 

I'm a Taker of Hugs, Not a Receiver

"Analisse, can I have a hug?"

"No, Daddy!"

My three year old giggles and runs up the stairs, preferring to go to bed without hugging me. I should be crushed, but I know why - Analisse is a very independent little girl and when I have, in the past, asked her for a hug, followed by a "NO!" from her, I would walk over, sweep her off her feet, hold her tight and then chew on her cheeks with my lips. Sometimes, I would tip her upside down, holding her by the feet, and rub my whiskers on the bottom of her soles.

"I'm a great dad!," I would think. Sure, half the time, The Freak would giggle and scream with laughter, but the other half, she would squirm and try to get away.  As she grew older, the giggling became less and the squirming more frequent.

A few days ago, I decided that I loved my daughter very much, something I had already known, but I wanted to manifest this love for her in a different way. I wanted to acknowledge that she would rather give me a hug out of her own volition, rather than me taking it when I wanted it. 

You might think I am making a statement for all children, but you would be incorrect. Ani displays a fiery version of independence, ten times stronger than any other of my children, who love me grabbing them if they happen to say no. They'll even join in on the fun, pushing me over and climbing on my back, pulling my hair, or poking their their thumbs into my eyeballs and running away with my glasses, calling on Mommy to give my injured self a wedgie. 

Ani is different. And, as a parent of her, I decided that I wanted to enjoy that difference by asking her for a hug.

So, for the last three days, I have been doing just that.

"Ani! Can I have a hug!?"


She runs away...

"Just a little hug?"


"A teensy weensy little itty bitty hug? Pleeeeease?"

"No. Give Jackie hug!"

Jack is our 4-year-old. He comes running over and gives me a hug. Analisee giggles as she watches over her shoulder. I let Jack go and then turn away.

"Ani, I'll never give you a hug again until you want me to," I said a few times after beginning this.

"No. Not want a hug," she said, giggling.

This dance has continued for three days now. I have received a hug here and there, but she is still very skeptical. She always wants Jackie to go first.

I may never win her back, but I want my daughter to love me for learning to love who she is. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Unbroken White Line, Chapter 3

Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Jake woke with a start. He had fallen over in his seat, his head resting on Penny's lap. Her head was dropped forward and a small bit of her drool was pooling on his cheek. He didn't much care. Penny was special to him, being she was his only companion most of the time.

Penny was a few years younger. His mother had told him about her birth so many times, his brain actually tricked him into remembering it. 

He remembered the day they brought her home from the hospital. She was so small. So fragile. So light. So warm and soft. He remembered her beautiful face and the whiteness of her eyes. He had stared at those eyes for hours. When Penny would sleep, he would sit beside her small bed and wait for her to open her eyes. Then he would smile and talk softly to her, keeping her awake. The whites were comforting. Clean. Fresh. Innocent. Undisturbed by life.

He had cried that day. Mother and Father had assumed it was because he was no longer their only child. Far from it. He had prepared for months for this day. As his mom's belly had grown bigger, he looked at it in awe. Sometimes, he would go over to her belly, lift up her shirt, and lay his hand on the area around the belly button. Then, he would wait while his mother held her breath. Sometimes nothing would happen. Other times his hand would jump off the belly as he got kicked from Penny inside. 

Jake found that if he pushed a little so the shininess of his mother's skin would cast shadows toward his hand, he could feel different parts of Penny. Then he would feel her roll, bringing her heels up against his palm and give it a good whack. Sometimes, if he dug his fingers in a bit, he could stop her from rolling and instead, feel her lift her arm up to meet his hand. He imagined she understood he wanted to intertwine his fingers in hers and sit there forever, enjoying the moment.

He wept because he was happy. He had a good life already, but he had felt it was completed with the arrival of his sister, Penny, his soon-to-be best friend and companion. He told his parents this. He was always honest with them, never hiding anything. They gave him hugs that afternoon. Mother cried and Daddy got all misty-eyed, chuckling a little to try and hide the tears that were welling up at the bottom of his eyes.

Jake sat up carefully, being careful not to wake Penny. Then, he took his hand and softly pushed her head back against the seat, shifting her body sideways with his other hand to add some support for her neck. She didn't wake up and her head stayed where it was.

It was then that he noticed they weren't moving. His heart skipped a beat as he looked into the front seats, finding them empty. 

Something bumped the car and his gaze traveled through the front window, resting on the familiar sight of Mother and Father, sitting on the hood, arms wrapped around each other, trying to get as close as they possibly could. He watched as his dad turned his head and breathed in the smell of his mother's hair. Something warm started from his belly and hit his chest. Jake let out a contented sigh. He was happy.

As he sat there, watching his parents, he thought about his friend in school, before the summer started. His name was Frank. Frank was sad. Every day, he would come to school and slap Jake on the back between his shoulder blades.

"Hey Jake. How's life'?"

"Good. Can't complain."

Jake had heard his dad say that on the phone to people he didn't think too highly of. He always loved the way it sounded and decided to say it to everyone who asked how he was. Everyone always did. That was how they started talking in Minnesota. Never, "Hey! Did you see the Vikings lose last night?" Or, "Why on earth is your eye all black and blue and...WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REST OF YOUR FACE!"

