Monday, December 30, 2013

WAITING



Waiting started early. I had to wait a whole year from 3 to 4 before I was allowed to start dance lessons. I had to wait a year from 4 to 5 before I could start kindergarten and walk to school with Gary from next door. I had to wait just forever before getting my driver's license. I firmly believed I would never be kissed by a boy because it was taking so long to happen.

Looking back on all the things I've had to wait for, I remember being dragged down into the dumps of mood doom by the false belief that "it's never going to happen!!!!!!!!!!!" I suspect it was the excessive use of exclamation points that strengthened this self destructive thought.

In some cases, waiting is not necessarily a good thing. When you're sick and need to see a doctor, waiting is not good. I've been guilty of this in the past, to my physical regret. It's also not a good practice in bill paying, as late charges will apply.

Sometimes waiting is a good thing. Sometimes the saying "If it's meant to be, it will happen," bolsters your waiting muscles to see if a thing is true or good for you. Though personally I find this annoying.

The lesson of waiting for me springs from two questions. "What are you going to do with your time while you are waiting?" Life is just one long wait. One's life begins with the first protesting cry of birth and then waits for the last rattling gasp before death. It's really that simple. And, "What are you going to do with your time while you are waiting?" is the question for us all.

The other question is "How do you choose to wait for -X- to occur?" I'm not patient. I want to know stuff now. Right now. Immediately. I mean, really, we're all here, we have the supplies, the idea is on the table.....I can feel the GRRRRR revving up just writing this. It's psychic torture sometimes, this waiting business. And I resent the pointing out that it's torture of my own making.

Right this second, here are the things I am waiting for:
~Breakfast - because I chose to write this first.
~Paying bills, because that's going to take a chunk of time I haven't had
~An Amazon order to show up that was sent US mail.
~The scars from my plastic surgery to fade so I can more persuasively lie about my age
~Ben to start driving so I don't have to spend so much time in my car waiting for him
~And a couple other big things I'll just keep to myself.

Now it's a choice of how will I wait and what will I do. Breakfast will happen soon, so I'm down with that one. The bills will happen this afternoon because I am sick of looking at the mountain of money sucking paper on my desk. Amazon I can detach from, because I have good luck with them and I know it will show up. The scars I can romantically allude to duels, so that will be fun. The last two are the GRRR makers.

I'm thinking that for me, the two best tools for the last two things will be resignation and list making. Those two have worked in the past. At least they'll work in spurts, until I grow impatient again. Which will happen over the course of the next couple years. I apologize now to the trees for the amount of paper I will consume making lists.

What is the purpose of waiting? I don't think it has any purpose. I think it's an artificially constructed life view that we, culturally, have agreed upon for conversational purposes. "How are you?" "I'm good. Just waiting for school to start." "Oh, I hear that. I can't wait to have my days back!" ......  to "How are you?"  "I'm good. Just waiting for my kids to come visit."  "Oh I hear that. I can't wait to see mine when they visit every year."  Which, when you think about it, is kind of silly. Why not just play a hand of gin or walk through a lovely park instead of waiting for what's not there yet? It'll show up or it won't.

And now that I've written this, I am going to wait for this wisdom to sink in and become a soothing new point of view. "AhhhhhOhhhhhhhmmmmm." Yeah, right. Like that's going to happen. *She reaches for a pencil and paper to start yet another list*

Thursday, October 31, 2013

TOO HAPPY TO WRITE

I haven't written much these past five months. In any venue, outside of checks, permission slips and insurance applications.

Because I am happy.

Apparently my writing volume has historically been in direct proportion to my level of angst and unhappiness.

This is interesting. Or not. Depending on one's point of view.

A change of mental venue is definitely in order.

But there is danger. The safety cones are clearly labeled -

"Obsequiousness"

"Saccharine"

"Cloying"

.....and like that.

Perhaps a sensory deprivation tank? Or a drug induced transcendental state?

There are more changes coming up. I'll write on them later.

