Sunday Stealing – Surveys

L.L. Bean

This week’s Sunday Stealing is Surveys. But isn’t it Saturday? Why yes it is.

Before that, I want to do some light kvetching. There’s a walkway between our house and the neighbor’s. Two Wednesdays ago, there was a bunch of trash on the ground. I figured it might have blown over – it has been occasionally windy – and it would be picked up by Thursday night with the city garbage pickup on Friday morning.

But it was still there Friday afternoon when I took this picture. Fortunately, it was disposed of by Saturday morning, but now there are TWO shopping carts, one from Whole Foods, the nearest one of which is four miles away. Since there are at least four apartments  in the building, I don’t know who to ask, and there’s enough turnover there that I don’t know anyone there presently.

I can’t talk to the absentee landlord because he is a piece of work.  He scraped my wife’s vehicle with his rusty pickup truck last month, white paint from our car on his rust bucket. Moreover, there are two witnesses to this. 

Where were we?
  1. . How long was your last phone conversation?
About a half hour, with my baby sister.

2. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Not ever.

3. What do you have on your feet?
Slippers. It’s always slippers if I’m at home. Maybe socks if I’ve been out covered by slippers.

4. Do people ever mispronounce your name?
It’s a pretty easy name.  Still I’ve been called Robert and, most often George; I think it’s the consonant thing. When I was waiting to read at the Ironweed marathon reading, I heard the announcer say, Next up:, Roger Breen” or something that wasn’t my name.

5. Where did you get the shirt you are wearing?
My wife bought it from L.L. Bean, which was the Final JEOPARDY response in the game I lost; I was the only one to get it right, taking me from third to second place.

6. Does any part of your body hurt right now?
My feet. My knees, which are bone-on-bone. The left one is particularly exhausting.

7. Do you drink hard liquor?
Very seldom. But I have a LOT in my house for guests. But we don’t havce a lot of guests, mostly because we have a demented cat.

8. Have you ever read a book in one sitting?
Other than children’s books, perhaps many years ago. 
9. Do you like cats?  Why or why not?
As noted, our male cat is demented. The female cat is skittish but nice. I tend to be pleasant to the neighbor cats. There was a calico cat on the front porch this week and I talked nicely to it. Related: there was a dead mouse on the walkway to our sidewalk this Wednesday; I kicked it onto our lawn, intending to pick it up on Thursday night for trash night, but it was gone. Friday morning, there was that dead creatrure on our front porch and ANOTHER dead mouse on the back porch,  presents, I believe, from the calico cat, who was in our backyard. Oh, cat, you SHOULDN’T have – really, you shouldn’t.

10. Do you like the ocean?
Sure. Looking out from the San Diego area is particularly lovely.

11. Ever think you might have seen a UFO?

12. Do you type fast?
Not at all.

13. How long are you usually in the shower for?
Ten minutes, maximum.

14. Chinese food or Mexican food?
Yes. But I’ve had Mexican food recently, whereas it’s been possibly pre-COVID since I had Chinese food.

15. Do you read and believe your horoscope?
A friend of mine got me a very detailed horoscope probably four decades ago or more. It took into account my time of birth, the location, etc. It seemed pretty accurate It’s around here SOMEWHERE, but it certainly has not informed the way I lived my life 

The Bible-minded Capital district

The concept of the Bible’s “accuracy” is a rather muddled notion to me.

Jesus.poorThere have been a couple of polls recently that suggest that the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY area is more godless or less godly, than most parts of the country if you read the headlines:

These Are The Most Godless Cities In America. The subtitle reads: “A new survey ranks U.S. cities in terms of ‘bible-mindedness'”By ‘bible-mindedness’, the study means “a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is.” As bible-minded, we’re #99, or second from the bottom.

The TIME poll seems too simplistic. I’ve read the Bible over time, though not as often recently as some think I ought to. But the concept of the Bible’s “accuracy” is a rather muddled notion to me. If it’s that it’s “true”, that there are fundamental truths to be found therein, I tend to believe that. If the question is whether it is literally, six days from ignition to humans, historically accurate, then I’d suggest that it was never meant to be regarded that way.

I submit that that the press seems to see religion as an either/or. EITHER one believes that every single word of the Bible was handed down by God as history and theology (a tricky thing, that) OR one is an atheist, who would hate God if he or she believed god existed. And press coverage of the so-called evangelical movement, especially by ABC News, seemed to solidify this simplistic duality.

I submit that there’s a great middle who find inspiration in some parts of the Bible, who believe that other sections were meant for a different, earlier audience and that that’s OK.

Seen another way, in a different poll by Barna, the Capital District is #1 in Post-Christian Metrics.

The Barna scale was more interesting:

1. do not believe in God
2. identify as atheist or agnostic
3. disagree that faith is important in their lives
4. have not prayed to God (in the last year)
5. have never made a commitment to Jesus
6. disagree the Bible is accurate
7. have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
8. have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
9. agree that Jesus committed sins
10. do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
11. have not read the Bible (in the last week)
12. have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
14. have not attended a religious small group (in the last week)
15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

#6 is as problematic for me as it was in the TIME poll. #10 I feel that the way I live my life is sharing my faith, so wouldn’t know how to answer that one. I don’t attend Sunday school because it clashes with the church choir.

Bottom line: I reject the notion that if one does not take the Bible literally, one is godless, whatever THAT means. But, at some fundamental level, I appreciate the glee our high (or low) ranking has generated; I DO get it.

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