This is orthodoxy. One is Godly. The other is blasphemy.

Instagram post from Carloshappynpo reads: “Christian Nationalism: “Our country is blessed. It’s manifest destiny. Our ways are superior. Our constitution is inspired. God choose [sic] US.”

Christ: “Love thy neighbor. Serve others. Welcome the stranger. Care for the poor & the sick. Drop your swords. For God so loves the world.”

Jordan Klepper makes Trump supporters watch clips of the January 6th hearings

The above clip is certainly not a representation of every Trump supporter, I hope, but it’s an entertaining dive into who’s on Team Trump Cult of Blissful Ignorance.

We’ve been watching the January 6 hearings, only missed part of yesterday’s because of work and will likely go back and watch what we missed.

The takeaway for us has been this: the hearings give us some kind of rejuvenated faith in the government and in some of the people who wield power. Almost every witness has been republican and openly support conservative values. But non of them stand for the lawlessness that embodied trump’s attempt to steal the election.

The hearings are absent of pomp and bombast. People are clear-headed and thoughtful. There’s no arguing or Jim Jordan style machine gun assholery. It’s plain speak.

Politics shouldn’t be this divisive, to the point that the other team deserves to be hated, or even put to death, as I’ve heard many political pundits drop on the medias.

But whatever.

the believers who are making a difference

I follow this account on Instagram from Carlos Rodriguez. In his about, he writes that he is a: “Dad | Husband | Jesus Follower | 🇵🇷.”

A Jesus follower.

While I don’t claim any belief in any supernatural beings, Carlos is the kind of guy who would have any significant impact on any form of gravitational pull toward a belief system.

This particular post is potent. It says that Love your neighbor, welcome the stranger, feed the hungry and put away your sword” are all political statements AND biblical ones.

I applaud Carlos and those who think like him. His biblical mindset is something to be admired.

the power of happenstance

Yesterday, Tina and I worked downtown Chicago to photograph two different showrooms gearing up for a trade show next week.

Tina was forced to leave our second shoot early due to a medical situation, so I finished the job and took an Uber home. Her tooth cracked while we were at lunch. She was able to get a last-minute appointment with our dentist.

After I finished the second space, I headed out and called an Uber. My Uber driver’s name was Kim. When she pulled up in her blue Ford Escape, we exchanged the Uber etiquette hellos, I’m so and so and thanks for picking me up. When I saw she wasn’t masked, I asked to remove mine.

“Thank you for being considerate. I truly appreciate it,” she said.

When I asked her how she was, she led with how she’s been examining her spirituality and her spiritual journey.

“How did you go about examining your spiritual journey?” I asked.

She explained that she went to a seminar. She told me how her siblings and her were raised in the home of a baptist reverend. But her brothers and sisters left the faith of their father for what she said was Christianity*, Islam or other religions. She found herself confused. “Why should I stay within or go away from the culture I was brought up in?”

*I’ve found more than one person in Chicago who view Christianity as another religion even if the person identifies as, say, Catholic or Baptist. Christianity is, for all intents and purposes, something altogether different when viewed through the lens of some people’s cultural identities, because some versions of it are so far flung culturally that it appears altogether different to them.

Her siblings all seemed at peace in their journeys. She felt malaise. Like maybe she needed to find something else, too.

She talked bout how at work, one of her co-workers is an atheist. And when her other co-worker says things like, “Oh, thank God,” the atheist responds with words that are disparaging toward Christianity. “I believe in Spiderman,” he’ll say. “I just saw him yesterday in a movie. When was the last time you saw your God?”

The woman she works with reels with anger when he says stuff like that. My Uber Driver says she confronts her and asks her why she gets so upset. She says the guy is mocking her. But my Uber driver explains, “No, it’s not your job to doubt God. He’s bigger than that. You know it. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.”

I choked up a bit. I love that. I think about this aspect of Christianity often. That if your God is so big, then why is he off limits to criticize, for one. But how is that it’s so difficult for Christians to hear it? If God is who he is made out to be, no amount of criticism should be considered too much.

But here I go in my every day life unwilling, unnerved, uneasy about giving it to anyone who claims the invisible is true, frankly because I think it would hurt their feelings.

I have different beliefs than my family and many friends. Probably most friends. And they have little visible hesitation to pray in front of me or to echo their feelings about God. I realize there’s a little apprehension, but on a scale of what I consider to be uncomfortable topics, I’m mute and they’re foghorns.

That’s the way I see it. Perhaps they hear my absence of spiritual speak and think, “He’s pushing his beliefs on me.” Who knows.

