Friday, September 21, 2007

Whiskey's religious roundtable

Are you there, God? It's me, Whiskey - Part I

Are you there, God? It's me, Whiskey. My daughter is growing up, God. I walked into L's room a few nights ago and she was reading Are you there God? It's me, Margaret, Judy Blume's coming-of-age novel about a pre-teen girl struggling to find her religious identity as she enters puberty. I remember reading this book, and many other Judy Blume titles, countless times when I was about the same age. Are you there, God? didn't help me find religion, but it did give me an idea of some of the social concerns that the girls in my class were probably facing.

When I saw L reading that book, God, I wanted to run screaming from the room -- kind of like Hank Hill's "aauuaauuaawwhhh!" when he learned that his neighbor's daughter needed a ride to the store to buy feminine hygiene products. With more than a little despair in my voice, I told K, "She's reading about training bras and periods!" Is our little girl really old enough to identify with these kinds of issues, God? Sadly, I guess she is. Please help ease the pain of dads everywhere whose daughters are growing up too fast. And please help me to be brave when it's time to make that first short-notice trip to Walgreen's to buy "Teenage Softies" or whatever they're called...
Are you there, God? It's me, Whiskey - Part II

church sign - Watauga, TX

This seems like an appropriate time to announce a second blog I've started here on the blogger server: Signs of Religion. I have long been interested in the words displayed on those changeable signs located outside churches and other houses of worship. Running the gamut from the spiritual to the humorous to the enigmatic, the phrases displayed on these signs catch the eyes of motorists and other passersby, providing at least minimal insight into the religious philosophies one might find inside the churches they represent.

church sign - Altus, Oklahoma - February 2007

To those of you who don't view me as a very "spiritual" person, some background information on this interest of mine is probably in order. Even though I don't currently attend church on any sort of regular basis, I WAS raised as a Christian. I was baptized and am a confirmed member of the Episcopal church. During my youth, my family maintained a sort of "on-again, off-again" policy with regard to church attendance; we'd attend like clockwork for six months or a year and then suddenly stop going for about the same length of time. This practice seems to have followed me into adulthood. K and the kids and I were regulars at one of the local Episcopal churches until we quit going a couple years ago.

I believe in God, I believe in the Ten Commandments, and I accept Jesus as a savior for my sins. Where I fail as a Christian is in reaching out to others in sharing the Christian faith. I guess I'm what I once heard an Episcopal preacher refer to as a "consumer of religion" rather than a "minister of religion". Christian theology not only calls for its followers to obey certain commandments and doctrines and follow in Jesus' footsteps, but also to share the "good news of the Lord" with others. To me, religion is a very personal choice. Being very much a "live and let live" type of person, I've never felt completely comfortable in sharing my faith -- whether the goal is to convince an atheist to "come to Jesus" or something as innocent as inviting a co-worker to join us for Sunday morning worship. I view it as being meddlesome and "pushy", as though I'm trying to force my religion on someone. And I wouldn't expect anyone to welcome such behavior any more than I would welcome an attempt to convert me to THEIR religion.

So why am I posting church sign photos? I just find them interesting -- that's pretty much it. I like how you can drive down a road and see a sign in front of one church displaying fire-and-brimstone Old Testament scripture, while the sign at the church down the street displays something cavalier and lighthearted and humorous. Signs of Religion is nothing more than a collection of photos of these signs, with new pics added as I discover different signs during my travels. I'm not planning on doing any proselytizing of my own; I'll let the church signs speak for themselves. Check 'em out here:

My love-hate relationship with cycling

Last year, I was looking for any excuse I could find to set everything aside and go riding. This year -- during the past few months, at least -- I've often been looking for any available excuse NOT to go riding. Maybe I'm just burned out, or maybe I should think about riding some new and different routes. But there's still the occasional ride that tops everything I've done for the past few months and almost makes it all worthwhile. Like last Thursday, for example...

I took a 42-mile ride on Thursday the 13th, one of the best rides I've had in quite a while. I hit Haslet, Justin, Argyle, Roanoke, and Keller, and felt great all the way, with lots of energy. With the cooler temperatures, it's definitely easier to get out and ride hard. Highlights of the ride included...

Trains... pacing a northbound north of Haslet

crossing the county line...

Cattle - it's always nice to ride someplace where you at least FEEL like you're out in the country...

... and money! I was fortunate to discover a huge pile of loose change on the shoulder of the road between Justin and Argyle. It looked like someone had busted open a piggy bank. Would you believe I harvested $16.00 worth of quarters at the scene? I returned to the scene on Thursday the 20th, hoping to gather up the dimes and nickels, but someone had beaten me to it... only the pennies were left.
Anyway, Thursday the 13th was one of those days where riding was its own reward. Even without the monetary discovery.

np: Discovery Channel - Survivorman
nr: Ayn Rand - the Fountainhead

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Blogger Bayou said...

Please send me the text to your "talk" to your daughter about all those things. Better, yet, tell your wife to send my wife "the speech" she gives L.

7:49 PM  

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