Archive for July, 2007


Monday, July 30th, 2007

Humans like to anthropomorphize things; it’s almost a defining characteristic. God tells me this is because we were made in his image.

By the way, that’s one of those things that’s meant to be taken metaphorically, like that the universe was created in seven days. God doesn’t have a constant or even consistent corporeal form, so saying that we were made in his image has nothing to do with looking like God, or with being shaped like God or anything like that. Which is exactly why anthropomorphication comes from being created in his image.

In a sense, everything in the universe is a piece of God, so everything is like an aspect of God. From that we can say, without being too far off, that everything in the universe has one or more characteristics of God. So, again in a sense, when God created the universe, he did the super-sized godly equivalent of anthropomorphication.

So if we go around seeing aspects of humanity in everything, perhaps it’s just because we go around seeing aspects of God in everything and we see the most of them in ourselves, so when we see a smaller number of them in other things, we see those things as being like us.

God tells me this does a lot to explain our hubris both as individuals and as a species. I just say that explaining it doesn’t make it good.


Friday, July 27th, 2007

Today I asked God about a car I saw on the road. There were only two things on the car to distinguish it from one fresh off one of those “we’ll finance anybody” lots. It had an American flag sticker and it had one of those Christian fish plaques.

Now the reason people stick things on the back of their cars is to show their affiliation, to show what tribe it is that they belong to. So I wondered what it was that a fish and a flag said about someone.

The thing that I came up with was that they said the driver was afraid to belong to any group that didn’t have hundreds of millions of members.

Not necessarily so, God told me, it might just be that those were the only groups they felt a part of that they also felt it was safe to publicly declare their allegiance to. Maybe they lived in a neighborhood where cars got egged if they had a Ralph Nader bumper sticker.

Skip It

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

I was in a parking lot the other day and a boy, he looked about twelve, went skipping by. That got me to wondering and I asked God why it was that so many kids skip but so few adults. What is it about growing up that just drains the skip out of us?

We talked about it for a bit. We dispensed with a lot of the usual stuff about kids just having more energy and adults being more purposeful in there locomotion. We discounted the adults who have gotten so old or out of shape that skipping is either uncomfortable or downright dangerous. We even tossed aside the notion that being bigger just made it harder.

What did God finally suggest that I agreed with? Most adults are just too afraid that they might look silly. Me? I think that’s a terrible thing, so I’d like everyone reading this to make sure they do a little skipping this week.

Flawed Logic

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I was once told that it is considered an affront to God to make anything perfect. Because of this, artists and craftspeople are expected to deliberately add flaws to their work. The idea is that only God is perfect so by trying to make something manmade be perfect the artist is daring to set him or her self up as God’s equal.

Now it seems to me rather laughable that God would ever believe that someone thought themself her equal but, since I’ve got access, I thought I’d get her take on the issue.

She told me that it’s actually rather the opposite. She asked me to look around the world. She asked me if anything I encountered in nature was actually, objectively, perfect.

I had to admit that I couldn’t think of anything.

It turns out that God is rather fond of things that are flawed, so deliberately adding flaws to things actually is trying to be God-like. However, she also reminded me that we were made in her image, so trying to be God-like is just part of our nature, but then, so is being imperfect at it.

Can You Hear Me Now

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Every once in a while life throws you a perfect tableau. I was driving along on the freeway today and in the next lane over I noticed the advertising on a car. They were touting that they were experts in Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. For those that may not know, few though you may be these days, VOIP is the means by which phone calls are made through the internet instead of through a traditional phone system. We can ignore the technicality that both systems use a lot of the same plumbing.

Right behind these technological wizzes, was a Sprint company car.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Sprint and its ilk were the new kids on the telephony block, but now that mantle has moved on to the VOIP providers, so it was kind of cool to see Sprint literally riding along in the wake of VOIP.

I pointed it out to God, to see if he was as amused by this as I was. He grinned a little and said it kind of reminded him of watching the mammals scurrying around the feet of the big dinosaurs, but that when it came down to it, that sort of thing does become old hat after a few million repetitions. Then if you’re tired of it, I asked, why are you grinning. He told me that it was nice to see things through fresh eyes every once in a while.

