Conservative Christian Theologian Eugene Peterson announced he’d perform a same-sex wedding and many reacted.
Friday Freewriting: What Will She Become?, “God Will Take Care Of It,” My First Trendy Tennis Shoes.
There’s a little girl. Probably around three. Long blonde hair. Sitting next to her mommy. No, she’s kneeling. On a brown chair. Mom is on a brown chair, too. Wearing a denim jacket.
She’s wearing a pink dress, the three-year-old girl. Or, maybe it’s pajamas. She’s playing with an iPad. Watching a cartoon. Her mom is deep in a conversation — with another lady who is sitting at the other end of the table.
Nothing more interesting than people. So I sometimes write about the ones I see.
I wrote about a beautiful woman and religious fanatics HERE.
I wrote about a mom and her ballerina daughter and two firemen HERE.
I wrote about how younger kids don’t let you sleep but older kids don’t let you rest HERE.
I’m listening to the song Highway Patrolman. It’s from Springsteen’s Nebraska album. I heard the album was recorded in his kitchen. Way back in the 80’s I think. Well before Garage Band.
I wonder who the little girl in the pink pajamas will one day become.
I just noticed she is wearing slip-on Vans. Leopard skin. I have a pair of Vans but I never wear them.
Growing up, only the cool kids had Vans. There were no other surf/skate shoes out there. And there were only three or four colors when I was a kid. Navy blue was the most popular. And there was red. And White. And light blue. That’s it I think.
My mom never bought me Vans. The first pair of non-generic shoes I ever got were Adidas. Stan Smiths. Those have made a comeback. I was around 13 or 14.
There were no slip-on Vans when I was a kid. But when the whole New Wave music thing came out, they came out with the checkerboard pattern. Black and white. They were for punkers. I think they came out with slip-ons at about the same time.
When the skateboard craze hit, they came out with the one with the squiggly line design.
Vans are still around today. The other day I was at Jack’s Surfboards with Edison. His Converse were getting shabby. I saw the skater Vans again. Thought how that line was not as smooth as the Nike swoosh. Just a squiggle.
Adidas has three straight stripes.
Asics the four flowing lines.
New Balance, the clean N.
And Vans, this line that the three-year-old girl in the pink pajamas could have easily drawn.
There’s a lady with an infant. He’s in a stroller. Maybe a week or two old. He’s all tucked in. His blanket is a pattern of balls. Basketballs. Baseballs. Footballs.
He is awake. Big brown eyes. Looks very serious. Infants always look very serious.
His mom is wearing workout clothes. Half the women around this place wear workout clothes.
I’m wearing workout clothes. Casual Friday.
I wonder who the baby with the blanket with balls will become.
The tall man with the Titleist cap.
I wonder who he has become.
Now the song Johnny 99 is playing. Just Bruce and his guitar. The whole album is just Bruce and his guitar.
There’s this lady that seems to be staring at me. Or she’s looking at someone outside. But like it has been a full minute. I keep looking up then I look away. I swear she’s starting right at me. She’s slovenly dressed. Not that it matters, but that’s what she looks like. And she’s probably around 40 years old.
There’s some business lady. She just walked in. Very sharp. Professional. She’s chewing gum. Not just chewing gum, she’s really chewing it.
I’ve heard that it’s rude to chew gum in public. When I lived in London some of the people would refer to Californians. How casual they are. How they wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts. And how they chew gum in public.
But I lived in a snobby part of London. So maybe it’s just in the snobby parts of London that it’s considered rude to chew gum.
I remember I made five bucks when I was a kid. Probably around 11 or 12. I rode my bike to this liquor store a couple of miles away. I spent all five bucks on gum. It filled my desk drawer to the top. The size of a large Vans shoebox. They had just come out with Bubble Yum. Before that, the only kind of bubble gum you get was Double Bubble. Or those big long bubble gums sticks.
Then they came out with a kind of gum with liquid in it. I don’t remember the name. I think it was always mint flavored. I think the liquid was green. It wasn’t really liquid, though; it was more like thick syrup.