No, if your leg fell off and your neck was hanging by a scrap of skin, lolling about, behind your back, the same question would come out of the first person's mouth you passed - "How's life?"

Jake would pause a few seconds after responding to Frank's question, "Did your parents..."

"Yeah....," Frank cut him off. "All night. I couldn't sleep. They yelled. I think Mommy even hit Dad once. Dad might have hit her back, but he's always told me never to hit girls, so I don't think he did. But they..." His voice drifted off and ended in a mumble.

Every day, the same story. Jake, happy, Frank, miserable, no sleep. He began to get bags under his eyes. Slowly, his clothes started to sag on his already thin frame. 

Then one day, Frank didn't show up to school. Jake looked for him all day. Nothing. The next day, the same thing happened. Jake had asked his teacher if she knew anything. She hadn't. Weeks went by. Still nothing. And then he forgot about Frank - until now.

He looked out the window at his parents and began to cry a little, feeling very happy for his perfect life, happy parents, and yet deeply saddened by the memories of Frank's completely opposite existence.

Reaching over to open the door, Jake sniffed, wiped his tears away with his sleeve, and climbed out of the car.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What My Kids Want for Christmas

I took my bride on a date and came up with a few Christmas present ideas for our six squirts. But our minds drew blanks as we stared into each others eyes, degrading into passionate kissing in the booth. Hey! We got a free drink out of the deal!

So, tonight, with Kristine on a plane back from The Big Easy, I plied the kids with hot chocolate and then begged them to tell me what they wanted for Christmas. Here was their list:

Renaya (11):

  • A phone
  • Wii Go Vacation game
  • A gun (she wants to go hunting with her best friend)
  • No clothes...except for maybe jeans (she was VERY adamant about this)
  • Walkie Talkies for her and her best friend (this is her second choice, if she doesn't get a phone)
  • A baby alligator (her mommy went to New Orleans and posed with one in the swamps...not sure what she'll do when the bloody thing grows up)
  • Modeling clay (and possibly a kiln)

Laura (10):
  • A gun
  • Barbies (when I told her she had hundreds (the kids use them as bath toys), she switched this to clothes for Barbies)
  •  Jeans
  • A Kindle (originally, she wanted a Nook, but they serve Starbucks at Barnes and Nobles, the original owner of the brand, and David Barton says that drinking Starbucks is treasonous to America, so I was forced to steer her clear of anything connected to them)
  • A wristwatch
  • Modeling clay

Fred (8):
  • A gun
  • Authentic army clothes and gear (including a real knife, Nerf guns (not sure why the knife is real but not the guns), a hat, a jacket, shirt, pants, socks, and boots. He was very careful to list everything.)
  • iPad

 Felicity (6):
  • Backpack
  • Bubble gum
  • Shirt with a cat on it (pointing to her chest)
  • Dance lessons (with a microphone so she can practice)
  • Face painting set

Jack (4):
  • A race car set
Then Jack stared straight ahead and began to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he wailed:
 I don't know anything eeeeeelse!

Analisse (3):
  • A present
  • iPad

I'll also try and give them a better dad.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Sixteen - Zach is Ignorant

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam 

In Act Fifteen, we saw Mark call himself a prophet - one who has the power to anoint others with their churchly duties. Here, we'll watch these two idiots tell Zach that they are better than he is - because they've been Christians longer and know people.


Annah: But it also said that the prophet came and said, “You're no longer...” - and Samuel never ever, ever, talked to Saul after he said this to him: “Now it has been taken from  you, and it is placed on David.” A new king. He said, “Now, I'm going to take the anointing that God gave you, but because you did not submit to the prophet...” - he did not listen  to what was being told to him. He said, “Now I'm going to take that anointing, and I'm going to place it on another man.” And Samuel went out and he found that man. Now David didn't become king immediately, he had to go through the fire. He had to go through the cave life, and live there until the Saul was taken out of him...

Wait...What? The Saul in him? Interesting perspective not found in the Bible she is quoting from.

...Because God wasn't going to put another king in charge that had an attitude of non-submission...

 WHAT! Hahahaha! David didn't get to become king right away because he had an attitude of non-submission!? That's the most laughable interpretation of a bloody simple story I've ever heard. Nothing like trying to inject your own theology where it simply isn't. 

No, David just couldn't be king because Saul was king. It's pretty simple, as I said.
...Because all the Kingdom of God is about, Zach, if you read your Bible, READ it, it talks about submission through the whole Bible. It's all about submission: submission to the king, submission to where God places you. Joseph had to submit to the jailhouse. You think Joseph really wanted to be in that pit? No, but God was rooting out pride, because before he came before his brothers again, he was so broken, man, so humble, that he could not stand anymore in his pride and go, “Oo! Look what I've got: my coat; I've got dreams, and I'm ruling over you.”...
What!!!! Seriously, woman. STOP pretending shit is there when it isn't! 

