Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, May 10, 2006  
I can hardly wait for the feedback on this one…

My mother narked me out, man, she narked on me.

One could cut her slack because she is on a heavy dose of pain killers and stuck in a nursing home. But still. She was lucid enough to carry on a conversation with the minister of my parents' church. Quite a lengthy conversation, apparently. Having a great deal to do with me.

I know this because a) my mother told me about the conversation and b) the minister asked my dad for my email address and he swutting gave it to him. So yes, my dad narked me out, too. Though in fairness my father didn't know why the minister wanted my email address, he assumed the minister was on a good will mission or something. And since my parents worry about my salvation on a regular basis my father probably figured I could use all the help their minister is willing to email me.

My mother had not yet told me about the conversation she had with the minister (that's it, no more unsupervised visits for him) when the email arrived.

I was a little surprised to see his name in my in box, but, given all that my parents have been through since January it’s not unusual for one of their friends to send me an email (which is a whole other blog). It began okay, "Hello Trillian, so glad your mother's doing better in the nursing home." Passive aggressive dig or sincere tiding of hope? You be the judge. My money's on passive aggressive dig at me for putting my mother in The Home. I say this not because I am innately suspicious of all men of The Cloth, but because of what came next, "I had the opportunity to have an enlightening conversation with your mother a few days ago." Uh oh. Your parents' minister sending an email to tell you about being enlightened by your mother who's on drugs in a nursing home can never be a good thing. "She told me you are not pleased with the direction the church has taken in our Sunday services." Ahhhhh. Okay. So that's it.

My mother. Heh heh heh. My mother on drugs. Strong, narcotic drugs. Pushing her agenda while veiling them as my concerns. My mother is not normally a manipulative back stabbing liar. Nor is she the type to not tactfully voice her own opinions and concerns as her own. She's not afraid to own her opinions and concerns. (Runs in the family, apparently.) She's, you know, on drugs. And confined to a small chamber of horrors in a nursing home. So. Cut her some slack. She's not exactly herself these days.

My parents are a kind of weird blend of liberal conservatives. Open minded, all for helping anyone who needs any kind of help, accepting, you know, pretty cool people. But. Also insanely traditional and conservative in some areas. One of the main areas being religion. They're pretty straightforward about what they want and expect from a church. They don't want a church "experience" or religious "experience." They want: Invocation, Scripture Reading, One Choir Interlude, Sermon, Offering, Benediction, in that order, no variance and in exactly 59 minutes at 11:00 on Sunday mornings followed by coffee hour in the Fellowship Hall. Church Classic. Not New Church. Old Testament. New Testament. Heaven. Hell. Birth. Life. Death. Forever and ever amen. The men of their cloth have always been doctors of theology or reverends. Dr. Man of the Cloth or Reverend Man of the Cloth. Never Pastor Man of the Cloth. My dad once got tangled up with some monks, genuine "Brothers." That was kind of interesting. "Brother Thomas" regularly rang our house leaving messages for my dad. Which is totally NOT COOL when you're 13. "Trillian, why is a monk calling your house looking for your dad?" is not something any 13 year old kid wants to hear one of the cool kids say on a rare visit to their home. No. My dad was not thinking of becoming a monk, it was some interleague (leagues, faiths, whatever) charity thing and my dad got sucked into it because the other guys at their church were scared or something. Right. So. My parents are pretty traditional and conservative about what they want from their church but open minded and accepting of other religions and people.

And until the past few years their church was as traditional and conservative as they come without being, you know, one of those churches.

