Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain




Having watched Pope Francis, and I’m no fan as I’m not Catholic(hell, I’m not even a believer), being eaten alive by conservative Protestants the words of this song came to mind. Oh, how fantastic Christans are at cannibilzing. I know, I know. The Pope’s not really a real Christian(sarcasm, if you can’t tell).

My Jesus

“And who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side
Or fall down and worship at His holy feet? Holy, yeah

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him
‘Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church…

The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
And I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd…” Todd Agnew

No, if the Jesus depicted in scripture walked the streets of America today he would not be recognized.  He would be shunned.  He would be shouted down.  No matter how many scriptures you throw at me saying that Jesus was a capitalist I don’t buy it.  I don’t think that The Parable of the Ten Minas means what you think it means.  I’m not even a professing Christian and I know that this parable has nothing to do with greed or accumulation of wealth.  Even if it did it wouldn’t be advocating it at the expense of others.  It certainly doesn’t carry with it any meaning even close to “get all you can, while you can, and hoard it for yourself.”

Somehow I just can’t picture the Jesus found in your Holy Book packing heat and capitalizing on the mysery of others.  I don’t even think I can picture him building big walls across the border.  Funny, for people who expect that Jesus could come back soon, at any moment, you sure do spend an awful lot of your time stepping on the heads of others to get your leg up in this world.


Are we there yet?


Reading through this post from Mike at My Omer of Manna and some re-posts from long-time blogging buddy Zoe at Secular Wings encouraged me to go back to the beginning of my own journey. This is where it all started.

Originally posted on Out From Under the Umbrella:

I’ve been a Christian for the last 25 years of my life.  A cultural Christian for 10 of those years and a sincerely devoted Christian for the last 15.  I’ve taken and taught discipleship training courses and have subjected myself to loads of apologetics.

Most of the Christians I encounter and am friends with are humble and down to earth. However, when it comes to doubts most of them are pretty certain they’ve arrived.  They know all the pat answers.  They know the “Christianese”.  So do I.  Somehow that just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.  I need more than that.

So I am embarking on a journey.  I’m going my own way.  Does that make me a lost sheep?  Maybe so.  I guess I’ll see where this road takes me.  I’m fearful and excited all at the same time.  I’ve always had questions and doubts and I’ve pressed them…

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A Proper Temper Tantrum

[Warning:  Gratuitous swearing and whining]


So, yeah, I threw a proper temper tantrum last night. I wasn’t mad at anybody in particular.  I was pretty much pissed right off at everything.

Why, you might ask?

Because the push mower wouldn’t start.

Oh, no.  That wasn’t the first of it.  That was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

You see, TheBrit’s family is coming on the 12th for a nearly three week visit.  They’ve never been to America.  In fact, his parents have never been on an airplane.    I’m really excited about it.  His mother, father, sister, brother-in-law, and his niece will all be residents at our abode.

In preparation for their coming, though, I had planned all sorts of things.  The house needed pressure washing.  The house needs cleaning.  The yards need doing.  We have sleeping arrangements to prepare, linens to buy(because with just the two of us we really just operate on enough for us), and accomodations to make for his aged father.

We’ve known about this for months.

Every single time I think I’ll have some extra funds to do any of that with something else sucks it up like a giant black hole.

First my surgery in February.  Even with good insurance it cost us almost $5,000 out-of-pocket.

Then in May TheBrit hurt his back.  He was out of work for five weeks.  Without pay.  That hit hard enough, but he had to have exrays, MRI’s, steroid epidural injections and before we knew it, we’d met his out-of-pocket as well.  Another five grand.

Then, with his family to arrive in just a couple of weeks, our swimming pool which they are looking forward to dipping into since it’s so.damn.hot. sprung a leak.  So we’ve had to empty the pool, scrape out the caulking and are waiting on the super duper fast cure marine caulk to arrive. With less than exactly one week to go before they arrive the cement pond is bone ass dry.

Then my modem breaks.  That’s another hundred bucks.

Then, and yes this is our(probably MY) fault, Dottie ate the expensive ass remote control.

