Archive for November, 2006

Organ Grinding

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

So God told me that he doesn’t go to church services much and I asked him if there was anything about it that he missed. He said he’d always had a fondness for church music but that he didn’t miss it that much because there was plenty of good music outside of churches too.

He also said that hip-hop might be improved if they added a little organ music. I decided to change the subject.

Home Court Advantage

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Priests are always telling us that churches are God’s house. I thought I’d like to know what God himself felt about that, so I asked. He told me that he didn’t care to hang out in churches much when services were taking place. The thing about mass and other services is that they’re designed to get God’s attention. They get everybody praying together and concentrating on the same things, and it works just like they want it to, it acts like a megaphone. So if God’s there, well imagine walking up to someone who has perfectly good hearing, whipping out a bull horn and shouting through it into their ear, that’s what going to a church service is like for God.

On the other hand, he likes to go when one or two people are there alone. A lot of people are just whiners and brown nosers,, so it isn’t always worth while, but also, a lot of people really only go to church outside of services if they really need something.

So does that mean that God goes there looking for worthy prayers to answer?


He’s still not much into directly answering prayers these days, but seeing who asks for what and what they’re reasons are, really helps him to decide what happens to their soul when they die. On the other hand, he points out that he gets that from us wherever we are. There’s nothing special about churches.

Full Contact Eating

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I asked God if she had any favorite foods. She told me that she eats but only when she’s with someone who is eating, that she doesn’t do it alone. Given that, her favorite food is whatever the favorite food is of whomever she’s dining with. She doesn’t so much enjoy the food herself, as she gets a kind of contact high from the people around her.

I asked her, then, if the fact that people can get contact highs off of each other is just another facet of being made in her image. She said that she never really thought of that but that I was probably right.

I was extremely pleased with myself.

Later, I realized she probably only said that to make me feel good.

But still, it felt good anyway.

Caught in Amber

Monday, November 27th, 2006

One idea that physicists have debated is the “many worlds” or “parallel universes” concept. The idea is that the universe is constantly dividing into an infinite number of different universes, where each is created by the possible choices that could come to pass, so that for each possibility there is a universe where that possibility was the one that came true. In science fiction, Roger Zelazny wrote a series of novels (the Amber series) where there were characters who could will themselves to move from one parallel universe to the next.

God didn’t confirm or deny the viability of this theory. Instead he told me to consider him as a kind of writer whose medium was not novels but realities. He could choose to set each reality that he created in the same universe, much as the several Star Trek TV series all shared the same universe, or he could create whole new, completely unrelated realities, much as Star Trek, Babylon Five and Battlestar Galactica are all set in the future and in space but have little else in common. If he wanted, he could go back in time and fill in new details in gaps that he had ignored, much like the second Back to the Future film added new details to scenes from the first movie without invalidating anything that was in the original scenes. Or he could do like George Lucas and go back and modify what had once been true to no longer have been true.

He wouldn’t say if he did edit the universe like this or if he didn’t, but he did say that it seemed fundamentally unfair to go back and change things that had already passed.

So, if the whole universe was just the playing out of ideas in God’s mind, I asked, where was the room for us to exercise our free will? I thought, for a moment, that I might have actually caught God in a logical quandary.

He told me my mistake was in thinking that he was incapable of holding contradictory thoughts and beliefs all at the same time.

I decided that pursuing that thought any further was likely to lead to places I just didn’t want to go.

Black Friday

Friday, November 24th, 2006

The day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. The start of the Christmas shopping season. It’s a day that in America is even more an orgy of excess than the Thanksgiving meal itself.

What does God think about shoppers fighting over bargains and stores so desperate for their piece of the pie that they design elaborate promotions to get as many people into their establishments as possible?

Well what do you think?

Just remember he sees you when you’re shopping. He knows when you’re a flake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. So be good about what you take.


Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. It’s our annual celebration of gluttony and one of the few holidays that still revolves almost entirely around family. Somewhere between noon and six today, millions upon millions of people will sit down together, say grace and then dig in.

I asked God how she feels about those before meal prayers and in particular the litany of thanks and small requests that abound on Thanksgiving.

She told me that “grace” is kind of like junk mail. It’s mostly all the same, you mostly ignore it, but every once in a while there’s something vaguely interesting.

And at least it’s better than chain letters.

