Friday, April 22, 2011

Settle For One Day To Believe In You

Not following a particular religion can make holidays feel a little weird.

A few of my Facebook friends on Monday posted about celebrating Passover. I checked my status feed this morning (Good Friday), and was greeted by at least 25 posts thanking Jesus for his sacrifice.

Generally, I try not to broadcast my feelings about religions. I like to spend a great deal of time with someone, usually, trying to get a feel for them, before I will tell them how I feel about religion. Now that I think about it, it's not really all that odd, to wait until you're familiar with someone before treading those grounds with them.

This country is still predominantly Christian, and it shows in my behavior, as I behave like a minority. Is there an issue of trust? There might be. You could say, I do not trust my acquaintances to stick by me if they knew I did not share their belief with them. Could that also be insecurity on my part, that I'm not willing to stick up to me beliefs in the face of opposition? Yes, but in the case of agnosticism/atheism, what do you gain by sticking to it? Nothing.

It would be foolish, in my estimation, to assume that although I tolerate my friends' beliefs, that they should tolerate mine. If a person follows a religion, then they should follow it to the exclusion of all others; if you have the faith that you're right, then you should be convincing all others to agree with you. If you aren't trying to convince others, how strong is your faith?

So, I say "Bless you" when someone sneezes, and I go to church with my family. I stand up and sit down at the right times, and I teach my children the prayers and psalms. It's a basis of a moral education, for them, and a constant reminder for me, of what I do not possess.

Conservatives in this country are right, in this one thing: tolerance will lead to the destruction of religion as an exclusive institution. If everyone is allowed to believe however they want, and the sheep quit attacking the goats just because they are goats, then the "us vs. them" argument fails to carry any weight.

Would be a bad thing? I can't be sure. I think I'd still miss the holidays, though.

Until another time,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So They Cut It Down To 3:05

I've quit listening to so much talk radio, and I think it's done wonders for my blood pressure. However, it doesn't help me get worked up for blog posts. Many factors limit my intake of stupidity; I hardly watch TV, and I don't read the news.

Well, that last part isn't entirely true. I still follow the links when someone sends me something to read. I know about the NFL lockout, I am aware that the Iowa Legislature is trying to cover up the state's animal husbandry practices, and some Great Lakes states are trying to close the budget gap with spending cuts they should not be making. However, all of these events have critics who are much more invested in the issues than I am, and can get fired up more easily.

Facebook is not a great place to get news from. For a while, it seemed that everyone was very concerned that I knew that Charlie Sheen was unbalanced. This...this is not news. I am never happier to be a quiet, private person than those times I see the entertainment media machine magnify someone's life to ridiculous proportions.

So, what have I been doing? Entertaining myself. My kids are getting older, and reading with them is great fun.  For my hour-long commute, I've obtained some audiobooks. Additionally, my car has satellite radio, which has some really interesting stations (the classic radio suspense station is currently high on my list).

Typically, though, I harvest my entertainment from video games. I work with computers all day. Staring at two screens covered with the arcane language of database queries, I make my daily wages. People with whom I work ask me, "How can you stand to go home and look at another computer? Don't you want to do something else?"

My reply is always the same. "At work, I don't always get to win against the computers. At home, I get to pick the stress level I want. I get to pick the battles...and I get to win."

Until another time,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened

I was informed today that my friend Cathy Mckinna died.

To the best of our knowledge, she died in her sleep two nights ago; she was found in her bed, and had not been to work in two days.

If someone asked me to speak at her memorial (although I'm sure no one will), I'd have this to say.

I will miss Cathy, because my time at work was made richer by having her there to share it with. I didn't see or even talk to her every day, but the times we worked together were enjoyable. She was a good co-worker, smart and clever in just the right amounts. She never asked me the same question twice, which raised my respect of her many times over.

When I last talked to Cathy, she was filling out her forms to become a US Citizen. She'd set the money aside, and had downloaded an app for her iPhone to take the citizenship exam. I think she'd have made a good citizen for this country.

On a personal note, I considered her a good friend, too. She had compassion and empathy and insight. She liked showtunes. Also, she laughed at my jokes, which is more than expect from most of my friends...and what a laugh she had! You could probably hear her laughing from a mile off. It was worth it to get Cathy to laugh.

Yes, I will miss Cathy. I hope someone gets her to laugh, wherever she is now, so we can all hear that again.

Until another time,