Or is it a big fluffy bunny?
I have a lot of readers who also read other blogs on my buddies list. A lot of the folks who stop by to comment can be found commenting on these other blogs. For the most part, disagreements and disagreeable people are rare in this little crowd. We joke, we reminisce, we 'splain, we opine, we correct. But there is an obvious split in the group. Some of us believe and others do not.
The most vocal believers of my readers are Padre Mickey and FranIAm. Padre Mickey gets first billing for me because I have known him personally for about half my life now. We were in a band together. I hired him to manage the band back in the day when I was a rich video game programmer. I slept on the floor of his basement for a few months years later when I wasn't a rich video game programmer anymore. We've broken bread more times than I can count. I tucked into bed the original Dresbabies back when they were actually babies. He was studying towards his doctorate of divinity when I was living at his place, and he was my advisor when I decided to get baptized in the Anglican communion.
I was part of the community for several years after my baptism, and I was involved in many of the church activities. Even when the Dresbachs moved north from San Jose to Berkeley when Michael attended seminary, I was part of St. Francis in San Jose. When I moved north to San Leandro to be closer to work, I found a church closer to my home.
But I was never quite certain I belonged. I was still my father's son. We weren't churchgoers. He didn't disapprove of my conversion, but my father taught me when I was just a round headed sprout that if someone tells you they know for certain what will happen after you die, pretty soon they will be asking you for money. And he was right.
The tithing didn't bother me so much. The self censorship on my part was my sign that I probably wasn't in the right place. Even before I when back to grad school, I still thought of myself as a math guy. A pretty proof can be for me as lovely as a hummingbird. It isn't so much a proof of a loving God to me as it is a quick look behind the scenes at part of the clockwork. Stuff like group theory can be a dive down the rabbit hole, the amazing results and beautiful proofs coming one after another.
I believe in God the creator. Not the guy yelling at Adam and Eve for eating apricots. The "whoever" who figured out how to open a quick doorway from some unseen dimension into the dimensions we foolishly call "our own" and blow in a chaotic mix of energy and matter we call the Big Bang. I sometimes say I believe in God but I am hesitant to give her a job description. There is a lot of math that feels mystical, but if you know just a little more, the connections, while still beautiful, are less mysterious. The mystical mystery I see in the universe is the incredible number of self-replicating and self-correcting systems. Maybe we will come to a day when this lovely coincidence will be as mechanically understandable the connection between cell growth and the Fibonacci sequence. When I say "we", I know there is no promise that I will be around to see such a day.
If there is an organized religion I subscribe to, I would say I accept the civil beliefs of the sect we call Americans. Our original motto was "Don't tread on me." Sounds like good advice, if a little threatening. A national flag with a rattlesnake on it would probably have made us even more ornery that we already are.
I believe in the Constitution. It's not big like the Bible, but it's still a fair number of rules, and some can be interpreted in several ways. Like any simple set of instructions, humans go off in a dozen different directions with the idea that they are defending the ideals of America. Some love the idea of separation of church and state. Others deny that idea even exists. We're a funny group of folks.
Americans or not, my readers and commenters are likewise a funny group of folks. We've decided to create a community with a lot of people we have never seen face to face. We have decided to forgive those who trespass against us, and hope with good cause that we will be forgiven as well. I cannot say that what God hath brought together, let no one split asunder. I only pray we agree to remain agreeable. I, for one, am glad I have met all y'all this year, and hope you feel the same.
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