Pipe Dreams

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

I asked God if he ever enjoyed listening to people’s prayers.

He said that was like asking a drowning man if he ever enjoys a drink of water.

Pulpit Fiction

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

I asked God how she feels about sermonizing. She said there are numerous kinds of sermons and myriad reasons for giving them. Some of them are useful, some of them are dangerous, and most of them are just a waste of time. She likes the ones that teach people how to figure out for themselves what is right and what is wrong. She doesn’t care so much for the ones that just try to scare people into behaving, though she admits that for some people that’s better than nothing. And parables are largely overrated. She says it’s amazing how good some people can be about getting the wrong message out of a parable.

I asked for examples and she told me that she wasn’t going to fall for that trap. The last thing she was going to do was to get specific about why not being specific wasn’t always a good thing.

About that time my head was starting to throb a little, so I gave up.

The Eye of the Beholder

Monday, November 20th, 2006

I was at a party and overheard some people talking. They were complaining about ugly people marrying other ugly people and having kids. In so many words they said that ugly people should not be allowed to breed, that they should voluntarily take themselves out of the gene pool.

So I asked God how he felt about this.

He told me that Ray Stevens got it right when he wrote the words, “Everything is beautiful, in its own way.” Everything is beautiful, and everyone is beautiful; if you can’t see the beauty, it is your own ugliness that is getting in the way.

To put it another way, if someone isn’t beautiful to you, don’t presume to think that they aren’t beautiful to anyone.

Not being one of the beautiful people myself, I found this pretty encouraging. Not that I’m a breeder or anything.


Friday, November 17th, 2006

What about cloning?

God’s answer was pretty simple. Since she made us in an image of her, it’s always been pretty much inevitable that we would try to make people in ours.

It’s recursion, all the way down.

Thoughts on Thoughts

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

I’ve done some experiments, in my conversations with God, to try and figure out if he listens to my thoughts while we talk. I sort of figured that there was no real reason for me to speak out loud, but that maybe God made me do it so I’d feel more comfortable.

I’ve tried various experiments where I don’t say what I’m really thinking and I just couldn’t really be sure of the results. So, finally, I asked about it. God told me that he hardly ever listens in on thoughts, even though it’s about the easiest thing in the world for him. He said it’s not that it would be a violation of trust, but that it would be a breach of the premise of free will. If we can’t have our thoughts to ourselves, then how can our actions really be considered our own.

I can’t say I can really follow the logic, now, when I think about it, but it really made sense at the time that he explained it.

And the reason that I couldn’t figure out if he was reading my thoughts or not? Even if he doesn’t read our thoughts, he can always tell if we’re out and out lying. He can’t help it, it’s as obvious to him as it is to a parent that the cookie jar has been broken into when the remnants of chocolate chips are smeared all over their kids’ faces.

Psilocybe is Painless

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

As usual, God and I were talking about everything and nothing today, then somehow we got onto the subject of mind altering substances. I asked God what was her position on recreational drug use. She said that if she were really against it, she wouldn’t have made so many choices so readily available. Marijuana, coca, opium, psilocybin, caffeine and even alcohol are available with, at most, only a modicum of processing.

So I pointed out that there are many ways to kill people, but she’s still pretty down on that. She said that wasn’t it at all. She isn’t bothered by killing, after all there’s the whole circle of life thing, but she doesn’t like murder. She doesn’t like killing that doesn’t have a good reason.

And she’s pretty limited in what she considers a good reason.

Elephant Parts

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

I don’t pretend to really know a lot about different religions. I’ve got a modicum of knowledge that I’ve absorbed through the years but it’s all pretty sparse and anecdotal. I was raised Catholic, but even on Catholicism, my knowledge is pretty spotty.

But even given all of that, I was curious that God is portrayed in such a variety of fashions, from the differences between the old and new testaments, to ancient Roman and Greek pantheons, to Buddha, Shiva, and even Mother Nature. I talked a little about this last month (see Universal Truth) and it’s been nagging at me a little bit ever since. What God told me then was that the different Gods were really just different aspects of him. Today I finally got around to asking if he could maybe explain that a little better.

So God reminded me of the story of the blind men and the elephant.

