Feeling Superhuman

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I’m 56 years old and am smiling while writing this post.  Memories of feeling indestructible are flashing through my mind. The best example I can give you was my first date with my ex-wife. I was 30 years old and a champion Bodybuilder/powerlifter and major league softball player.

Wanda saw me playing darts at a bar and told her girlfriends she would feel my big biceps before the night was over. A short time later she approached me and tried to casually grab my arm. She herded me towards their table, telling me her friends wanted to meet me. She asked me to flex and grabbed my arm when I did. Then she asked if she could feel my pecs, I told her it was okay if I could feel hers. She giggled and grabbed my pecs.

I think she thought I was kidding because she looked shocked when I gave her big tits a squeeze. But being so huge and ripped I could get away with way too much. At the end of the night we planned a date for the next day.

People laughed when I got out of my little Hyundai Excel. I was 6′ tall and 247 pounds. My arms were frustratingly just shy of 20 inches in size. I worked hard trying to pass the magical 20 inch mark. However, my right arm was 19 and 7/8 inches and the left was 19 and 3/4 inches. My thighs were 29 inches and my waist only 32 inches. Wanda laughed too when I drove up and got out of my little car.

We pulled into the parking lot of a local restaurant. Purposely, I parked crooked. Wanda teased me because my car was parked askew. I turned around to fix it and she told me, “don’t worry about,” it she was teasing. To be a smartass, and mostly show off, I walked to the rear bumper, picked the rear of the car up, off the ground, and moved it over so it was straight. When I turned around Wanda was gaping at me and then she started giggling uncontrollably.

After eating we went to a Minneapolis club called, “1st Ave.” The performer Prince owned it and was playing a gig that night. The cover charge was substantial but almost all Bouncers lift weights and most knew who I was. The guy at the door waved us through ahead of others in the line and no cover. When we passed we gave each other a nod of respect. Wanda was in awe. Of course I knew how to use my local fame and exploited it to impress her. Later that night Prince walked over and said hello to me. Wanda was won over.

I dropped Wanda off at home at midnight. I had a child from previous relationship and had to get home. That night I used a neighbor to babysit for me for the first time. I knew her for only a month. She was 19 and pretty, tall, lithe, blond and athletic. We talked sports quite a bit. The lights were all off and she wasn’t in the living room when I got home. I went right to my sons room and checked on him, sleeping soundly. Then walked down the hall and saw the television on in my bedroom.

I was beginning to get angry. My mood changed almost instantly when I walked into the room. The sitter was lying on my bed in a sexy teddy, fishnet stockings, and garters.

“I hope you don’t mind.” She purred. “I’ve been waiting for you to ask Me out and, well, you were going on this date tonight and I didn’t want to lose my chance.”

She was stunningly beautiful so  . .  .

 

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Fighting for survival

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My body was broken. My spirit was tested, and my finances were dwindling. But the most painful aspect was self doubt and having a future that was totally unknown.

Prior to my injuries my wife was always angry with me because I was always on the go. She nagged me to stay home. I pointed out to her that my ripped body and athletic prowess was what attracted her, so why was she now upset that I was doing the very thing that she found so attractive when we married?

When dating she came to my games and loved the adoration we received from fans and teammates. When the kids came we worked different shifts, so I did my part. Sometimes I hired sitters to tag along and watch the kids. At the gym my kids learned to count while they sat on my stomach and I did bench presses. The kids loved it and had fun with me. The ease with which I managed the kids seemed to bug her. She wasn’t happy for us, we had fun and she wanted it to be tough for me, like she thought she had it.

Now I was at home all the time and my six pack became a small keg. So, was she happy now? I would soon discover how unhappy she was. I needed a neck fusion surgery. My left hand had gone numb. Now I was home all the time and off work. She was even more angry. I couldn’t figure out why she was so angry. That is until I found out she’d been cheating. I’m 55 in the picture and feel 75 but I fight on.

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My Life after Death

DCFC0001.JPGOn this web site I will share my journey to death and resurrection. During my first life I was an athlete. I went to the little league world series at twelve and was the star on our team. I pitched shutouts and hit home runs. Muscles intrigued me so I started lifting weights at 14. In high school I began winning powerlifting meets. At 22 I won my first bodybuilding contest. At thirty I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger and played semi pro softball.

Being a shy introvert, my athletic prowess allowed me to have many friends and fans. The phone rang all the time. Softball teams recruited me, novice weightlifters hired me to train them. I managed the local gym and had hundreds of acquaintances. I played basketball three nights a week during the winter and softball three nights a week in the summer, plus nearly every weekend.