See, this is the problem with NOT reading the Bible. All Christians should read it. If they don't they get hoodwinked by snake-oil salespeeps like Mark and Annah Reid, pretending that the Bible is, cover to cover, all about submission.  The fact of the matter is, the Bible is most definitely not singularly topical and anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

We've spoken at great length, in this series, about the story of Joseph, so I won't elaborate more than to say, Annah is flat wrong. The story of Joseph has nothing whatsoever to do with humility, pride, or even submission.

...God wants that – and you can go the opposite of going, “I don't want to be a worship leader. I'm never going to do that.” (Zach: mimicking my previous resignation) That's pride too! They're both pride. It's both pride. 'Cause you're just saying, “I'm not going to submit to the king.” That's basically what you're saying, Zach. “I'M not submitting to the King. I'm going to serve the God of my imagination out there, but I'm not serving to the King of kings Who tells me I have to submit to my leadership, come into my fullness.” And so what happens is, you know, you're young, you might come back some day and say, “Oh my gosh! Now I get it.” Maybe you won't. You know, or you can stay, and surrender, and submit...

So Annah and Mark are the kings who get to tell Zach when he can say he's not going to be the worship leader. According to the above words from Annah, if they "anoint" him to be the worship leader and, one day, he shows up and says he's finished, they have every right to say, "Nay nay! Not on our watch!" Then force him to stay. That Zach or anyone else may say that God told them to not be a worship leader anymore is irrelevant. They alone have the ability to say yes or no.
Zach: So it's that I don't get [the anointing] now.
Annah: No you don't!
Zach: So I'm leaving ignorant.
Annah: Yeah, you are.
Zach: ...and, “Wow! That kid doesn't know anything!”
Annah: No, you know some stuff, you know music, and you know some stuff, Zach, but, no, I don't think you really know that much.
 Wow. Just....wow. What an asshole, she is. Zach is 26 years old, by the way, at the time of this meeting.

Mark: Why don't you?

Really? You too, Mark? Jumping on the "Zach is a spiritual (and otherwise) idiot" bandwagon? Makes sense, really. You both are power hungry idiots.

Annah: I think you think you do.
Ah. The classic 'put him in his place' line. Annah knows everything and thus can see that, though Zach may be confident in who he is, knowledge, wisdom and all, she knows better.
Zach: I'm not saying I know everything. Everybody has their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Annah: I think that a humble person...
Zach: ...they don't need to dote it on somebody saying, “You've got to do it my way!”
Annah: ...I think, Zach, if you were humble, you would be willing to be teachable. I don't think you're teachable right now.
Teachable for what? Did he screw with your grand master plan by saying he was going to leave on his terms? Yeah. That must be it.

Mark: And maybe you don't respect us as leaders and don't think that WE know what we're doing.
Annah: Yeah.
Mark: And so that's not a good set either .
Annah: Uh uh...
Mark: ...ya know
Annah: 'Cause you have to respect your leaders
Mark: You know, you may be totally right, and we may not know what we're talking about, and so you shouldn't submit to us. But there's an outside chance that after being saved and in ministry as long as we have been ...
Annah: And the things that we've gone through ...
Mark:...and the relationships that we have, uh, with other leaders that have gone through a lot of the same things, that we might know what we're talking about.
And there you have it my friends. They played that card. Not only are they Zach's leaders, but they know people. And not only do they know people, but they've been Christians longer, so they get to lord it over Zach.
Zach: And I've gone through DIFFERENT things, and so whatever experience I bring should be able to work with you guys' experience, right?
Mark: Yes, but it won't lead our experience.
Hahahahahaha!!! How convenient. ZACH'S experience is NOTHING, compared to Mark and Annah's, thus, it is irrelevant.

That's about enough for this Act. Let's check in next time, in Act Seventeen, where Mark and Annah Reid try and explain to Zach that they really aren't saying they're better than he is, even though they are, but it's really about submission or Jesus or whatever.

How We Fight

The argument had been going on for hours. She was wrong and I was more right than I had ever been in my life. I wasn't about to let up now.

Fights with Kristine are epic in our house. We approach them differently. She is convinced that she is always correct in every way and yet, doesn't see the purpose in continuing an argument if we are just going in circles. But, in my view, the circles are important. They are a consequence of her not understanding that I am also 100% correct and thus see the need to reiterate my point of view as many times and from as many angles as is necessary to convince her.

Having had enough and needing to get away, she left the house, jumped in the car, and drove off, leaving her phone. I was devastated. Now, I couldn't contact her at all. I couldn't compromise, regret what I had done and apologize, maybe even swear at her in anger via text. Nothing. Every time I walked past her phone on the dresser, an adrenaline rush coursed through me.

I had left something unfinished! I needed to end this fight! I was right, she was wrong. But maybe it didn't matter anymore. Maybe her phone being left was a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, I could sit down and quietly consider other ideas and alternative points of view to my arguments without the bother of having her in the room to pummel them at.

An hour later, she arrived back home. I was calm, thoughtful, apologetic, maybe a tad frantic, slightly worried, and yet, most importantly, amiable, sensitive, and loving. For Kristine, jumping in the car and racing off had nothing to do with bringing me to my knees, whipped. Rather, she needed to clear her head. Continuing the argument was pointless.

