Category Archives: The Deist

made it through another year


Yesterday I completed 44 years on this water covered rock and today begins my 45th.  Statistically speaking I have completed more than half of my life.  If I’m lucky, I guess I’ve got about 35… maybe 40 years left.

Weird to think about.  When I was younger I didn’t give it much thought.  As I notch another year behind me, I have to admit I’ve thought about it now and again for the past few years.

[sigh]

There is a bill that I have on automatic payment and of all the bills I have it’s the one I don’t mind seeing come around.  In fact, along with a few Buddhist teachings, my thoughts on spirituality and God, it is something that gives me solace about checking out of this body and moving on.

It’s my life insurance policy premium.  It will take care of The Deistette when I’m no longer around as well as Little Fawn (my wife and teenage daughter for new readers) should I reach an earlier than expected demise.

Unfortunately I made the mistake of only having it cover me until I reach age 63. :(

I tried to get it extended last week to 30 years but the company said I couldn’t do it unless I just buy a whole new policy.  I’m thinking of doing it.

I have no problems with death. It’s just part of the cycle.  The problem I have is worrying about what will happen to my loved ones.  I get nervous and worried about their well-being.

I’m sure things will be ok. For now, I’ll just have some cake.

Wow… it looks like I’ve already checked out and descended into the seventh level of hell doesn’t it.

thoughts on SB1070


Well I have managed to calm down a little from the passage of SB1070 in Arizona and a discussion with my brother in-law (my white brother in-law) who is married to my (Mexican) sister.  I also had some online sparring with a few others about the subject as well that got me a little pissed off.

In all cases, none of us are lawyers nor do we know immigration law.  But we were giving it our best shot.  I even thought I had things nailed down when I told my brother in-law the bill is violation of the Constitution.  I thought it especially ironic that I had to give my him a civics lesson and had to explain what the Fourth Amendment is, although he claims the oath he took to join the Navy to defend the Constitution is a big deal to him still.

Anyway… in discussing as many angles as we could think of, one thing was quite clear.

The discussion was an “us” and “them” mentality.  And the underlying basis (at least in my opinion) of what was coming out of the minds of those I was sparring with was “them” are different from “us” and because of that,  “us” doesn’t like “them”.

You know there are all kinds of posturing and defenses the pro SB1070 folks claim as to why they support Arizona’s decision.  Loss of jobs, drain on the economy, crime is higher, strain on school systems, etc.

The fact is, the cost of illegal immigration according to one study I found here says it’s a wash.  Another here says the costs are minimal.  Now, I’m not saying I am pro illegal aliens.  I’m just showing some sources that discount the claims of those who try to justify their racism with economics.

The really sad thing about the passage of SB 1070 though is the underbelly that has been made visible.  It is a sad testament of those in support of the bill.  The line that has been drawn in the sand and those who stand in support of the bill has shown how we as human beings have not evolved at all.  We have lost sight of whatever religion we follow and the teachings that have told us to care for our fellow man.  We are fearful of those different from us. We lack the capacity to empathize with others and cannot see the savagery we display when we devolve down to our reptilian brain.

THAT, my friends, is the truly ugly aspect of this bill.

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And now… a little comic relief to ease some of the tension.  This is a vid of couple of guys who hop the fence in Arizona.  At about 1:20 is where it gets kinda funny.  My Spanish isn’t very good but from what I can make out of this exchange between these two Mexican fellas goes something like this:

Guy 1 (with camera) “Hey so tell all of us your experience of being over on the other side.”

Guy 2: (the younger guy) oh it felt good. I was even able to speak English for a little bit. It even felt like the tone of my voice changed for a little while.

Ok… maybe it’s just funnier in Spanish.

about name changes


So in my last post I talked about how I changed my name about a year ago from my birth name to, how most of you know me here…. Julian. This post as you can see from the title is an expansion of the topic.

I brought The Little Man with me to work on Monday last week… Columbus Day. He had the day off from school as parents went in for parent-teacher conferences. By the way… he’s doing quite well in his first year of school.

