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I don’t know why. I’m just really, really happy – in fact, I can’t stop smiling. Weird.

(image via Daniel Kurtzman)

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In case you needed more proof that science is evil, here’s a little tidbit from the NY Times regarding the Large Hadron Supercollider…

Critics have contended that the machine could produce a black hole that could eat the Earth or something equally catastrophic.

If that wasn’t enough, try this gem from TechFreep

World’s Largest Supercollider Could Destroy the Universe
By accelerating protons toward each other at 99.999999% the speed of light the LHC can recreate conditions similar to those that resulted from the Big Bang, ultimately alighting a great deal about the particles and forces that comprise our Universe… Although the results of the Large Hadron Collider could potentially be disasterous, the intellectual consequences of not conducting the experiment could be equally so.

Previously, the Big Bang was simply destroying the moral fiber of humanity. Now, it wants to destroy ALL of humanity! Hello? When they called it a “supercollider” did you really think this was gonna be harmless?

For better or worse, I read a lot of theology. And, I admit it – for the most part, I really enjoy it. Part of the way I express, or make sense of my faith is to think and one of the things that helps me think about God is reading what others have thought. Much of my praxis has been shaped and reshaped by the writings and thoughts of theologians (some great, and some not so great). But, no matter how much I enjoy a good think session, theology does have some problems.

Theology, intrinsically, does not have a lot of comedic value. In fact, I think I might even be less funny after a few hours pondering the humanity of God with Karl Barth. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t deny that “double predestination” will always get a laugh or two – guess what? God knew you in your mother’s womb and decided right then and there you were good for one thing and one thing only: damnation and punishment in hell for all eternity. Ha ha ha. Man, I can’t even type that without chuckling inside. But, aside from Calvin, theology is not funny.

Problem #2: vocabulary. How many “ologies” can one person keep track of? Epistemology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology, christology, ontology, whocaresology. OK, I get it – you know a bunch of words most people don’t care about. Good for you. And, while I’m here, one more thing – just cuz you can spell “efficacious” and “expiation” doesn’t mean you should use them conversationally.

And, chicks. Aside from mega-churches in Ballard, theology never gets you hot chicks.

I have conflicted feelings. Quite often. But, today’s conflicted feelings come over the reactions to tragedy in the lives of celebrities. I’m about to let you in on my super jerky/cynical side. I’m warning you, it isn’t pretty. I am also choosing to not name any specific tragedy (while I will refer to a specific blog) because my feelings are not about one specific or particular event. [Now is a good time to thank God that only four people read my blog]

I was reading a blog this morning. The post I was reading was addressing some comments about the previous day’s post about the tragedy that had befallen a Christian celebrity. The original author simply named a tragedy involving the celebrity’s child and asked readers to pray for the family. However, some of the comments seemed to go askew – accusations of hypocrisy in the Christian community, accusations about the “goodness” of God. Get ready, here comes the jerk part… As I was reading this, I found myself agreeing with the negative comments – maybe more accurately, empathizing with their notions.

Isn’t it hypocritical for you and the Christian community to highlight the death of one child – however tragic – when so many die tragically around the world?

[Bear with me, I’m going to try something on for size and see if it fits]

Hypocritical? I would insert “insidious.” I read comment after comment to the original post where authors were expressing heart felt concern and pain in regards to this family’s tragedy. But, I – I felt nothing. I’m supposed to, though. I’m supposed to grieve and ache and feel a profound sense of distress over the death of a child I didn’t even know existed. And, if I don’t, I’m cold and inhuman. I’m also supposed to gloss over, ignore, bury, or repress any feelings (which isn’t too hard because they don’t usually exist to begin with) I might have about a homeless woman asking for change at the offramp; a gang kid killed in Compton; a drug addict dyeing alone from HIV. And, if I don’t, I’m unrealistic and immaturely idealistic.

