Do you want to know how cool Americans are? Just check the recent Gallup results that say 46% of Americans think the earth was created less than 10,000 years ago.
Do you know what that means?
That means that, if 46% are correct, a brilliant being with massive super powers was amazing enough to write the universe into existence, but when it came to writing his own book, he failed ever so slightly.
Okay, he failed a lot.
But no biggie. At least 46% of Americans know (they KNOW!) that the dude who penned their book wrote the code for DNA a short 10,000 years ago, while disguising the creation to look “old”. How clever.
God, the jokester. Haha.
Wow. That’s rich.
Check the Gallup Poll here.
Check out how World Net Daily responded here. Evolution is going to die, bitches!
Over at Facebook, regular-reading, believing friend Richie C posts Bible verses. I read every one of them. One of them today was particular good, if you don’t mind me sticking my neck out for belief.
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:16-21
I think we can all agree that this is — for the most part — a positive message. Be humble. Don’t be evil. Act right and good. I mean, I have a problem with God being vengeful. But I get it. And I’d rather followers pay attention to this message. Particularly: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink.”
As a former Christian, this is a message I loved. This was the message I thought was the most important.
Let me give you some background on Richie. I’ve known him since second grade. At that time were best buddies. Every day, we were inseparable on the playground. I used to pretend I was Darth Vadar and he was my wing man. I’m not sure how that made sense, but we were kids.
We didn’t hangout that much during subsequent years. But we have almost the same elementary to high school education from a little Wesleyan school in High Point North Carolina. He’s married. He has a beautiful wife and gorgeous kids.
And, frankly, I’ve been impressed by his perspectives despite not agreeing with him.
I can completely see how — if I would have stayed in the south, if I wouldn’t have gone to college — I may have married a local, started a family, and continued on a path of evangelical Christianity. But college brought me an education. That education gave me the opportunity to doubt and explore that doubt. The people I met encouraged that knowledge.
***UPDATE*** This “education” is not to insinuate that Richie isn’t educated. My point was — but I failed — to write that the education that I had contrasted Richie’s. And the result of my path was atheism. ***END UPDATE***
This contrast forces me to question the environmental-specificity of belief. It can’t be the only reason. But it’s one of them, surely.
That leads me to my final thought. Because just a few posts below Richie’s bible verse, someone posted these verses:
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work. 2 John 1:9-11
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. – 2 Chronicles 15: 12-13
Suppose I am not taking these verses out of context. Suppose the message in the bible is both good and bad at the same time. It’s conflicting.
I know, believers won’t agree with me. I’ve pointed out so many conflicting verses to believers. And the overwhelming response is: you’re out of context. But John calls people the antichrist who don’t believe.
And in the 1 John 2, he writes:
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
I think you can see that it’s painfully obvious that there are mixed messages in the bible. And it’s for these reasons why we non-believers criticize belief.
How can you hate and accept at the same time?
How can you love and not love at the same time?
How can you look me in the eye and say, “I love you, brother, but my book tells me I should kill you?”
Put aside the controversies of evolution vs. creationism. Let’s talk about the basics.
If you’re a believer, how do you reconcile the different messages?
What is so bad about rejecting the Bible all together for the sake of concentrating only on the things that are positive, and finally throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s all agree that there are positive messages in the bible, but awful ones as well.
We all can agree that secular views are better for doing just that. That’s why you don’t dot every i and cross every T of the bible. If you did, you’d go to jail. You have to be secular.
A 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis… The patient reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis.
My father was a traveling salesman, selling transformers to electrical utilities. I don’t remember any facial asymmetry, but I do recall that his left elbow was always a darker color than the rest of his skin.
If you do something on the side today, read this commencement speech from writer Anne LaMott, who — through her books — has influenced me to write and become free to think what I want.
At the Berkeley graduation I told the students that the secret to success was simple — ignore your parents’ expectations, give money to the ACLU, and find out the truth about who you are.
But that is not your problem. Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
But the thing is that you don’t know if you’re going to live long enough to slow down, relax, and have fun, and discover the truth of your spiritual identity. You may not be destined to live a long life; you may not have 60 more years to discover and claim your own deepest truth — like Breaker Morant said, you have to live every day as if it’s your last, because one of these days, you’re bound to be right.
Saturday morning, I shot in the studio with Bill. It was a makeup shoot for a DJ group out of Texas. They’re actually really popular in some circles. You can read more about them here.