Meanwhile I have the third spider bite from my current town of residence in three years to deal with. This one is on my face. There's a little angst -

Thusly motivated:

~A hungry spider yesterday
~Took a very large bite from my face
~Left a venomous kiss
~with necrotizing hiss
~Then escaped at a very brisk pace.

...It's a start.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FINGERS CROSSED, NOT WEARING SHOES

I'm not really single any more. I met someone. On a fracking dating site. In less than three months of plowing through toads.

Yes, it's true.

I'm not wearing shoes so there will be no dropping of one or the other.

I am not going to write much on it, if ever. Because I don't usually swing that way. Especially now because it is all brand new.

There is a film sequence in my head where I am wearing a lovely burgundy lace gown. My hair is up, Gibson style. I walk down a hallway of tall windows dressed in gauzy,  floor to ceiling curtains that billow in a soft breeze. Men of all sizes and shapes, but within my parameters of between age 57 and 65 and living within 75 miles of me, who do not smoke, are not married, are not looking for a hookup or casual encounters, line each side of the hallway.

I stop and look intently into each face. Some eyes pop open, with idiotic grins and drool rolling down their face. Some look sternly back at me and say "Not pretty enough!" or "Not thin enough!" or "Not enough enough!" And I pat each on the head and say, most times kindly, "not you," always referring to them with their personal not real name.

Then I come to the himself who I refer to in the first paragraph of this post. Fireworks shoot up from behind him, burning all the curtains down and scaring the others, who leave in a panicked run. Our eyes lock in a surprise of instant mutual knowing, as shit eating grins spread from ear to ear on both of our attractive faces. Salsa music starts up and we dance away as the camera fades out.

Isn't that nice?

We're waiting to tell each other we love each other until this weekend. Because it is crazily just too soon.

I so dearly hope he is not a pooper.




Saturday, May 25, 2013

EPIC


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. DON'T READ IF YOU PLAN TO SEE IT. READ IT AFTER.

Ben and I saw this movie last night. I highly recommend it, objectively. It was well done, with a good story. The animation was beautiful.

Subjectively, I had a rather strange reaction to the film. For  a number of reasons, which, of course since this IS a blog post, I shall elucidate.

The movie is based on the book,The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs which was copyrighted in 2001. This date may or may not be important. I include it only as a curiosity in the unfolding of circumstantial events.

I used to work at the Disney studios, in the feature animation division. It was during the magical time that was presented in the documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty." I still need to see that film. Anyway, that's when I worked there. Of course I was writing at the same time, but this was long before the advent of blogging and Facebook and Twitter and all such media creations for the masses to expel their mental ditherings, much like the expulsion from a giant zit.

Back in the early '90's, I wrote a treatment for an animated film. It was set in New Orleans. It was about a little girl who saves the life of a caterpillar. But not just any caterpillar. The prince caterpillar who is destined to become the butterfly king of the insect world in her back yard. The caterpillar, after being rescued by the little girl, is kidnapped by the cockroaches living in the little girl's house. The little girl is transformed into tiny size, because she helped before so she has to help now, to rescue the caterpillar and save the bugs in the back yard. There's a lot more to it, but you get the idea.

This story did not lie around my apartment gathering dust. I registered it with the Writer's Guild. This sort of "protects" it for 10 years. There are film folks who send minions in to read things registered here for the pilfering of story ideas. In addition, there is a dynamic in the film industry where more than one person at one time comes up with the same or similar story or ideas. I saw this quite often when I was working for a film bonding company and read the scripts that came in for review.

I also had lunch with the president of the animated film division and pitched the story to him. He said it was "sweet."

The 10 years passed and I forgot to renew the registration at the WG. A film called "The Ant Bully" came out awhile back, with a lot of similar elements to my story. I chalked it up to coincidence. If it was pilfered, it was indeed "my bad."

Then comes Epic. Nearly 10 years later, the book was written. Then the film is released this weekend. Before I go any further, I want to say here clearly that I also chalk all this up to coincidence. Bizarre coincidence. But I do not believe there was any intentionality at play here. At least on the human side of things.

