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bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Singularity


As we analyze the projections of exponential growth pertaining to technology, we arrive at an idea some have referred to as the Singularity. The Singularity is actually a concept coming out of physics which can describe the point at the center of a black hole where all time, matter, and energy converge into one singular point and the very fabric of physics is torn into pieces. The concept of a wormhole is that at this point of singularity the physical state of the universe begins to fold in on itself creating a vacuum sucking everything from one point and expelling it out another. This would be like the connecting point of a circle. It is the starting point and ending point at the same time. It would be a loop of never ending time, matter, and energy. Ergo, the Singularity would be the point where we witness the beginning, end, and everything in between. Philosophically, the Singularity is the culmination of all that was and all that will be into one central location, time, and space. Singularity, in the philosophical sense, is the final realization of all known Truth.

Our religion is a philosophy. It is a set of beliefs guiding our worldview, influencing our behaviors, and regulating our understanding of the after-life. Those that consider themselves “very religious” pay close attention to the philosophical tenets of their shared organized religious beliefs. Others who consider themselves “unreligious” tend to pay closer attention to their existential intellectual observations when building a life philosophy. One group might be considered more stable and rooted in the philosophies which have been proven out over the test of time. The other group might be considered more nimble and sensitive to the evolving culture and world in which they presently live. The overall positive or negative evaluation of either group is wholly dependent upon the perspective one has at the moment of analysis. The ultimate conflict between the two groups is that the “very religious” see reality through the lens of their established philosophy while the “unreligious” develop their philosophy based on the lens of their own life experience. One believes that the entire grocery store of existence fits into their philosophical grocery cart. The other carefully chooses items off of the grocery shelves of existence in order to fill their philosophical grocery cart as best they can.

The Singularity, as discussed by Ray Kurzweil, is a point where informational and technological growth have increased exponentially along a long enough timeline that human ability to contain it, or even continue to fathom its full implications, fails entirely necessitating an evolutionary watershed moment where biological humans begin to mesh with technology and become cyborgs. The idea is that assimilation with such a rapidly advancing technology would be preferable to being left behind and eventually eliminated by a race of cybernetic intelligence that might look upon a purely biological human as we do an ant or a mosquito. Kurzweil’s Singularity is the coming together of humanity and technology in a way that blurs the lines between the two entirely resulting in a new form of existence which supersedes its predecessors.

Most religions (philosophies) share similar ideas of a spiritual Singularity. Whether discussing an after-life or contemplating an end-times scenario, various ideas of being reunited with one’s God, Creator, or Energy Source seem to look like a spiritual wormhole where one has looped back at the very end to the source of the very beginning. Singularity with one’s God, whether that God be energy or a being or a cosmic consciousness, seems to be an overwhelmingly accepted philosophy professed by every major religion, science, and belief system throughout all of human existence. For the most part we can all agree that we return to the original base form from which we have come indiscriminate of what our primary life experience has been. “Ashes to ashes…dust to dust.”

As one’s philosophical views become more forward-looking and organic, it becomes easier to navigate meaning in the contemporary world that we live in. With the exponential growth of world population, energy consumption, need for natural resources, and technology it seems highly unlikely that the philosophical worldviews established over the last 5,000 years could account for ALL that is happening now and about to happen in the next 50 years. For instance, technologically, the world of 2000 BC was much more similar to the world of 1500 AD than 1900 AD is to today. That means that the previous 4000 years of human existence are incredibly similar when using the last 150 years as a template of comparison. And it is certain that what is technologically possible 50 years from now is nowhere close to proving realistically viable today. This is the result of exponential growth in knowledge which spurns exponential growth in technology which spurns exponential growth in pursuit of Truth (or philosophy of existence).