It's a small town. Real small. That town ain't big enough to support a lot of churches. Even though a lot of the congregation is comprised of people very much like my parents, there are a lot of other types of people, too. It’s always been a pretty nice blend of people who are not Catholic, Baptist or Jewish. Not that Catholic, Baptist or Jewish people aren’t nice, but they attend the Catholic or Baptist Church or go a few towns over to the Temple. Everyone else who wants to attend church pretty much has the choice of, um well, there is no other choice. My parents’ church is pretty much it. There are a couple of small congregations of other religions but, heh heh, it all comes clean in the wash because they use my parents’ church and join in on the organized activities. So the congregation is comprised of people who've been attending Sunday morning service and coffee hour for a lot of years because they don’t have other convenient church choices. Which hasn’t been much of an issue because it’s a small town. Part of living in a small town is being okay with making compromises and sacrifices by doing without the choices and convenience found in larger towns and cities. Everyone does know your business and appearances do matter.

So. My parents’ church has always been the type where men wear suits and ladies wear dresses. (or nice slacks, they're not one of those churches. Even their strictest church lady occasionally dons a smart pantsuit.) The choir wears robes, dark crimson with gold braid trim. They sing traditional hymns from the traditional hymnal. They had a pledge drive with one of those thermometer signs to raise money to repair the organ pipes (which ended up having to be replaced) to accompany that choir and drown out the congregation. They were very progressive back in the '60s and allowed a woman to be on the regular rotation of collection ushers. Yeah. We've come a long way, baby. This fact was regularly, though humbly, mentioned whenever the church came under attack for being too conservative. "You just don't know us. We've even got a lady usher!" Which soon gave way to a female liturgist, which, well, that ruffled a few of the older feathers in the flock. Truth be told it wasn't the fact that she was a woman, but that she was the particular woman she was. A rather, um, unpleasant person. A rather holier than thou person. Who pushed for that place on the altar like she was Joan of Arc fighting at Orleans. But the point was that she didn't have to fight for it. Anyone could audition (or whatever it is people do to be a liturgist) it was just that none of the women had ever bothered to want to do it. She turned it into this big NOW thing when it wasn't a big deal at all. No one in that church was trying to keep women down. Heck, there was a lady usher. So yeah. Conservative but not bad conservative. Traditional. Ish.

Right. So. Attendance started to decline a few years ago. Because members were dying or retiring. And the new young people in the community weren't interested in church. Church attendance was declining in general. But someone somewhere heard someone say they thought the church was full of a bunch of stuffy old rich white people. I can see where that perception might be concluded – but only because it’s the perception of the entire small town, not exclusive to that church. The irony and error in that rumor is that the church isn’t a bunch of stuffy old rich white people. It never was. Stories I could tell… But that was a growing perception of the church. Even with the lady usher and NOW liturgist.

The minister, a Dr., who'd been there for a while retired, too.

And the new guy arrived.

At first he seemed, you know, like all the other doctors and reverends. Rather unfortunately coincidentally an old white guy who seemed kind of, well, stuffy and rich.

But it soon became clear he had an agenda. He, too, was looking ahead to his retirement. And retiring from a large congregation apparently gives these guys a better allowance in retirement. I realize working for God doesn't pay well here on Earth. But. Apparently like all businesses there are levels to attain, personal goals and opportunities which can be rewarding for a person of the cloth who's willing to push a little harder and bring in a few more souls with checkbooks.

He started out as Reverend Newchurch. You know, fitting in with the way things go at that church.

But little by little he underwent a transformation. He started speaking in that sing song affected tone which I guess is supposed to be beatific or comforting, but instead comes across as weird and condescending. Like Reverend Lovejoy on the Simpsons.

He started wearing some rather colorful sashes over his robes. Heck, he was wearing robes. There had been other ministers who’d donned robes in the past, usually for special holidays or services, so, you know, the robe thing was not a huge shock, but some of those sashes were, well, I mean. They didn’t go over very well with some of the stuffy old white guys. Still. Even they were giving the guy room, cutting slack, keeping an open mind, maybe this showier jolt of expression on the pulpit would be a nice change and prove the church was not a bunch of stuffy old white guys.