The book and the story have the elements from my story of shrinking a human girl to bug size in order to save a kingdom. It's an animated film, as my story was a treatment for an animated film. None of these things is strange. So far.

While watching the film, there was a repetitive story thread of dire situations that seemed to be resolved, with happiness and celebration ensuing, only to be followed by a worse situation. I leaned over to Ben at the third such occurrence and said "This is the story of my life." No big deal. There are many movies out there that I can relate to in this way.

But near the end of the film, it started to occur to me that there were just a few more coincidences happening than these.

In Epic, the main character's name is "Mary Katherine." She makes an issue of being called "M.K." I am known as "L.J." to my colleagues and friends. I make an issue of this as well. Just one letter off from Epic's young lady. In Epic, "M.K." has red hair, with bangs. When I worked at Disney and wrote my treatment, I had red hair and bangs. "M.K." has big green eyes. I have big green eyes.

For some reason, when all of these coincidences hit me at the end of the film, it made me cry. And I'm not a cryer. Especially not in public. But I pulled myself together with the realization that these are just a motley collection of bizarre coincidences and circumstantial curiosities. Any other explanation is just plain crazy wacko.

Then we walked outside to go to the car. The climax of the film involves the necessity of a full moon's light to bathe a special flower bud, triggering it's bloom, in order to save the forest. When we walked out last night, there was an enormous full moon above us. Ben and I looked at each other and did an OMG gape.

But still. I chalk it up to bizarre coincidence. The wry side of me is saying "Fine. If the universe has a message for me, I certainly can't figure out what the heck it is. A note would be clearer." Unless it's in the denouement of Epic's story, which involves the young lady falling for one of the leaf men soldiers, but never being able to have a real relationship in a physical sense after finally acknowledging their feelings for each other. And my recent return to dating.

....that's me. Always cheerful, even in the face of magical universal coincidences. Though I must confess that I did look at myself this morning, very closely in the mirror, searching for a black outline around my silhouette.

Friday, May 24, 2013

MUCH BETTER NOW

I temporarily ran out of my anti pathetic medications.

Much better now.

Yes, I am dating. Yes it sucks. But if one never asks, one never gets.


....freaking amazing. No less.



Tuesday, April 09, 2013

ARE YOU STILL HERE?

Gracious, I did not shut the site down after all. It seems this old place is still getting visitors. As long as it does, I'll keep it up then.

Life is good here. My son is thriving and about to finish Middle School, with both of us still alive and relatively calm.

I am dating for the first time in *ahem* years. Goodness there are some stories to tell here. But I won't do it. That would be unseemly. Though I gotta tell you, they're something. What a strange age to be single. I hope to fix this soon.

We don't "church" any more. No surprise. And I have to say, I'm happier without it. I've made some nice friends in yoga. Yoga classes are always full of mellow, open, intelligent and lovely people. Plus my body likes it.

If you check in here sometimes, thanks. It's a comfy old place. If you want to say hey, please leave a comment. I'll check back in from time to time.

Peace out.

PG No Mo


Friday, March 01, 2013

Ex Communicated

My entire life has been an exercise of trying to feel a part of something bigger than myself.

Many people are given this naturally as a function of healthy family dynamics or healthy community experiences in church, school, clubs or whatever the organization.

Unfortunately I have had to battle against early messages that I do not deserve to be included in any community anywhere for any reason. Perhaps this is from being serially abused and marginalized as a child. Probably. Explains why I find compliments extremely awkward.

Bigger than that is the concept of community. This nifty article about community says it pretty well.

The last couple months I have felt more and more isolated. Some of this is intentional on the part of people around me. Some is unintentional by the thoughtlessness of people around me. Whatever. Save the call to the Waaambulance.

Today I'm actually in a peaceful place because of finally understanding that there really is no such thing as God of any church or any book or any organization claiming such a thing. There just isn't. It's a concept created to use as a hammer to push away the likes of me. Which is really sad, because I am wonderful and full of good ideas and funny as all get out. And a snappy dresser.