Is vicarious grieving insidious? Faced with daily tragedies in my own neighborhood, how much easier is it to grieve a far removed loss of someone I don’t even know. I can grieve the death of a famous child instead of grieving the death of an unknown crack addict. Does the high profile tragedy become a scapegoat for my grief over a broken (local) world?

I guess there could be another side of the coin: “no, I do not care about that poor kid down the street, but I do care about that famous Christian guy’s kid.” Be honest. It’s insidious.

I’m open minded. I’m secure in who I am. I don’t care what you think about me. So, I’m not afraid to admit I have friends who identify as Calvinist.

But, I read this and wondered what they would think…

First, it is clear that salvation, like the reign of God consists in human participation in the very life and power of God… Salvation is our human participation in the being, life, freedom, and love which is God.
— Luttenberger from An Introduction to Christology

Hell, I read that and wondered what I thought!

I don’t know, man. Is the reign of God reliant on the participation of humans? Can salvation be defined as my participation with God – instead of 100% the work of God?

Jesuits will jack with your head.

Angst is my friend.

Am I allowed to say that? Can a deep anxiety about the human condition be a positive force in the life of a Christ-follower? I think so, but I’m not sure it is ok to admit that.

I’m reading 1 John – and, damn, that letter totally kicks ass. One of the things I love most about it is the continual calling back to the oldest of commands, “love one another.” But, this is my new favorite little tidbit: “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, whenever our hearts condemn us.”

Wha?!??!

Is it possible that we can be most sure we are following God when we are feeling angst about whether or not we are following God? That’s a definition of faith I can get behind.

OK, I just stumbled upon this woman’s blog this morning so I can’t fully endorse daily reading by adding her to my “friends” list. BUT, I enjoyed what I have read so far in this post…
Christian Housewife Visits Atheist Site

Yesterday I picked Thelonious up early from school. I walked into the office at 11:50 and said, “I’m taking my son, Thelonious Fox.” It was so cool. I didn’t even have to make up an excuse. Which was good, because I was afraid the actual reason would result in the instant (and probably vehement) denial of my request for the early dismissal of my firstborn. Instead, the secretary just radioed to the playground and 5 minutes later a sweaty Thelonious strolled into the office.

“What’s up, Dad?”

“Ohhhh, I dunno. I just thought maybe we would ditch school and go see SPEED RACER!

I have to say, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Speed Racer was incredibly good. I had seen Iron Man the week before and truly enjoyed it – Robert Downey, Jr. was perfection as Tony Stark. But, I have to say Speed Racer was better than Iron Man. And, just because it’s the kind of mood I’m in, I’m going to break it down list style.

Top Five Reasons Why Speed Racer Is Better Than Iron Man:

5. Casting. The casting in Iron Man was reallllllly good – but, Speed Racer was inspiring. Matthew Fox as Racer X? Dear god, it’s the first role he’s actually been good in – ever. From soup to nuts the best cast film since The Big Lebowski.

4. Trixie vs. “Pepper” Potts

3. Visually, Speed Racer was the “best looking” film I have ever seen. And, I don’t mean, “dude, the graphics were over the top!!!” Somehow, the cgi managed to be seamless, realistic, and understated – perfectly enhancing the storytelling. But, more importantly, the Wachowski brothers were able to visually interpret the methods of the original cartoon through the juxtaposition of dead pan close ups of the characters commenting on the story with the action taking place in the background. Iron Man kicked ass, but it looked like every other action movie out this summer.

2. Speed Racer had more monkeys than Iron Man.

1. Speed Racer (the movie) was better than the original. It’s like the Chronicles of Narnia. Everyone knows those were pretty good books considering when they were written. But the first Narnia movie totally ruled! It was way better than the book! It was actually suspenseful and interesting and had real action. Speed Racer is the same way (except the original Speed Racer cartoon was better than the original The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe book to begin with) – its way better than the original. I don’t know if you ever watched the old cartoon, but they didn’t make a lot of sense. Fully one third of every episode was Speed gripping the steering wheel as if his life depended on it and grunting. Ughhh! Another third was recapping what happened before the commercial break – 3 minutes of car race and then 1 minute telling you they had just shown 3 minutes of car race. The final third was a mish mash of the Mach 5 jumping into the air, Chim Chim, and Pops jumping up and down. The Wachowski brothers kept ALL of that, and at the same time formed a surprisingly interesting story with a real narrative structure you could follow. It’s like everything you loved about the original PLUS a plot.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to see Iron Man. But, do whatever it takes, even if you have to pull your kids out of school early, to go see Speed Racer right now!