In this sense, philosophical Singularity is the compressing together of these elements (knowledge, technology, and truth) into one singular place at one singular time when the very fabric of existence is torn and the beginning intersects with the end creating a loop, or wormhole, where all reality, perspective, and philosophy come together fully unified and fully revealed. For most, this spiritual Singularity is called “afterlife” or “judgment day”. It is where all misconceptions are left behind and truth is revealed without distraction of alternative theories. It is where truth becomes self-evident and reality is no longer dependent upon perspective. In a sense, this spiritual Singularity is the focal point of our most predominant religious philosophies from the ancient Egyptians to the American Indians to the contemporary Christians. Achieving spiritual Singularity with one’s deity drives the daily behaviors, politics, economics, and overall worldview of the majority of past and contemporary human society.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown


All of you out there who've made the Newtown, CT massacre about YOU should be ashamed of yourselves. From political agendas to unscrupulously subjective rantings about how God has abandoned our secular school system, please shut the fuck up.

Now is a time for mourning. Now is a time for sorrow. Now is a time for contemplation and resolve. Now is a time for grasping one another’s hands and quietly acknowledging that there will be families with presents under their trees this year which were meant to go to children that are no longer with us. It is incomprehensible. And, yet, it is survivable. Somehow, the worst victims of tragedy get better. Somehow, we always seem to heal. Somehow, we eventually accept these tragedies as a part of our new and future reality.

I’m not trying to teach anyone anything by writing these words. I’m just trying to stir it around and mix it in with the rest of my daily food so that maybe it can be palatable enough for me to gulp down. I’m too pissed off not to try to get this down the hatch so I can move forward. I’m pissed at every one of us—every one of our leaders—every one of our schools—every one of our families—and I resent the implication that ANY OF US knows a fucking thing about why this happened.

I resent the implication that ANY OF US understand anything at all about the list of massacres in each of the US States since the early 1800’s. 40 of our 50 States have experienced multiple instances of reckless, unconscionable waste of human life that NONE OF US can wrap our brains or hearts around.

If you really want to explain something to me then try making me understand why all of the malicious, malevolent, cowardly acts of mass homicide within my lifetime have been perpetrated by white men ages 20-35. You know what? Forget I even mentioned it because someone out there will actually try to answer the question. They’ll try to apply a logical answer to a systemic morphing psychological virus of predation.

News flash: seeking a purpose for everything and insisting on defining, labeling, and cataloging unimaginable chaos, depravity, and cowardice leads to a net gain of squat—nada—zilch. We have to wrestle with the reality that another white male between the ages of 20-35 will do this kind of thing again. We have to prepare ourselves for the inevitability that somewhere within our midst is more than one white man contemplating a way to “up the wager” and hurt us even more.

I am allowing myself the next 24 hours to continue visualizing these children screaming out and huddling in fetal positions as a white male stands over them and puts the barrel of a semi-automatic weapon right up to their terror-stricken faces and pulls the trigger. I think it’s important to burn that image in my mind. I think it’s important, somehow, in the sharing of grief and mourning and lamentations. But enough is enough. After the next 24 hours I’ve got to move forward. I’ve got to find the next level of grief. I’ve got to make up my mind that I will not be weakened or rendered motionless by my sorrow.

I’m going to add this experience to the collection of other tragic experiences I’ve witnessed and lived through, and I’m gonna keep sifting through the pile looking for ways to use these negative experiences for something positive. I’m gonna think about ways I can be more involved in the lives of abused children. I’m gonna think about the ways I can watch for troubled white men and bring them closer to me instead of pushing them farther away. I’m gonna take more responsibility for the fatherless and the widowed and the poor and the sick and the imprisoned. I’m gonna use these experiences to fortify my resolve that THIS CAN ALL WORK SOMEHOW.

Tragedy is supposed to evoke a heroic struggle instead of a wave of talking heads and brooding Facebookers relishing the opportunity to scream out their opinions yet again. The heroic struggle isn’t against legislation or hate groups. The heroic struggle is NOT any sort of monolithic idea or policy or attitude. The heroic struggle is a mosaic of hearts and hands and efforts and backgrounds and ideas all coming together to form a unified front of protection from the imminent threat of tragedy next time. There’s always a next time. And if next time isn’t met with cooperation instead of sanctimonious ideological segregation, then more children and teachers die.