Jesus was a swell guy with good things to say. So was Buddha. And Mohammed. And such like folks. But this deification business, in my experience, is used to judge, punish and even kill others - which those particular gentlemen would find abhorrent. That's just stupid and evil.

It took a long time, but Thanks Pastor Gary from La Canada and thanks Rev. Terry and thanks to CMT for showing me what a travesty organized religion and churches are. How they have absolutely nothing to do with creating any sort of all inclusive, supportive, loving and functional community. I refuse to feel unworthy and not good enough for the likes of you, in the name of a false god, any more.

I have myself, my son and some treasured fine friends. Riches beyond measure. There's no longer any need to measure myself against the always found wanting yardstick of manipulative, dysfunctional and abusive ideologies created for personal gain, ego stroking and edifications.

It's a gorgeous day out here. Sometime in the next month I'll be shutting this site down. I don't believe in churches anywhere any more. Or the god they claim to exist in the pages of hotly debated variations of translations from books of dubious provenance.

Peace out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

THE BULLY PULPIT

Just because it's sometimes called a bully pulpit, I get the feeling that some pastors consider themselves entitled to indulge in bullying behavior. Especially when they've cultivated and nurtured and developed, over the years, a culture of fear of their bad temper from those around them.

I've been through this more than once in more than one church and religious organization. You'd think that would qualify me to see it coming. But I retain a sadly immature naiveté about such things in the silly hope that maybe this time will be different. This is also a classical reaction of an abuse victim, I know. I've read all the books and had the therapy. But then, this makes sense, considering my personal history of various types of abuse. I don't know why I should expect to be attracted to a healthy community of worship, and not of the pastor, if indeed there is such a thing.

Every experience I've had allows me to create a cobbled together version of this type of pastor/leader. He can also be a She.

He is always right about everything. When he does admit a mistake, it's usually because he was given wrong information/partial information/was having a bad day which everyone is entitled to.

Speaking of entitled, this is key. He is entitled to take liberties/jump to conclusions with partial information/make unilateral decisions without going through proper channels because he was "led by spirit." This includes circumventing the board, hiring and firing at will, especially if any of them become a perceived threat to him and his status. This is clinically called "user mentality."

He will triangulate relationships between members to create alliances against others. In this process, he will speak ill of anyone, including members of the congregation, when threatened by real or perceived criticism from the other so-called group or persons.  This process can also include shunting perceived enemies to the side, marginalizing them as people and currying the same response from others. This is presented as "tough love" for the flock.

He will take credit for, or assign credit to a "favorite" for anything positive, whether actually incurred or not, and find scapegoats for any so-called failures. He will never take responsibility for any mishap, misdeed or mistake. He will marginalize any other pastors employed by the church by omitting announcements regarding their illnesses or good news in the service.

He will leave a meeting or gathering angry, with no thought to any consequences of deliberately dividing the congregation or ruling body.

He will overtly flirt and use inappropriate language or touch when he is attracted to someone, in both public and private circumstances.

He will bestow special favor on one or only certain members or employees, holding them above everyone else in such a way as to denigrate the whole, rather than celebrate an actual contribution. This favor will also include work or effort done by others and not the person being favored.

He will seed the staff and board with people he knows will support him in anything he wants to do, without question. If anyone does "stand in his way" so to speak, he will do whatever necessary to remove them from the church, no matter how hurtful or dishonest, and in such a way he will never be caught.  You'll only hear about it after the fact, when the person is gone, having left spiritually destroyed and humiliated usually.

This is similar to the behavior that came under legal scrutiny in Penn State, except only this side of the law. Usually the board and leaders of the church or group are fully aware of the behavior. In some cases, they support it and add to it, because it's the pastor, after all, and we don't want to make them angry.

One way I have finally learned as a "tell" on this, is to stop right after I feel attacked, whether it was directed at me or not. Then step back and ask some questions. Was a particular outburst based on any facts? Were skewed facts used and then turned into self righteous condemnation, followed by an accusatory chaser? When all is said and done, was there anything to it? Trial attorneys learn that if you don't have the law on your side, stick to the facts and if you have neither, then yell really loud. Is this what happened here? So far, ten times out of ten, hubris and sanctimonious posturing win the day.