Weeks later, we had another fight. In a moment of heated passion, I yelled,
You always get to drive off! One of these days, I'M going to do it!
To which she raised an eyebrow and responded,
Good! You should try it sometime!
So I did. I left. I stomped out the door, jumped in the car, and raced off. I made sure to take my phone with me so she could contact me. After all, I was the one who had left. It was now her turn to compromise, beg me to come home, swear at me over text, or do any number of things to "make up."

I drove out of town and into the country. Nothing. No text. No phone call. Nothing.

I drove out of the county. Still no text. No phone call. No blip on the radar from her. No car chasing me down behind me, her tear-stained face at the wheel, wanting me back.

"Maybe something is wrong with my phone," I thought, turning it off and on again.

Nope. Nothing. I crossed the state line into Wisconsin. On and on I drove. An hour went by. An hour and a half. I turned back toward home. Two hours. Two and a half hours. I arrived home.

Every single light was off in the house. The night was black with no moon. I walked in the door. Silence greeted me. I climbed the stairs to the bedroom. The door was open. I walked into the bedroom.

There, in the bed, lay Kristine, my beautiful wife - sleeping peacefully! I listened to the cadence of her breath in utter disbelief. She was actually sleeping deeply, quite relaxed.  I stumbled over to my side of the bed and sat on the edge, thinking.

And then it hit me. 

Our whole marriage, I had thought that she left to just be away from my presence, desiring to continue the argument or force me to compromise by being away. But that wasn't the case at all. I realized that we, as humans, many times treat each other the way we expect to be treated. And this situation was one of those times. Kristine let me "clear my head" on the road for those two and a half hours, knowing that she would appreciate doing the same.

And by the way, it had worked. My head was clear. The argument was deemed pointless. The fingers of sleep clutched at my eyes. So I stripped and cuddled up to her, and fell asleep.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

She Deserved My Undeterred Love (Extreme Sexual Content)

The day was sweltering hot in the two room studio apartment. The air conditioning, rusting in it's metal encasement, rattled and whined, trying to keep up with the radiant heat of the asphalt coming in the back window. The room smelled slightly, as it always did, of a small gas leak from the old, olive green, stove on the east wall. Dishes from supper were haphazardly left on the counter with a path of clothing, torn off, to the mattress on the floor of the living room.

There I was, wrapped up in the arms of the woman I loved. We had been there for hours, kissing. Her face smelled of saliva and sweat as I traced it with my fingers for the hundredth time. She shivered as I traced the finger down her neck, over her shoulder, flattening my other hand against her back and pulling her toward me, revealing her entire back. I ran my fingers around the moles there, then down to the back of her knees.

She smelled of sex. 

I was in love with this woman. No, "love" is a paltry word...meaningless, really. What I felt for this woman, in this moment, was a passion beyond any words I could muster. My awestruck gazing at her body in front of me looked like lustful desire, but encompassed all the reasons why I carefully and lovingly undressed her in my living room that night. 

She held on to me and squeezed tighter. My heart picked up speed. I rolled her onto her back, my lips meeting hers, our eyes closed, and entered her slowly. She was tight and warm. A gasp escaped from her throat and I shivered with desire. No thoughts were going through my head. I was in the moment as I began slowly thrusting, building to a crescendo and exploding inside of her while she cried out in climactic orgasm. 

And at that very moment, my mind was shattered with guilt. I had just made love to this beautiful woman. My face, no, my whole body smelled like her. Her scent was the closest description I imagined heaven smelled like. A mixture of Aspen brand perfume, the smell of her kisses, the crisp smell of her skin, her juices, the woman that she was - and we weren't married.

Weeks later, we discovered she was pregnant. Two days before we were to be married, actually. We told no one. Instead, we suffered in our guilt - alone...together. The day we found out, she was sitting on the toilet in the studio apartment, having just peed on a stick. Standing up, she turned to me.
"I'm pregnant."
That wave of guilt washed over me again. "We aren't married," I thought. This meant everything. We were now going to have a baby sooner than nine months after we were married, making it obvious that we had been having sex before saying our vows. This was bad. My mind raced, trying to think of excuses, ways to pull the wool over the eyes of our pastors, our friends, and all the people that we knew would judge us for our carnal sins.

Once married, the guilt continued. Our happiness was clouded with the "problem" of being pregnant. The baby growing inside of her had no name, no personality, no personhood...it was merely a manifestation of a grotesque sin - the sin of making love to a woman that I cared for deeply. Enjoying her body, her enjoying mine, showing each other, sexually, what we thought of each other. A natural and awesome act of anamalistic carnality.

The suffering became so great, we began to call pastors and friends. We met an associate pastor in a restaurant and admitted our guilt. He cried. We went in front of the church we attended. Some judged, some cried, some didn't care. The sin continued to grow in her body as her belly began to expand.

I was nominated to an officership in the church. In the entire history of the church, every vote had been unanimous - until this one. I won by two votes. I was a sinful man. I had created a group of vile and evil cells inside my wife, barring me, in the minds of many, from any service to their god.

