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The Lent Project: Day 10

First of all today, RIP to a Chicago blues legend...Magic Slim. So poor picking cotton in the South that he had to make his own guitar when he was younger, he went on to become THE symbol of the 1950's classic Chicago blues style. He was 75. Take a listen.

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Well, we've reached the quarter mark in this experiment and it hasn't been all bad. 10 days without social media like Facebook and Twitter. My free time is way up. I've kept to my resolution other than a few unfortunate "gimmies" where meeting details or news only lives online these days. So to find out some info you're forced to visit--the Chicago marathon updates are a good example. It feels like 10,000 readers just arrived not that long ago, but another 1,000 people have flown by and I'm up to 11,000 already. Congrats to me!

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I couldn't not comment on the Chicago Marathon fiasco. I'm not involved this year...but at the same time I don't want to see it turn into a scandal. Apparently, the 15,000 spots that are left are further delayed until Feb 28th when the organizers will unveil an "equitable" system to fill the remaining openings. No clue what that means. But I suspect that it will be very, very different if I ever want to register for this race again in the future. I don't want to see this become a black mark on the race like happened with NYC last fall. I'm not sure I have any desire to ever run expensive, logistically nightmarish, lottery-driven NYC. But, then again, I'm also not driven to qualify for Boston--or Kona in triathlon. Well, maybe Kona. But that's not why I'm in either sport. Some people are obsessed with BQ times or what they have to do to get a rolldown, lottery spot, or whatnot for the legendary Hawaii Ironman. Then again, I'm also not desperate to ride a $3000 speed machine of a bike. We're all driven athletes. Some of us are just driven by different things.

In other news, it's been a full week since I've been in the pool or worked out. Been sick. Still feel slightly guilty. Not too guilty. Just sucks to lose those 2-3 workouts.

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As promised, I thought I'd get a little more spiritual since this whole project is, afterall, for Lent. So today I offer up a few thoughts about Parenting & God. And spiritual language--since I began to touch on that a little previously.
The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists. --Charles Dickens
The longer I'm a parent, the more convinced I am that a great many religious metaphors only work from parental hindsight. In other words, I think the authors of the Bible wrote some of the language for other parents.

I'm thinking particularly here about some of the conversations I've had with my non-religious friends where I try to explain to them that they're still using religious language even though they don't consider it such. (It came up frequently during the NPR series of stories on The Nones.) The Dickens quote above is an obvious example of a fairly religious-oriented thought. Of course, more to my point, it works for parenting as well.

As my professor, mentor, and friend--Ron Miller--used to point out, when we say that "Jesus is the lamb of God" we don't mean he's white and covered in wool. Ron used to also try to help struggling Christians wrap their heads around the Trinity. To many of the faith, the "3 persons in One God" concept is a bit...awkward? How can you be a monotheist religion yet have the Trinity? Well, Hindus are monotheists technically as well...we'll save that for another time!

But the Trinity concept of Father, Son, Holy Spirit is that crazy metaphorical, allegorical, categorical language that makes it tough for some people to relate to religion. (We'll also save the "my religion is better than yours" for another time, too. Another major turnoff.) Father is too gender specific. Or in our childless age some people don't quite grasp the personal nature of it. It's not supposed to be foreign. It's supposed to be familiar. God is also Thou, not You. We're homies. He's everywhere. No disconnect. My favorite thing to piss people off when I was younger was to say that God is in...peanut butter. Or toilet paper. It's not being pantheistic. That's a different concept. We're talking about panentheism instead...a God both personal and trans-personal. (Not going to unpack trans-personal today, sorry.) Ron always said the best method to prepare for reading the Bible was hearing a good joke. And that Shakespeare didn't write "lies." He wrote plays.

Anyway, back to parenting...parents get it. To love something before it even existed. To bring it forth from nothing. To have something you created, don't quite control, yet guide. It's kids. Not to get that duality too mixed up...I'm sure I have atheist parent friends who would say the idea is a stretch. The point here is the language, the usage, and meaning. When a guy walks into a bar, you don't ask his name and address. It's a setup to get you to think in a certain way about what follows.

I find as I get older that the Creation side of parenting has jumped out at me. My daughter was sitting and splashing in her bath this morning and I was struck by that "I made that" reality that smacks you every once in awhile as a mom or dad. There was nothing. No existence. Now, there's this...thing...with preferences. Who thinks and breathes and has feelings and moods. It's all very weird. Like making an art project that goes on in perpetual motion.

Perhaps my favorite thing about having kids has been that it makes me feel so important and so small at the same time.

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And now, for something completely different, this is a fascinating analysis of demographic trends...and explains visually why the GOP is in trouble and why Democrats are getting so confident about 2020 and beyond because of population shifts. Math sucks sometimes. lol



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