Tuesday, August 15, 2006


My wife and I have a young grandaughter who has a tendency to strip off and run around naked every chance she gets. There is nothing shameful about it to her. We and her parents are in the process of teaching her different. Of course, we don't use the word "shame", but the message is the same.

So, where does shame about nakedness originate? Certainly not with that child. It originates with us -- the adults. We pass it down from generation to generation.

Many believe clothing was invented (a la Genesis) to maintain sexual modesty. Tain't exactly true. (Our imagination provides us with sexual views of people that are far superior to their nakedness.) Clothing was invented because we naked apes required it to survive in climates we migrated to.

However, those coverings had to come off for Homo sapiens to do the zugzug -- so nakedness became associated with having sex. As our species developed restrictions against having sex, we developed parallel restrictions against being naked. So now, we're stuck with teaching our children that it's shameful to allow others to see certain parts of their bodies -- or to fart, belch, or eat their salad with the wrong fork.

As Joe South sang, "Oh the games people play!"

Monday, August 14, 2006


Your wings are BROKEN and tattered. You are an angelic spirit who has fallen from grace for one reason or another - possibly, you made one tragic mistake that cost you everything. Or maybe you were blamed for a crime you didn't commit. In any case, you are faithless and joyless. You find no happiness, love, or acceptance in your love or in yourself. Most days are a burden and you wonder when the hurting will end. Sweet, beautiful and sorrowful, you paint a tragic and touching picture. You are the one that few understand. Those that do know you are likely to love you deeply and wish that they could do something to ease your pain. You are constantly living in memories of better times and a better world. You are hard on yourself and self-critical or self-loathing. Feeling rejected and unloved, you are sensitive, caring, deep, and despite your tainted nature, your soul is breathtakingly beautiful.

Result of Claim Your Wings quiz.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

What do offensive words such as Cracker, Kike, Nigger, Slope, Chink, Faggot, Spic, Fundy, Towel-head, Trailer Trash, Blanket-Ass, Gook, Honkey, Wetback, Tree Hugger, and Sinner have in common? They are words that humans have used to identify the "not us" within our species.

Nature is competitive. Natural selection is a reality for all species. Therefore, evolution (or God, if you prefer) provided animals with the instinct to be wary of the "not us" within their own species.

Non-human species usually kill the "not us" (or at least run them away). Homo sapiens do this also, as with war. However, humans have another tool to eliminate the "not us" -- assimilation. (Some other species do this to a lesser degree.) If the "not us" can be turned into the "us", the threat goes away and the pack is strengthened in numbers. Native Americans are a good example. They have been either eliminated or assimilated to the point (most) others do not consider them a threat (although they still feel the eyes watching them).

So, to "hate the sin, but love the sinner" is seldom possible. Assimilating others is seldom done out of "love" -- it's done instinctively to eliminate what may be a threat to the pack. So, while we really DO hate the sin ("not us" behavior), we instinctively fear (rather than love) the sinner (and the faggot, the fundie, the atheist, the Democrat, the Republican, and all the other "not us").

Friday, August 04, 2006

Words in the Bible

Biblical writers, later interpreters, and even Christ were products of their zeitgeist. In other words, they used language in a way that was common to their time.

Words like "know", "faith", "belief", and "love" took on multiple meanings which prevent their precise interpretation. Examples of such can be found in today's newspaper, let alone in ancient writings.

The only community that requires precision of terms is the scientific, and it did not exist (as we know it) in first century Palestine.

Here's an example of how imprecise the word "love" is in the English language:

"Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty; Greek three; and English only one. English speakers do know the 96 forms of love - they just jam them into one word! That is why we are all confused over what "love" is, since we have dozens of definitions for it!" - N.S. Gill, Ancient/Classical History

What does this mean when reading the Bible? It means the message the Biblical author wanted to convey may not be exactly what the English word, "love" means to us.

It also means one must be careful about any article of faith that relies heavily upon a single word. Factors such as contemporary idioms, language-to-language inadequacies, and cultural bias, all make interpretation of a Biblical word suspect -- even in the original Greek. Context must be considered and sanity checks performed to have any chance of getting the same message in our heads as the one that originated in the author's.

Failure to do this is part of why we have a million or so different denominations -- overuse of the microscope and underuse of logic.