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Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Life as a Christian

I mentioned once or twice before that I was a hard-core Christian (Lutheran; Missouri Synod) up until about my senior year of college. Now I have proof!

Here are some photos of my grade school bible. I went to a private Lutheran school from Kindergarden - 6th grade and used this Bible everyday. Here is how I found fit to decorate it.

(By "Him" I meant God - just in case you were wondering) Done with silver ink marker circa 1988

There is a faded drawing of a snail to the right of the text to which the "me" is referencing

It appears I turned the letters in GOD into face balloons

This is a later addition in the new testament after I got my 8-color pen and the religion lectures were getting longer and less engaging

This last image is actually kinda scary. Its from my college Spirit Filled Life Bible for Students which my Father purchased for me when I went off to school. Its hard to read, click for big, but I'll also translate a few spots.

There are brackets around Genesis 8:22 and I wrote "WOW!"

There are more brackets around Genesis 9:6 and wrote "Death penalty?" and "Like Killing God"

There are hundreds of pages like this - all marked up with crazy comments and highlighted areas that I found exceptionally inspiring.

I was totally brainwashed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I have a co-worker who loves to send email forwards. It drives me crazy but this co-worker holds a position that makes her worth humoring. However, today I received this email:
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to tell you guys that I love you all and I am so grateful to have each of you in my life. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day. It was difficult for me to decide who I thought would DO this because many people claim to pray, but not everyone does. I know I chose the right twelve.

Please send this back to me. (You'll see why.)

May everyone who receives this message be blessed. REMEMBER to pray. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to twelve.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of reward. Make sure you pray, and pray believing that God will answer. May today be all that you need it to be today.

May the peace of God and the freshness of the Holy Spirit rest in your thoughts, rule in your dreams tonight and conquer all your fears.

May God manifest himself today in ways that you have never experienced.

May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer and your prayers be answered.

I pray that faith enters a new height for you, I pray that your territory is enlarged and I pray that you step into your destiny within the ministry.

I pray for peace, health, happiness and true and undying love for God.

Now, send this to 12 people within the next 5 minutes and remember to send this back...I count as'll see why.

Everyone have a blessed day!

Cute farm animals, lame jokes, and threats of bad luck I can handle but this email has gone way too far. This totally sucks, my hands are tied, things are way too politically delicate at work that it would be crippling to me if a burned my bridge with this woman. So I'm stuck to suffer through this stuff...

Daily Dose - Memorial Weekend Edition

More Daily Dose photos:

This billboard has been popping up all around the Twin Cities. This one is way too close to my house, but thankfully obscured by trees. The babies wearing backwards ball caps are saying "Embryos are just tiny babies" and below that it says "Heartbeat 18 days from conception."

This salvaged church window was installed into my friend's house.

These people walked past me carrying a giant cross while I was eating breakfast.

Zoom-in on the cross:

Is Saint Michael the patron saint of baked goods?

Another church, I think a car crashed into this one a couple years ago...

Review mirror decor.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Western Pleasure

Sounds naughty doesn't it? Its actually a really boring style of horseback riding.

Despite its mundane nature I was able to capture a few interesting shots at Friday's horse show at the Minnesota State Fair grounds:




Friday, May 25, 2007

Doot Doot

Doot Doot is my brother-in-law's (Craig Thompson) new blog. He's a graphic novelist and wrote a novel called Blankets. Planet Atheism readers may be interested; a major part of the story illustrates how he fell away from his orthodox upbringing and documents his family's reaction.

In real life this is an ongoing story as my husband and I haven't "come clean" with his family with our atheism yet - perhaps reading the book will help explain why. However, its important to note that the book is not completely 100% autobiographical.

Its a good read and beautifully drawn.

Check out Craig's website too, my talented hubby made it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ken Hammy

Here's an example of my photoshop handywork:

Inspired by this post at Pharyngula combined with Kirk Cameron's photoshopped images of "missing links"

ahhhh, I crack myself up....