The sin continued to grow. We heard its heartbeat, watched its length expand, viewed the ultrasound of it, watched it jump around inside her uterus. I made love to my wife, trying desperately to alleviate my soul from the guilt of the sin I had created inside of her. Sex was still wonderful, but it was a constant reminder of the filth we had made.

The filth was born. There she was, a beautiful baby girl. My girl. My daughter. Our daughter. We had made her in the throes of our love. For nine months, we had looked at her as a black blot on our souls, but now, right here before us, was a living breathing, wailing...girl. We fell in love with her, deeply.

Our guilt remained for ten more years until finally, we tossed off the last shred of it.

Renaya, you deserved my undeterred love. Forgive me, my beautiful girl.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Fifteen - Anointing Ashmointing

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam

In Act Fourteen, we learned that Mark and Annah Reid just make crap up to maintain their house of cards world of religious control.In this Act, you'll blow your brains out over the semantical defining of what "anointing" is. Mark also begins a new idea - he and Annah are God's prophets that can give and take away anointings - whatever anointings are.

I've changed the format up a bit to make it a bit more readable and web friendly. I hope you appreciate it.

Annah: ...I think that you have the anointing on you right now. Do you know what an anointing is? It's given to you. Okay. You're not more anointed than Jesse, you're just the leader right  now. You've got the anointing on you for leadership, but that can be taken away, Zach. Okay. It can be.
What Annah really means, being the mouthpiece of God - she can take away Zach's anointing. God, in Annah and Mark's world, is a convenient excuse for whatever they feel needs to be done to control their people.
Mark: Gifts can't be taken away, but anointings come and go
Annah: Yeah, your anointing can. And God's got an anointing on you, and it's not on Jesse right now. Jesse's not our leader.
Wait...I thought an anointing had nothing to do with being a leader. I thought Zach is just simply NOT more anointed than Jesse, but now he is anointed in lieu of Jesse, thus he's the leader.
 Zach: What is an anointing?
LOL, Zach! It appears he's a bit amused at their semantics. Let's perpetuate them.
Annah (disgustedly): What is an anointing?
Mark: But Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me...”
Annah: (muttering whileMark talks): “I told you about Benny Hinn...”
Ooh! Benny Hinn! This has GOT to be good.
Zach: I looked into Benny Hinn, but that's bogus.
Oh shit. Zach poked the bear.
Annah: It's bogus ??!!
Zach: Yeah, it's a bunch of gibberish.
Annah: Alright Mark, this is the problem.
Uh oh. Zach doesn't believe that Benny Hinn is legit. Annah has pinpointed the crux of the matter!
Zach: (quoting Benny Hinn's teaching): “Presence, glory, and power.”
Annah: Yeah
Zach: ...(Still quoting Benny Hinn): “Sometimes we have the power, but not the presence. Sometimes we have the presence, but not the power.” It's just a bunch of semantics to justify something what somebody wants to do.
Annah: No. Not true
Mark: Here's what Jesus said...
Zach: Well then what is it? What is true?
Annah: It's the anointing.
Zach: Well, you're just saying the word, and I'm asking what it means.
Mark: Here's what Jesus said...
Annah: Okay, go ahead Mark.
 Haha! Now Annah allows Mark to speak. Let's see what wisdom he has.
Mark: Jesus said this, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the good news.” Okay. So that anointing was a manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord upon Him. Now, it doesn't have to do with salvation. But it's a manifestation of the moving of the Spirit on a person to do something. You're anointed to do something. You can be anointed to be king, you can be anointed to be worship leader.
So, God anoints you. What does this have to do with Mark and Annah Reid? 
Annah: David was anointed...
I'm getting bored. We're accomplishing nothing here.
Mark: You can be anointed to be preaching, 'cause Jesus said, “I'm anointed to preach good news and set captives free.” So there is an anointing, Biblically. I don't know what you've been reading, or listening to.
 Zach: No, you're explaining it how you understand it; I explain it how I understand it.
No Zach! You can't say that. These people are pastors and blessed by God. A direct conduit of his holy understanding, directly to them. You're simply the baby bird, there to receive the regurgitations of their infinite and holy wisdom, questioning nothing. Your definition is meaningless.
Mark: I'm just telling you what the Scripture says.
Zach: How you understand it.
Niiiiiice. Way to get in a win, Zach.
Mark: What do you think that means, when Jesus said that?
Zach: I know He's talking about preaching the Gospel, and that's the purpose of the anointing...
Mark: THAT anointing, yeah...
Zach: ...is to get out the Good News...
Annah: Not just that, because He also anointed ...
Zach: ...so, what I'm understanding is that we all have the anointing through faith in Christ
Zach has set a trap. He is pushing an interpretation of "anointing" that defines every single Christian as anointed - not just the special ones that are to lead (under Mark and Annah's watchful control, of course). Let's see if Mark and Annah fall into the trap.
Mark: Right.
Yep! He swallered her right up. Good job, Zach.
Zach: And the Spirit is the anointing that can teach us all things, and teach us to abide in Christ
Mark: Yep.
No, Mark. You just agreed with Zach. He specifically defined "anointing," which completely disagrees with your definition. You can't have it both ways. Oh wait...this is religion. It's all bullshit, anyway.
Zach: ...so, that's the anointing, the teaching of the Spirit in us; and then there's the anointing of the Holy Spirit Himself, which is our security, which is our endowment, or security, whatever you call it, “seal of ownership”, ya know, our security for eternity. And that's the anointing, and I know people have talked about intimacy, the “oil of intimacy”, and they get really allegorical, and you know it's kind of hard for me to come alongside that because they're looking into it a lot more than I probably see right away.
Mark: Do you believe that there's different anointings, though? I know that there are those types of anointings you're talking about, but do you know that there's different anointings for different purposes?
So Mark didn't really agree with Zach. Zach defined anointing as something the Holy Spirit gives you after "accepting Christ," so one can know spiritual things. Mark agrees, but still wants his definition to be valid.
Zach: I'd agree with that. That makes SENSE. I mean, people do different things, and they have different personalities; of course God's going to work with them in the way that He's designed them.
But wait, Zach. Isn't that what Mark was defining as "gifts of the spirit" and not anointing. Damn...this religious bullshit is twisting the hell out of my brain, right now.
Mark: Yeah, but I'm not just saying, not in the aspect of personality, but anointing to do certain things. Because, Jesus there, was saying that “I'm anointed to preach the Good News.”
Zach: Jesus was GOD.
Mark: Well He was man when He was on earth.
Zach: Okay, but I'm just saying that He's got the complete power.
Mark: But Saul was anointed to be king. Correct? David was anointed to be king. And he had the prophet do it because it was symbolic, the prophet carried the Spirit of God. And the  prophet brought the anointing to those men. Totally different personalities, but it was an anointing to DO something. It actually says when Saul, after he was anointed, it was like this leadership gift came on him.
Wait...did Mark just call himself a prophet? I think so.


