Metallica-Enter Sandman (Smooth Jazz Version)


I love this so much.

At our wedding, I wanted to hire someone to do pretty versions of say, “Rage Against the Machine” songs. Tina wouldn’t have it.

Conversations about god


If you haven’t watched the Dateline Face-off I posted, I strongly recommend it. Please add your two cents to the comments.

Last night, Tina met her cousin for dinner. I was watching that Dateline show on my laptop in the kitchen. I was multitasking some chores, cleaning the kitchen, folding clothes and doing dishes.

When my laptop battery died, I walked up to the bar where I play pool. When Tina’s not home, it’s nice to get out of the house. The bar was dead except for a couple guys watching a hockey game and this guy named Jim and his dog Lucky talking to the owner George, who we call Geo, and we try really hard not to make fun of it. 🙂

I sat next to Geo and Jim.

I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and talked to the local drinkers. I usually only go to the bar to play pool, and talking isn’t a part of that process. But last night, I was forced to sit and chat.

At one point, and I don’t remember why, Jim asked me if I’d ever heard of Willow Creek Church. I said, “Yeah, it’s like a franchise now in the city.”

It is. You can go to any number of Willow Creek satellite locations to get your worship on.

Recently a customer of Jim’s invited him to go to Willow Creek church with him. Jim said he put it off. Jim’s in sales, and since this guy is a good customer, he decided to give it a whirl. He described Willow Creek much like my parents’ church in North Carolina. It’s huge. He made a point to say it was “non-denominatonal.” They have a drum set enclosed in fiberglass box and a crazy-big worship band. Jim grew up Catholic and he took the opportunity to say that the Catholic church sucks in comparison to this church. “Catholicism is archaic. The homilies aren’t relevant and the music is blah,” he said. He found the Willow Creek sermon somewhat applicable to his life, and for the most part didn’t have any criticism of it.

Then he said, “I don’t think my wife would go for it, but I think it might be a good thing to raise a family with a church influence.”

I pushed him for more information. I was curious. To possibly make him feel more comfortable, I told him I wasn’t a believer, and didn’t think that it was necessary to expose kids to church. But I could see how there were elements that are good, like sharing, love, kindness, neighborly-ness … all positive things that come from the church. I’ve written about this before. There are great aspects to the church; the bible, Jesus, god and spirit aren’t among them.

Jim continued, “I mean, there are some of the things I find … a little out there … but the good parts I think are positive for kids.”

“By out there,” I said, “You mean the spiritual stuff … god, Jesus, miracles?”

“Yeah, exactly. I don’t care for that, but the positive stuff I can go for.” Jim squirmed around giving this answer. I searched for a way to ease his discomfort.

I said, “Yeah, I don’t think a thinking man can really go for that part of church. But the parts you said that are beneficial to life in the world, the kindness, the sharing, all these things are aspects of church we can learn from.”

Jim’s face lit up, “Yes, I completely agree. Thinking men don’t believe that unbelievable stuff.”

I felt like Jim breathed a sigh of relief.

We talked a little more about it. It’s amazing how ignorant people seem to be about churches. He seemed impressed when I talked about my experiences with church. When I told him about the cultural phenomenon in the south in which one of the first questions you ask a stranger is about the church they attend, Jim said, “That’s exactly how this guy is! What do you call that … a … a …”

“An ‘evangelical’?”

“YES! An evangelical.”

We talked a little more about religion. I gave my Sagan bit about being made of the stuff of the universe, and it confuses people that we are made from “god.” Geo and Jim both said that this is all there is, and it doesn’t bother either of them. Of course I agreed.

I can say it was nice to have this conversation. I have found that the majority of Chicagoans probably share my lack of beliefs, but it’s only occasionally that you can get anyone talking about it. Most people aren’t nearly as passionate about it as I am.

When was the last time you had a religious conversation with a stranger that wasn’t on the internet? How did it go?