With November approaching, this is the time of year I start to think about NaNoWriMo. Over the years I’ve had various family members and friends doing it, and some of them have told me I should too. However, I remain almost as hesitant this year as I have been in previous years.
Recently, I saw a touring tattoo exhibition at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum. Most of the tattoos shown were beautiful full-body tattoos, particularly the Japanese ones. However, the exhibition also reminded me how much my life has changed since leaving religion.
One of the dubious benefits of having been a lay preacher for over ten years is that Bible passages often remind me of talks I built on those passages. Recently, this happened with Ezekiel’s vision of God leaving his temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8 - 11).
Five years ago, I used that as the starting point for my “Dies Irae” exhortation. Ironically, I sub-titled it “Finding our Blind Spots”, but I now see that it was I who had the blind spot: The passage clearly showed the unpleasant behaviour of the God of the Bible, and I was so busy trying to find what we might have done wrong that I just couldn’t see it.
I’ve written several posts on my experiences with the Pennine Way. This time, I wanted to talk about the technical details: Where I stayed, the equipment I used, the trade-offs I made, what worked and what didn’t. I’ve also made a few suggestions for shorter routes if thru-hiking isn’t an option.
It’s now three years since I successfully completed the Pennine Way, and two years since I wrote about the first half my trek and how it ended in injury. After a week in the north of England I made it into Scotland, and in Edinburgh I planned a return.
And so it happened: After visiting the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, and the Isle of Man, I was ready for another shot at completing the Way.
Last year saw the release of the film First Man, chronicling Neil Armstrong’s personal journey to the moon. Personally, I really enjoyed it.
However, it came in for some criticism for not including the planting of the US flag on the moon. I’d like to discuss why I think that criticism was misguided, but also to discuss what placing the flag on the moon really meant.
Last week, I was at the Web Directions Code conference for work. One of the keynote talks was on “The Evolution of Web Browsers”. And it reminded me how much technology has changed in my lifetime, and how many things I didn’t grow up with which I now take for granted.
So here are some of my experiences with changing technology, both hardware and software. Many will recognise some of these experiences, but the combination is probably unique to me, influenced by when I was born, the family I grew up in, the schools and university I went to, and the places I’ve worked.
Recently, I was reading Brené Brown talking about the importance both of civility and of speaking truth to power. I think it’s important to be able to treat our ideological enemies as charitably as those we agree with. And on that note, I’ve seen a couple of Donald Trump’s tweets uncharitably interpreted in the last few weeks, and I’m sure there are more.
Last post, I asked whether my deconversion was inevitable, and decided that it felt pretty inevitable. However, obviously some people do hang onto their faith much longer than me, and I don’t think they’re being dishonest or stupid.
After quitting, I heard some suggestions from believers of things that might have kept me in the faith. There have also been some things I’ve seen in others that I’ve wondered whether they might have made a difference to me.
This year, I’ve been wondering whether my quitting was really as inevitable as it now seems. I’m sure to my fellow believers it was completely unexpected for an apparently committed believer to quit out of the blue. To me, looking back from outside the bubble, it just seems like an obvious progression from indoctrination to reality. But could a few changes in my life have affected the outcome? Or was someone like me always going to quit?