We both work full time jobs so all these little(and big) odd jobs have to be done in the afternoon and on weekends.  And he’s not even fully recovered from his back injury.  He works out in the heat all day.  When he comes home the last thing he wants to be bothered with is pressure washing and pool painting and yard work.  Not to mention the fact that he’s had blood work done and is having a sleep study scheduled because he is suffering from some extreme fatigue that has jumped on him like white on rice.

I hired the pressure washing done.

Then my brother-in-law who is an amateur carpenter at best – but because they bought a house and he’s doing most of the repair work himself thinks he knows everything – came over the other day for a family dinner and walked around our house looking at things.  We didn’t even ask for this.  He’s annoying as hell and even if I could afford to do any work right now I would be hiring it out to someone…professional.  He finds the ONE window sill that needs repainting and starts flaking the paint off.  “You’re going to have to take this whole window out and replace the sill.  It’s soft.”

I knew that it was soft.  A little soft.  The top layer of wood maybe six or eight inches long.  I already had a plan to have it fixed but as I wasn’t quite ready to do that was going to leave it until after our guests had left(so, yes, Roughseas, I’ll be sending those pictures very soon).  Now it looks really bad because, well, paint flaked off half of the window sill!  I didn’t effing ask you to do that!  He was so perplexed by my less than jovial expression.

I was going to do some of the outside stuff just because I know TheBrit doesn’t have all the time in the world and could use a little help.  I asked him if he’d get the push mower out for me.  “I can do that much.  I’ll just mow up close to the house,” I said.  Nothing would do him, though, but to do it himself because he thinks I already do too much.  I really like to push mow, though.  Still, nothing would do but for him to do it, even though he was tired and he isn’t the one who wants it done.

He gets the mower out and it won’t crank.  He tries a few mechanicy things he knows to try.  He tries for a good forty-five minutes.  It still won’t crank.  He calls me outside for some help.  “I need you to pull the cord while I hold the choke.”  I pull and pull.  It’s probably flooded now, but I don’t mention that.

I give up and go back inside to finish cooking dinner because by this time I’m proper pissed.

He keeps trying to no avail.  He pushes it back into the shed and comes inside.  “I couldn’t get it to crank, babe.  We’ll have to take it to the repair shop.”

So after just shy of three years of marriage TheBrit got to see me throw a hissy fit.

“Okay, I’m not mad at you, but if another fucking thing at this fucking house breaks I’m going to lose my fucking mind!”  Then I pout for another hour.  I may or may not have slammed cabinets and drawers.

Then I take a deep breath(actually lots of them, I thought I was going to pass out) and decide whatever will be will be.  If this place is ready when they get here it’s ready.  If it ain’t, it ain’t.


Haters Gonna Hate

1482967_813463125356313_5515814137530970124_nAtheists don’t hate God any more than we hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns.  There are some of us who hate what religion does to people.  We no more believe that God does exist than any of those other things.

I’ve just never heard anyone denigrate, denounce, devalue, or discriminate in the name of fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns.  The minute they do I’ll start blasting those imaginary friends, too.


When somebody comes along and tells me I’d better love Tinkerbell, Larry the Leprechaun, or Stabby over there, else I’m going to a bad, bad place for all of eternity, I’ll tell them they’re crazy and if they gain a following I’ll label it a cult(oh my).

When people start having slaves, demanding submission, or waging wars, and abusing others in the name of their fairy, leprechaun, or unicorn, I’ll hate on those.

Until then, religion will do.


Somewhere Down There

Every once in a while, and less and less often, I get into a funk of sorts. Not a good one like this, either:

It’s like I’m in a deep, deep, hole and can barely see the light of day beaming down through a pinhole at the top. I’m somewhere down there.

Then I envision myself scratching at the sides, piling the dirt beneath my feet.  A little at a time I can build myself up until maybe, just maybe, I can climb out.  When I get like that I feel like I need to kick ass and take names, but just whose ass and whose names I do not know.

So I kick my own.  First I kick it for feeling this way and then I kick it into high gear.  I run.  I do pushups.  I lift light weights.  I ride my bike.  I need to sweat.  I need to punish something.

I want to write but I have no idea what.  I’m blank.  Yet I have a million thoughts in my head that won’t shut off.

I don’t want to cry.  I don’t want to be down in the hole.  I don’t want to take it out on someone else.

It’s time for one of our Little Talks.


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