Questions about God, and coincidence

Does God DO that?

My new friend Carla, who I’ve only known for a half-century starts off this round of  Ask Roger Anything:

God
The star in the center, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, is known as V1331 Cyg and is located in the dark cloud LDN 981.

If you had the chance to ask three different people (living or dead, famous or not) ONE question… who and what would you ask?

The one requirement for this exercise, I suppose, is that they would have to answer honestly. What would I ask? What is your sense of how God manifests God’s self if, in fact, God does that? Or maybe Does knowing God just take practice?

I’d ask Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967. I’m thinking of his disappointing experiences in his previous couple of years might have changed his world view of God’s plan.

I’d ask Thomas Jefferson c. 1820, long after he had left the presidency. As this article explains, his “relationship with Christianity was complicated.” So where was it near the end of his life?

I’d ask Donald Trump in 2020. But I’d wonder if he’d understand what I was trying to get at. Maybe I’d need some clarifying questions. Does he think God favors the rich? Does he believe that God supported him in herding demonstrators so he could hold up a Bible in front of a church? And if so, what was God saying to him?

Does he believe God wanted him to be reelected? Does he actually read the Bible? And if so, what parts resonate with him?

He was asked this last question around 2017, and he gave the non-answer “Oh, all of it.” Anyone who has ACTUALLY read the Bible will admit that there are some parts of Scripture with which they are uncomfortable.

What a coincidence

Uthaclena, being their usual mystical self, asks:

Isn’t “coincidence” an ALTERNATIVE Fact??

So, what do we know here? “A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another.” So a coincidence is a fact.

“The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims.” So the perceptions of coincidences may be alternative facts.

Blows against the empire

Will I see Summer before summer?

Aside from the day-to-day activities, there have been a few events I have missed. The Blows Against the Empire tour was canceled before it got to Clifton Park, near Albany. It wasn’t that I was desperate to see that show. But I was going to go with my oldest friend from my college days. And he was going to pay!

I was planning a trip to my hometown of Binghamton, NY in March 2020 for two reasons. I’m looking for the transcript of the October 1926 trial involving my biological grandfather Raymond Cone, at which my grandmother, then Agatha Walker, testified against him. I also wanted to track her location in the city directories during the 1930s. However, both City Hall and the local library are closed until they aren’t.

Also, my friend since kindergarten Carol, not to be confused with my wife Carol, was going to fly up from Texas to visit her mom. So I’d have a chance for a visit with her and perhaps my Binghamton-area friends. Not yet.

Postponed, so far

At the Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, I have a subscription. The musical Summer, about the disco queen Donna, has moved from March to June. Will that actually come to pass? Or Dear Evan Hansen, still scheduled for June? Or Come From Away in September? What does theater look like in the era of physical distancing? Does the economic model even work?

Then there are the ersatz gatherings. The weekly church services, which get better as the folks have figured out the technology. The Bible studies. The Google Hangouts, Zoom meetings, and whatnot.

Something that I have discovered about sharing screens on these platforms. Sometimes they can be quite useful. On one Zoom call, a guy with the same surname as some of my ancestors wanted to see my family tree. I’m going to be helping my friend with some librarian skills, and her seeing what I’m working on will be great. On the other hand, one ought not to feel obliged to share JUST because one can, technologically.

We’re muddling through.

Hypnotized at the county fair

The event was so surreal that I probably DIDN’T talk about it.

hypnotismHere’s a story I didn’t tell you, about being hypnotized, because it didn’t convey enough. But suddenly, it does.

In August of 2015, The Wife, The Daughter, The Daughter’s good friend and I went to the Altamont Fair, which is the joint fair of Albany and Schenectady Counties in upstate New York. I don’t go every year – my family went without me in 2016 – but it’s enjoyable enough.

At one of the stages, a hypnotist was looking for subjects to come on stage. The Daughter nagged and pleaded with me to participate, and I ended up being the last of eight or ten people to volunteer.

He put us “under”, saying whatever he said. I’m aware that I’m on the stage, but follow his commands Continue reading “Hypnotized at the county fair”

Craven, Dyer, Sacks

I lived in four different cities, in two states, in 1977 alone.

musicophilia-1-194x300If there is a more descriptive title than The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks, M.D., it’s not coming to mind. I know both The Daughter and I, on separate occasions, have mistaken a coat rack that was placed in a different part of the hallway, for The Wife.

I never read any of Oliver Sacks’ books, but I did peruse some of his articles in the New Yorker magazine, where he wrote about people “coping with and adapting to neurological conditions or injuries” this illuminating “the ways in which the normal brain deals with perception, memory and individuality.”

My distant recollection of the 1990 movie Awakenings, based on Sacks’ book, is quite positive, especially the performance of the late Robin Williams, who played a character drawn from Sacks’ life.
Continue reading “Craven, Dyer, Sacks”

PC, LGBT, 8-tracks, malls and dystopia

If you were beamed down from the USS Enterprise into most malls, you’d be hard pressed to know where you were geographically.

7.21.08 Blitt Obama.inddUthaclena, who I know in terrestrial life, asks:

Okay: at what point does Political Correctness become absurd? Do public facilities need to be sanitized of all things religious to insure separation of church and state? On Halloween can you only wear costumes of your own race/ethnicity/religion?

Okay. Here’s the thing; I don’t know what different people’s boiling points are, because I’m not them. For instance, it is the groups of Native Americans who have complained about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team that makes me believe in the rightness of the complaint.

Too often, people wear the badge of political incorrectness, to show how much cooler they are than the “hung up” other people, and it ends up being a way for them to justify their racist and/or sexist and or/homophobic behavior.
Continue reading “PC, LGBT, 8-tracks, malls and dystopia”