In Act Sixteen, we'll see that Annah jumps on this concept wholeheartedly. She defines her prophetess status and tells Zach that she has the ability to un-anoint him. Bored yet? God...this anointing crap is chappin' my arse.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The 500 Sexiest Things About Me


I despise click whores. I write for content.

xkcd depicts what I mean in his "Headlines" piece.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Fourteen - Zach is Worthless to God

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam

Yes, it's been a while. The last time I wrote anything in this series was November of 2011, ten months after starting Incongruous Circumspection. 
Now, back to it...

In Act Thirteen, Zach catches Mark and Annah off guard. He told them that he wanted to transition out of the worship leadership role, taking the wind out of their sails. That was their job! Only Mark and Annah Reid could give and take away positions of power in their realm of existence. Zach voluntarily doing so, in the innocence he did it, pissed them off. 

Let's dig back in...


Zach: I just don't think it's fair.

Mark: God always – I'm going to teach you something. Because you're talking about this co-equal eldership thing. That's a lie that the enemy has tried to put in the body of Christ for – Annah don't talk right now, please – that's a lie that the enemy has put in the body of Christ for years. There's been a bunch of churches that have tried it. God always has a leader. Okay. If there was ever a perfect chance for co-equal eldership, it's when God took Moses, He took the 70 out into the wilderness and anointed them, and they all had the exact same anointing as Moses. And it was a perfect opportunity for co-equal eldership. And then what did God do?

Hahahaha!!! "Annah, don't talk right now, please."  That's freaking hilarious. In all the Acts, it's pretty obvious who runs the church - Annah. And Mark knows it. 

But, let's scratch the surface of Mark's words here. He's saying that more than one person can't lead a religion and yet he and Annah are co-equal elders (though he may argue differently, it's obvious, in practice, that he is living the "lie the enemy has tried to put in the body of Christ."
Annah: Mhmm

Hehe... Annah couldn't keep her mouth shut. Just had to get that word in.
Mark: ...in the midst of that He raised up Joshua as the leader. And the people followed Joshua. Okay. He, He raised up the twelve apostles, okay, that led the early church. He always has a leader.

Hahaha! Sorry, I can't stop laughing here. Mark is trying to tell Zach that he can't be a co-equal leader in the church (even though Zach said he wanted to transition out of worship leader anyway) and yet his own Bible story that is supposed to prove his point, fails to do so. The authority doctrine is like any other doctrine in the Bible - propped up by conveniently chosen verses, ignoring blatant contradictions, or outright lying about the contradicting content, even claiming "CONTEXT!" when an argument is lost.
Zach: Mhmm.

Mark: And there's a lie of the enemy that we don't need leaders, we're all equal, I know we're all equal, we're all equally saved. God's favorites are probably not even in leadership positions somewhere. But when you have a functioning body, it's like a family, and the kids need to submit to the parents. And if you think that's unfair, you will wander in the wilderness.