But then, shock, horror, he had the nerve to not wear The Collar in public. He showed up at the weekly men’s coffee group wearing a regular shirt, not black, apparently a burgundy dress shirt, with, oh dear, a necklace. To hear my father describe it the guy showed up looking like 50 Cent. I have since seen the minister and the necklace and while yes, it is larger than most crosses seen around the necks of, um, 60 year old white guys, it’s hardly mack daddy sized. But. A minister showing his face in public without The Collar was a huge deal. Huge. Add to that the large necklace and it’s a one way ticket to being branded a hippie. (They have BET on cable there, now, and slowly some of the townsfolk are getting more hip to trends and vernacular, but to many “hippie” is an all encompassing term for anyone who is not a stuffy old rich white guy. You might be Goth, Gangsta or Gay, but by many in that town you will be labeled hippie. The funny thing about this is how it’s the accepted norm, even by the Goths, Gangstas and Gays.)

The Collar(less) thing was huge. Huge. People tried to hold meetings about it. Letters were sent to the district counsel. Some people didn’t care, others cared a lot. It became: A church divided.

The Collar has stayed off, the necklace remains and a lot of the members who were offended left the church or are dying off. (Because they’re old, not because of any covert doings by the Collarless Mob.)

I got a huge laugh out of all of this, you know, from a removed distance it’s funny. And hearing my father describe the mack daddy minister never fails to produce a few really good laughs. Hearing my mother patiently trying to play nice, apply the WWJD technique, saying things like, “Well, he did a nice service at Marlene’s funeral…” or “We’re just not used to that sort of casual attitude from our clergy. He’s still a man of the cloth even though he doesn’t wear the collar of the cloth,” cracks me up and warms my heart.

But then he did something even my mother couldn’t ignore or excuse. He began holding a Sunday night “rap session” in the Fellowship Hall with some young families he’d recruited, apparently when he was cavorting around town in that necklace without The Collar. What really bothered people was that the session was billed as “Alternatives in Christ.”

I have to agree on this one point: It created a them:us divide in the church. A church which, no matter what the perception, has always had a strong group spirit. Everyone knew everyone, and agree or disagree on issues, they always came together with the whole church community spirit. People really care about each other there. One of the main reasons being that they all come together every week for a dose of God and a cup of coffee in the Fellowship Hall. They attend weddings, baptisms and funerals. Faithfully. But now, with the “Alternative” group meeting in the shadows on Sunday night, there was this other group of people no one knew. Further, the “alternative” group did not want to be a part of the “regular” church. They didn’t “like” that old style or “know those people.” Well, um, no, they wouldn’t know them, because they keep themselves apart and distant at their "Alternative" services and naturally do not attend weddings, baptisms and funerals of the "regular" church members.

More letters were written to the district counsel. More people left and died. The “Alternatives in Christ” group started meeting at 8 AM on Sunday mornings.

My parents and some of the other older members decided to crash the alternative party. The 8 AM time slot appealed to some of them. Others genuinely wanted to check out the newfangled sermon. Others wanted to meet these other members. Some just wanted to extend an olive branch to this group. And yes, some were on a witch hunt.

The first thing they discovered was that the minister didn’t speak from the pulpit. He sat in a folding chair in a circle of folding chairs set up in the Fellowship Hall. Yes. The service wasn’t in the sanctuary.

The next thing they noticed was that the “alternative” group were a very casual bunch. Jeans. Yes. Jeans. And worse than that, t-shirts and sneakers. Now, no one really cares, and my father has certainly jumped on the casual bandwagon since his retirement. But. The contrast between the old church types and the new alternatives can be defined by their attitude about “church clothes.” If this discussion sounds about 35 years outdated, you’re right. And in life outside of that church the town and the church members old and new have progressed with the rest of the world on most counts. But church has always been a sacred bastion of a few remaining old decorum. People have worn jeans to Sunday services and apart from some of the bona fide stuffier members no one cares. But the t-shirts and sneakers thing really pushed the buttons of some of the non-alternative set. Even the more progressive and non-judgmental of the group. Like my mother. “I know God doesn’t care, and Jesus wore sandals, but if it’s so difficult to wear something other than jeans, t-shirt and sneakers for a few hours one day a week, maybe these folks might re-evaluate what place church really has in their lives and what sort of respect they have for it and the other members of the church and most of all for themselves. If they don’t care about their appearance, if they can’t or won’t be bothered to tidy up for a few hours, for God and for themselves, well…it’s really none of my business and doesn’t really matter but what message does that send to people who spend time and effort to present themselves in something other than their chore clothes?”

