Sunday, April 28, 2013

Brent's Mountain

Yesterday, a friend and I took a semi-leisurely hike in the Santa Monica mountains.  We started at Tapia Park and hiked over the summit of the Tapia Spur to the former set of MASH.  It was a gorgeous day and the company was great!  One thing I noticed was the very large cross on Brent's Mountain. 
I found this picture on a wordpress blog and it seems to be the best picture out there.   Kudos to the photographer because I imagine this was taken from a helicopter.  And, that's just it, this is a huge cross...I imagine somewhere in the way of 30-40 feet tall and 15 feet across.  It appears to be made of metal tubing. 

Apparently, there has been a cross on this mountain in Malibu for at least one hundred years.  It was originally placed there by a Salvationist group in the late 30's.  All I can say is, those people must have had very strong backs and a real zeal for their faith because the trail is, and always has been, vastly overgrown with scrub oak and chapparel...and those "rocks" are, in all actuality, crumbly, sandstone boulders.   It's a 1500 foot, near verticle (in places) climb. 

Why am I writing about this?  Well, for one, as a naturalist who loves uninterupted vistas- it's sort of an eyesore.  It is the first thing you notice and, in my opinion, it shouldn't be.  Second, Brent's Mounatin is part of Malibu Creek STATE Park.  I decided to do a little research and I downloaded a map of the park's boundaries.  There's a Salvation Army camp in Tapia's Park and I thought, perhaps, they also owned Brent's Mountain (thereby making the cross private property).  That's not the case.  Now, again...why is this important.  Well, if you read the latest environmental impact report for the area, the cross is kind of a pain in the ass!  Sure, it's a trail area and with trails come humans and humans leave garbage.  But, reading a few web sites and hiking forums reveals that there are complaints of "candles and religious cards" left at the Cross site.  Wait.  CANDLES?  CANDLES?!  For anyone unfamiliar with Malibu and...oh, say, the months of August through October- It's basically a pyromaniac's wet dream!  Billions are spent annually to protect California's parks and properties from wildfires.  Yet, maybe because we don't want to offend anyone, we're going to allow backpackers to take CANDLES to a horribly remote, hard to get to location in the mountains?  To my knowledge, lighting a fire in a FIRE RING at a campsite requires a permit and a fee.  In summation: we have a State owned park with a religious display and a fire hazard.  That doesn't seem very smart to me.   I realize there's not a whole lot to do about it - it just struck me as a little careless.

Can't wait to see the giant menorah or Shahada!  Wouldn't that be fun?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Where in the hell have you been?

On any given day, when I log into my gmail account, I see at least one or two emails from people asking, "Pmomma, why did you stop blogging?" or "where are you?". 
For the past few years, I drop those well-meaning questions into a folder and imagine that, at some point, I'll get back to those lovely people and satisfy their curiosity.  Unfortunately, that day never came and I had reservations about re-starting this blog because, in a moderately aggravating way, this blog was part of he undoing of my marriage. 

However, by not blogging, I realized that I was letting someone bully me and I'm quite tired of being bullied.  This blog never hurt anyone, except for me, and that was because of the small mindedness of a few people.  I allowed myself to be scared out of my identity as an atheist. 

I love to write.  Ever since the cessation of this blog, I have been keeping a journal and, while it's helpful, it lacks the community sense that I came to love about this blog.   Now, even more than ever, I need that community back in my life.   I also need to write because it's one of the things I truly enjoy doing. 

Recently, a friend was chiding me for being an atheist and she said, "...well, if *certain people* keep using religion to justify their hatefulness toward you, wouldn't it just be easier to fall back into religion and just have your life be peaceful? What harm would it do you to accept Christ and stop this rebelling?  Christ can give you that peace."  I don't think they recognized how much their statement downplayed the sanctity of their own faith.  They were essentially telling me I should believe in Christ and follow the Catholic faith because it was easier.  That shouldn't  be the basis of any belief.  We shouldn't accept or reject a philosophy because it's easier...we should accept or reject things because of the merits of the philosophy or its truth.  I wouldn't be a racist just to make my life easier if I lived in a community of KKK adherents.  I wouldn't become a homophobe just because my neighbors or my family were homophobic.  So, why then, would I become a Christian because 90% of my friends are Christians?  And, truthfully, while my life might be less complicated, it would be a false profession of faith and that seems more insulting to those with faith than simply saying "I don't believe." 

In the last four years, I've had; a serious car accident, three surgeries, a parent and beloved grandparent's death, cancer (I'm ok now!), a divorce, and struggled with depression on a level I never thought possible.  I've had my children be allowed to move away because I couldn't afford to fight it legally.  People say that all of these events should've turned me back to my faith.  But, if anything, it resolved me in my belief that, if God existed, he couldn't be the benevolent and loving deity people claim he is.  Who would follow a powerful being that allowed such trials?  What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, or so they say, but if a God wanted my soul, all he/she would have to do is provide proof of his existence....not keep throwing one thing after another at me from all directions.  In pointing this out to a friend, he said, "But, you made it through and God carried you."  So, now God makes us suffer to prove...what? That he can make us suffer and help us out of it?  Are you serious?  If I break your leg just because I can and then offer to carry you to the hospital, I still broke your leg.  I still caused you pain.  I'd still be an incredibly bad person!  If I break your leg to make you believe in me, you'd be justified in thinking I'm a huge jerk!  And, for the record, what got me through everything I've shared about wasn't God or the believe that karma would somehow punish those who wronged me.  What got me through was knowing that, everything aside, I wanted to see my children grow up and I wanted to protect them in all the ways that I could. 