Them Again

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

There’s a simple dynamic that I’ve observed over and over again in my tenure as part of the human race. Us versus them. You see it in things like wars where it’s usually country versus country. You see it in business where it may be, say, IBM versus Microsoft. You see it in religion where it can be as seemingly mindless as Catholics versus Protestants. At it’s most basic, it’s often simply “whoever we are” versus everyone else.

I saw it when I was in the boy scouts, there was the boy scouts and there was “them.” I’ve seen it in SF fandom, there are the fans and there are the mundanes. I’ve even seen it in the Harry Potter books, where there’s the magical folks and the there’s the muggles.

I asked God why it was.

She told me it was a simple case of a good idea going way, way, too far. See when it’s Barnes and Noble versus Borders it spurs them both into trying to make the best bookstore they can figure out how to do, rather than doing just as much bookstore as people will still put up with. But when it gets down to “my inconsistently selected set of Jesus stories is so much better than your inconsistently selected set of Jesus stories that one of us needs to end up dead,” well, that’s no longer a good thing.

So the next time you get to thinking it’s us versus them, you might want to focus more on the us and just let them be them.

The Boxers Rebellion

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Way back when Bill Clinton was first running for President it was an historic moment when he appeared on MTV, showing that he was not only willing to court the youth vote but that he was willing to meet them, at least somewhat, on their own turf. The thing about the appearance that was most widely reported was that moment, after they had opened up to questions from the audience, when a young woman asked the deceptively simple and seemingly off-topic question, “Boxers or briefs?”

The thing that many people took away from that question was that it confirmed their fears about the vacuousness of youth and that maybe it was better if they weren’t part of the political process. But they were wrong. The thing about that question wasn’t what the answer was, as neither option mattered a whit to the job for which he was running, rather, it mattered that he answered it at all and it mattered how he answered it. It was a rare chance during his campaign to see the candidate address a question that was completely unexpected.

In my daily talks with God, I’ve often wondered if I could find a question that would have that same affect. In our talks he’s told me that he’s only as omniscient as he chooses to be, so that certainly leaves it open as a possibility, but even if I did catch him unawares, it seems reasonable to expect that his mind works so much faster than my own all too human brain, that he’d have time to carefully consider his answer before there was even a hint of a chance for any surprise to make it onto his face.

So on a whim today, I just went with the prototype, I asked him “Boxers or briefs?”

He just told me he never wore both at the same time.

Then a few seconds of reconsideration later he changed his answer to almost never at the same time.

Someday I might even ask him about that “almost.”

Diversity Tango

Friday, July 13th, 2007

One of the things I’ve always prided myself on, is a love of variety. I’ve made a point of trying food from all over the world. I have music in my collection from most every genre I know of, from classical to zydeco. And I’ve had sex with all sorts of people, people of different races, people of different sexes, people everywhere from a few years younger than me to five decades older.

So, even knowing that “pride is a sin,” I mentioned this to God the other day. She laughed. I said that I didn’t see why being so available to what life has to offer was so funny. Then she started giving me a run down of just how much goes on on this planet that I don’t take any part in. She talked about things like species that are going extinct without my ever touching them, foods that would make me long for the familiarity of a corn dog, and drugs that would completely change my view of the universe, right before they killed me.

In the end, I felt kind of like the bar owners in the movie The Blues Brothers, explaining that they had both kinds of music, Country and Western.

When it comes to diversity, well God’s got it all and even the best of the rest of us are merely pikers.

Too Many Whys

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Anyone who has ever had a parent is probably familiar with certain phrases. Today I got one of those phrases from God, and I gotta say that it gained a certain extra weight from that source.

I was bugging God about death. It’s sort of an age old philosophical question: Why do things have to die? Why can’t we live forever, or at least not age, living until we do something terminally stupid or just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I suppose I was getting to be somewhat like a four year old in my persistence. God kept evading giving any sort of definitive answer and I kept on asking.

