My favorite passage from A Cup of Pending is this one from Chapter 3:
“… and that’s the third great lesson of Job. There’s no justice in a world where God makes bets with the Devil for his own amusement.”
Irreverent, sarcastic, a little caustic – this is the kind of line that defines my writing and my usual demeanor. My second favorite passage comes a little earlier in the same chapter when Blanche offers to pray for Cliff and makes a mockery of Christian charity in the process:
She still had a grip on Cliff’s hand. A crowd had started to gather around them, circling like sharks sensing blood in the water. Blanche looked up toward the ceiling, suspended acoustic tile punctuated with fluorescent light fixtures. So fervent was her gaze Cliff almost believed God must be on the other side of the tiles, hiding in the conduit and duct work, just waiting for the chance to bless a petitioner. Continue reading
Wildlife: Cool? For sure. Friendly? Not necessarily.
Nature Can Be Cruel
Periodically I run into people who claim to be spiritual rather than religious. They believe in a creator, but they do not believe that creator is to be found in any organized church. In fact most of them seem to believe that any form of organized religion is the antithesis of spirituality, and that adherence to the tenets and precepts of a particular faith is one of the surest ways to remove oneself from god’s presence…or to remove god from one’s own, whichever the case might be.
Although I understand where these people are coming from, and what they mean by that, I must confess that I almost always think that they are just making excuses for their inability to embrace their own essence as beings created by the creator they say they believe in.
Usually these irreligionists point to nature as the place where they feel most at peace and most in awe of the god of their understanding. They are not comfortable in church where too many rules and too much ritual and way too many people get in the way of encountering the divine. They see these things as impediments to experiencing the true creative genius of the god they are able to accept. Continue reading
The Best Evidence that God is Real!
Seeking a more logical cosmology.
I’ve been involved in a lot of discussions lately about the existence of God or, conversely, the folly of faith. Mostly these have been fairly civil dialogues on Soul Pancake or The Great Silent Majority page on Facebook. I recommend either or both to your attention if you think it’s fun to think and write about life’s great questions with people who are willing to listen politely, even to those they consider to be idiots. I’ve distilled much of what I’ve posted elsewhere into this little treatise on why I believe in God and why I do not think this is lunacy. Continue reading
Iconic Serendipity or Perfectly Staged Temptation?
It’s Good to be Catholic If You Don’t Try Too Hard
The unexamined life may not be worth living, as Socrates suggested, but it sure is easier than second guessing your every motivation. Maybe it’s not exactly what Socrates had in mind, but for the dutiful Catholic a regular examination of conscience is part of the defining regimen. It’s something we do before we go to confession. This means a thorough scrutiny of the things we have done that we shouldn’t have and the things we didn’t do that we should have, as well as the reasons we did or didn’t do them. As you can imagine there is enormous potential for inner conflict in this process. Continue reading
This is an excerpt from A Cup of Pending, which I released last year. I am posting it here in response to a prompt from my friends over at Studio30Plus. The prompt was profundity and/or wisdom. In my whole book, I only used the word wisdom once, and this is it. Enjoy. Oh, and click the Studio30Plus link and check it out. It’s a wonderful site, full of wonderful writers. You’re sure to see something you like.
This is a much better looking donut than you usually find in church halls after Sunday services. I find it irresistible, don’t you?
The Wisdom of Job?
The pastor sauntered over to the group. He was beaming and resplendent and looking, Cliff decided, for some attention of which to become the center. His gaze fell upon Cliff, just then having another nibble of doughnut, and his expression froze in place, not a millimeter different from the look of saintly warmth he had carried across the room, but whatever life had animated it before had dissipated like so much smoke.
“I see we have a guest,” he said.
He thrust a brave hand at Cliff who dusted crumbs off his fingers with a napkin and took it. “Welcome, friend. Folks call me Doctor Paul. I’m the pastor here. And you are?” Continue reading
KEYING UP – a court jester fortifies his wit with a little brandy – Oil painting by William Merritt Chase – 1875
Regrets – I Had None
When I was a young man, I told my mother that I had no regrets—that everything I had done or failed to do to that point only added to the sum total of me, which sum, in my opinion, seemed to be tallying up just fine. It turns out though, 40 some years later, that I had already accumulated many regrets by then. I just didn’t know it yet.
Now that I’m washed up on the shores of an uncertain dotage, ill-provisioned and with dim prospects, all those early and unseen regrets are coming due like markers to a loan-shark.
Now, I understand perfectly all the places where I went wrong. I know where I didn’t apply myself as I ought, when I skated or took the path of least resistance or effort, where I caved to idle self-indulgence, and where I wasted monumental effort on things that were bound never to pay dividends. I knew what I was doing when I did it, and I understood there would be consequences. Continue reading
At first blush, building the Tower of Babel must have seemed like a noble undertaking. According to the account in Genesis, the people of Babel, ‘of one language and few words’, decided to build a tower and city, ‘whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’.
It’s interesting to me that, at least as portrayed in the language of King James, these people knew what was about to happen, but did not realize that what they were about to do would be the cause of it. Instead they thought the tower and the city would cement them in both history and geography. Not the first time that men have misread the portents of their ambitions, nor the last. Continue reading