Huh? So, Mark and Annah are Mommy and Daddy, and Zach? Well, he's just a pup, sucking on a pacifier, waiting for orders. But wait! They're all equally saved, so they should be equals, but not really because one person needs to be a leader, but that leader maybe isn't God's favorite, which may mean that God likes Zach better than Mark and Annah, but he can't lead anyway, because he's a kid and needs to submit...or something.
Annah: It's kind of like a pilot. And this is what the Lord showed me, an illustration, Zach. It's like a pilot who co-pilots the pilot that is flying the jet, and the passengers are on the jet, but they want to be the pilots. But they haven't gone through the schooling of the spirit yet. But they want to be the leaders, but God saying, “No! You're not going to be a pilot until you go through the schooling.” If you want to ride your horse and buggy, like the Amish do, you can do that. God will let you do that. It's all up to your choice. Because God doesn't control. This is what I was sharing with this other lady. God doesn't control. He goes, “Oh, why – why...” - Who was it? It was somebody that was going, “If God – if God – if um... - if God's in charge, then why doesn't He...” Oh I know what. I know what he said , he goes, “I left my mom and dad's house 'cause they were so controlling. You know, I've got my independence...” This is the antichrist kid out in the world, and he goes, “You know, God's a liar, my parents are all controlling... my dad wouldn't let me do this – my mom wouldn't let me do this...” Blah, blah, blah, it goes on and on. So he's out in the world right now. He's trying to figure out what life's all about. And He goes, “Well, if God's real, then why doesn't He control my life?” And I'm like, “What do you want? Do you want God to control, or do you NOT want God to control? What do you want?” You know. We have to voluntarily submit to God. NOBODY gets to be a leader without voluntarily submitting and humbling themselves to God. You don't get to do it. And if you don't want to be a leader, God will let you go. There's plenty of worship leaders. He will, Zach. He'll let you be stubborn. And He'll let you go on your own way. He'll let you. You won't even have to sing on the worship team ever again in any of the churches. Go to big churches, find our there's plenty of worship leaders out there that God can use. You're not that important. God loves you. You're important to Him, but you're not the answer for the Kingdom. Okay. So you either submit to Him. You either let Him do the work of the Spirit in you, or you won't be used. Or you could put yourself in a position, and you wouldn't ever be used the way God wanted you to be used. It's your decision

Huh? She be cray cray. And full of shit, i.e., herself.
Zach: I think I'm going out in humility, because I'm seeing a competition that's been rising up that I'm not trying to create, a competition

Annah: What's a competition? 

Zach: A competition of anointings.

Annah: Who's anointings? 

Zach: That I'm more anointed than Jesse (Zach says: my friend who played keyboard and sang with me. Annah had told me time and time again that she wanted me leading, not him, because I had an anointing. I never agreed, and I thought Jesse was a great musician, with nothing to do with “anointing”).

Annah: Yoooouuu're... not more anointed than Jesse

Zach: That's what you said.

In Act Fifteen, we'll discover that anointings are different than gifts and gifts are always there, but anointings are not, so there is a difference in the two, one being better, but which one, we might never know, but maybe we will...or something.

The Unbroken White Line, Chapter 2

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 2

The car hit a small bump on the highway, causing Jake’s head to move slightly as it leaned against the window. The friction made a squeaking sound and Penny giggled. Jake wasn’t really in the mood for humor, though he wasn’t in a sour mood either. He just was.

Taking his head off the glass, he looked at the place where his forehead had rested. Instead of a nice, clean, glass window, an oval grease spot stared back at him. Jake sat up a bit straighter and looked through the grease at the white line rushing by. It was now distorted. Instead of being crisply edged, it wiggled and jumped around. Keeping his eyes on it, Jake  lowered his head a bit to allow the closer edge of the line to leak from behind the grease, showing its crisp edge again.

“How you doing, Jake,” Jake’s mom asked from the front seat.

“Fine. Just tired.”

But he wasn’t fine. Every so often, he wasn’t. He didn’t know why. It just happened. He would be sitting there and his chest would begin to tighten, his breathing would quicken its pace, his heart would beat faster, making him feel like he could run a few miles. And here he was, feeling all those numbing feelings again, trapped in a car, wanting to stop and get out.

Jake looked away from the window to ask his dad if he could stop the car somewhere, just to get out and walk a bit. But instead of his dad driving, as he turned his head in that direction, he was looking through metal bars, painted green, one with a chip in the middle at about chest height if he had been standing.

His heart sank. He was sleeping again. He hated this dream. Every single night, the same dream. If he drifted off in the car, the same dream. Anytime he fell asleep, for that matter, which seemed quite frequent to him, the same dream.

He was in some sort of prison, going through the motions of a pointless day, waking up, sitting, eating tasteless meals, being acquiescent to the guards who seemed to constantly be looking his direction until he looked their way, just in time to see the last fleeting glimpse of their eyes flit away. The guards would whisper. He was sure they were whispering about him, not that he was a bit interesting.

The other prisoners were the interesting ones. They walked around, pretending he wasn’t there. Sometimes, they would laugh under their breath and nod their head sideways in his direction, speaking inaudible words to their friends or whatever they were. Sometimes, Jake would walk through a group of them and they would part, as if he had some sort of disease.