Anyway, yesterday Trump bailed out of the Paris Climate Agreement yesterday. Funny, over 61 mayors of large cities are sticking with the regulations. Los Angeles and New York and Pittsburg and Chicago. They are all going to follow what over 190 other nations have agreed to keep our planet clean and safe.
We live in a great country. Great, in many ways at least. These mayors are free to influence their jurisdiction. Trump can’t do anything about these mayors’ decisions. Governor Jerry Brown is on his way to China to find ways to keep California to the same regulations as it was under the Parris Agreement.
For people of faith, it’s said that it was God that created the universe. It’s his. And he told us to take care of it. I’d think one of biggest no-brainers would be to take care of our planet. In every way. Reduce pollution. Recycle. Conserve energy.
In the Bible, God said to.
But many Christians don’t really seem to see this is important. It just doesn’t bother them much.
One congressman recently said God will “take care of” climate change.
Yes, he is a Republican and yes he is a Christian.
As a Christian and a Republican, these kinds of comments make it really hard.
Does this guy not think that diet and exercise and smoking and drugs don’t have any influence on how long we live?
Doesn’t matter what I do to my body? God will “take care of” it?
I wonder who that congressman has become.
I know what he is.
A note on “Freewriting.”
Every Friday, I set my timer on my iPhone for 15 or 20 minutes. Then I start writing. I don’t stop. I write whatever pops into my mind. After 15 minutes, I go back and quickly correct all the blatant typos. Then I publish it on Paulosophia.
I started “freewriting” in the early 1990’s because I had read this short article called “Freewriting.” I was a horrible writer back then, with the most severe writers’ block. The article said you have to write WITHOUT STOPPING. For a fixed period of time. Even if you have to write the same word over and over again. Over time, you get better, and more confident.
Writing becomes as easy as talking.
I can’t count how many freewriting exercises I’ve done over the years. Thousands for sure. I still do them almost daily. My kids know them well. I hope you will, too.
I went to my daughter’s old high school last night for a piano recital. Orange County School of the Arts. Actually, my in-laws donated their pristine Steinway to their piano conservatory and they had a special ceremony. Bree was in the piano conservatory so being back there was weird.
Bree — from 7th through 12th grades. Can’t tell you how many of those recitals I went to in those 6 glorious years. So being there last night was like I said, weird.
I cried a bit during the performances but nobody saw it. I was just sitting there thinking about how Bree’s about to graduate from college in five weeks. I thought about all those recitals and Edison and Elliot being there. Poof. Life has moved on.
Poof. Life has moved on.
I remembered when she played Prokofiev. I think I still have that video somewhere on YouTube and if I do I’m going to post it below.
That piece. My God.
Those long concerts. Two young boys. I think Bree was a sophomore in that video. So she was 15. Edison would have been 12. Elliot 9. We were strict; no electronics. How did we get those two boys to sit there and listen to Chopin and List and Rachmaninov for two hours over and over and again and again?
Anyway, I was teary last night. And it’s always hard to disguise crying in public. Even if you’re watching a movie and it’s dark. Once you need to wipe a tear away and your hand makes it’s move toward your face, it feels like everyone is going to see you then realize what’s happening.
I wonder why crying is a social taboo. Laughing isn’t but crying is.
A few weeks ago after a yoga class, a lady started crying. At the end of each class, everyone lies in savasana. And people can leave when they want, you have to leave quietly.
Well, I’m laying there because I always lay/meditate for at least 10 minutes after class. And about two minutes in, I heard this soft sobbing. You could tell she was trying to hold it in. But man, it was really deep. Something bad had happened. Anyone could tell she was grieving. It went on and on.
When I finally got up the lady was on her knees gathering herself. She was around 30 or 40. I had the feeling of wanting to go up to her and say, “Are you okay?” — but that would have been weird.
If she had been laughing, people would have been annoyed or thought she was a freak. But she was sobbing and you just felt sorry for her.
Anyway, before the piano recital, there was this special pre-event where they presented a plaque to Gina’s parents over champagne and two of the students played a special duet on the donated Steinway. You don’t hear many piano duets because few composers wrote duets.
I posted it in my Instagram story.