And if that happens, we’ve all failed once again. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

HOME


When someone turns their back on you, it hurts. When you can tell that someone is talking about you to someone else in the room with the whispered warning of, “don’t look now, but guess who just showed up,” it pushes down on you like a ridiculously heavy backpack. When your very best efforts to please someone result in a dismissive lack of affirmation, it creates distance, anger, and resentment.

When a person is ugly or dirty or smelly or boisterous or crass or impatient or flamboyant we all treat them differently. We turn our back to them without realizing we’ve hurt them. We warn others in our group to be aware of “that person over there” without intent of malice. We dismissively nod thanks to them with a fake smile and hurried eyes if they engage us while unknowingly reaffirming a multitude of rejection stereotypes.


The “Homeless”—I don’t even know what that means anymore. I get that we’re talking about people that don’t have a home. We’re talking about individuals and families that lack the resources necessary to procure sustainable shelter. What I mean when I say that I don’t know what “homeless” means is that I need a definitive explanation of the word HOME.

I’m too philosophically driven to only accept HOME as the place where a person, family, or household lives. That’s the easy definition, but what about HOME as a safe place? A place where a person can find refuge and safety or live in security? What about a HOME office or HOME field advantage? What about a criticism that hits HOME or driving the nail HOME? What if I’m HOME free or happy to be HOME for the holidays?

Certainly, there are connotations of where someone dwells within each of these depictions, but it has to be about more than where someone physically resides. It has to do with one’s origins—less about geography and more about a sense of belonging.

HOME is more about where the heart lives and what the heart connects to than it is about where we keep our stuff.

If that’s true then I think more of us are “homeless” than we realize. I’ve known wealthy CEO’s and pillars of the community that were as homeless as any vagrant living under a bridge. I know families living in 6,000 sq. ft. houses just as homeless as the dirtiest bag lady on the street. Politicians, Clergy, Writers, Doctors, Educators, Sculptors, Executives, and Judges—all as homeless as anyone could ever be because their hearts don’t have a HOME.

When a heart doesn’t have a HOME (a place of safety and nurturing) it develops a sense of entitlement, self-importance, paranoia, and ultimately the mechanism of rejecting others before being rejected.

A heart needs a place to rest comfortably from time to time. A heart needs food and shelter. A heart needs to be fed compassion and trust and loyalty and love and respect in order to remain healthy. A healthy heart needs time to heal and time to rest and time to experience peace.

But that’s not all a heart needs!

A heart also needs exercise through acts of service to others. It needs work and responsibility and needs to be stretched. A healthy heart needs to perform. It needs cycles of rest and work, peace and stress, acceptance both received and given. A healthy heart HAS TO be used or else it decays. And once it has decayed for long enough it becomes a hardened lump of atrophied muscle capable of one thing only—self-preservation.

You’ve seen the street homeless with their dirty clothes, constant walking, bags upon bags of “stuff”, and distant stares shuffling down the street. They are in self-preservation mode. Their defenses acutely devised to keep you and everyone else away. Their trust has died. Their fears have overtaken them. They’ve had backs turned on them for so long that they wonder if they themselves actually exist. Their flamboyant behavior is a warning sign to stay away.

From a broken, lonely, depraved place where a healthy heart struggles to exist we all defend against the sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness we’ve suffered in our lives.

We are all homeless.
We are all dysfunctional.
We are all broken.
We are all HOMELESS.

Beware false promises of a HOME for your heart. Physical beauty, possessions, power, influence, control, and stature may be how we errantly label one’s identity, but none of these things provide a HOME for the heart. And once you find that true home for your heart, DO NOT abandon it for promises of something bigger and better. The most honorable, healing, peaceful, loving places a heart can call home are also, more often than not, the simplest places, things, and people in our lives.