For a long time I was astonished at how these bullies continue to get away with it, over and over and over. It seems they are enabled and propped up with excuses and minimizing of their behavior with soothing platitudes, because the group around them are former victims themselves. Must keep the parent from spanking us, after all.

I've been through pastors breaking into tears because the stingy old congregation wouldn't fork over enough money for a huge building campaign. This happened on cue in three services. I've listened to haranguing that nobody volunteers, when everyone in the room had volunteered repeatedly over time, after not getting their way on something. I've been through pastors taking a portion of cash offerings and told to shut up about it if I knew what was good for me. I've been through leaders putting my name on a "persona non grata" list because I knew too much and called them on it.

I've had far more bad experiences from pastors and church leaders than good. It is the preponderance of my personal experience that these people are narcissistic, ego-driven demagogues who throw tantrums and actually hurt others when they don't get their own way. And they refuse to step down. They will never step down. And they will likely never be asked to step down.

There must be healthy places out there. I've heard stories of them. It's why I kept trying over the years. But until I can kick this cycle of attracting abusive and controlling people and groups, I have to pull back. Maybe forever. Who knows.

All I can say is a lot more gets done and I have more peace this way.

I cede the floor to the bullies. May they eventually find a lovely view hoisted on their own petard.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TRAVELING TO NEW TERRITORY

We are what we believe. How we live shows what we really believe.

The Amish believe that modern constructs like electricity and television and zippers are paths to the devil. They really believe that, because they live without those things.

Terrorists believe that the only way to continue living successfully in this world is to impose their beliefs (whatever they are, as they are not overly forthcoming in sharing them in a hospitable way at first, as in, maybe with a TED talk), by killing everyone whom they assume does not believe as they do.

I find Jewish tradition to be delightfully down to earth and practical, though some of it dated. Like keeping kosher, which I  believe was to keep the tribe alive before the invention of refrigeration and hot water heaters. The ceremonies have lovely chanting prayers and shawls and candles. And the appreciation for family and community, I find to be very healthy. Though, heaven forbid I should marry in, being a shiksa and all.

Many Christian conservatives believe that the world is only 6,000 years old and that while it is perfectly all right to eat unconsecrated foods, such as shrimp and lobster, you will go straight to hell if you are homosexual. And factions of these believers want to impose their beliefs on everyone else in the world, in the name of "love", while they seek to destroy the lives and opportunities of everyone who does not believe as they do.

Most Wiccans I've met, or pagans as they sometimes like to be called, love us all, no matter what we believe, and wish for us love and light and peace. They believe that caring for the earth and each other in all ways is a happy way to live. Many folks in so-called mainstream society look at Wiccans and pagans as "nut-jobs" or "kooks" or somehow inherently wicked because they find healthy pleasures in their adult flesh. And they smile a lot. Which modern America often finds unnerving.

Now, Satanists, from what I've read and heard, want us all to die horrid bloody ritualistic deaths, unless we qualify to join their covens and they're short their required 13, and agree to help each other to attain riches and power and pornographic sexual experiences, which will involve blood sacrifices and only wear black all the time, with maybe some blood red accessories.

And so on.  And each group derides the others, except maybe the Wiccans, and makes fun of their ceremonial choreographies, while judging them harshly, if not outright causing them pain and suffering one way or another.  That's a party!

And they all involve some sort of ritual, and spell casting, or chanting, or ceremony, or tribal gathering with ceremonial programs to be followed in specific orders. Christianity has liturgies, and services and rituals just as Wiccans, Satanists and any other religion in the world. Catholics have an entire choreography one must learn, involving the correct use of beads and hand signals. When the alien species come to take us over, they will probably add airport ramp agents (the folks who guide the airplane to the gate with batons) to the list of priests and pastors. The only ones who seem to be able to sleep in on Halloween and Sunday are the atheists. Although even many atheists seem to want to change every one's mind to their way of non-belief by deriding belief in anything but nothing. They might find far more success if they had at least a secret handshake.  And agnostics hedge all bets by allowing for the great "perhaps."

