Politics and Religion

Both topics to challenging to discuss, especially with those close to us.

I don’t recall my parents talking about politics with their children or with each other. When I was very young, my father worked at a Junior High School, and sometimes he’d take me into his classroom. One time I remember he turned on a black and white TV to listen to the Watergate hearings as he worked.

Reagan

I assumed my parents were Republicans because they backed Reagan and Bush Sr. And they were Mormon. At an early age, it was made clear to me that Mormons were Republicans. Democrats were dangerous. Nevermind that Nixon was Republican.

It would be many years later while attending the University of Utah that my political views began to lean Democrat. My interest in Mormonism also began to wane as what I was told at church didn’t match up with what I believed or felt inside.

I wonder what path my children will take?

Kim and discuss politics around the home quite often. Religious discussions happen in our home, but not as much as before. If they do, it’s because I bring up the topic. I’m proud that my children are being raised outside of any religion. Young minds are too fertile to taint with religious dogma.

As a parent, I want to allow my children to find their own path. To experiment. To make mistakes. To experience sorrow and joy. I don’t assume my path is the best fit for them.

I’m excited to see what they do with their lives without the pressure of belonging to a certain religion.

I’m Building Something Again

When I joined Facebook back in 2006 or 2007, I thought it was new and exciting to connect with friends I hadn’t seen since high school. And it was exciting for a while.

By the time the 2016 election rolled around, Facebook had become a platform to spout your political views and argue with anyone who didn’t espouse them. Rinse and repeat until Trump took over the white house and I’d had enough.

Goodbye Facebook.

Goodbye Twitter.

Hello, my old blog!

But I’d changed. I wasn’t in the habit of writing longer posts, and I assumed posts shouldn’t be fleeting, short thoughts like I added to Facebook and Twitter over the past decade.

Then I noticed something that Dave Winer, author of Scripting News, was doing. Each day he was adding one or more short posts to his blog. He might add four or most posts a day and yet none of them would add up to more than a paragraph. Was he treating his blog like one might treat adding content to Facebook or Twitter? I dunno, and I didn’t care.

I found myself coming back to his blog a few times a day. If the content was interesting, who the hell cares about the word count? I decided to do the same last week. I’ve only managed to add a post a day, but they are much shorter than what I used to post.

It feels great to get back to my blog. I’m building something again that doesn’t belong to anyone but me. And I don’t feel any pressure to wait till I have that polished thought to post.

Thanks, Dave, for getting me back on track.

What Did I Sign Up For?

What did I sign up for?

What did I commit to?

If I intentionally signed up to perform a task, deliver a product or help a friend, I should do that without much confusion or hesitancy. Both parties are on the same page.

What are you expected to do that you didn’t sign up for?

Are you expected to go to a certain college or study a certain discipline because that’s what would make your family proud?

Are you in a relationship because you’re expected to be? Did you have children when you wanted to or when you felt others expected that of you?

Do you drive a certain brand of car or dress a specific style because that’s what people in your line of work or neighborhood expect?

Do you attend a church because you signed up to attend? Or is it the church of your parents, and you never really considered anything else?  For years, I assumed I’d found the only true church and was rocked when I began to research its history.

Did you sign up for your political affiliation, or was it handed down to you?

Consider what you’ve actually signed up to do. Is it what you want? Or are you doing it to please someone else?

It’s not easy to say, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this.” You may lose friendships. Others will shun you when you step outside their tribe.

But it might be the best thing you ever do.

Telling My Story on the Wardless Podcast

During my faith transition, I’ve found support in a number of podcasts. Most focus on why the person left their religion which can bring up a number of charged topics. That makes it difficult to share with family and friends who are still involved with the Mormon church.

Then I found the Wardless podcast. They are different because they focus on “what’s next” in a person’s life. And after over five years since my transition, I’m much more focused on “what’s next” than any doctrine or policy concern I had years ago.

Last week, I was invited to tell my story through an interview with Oliver. I’m really proud of how it turned out and have shared it with a number of close friends of various degrees of Mormon belief. Their reaction has been overwhelmingly positive so I’ve decided to share it here with the rest of you.

The Joy of the Warriors

Chris Paul is back from an injury just in time to give James Harden a rest from taking 30 shots a game for the Rockets. I tuned into a Rockets game and they have the most predictable offense in the NBA.

If Harden brings the ball down, he performs some fancy dribbling well out past the 3-point line. Sometimes he can beat his man to the basket, but he’s often looking for the foul. He’s an amazing talent, but he’s the biggest ball hog we’ve seen since Kobe retired.

Occasionally Chris Paul brings the ball up the court. He’s more likely to pass the ball, but he too will dribble around trying to get to his spots for an easy jumper. Both Paul and Harden are rare talents who can get their shots most of the time.

But I can’t imagine it’s very fun playing on the Rockets unless your name is Paul or Harden. Contrast the way the Rockets play to that of the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors have three of the best players in the game: Curry, Durrant, and Thompson. Curry and Durrant could get a shot every time down the court, Yet both are fantastic passers. Not only are they great passers, but they genuinely enjoy getting their teammates involved in the game.

The Warriors unselfish plays make for a much more entertaining game of basketball because you never know where the ball is going. When your star players are unselfish it becomes contagious with the rest of the team. While the Rockets are built to get Harden and Paul a shot each time down the court, the Warriors are built so that every player on the court can pass or score.

Other teams are trying to replicate what the Warriors have assembled, but it’s not easy to do. The Warriors have won 3 NBA Championships in the past 4 years so their approach to the game is working. But it still takes the right players buying into the coach’s philosophy of unselfish play.

It makes me wonder why any player would leave the Warriors to play for another team?

Coffee

One benefit of leaving Mormonism has been discovering coffee. I began drinking coffee one evening on a drive home from Vegas. I pulled over in Mesquite and ordered a coffee from McDonald’s to keep me alert during my drive home.

I’m surprised that first cup of coffee didn’t destroy my desire to try coffee again. I tried different roasts and types over the next couple of years from local roasters. Of course, I made a lot of trips to Starbucks as well.

I enjoy a number of coffee drinks both hot and cold and my two favorites are nitro cold brew coffee from Starbucks and a Perks Americano with heavy cream with no sugar. The flavored drinks are too sweet for my tastes today.

One fringe benefit that’s come from drinking coffee has been the time spent with friends, sipping coffee over discussions about sports, politics and whatever the hell is on our minds. There is an entire culture around coffee that I’ve yet to find elsewhere. When I visit Seattle, I love to meet my old friends over a cup of coffee.

I also like to make coffee in our French Press. I’ve tried making one cup at a time using an AeroPress which makes a delicious cup of coffee but requires a good deal of patience.

I can’t believe I waited so many years before enjoying coffee, but I’m making up for lost time. If you ever make it the St. George area, make sure to try a coffee from Perks.