Find a home for your heart and then go about the business of finding homes for other people’s hearts. Because if you are interested in fighting poverty, abuse, hunger, and hatred you need to understand that these are malignant tumors on society brought about by a culture of homeless hearts searching for significance through the exploitation of others.

The worst part about a heart without a home is NOT that it dies. The worst part is that it WANTS TO DIE but cannot. The worst part is that when it cannot die it feeds on others. The homeless heart, left unchecked, can destroy and consume and devastate anything in its path. It’s like a tornado—a resulting force of nature without any positive reason for existence. And often, just like that tornado, the chronically homeless heart is arbitrary about who or what it affects.

Here’s the magnificent part—when you are about the business of feeding compassion and trust and loyalty and love and respect to the hearts of others, your own heart is satisfied. It’s circular. It’s rhythmic. It’s organic. It’s what we call communal living and there is no individual achievement that can take its place.

A healthy home for a heart is NOT an efficiency apartment. It is a high school gymnasium filled with cots. Don’t buy into the idea of self-sufficiency. If you do, you might find a place for your stuff, but you will not find a place for your heart.

Think big and give big.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Christian cultural warfare


Let me be clear about something for a moment. No more nuance. No more metaphor. No more poetic adaptations of spiritual revelations. Just straight up honesty…right…wrong…or otherwise. Pure individual opinion and preference.

Today’s brand of western Christianity sucks ass!

If you’ve been brainwashed with the message of fanaticism that HATES Obama or HATES gays or HATES immigrants (legal or illegal) or HATES anything then you need to stay the fuck away from me. I’m trying my best to be a godly man.

I want to be loving. I want to be joyful. I want to be peaceful. I want to be patient. I want to be kind. I want to experience all the “fruit” (or byproducts) of a life lived according to the Holy Spirit of our God, but you assholes keep pissing me off.

I want to be non-violent, but every time I hear a “Christian” spouting hate, disrespect, and malicious slander I want to kick them to sleep. I want to be gentle, but every time I hear a “Christian” reciting their pastor’s particular flavor of scriptural interpretation which clearly runs cross-grain to the life of a peaceful loving Christ I want to bash their teeth in with a Maglite. I want to be respectful, but every time I hear a “Christian” speak with authority about politics, spirituality, and sexuality that they have NO personal experience with I have to fight back the urge to fold their knee backward with a well-placed heel kick. I want to be humble, but it’s hard not to think everyone around me is a complete dumbass when it seems clear that all the noise of the culture war around us is obviously drowning out human suffering in every corner of our world. I don’t want to let these things get to me. I don’t want to be angry. I don’t want to rant. I want peace.

But today’s most visual and vocal brand of a provocative Christianity is THE biggest stumbling block for me. I’m guessing it’s quite the stumbling block for others as well. Either that or I’m the only one out here psychotic enough to be affected by these lunatics. Yes, I can call them lunatics because I was once one of them. I taught the same garbage. I worshipped the same idols of religion, politics, doctrine, and selfish interpretation of scripture. I was fully dialed in to the frequency of status quo mainstream Christianity. But then God saved me.

I’m certain that the greatest salvation I’ve ever experienced in my life has been a salvation from what I thought Christianity was. I know now that Jesus died on that cross for me that day not to save me from my sins, but to save me from my religion. He sacrificed flesh, bone, blood, dignity, and life so that someday Bonar Crump would be saved from the hell of 21st century western Christianity.

Obviously, everything in me isn’t fixed if I truly have these tendencies of violence toward jackass 21st century Christians, but I’m really really trying and praying and seeking and working on it. This is why I keep ALL forms of organized Christian religion at arm’s length. This is why I try to debrief my daughter each time we attend church. This is why I confer and seek council from my wife anytime the noise of Christian cultural warfare begins to drown out my sense of peacefulness and joy. This is why I write this stuff as I attempt to release it from my brain via verbal processing. I have to verbally vomit into my laptop from time to time just to keep the noise level in my head to a dull roar.