But even that wasn’t the biggest concern compared to what came next. The “alternative” group referred to the minister as Pastor Newchurch. May God have mercy on their souls. When it came to the attention of the existing long term members of the congregation that the new reverend was leading a double life, as, as a, a Pastor, well, there was some 'splanin' to do.

Pastor? Pastor? What happened to Reverend? It was “bad” enough in some circles that he wasn’t a Dr., but pastor? Some people didn’t care about the actual title, but, all agreed: The church was being divided and leading the division was a man leading a double life. Reverend by day, Pastor by night. Or by 8 AM service. He claimed this was his way of reaching out to the “alternative” group who felt threatened and intimidated by the old ways. (Though very few of them actually attended services or tried the “old ways” so there’s a lot of speculation as to how they could feel anything about the “old ways.”)

Putting the Pastor issue aside, my parents, and a lot of the other old churchers, ultimately didn’t like the Alternatives in Christ service because it wasn’t a service. It was a “dialog.” Meaning they sat around talking about God and Jesus and their feelings. The minister didn’t have an organized sermon, he was more of a moderator. Someone brought a guitar and sang a Bob Dylan song (my mother wasn’t sure which one, she complimented the singer after the session and said she liked that song, that one of her daughters (my sister’s the big Dylan fan in our family) used to play it, and the guy said, “cool, she’s a Dylan fan?” apparently shocked that my parents would birth and raise a child capable of listening to anything other than Pat Boone and the Carpenters. My mother said, “He talked down to me as if I didn’t know who Bob Dylan is. I’m old but I don’t live under a rock,” was her actual remark to me.) Someone talked about a problem they were having with a teacher at their kid’s school. They held hands and prayed for guidance. And that was pretty much it. The old churchers sat there with their bibles at the ready for the scripture lesson, waiting for insight and tutelage which never came.

More people left. Other people died.

Numbers were decreasing. Rapidly. And there weren’t enough “alternative” members to fill the voids.

And so it came to pass that two services were offered, both would undergo some changes. The “old style” would be modified, updated, mainly in terms of the music and format of the service, and the “Alternatives in Christ” group would have an actual outline to their service.

This didn’t work very well at first. Us. Them. Resentment and resistance on both sides over the changes.

I had heard all of this from afar and had only witnessed the showy sashes and Reverend Lovejoy affected tone.

And then one weekend while visiting my parents I went to church with them. And there, on the altar, looming ominously on stage, was: An electronic keyboard, drum kit. And. An electric guitar. Waiting for the gig to begin. Like at a concert, teasing the crowd with their presence, indicating the amps and decadence to come.

Okay. I'm a rock and roller. But even I do not want rock and roll at church. The two are mutually exclusive. It's: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. (Hootchie koo implied) Rock and roll is about rebellion and being bad and feeling like Hell. And yes, one could make the leap of faith that that's exactly why Holy salvation should be sought. But, if you're going to seek redemption for your evil rock and roll ways, check your Fender and drum kit at the stained glass door and respect the sanctity of the church and it's scripture. And no, I'm not saying I think rock and roll is Satanic or inherently evil. It's just music. But. It's music meant to get you all pumped up wild and rowdy and in the mood to do a lot of things which are found on the deadly sin list. At the very least conjure an impure thought or two. And yes, I’m okay with Christian Rock, I don’t listen to it, but I have heard it and if someone chooses to shout it out about God and Jesus, that’s cool. But. Not during a church service where people in attendance are not there to hear Christian Rock concert.

