Friday, December 23, 2011

Familiar Christmas customs based on ancient pagan rituals? GASSSPPP!!!

This time of the year tends to bring out the best - and the worst - in all of us.  It's also the annual time of the year for various retail outlets and government representatives at all levels (city, county, state, and federal) to commit to saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas" so as to not offend those who don’t celebrate Christmas.  Well, I have my own solution to this particular dilemma, but more on that in a bit. 

First, I want to bring up a common argument generally brought up by those who hate the Christmas season; and they usually bring it up as a way to "de-legitimize" Christmas - as if bringing this up is supposed to make the Christmas celebrant crash into a heap of shock, daze, confusion, and disappointment, and then they’ll leave Christianity and embrace atheism.  That particular fact is that many familiar Christmas customs actually originated from ancient pagan rituals.  It's times like that that I really have to bite my tongue to keep from saying:

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!  WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CLUE?

You all might not know this, but I have a snarky side that I have to fight to control.  LOL 

Anyway, as I've mentioned before in a recent blog entry, I'm a big lover of history, and these particular facts about Christmas have been known to me since early adolescence.  The fact that Christmas originally was about celebrating the winter solstice is the most common argument brought up by these people – however, that fact is not exactly true.  What the early Christians were doing was not to look for a covert way to celebrate the winter solstice, but to redirect common pagan celebrations to have a Christian theme to them instead, so that this transition from pagan rituals to Christian ones will be very gradual.   Since pagans were used to celebrating at this time in December, then it wouldn't be a great stretch to make it about Christmas instead. 

But what really influenced our current practices of Christmas rituals in our country actually originated in Victorian England, and also by retail stores in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century looking to boost their bottom line (those damn corporations and One Percenters at it again!).  They basically made the Christmas season, in which the three wise men gave gifts to the infant Jesus, to be a time for gift-giving in general.  They were so successful at this transition that we've been paying for it with our dollars and our sanity ever since. 

So is Christmas too commercialized?  You bet! It's been so bad in recent decades that it's a common source of stress.  Heck, even the Peanuts television special in the mid-1960s made reference on how commercialized Christmas was back then!  Given that, I'm not only not surprised that some wouldn't be keen on a holiday with so many manufactured rituals (think Black Friday, Super Saturday, Cyber Monday, for example), I can actually agree with them.

Surprised that I would agree?  My Christmas-hating friends, you will find that you have a lot of people fond of Christmas who also hate the commercialization of it and of the hyper stress and the manufactured rituals.  What really ticks us off, though, is that you will lump us into the creators of the manufactured, commercialized holiday season (notice that I said "holiday" rather than "Christmas".  A distinction that I'm about to clarify) with those of us who appreciate the true "reason for the season".

Ah, yes. The “reason for the season”. That would be, of course, the arrival of the Christ child. Without getting heavy into Christian theology (so that I won’t be accused of trying to “evangelize” any of you LOL), Christmas Day is simply the celebration of Jesus’ birth. His birthday, in other words. And before anyone starts telling me that we don’t know the real date of his birth – yes, that’s true – so chill out! So why December 25th? Well, since we don’t know the true date, then a date had to be picked so that we can all celebrate it!

It also happens to be 9 months after the Catholic feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. And well, pregnancies tend to last 9 months and all that. Yes, we don’t know the true date of his conception, nor do we know whether his mother Mary’s pregnancy lasted the standard 9 months, or if it were shorter or longer than that. And yes, as previously stated, December 25th was picked likely to coincide with the pagan celebration of the winter solstice – but NOT to celebrate it! Thing is, friends, what mattered is that Jesus came into the world, and the other details aren’t necessarily important. So whether Jesus was born on December 25th or May 8th, the most important fact for Christians is that he was born.