Is it any wonder that I cling so tightly to the biker subculture that I embrace? See, there is peace in being a part of a subculture that the jackass “Christians” don’t want any part of. Don’t get me wrong…there are plenty of Christ followers among the ranks of us bikers, but the really nasty “Christians” stay very far away from us. As a matter of fact, they lock the doors to their cars when we pull up next to them at intersections. That suits me just fine.

The curious thing to me is that there is a lot of the same kind of hate speech within the biker community, but it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. You’ll find a fair amount of bigotry, misogyny, and political fanaticism at any of our large biker meetings, but these are mostly folks exercising their freedom of belief, speech, and lifestyle guaranteed by our Constitution. What appears to me to be intolerance and anger is based on their own authority. It’s their opinion and right to have and express whatever they like. I get it. But it’s different for me when I hear someone reflecting the same exact intolerances while wearing a shirt that says, “Jesus said so.”

You know what! If you’re wearing that shirt today I have one very important thing to say to you: go fuck yourself. That and stay the fuck away from me. I respect your right to your freedoms of speech, action, and lifestyle, but NOT if you’re going to cover it all with a self-serving coat of Christian paint, thereby, presenting the message to the world that you are merely following the directives of your God. You are not! You are following the guidance of your idols. You just don’t know it yet.

I’ve been told that I am actually a very nice person. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that it’s a lot easier for me to be nice when I’m not surrounded by mainstream Christians. Wondering why church attendance all over the western world continues to drop off at an amazing rate? It’s because no one wants to hang out with assholes. It’s really not all that complicated. Figure it out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Herd versus Tribe


A close friend of mine recently told me that mainstream Christianity had made her an asshole. The more we discussed the subject, it seemed to draw toward what happens to an individual when they become part of the “herd”. We discussed our individual rejections of the “herd”. We wrestled with the defiance of “herd mentality”. We resolved to maintain our independent critical thinking and never again follow the “herd.”

The victorious defiance that we shared was real. But…the more thought I put into the matter over the next couple days, the more I began to question if we were trying to function as fully autonomous disciples. It seems counter-intuitive to completely reject the herd as a means of redeeming the herd. (That sentence makes a lot of sense to me and, yet, when I read it the meaning gets tangled up in the syntax.) What I mean is that those of us on the front edge of a Christian reform movement which is driving the post-modern, missional, socially responsive changes that we are witnessing today in the Church have to sell more than just the message of “damn the herd”. Because everyone that buys that t-shirt automatically defines themselves as one group rejecting another group’s dynamics based on the precept that being a part of a group will always make you an asshole. Do you see the insanity of it? I want to be a part of a herd that rejects herds.

Over the last couple of days as I’ve processed our discussion, I remembered writing quite a bit about rejecting the herd and seeking a new tribe in my book. So that got me thinking about the differences between a tribe and a herd. I don’t think I need to drone on and on about the differences, but I will say that the most obvious distinction is that animals form a herd and people form tribes.

Maybe the real discussion is about being a Christian animal versus being a Christian human. I would argue that the Christian animal is concerned with little more than survival (receiving sustenance), procreation (increasing numbers), and preserving the integrity of the herd (worship of religion). By contrast the Christian human embodies the burning desire to question and reason—to seek knowledge and truth—to sacrifice safety and security for the sake of humanitarian efforts—to save and rescue other tribal members from the savages of neglect, abuse, and hunger.

Personally, I reject the institutional church because I don’t want to be fed from a trough—I want to feed from the land. I don’t want to be led by professional shepherds—I want to be interactive in the direction and goals of the tribe. I don’t want to be fenced in by traditionalism and culturally irrelevant ethos—I want to explore uncharted regions of faith and risk injury from time to time. I don’t want to be labeled a Christian beast—I want to be known as a critical thinker even if I’m wrong sometimes.