Then my life changed and I began dying. I was 42 years old and I ruptured the long head of my right bicep and tore the rotator cuff.  The surgeon said the edges were so frayed he couldn’t reattach it. I couldn’t believe it, with all the sports I played a minor fall at work ended my softball career. A year later my right elbow locked up and I had to have bone chips removed. I couldn’t work out or play ball. My phone went silent.

I’m not a chatty type of person and what interests me is intellectual pursuits. I got over my shyness but am not good at keeping in contact. So when the phone quit ringing I suddenly found myself alone. I had been an athletic superstar and my self image, value, was tied to that talent. Now it was over and I died.

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Why I am me

hubble-origens.jpgI’m forty-eight solar years old. Forty years ago I learned that my 16 year old half brother was going to hell if he died suddenly. My brother, loved by everyone except my father, who treated him horribly, was never baptized. As souls go his is luminous with goodness, yet, his stepfather (my dad) had made sure he was an outcast. I had heard Jesus loves us and was about love, so how could a good person who suffered terrible abuse and was never included in religion go to hell. Being 8 years old and unencumbered by doctrines and explanations only an adult could believe, I knew the Pastor was wrong when he told me this. Yet, this haunted me throughout my religious life and inspired me to dig deep into religious doctrines and contradictions.

I have much to say, but I think before speaking; so, I seldom get a word in to those who like to hear their own voice. I wondered how my roommate could respond authoritatively to remote questions in Milli-seconds. It became clear, that he put more value on sounding like he knew what he was talking about, then he did being correct. If he read this he would immediately begin arguing my point, without considering whether it is true. I say I don’t know often. I try not to assume conclusions when I know I don’t have all the facts, of course, I sometimes do though.

Why is this important enough to say about myself? I recognize and am disgusted by injustices and hypocrisy, often perpetuated by those who assume they have the answers. I am okay with not having an answer and don’t need to create one to keep my mind in order. I am comfortable with myself.

Options and various explanations are usually apparent to me.  I will investigate, maybe in my personal library, and find answers. I enjoy learning and discovering the mysteries of human-nature. At parties, I watch, usually quite amused by the interactions. I’ll have friends say occasionally, smile, have some fun. What they don’t know, I was having fun, smirking at the stupidity of those trying to fit in rather than be themselves. My fellow men for example:

“Those saying real men do this, or don’t do that, are really revealing their own insecurities.”   Alpha males are internally confident and don’t waste energy trying to sound or look Alpha like.

I remember asking my parents and Pastor what was before “In the beginning” and how can something come from nothing? I was about 8 years old and had lots of questions, still do. Of course these questions had religious implications and were answered with don’t worry about it, some things are meant to be mysteries. It seemed like one of those convenient answers, like “because I said so”, (meaning don’t ask why, I have no answer). Anything can be justified without evidence in this way. Religious injustice and our justice system inspire the most passion and outrage in me. They are supposed to be fair and righteous but often they are filled with hypocrisy.

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Please Will someone admit AA is a Religion

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AA is a belief system touted through testimonials, without evidence that will pass scrutiny. The Oxford English Dictionary defines religion,

“The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.”

AA says I need a personal Higher power. A power greater than myself that will remove my defects of character. Believe me it would take superhuman effort to do that. There should be no argument. Yet, because it says in their own literature the program is not necessarily religious I get constant arguments. Reminds me of Christians saying the Bible is God breathed because it says in the Bible it is God breathed.

Some argue that AA has saved millions of people. My counter argument, AA has failed 100’s of millions of people

There argument: Those people failed not the AA doctrine.

My response: (Bear with me) My mother tried every diet. Once she tried one diet where she was to eat only hotdogs. She ate twelve per day and lost weight as advertised but who would eat only hotdogs lifelong. You had to love hotdogs.

AA is like the hotdog diet, those who absolutely love hotdogs can’t understand why others hate it. AA is the same, to those it works for, it is difficult to explain to them why it won’t work for all.

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Gideon Guidance Gaffe

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Gideon missionaries came to my treatment facility to save us sinners. My counselor told the group of witness’s I was struggling with the higher power aspect of the 12 step religion (and it is a religion even though their own literature denies it)  so I met with their best, a prosperous attorney. He asked me why I couldn’t accept a higher power doctrine.

I told him I didn’t believe in God or any religion. He wanted to know what happened, why did I reject religion. Nothing happened I explained, except I decided to research religion. It seemed logical to investigate what my eternal soul depended upon. How is it that people follow the group they are born into blindly? The Lawyer began to make arguments.

“Listen,” he said, “AA is not a religion and you don’t have to believe in God, your group or a doorknob can be your higher power.”

I replied, “Isn’t AA a program that insists on honesty, honesty to others and yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Saying I believe a doorknob can cure me is dishonest.”

“It’s not the actual doorknob that will bring you peace it’s . . .”