Having said all that, I do believe that the celebration of Christmas needs to be more "Christ" centered; and not so much "holiday" centered. So those of you who aren't Christian and are pissed about all the trappings that are actually products of Victorian England and the marketing campaigns of retail outlets, be sure to direct your anger in the right direction. You just might find more Christians agreeing with you than you expect.

And finally, my solution to the whole "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays/Seasons Greetings", I say that those who trouble themselves over what to say should do this: Say all of them! What I mean is, say the following:

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Holy Ramadan
Happy Holidays
Seasons Greetings
Happy Festivus
And all the rest!

Any marketing departments worth their salt can find ways to utilize this in creative ways. It *can* be done.

And with that, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Don't forget as well that if you want to give me a holiday greeting here or on FB, be sure to tell me "Merry Christmas", because that's my preference. Heck, it's on my blog banner! LOL

Just so that you all know, I will be taking a break from blogging for about a week, and I'll see you back here early January. However, I will definitely still be posting on FB. In fact, watch my FB page starting on Monday for a special treat! I think you'll like it!

Take care, everyone! I hope you get lots of prezzies!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New artwork by a new artist! Meet Rick Celis!
















Okay true believers! It's time to reveal a new artist for yours truly! Meet Rick Celis!  Isn't this work incredible?  Time to reveal how this got started.  This was a combination of the boss' desire for commissioned artwork to have a more "comic book" feel to them, instead of the standard pin-up, followed by my idea of giving him a line to use as the basis of the artwork. 

The challenge to the boss was that he had to craft a scene around that line, and give that description to the artist. And then the artist, not knowing what that line was going to be, made the scene based on the boss' description.

He described the scene as just after I got walloped by a real strong bad guy (or lady!) and I flew into a concrete wall, leaving cracks where I struck the wall.  I am then shown just after I hit the wall, and glaring back at the villain, uttering that line. 

Below is the same artwork with my line included:



Isn't this just amazing? I love how Rick captured that instant perfectly! This, friends, is how it goes when the artist nails the tension and drama in a comic page of art! Look at all that Rick captures here! I got smacked around, but I'm ready to give it all right back, and more! YEAAAHH!!! Bring it on, bitches! LOL

This is one of the reasons that I love comics.  And I love it even more when I'm the one being depicted!  Ha!  Loveitloveitloveit!

Thanks, Rick!  Nicely done!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Busty Superhero Chicks for Breast Cancer Awareness?

A quick word of warning - clicking on the following link might be NSFW if someone isn't aware what it's really about.  This is in case you have one of those psycho drama-queen feminists that finds sexism around every corner and in every shadow, because if they happen to be looking over your shoulder when you click on it, they'll see busty superhero women fondling their boobs. (!)

Once you're in the clear, check out this story about a site called Superheroes For Breast Cancer Awareness.  What they're actually doing, of course, is the classic breast self-examination for lumps.  Your psycho drama-queen feminist co-worker should recognize the hand gestures for that, but if you're a dude looking at those images just as she's looking over your shoulder, then she's probably going to take it the wrong way.  They're like that.

Anyway, so what do you think?  Do you think that this will help the cause of breast cancer awareness?  Hm.  I kinda wonder how effective this would be, since they're fictional characters?  As far as I know, there hasn't been a prominent superhero woman that has gotten breast cancer.  Would that be a little too much "realism" for the average comics readers if that happened?

I'm still debating this, and I'll get back to you later, but do let me know what you think.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lucky Shot again as done by the art goddess, Rocio!


Word of warning, y'all!  When Lucky Shot is looking at you with this pose and facial expression and her glowy blue eyes...

...IT'S NOT A GOOD SIGN!

This means that you're about to go down and unconscious in a matter of seconds, or you will have to be very, very, very, very good - and you'll go down and unconscious in a matter of a few more seconds!  Even though she is 5 foot 4, she is also one of the best at utilizing her power, her martial arts skills, and her strength that is almost double the strength of the average human woman her size and build that engages in regular intensive exercise. 