And this is just in the realm of religion and the origins of the universe, without bringing science and scientific discoveries into the equation.  No time for that today. I do have errands to run. After turning counterclockwise three times under the noon day sun while making the anti hex sign.

Plus there are still every day issues of our physical, emotional and economic health and well being based on our beliefs; our societal function or dysfunction and how we see ourselves in the world based on our beliefs. It's a huge concept when you don't have it. And extremely simple when you do, or have one you cling to stubbornly as exclusively right over all others. There's a whole book's worth of explorations!

But only one way can be correct. Which one is correct? Just like Highlander, there can be only one, right? There's just one road to Olympus, after all, yes? In this huge, grand universe where so many miraculous things like the sponge can be made into an entertaining children's cartoon, we have to have reasonable limitations, after all. The idea of dinosaurs alone is enough to turn one purple! And if there were dinosaurs, they must have been Christian dinosaurs, who might have eaten shrimp, but certainly never lusted after their own gender. And wore a canopy of trees as a Friday services hat.

Personally, these days, I like to stick to what I find in as scholarly and close to original translation (and I don't necessarily subscribe to Aramaic Prominence Theory), of the gospels. Because I am a latter day Anglo Saxon American of multiple European bloodline descent. And my family does not have one solid tradition. (Though I have relatives who might argue we have a Seventh Day Adventist tradition. But that only came from my mother's mother who was a matriarch to end all matriarchs).  I don't like church. These days I find it mean-spirited and silly. And churches haven't been all that fond of me. I think Jesus had good ideas on how to have a happy life. That's my choice. I shall not inflict it upon you by hitting you on the head with a book.

If I succeed in my happy life, and you want to know how I did it, I'll tell you. I have to go look up the scripture that supposedly said "there is only one way to the Father, and that's through me." Personally I don't believe Jesus said that. Not when everything else he taught was so inclusive. And maybe I'll end up rehearsing hell's various choreography for writing that. But I don't believe there's an exclusive development deal for God.

Then, I have to go out and live in the world each day. A world which is made up of a potpourri of all these different traditions, religions, beliefs, etc. And the cacophony of unspoken, judgmental dialogue constantly at odds with each other is enough to send me back under the covers with a mindless romance novel and a bottle of scotch.

For some bizarre reason we just cannot wrap our minds around "All of the Above" as a box to check on the multiple choice exam of day to day life.  Perhaps this stems from a belief founded in massive insecurity, "If your way is right, then my way must be wrong," and we never ever ever can be "wrong." Even entertaining such a thought will require punishment of some sort, after all.

What if there is no such thing as "wrong." Which, I admit, is hard to fold Satanism into. But inclusive is inclusive, kids. What if there is a way that works better for you, than for me, and at the base of it is crazy, happy love? Just plain old love.

I'm naive. It'll never happen in my lifetime. But maybe somewhere, out there, there is an elephant sitting in the middle of a living room, being experienced all over its body by blind people, thinking, "this feels nice." It would be a pink elephant, of course.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FIRST CHURCH OF NOT

I do not believe in church any more. My adult experience with church has run into mostly greed, narcissism, snobbery and bigotry. And peculiar obsessions with legacy building.

I've read about the dying denominational church. I'm not surprised. New discoveries in biblical studies as well as science have really opened a wider appreciation, if you have an open mind, for what this universe is really about. We, humans, still have just a tiny pinprick opening view of it, but it's a wondrous thing.

Our own little corner of the universe here is filled with so many people who are not Christians. Even a lot of so-called Christians are not technically Christians any more. What's a deity to do with this? Well, it was never about what any deity does with anything, of course. It's what do we do. Sitting around and crying over an empty pew is about as useful as taking a corpse to dinner and expecting them to pay.

Get over it already.

Organized religion is dying in the Christian world. Buh-bye. And it's a necessary transition. But there's nothing new to fill that void. The stuff passing as filler are things like prosperity gospel (believe and you will receive gold and frankincense and a new BMW!!), and general "spiritualism" (believe it and it's true PRESTO! You're now a blond with big boobies if that's what you want!...well at least in your mind anyway, perhaps aided by a helpful medication).