“What,” I interjected, “what it represents, God?”

He tried a different tactic.

“The most popular book in the world is the Bible and you can find them everywhere. With all those people reading Bibles they can’t be wrong. Millions of passionate people have found solace through Christianity, they can’t all be wrong can they?” he asked.

“Using your logic I could say the following must be true too. Since Islam is the fastest growing religion and the Koran is catching up to the Bible, and talk about passion, Islam followers are blowing themselves up for their faith they must be correct.”

“That’s different,” He barked angrily.

If those were his best arguments I was in for a long boring day. I found it curious a man who used logic and argued for a living was so blind to the inconsistencies he was touting. As we went on I think he realized the logic of my points and it upset him. He was seriously pissed off. Of course he would have only gotten angry if I was making good points.

 

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Kicked out of Bible study

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I have the unique honor to be the only person I know kicked out of Bible study.

How did this happen?

The Bold Banner said come get your questions answered. A cartoon figure is carrying a question mark to the rectory. I had many well researched dilemmas needing answering.  I soon learned this was not a study per se, but a rally to incite allegiance.  I studied the Bible diligently, examining the era and symbolism of the time period. I read early Church father writings. My trouble was making the Gospels mesh with the writings of Paul and some of Paul’s writings mesh with each other. I approached the Pastor and he encouraged my to join but first he gave me a gift.

The Pastor gave me a book called Seven Reasons You Can Trust the Bible. Linguistically styles and biblical phrases had seemed out of place to me. I devoured the small book given me to prop up my faith, hoping it would do so. I was tired of feeling like an impostor and fearing I be called upon to offer prayers.

However, I hadn’t yet read the body of the book when I found some disturbing information in the introduction.  The authors admit that the Greek writing of Mark was so poor that it needed correction for translation.  The text assured the reader that the corrections were not arbitrary, in fact, they used Mathew and Luke as a guide. (The last verses were even added as an addendum originally). Eventually the addendum was written into the Gospel itself—not to be discovered until Erasmus did his translation 1000 years later.  Back to bible study.

The Pastor was extolling the virtues of the synoptic Gospels. He said they must be true because three separate individuals wrote them and they are virtually identical. The few discrepancies are to be expected and are of no concern.

I raised my hand and mentioned the book he had given me, a smile of satisfaction lit his face, for the moment. I quoted the introduction which claimed the Gospels had been corrected.  So, I asked wouldn’t that account for the likenesses and isn’t it possible the Gospels aren’t as perfect as we claim?

He stammered but after regaining his composure explained that the content wasn’t altered only the grammar was corrected. Quickly he adverted his eyes and went to another question.

I interjected, “if Mark says God is in you and the grammar police change it to the more popular with you, have we not changed the message”?

He answered, ” But the saying with you was a popular saying at the time and is reasonable as correction”.

“Yes”, I reply, “but a popular Gnostic saying was, May God be in you”, It is commonly found in the Nag Hammadi scrolls of Gnostic origin.

None of my fellow students will look at me, many look disgusted. Shouldn’t we be getting all questions answered, not just the affirming ones? The pastor takes a different tack, authored by the current crop of apologists.  He quotes verses that can be seen as Jesus affirming his divinity, although none are blatantly clear. Jesus claims he is God, the Pastor loudly proclaims, not once but twice for emphasize, only a crazy man or the true son of God would make such a statement.

1 According to the historian Josephus many would be messiahs were making this claim. So is this that unusual?

2. In fact he really didn’t say he was God the father and defers to him on many instances.  The Pastor quotes Jesus when the pharisees question his divinity. Jesus responds, I am. This seems clear in English but what about Hebrew — God is loosely translated as I AM THAT I AM and saying I am is equivalent to announcing a lordship or messiah but not God the father. The Buddha used a similar proclamation. Another possibility exists, we are misinterpreting this exchange or a misspelling has occurred.  With so many possibilities using an either or argument is not valid or convincing.

My goal was to believe like my friends, my support system of 5 years, and the last thing I wanted was alienation. Naively I believed my insights would be accepted and adopted, bringing us closer to the true teachings, but truth was far outweighed by the comfort of blind belief.  I asked few questions after gauging the responses of others, even among my closest friends, and still I got a call from the Pastor at home asking me to not attend Bible study–apparently my questions were too deep and could frighten new or potential converts. WHAT HAPPENED TO TRUTH< PAUL SAID THOSE WHO STUDY SCRIPTURE AND QUESTION WHAT THEY HAVE HEARD ARE NOBLE>

These so called friends didn’t even try to cure me or correct my ways. I couldn’t understand why for the longest time and then I slowly realized that my doubt and illumination of contradictions caused them anxiety they could not bear.

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