I should write about suicide and sex all the time. They’re huge sellers. That being said, the honesty of yesterday’s post really freaked some people out. Initially it irritated me, but then I realized the reactions reflected our discomfort with honesty. We covet our feelings, our flaws and our desires for fear that others will judge us. Myself included.

Yesterday’s confession was three years late. Why? Because it’s easier to talk about things that are embarrassing or emotionally intense once they’re in the past. Way in the past.

In short, we’re often ashamed to be human, which is why I like Jesus. He encourages honesty and introspection. He also allows us to forgive ourselves for being human.

Unfortunately God gets all the glory. All I ever hear is “Dear God” or “Thank you Lord.” God is the one who brings people to their knees. Jesus heals. The Lord hates. Jesus loves. Jesus accepts. God damns. Jesus helped the poor. God damned them (at least in the beginning of the Old Testament, he did the same to foreigners).

Do people pray to Jesus? I’ve heard “In Jesus’ name,” but that doesn’t sound prayer-like to me.

Why does God get all of the kudos? Well, he’s older and we’re taught to respect our elders. He’s also very Hollywood. He loves special effects and doom and gloom. Jesus, on the otherhand, is like an Independent film. Listening to him takes patience. He offers substance.

Last night I tried praying — to Jesus, not God — and instead of peace, I had a horrific nightmare, woke up yelling, knocked water all over my side table and quintupled the width of my favorite short story collection. My hips, back and stomach also seized up, preventing me from cleaning the mess. The dream —family murdered, me living in a house of blood with an invisible killer that suffocated me from time to time — wasn’t what I was looking for, but it made me think. God may have delivered blood and guts, but I don’t know if he would have putt me in the house or subjected me to the invisible killer. Jesus did (maybe) and I’ve been analyzing both all day. How do they pertain to my life? Emotional state? Etc.

I like Jesus, but I think this is a farce: “When  you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”

When I sort of prayed, I did not expect physical and mental torture especially because my prayer was altruistic, which is uncommon. Is exorcism a common response to prayer? Is that why everyone prays to God instead of Jesus?

Well, I’ll give Jesus another shot. As for the Lord, adios Dios.

Stopping Point: Book of Luke

Dan the Man

October 27, 2010

Big Diesel. Hollywood. Shug Night. These are my father’s aliases. His namesake, Daniel the prophet, only had one — Belteshazzar.

My dad, Dan, is similar to Daniel. He’s loyal, generous and inquisitive. He also makes grandiose statements, loves giving advice and ends up in some interesting situations.

I’m not sure why my brother calls my dad Big Diesel, but the name fits the personality. Why? Well, Big Diesel has his own way of doing things. Rather than messing with his desk chair, Big Diesel keeps it at midget height, his chest level with the keyboard; he turns his laptop sideways to read unusually formatted documents; and carries his reading glasses in a plastic sandwich bag. Big Diesel.

Like Daniel the prophet, who walks in a fire to save his friends, Big Diesel is extremely loyal. Why not long ago he participated in a three-day, 60-mile MS walkathon to support his friends. No one in our family has MS and until moments before the race, Big Diesel wasn’t walking much. When he started training (I’m guessing a week, two weeks before the race), he got a huge blister on his heel. Rather than letting his friends down, he cut a hole in the back of his shoe to accommodate the blister. Big Diesel.

Daniel the prophet prays for his people while wearing sackcloth and sitting in a pile of ashes. I don’t think my dad’s ever done that (it’s possible), but he has his own sense of style, which is why we call him Hollywood. Hollywood is a very good skier, but his skiing attire — black jeans, $2 Ray-Ban knock-offs, flapping jacket — is all 80s and if Hollywood gets a phone call, he will stop mid-turn to answer it. Hollywood loves his flip phone and has special greetings for everyone who calls. They include: “Yo.” “Mr. Brown.” “Hel-lo.” “Hey Ives.” “This is Dan.” His tone varies with each greeting and when he’s done with you he says, “It was good talking to you.” Click. No goodbye. Conversation over.

Inference is a Prophet Daniel and Big Diesel/Hollywood specialty. The prophet interprets dreams, Hollywood interprets people. For a while, Hollywood knew all bad drivers were either “on drugs” or “punks.” “Methheads” got worked in there for a while, but I think that prophecy has dissipated.

Hollywood could be a writer. He loves telling stories and creating conspiracy theories. This is how his final alias, Shug Night, was born.

For some reason Hollywood started a conversation about the Biggie/Tupac beef, of which he knows a lot (he watched a special). It’s impossible to talk about Biggie and Tupac without theorizing Biggie’s death. Shug Night admits producer Suge Knight had a role in the situation.  However, Shug Night’s says gangs are the real reason Biggie got shot. He blames the “Knights and Crips” a rivalry that, to my knowledge, doesn’t exist.

I just got off the phone with Shug Night. I had to verify the spelling of his name. I though it was “Shrug Night” (because he shrugs his shoulders a lot) but it’s Shug. Why Shug and not Suge, like the real Suge Knight?

“I just shortened it up. His name wasn’t cool enough for me.”

I read The Book of Daniel with greater enthusiasm than the other books because it made me think of my father. If churches could relate personalities like Big Diesel, Hollywood and Shug Night to the prophets, I would consider parking my butt in a pew.

Stopping Point: The Book of Hosea

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