Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “church”

Taboo Talk: Religion – Roger Ingalls

Normally I don’t like to write about religion because it is very difficult to explain the nuances of one’s thoughts in a blog post consisting of a few hundred words. And, not too many people will read a 10,000 word post about the subject. However, I do like to talk about religion; it’s a fascinating topic.

Actually, this post isn’t really about religion, it’s about bring people together.

I read an article earlier today which got me thinking about how other people view religion. Participation in organized religion is on the decline but most people still believe in “something”. It would be extremely interesting to hear what others think about in regards to a higher order or their interpretation of religion. According to the article, it seems people want spiritual dialog, not preaching and they don’t want to be judged. In addition, there’s a feeling that the Gods of the main religions are ancient and don’t have relevance or show their existence today.

It would be fun to bring people together in some type of open forum where thoughts and beliefs could be shared without judgment. With all the social media and connection tools this should be easy to do. I’m brain storming on the fly here but this is something I may try to initially organize through GoToMeeting. I’d have open invitations to all people: all religious backgrounds, races, sexual orientation, atheists and so on. I’d try to get religious leaders to come to get their views but also so they could hear modern views first hand. Perhaps I could talk local churches, temple, mosques and synagogues into opening their door to host the meetings.

It would be an interesting experience but would people actually come?

Religous Leaders

Have you Been to Church? – Tom Rossi

Have you been to church lately? Have you worshiped the almighty Jobs? Have you read The Book of Jobs? Have you attended services to celebrate the resurrection of Jobs?

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 Steve Jobs was, as far as I know, the first CEO who was enough of an egomaniac to call big press conferences to announce a new device that his company had produced – even if that device was, many times, just the latest version.

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 Now, press conferences to announce new toys or versions of electronic toys or versions of softwares are de rigueur, and reporters and “enthusiasts” (people whose lives revolve around having the latest iPhone or whatever) flock to them like kids to ice cream trucks on a hot day. We still have press conferences for Apple, but also Samsung, Facebook, and a host of other companies who have CEOs anxious to play the court jester. I think they all want to stick their success in the faces of the jocks who kicked their asses in high school and the girls who made barfing sounds when they asked them out.

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 Yes, these press conferences are attended by throngs of reporters because the release of a new device version is what, today, passes for news. In between a few reports of shootings in east Oakland, this weeks big party parade across San Francisco, traffic reports, and horse-race political reporting, there is always “news” of some company releasing an iblender4.3, or something. “Apple announced, at its big event today, that iPhones will now be available in blue.” Very exciting news.

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 What really gets me about these press conferences is that they are purely for the purposes of publicity, and the media are complicit in the scheme. Every tech-head nerd-geek knows better than to take what is said at these release orgies too seriously. Anyone with more sense than dollars waits to hear from the reviewers who take the thing back to the office and work it over like Muhammad Ali beating up on Cleveland Williams. That’s why we hear so quickly about defects with things like map apps.

 But this is our new church. We, or our representatives, sit in the pews, waiting and hoping for a glimpse of our savior – whoever is the latest to promise us safe passage into heaven… or to heavenly FaceSpaceTumbling and Twitstagramming, anyway.

 I have an iPhone. It’s kind of a nice thing to have. I use the map a lot – that’s really what I bought it for. My iPhone is something like two years old. It still works well enough. I also have a hammer and a pair of vice-grips that I like. They’re all pretty useful tools.

 -Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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We Catholics Have a New Popo – Roger Ingalls

“popo” –  California slang for police or authority

I feel comfortable using Popo in place of Pope; it’s a term of endearment. “Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it’s been a bazillion years since my last confession.” As a youth, I did my time in the church, going to Mass, Catechism and was even an altar boy for a day so I’m entitled to a little fun. Yes, I carried The Body of Christ, in the form of a host, down the aisle to the Priest. The altar boys nicknamed the hosts Tortilla Seeds because they looked like little baby tortillas…ah, the imaginative mind of a kid.

Strange day, I found my ear glued to the radio for over an hour waiting for the Latin announcement naming the new Pope. The good Catholic boy doesn’t practice anymore so why was I so interested? For historic reasons, I guess.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Cardinals selected Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope; a humble, soft spoken Priest known simply as Father Jorge in his community. He’s the first Pope born in The New World (Buenos Aires, Argentina), it only took 500 years!

Pope

Considering the stagnation of the three main monotheistic religions, the selection of Bergoglio is a progressive move. I was hoping for a more liberal choice that would potentially move to align the Church with the realities of today’s society but I do praise the selection, it’s a step forward. Father Jorge, now known as Pope Francis, is 76 and may not be around too long so perhaps this was a calculated transitional choice by the Church as it moves to modernize.

By all accounts, Pope Francis is a man of the people so I look forward to seeing what he does as the most powerful religious leader in the world, especially since he’s from outside the Old World power zone.

Religion and Education Don’t Mix – Roger Ingalls

Usually I avoid making negative comments about religion and try to minimize my opinions on various religious teachings. However, I do not believe religion should mould the minds of the young in ways that diminish objective thinking. We should teach children how to think, how to question and how to judge without bias. Unfortunately, religion is taught on the backbone of faith, without question and without compromise. Young minds should be expanded with possibility and not bound into narrow unsubstantiated beliefs.

We need to keep the teaching of creationism out of schools. Let kids learn by experimentation and observation so they can evaluate and then select their beliefs, later in life, with an open and smart mind.

I’m not discrediting religion and do consider myself to be religious, perhaps unorthodox but, nonetheless, religious. I just happen to believe scriptures written thousands of years ago – by men – were an admirable attempt to explain the architecture of the universe in a way that was comprehensible for uneducated people of that time. The “just have faith” aspect was added through the ages to keep the populous under control which carries through to this day.

Organized religion does have its place. It creates community and a sense of comfort and that’s why I still visit a Catholic church every once in a while. It gives me peace even though I don’t subscribe to the naive teachings. Most places of worship are filled with good hearted people.

Religion does not belong in fundamental education; it’s too narrow-minded and inflexible.

Here’s a message from Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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