Memories are weird things. I’m there happy and sad, simultaneously, thinking of that other life when the kids were younger.
I remember C.S. Lewis talking about memories. How they are not things in the past. They, by definition, are in the present. So those days of piano recitals and younger children are not gone, they are still present, in my memories. I like like Lewis’s perspective, but I’m still sad the kids are older.
I’m listening to Lemonade by Beyoncé. I don’t know why she named the album Lemonade.
It always takes a while to get used to a new album. In the world of black music that I’ve started listening to in the past few years, I prefer Chance and Kayne. But still going to give this one a chance because I’ve only listened to it twice. There’s this song called All Night that I’m kind of liking.
I prefer male vocalists over female vocalists. Is that okay to say? Is it sexist?
What would it be like to be famous like Beyoncé? Ever wonder about stuff like that?
I wonder if these celebs are happier. I’ve thought about happiness a lot lately.
In a previous life, I worked closely with these Christian leaders named John and Eleanor Mumford. They had two sons. James and Marcus. Super cool family. Spent lots of time with them when we lived in London. Anyway, Marcus was a pre-teen when we lived there.
Right now he’s touring with U2 leading a band called Mumford and Sons.
Weird. He became a celeb. I wonder if Marcus is happy. I haven’t talked to him in years. But he strikes me as a generally happy kind of guy. He says f**k a lot now. But he can afford to. I often wonder what his parents, being leaders in the church, think of that.
I never know how transparent I should be. On one hand, I think people today are just way too fake, on the other, nobody wants to hear about all your problems.
People say they like Donald Trump because he speaks his mind. But he doesn’t. If he did he’d be swearing all the time in public. But he doesn’t do that because he’s political no matter how nonpolitical he tries to say he is.
Where’s the balance in being vulnerable?
John Mellancamp: I know there’s a balance, I see it when I swing past.
When I freewrite from public places, like now, I type I look at all the people and then I wonder about them. Their joys and their problems. You could never tell by expressions what’s really going on.
I’ve been sitting here for around 30 minutes. Swear this lady has read every word of the paper. I just keep watching her. She doesn’t get distracted for even a second. It’s like she’s starved. She’s devouring the whole Los Angeles Times before my eyes.
I think electronics might be making people stupider. Especially kids and teens. Adults too but especially kids and teens.
Back to music. I still can’t believe that Michael Jackson and Witney Houston and Prince and David Bowie and George Michaels and Robin Williams are dead. I only put Robin Williams in there because I can’t stand to think of doing without another role as those he played in Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society and Patch Adams.
He seemed to have a certain depth to his acting when he played in serious roles.
But they are not gone. The movies are still here. So are all those songs. And all those memories.
A note on “Freewriting.”
Every Friday, I set my timer on my iPhone for 15 or 20 minutes. Then I start writing. I don’t stop. I write whatever pops into my mind. Some people call it stream of consciousness. After 15 minutes, I go back and quickly correct all the blatant typos and make a few edits. Then I publish it on Paulosophia.
I started freewriting in the early 1990’s because I had read this short article called “Freewriting.” I was a horrible writer back then, with the most severe writers’ block. The article said you have to write WITHOUT STOPPING. For a fixed period of time. Even if you have to write the same word over and over again. Over time, you get better, and more confident.
Writing becomes as easy as talking.
I can’t count how many freewriting exercises I’ve done over the years. Thousands for sure. I still do them almost daily.
If you haven’t, you should try it!
Recently, the news organization, Upworthy, found out about my new vision. They filmed a conversation between me and a friend, and featured it on their popular website and Facebook page.
[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/Upworthy/videos/1518407264866793/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”0″]
Because of that video, I continually get interest in what was, just a few months ago, an idea.
How did it happen? How did a big organization like Upworthy learn about my new idea? More generally, when you have an idea you want to turn into reality, how do you make that happen?
I’ve been fortunate to launch a few organizations in my lifetime. And what to share what I’ve learned. But, first, quickly let me tell you about my new venture.
It’s called The Christian Muslim Alliance. Our mission reads “To end division between the world’s two largest religions.”