“Daddy, I can get myself out of the bath.”

“OK, but don’t monkey around. The floor’s slippery and you ‘ll fall and get hurt.”

A few minutes later, I was upstairs reading with Thelonious when I heard… thump, bump, CRASH! Wahhh!!!! Being a good parent, the first thing I did was yell, “I told you not to monkey around! I TOLD you that you would get hurt!!!” Just once I want to be recognized for being right.

Well, poor little Donut really messed up her lil foot. It was all scraped and bloody. And, in typical form, she squeezed every ounce of drama out of the injury that she possibly could.

This morning she picked out her own outfit – which did not include shoes. I insisted. She insisted. She claimed she had tried every pair of shoes and they were all unbearably painful due to her fresh injury. I tried to be a good parent again and insisted she was lying through her teeth and needed to put on her shoes. In the end, she settled on a pair of ugg-type boots that are way too big for her and have slippery soles – I think they might be slippers. We argued about the boots three different times before we even left for preschool.

As we walked to class, she purposefully twisted her feet all up and half walked out of the boots so that she looked like a crippled lil tibetan limping to class. She pouted and moped. “Daddy, these boots are TOO slippery! Daddy, these boots are TOO big!!!” Being a good parent, I said, “Ya, I know! I told you that back at the house! What do you want me to do about it now???” Her lower lip stuck out and quivered. “Go home and get my brown shoes with the straps and the pink flowers.

Twelve minutes later the guy with the shaved head, pierced nose, and too many tattoos, wearing a t-shirt with a hand gun on it surrounded by the words “know your rights”, pulled the family mini-van back into the preschool parking lot and snuck back into the classroom, explaining to all the other moms that the shoes Ione was wearing just weren’t right.

I realize God is teaching me something about vanity and pride and humility.

Hello, God? It’s me Jim. I’ve learned my lesson. Please let me be young and good looking again.

A couple of weeks ago, Ione informed me that she had changed her name to Donut. I thought this was a little strange, but fitting nonetheless. Apparently it feels like a good fit for Donut – she continues to use it as her moniker of choice and has even named several children in her preschool class “donut”, too. Do you call them Donut 1, Donut 2, Donut 3? Ya know, so you can keep them straight? No, it’s just donut.

Usually when I pick her up from school, one of the other children calls out, “Ione, your daddy is here.” Today it was, “Donut! Your daddy’s here!” Followed by a moan of “awww, DOnut!” Apparently, she didn’t want to leave. One of her “classmates” ran up to me and shoved his hand in my face – “I got the mark of the donut!” Sure enough, he had an orange, donut shaped mark scrawled across the back of his hand. A second later, two other kids were showing me their donut marks. I started feeling a little dizzy as more began crowding around me. I looked over to the craft table and all the kids there held up pink pieces of construction paper, cut into an “O” shape – “look at our donuts!!!!”

Suddenly, Donut (that’s my daughter, Donut, not the other Donuts) called out, “Who here is named Donut?!?!” One at a time, every single child raised their hand and began jumping in place, “I’m Donut! I’m Donut! Me! Me!” There was a quick flash when I swore I saw Brad Pitt standing in the hallway for a millisecond, reminding me I am not a unique and beautiful snowflake.

The next thing I knew – and this is neither a lie nor an exaggeration – 15 preschoolers were surrounding me, hands in the air, jumping in place, chanting “donut! donut! donut!” And, I thought, “she’s gonna make one hell of a revolutionary someday.”