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

MoJoey at Deep Thoughts blog has been saying very nice things about my blog which gave me the kick-in-the-arse I needed to get out and take some more photos. You can tell I've gotten a little rusty... but at least I didn't revert back to using the p-mode!

At the Mexican Rodeo today in the Minnesota State Fair grounds:




PhycoDiva has also posted nice things about blurp and has decided to take on the Daily Dose challenge herself, keep an eye on her blog for updates!

Daily Dose - Third Installment

My Daily Dose Project continues:

At a stoplight in Minneapolis:
The blue and white bumper sticker says: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4given. Clever, huh?

Heres a close-up of the "ribbon:"

Where do people even find these things!? Ohhh - from here. What kooks!

These people stopped by my house to talk to me about Jesus, I snapped their picture as they were walking to the next house. I think I may have career potential in the surveillance industry!

The one that got away... I missed nabbing a photo of a giant silver sparkly sticker of Jesus' profile slapped on the side of a humongous white truck. It was so mesmerizing as it sped pass me on the highway I was struck immobile; unable to grab the camera.

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I'm such a Joiner

I've joined the Atheist Blog Roll.

First Planet Atheism, now the Atheist Blog Roll, what will I join next? The National Association of Atheist Pasta Lovers (NAAPL), the Coalition for Atheist Coalition Joiners? You never know with me, I'll keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Religious Discrimination = Atheists and Muslims

Awareness of atheism as a discriminated against class of people has reached the point where we're the example used in work place discrimination training.

Its hard to read but the screen shot says:

Discrimination on the basis of religion covers persons of all faiths, including those who are atheists. The following are examples of illegal discrimination on the basis of religion:
  • To have stricter production requirements for atheists simply because they do not share the supervisor's religious beliefs.

  • To fail to hire a Muslim do to the selection officials fear of terrorism.

  • To make derogatory comments to others based on their lack of faith.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So when's the BBQ?

The kind folks at Planet Atheism added my blog to their site.

What is Planet Atheism? From the horse's mouth:
It's more than a [atheist] blog roll, it's an aggregator. Many people (both members and non-members) use PA to read the member blogs every day. It's a way to read a bunch of related blogs in one convenient place.
Great Idea! So when's the Planet Atheism BBQ?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kicking out the Crutch

I got this email today from my Aunt, its the lastest in a series I've been getting for years:

(Note: I edited this email to maintain their privacy - names changed, dates removed, etc.)
"Prayer Alert,

Tomorrow is time for 's Katie's next MRI. She has an appointment within the following few days with the Neuro oncologist to get the reading.

Since the news last time was so encouraging, we are asking you to trust with us all that this test shows a continuation of the healing process.

Katie is feeling very well and recently had the opportunity to give a testimony to the healing power of our great God and the outpouring of love which she has experienced from so many of His people. She told her story in a church service at the Church. She and George [Katie's husband] and Kim [Katie's 7 year old daughter] also shared some of praise songs Katie was moved to write in some of her darkest hours of dealing with complications less than a month after her initial brain surgery. God was certainly glorified as Katie witnessed to His love and care for her.

Thank you again for showing your love and care as you continue to pray and trust with us.

Blessings on your day"

The backstory: My cousin "Katie" was diagnosed with brain cancer years ago and was basically told she would die within months. However, she received excellent medical treatment and now appears to be cancer free. She and her whole family rely heavily on faith to get themselves through the stressful times.

These email updates always make me feel frustrated. First, they never acknowledge the doctors or Katie herself but I've blogged about that before. Mostly I feel frustrated because my hands are tied in having to tolerate this spewing of religious gibberish. I care very deeply for Katie and, while she is now healthy, her life is very tenuous as the cancer could come back anytime, and she is relying very heavily on her faith for support.

I know that even the most tactfully worded request of mine to my Aunt to keep me abreast of Katie's health minus the mumbo jumbo would be viewed as me maliciously kicking the crutch out from under Katie in addition to betraying the family as a whole. Also, I know that Katie would have great concern about my spiritual health if she found out I was an "unbeliever" and I really really don't want her wasting energy worrying about that. And lastly, I feel like an arrogant jerk thinking that I should just let them be because I don't want to take away their hope; how condescending of me that I think "I'll just let them have their faith undisturbed because they need it" and I'm so much more enlightened that "I don't need no stinking God."

