here, here! and well said. by the way, as i listen to folks around me react to their pre-conceived notions upon knowing for the first time that i am a preacher's kid, i often hear that missionaries kids have worse reputations than we pk-s. for what i am unsure but was hoping you could tell me...
Happy Birthday. I too am a graduate of a Christian school. Anderson University. My father is a retired minister in the Church of God (Anderson, IN). You can have the support and love you require as a human being without the pressures of a belief system.
It seems like church groups have already booked up all of December, but I have no idea about January and February. However, the paid, full-time workers always appreciate groupless volunteers who pop in.
I went yesterday morning, and the lady in charge said, "Are you volunteering or doing community service?" I thought, "..?" and said, "Community service." So she sent me to the back and told me to wait. There was another guy waiting, and he said, "So, what'd you do?" Lol. I misunderstood what was meant by community service; oops! The lady had meant court-ordered community service. It might have been fun to say, "First degree murder."
I wonder about secular ceremonies also. I don't imagine that secular weddings are too different, just all the God stuff replaced with cheesy love stuff.
Funerals, however, are harder to picture. "And now we inter Fred, so that he may peaceably decompose."
Aubrey de Grey's science is very interesting; I've never heard of it before. I didn't realize there were actually scientists with the ultimate goal enabling people to "live indefinitely." Well, I suppose that if you "reach for the stars," then you might wind up catching a firefly.
"Batrachophagous" is also new to me. Thanks for telling me about it. I needed a new weird insult for my little brother; "Chitlin" was getting old. I find it appalling that people actually eat chitlins, by the way. I love pork, but I don't love intestines of any sort.
You're right; it is useful to read about the beliefs of others even if we don't agree with them and to question our own beliefs.
Getting a group together to work at the homeless shelter, Open Door Ministries, is a great idea. My mom and I have been volunteering there recently; we assist with whatever church group is present, and my mom immediately identifies us by which church we're affiliated with. It makes me a little uncomfortable; I'm not affiliated with any church nowadays. It would be nice to work there with a group of secular folks if it could ever be arranged.
If you ever did want to serve full-fledged in the Peace Corps and go to another country for two years, I have no doubt that you'd be able to contribute. I don't know your background in other subjects, but you could certainly teach English very well. And teaching English is one of the greatest services we could do for underprivileged students, since without knowing English, they have fewer opportunities to participate in the fast world and improve their circumstances.
How unfortunate that there is only one atheist preacher in NC! Well, you could be the second. ;) Fortunately for me, I'm neither getting married nor dying anytime soon and will not require the services of an atheist preacher in the near future.
Haha, that's a crazy, hilarious, and horrifying story. I would have hyperventilated at first; "OH GOD, did he hear my curses?!" Then I would have defenestrated the phone.
Hey Steve. (Let me ask while it's on my mind: do you prefer Steve or Steven?)
I've been incredibly inspired since the skeptics meetup to read; I immediately read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris and enjoyed it very much. Now I'm into The God Delusion. I see lots of references to that book you mentioned, How We Believe by Michael Shermer, and hope to pick it up sometime too.
Kind of random, but I wish that there were "mission" trips for nonbelievers that entail activities like building houses and teaching and such.
Hope all is well. Any interesting tales to tell?