On our drive to work he started talking to me about names. He started off telling me his brother’s last name was McKinley. I said, “no… that’s his third name (The Deistette and her ex gave the boys three names when they were born) his last name is the same as yours, just like your daddy… it’s Durham.”

So as the conversation went on he began asking me about his mom’s name and nicknames I have for her. Then he asked if my daughter had any nicknames. I said, “yes, I call her Little Fawn a lot of times.”

He asked why and all kinds of other questions…

Little Man: “does Papa have a nickname?”
Deist: “i don’t know… um, no.”
Little Man: “what about you?”
Deist: “Well, yeah… I’ve been called all kinds of things.”
Little Man: “like what.”
Deist: “Ummm… it really isn’t important. (my fraternity nickname is probably not one a five year old should hear.)
Little Man: “But what is it?”
Deist: “ok, well you know how my first name is Robert ?… well some people shorten it and call me Rob.” [his expression looks as though he doesn't believe that really qualifies as a nickname] I continue in an attempt to pull him away from me, “Hey… you know you have a nickname too?”
Little Man: What! (He says that a lot in response to things I say to him. It’s as if what I said is the most shocking thing he’s ever heard. Pretty funny sometimes. For instance… “hey… mommy and I have decided we’re gonna sell you to the gypsies.” WHAT!?!)

Anyway so The Little Man says “what” in his usual shocked way. And I tell him that he’s heard mommy call him his nickname lots of times and that my nickname for him is Little Man.

He sat there silent for a bit… mulling it over a little. He had his thousand-yard stare working then he announced he wanted to change his name.

Deist: “WHAT!?! (i guess it works both ways) What do you want to change it to?”
Little Man: “Mr. Dave.”
Deist: “Mr Dave? Mr Dave Smith?”
Little Man: “No… just Mr Dave.”

I don’t know why he chose Mr. Dave. Somehow, it doesn’t really fit if you ask me. I don’t think Mr.Dave works. Maybe I should come up with a different nickname for him if he’s already decided this early in life that he wants it changed.

Happy Friday everyone!

Here’s a song from a famous Mr. Dave. Hope y’all enjoy.
R.I.P. LeRoi
(sorry for the advertisement at the beginning. I liked the intro though and the song is worth it.)

in the pulpit


This was supposed to go out last Friday. I got so nervous I forgot to post it. I’ll follow up, coincidentally with the Honest Scrap Award post in response to Lazy Buddhist, who bestowed it upon me.

~~~~~

some truth in all graphicI’m a little nervous about this weekend at church. Nervous because I’ll be giving the sermon. The title of it is: “The semantics of religious language”

The description of it reads like this in our newsletter:

You say tomato, I say tomahto… should we call the whole thing off? Of course not.

Although we may see the same thing, we might call it by different names. For instance, some languages such as Spanish use the word Dios for God, Arabic uses the word Allah for God and others to describe The Divine or Supreme Being might call it by another name.

Unfortunately it isn’t always as easy in one’s own language. It is our abstract concepts of faith and our attempt to attach words to describe them that can often times create tension, misunderstanding and dismissal of growth opportunities.

Join us as we delve into the different aspects of religious speak and how honing our ability to transcribe the faith language of others will help us grow as UUs.

I’ve given a few sermons before at my church so Continue reading

The Deist… a nominee for the Darwin awards?


There’s a joke that yankees will sometimes say about Texans. It goes kinda like this.

“hey, what are last words you’ll hear from a Texan about to die?”
“i don’t know… what?”
“Hey. Hold my beer and watch this.”

ok, I’ll admit, that’s kinda funny. Probably because there is some truth to it.

What does that have to do with me and being nominated for a Darwin.

This story is dedicated to my recent visitor Mike over at I’m Intelligently Designed, who it seems his sole purpose is to discredit evolutionists. Mike… this one’s for you. Survival of the fittest and natural selection is no theory buddy. It’s the God’s honest truth! (irony in that statement intended.) : )

~~~~~~~~

Well, believe it or not, I still have some damage from Hurricane Ike, which rolled through town almost a year ago. There’s a piece of 1×4 that failed to get fixed that is a piece of facia that attaches to the roof on the second floor.