So what the heck do I do? There's no law against sending religious emails, right? Its not like they are forcing me to pray or anything. While the emails are infrequent they have been continuos for over five years now so I do feel that my lack of objection is at least a minor act of approval.

For right now, I think I'll just remain silent.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Decades of Photos

My Grandfather took hundreds (thousands?) of photos throughout his life and last Christmas my Uncle gave everyone CDs of all the photos which he had scanned in. It must have taken my Uncle years. I'm very grateful, it's an incredible gift because the photos document their whole life quite candidly.

Just this weekend I went through them all. Its like reading a book with a bunch of pages torn out. I know the the life of my Mother's family wasn't perfect and I can see the strain on their faces in many of the photos. However, I'm not really close with my Mom's siblings and they have been evasive when I've posed questions in the past so I'm left to read in-between the lines. Piecing together the general story isn't too difficult but I'm curious to understanding the nuance and reaction of individuals.

Its interesting because in many ways its not my place to be nosy. This is their lives and I'm sure my curiosity is an unwelcome poking at painful memories. However, I'm interested in learning more about my Mother and these photos bring up floods of questions.

I guess in the grand scheme of my life it doesn't really matter if, what, or when I find out anything. My Mother already has passed on to me all she thought I needed but that doesn't calm my curiosity.

I'll pulled out some of my favorite photos based solely on photographic interest and posted them below. There are more on my flickr site.






1958-040 .jpg

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day

My Mom and me

My Mom died 10 years ago, so for me Mother's day is gilded with bizarre emotions, oddly similar to those I feel on Christian holidays: nostalgic, bittersweet, sad, annoyed, relieved. Its a day connected with memories but the day is no longer immediately significant - it kinda feels like the last day of finals week but I've already completed all my finals, like its a day where everyone else has obligations that I'm excused from. So it gives me the luxury of looking back and being gluttonously introspective. Its good I think.

My Mom's Mom

My older sister, who is now a Mom. I'm ruthlessly posting this, she doesn't know about my blog. What are sisters for if not embarrassing each other?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A reason to like Starbucks?

"Anti-God" Coffee Cup

Excerpt from the article:
Controversy erupted this week after a customer became steamed reading a quote that stated:

"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Daily Dose - Weekend Edition

My goal of documenting the background level of religion in my life continues...

I, of course, come across many religious vehicular adornments - most of which I'm too slow to catch on film, so I'll let this photo represent for the rest.

Some of my religious exposure is less than reverant.

A stranger gave my best friend this pendent.

At my niece's birthday, my husband and I were accosted by my aunt wanting to know our baptism dates and church for her genealogy research. We also waited awkwardly through a long prayer as the only ones not in "Prayer Formation" (head bowed, eyes shut, hands folded, feet shoulder width apart). I secretly nabbed this shot of some art in their house to document the experience.

These two churches are both located along the last leg of my running route. A pretty genius location I must admit; if I were ever to resort to prayer it would be within that last 1/4 mile.

Another church/landmark I frequently encounter: the Basilica.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

The Lord Giveth and Taketh Away...

Every time God shuts a door, he opens another...

This morning I walked past the perfect graffiti for my Daily Dose project but I decided to wait to snap a picture of it until the afternoon because the light would be better - but when I walked back it was painted over!!

There were two phrases written by one person and then edited by another.

Atheism God Saves

God is Dead King

But I wasn't mourning that missed opportunity too long because when I got home I had this gem in my mailbox:

And here's what I found inside (click for bigger):

"What is a prayer rug?" you may ask, well here it is! Stare at it long enough and Jesus' eyes might open!

and on the back it says:

But wait! There's more!

Including a special prophecy that you shouldn't open until you mail the prayer rug back.

I broke the rule - here's the prophecy:

Link to St. Matthews Churches who sends this out.

Link to a couple other bloggers who got this (found through a google search).