She's also one of the few people in my life that has the guts to stand up to me on a regular basis!  Oh, and don't tell her that I told you this, but inside that hardass exterior is a sentimental softy!  LOL  She would have to be, to be the loving mother that she is to her son!

Anyway, this artwork is brought to you by the enormously talented Rocio Zucchi, whom I have promoted to art goddess!

Thanks, Rocio!  You're awesome, GF!  Whoohooo!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More artwork coming tomorrow and next week! Whoohoo!

Hey, everyone!

One more piece of excellent artwork by Rocio Zucchi is coming TOMORROW!

You will love it like you've loved the rest of her work!

And coming next week will be a new piece of artwork by a new artist! I promise you that you will think this one is way, way cool! It's an action pose like you would see in a comic, so this one is going to be FUN!

So stay tuned, true believers! More artistic excellence is on the way!

w00t!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God Week: Being a believer in God means rebelling against your human nature

Last time I had discussed the belief in God, I had made the comment that those who believe in God are actually rebelling against their own human nature. Now I will explain a little more on what I mean by that.

But first, a little kudos to a couple that I am often critical of, and that’s my own Marxist parents. Despite their wrong-headed beliefs about politics and the world in general, I give them credit for one thing: When they said that they would allow their children to forge their own paths, they truly meant it – even when it meant that one of those kids would eventually take up views contrary to their own. Despite our many disagreements, they are always respectful of my conservative views even if they wholeheartedly oppose them. Boy, was I ever a test of that particular philosophy - and they lived up to it! So, based on their example, I am respectful of their views in return. Heck, I recently admitted that I admire their styles of protest, and would even imitate their style if I ever lead an Occupy movement. If that ain’t a compliment, I don’t know what is!

Another example I learned from them is that just because you are being respectful of someone else’s views doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally be vocal about your own views! As hard as it is to believe, you can be both loud about your views and still be respectful of the views of others. They did it all the time, and I try to do the same. Mainly, what I learned is that passion for one’s views is no sin, but actually a virtue; for if you don’t have the passion to fight for your beliefs, then why do you believe in them? That’s a lesson that I try to pass on to others. There ya go, Mom and Dad! A public compliment from me to you! :-D Luv ya! <3 <3 Mwah! <3 <3

The reason that I’m bringing up my parents here is because they are atheists, but despite that, atheism wasn’t what they tried to force down my throat. They did tell me of the “dangers” of believing in God, but they still let me decide the matter for myself. Mainly, I think they realized that God is very prevalent throughout our society and our culture, so there was not going to be any avoiding him unless they completely isolated me from the world - which was the last thing that they were going to do. So instead of trying to deny that he exists, they instead tried to give reasons as to why believing in God can often lead to heartache and disappointment. It was their reasoning that I would eventually see it for myself.

Well, I did see that for myself. I did indeed see that believing in God can lead to heartache and disappointment. Ha! I bet you didn’t expect me to agree to that, did ya? However, believing in God can also lead to joy and inspiration. The trick is on how you do this. What I mean is this: it all depends on what you believe God is, and what you expect him to do. Last time I had made mention of the term that I’ve heard atheists use in reference to God, and that's as a “magic genie in the sky that grants all your wishes.” If that is someone’s idea of God, then yes, it’s definitely a recipe for heartache and disappointment. But God is no genie.

Now, what I’m about to present here is my own take on God, and this is based on my own research of history (one of my great loves) and the “footprints” he left along the way in the parade of history, as well as my own experiences. He is there, if you know what you are looking for. Let’s take two examples of people who left their marks in history. One is Genghis Khan, who is alleged to have many descendants in the world because he had a very large harem, and because his sons also had very large harems. Because of that, Khan’s “footprints” are everywhere around the world.