Well, over the past several weekends I’ve been trying to get on the roof so I can measure it and put a new one in it’s place but with no success. And it isn’t because I had a beer while trying to do this, Ombudsben. The pitch of my roof is too steep.

Well, I’d finally had enough of my half ass attempts at trying to get on this steep pitched roof and set out with what I thought was an ingenious plan.

So I begin telling The Deistette (for new visitors, The Deistette is my wife) how it all happened Continue reading

poking at believers and non-believers


I was listening to the Pacifica Station here in Houston yesterday. I normally don’t.  But as I was changing from FM1 down to AM, I had to punch through FM2 where 90.1 KPFT was playing. The DJ caught my attention by saying the next song was brand new. So I paused for just a second to hear what it would be.

It’s by Regina Spektor (who I’ve never heard of) and was released about a month ago.  The lyrics made my ears perk up immediately so I listened to hear what this song was about.

I think she’s making fun of those who don’t believe in God (perhaps a UU or two?) but when shit hits the fan… well, as she said, “no one laughs…” And I think she’s poking fun at those who believe God grants wishes like a genie.

I’m curious about your thoughts.

Sunday grillin’


I haven’t done this in a long time. It was really nice to just relax on a Sunday afternoon.

I used to fire up the grill once every couple of months or so but after the ex wife and I split six years ago that kinda fell to the wayside. I mean, I was in survival mode, financially and emotionally and i didn’t have the time to do anything but work and sleep. In fact, I went so long without tending to that old grill that it fell to the elements and now is pretty much just a big pile of rust.

I guess it’s apprapo as it was a wedding gift… it fell into ruin just like that marriage.

But I digress. This isn’t about then. It’s about now. It’s about firing up the grill yesterday.

new grillI’d kinda forgotten how I liked cooking out on the grill.

This one is quite a bit smaller than the old one I used. The old one had a firebox and the grill part was about three feet long. But this little one gets the job done.

Here she is puffing a little smoke out of the vent.

The Deistette doesn’t really eat a lot of meat… she might have a small serving at one meal during the day but that doesn’t happen every day. Well she conceded to a pretty big serving for Sunday grillin’ but she couldn’t quite do it. After taking a couple of bites… she couldn’t finish. She just doesn’t really eat a lot of meat.

chicken on the grillNow The Little Man on the other hand… HE is a carnivore. And he could barely wait as this little grill started puffin’ out the wonderful smell of chicken on the grill. His little brother, who I call Tank (built nothing like The Little Man who is kinda skinny and lanky) is solid and stout. He on the other hand doesn’t really care for the grilled chicken. Oh well… more for us. : )

You know… I haven’t mentioned that Tank has been with us for about three weeks. Emmie’s divorce decree allows her to Continue reading

some thoughts from my 2009 MS150 ride


I’ve been meaning to add this post since I finished this year’s abbreviated MS150 bicycle ride back in April but as is the story of my life… things have gotten in the way.

Better late than never though and so here are some thoughts and pictures from my ride. By the way, (a quick commercial break) I still need a few more bucks to meet my fundraising goal. If you could spare a fiver or two it would be super, muchly appreciated. To donate to my ride click the link with the cycling picture and Texas flag. Thank you. Now on with the show.

So as I sat at the starting line this year it kinda came to me that this ride has parallels to our journey in life (at least for me it does, particularly for my Deist, Buddhist, angels-around-us, i-love-reincarnation view of spirituality that I have) and so it got me to thinking and I came up with an analogy.

I mean we all begin at the starting line, a little confused and somewhat nervous. But we see others just like us… and in the midst of these fellow travelers of this journey, we find a little comfort.

