On Wednesday June 14, James T. Hodgkinson shot Congressman Steve Scalise in a baseball park in Alexandria, Virginia.
On Wednesday June 14, Jimmy Lam shot and killed Benson Louie, Wayne Chan and Michael Lefiti at a United Parcel Service (UPS) facility in San Francisco, California.
Two shootings in the United States on the same day. These shootings were not the lead stories on some radio and television news broadcasts, and did not make the front pages of some newspapers.
What if James T. Hodgkinson and Jimmy Lam had been Muslims? Would both shootings be lead stories on radio and television news, and on all front pages of newspapers? Would leaders around the world condemn the shootings, and express sympathy for the victims’ families? Would people around the world hold vigils for the victims and state, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Alexandria and San Francisco.”?
The UPS shooter was identified as Jimmy Lam. Was his first name James? The baseball-park shooter’s first name was James. Should authorities pass laws against, and arrest and imprison all men whose first name is James to make sure that their violence never happens again?
Fortunately, neither James T. Hodgkinson nor Jimmy Lam was a Muslim. We can assume this, but we don’t know because their religion was never mentioned. So, there is no need for the media to report much more on these shootings; there is no need for world leaders to address the violence in Alexandria and San Francisco; there is no need for any worldwide vigils for the victims; and there is no need for authorities to pass laws and arrest and imprison anyone since both Hodgkinson and Lam are dead. And the victims’ families feel good knowing that their loved ones were not killed by Muslims.
“If you use our real names in your blog, then I’ll . . . ”
The speaker was Adam. That’s not his real name. Adam is married to Eve. That’s not her real name. I have known Adam and Eve since they were kicked out of The Garden.
Adam and Eve have often invited me to their place for dinner. I have avoided going because I get into my hermit mode and do not socialize. So it’s nothing against Adam and Eve when I turn down their dinner invitations.
This past Wednesday I had a business appointment with Adam. Adam offered to drive me back to the library after our appointment, but needed to stop briefly by his house on the way.
“Would you like to come in and say hello to Eve?” asked Adam when we stopped at his house.
“Sure,” I said.
I had no plans to stay, but once inside Adam and Eve and I started talking. What a wonderful conversation! It lasted through dinner and afterward. We talked about life, death, God and religion. What else would you talk about around Adam and Eve? I would have missed this delightful evening if Adam did not have to stop at his home.
Adam and Eve are kind and generous. All who know them are blessed. Even God regrets kicking them out of The Garden. I am grateful for their friendship.
So many topics to write about to see how I think and feel. Sometimes paralysis sets in with too many choices.
I’m a vegetarian. Being vegetarian has nothing to do with some of my best friends being pigs. I love meat, but my body does not. My body gives me upset stomachs, and other digestive problems, if I eat anything that is born and has eyes. People have told me to go to a doctor and get a pill to take so I can continue to eat meat and not have problems. Why would I do that? My body keeps me healthy when I listen to it. Why would I force it to do something it does not want to do?
When I first became a vegetarian years ago, it was easy for me to choose meals at restaurants. At that time restaurants had a limited vegetarian selection. How easy to choose. But now restaurants have vast selections of vegetarian delights. I take much, much longer making a choice.
And so it is with writing. What do I write about? Do I write about my family? Do I write about my encounters with my fellow nutbars? (Is that the same as writing about family?) Do I write about traveling on the Turtle Transit Cars? (Public transit. TTC – Toronto Transit Commission) Do I write about my dreams and how I don’t remember them? Do I write about politics? Do I write about religion? Do I write about insanity which includes politics and religion?
The choices are infinite.
God was an old balding man with a long white hair and a long white beard. He wore a long white gown.
“Wasn’t God young once?” I asked my Sunday School teacher. “Wasn’t there a time when he wasn’t bald and didn’t have white hair?”
My Sunday School teacher said, “God always was, and always will be.”
I concluded that God was born old and balding with long white hair and a long white beard. That is what made God different from the rest of us.
One of the deals I tried making with God was, “God, if you give me powers to fly, then I promise I will be good.” Even though God never gave me powers to fly, I still felt guilty when I was bad. I reasoned that my bad behavior was justified because God did not keep up his end of the deal. Still, I felt guilty about being bad.
I could never understand the Holy Trinity. I understood God. I understood Jesus. I did not understand the Holy Spirit. Adults were always saying, “Two is company and three is a crowd.” Why did we need the Holy Spirit? My Sunday School teacher gave me an explanation about God being three people. I found it confusing because a spirit isn’t a person. Besides, why would God want to be three different people? Wasn’t he happy just being God?
So, why this blog on some of my childhood thoughts on religion? Earlier today I said, “God, if you give me an idea for a blog, then I promise I’ll be good.” Now I have to keep up my end of the deal.
My good friends Kurt Vonnegut and Jonathan Winters died on April 11. Kurt died in 2007, and Jonathan six years later in 2013. Both were born on November 11. Kurt was born in 1922, and Jonathan in 1925.
If you add the three years difference in their births and the six years difference in their deaths, then you get nine. (3 + 6 = 9) I have no idea what this means, but it may have something to do with cats.
I spoke to Kurt and Jonathan today, the anniversary of their deaths.
“I never believed in the afterlife when I had a body,” said Kurt. “I am at a loss to explain why I still exist after I left my body. Perhaps it’s all an illusion caused by sunspots.”
“The afterlife confirmed my belief that The Creator has nothing to do with religion,” said Jonathan. “Religion is full of judgment and condemnation. Eternity is full of Love.”
“Do you have some words to inspire me while I fart around here on Earth?” I asked.
“The arts are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practising an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.” said Kurt.
“Remember Gary,” said Jonathan, “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
Ancient Chinese sage Say Ing could not stand any noise. He needed silence to muse, meditate, and contemplate.
Two stones outside Say Ing’s home started conversing. It was a loud conversation for Say Ing, but a normal-volume conversation for the stones. No matter how many times Say Ing asked the stones to talk quietly, the stones kept talking loudly because it was normal for them to talk loudly.
Say Ing’s pet canary did not like the loud conversation coming from the stones. It started singing to try to drown out the noise. Say Ing snapped! He could not stand the noise coming from the stones and his canary. Say Ing reached inside the cage, grabbed the canary and threw it at the stones killing them and the canary instantly.
In the ensuing silence Say Ing thought, “I just killed two stones with one bird.”
What religion are chipmunks? Are there peanut and popcorn munks? If so, are they the same religion as chipmunks?
Is this the best I can do when the voices in my head vibrate, without limit, somewhere else?