If I hadn’t witnessed the, um, “show” I never in a million years would have believed it happened in my parents’ church.

The show was comprised of:

  • A middle aged Stevie Nicks wannabe, complete with tight shirt and gauzey jaggy edged flowy skirt twirling around singing. Off key and as indecipherably as the real Stevie Nicks. She might have been singing about Jesus or she might have been singing about some guy named Jesse. There was a long string of mumbles and screetches which ended in “man.” It’s anyone’s guess or open to interpretation if the man was Jesus or Jesse or some other man.
  • A 30-something guy with a mullet, the long part permed, the front part feathered, wearing incredibly tight jeans (which left nothing, I mean nothing up for question. I’ve never really thought about men having camel toe, but, well, that guy pushed the gender barrier with those jeans), a white dress shirt (apparently out of respect for the old churchers) unbuttoned to his navel, playing electric guitar. Badly. And yes. There was a solo. And yes, he made The Face, the face guys who can’t actually play a guitar make when they play a guitar, apparently hoping no one will notice how badly they’re playing the guitar because they’ll be focusing on the look on his face.
  • A young boy, 13 – 14 ish, banging away on the drum kit. Give the kid a few more years practice and some decent rock to listen to for inspiration and he might actually be a good drummer. But for now he was basically doing his own thing on the drums, pounding out a rhythm completely not in keeping with the Mullet Man or Stevie Nicks who were doing their own things.
  • And then, in the midst of all this, was the organist who had stepped down from her perch behind the organ and was trying to move along on the electric keyboard but was unable to find a melodic compromise between the guitar and drums.
  • The real finishing touch was the light show. You heard me. A light show. The lights in the sanctuary were dimmed and from in front of the altar a kid, most likely the A/V geek at school, was setting the whole show in rock concert lighting. Or as near as possible with the lighting "equipment" available at Radio Shack.


So when Stevie Nicks was up there twirling around karaoking something about Jesus or Jesse and some man, I went straight to Leather and Lace and then Heart and a Magic Man and, well, yes, it is my problem, my corrupt mind easily led astray, but this never happened when the choir sang from the traditional old hymnal.

No, I didn't feel guilty. I felt empty.

And yes, I feel empty most of the time which has nothing to do with The Show at Church. But The Show at Church did nothing to help move me closer to God or even remotely compelled to feel guilty about feeling empty.

It’s not about their lack of actual talent. I realize churches are places of freedom of expression. I give them credit for getting up there and doing their thing. If they’re doing it for Jesus or God, great! Good for them! How cool for them that they’re moved by the spirit.

It’s that the message, if there was one, was completely lost in their theatrics and rock and roll wannabe performances which were more suited for the privacy of their basement or the Karaoke Club.

This is me talking. Me. The chick who got caught singing AC/DC. I ♥ rock and roll. But not at church. Church is church. Church is not a rock concert. If God were going to speak to me through rock and roll a) it would have happened long before now, b) it would have happened via someone like Tom Petty, c) He would strike me dead for listening to Prince (oh wait, that's not God, that's Gore, Tipper Gore, God, Gore, I always get the two confused.) and d) He would not make me suffer the bad Stevie Nicks indecipherable karaoke presentation twirling around on the altar. Jesus died for our sins. He's suffered enough. This display on the altar can't be the sort of sacrifices God had in mind.

Not exactly quiet contemplation or pious study and reflection. Not exactly the sort of thing which makes me think, "Ya know, this church thing isn't so bad, there's a lot to be learned here, by golly, I'm going to try to learn more and be a Believer and live a better life." It's the sort of thing which makes me think, "Man I hate Stevie Nicks. I can't wait to get out of here and cleanse my ears with some Zeppelin."

Apparently this presentation happens on a regular basis. The old churchers just go along assuming they just “don’t get it” and quietly sit there riding out the performance, thinking the “Alternatives in Christ” group enjoy this and are feeling spiritual and moved by the show. They’re being polite and trying to get along and accept the “alternative” members.