That's reason enough!
---Oh, and, if you're reading this and hate me already (or still)... I suggest devoting this time to doing something more productive with your life.  Say a prayer for me if you truly believe in your God and trust that his will will prevail.  Peace be with you. ;)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

If anyone reading this is in the Lake County/Northern Chicago area, please contact me by email.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Just what the world needs- more asses with WIFI.  What will those clever, clever Christian men think of next?
You can sit on your ass (ha!) and update your Facebook regarding your process of becoming closer to Jesus in the holy land.    You can even change your facebook user photo to reflect the pure awesomeness of walking in the footsteps of JC.  Wow. 

A donkey with Wifi.  What's next?  A Christmas time ride on a camel equipped with an iPhone so that Siri can direct you to the manger?

Billboards

I realize this article is from Faux news but it caught my attention none-the-less.  
Apparently, American Atheists paid for and erected two bill boards regarding Mormonism and Christianity in anticipation of the upcoming presidential race.   Of course, as fundamentalist Christians are prone to do, they (the x-ians) complained so loud and made so many threats that the billboards are to be disassembled and removed.  What a crock!  On a certain level, I can see why American Atheists felt that taking them down was prudents (death threats tend to make people a little nervous).  On another level, I wonder how seriously these threats were taken by the authorities and/or if the authorities proposed any protection/investigation against those making the threats.  If a church put up a billboard and received death threats, then I don't doubt for a second that local authorities would put energy into finding the person responsible.  More than that, however, is the realization that a  news agency (in this case, Fox) sees the removal of the billboards as a victory!  WtF?!  So much for freedom of speech.  So much for equal treatment.  Grrrrrr....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kirk, Kathy, and Hoda- Oy!

Did anyone else catch Kirk Cameron on Kathy Lee and Hoda (sp?)?  I was kind of irritated by the softball approach to "Monumental" that Kathy and Hoda took.  Kirk tried to sell it as a "real look at what makes America great" and a "journey to see what the Pilgrims suffered to create this nation".  Well, um...let's start out with the many, many fallacies in that second statement.  The Pilgrims didn't "create" this nation any more than God created this earth!  The Pilgrims didn't sit around and say, "You know what? We should totally go to America and found a great nation."  They were chased around Europe, decided that being sold into bondage and persecuted for their beliefs sucked, and got on the first boat to anywhere where there wasn't a heavy, dominant religion.  Saying that they "created" America actually takes away from the truly foundational actions of the people who took part in the revolution against Great Britain.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it?

Kathy Lee gushed about "Monumental" (Kirk's new flick).  She said it was family viewing and that all parents should sit down and watch it with their kids before they leave for school because....wait for it..."they're not teaching this (the "Monumental" version) in school.  Yeah, Kath'...maybe there's a reason.  From what very little I've seen and read, this is not a history so much as a propaganda video.   Kirk starts with the premise that America, as it exists now, is fundamentally and morally wrong because we've drifted away from religious belief and serving the Lord.  I don't know about you, but I think America is a pretty decent place and I'm damn sure that people are better off living here today than they were living here 200 years ago.  In short, I think, like most of these movies, they pick one aspect to "examine" without looking at the bigger picture.  In addition, the clip I saw showed Cameron talking about how tolerance is key and this is what the Pilgrims worked so hard to obtain.  Well, Kirk, tolerance is a concept you don't seem to grasp very well.  True tolerance means you tolerate those with different beliefs without trying to impart your beliefs on them.  

Second, Cameron actually defended Todd Akin.  Like that's a surprise, I know.  :/  He said that Akin had apologized and had misspoken.  While that may be true, it doesn't solve the idiocy of the statement and the frightening realization that someone who even THINKS that b/s could have an impact on policy.  But, that's another post. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hit the road.

So much has happened in the last four years...it's very hard to pick a place to start.  With that in mind, I've decided that I won't pick a place and I"ll just pick up with our lives as they are today.
The possums are growing and changing so much.  P1 just graduated from high school and we're all excited about her transition from childhood to adulthood.  P2 is still a fantastic young man and he's going to be driving very soon.  P3 is wonderful and imaginative.  P4 is starting the third grade and keeps everyone on  their toes.  Basically, I still have the greatest kids a mom could ask for. :)

We're getting ready to embark upon a road trip.  This road trip will take us through Vegas, Salt Lake, and other points unknown, with the ultimate destination being Yellowstone.  This is a trip I've been wanting to do for a while and now that I have a second driver (P1), it seems feasible.  If anyone knows of any lesser known, interesting spots for exploring along the way, please let me know!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Think it's time I bring it back!

In the words of Ciara'... I've been gone for too long, think it's time I brink it back! What do you think? A friend of mine suggested that, maybe, it's time to jump back into blogging. I'm thinking that she's right.