Monday, September 27, 2010

“I can believe anything, provided it is incredible.”

Fasten your seatbelts, my loyal murder. I've the usual amount of  miscellanea stewing about my head and, like oil, can only keep it contained for so long. Speaking of the bubblin' crude (Texas tea... oil, that is), Kevin Costner pitched a $900 million clean-up venture to Congress. Who knew? The next thing you know, Stephen Colbert will be addressing the same body on immigration issues.

My fake Twitter account, while named one of the funniest out there, ran its course awhile ago. How many times can you end a thought with, "know what I'm sayin'", know what I'm sayin'? By all accounts, Omar Minaya seems like a great guy who will land squarely on his feet when the Amazin' season mercifully concludes. I still believe the deadline inaction in '07 and '08 were disastrous, but those painful collapses will make the inevitable World Championship all the sweeter.

In the spirit of his pending fate, I've taken to firing all of my followers. The last one standing will be named my successor, should he or she want to or not. Perhaps they will have better luck than I working for Fake Fred Wilpon.

I'd like to thank everyone for enduring my Fauxmar ramblings, and I'm flattered to have been followed by the likes of David Lennon, Sweeny Murti, Jim Duquette, Rotoworld, Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon and Vince Clarke. Yes, the Vince Clarke. I don't usually get verklempt about fellow humans, since "we all bleed and we smile", but this is different. He's been a hero of mine for over twenty years and expertly provided the soundtrack to my life. That's pretty heady stuff, and I'm very eager to hear his new Erasure and Audioscape work.

NPR is hosting a writing contest here and I'm considering giving it a shot.

Per New York Daily News writer and noted Phillies fan Andy Martino, Oliver Perez is considering winter ball in Mexico. [Forego good taste and insert Juarez quip here]

I received a letter from a friend the other day. In the mail, handwritten. There's something to be said for that, and people don't do it much anymore. Take a couple minutes out of your busy day and scrawl a few lines of affection, encouragement or interest. You'll truly make someone's day.

Autumn is here and the Appalachian Trail is calling. When I look at how much I've yet to complete, I feel a pang of discouragement. Then I remember that it's not about finishing, it's about doing. Should I never summit Katahdin on my own power, my ashes will via someone else's. Win-win.

I was asked recently what church I attend. I've been standing at a crossroads of late, unsure what to believe but at peace with the process. It's a lifelong journey, after all, and I certainly don't think and feel now as I did at eighteen. Why should matters of faith be any different?  But from what is Christian faith derived? "Trust your gut", sure-as-shite platitudes aren't enough. Anything less than an honest, direct analysis is, well, dishonest. You'd be half-fooling yourself and a full-tilt hypocrite to those around you. Faith, my friends, flows from a single well:


You didn't wake up one random day with water turned to wine. Someone told you, just as someone had confided to them. To quote Heather Locklear from the 80's Fabergé commercial, "And so on, and so on, and so on..."

When you reach the end, you come to the Bible. That's normally enough for some and the quest ends there. But why is this book, this cauldron with a hundred different cooks, so blithely accepted as the terminus of the trail?

Belief, based entirely on the letters therein. Do not question its formulation, ever, for you risk sentencing your eternal consciousness to a lava flow. That's like getting charged $700 for lunch at McDonalds and actually paying it. What the hell was on the bill?

Furthermore, how can I in good conscience accept divine truths from the same flesh and blood who also produced the Malleus Maleficarum, a flat earth, the promulgation of slavery, inherently evil babies, the Inquisition, the institutionalized torture of children and terracentrism? If the Church was your doctor, you would have have sued him for malpractice years ago. In fact, has their ever been an earthly institution more pervasive, bloody, cocksure and incontrovertibly wrong than the Catholic Church?

Again, I would be entirely devoid of integrity if I didn't ask these questions. I've no malice towards Catholicism and, while I do appreciate the foundations it laid within me, my search for truth goes on. If eternity is truly at stake, does it not behoove me to be thorough, even impolitely so? Just as Baldwin told Balian:

"You see, none of us chose our end, really. A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember, that even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus", or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that."
I had been under the impression that the initial Turkish soirée had officially codified the Bible, but was proven pleasantly wrong. Apparently it was already accepted as whole at the time, so let's roll up our virtual sleeves and keep digging. In A.D. 170, the Muratorian Canon was settled upon. As evidenced by the link, this initial collection was flawed. Clearly, either the Infallible was having an off day, or those citing their attunement to His will were receiving some interference.

In a telling aside, it took them a paltry 217 years after the death of Christ to almost agree that the Torah was, in fact, divine and unworthy of their refinement. How nice.

The subsequent councils of Laodicea, Hippo and Carthage later finalized the Catholic Bible. But what of the excluded works? How could they question the legitmacy of these texts when those they'd accepted weren't even written during Jesus' time?
Again, the same guys who believed in compulsory celibacy and forbidding women to bathe were acting as heaven's gatekeepers. However gauche it may be of me, I must humbly take exception.

The myriad Apocryphal works, Nag Hammadi texts and Qumran discoveries are worthy of an entry all their own, so I'll start wrapping things up. Protestant friends, don't think you're getting a free pass, either. How can your churches claim a "truthier Truth" when your Bible has the same roots? An apple further down a broken branch is no less spoiled. While questioning these things feels like sitting on the jury of my own trial, it's fulfilling to take an honest and active approach to my faith.

Random Aside: Regarding the aforementioned "Information", I'm amazed at how our era is called the Information Age. I'd contend that the true epoch of information was thousands of years ago. Sans any routers, switches, CSUs, fibre optics, electricity (debatable) and in most cases even the written word, the messages of countless religions have been carried across millennia. I'm not going to throw my computer out the window, but faith is an equally powerful medium indeed.

In closing, let's revisit the esoteric. Some researchers believe the pyramids of Giza may have been power plants. A series of routes called ley lines emanate from such sites, with periodic obelisks along the way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Go outside. This is a tall order for some, I know, but trust me on this one. It'll be fun! Find a power tower, like the one on the right. Go to its side and look at its profile. What do you see?

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