I want to reject the herd for the sake of being a part of a tribe. Maybe you don’t see the distinction, but there is one. The difference is huge! The tribe is an organism that works together and relies upon one another to meet the collective needs of the tribe. I like to think of primitive indigenous tribes and how they live with one another and for one another. I like to think about my tribe as one that is nomadic, dynamic, and culturally savvy. I like to look around me and see the tribal tattoos and piercings. I like to look around me and see a tribe that celebrates diversity and compassion. I like seeing a genuine acceptance of racial, sexual, and economic diversity in my tribe. And when I say it’s “my tribe,” I don’t mean that it belongs to me. I mean that I get to belong to IT as a contributing, learning, respectful member happy to be a part of something bigger than myself and more powerful than any of the single members of the tribe are independent of one another.

Are you a part of a herd or are you a part of a tribe? The answer will have a profound effect on your heart and soul. Jesus had a tribe of disciples that He led. He was also often found trying to get away from the herd of curious folks looking for healing, food, or hope without the understanding that Jesus was offering them entry into the tribe. He was NOT offering them admission to a herd.

If you’re suspicious that you might be mingling with the herd instead of participating in a tribe then chances are you don’t know yet how to engage scripture, religion, and fellow herd members with independent critical thought. It’s difficult to transition. It’s hard to reject something that has always been a part of your life. It’s physically, emotionally, and psychologically exhausting to engage the members of your herd with the message of a tribe. All you can do is leave the gate open when you escape. Some will find their way out. Some will do everything in their power to shut that gate back up.

The herd and herd mentality are powerful agents of persuasion. Do not underestimate their appeal. Most members of my tribe have experiences anything from 2 to 5 years of soul-searching transition, conflict, and self-doubt before ever finding our group. One member that I know of was subjected to such ridicule, shame, and spiritual abuse that he contemplated suicide. That’s right—educated and trained at Southwest Theological Seminary; this guy started asking too many questions about herd mentality and was shamefully cast to the curb without an inkling of concern for him or his family, how they would survive financially, or how it would affect every single aspect of their future. Another is a family member of mine cast aside by a church herd where the pastor of the institution wept at his shameful dismissal but in the end threw up his hands because major financial benefactors in the herd required his head on a platter because this family member had questioned the necessity of a new organ and sanctuary remodeling when 1/10th of that money could have funded an established program to house and feed several dozen homeless families.

We’ve all heard the stories and seen their effects, but we tell ourselves, “wow, THOSE guys are really messed up.” All the while the same things are happening in your herd without you even knowing it. Wake up! Analyze, pray, research, ask questions, seek, find, knock, open, pray again, and be sure to listen this time. Because the thing about being a member of the herd is that you don’t realize it’s a herd. Just like an asshole justifies being an asshole because they always have an excuse for their behavior. You have to separate from these things in order to really allow the blood to begin circulating to the independently critical thinking parts of your brain.

The gospel will not make you an asshole. Jesus will not make you an asshole. Even the being a member of the herd doesn’t make you an asshole. It is the hardening of one’s heart that creates the asshole, and that, my friend, happens when the complacency, laziness, and self-centered nature of the “herd” sets in. It’s simply that WE aren’t designed to be a herd. We are designed to be a tribe.

I’m looking forward to the next conversation with my close friend. I want to explore these thoughts and see if there is somewhere to settle on how to make the transition from herd to tribe more efficient and less damaging. It’s great once you get here, but the trip is murder. Maybe she’ll be able to help me release the anger and resentment I feel toward the herd. Maybe that’s my barrier of forgiveness that I need to breach in order to be a better member of my tribe. Maybe I’ve transitioned to the tribe but still maintain my asshole status. Maybe we’re all living in a constant state of uniqueness transition. Maybe God likes us that way. Maybe the potter likes molding clay more than He does putting it in the kiln. Maybe the journey is everything and there is no destination. Maybe I should wrap this up.