I think our country needs this organization — because there’s so much paranoia. Hate crimes. Suspicion. There will be more terroirst attacks. And I think banning an entire religion, or registering people in a big government database, will only create more division.
And I’m a Christian. And over 70% of Americans also identify as Christians. That means there are tens of millions of us Christians that can help end the division. And for those who truly follow in the teachings of Jesus, he was all about welcoming outsiders. And lets face it, Muslims, to many people, are outsiders.
Many Christians even think Muslims are the enemy. But even if they are the enemy — and they most certainly are not, though some claiming to be Muslims are — Jesus has very specific words about how Christians should treat their enemies.
So The Alliance has a vision to bring an end to the paranoia. Stop the xenophobia, which is a big word, but simply means suspicion of a people group based on how they look, where they are from, or because you don’t understand their beliefs.
How are we going to do it?
So far, I’m spending a lot of time immersing myself in the very large and influential Muslim culture. It’s a world I’ve never known because I’ve spent most of my life with non-Muslims (and mostly Christians).
I’m kind of on a “listening tour,” going to Mosques. Meeting leaders. Learning from them.
And we are steadily building our social media and website, too. Oh, and week I was asked to launch a podcast with an influential Muslim leader.
So, I’m thrilled to see great things already starting to happen! But we also have a very long way to go — there are millions of minds to change.
Okay, so what should you expect when you’re launching your vision? Here are just a few quick things I’ve learned throughout my career.
First, expect to feel unqualified. Expect it. That you don’t know enough. You don’t know all the right people. Even that you’re a fake. And because of these feelings, expect to have thoughts along the lines of Who am I to think I can do this?
My advice: You just need to get used to feelings of inadequacy. If not, you end up quitting. Or, worse, you just keep talking about your amazing vision, month after month. Or, you just daydream on your computer looking at all the successful organizations you want to become like.
Second, you can’t just talk about it. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says talk don’t cook rice.
Merely talking about your vision is like a person wanting to become a baker, who keeps telling friends about their baking business vision, creating fancy power point presentations, with beautiful photos of all the kinds of fancy cakes he will bake. But he never puts anything in the oven. You’ve just gotta start baking stuff and sharing it with people. Only then do you find out whether your product is any good, and how to tweak your recipe it to make it better.
So truth be told, I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to start The Alliance — but in the meantime, while I’m figuring out exactly how achieve our mission, I’m going to get a bunch of stuff done and see how it works, including the writing of this very post.
Third, you must expect sabotage in some form or another. And that will hurt most when it comes from family and friends — the ones who have a voice in your life. Some will think you’re too young. Too naïve. In my case, too idealistic or too “obsessed” with a cause. They will think of the others that are already doing your thing and say things like, “Oh, you want to do what so and so big organization is doing?” Some will think you’re being too risky. Or, that you don’t know how to keep a “real job.” Like above, you just need to get used to the feelings of inadequacy — expect them — and if you can come to enjoy those feelings, even better!
Fourth, money. It takes money. And if you don’t have the guts to ask for money, it’s never going to work. The upside is that the best fundraisers don’t ask people for money. There’s an old saying I’ve found helpful: If you want advice, ask for money and if you want money ask for advice. So you’ve got to find people, and ask them questions about how they want to change the world. As you get to know them, you’ll have your answer as to whether they could help fund your dream.
Fifth, you’ve just gotta show up. Keep chipping away. Making the calls. Posting, writing, doing the work. Sounds obvious, but the number one goal of any organization is stay in business. And you only stay in business if you keep showing up.
Finally, only when you step-up and launch your vision can you open yourself up to a powerful force of success called luck. And so much of success is about luck. Just read the biographies of great pioneers; luck is always a part of their story.
So the most publicity The Alliance has received, thus far, was due to luck. Upworthy called me because I’m also a blogger. And I was part of a political video series with another blogger friend during the election. One of the Upworthy writers randomly found that series on Facebook, watched it, heard me talking about Islam, then emailed me because they thought I’d be good at talking about politics for a pilot series.
They knew nothing about The Alliance. But when I told them, they decided to make their production about my new vision.
Okay, thanks for reading. I’m always around to chat if you’d like, and best of…luck…in your vision!