Don't get me wrong, I believe in belief. It's a powerful part of creating your life. I'm just suspect of attaching all attention on that. I find important aspects of creation missing from these new avenues attempting to keep the old church floating. Things like ethics, a moral compass and the actual perspiration of effort required to manifest an idea into reality. Every birth needs labor pains. Or a surgeon who knows Caesarian procedures.

If I were to be given a boatload of money for the specific purpose of making a church (because things cost money. This is true. But they don't have to be gold inlaid), I wondered what it would look like. First of all, it would not be non-profit. Non-profit is fiction when it comes to current churches. Many of them. All of them make money. Many of them more than enough to cover expenses. Then they have to distribute it in certain ways to keep their non-profit status. I can't tell you how many pastors I came across while touring with Covenant Players, who skimmed from the offering for our show, after the minimum was paid, saying "tell anyone and you'll never be invited back."

It's a cash business. There's profit. I'd lose that. Pay a fair share of taxes on the profit. Pay the expenses. Then create community mission programs to help the local town we're in. Start local. There's plenty of need. It's not a regular church building.

There's a coffee and wine bar there. Yeah, we'll need a liquor license for the wine and beer. Communion will be really fun. There's a stage for dinner theater and services. With a dance floor for dances. Really like a big community center. There's a restaurant that serves sandwiches, breakfast and sometimes dinner. And all this stuff has menus with charges. If someone really can't afford it, we'll spot them if we're flush that week.

There's a big bulletin board in the building and on the website, where anyone can post - a need for a job, or prayer concern, or a thought for the day. Yeah of course it's edited for content. We have to be grown ups. But the boundaries are clear and printed on the board. "SUBJECT TO EDITING BY PASTOR IMINCHARGE." There are employees. People who are paid a salary. To do jobs that take time. Like a music/arts director. A CPA who does the books and taxes. In this economy, you cannot expect people to work for free. If a job is needed, pay for it.

There are book clubs during the week day. Not necessarily religious books only. There are clubs of any sort that someone wants to start. No spouse swapping clubs or satanists, I mean of course there are standards and practices.

There needs to be a basic theology, of course. It's New Testament, gospels. Period. Very simple. With a leaning toward learning and discussing and arguing everything else being discovered out there. There's a Sunday sermon given by a Muslim speaker who shares the Koran and their beliefs. There's a Sunday meditation by a Buddhist speaker. There's a wonderful service where a theoretical physicist talks about the Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson! And so on. Learning everything.

 There are pancake breakfasts and potlucks like days of old. There's pizza and movie night. It's a community center for the entire community, with a gospel basis.

You do not have to join. Just come on in and visit. There's a referral board for help. There's a network of professionals. This can be done without fear of liability. That's what waivers are for. The big whoopdee doo church I went to would not list anybody's business for fear of liability exposure. "We love you, but keep your business to yourself, we don't want to know. Tithe please." It's not Angie's list. We have no idea if Fred is any good at appliance repair. You'll figure that out.

It's a place where anyone can come and hang out for a rest. Hear some interesting ideas. Share a meal. See a dinner show. Listen to some tunes. Find a job. Find a plumber. Find some hope that their life has some real visceral and spiritual support from people who are real and interested and actually give a shit.

You can become a member. That's a different level. With some of the traditional bells and whistles of a steeple church. But there's no secret handshake. No special underwear. No secret room where the good scotch is kept. There are more commitments to service to the organization required. And helping to run the Sunday services. And the perks are not what you get. They're what you share. Time and talent. Money if you've a mind. But, honey, the coffee bar sandwiches and weekend entertainments are covering the expenses.

It might not work. But wouldn't it be fun to try? There are movements like this happening now, where folks will go to coffee bars for services and such. But this would be one big place that is all about doing that one little thing - being in the world, but not of it.

That's my church for today. I'm going to get some more coffee and do my Sudoku puzzle.

 Peace out.