I’ve had an interesting life experience over the past few years that I’d like to share with you.
As longtime readers will recall, my wife and I helped start a drug and alcohol treatment center back in 2001 – and that was, indeed, a spacey odyssey. (I’m sorry; that just forced its way out.)
For the first few months it was Michele, me, two therapists, an office manager and about ten clients. Over the next couple of years that changed (despite an embezzlement problem we won’t go into), into a thrice larger and quite successful operation. Continue reading
I’ve recently been involved in a dialogue with some Evangelical Christian folks. The results have been interesting.
As is often the case, the encounters began with an approach in an attempt to “save” me. This sort of thing used to really bother me. Eventually I came to realize that, unlike some lesser species (such as TV evangelists), most Evangelicals–those worthy of the name–are simply trying to do me a favor. They believe in their hearts that my soul is doomed, and they want to help. Viewed that way, it’s hard to remain insulted or angry. Annoyed is a different matter.
Buddhists don’t proselytize, and most of us accept the idea that it is wrong to attack someone’s belief system. When one takes the risk of dismantling the structure that supports another emotionally, it is cruelty of the highest order to have nothing the person will be able to digest as a replacement. Effective conversions occur over long periods, gently, and it is not my business to make them happen.
My usual response to such advances is to decline as politely as possible under the circumstances, and to do so firmly enough that it sticks. Given the desire to treat others with lovingkindness, that can be a tricky process. Continue reading
I truly do not understand why the followers of the Prophet are so thin-skinned.
Nor do I understand why they claim to be a religion of peace. They are no more so than are the Christians. Regardless of what the Prophet and Jesus may (or may not) have written or said, there is little in the behavior of either group, either recently or historically, that would confirm that they are anything but warlike in the extreme. (We won’t even talk about the Jews.) Muslims civilized northern Africa, parts of the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula at sword’s point. The followers of the Prince of Peace chased them out of Spain, attempted to evict them from the Holy Land by force, and generally raised hell throughout the northern part of the Muslim countries for hundreds of years.
On other fronts, Christians saved the souls of the Indios of the Americas and, in a genocide just as effective as that of the Nazis — if rather less-publicized, the winners having indeed written the history books — stole roughly 1/3 the land area of the planet from its previous tenants. Several million of those saved souls were released to their maker during that period of spreading God’s Word. The British duplicated the spread of their peaceful religion throughout the far east, Australia, and the Indian sub-continent, with lesser empires assisting in Africa and parts of South and Central America. Islam spread its way throughout much of Asia and the rest of the globe in the same way, but with its spread facilitated even more by the depredations of the hated Christians. Continue reading
I started off as a middle-of-the-road Republican, and switched to the Democratic party in the Gingrich era because I couldn’t stand the embarrassment any longer. Since then I’ve swung even farther left, as my common sense has slowly beaten the redneck into submission. I’d now call myself liberal-progressive, if I thought I needed a label.
Attempting compassion and lovingkindness as a way of life does that to people, even hard-headed old ex-cops. Nonetheless, I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s time to get over this p.c. crap about ascribing the best possible attributes to the adherents of essentially violent religious beliefs. It has never been true of Christians, of Jews, of Hindus — and certainly not of Islam. Continue reading
People use alcohol and drugs for only one reason, to alter their brain chemistry so that they feel “better” than they did previously. Therefore, without exception, a person who is “under the influence” is suffering from chemically induced abnormal brain function, and is unable accurately to judge her own behavior. Continue reading
It’s Mother’s Day on the 13th, as we all know. It’s interesting — that’s two days after May 11th, which would be the 39th anniversary of the lovely mother of my lovely daughters and I, had we remained married. I’d like to have sent her a card or something. Unfortunately, her second husband, (to whom she’s been married for more than 20 years,) has never been able to tolerate the idea that his wife might maintain a cordial relationship with her ex. We’ve learned not to rock the boat, so she won’t be getting the thanks she deserves for giving me wonderful kids and, now, a grandchild as well — at least not in the first person. But this is my column and I can do as I please, so thanks, Suze. This bud’s for you! (Rosebud, that is.)
Then there’s My-Wife-The-Shrink, Continue reading
I wrote this during the run-up to our current incursion into other people’s territory. I think it holds up fairly well in today’s market.
I’ve been reading all the stuff on the message boards about the coming–and seemingly inevitable–war with Iraq, and one thing stands out: no one seems to be able to do much but hash the same old arguments over and over. The pro-administration people (may their tribe decrease precipitously) say the same old stuff, and so do we liberal-pinko-fascist-loving unpatriotic peaceniks (may we breed lustily and well, and soon overrun the planet.) But NO ONE seems to have anything useful to say! Continue reading