Another historical person with footprints all over the world is Jesus Christ. Before I continue, I know some of you are probably thinking “Uh oh – she’s about to go preachy on us and evangelize her Christianity on us.” I know this, because I know how you guys think. LOL Anyway, I’m bringing Jesus up not to “push” him on you, but to discuss him from a historical standpoint, so I hope you bear with me and hear me out before dismissing me outright, because otherwise you’ll miss a point that I’m trying to make. I also know that some of you deny Jesus existed, but for argument’s sake, let’s say that he did. And for the record, I believe that he existed – which I would have to; otherwise, why would I call myself a Christian?

With that out of the way, let’s look at Jesus Christ. He died young – aged 33 – and left no descendants. Unlike Khan, he never traveled far from the country of his birth. And yet, his thoughts, his words, and his examples are still being lived and discussed to this day. Granted, some of his followers are not doing as good a job in following his examples as others are, but that’s true for any sort of organization; that is, every organization has its zealots and its slackers.

On the one hand, Khan left his “imprints” on history, and yet, what has that done for us – beyond the factual curiosity of a large number of descendants? There is no Ghengishan religion based on his thoughts and his actions. This is because Khan did not see what he did as something that was going to change the world for the better. Instead, he was looking out for himself. Well, he got his very large harem of women and the many children that came out of that, but once he died, he was dead, and no amount of mass copulation was going to change that. He lived according to his human nature and got what came out of that: many moments of physical pleasure for himself, and a large amount of descendants that came from it.

Contrast that with Jesus’ example of love and selflessness. He wasn’t setting out to leave a large number of descendants like Khan did, but instead to leave a large number of followers. And his message of selflessness contrasts with human nature, for it’s our nature to look out for ourselves first. His message of selflessness is difficult to follow – even for his followers – but at the same time, true believers can see how society as a whole can benefit from following his message of love and selflessness.

So how can a message of selflessness draw so many followers – especially in contrast to Khan’s much easier message of following your human nature? What is it that is so appealing to his followers that it quickly spread from his home country to all around the world in a relatively short amount of time? Friends, that’s what I’m still trying to figure out.

And yet, I can’t deny the results. I also can’t deny the appeal of his message of love, despite the difficult standards of selflessness that comes with it. Despite this difficult standard, I can see why this message is appealing, because I can reason out the positive results of what would happen if everyone puts the welfare of others ahead of themselves. In summary, to me God is no genie, but instead is the person of Jesus Christ and his message of love and selflessness in the service of others. That's a deity that's a lot more accessible than some distant spirit in the clouds.

So getting back to my initial statement, being a Christian in the true sense of the word is to be a rebel – a rebel against your human nature of selfishness. So in that light, it can be shown that Christianity is actually “progressive” in the true sense of the word, because progress is what would arise out of serving others before yourself.

Now contrast that with what today’s “Progressives" desire; which is actually REgressive, because they seek “doing your own thing”. This should sound familiar, because that’s what Genghis Khan did. Doing your own thing is the same thing as satisfying yourself first, and with the same results as what Khan got. I leave you with these questions: Has society benefited from liberals' message of "sex, drugs, and rock & roll"? How is such a philosophy better than a philosophy based on selflessness in the service of others?

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My apologies for this extending into another week, but this post initially was longer, and after looking it over, I chopped off a big chunk of it and will save that part for later, because it’s actually more of a Christmas message than a discussion of what I brought up during my God Week. There’s other things that I wanted to bring up, but I’ll save those topics for another time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New badass art of me by Rocio Zucchi!

Yesterday you got a sneak peek at the latest artwork of me by Rocio Zucchi. Below is the rest of it! Waahoooo!!! Awesommme!

Don't you just love this pose?  Flexin' those biceps, baby!  Strong *and* sexy at the same time!  Man, I'm running out of words to describe her work! 

Rocio, I will say this, though...  It's no longer enough to say that you are an excellent artist.  Nope, now I gotta call you an art goddess!   :-D

Thank you so much!  I don't know how I forgot this before, but you are now officially in my sidebar of cool links!  --------------->

One more by Rocio coming next week, friends!  :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's still okay to wish me Merry Christmas!