My parents have been trying to rise above, go along, get along, get with it, be cool and accept this as a phase. But they hate it. It's torturous for them. It’s torturous for everyone. I have difficulty accepting the idea that the “alternatives” like this. I mean, it’s bad. It’s just...bad. Whatever message is imbedded in the lyrics is completely lost under the mumbling and guitar solo and pounding drums.

The rest of the music has been updated. They old hymnals have been removed, they had a sale, you could buy an old hymnal. Those that weren’t sold were stashed away by the choir director. Instead of the old standard hymns they have jaunty little pop ditties with vague references and allusions set to a catchy pop tempo. There are no hymnals. The words are flashed up on rear projection screens. My dad calls it Scripture by Sesame Street because the words to the songs and prayers are flashed up a few words at a time. "Apparently people can't read from books anymore," he says and then questions the attention spans of the “alternatives” gang.

What really gets me in all of this is that my parents hate it more than I do. They feel like their feelings and needs from the church are being swept aside in favor of showy shenanigans which leave them feeling empty, disrespected and longing for something more. They’re craving religious stimulation and they’re getting wishy washy nicey nice platitudes and a bad rock show. And they just assume it’s because they’re not young and with it. They assume it’s them. Even though they know other old churchers don’t like it, either, and the few who have remained are feeling empty, too. They shrug and say, "I guess this is what young people like."

Finally I told my parents that while I’m not with it, I’m not old (I’m younger than Stevie Nicks, for certain, and younger than a lot of the other Alternatives in Christ group anyway) and I don’t like it or understand it either.

And that is what my mother told the minister. She apparently gave him quite an earful about the changes at the church and held me up as a “young person” who doesn’t like the changes. And quoted several of my less than complimentary observations about the division in the church and the rock show. My mother told the minister he should be talking to people “like me.” I don’t think he realizes my issues with God, Heaven and Hell on a global perspective, but then neither does my mother. But it’s obvious in terms of church and God and all that I’m lost. Not necessarily wayward, but lost. And a less stronger willed person (stubborn) who is lost like me could easily go wayward. If my salvation and faith were dependent upon my parents’ church as it is now, or one like it, I’d be doomed. Because I don’t get it. As I said, it’s empty.

Is it bible thumping fire and brimstone I need? No. But if the purpose of church is, you know, God and Jesus and the bible, I expect some mention of one or all three of those during the course of a church service. There are vague references to the easier to understand and “nice” passages and scripture in the bible, and an occasional mention of Jesus, but nothing truly meaningful or contemplative. It’s an hour long dose of pabulum spewed out in “lingo” set to catchy pop tunes. We’re all okay, we’re all all right, isn’t it swell none of us are going to Hell? (Yes, you too can have an exciting career in church song writing.)

Apparently I’m not alone. Because apart from the core group of Alternatives in Christ, no new young people or families have joined the church. So the whole attempt to reach new members has backfired. And now the minister is apparently trying to run damage control. And he asked me for my opinions.

And I sat there thinking, “What the…?” staring incredulously at the email.

Do I answer him honestly and risk my parents’ reputation as being, you know, decent people and good parents? Or do I give him back the nicey nice platitudes he doles out, sugar coating everything and spare my parents even more raised eyebrows about their youngest child and what went wrong with her? WWJD?

Do I help him market the church?

Yep. That’s it exactly. He wants to know my opinions because “with your experience in marketing you could be a lot of help to us as we stand at the crossroads of the future of our church.”

Selling souls, rock and roll, it’s really all the same, right? But how about the irony of that one? Me? Marketing God and Jesus?

If this is what it means to be touched by the hand of God I’m confused and a little scared.

I’m the last person who should be re-imaging the God brand. Swut, I just referred to God as a brand in need of re-imaging. That can’t be good or right.

So yes, I’ve been thinking about God and church and religion a lot lately. Thanks to my mother who narked me out from her drug induced hazed bed.


12:01 PM

 
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