For those of you not familiar I’ll do a quick summary that doesn’t really do the tale justice. A group of blind men are let into a room with an elephant, for only a few moments, and then taken away again. After this they are asked to explain an elephant to someone who wasn’t there. One of the blind men had only had the chance to feel the elephant’s tail, and said that an elephant was like a rope. Another had only felt the side of the elephant and said that the beast was like a wall. A third had grasped the elephant’s trunk and described it as like a snake. The fourth had wrapped his arms around one leg and said that an elephant was like the trunk of a tree.

So the message I got was that no religion was necessarily wrong, but that none of them had it completely right either.

My biggest fear, then, is that I’ve been let into the room but the elephant has already left and I’m just playing in a pile of dung.

In His Name

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Some people say the U.S. went to war with Iraq because the neo-conservatives thought it would help usher in the Second Coming of Christ. This is related to a whole lot of Christians whose political beliefs I just can’t reconcile. They seem to live lives completely defined by death. They worship in churches beneath images of Christ dying on the cross. They go to rallies against abortion, and have advocated killing doctors that perform them. They vote for politician’s that vote for war. They vote for politicians that support the death penalty.

When I talked to God about this he sighed and said that people have always killed in his name. I got the impression he knew that we always will, but as usual, he wouldn’t be specific about what the future entails.

We talked a little about the Crusades. We talked a little about Palestinian suicide bombers. We talked about a lot. Let me just sum up as pithily as I can:

Gods don’t kill people. People with Gods kill people.

Nothing Much

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Sometimes, when God stops by, we don’t talk about anything significant. Sometimes it’s just “how are things going?” and “aren’t the clouds pretty today?” I try to limit myself to one question of import per day, both to avoid straining the relationship and because I don’t want to forget the answer or get the gist of it wrong before I get a chance to write it down. I don’t always succeed. Somedays I write up more than one thing we talk about and save it for days when we don’t get around to anything that I feel like sharing.

Today was one of those nothing-to-talk-about days,but I’d still like to tell you about it. It’s been a long week at work, and I was just tired. When God showed up I was watching Finding Neverland, so in addition to being tired, I was very sad. God came in and sat next to me on the couch, just as the credits began to roll. He didn’t say anything, just put an arm around me and held me close.

I can’t really describe how it feels to be held by God, but let me just say that ice cream has moved down a notch on my “best things in life” list.


Thursday, November 9th, 2006

I asked God if he likes to go to parties. It turns out that God is rather shy. He likes talking to people one on one best of all, which it turns out is good for me. He likes to go to concerts sometimes but tends to hang out in the catwalks. He likes to go to county fairs and things, where he can move through the crowd but not be expected to interact with anyone.

He says he tried explaining some of this to early prophets, but that it got all twisted around and ended up turning into a prescription for monogamous marriage for life.

After that he started being more careful about what he says, which is most of the reason why we so rarely hear anything direct from him anymore.

That, and everyone wanting him to do miracles, like he was some parlor magician, or something.


Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Today I asked God how he feels about people wishing on stars. He told me that he kind of likes it. He says it’s really just another form of prayer, and has the advantage of not just being rote repetition of something someone wrote a few centuries ago. It’s a way of staying in touch with God both as a deity and as the embodiment of nature and it has a personal touch that he really likes. It says something about the person making the wish that normal prayers don’t really give him.

So I asked if he ever answered them, if he ever granted any wishes.

He said he prefers to let the universe play itself out according to the rules he’s set up.

Then he added, that he’s not immune to every once in awhile putting his thumb on one side of the scales of justice, but that he’d deny ever telling me that.

Sometimes there’s a playful side to God that I really like.

Morning has Broken

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I was getting behind on sleep, so I took a long nap. I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle some weeds that had gotten out of control in my yard. I was out back yanking the little things out of the ground, putting a premature end to their short lives, when God stopped by. I wasn’t too sure how he would feel about me killing off some plants for no better reason than aesthetics, so I quickly searched for something else to talk about. So I asked God if he ever slept.

He said that he napped occasionally but that when he did, things like World War Two tended to crop up, so he tried to keep them short.

I pushed on, wondering if he only napped or if he ever got the God equivalent of a really good night’s sleep. He told me that he had gotten one long ago. He said that scientists even had a name for when he woke up from his last really good sleep. They call it the Big Bang.

New Shirts!

