Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Ganesha in the room.

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.

Now playing: Bob Telson / Lee Breuer - Numberless Are The World's Wonders
via FoxyTunes


CDP said...

Beautiful post.

Karla said...

May Bunny bless your heart!

Padre Mickey said...

Great post, dude. And I agree with you on the self-censorship; it's just wrong.

Matty Boy said...

Tanks youse!

The self censorship is a big thing. I would never compare myself to Isaac Newton, but he knew that some of his concepts of Christianity, and he was devout to the day he died, would not go over well with those in charge. I am nothing like Issac Newton, but I have the advantage of being an American, where my personal beliefs can be my own and not a horrible burden that restricts my career options, as was the case in Newton's time.

(To hell with career options, there was a law in England when Newton was alive that said heretics could be kee-illed, and some were!)

Distributorcap said...

that was great........a community without faces -- hard to believe, but it is true

Anonymous said...

Not true Dcap, you have a face, see above? It looks like toast.

Jess Wundrun said...


jolie said...

ditto, y'all!

FranIAm said...

Oh my- so behind on my blog reading and here I am so late to the party.

I am grateful to know you and I am grateful that through you I know PM and others from his piece o' the blogworld. It is good to find like minded irreverent ones.

Who knows if God exists or not? At best, one might reason - the best you can do is be a most dedicated agnostic hedging a bet.

But I think even if that is the case, if something is done with great love then you may be onto something.

However, if it is done with impunity and great hate, you have lots of problems.

Which we in this country have ample evidence of.

Whatever forces of math, spirit or just random number sequences have brought us all together - I am just damned happy to be here.

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for putting in your two cents, FranYouIs. I know that my seven day habit sometimes makes it hard for my friends who, I don't know, HAVE LIVES to keep up with my weekend ramblings. Given my new work schedule, the weekends will be the best time for rambling on the blog for me, at least for the first five months of 2008 and possibly beyond.