Did you happen to notice my new blog banner?  Yes my friends, it's time for my annual assurance that it's okay to wish me Merry Christmas!

Nope, no need to throw out Happy Holidays or the vague and unusual Season's Greetings!  I am perfectly happy with you wishing me a Merry Christmas!  In fact, I prefer it!  I promise you that I won't get offended!

Oh! 

Oh, wait!

What's that artwork you see in my blog banner?

Well my little nerdlings, that answer comes tomorrow! 

Whoohoo!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God Week: Did you "get" the Tommy story?

There is a saying used in reference to the belief in God that goes "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible." I bring up that quote, because that's what came into my mind when I first read the story about Tommy that appeared in my previous blog post. 

For those of you who believe in God, then you were likely moved, maybe even to tears.  With the belief in God, then death makes sense - that it's not the end, but just the beginning of a different phase of life.  Although life after death is usually called "the afterlife" (because it's after the death of the physical body), it's more accurately described as "eternal life".  That is to say, our bodies are mortal, but our souls are immortal.

For those of you who don't believe in God, you probably shook your head in disbelief.  You might have even said that Tommy's response was actually a natural human response in a time of great emotional stress - to reach out to someone "on the other side" so that death does not look so frightening.  For this crowd, death is the end, and that's it.  There is no otherworldly paradise, and there is no magic genie in the sky who grants all our wishes.  There is no heaven and no hell, and at our death, we simply cease to exist.

The idea, the concept, the belief in God and his existence shapes our lives and our thinking, and that applies even if you don't believe in God.  For my part, I do believe in God.  Being raised Marxist, it wasn't always that way, of course.  So what got me started on the path of belief in God?  A couple of things.  For one, it was just plain ol' teenage rebellion to tick off my atheist parents.  But another was because I was such a student of history.  This allegedly non-existent entity has managed to shape our world in ways that no human person has managed to do. 

A study of the belief in gods seems to suggest that it is part of our human makeup to seek something beyond us; something beyond the day-to-day humdrum patterns of our everyday lives.  After all, back then, in the days before much of our knowledge of medicine and biology came about, death came early and often.  Death was so early and frequent that families had to have a lot of children in the hope that some of them would survive infancy - infant mortality rates being so high back in those days.

Think about that for a minute, to a time that a woman could have like 8 babies and 6 of them die before they turn a year old.  And perhaps one of the remaining two – or even both - is sickly for the rest of his or her life.  Also, think about what they didn’t know about basic personal hygiene like brushing your teeth, or cleaning and bandaging their wounds before they become infected.  And also think about how human wastes were dealt with before the days of indoor plumbing.  Given all this, it’s no wonder life spans were so short!

With such rampant disease and death, how to you make sense of it all?  What's the point if death was going to come quickly, either by war (another constant in ancient times) or disease?  It's very easy to fall into that trap of "the futility of our existences" mindset.

From the atheist standpoint, there is no sense to it all.  Our lives are what they are, and nothing else.  And if history shows anything, it’s that we can accomplish anything if we put our minds to it – no need to pray to a “supreme being” to make it happen.  The atheist side would also say that the lot of humanity improved because of men with drive and vision, who were able to see beyond the here and now and had the courage to think on how things might be different. 

And yet, these men weren’t driven to improve the lot of humankind in the name of atheism.  If anything, atheism doesn’t encourage helping your fellow man, but instead only looking out for yourself.  Ayn Rand is a classic example of this type of thinking.  If an atheist helps anyone besides themselves, it’s to eventually benefit themselves later on.  If this life is all we have, then what benefit is there to such ideas and charity and philanthropy?