On Saturday night, Tina and I worked an amazing event. It was photography and video for a fundraiser in a high-end appliance showroom. A local chef donated his time to cook in a fully functioning kitchen made from appliances you can install in your home.
You, being the people that make so much money that buying a Porche and a Lamborghini in the same day would be like picking up a slushy at 7/11.
Some of the things we shoot, Tina and I stand there and pinch ourselves. We feel so honored to be a part, and due to our social standing, we may never have had the opportunity to rub elbows with this level of people.
The chef was preparing food for about 40 people. All of them paid about $300 to get in, plus they donate often to this cause. We were able to sample the dishes while we were working. We were able to listen to the chef fielding questions about why and what he was doing.
He made seven courses including appetizers, four dinner courses and dessert. He cooked lamb, duck, cow, and scallops. The place smelled heavenly.
Hot tips straight from the chef’s mouth
Some of the hot tips he gave were:
- Why you let meat rest. Cutting into meat that is just off the grill is like cutting into a person who has just run a marathon. They will bleed all over. Let the juices do their thing for four to five minutes.
- Why aging meat is fine. One person asked about the idea that you shouldn’t eat at a seafood restaurant on Monday or Tuesday, because the meat is from Saturday. The chef explained that it’s not a bad thing. Meat needs time to settle and the muscles to relax. Eating fresh kill would be too tough.
- Pat your steaks dry. Why? Because it encourages caramelization, which locks in moisture. I knew this, but didn’t know why.
- Salt your food more if your grilling rather than pan frying. Salting meat for the grill means lots will fall off between the grates.
There was also a sommelier there who was explaining the wines that were coupled with each dish.
I hope you can understand how humbled and honored we were to not only be hired to be there, but allowed to taste and take part. It was awesome.
SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!
Sunday, we were supposed to be in the studio in the afternoon, but the gig was postponed.
It worked out, because Tina and I walked and played with Talulah. And we spent some quality time with my brothers-in-law Michael and his partner Jason.
Lately, we haven’t been able to get together every Sunday as often as we have in the past. Our schedules tend to conflict more often. Michael and Jason run a record store together. And Tina and I get more work on Sundays.
For those of you who don’t know, we have a standing Sunday date with the guys to shop and either cook or eat out together.
We picked up Michael and Jason around 4:30. We shopped at Whole Foods. The place was jampacked. There were more people there than I’d ever seen. It’s in a good neighborhood, so the people watching is great. There are women in coverups from the beach. Dudes in leather. Or in their workout clothes from the gym. You get trannys, alt kids, punks, hotties and not-so hotties. Or the people are dressed up from church. And everything in between.
We bought some squid and skirt steak, with loads of veggies. If we cook, rather than go out, Michael cooks. Once in a while, I help out or cook one dish. But primarily Michael does it.
Driving in the city on the weekends is nuts. Don’t do it!
The thing about Chicago on weekends is everyone is trying to get somewhere. It’s neighborhood rush hour … all afternoon. During the warm months, it’s the worst. I’m an obnoxious yeller out the window. It’s both funny and annoying at the same time. If you’re on your phone or texting, I give all kinds of hell. But yesterday, the tables were turned.
When I pulled out of Whole Foods parking lot, a little red car let me in front of him. Great. I waved. I had to stop in traffic for a traffic light.
I had to turn left at the light, and I put on my signal. When the light turned, we all inched forward. I stopped at the light to wait for traffic, and the guy behind me honked at me and screamed out his window (with the funniest, ugly face you’ve ever seen), “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”
“Driving!” I screamed. We all laughed. When this happens, you have to ask yourself, “What did I do wrong? What did he see me do that was wrong?” I offended him somehow, but I was oblivious.
For the rest of the ride, I kept yelling out the window, “What are you doing!?!”
Oh, it was fun.
Then we got to a green light and the car in front of me stopped and waved some pedestrians in front of her car. I honked at her and screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? GO. You have a green light!”
The girl finally went. The pedestrians yelled at me, something like, “Chill out, mother fucker.”
And I said, “Relax, I wasn’t yelling at you. You’re the assholes who can’t wait for a walk sign.”
“Jeremy, shut up!” yelled Tina. “Don’t you know they could have guns?!?”
“What are they going to do? Shoot at our moving car in the daytime? That’d be reasonable.”
We all laughed and bantered the rest of the ride.
Woman says, “If at first you don’t succeed, then maybe you should do it the way I told you in the beginning.”