The other prisoners were interesting because they enjoyed their food. They would take their trays up to the mess line twice, sometimes three times. Jake could barely finish his first tray, let alone want a second. The food had no flavor. He would sit alone at a table, tapping his white shoes against the concrete floor, the cold concrete floor. The food had no flavor, yet the floor had a temperature. Jake always found this part a bit disconcerting.

But the prison life in his dream didn’t bother him that much. He could handle the repetitive nature of his sleeping life. Sure, it was boring, but it wasn’t a bad dream, by any means. What did bother him was that new things started to appear.

One time, he had fallen asleep and found himself standing in the middle of the aisle outside of his cell. It was dark outside. The moon was shining its bright rays through one of the roof skylights, illuminating a path forward. He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to see two guards behind him.

“Jake. Walk,” the one on the right softly whispered.

So he walked. Somehow, he knew where to go. One bare foot in front of the other. The floor was cold. He walked straight ahead, then turned right. The hall became dark, no moon to illuminate it. A faint light began to appear in the distance. He turned left into another corridor and the light disappeared, replaced by piercing light coming from light bulbs, hanging from the ceiling by wires.

The wires were so thin, that Jake always wondered if the bulbs would fall, one by one, crashing to the floor, breaking the thick stillness of the air as they shattered on the concrete, leaving everyone in the corridor in complete darkness. Instead, as he approached each bulb, they appeared to swing ever so slightly his direction, trying to reach out to him, though they were far above his head. When he came directly under them, they hung straight down again, as if they hadn’t even moved.

Jake would stare at each bulb as he approached, trying to trick one into revealing its swing back to its original position. But try as he might, he blinked every single time he caught up to one. There were forty-six bulbs, never one unlit or broken.

He turned right, down another corridor, and entered a room. The room was illuminated with fluorescent lighting, more than anyone would deem necessary to read with. It was so bright, no mouse had ever dared to make a run for the raisin that sat in the corner directly ahead of him. His stomach growled, surprising him. His stomach never growled in his dreams.

Looking away from the raisin, he fixed his gaze on the glass wall in front of him and froze. He heard a squeaky sort of yelp come from his lips and at the same moment, spun around and ran back through the door where he had entered the room. As he turned back up the corridor, he quickly looked over his shoulder.

Penny stared back at him through the window.

Read Chapter 3

Doug Phillips: A Clarification Filled with WTF's!

Doug Phillips writes:
I would like to express my gratitude for the great kindness so many have shown to my family in the wake of my stepping down as president of Vision Forum Ministries. My family has been greatly encouraged by many loving notes we have received. With that in mind, I want to be so very clear about the rightness of this transition, and I want to clear up some matters which have been brought to my attention. My sin has resulted in great pain within the Body of Christ, some confusion, and has given the enemies of God reason to rejoice. This is heartbreaking to me. Some have suggested that my sin was not sufficiently serious to step down. Let me be clear: it absolutely does merit my resignation. My resignation is sincere and necessary given the weightiness of my sin. Some reading the words of my resignation have questioned if there was an inappropriate physical component with an unmarried woman. There was, and it was intermittent over a period of years. The local church, not the Internet, is the proper forum for overseeing the details of a man’s repentance, but I just want to be clear for the sake of peace within the Body of Christ, that the tragic events we are experiencing, including the closing of Vision Forum Ministries are my fault, and that I am sincere that I should not be in leadership, but must spend this season of my life quietly walking a path of proven repentance. Please pray for the Phillips family, the Board, and the men who have made up the staff of Vision Forum Ministries. 
Doug Phillips
But, Dougy Boy, you said, in your original resignation letter, that you messed around with a woman BUT NOT IN THE BIBLICAL SENSE OF KNOWING!

As one of the blokes, well-versed in King James Version Old English, knows, "knowing" a woman is "having sex" with said woman. So now, you had an inappropriate relationship but never had sex with her but yet here, you say you had inappropriate physical components to the sin?

And we thought Bill Clinton was bad.

Doug, either you got a blowjob, held her hand (cue the old women gasping and waving their church bulletins), or you freaking took her to bed and had your way with her sexually.  Quit messing around and acting pious.

Your doctrine sets women up for this. They are to look at men as their authority. And, sir, you know, as well as I do, that the Bible can be masterfully interpreted to cover your ass in whatever way you desire. Any woman under your authority can be easily manipulated into your clutches. And the rumor is, your relationship began when she was underage.

So, we're expected to play nice and allow your church to force you to repent? What if actual crimes took place? Is that for your church to decide? No, Dougy Boy, we humans have had enough of churches litigating sexual and criminal issues. It didn't work with the Catholic Church, and it hasn't had a great track record with thousands upon thousands of Protestant churches, as well.

My fellow e-brethren and e-sistren will continue to pillory you all over the interwebs. You will have a Google problem because of me. I will make sure of it. You destroyed too many lives to be able to walk away and piously say that God looks the other way, your sins having been covered due to your repentance.

No...your doctrine is sick and needs to die with your resignation. Thank you for being the first cog in the wheel to break. The wagon will soon fall, Dougy Boy. People will rejoice.