Before I get comments from atheists about this, this is not to say that there aren’t atheists who give to charity and philanthropy; just that such selfless ideals aren’t generally part and parcel of their usual type of thinking.  In fact, some atheists embrace atheism precisely to get away from that societal expectation (usually based on some religious belief) of “helping your fellow man”.  If there’s no God, then there’s no sin, and if there’s no sin, then there is no need to worry about eternal punishment in some fiery pit called hell.

So in light of that, looking out for yourself not only makes sense, it makes the only sense if this one life is all you got.  And from a human standpoint, looking out for yourself is completely natural, because in a sense, we all do that.  It really takes a special insight to be able to see beyond yourself.  In light of that, being a believer in God and embracing the idea of selfless acts of charity and philanthropy are actually counter to our human nature.  So in a very real sense, believers in God rebelling against their own human nature!

For next time, I'll explain what I mean when I say that believers in God are rebelling against their own human nature - at least I'll try to explain it from a Christian perspective, since I am not as familiar with the Jewish, Muslim, or the other faiths of those who believe in God.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today starts God Week: A story about Tommy

In the past few days for some reason, I've been involved in a lot of dialogue with family, friends, GFs, and on FB regarding God, religion, and spirituality in general.  That got me thinking that, with the start of the Christmas season, I might devote a week to discussing God and various religious topics.  So with that, I am starting God Week as of today!

Interesting and perhaps a bit ironic that someone like me would discuss God and religious topics, given that I was raised by atheist Marxists!  (Have I mentioned before that I was raised by Marxist parents?  LOL)  Yes, even those raised by Marxists think about God and his effect on our world at large.  My take on God is that I believe in his existence.  I will certainly cover this more as the week goes on.  However, let's start God Week with the story below.

The story below was forwarded to me from the boss, who got it from someone else.  Since it's long, I'm going to limit today's blog post to just this story.  That will allow you time to read it, and to think about it a bit before I discuss my thoughts on Tommy and the story.

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John Powell a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.

It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped.

I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange ... very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick!" I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?"

"Sure, what would you like to know?"

"What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life."

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.)

But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!) But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven.

But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care ... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. "I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ "So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him."

"Dad". . .

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean. .. It’s really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.

And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. "It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through.’ ‘C’mon, I’ll give you three days .. .three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. "But the important thing is that he was there. He found me.

You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Oooh . . . I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class."

"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call." In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it.

He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed.

He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: "I told them, Tommy . ... ...as best I could."

Friday, December 2, 2011

New artwork! Whoohoo! Chibi Shamrock

Hi! I'm back! And it looks like all this month, I'm going to be posting all new art! Wow, what a Christmas gift, eh? Well, let's get started, because I'm so excited! First up is a chibi style of The Shamrock. Ain't it awesome? You know, I love that visor!

I've discussed The Shamrock before, who is actually code-named "Seamrog" by the Dept of Superhuman Studies, since Marvel Comics already has a "Shamrock".  But if I called her Seamrog here in today's blog entry, then you wouldn't get that she's an Irish-themed superhero until you looked at the artwork below!

As stated before on my blog, we at the DSS so far are letting Seamrog do her thing so long as she sticks to stopping burglars and robbers and the like.  Also as stated before, she doesn't seem to be superhuman (and thus not an issue for the DSS to investigate) - just a regular human running around in a costume playing hero - and so long as she doesn't get herself hurt or killed, I'm willing to let her be for now.  She just seems to be in it to see her name in the headlines, so let's hope that she's not in the headlines for the wrong reason one day - that is, to report on her untimely death.  This is why I generally discourage regular humans from taking up the superhero life.  If you want to defend the general population from the bad guys, then join the police where you can do that legally and officially.  :-)

Anyway, this outstanding artwork was brought to you by the artistic hands of Rocio Zucchi, who has made the most recent artworks that have appeared on my blog.  And she's also going to be the artist for the next two coming up.  Trust me, you'll love them just as much as you loved this one.  :-D

Have a great weekend, all!