For God and Country

April 4th, 2014 by Toby T

God was complaining to me about how many countries seem to think that he’s specifically on their side. It’s bad enough that every religion, and especially the splinters of religions, is sure that they have the one true answer about who God is, what God likes and doesn’t like, and what God expects us to do or not do, but to have whole countries thinking that God will save them from their own stupidity is apparently beyond all reason.

Myself, I think he had rather more emotional reasons for his complaints than logical ones, I think it’s just that God hates flags.

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Book It

March 28th, 2014 by Toby T

The message from God this week is pretty simple: If the posts you see in your Facebook news feed don’t make you appalled at how horrible humanity is and also amazed at how wonderful humanity is, you probably need to adjust your list of friends.

Hot Water

March 21st, 2014 by Toby T

While I was eating my corned beef and cabbage this week I remarked to God that there wasn’t a lot of things that I cook by boiling. There’s corned beef, there’s pasta, and then there’s… well nothing else.

So she asked, me what about chili, and I had to give her that. I mean I don’t really boil chili, I just simmer it, but then, I really only simmer the corned beef too. And she asked me about soup, but I wasn’t willing to concede that one. I haven’t made soup myself since I was a kid and I don’t count heating something up out of a can as cooking.

But I do like soup. Maybe I’ll have to revise my cooking habits. Even if it does lead to God acting all smug around me.

In the Name of Pride

March 14th, 2014 by Toby T

Sometimes God acts as my psychotherapist. She asks gently nudging questions and gets me to think about things that I wouldn’t otherwise have been thinking about. It’s not that these questions lead to earth-shattering inner revelations but sometimes it’s nice to keep nibbling at an aspect until I figure it out.

This week she was goading me about things I do in the name of pride, but for things that I’m not specifically proud of. The impetus was St. Patrick’s day being just around the corner, but we also discussed Gay Pride events. Both of these are things in which I join in the celebration, but they’re not actually things I’m proud of, in that they are not things that I accomplished. I was born with an Irish heritage and while I don’t know if I was actually born Gay, I do know that it was not something I ever chose, it just turned out to be who I am.

So I’m not proud of being these things, but being these things, I’m proud of things that have been accomplished by these groups. Not everything of course, but enough.

But as we kept pushing at the edges of the subject I figured out something else: Life is hard enough that we need to take the time to celebrate whenever we can. So really I just want to party, and if being Irish or being Gay is a reason to party, then hell yeah I’m proud.

Just Eat It

March 7th, 2014 by Toby T

There’s old advice that says, “never eat anything bigger than your head.” Now obviously that’s meant to be humorous, but like a lot of humor, that advice is built on a solid core or truth. God pointed out to me that we do break the rule, and all the time, in that we eat cows and watermelons and various other things that are bigger than our heads, but we only eat small bits of them at a time. Still, there’s really not all that much that we eat, outside of meat, that comes from something bigger than our heads.

But for ants, it’s a whole other world. I was watching some ants go to work on an abandoned pastry the other day and it occurred to me that for ants, harvesting food is less like picking fruits off a tree, or catching a ruminant on the run, and more like working in a mine. In fact, where ants live is kind of like living in a mine, and then when they “go to work” it’s often like heading off to the giant pit of a strip mine.

Just imagine toiling away with pickaxe and shovel, loading loading up a wheelbarrow full of bavarian cream filling. What would your lunch break be like?

There Are Reasons

February 28th, 2014 by Toby T

I go through my days analyzing things around me. Most especially I spend time analyzing the behaviors of people, people in general and also in particular the people immediately around me. Lately I’ve been paying attention to the way people walk. Not to how they move their legs, how they work their joints, but to the paths that they follow. People have a strong tendency to wander around as they ambulate along a sidewalk. They drift to and fro. They find a comfortable distance from the nearest wall or obstacle. but they don’t hold that distance fixed. It’s actually quite annoying when they’re walking slower than I am and casually meandering in such a way that I can’t figure out on which side of them there will be enough room to pass.

I realize that I’m not immune from some of the same random movement to my own path, but I am working on it, I am making an effort to walk in a straight line and to not position myself just far enough from a wall so as to make it impossible for someone to pass between me and the wall but still taking up as much of the sidewalk away from the wall as possible.

Today I had a woman walking in front of me and pretty much right on cue, as I started to move forward to pass her she angled to the left, moving away from the street and cutting me off. There was no one in front of her, no obvious obstacle, no reason for such a deliberate maneuver; but when I moved around and to her right I was able to see that there were a couple of shallow puddles left over from the morning’s rain and clearly she had moved to avoid stepping in those. It was one of those all too rare moments in my analyzations when there was an actual answer, one that was essentially definitive.

God says I’ve now moved from overthinking things to overthinking my overthinking. And I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.

Life Imitates Art

February 21st, 2014 by Toby T

I asked God what he thought about the mayor of Sochi claiming that there were no gay people in his town. He reminded me that on an episode of Soap, back in the late seventies, one of the characters said they didn’t have any “homos” in Texas, with complete sincerity. God went on to tell me that it was funny when it was fiction and still early in the struggle for Gay rights, but that these days it was more sad than anything.