Finally, he turned to me and gave me that look that all mothers and fathers eventually resort to and just said to me, because I said so.

And I had to stop. Because, well, because God saying so really is sort of a definitive answer. Things die because God said that things will die. He didn’t have to have a reason, it might just have been arbitrary or it might not, but well, I’ll probably never know.

New Truths for Old

Monday, July 9th, 2007

I saw one of those defensively Christian car plaques today. This one was in the shape of a fish, filled with the word “truth,” that was eating a Darwin fish. Oh, and for those of you that don’t know, a Darwin fish is one of those line drawings (often embodied as a car plaque) of a fish with legs that may or may not be filled with the word Darwin. The Darwin fish is a symbol of somebody that believes in evolution the same way that a regular fish is a symbol of somebody that believes in Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.

Anyway, that got me to talk to God about the Christian belief that what they believe on faith alone is a bigger truth than those things for which we have actual scientifically valid evidence. To put it in the sort of terms that an ad campaign might use, the Christians feel that their view of God is “truer than true.” Or as Stephen Colbert might put it, the Christian view has something better than truth, it has “truthiness,” it’s true because it feels like it should be true.

Now God has told me time and again that he gave us our brains to use and that he expects us to revise our beliefs when we have good evidence that they’re not the best model of reality, so I pretty much expected that he’d tell me more of the same. What I didn’t expect though, was when he just said that truth is fleeting.

What did that mean, I wanted to know.

And now is the point where I tell you the great truth that God revealed to me about great truths, except that he didn’t. About the only thing further that I got out of him was that sometimes the truth changes, and when it does, well, about the only thing you can say then is that the old truth isn’t and the new truth is.

Again With the Intelligent Design

Friday, July 6th, 2007

So God and I got to talking about Intelligent Design again today. It wasn’t a long conversation, mostly because we’ve hashed a lot of it out before, but I like to go back from time to time and fill in the details.

As a matter of fact, filling in the details is kind of what we talked about this time. One of the big things that seems to get on the nerves of Intelligent Design advocates and other Creationists is the gaps in the fossil record. Now as we dig up more fossils we keep filling in more and more of the details, closing more and more of the gaps, but unless we were to find the fossilized remains of every animal that ever lived, someone would probably be able to find a gap that they would claim couldn’t have been leapt across merely by evolution.

So I asked God what she thought about being the God of the Gaps, being the Intelligent Designer only because of the limited knowledge and imaginations of many of her biggest proponents.

She sighed and told me that one of the biggest problems with Intelligent Design is that as theories go, it’s not a very intelligent design.

Fire Works

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

So it’s the fourth of July. Independence Day. Here in the U.S. this is about as macho a holiday as we have. We’re not only celebrating winning a war, we’re celebrating with flaming barbecues and all kinds of fancy explosives.

So I asked God if all the testosterone fueled excess of the day worried her. I asked her if she wished we’d overcome our primitive natures and find more cerebral, or at least more calm, ways to enjoy ourselves.

She just said that any excuse for fireworks was pretty much all right with her. And besides, she told me, it would be a great disappointment to the archangel Michael if we stopped. He always likes to whip out his flaming sword and find some place to join in.

God Groks

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

At the beginning of last week I talked a little about religions trying to understand God, a little about understanding things in general, and a little about the word grok, which the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) defines as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with.” Ultimately (well, in three fairly short paragraphs, anyway) I came to the conclusion that “to know God is to be God.”

So of course, I had to discuss this with God.

He told me I was closer to the truth than most people ever get. The big focus by most people is on the “miracle” aspects of God. They talk about the creation of the universe. They talk about how God wants us to live our lives. They talk about loaves and fishes and Easter eggs. But the real nature of divinity, God told me, was understanding. And that was his biggest gift to us. Unlike all the other animals, we have the capacity to grok, to get to know something so well that it becomes like a part of us.

God groks. When we take the time to really know something, or especially some one, that is when we are most God-like. God told me that when all of us learn to grok each other as a matter of course, that will be the day that all wars end and the day when all mankind takes care of each other.

To grok is to be divine.