P1020141

For the most part we all have the same gear. You know… we have Continue reading

That’s more than the number of UU’s


So The Deistette takes the quiz over at BeliefNet.com and I think, “what the heck… I’ll try it again.”

Hm. Imagine that… 100% UU.

But I was surprised there was no Deist category.

There was no place for us lowly, uncounted, blip of believers who count as our kindred spirits the founding fathers of this great country. (ok, so we count ‘em as our own but according to Steven Waldmen, it ain’t true. What the hell does he know, the damn heathen) : )

So in that second link above, what I saw in the title of that article was “12% of Americans [blah blah blah] Deists”

Hooray!!! I’m not alone. Take that suckahs!

Well as I looked into his attribution, the research and the stats, I realized I failed to see that the title of the article actually said, “12% of Americans MAY be Deists”

:|

The stats come from the website The Pew Forum on Religious Life. It’s pretty interesting to take a peek at… well, at least to me it’s interesting.

This is interesting, too. According to this USA Today article many denominations are losing ground.

I would think in tough times people would be looking for solace anywhere they could get it… even in the pews. Apparently I’m wrong.

Although, a few weeks ago President Obama said our country is not specifically a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. nation… the fact is, a HUGE majority of people in the U.S. if asked would say they are Christian. My own personal opinion is most people probably mean they are Theists and don’t necessarily believe Jesus is God but a redemptive tool of God.

Anyway, in conversations I’ve had with family, co-workers and acquaintances most, if not all, believe in a God that has a plan for us lowly scabs of humans and believe in a God who can and does make things happen either as reward or punishment.

Doesn’t surprise me a whole lot. I mean we hear it all the time… “everything happens for a reason.” Whether it’s characters on tv shows, movies, books, articles, music or in conversations, we hear that statement implied or verbatim… “everything happens for a reason.” I imagine it’s comforting to believe there is some Grand Designer who intervenes on our behalf and when something shitty or out of control happens it’s nice to be distanced by believing that God’s grand design was at work.

It’s just as comforting for me to think that He/She/It is somewhere just watching… letting me call all the shots, cheering me on, applauding my efforts, getting pissed when I screw up, on the verge of tears when something awful happens to me or being very disappointed when I miss the mark.

It is comforting to me to be a Deist.  It meshes well with my Buddhist tendencies and my yoga-loving, bible-passage-using, season-observing, prayer-bead-wearing, talk-to-God-every-morning spiritual path.

brother can you spare a dime?


Hello friendly blog peeps, peepettes and casual visitors.

Today’s post is asking for a HUGE favor.

If you look to the right… right next to the title of this post you’ll see a picture. If you click it, the link will take you to my page on the Lone Star Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

I’m writing about this because I want to let you know I’m riding my bicycle half way across Texas in an effort to raise funds for researchers to find a cure for MS. I’m riding in the 2009 MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin. It’s about 160 miles or so over two days.

I’m do it for two reasons. One… believe it or not, I find it fun and of course, challenging. (i’ve ridden this ride before) Two… I know I am extremely lucky to be able to move my body on my own and so I feel an obligation to help.

I want to help researchers find a cure for folks who don’t move so well because of this disease.

I’m no scientist. I don’t know much about this disease or what it will take to end it. But I can pedal my bike and ask people to donate to my ride so the smart guys can figure a way to help those who are afflicted with this disease.

So I hope you will.

I hope you can spare ten bucks… or five bucks… or three or even one.

I know five bucks or even one doesn’t seem like a lot but it all adds up.

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned a saying from the grunts… “ounces make pounds.” I first heard it when my unit attached with some grunts for training and we were going on a 13 mile hike carrying all our gear on our back.

A few of the guys took us “non-hackers” aside and said, “ounces make pounds, Marine. Let me see your gear.” They proceeded to show us how stripping every tiny piece of non-essential crap added up to a lot of weight.

“Ounces make pounds” folks. I know times are tough. Hell, I barely have two nickels to rub together but if you could donate whatever you can…

well, every little bit adds up to a lot.