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Shaolin student, Zen practitioner, Agile enthusiast, an atheist who’s nostalgic for his Christian days, losing sleep over the state of democracy

#2: Could I avoid bumping into my ex in Heaven?

Dear Saint Peter,

Now that … someone … has introduced the coronavirus to the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mortality lately.

Don’t get me wrong: I like the concept of Heaven just fine. The Care Bears have all but assured me that life atop of clouds is amazing.

It’s just that, well, I have commitment issues. And you have to admit an eternal afterlife in one place is a very long time.

I’m not saying I want to go to Hell. …


And the cognitive dissonance of religious fundamentalism.

I call myself the Fox Mulder of Christianity. I want to believe … but I can’t.

As I had previously written, there’s a part of me that’s still emotionally attached to the church. Despite my agnosticism and political leanings, I genuinely feel good when people comment on my articles telling me how their faith has enriched their lives.

Things were, in a sense, easier when I was a Christian. No matter how bad things got, there was always heaven to look forward to at the end. …


Politics

Hint: It’s not Donald Trump.

Here’s a Koan for political scientists:

If you have a two-party system, and one of the parties doesn’t care about governing, do you still have a government?

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently threatened a “scorched earth” landscape should the Democrats abolish the filibuster rule to push President Biden’s agenda. He said he would make the gridlock experienced during the Obama presidency look like “child’s play.”

I, for one, am still deeply affected by the gridlock in the Obama era.

Around that time, I had developed a burgeoning interest in Roman history. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between…


And why the Trumpian lie can be just as dangerous.

Yes, comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler is sensationalist. I mean, Trump hasn’t killed anybody. He hasn’t locked anyone in concentration camps. Well, there was that time he chucked migrant children into cages. And there was also that time he sicced the National Guard on peaceful protesters at Lafayette Park. Oh yeah, some of his supporters actually greet him with a Nazi salute. But, for the love of Josh, he hasn’t killed anybody!

Ok, in all seriousness, Trump isn’t as bad as Hitler. Nowhere close.

But consider the following passage from Mein Kampf:

“All this was inspired by the principle…


Political Satire

No, really!!! This is satire. For the love of Josh, don’t sue!!!

From the Office of Donald J. Trump, PRESIDENT

March 16, 2021

Dear losers on Medium,

It has come to my attention that many of you have been using MY name and MY likeness in your blog articles. (Hereafter referred to as the “Blog.”)

I hereby DEMAND that you CEASE AND DESIST from doing that. The name and the likeness of DONALD J. TRUMP is my intellectual property … my property’s really intellectual, very smart. Believe me; I’m a smart guy. I went to an ivy league college. Everybody knows that.

What you’re doing is really SHAMEFUL. Believe me; it’s a…


And how I addressed this with a blend of Epicureanism and Zen.

I had a large amount of success on my last article. And I’ve spent the past week stuck in writer’s block. I knew the ingredients that made it so, but I felt my well had run dry. My morning writing routine had become more and more frustrating as the week wore on — one abandoned draft after another.

And thus, I was unhappy all week.

In the words of Ecclesiastes, all my pursuits had become “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” — (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

The Wrong Kind of Happiness

As a Shaolin Zen practitioner, I understood why I was unhappy. I was chasing after a…


Political Satire

Moses watched the CPAC from heaven and was mightily pissed.

In the year of our LORD 2021, Moses was looking down upon the Earth. And lo! He beheld the Conservative Political Action Conference in America.

At this, Moses’ cup ran over with rage. “My LORD!” he cried. “My LORD!”

And the LORD appeared before Moses.

“What is it now, Moses?” sayeth the LORD. “The Floridians are still praising Me for blessing them with Tom Brady. You’re making Me miss My audience.”

Like how He missed MY audience between 1941 and 1945? Moses caught himself thinking.

“WHAT?!”

“Nothing!” Moses sayeth. For he knew the LORD’s look. He had seen it many…


Politics

Why the top 1% really are to blame for society’s ills.

Since last December, I’ve been researching the sources of Donald Trump’s rise to power. I noted how the 45th President manipulated his base with professional wrestling showmanship and how he created scapegoats to start his populist movement.

But those were merely symptoms of a larger problem. In my journey to understand the Trump voter, all roads led to income inequality.

The Lack of Social Mobility

The problem isn’t so much the top 1% controls so much of the wealth; it’s that they have made social mobility astronomically difficult for everyone else.

According to sociologist Jack Goldstone, political instability happens when the rich and the powerful…


Because the next president is poised to become Augustus

In a February 2021 CNN town hall, President Joe Biden said he was “tired” of talking about Donald Trump. This came days after the Republican Senate voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial.

While many Americans may echo the president’s sentiment, one can’t just move on from a man like Donald Trump, not after how close he came to overthrowing democracy.

Not after how close he came to becoming this generation’s Julius Caesar.

The Next Trump Could Become Emperor

Like Caesar before him, Donald Trump has crossed the Rubicon of democratic norms more times than I can remember. He’s called a fake national emergency


How the Book of Job helps us deal with a world with no God.

As a recent apostate of the church, I have a love-hate relationship with the Bible.

On the one hand, it contains some of the most inspiring passages in all of literature. The Golden Rule and the story of Jesus rescuing the adulterous woman (John 8:1–11) stand out.

On the other, it is a book that — as much as Christian apologists deny this — celebrates characters who are downright evil by today’s standards. Moses commits genocide against the Midianites. (Numbers 31:1–18) Samuel would admonish Saul for not doing the same against the Amalekites. …

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