Kim later explained that she identified that she was secure and full with her Baptist beliefs. And that that’s where she felt most at home. She also told me how she found her home church by visiting a series of churches. The first one, Satan was on the ceiling bored. The second, Satan was on the ceiling, twitching a finger tapping it on his forehead. The third, Satan was all jittery and couldn’t sit down. “That’s how I knew it was the right one. If Satan can’t keep still, that means that church is doing something right.”

We can’t all have the same views. And I hope she was speaking in metaphor, but maybe she really knows that Satan floats on church ceilings.

Before I got out of the car, I told Kim how much I needed her in my life yesterday. That it was a grounding moment and that I wished more people pursued spirituality as she does. She got a little teary. She thanked me. I closed the door to her Ford Escape. And I smiled the whole way home.

Oliver North (former NRA president) blames recent mass shootings on “driving God out of our culture”

This won’t be the only time we hear the argument that “driving god out of our culture” is the reason for gun violence as awful as what we saw in Uvalde, Tx.

Yet this very argument is what drives the argument for God further and further from validity.

The argument that’s used to define God is that he’s everywhere all the time. And if he’s not praised by human lips, the mountains will praise him. God/Jesus himself made this very declaration.

So if he’s everywhere all the time and something somewhere is giving him praise, he shouldn’t be so insecure as to stand with arms crossed in a classroom in Uvalde Texas while 19 children are filled with bullets and bleed all over their best friends.

Every time a 2nd Amendment “Christian” makes this argument for “we need more God in our culture” is taking his/her/their argument and flushing it down the toilet.

We get it. Some people want more God in culture. And the calls for more God trump all other calls, because the dude who’s not there, who is all powerful and all knowing and all loving and supreme justice and created the ENTIRE universe needs more attention or he’ll keep America wailing, because we deserve violence against children … so He can finally get the praise he deserves.

Sounds so good I might convert back to the flock.


This newsletter has a section on how social media distorts reality. I would submit that — what’s more — a person’s media diet also distorts reality when that diet is engorged with the same sources hourly/daily.

That diet is also sourced by environment, of which, I am not immune.

But social media is actively destroying relationships and bonds that otherwise would not be dissolved.

I’ve deleted all social media apps from my phone, which basically helps me consume them less. I’ve also turned to creative newsletters from people who don’t concentrate all their efforts on one topic, but many topics with varieties of sources. This formula is how I like to find recipes for meals, and how I determine what I will cook.

Limiting my time on social media has freed up my mind and body for working out, reading more, and watching a variety of films that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, because I was too triggered by algorithmic emotional responses.

Here are some standouts from the list of eight:

  • The Information Flooding Distortion 🤯 happens as algorithms and bots flood or curate the information users see based on their likelihood to engage with it, resulting in users believing that what is popular (e.g., hashtags, comments, trends) is public consensus, when in fact it can also be manipulated distortion.
  • The Moral Outrage Distortion 😱 occurs when engagement-maximizing algorithms amplify emotionally charged, moralizing content. This results in polarization, mischaracterizations of “the other side,” and the perception of more moral outrage around us than there really is.
  • The Anti-Journalism Distortion 🚫 is created as social media platforms force reputable news organizations to compete in an environment that rewards clickbait headlines and polarizing rhetoric resulting in less thoughtful, less nuanced reporting.

oh how times have changed

Back in my day, I could walk in a store with $25 USD and walk out with 6 porterhouse steaks, 2 chickens, a case of beer, 5 bottles of wine, 2 loaves of bread and a gallon of milk. Can’t do that today. Too many fucking cameras.

Thought-terminating clichés

A while back, I saw the above screen capture of a tweet, and saved it to my desktop. It resonated with me in a deep way. It reads:

I learned yesterday that there’s a term for phrases like, “It is what is is,” and “It’s in God’s hands,” “YOLO,” etc–things meant to short-circuit cognitive dissonance & end discussion. They’re called “Thought-Terminating Clichés” and I haven’t stoped thinking about that phrase since.

Throughout the time it took me to deconstruct from religion, I sincerely tried to talk to people who were older, wizened and were supposed to have answers to my questions. They’re the ones who spent decades reading and researching Christianity, listening to all the arguments to counter atheism/disbelief and to validate their stances.

But no person of faith, no matter what the status of divinity school pastor to enthusiast could defend my questions with answers, just these thought-terminating clichés. You can read more about them here.

Continue reading “Thought-terminating clichés”