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Just in case any of you want to display a little unscriptured humor across your chest, we’ve added some new shirt designs to our gallery at There’s even a polo shirt. Be the first in your neighborhood!

Consenting Adults

Monday, November 6th, 2006

I’ve been wanting to talk to God about sex, but I’ve been afraid to get in too deep all at once. So to break the ice, I just asked what was up with the missionary position. God told me it was one of the many things that got messed up in the translation.

See, somewhere along the line she told some holy man that people were on a higher plane than the other animals when it came to sex. Since animals will pretty much copulate whenever and wherever the mood strikes, the priests decided that the way to show we were on a higher plane was to restrict sex as much as possible. They probably would have outlawed it completely, but they couldn’t, because they still had to honor the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. So instead they came up with a single approved position and then only allowed that in very limited circumstances.

God says they got it all wrong, but for understandable reasons. In addition to trying to stand out from the other animals, they were also trying to deal with a couple of other issues. The first was the jealous desire to guarantee knowledge of who was the father of any children. The second was the danger of venereal disease at a time when science wasn’t ready to offer much help.

The reality, she told me, is that the way we are separated from the other animals is by bringing our intelligence into our sex acts. Animals do it by instinct. We do it for love and recreation. If she had really wanted us to have such a limited repertoire, she told me, she wouldn’t have made us fit together in so many ways that feel so good.

The only thing she asks, is that everybody be consenting.

New Souls

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

I was feeling a bit bold today so I brought up the subject of embryonic stem cell research. I thought that maybe before Tuesday’s election I could get a definitive answer of some kind that might help me vote.

It turns out that the start of life isn’t the start of being human. God told me that what makes us human is our souls, that that’s what actually sets us apart from the other animals. He went on to explain that two souls can’t exist in the same body, so we don’t get our own souls until after we’re born. Not until we’re separated from our mothers, and are able to survive on our own, do we have a chance for our own souls to attach.

So it turns out that embryos don’t have souls yet, and that leaves us free to do with them what we want. Then I asked God how a soul and a newborn get together? Is it like a game of pin the tail on the donkey? Do the angels get together and pull on blindfolds and spin around? Does God take a turn?

God told me it’s not like that. Besides, he pointed out, angels are more famous for dancing on pins than for sticking them into things.

All Soul’s Day

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

As explained yesterday, November second is All Soul’s Day. On Halloween we examine our mortality and the role that evil may play both in our lives and our afterlife. On All Saint’s Day we pray for the soul’s of the departed that have been recognized to be saints. And on All Soul’s Day we pray for all the rest, for all the souls that have not yet made it into Heaven and for the ones that we’re not sure if they’ve made it or not.

So in a sense, All Soul’s Day is a celebration of uncertainty. It’s the day of praying for et cetera. Now I’d like to say I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, because it’s the obvious punchline, but it just wouldn’t be honest of me. I think it’s important to celebrate uncertainty. I think it’s an amazing and empowering thing to realize that we don’t know everything.

So embrace your uncertainty. Maybe it will embrace you back. Who knows?

All Saints Day

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Following Halloween is All Saints Day, or The Feast of All Saints. More properly, Halloween precedes All Saints Day, because “Halloween” is a contraction of “All Hallow’s Eve” and “All Hallow’s Eve” means the night before All Hallow’s Day which is yet another name for The Feast of All Saints. All Saint’s Day, in turn, is followed by All Soul’s Day. Suddenly I find myself feeling like I’m reading one of those interminable lists of “begats” in the Bible.

At various times “saint” has been a synonym for “martyr” and for “christian” so the term is not quite as exalted as a lot of people make it out to be these days. I was taught that a saint is simply a human that has made it into Heaven. I asked God if this was the reality of it and she told me that “saint” is a human word and she prefers to leave it to us.

I asked her about the martyr angle. She told me that sometimes it is a great sacrifice to die in a cause greater than one’s self, but sometimes it’s a lot harder and a lot more of a sacrifice to find ways to fight for your cause without dying, so there’s no pat answer when it comes to martyring.

I started to ask about saints performing miracles, but before I could do much more than open my mouth, God grabbed up some of my Halloween candy and shoved it in my open maw. I took that to mean I’d asked enough stupid questions for the day and practiced my beatific silence for a bit. After all it’s hard to talk with a mouth full of caramel.