Empty Bag For A While

It’s going to be an empty BagOfNothing for a while, which is a bit of a misnomer in itself – A bag of nothing is an empty bag so I shouldn’t have to make the distinction, but I digress. I don’t know how long it will be empty, and nothing major or behind the scenes is going on, I just need to take a step back.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment and tell me something you have changed your mind about and what caused the changed. I’ll start. For all of my teen years, I couldn’t stand U2, the name sounded stupid, they were too flashy, and Bono dressing like the devil (MacPhisto) made me align them with the worship of Satan. One day in college a friend was playing U2 music videos and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me was on the television, part of the soundtrack of a Batman movie. It’s basically a long cartoon, but at one point, C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters randomly appeared. I only heard of the author a week prior and thought the idea of a book of letters written by Satan was fascinating. The idea of “mock the devil and he shall flee” is addressed in the forward or somewhere at the beginning of the Lewis’ book. This is what Bono was doing with his MacPhisto alter ego and the C.S. Lewis hat tip was kinda cool. It’s then I realized I was judging a book by its cover, or in this case, a band and their music. It made me think there was something deeper and more meaningful to their lyrics, that I was too quick to judge when it came to most things.

 

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19 Responses to Empty Bag For A While

  1. JayF says:

    Good for you KG! Take as long as you want. Blog once in a while or never again, enjoy your kids while they are young because one day you will have been writing this blog for 20 years and they will be grown and gone. Besides, coming up with stuff to post on a daily basis is too dang hard anyway! Once in a while would probably be better quality. Enjoy your time away.

  2. AndreaJN says:

    Enjoy your break, Keith! Come back only if you decide it’s worthwhile. I enjoy BagOfNothing everyday, but I recognize that you are a real person (thanks for sharing that with us) that might have more important things to work on. Take Care!!

  3. Blueman says:

    Keith – here’s to your season of abstinence from a bag of nothing! And, per your request, here’s the what and why of something I changed my mind on.
    I was first able to vote for a president in the 1984 election and voted for Reagan. I voted twice for George H. W. Bush, once for Bob Dole, and then came to the election of 2000 when my political mind was undergoing change.
    A co-worker had given me the book, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot in 1997 and – primarily out of respect for my co-worker – I read it. I wouldn’t have described myself as extremely partisan at that time. I didn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh on a regular basis or anything like that.
    [For me, a steady diet of the sentiments of guys like Rush Limbaugh on the right or Bill Maher on the left would make it more difficult for me to live the life I believe that Christ wants to live through me.]
    Anyway, I found the book funny (much of the humor contains very “adult” themes), but I believed it accurately brought attention to some of the lies and propaganda of the right. It remained as information “backshelved” in my mind until the election of 2000.
    I liked George W. Bush. His “compassionate conservative” label was one that I felt was compatible with one Jesus could embrace. I believed the story he told about “God calling him to run.” And then came the way he dealt with the Florida chad ballot voting debacle. It made me sick. I saw “God’s candidate” (which he essentially reported himself to be) use the courts and political power to obtain the presidency which to me was a stain on God. I believe God’s candidate would want every Floridian to properly have their vote counted, and God’s candidate should try to do everything in his power to ensure that happened… even if it meant losing the presidency.
    Because, for me, the means by which Christians do something is EVERYTHING. The temptations of Jesus are all about addressing the means by which he will accomplish his goals. When we sacrifice our means to accomplish some goal, then we’ve abandoned the life that Jesus called us to.
    How Bush responded to Florida pissed me off and disheartened me. But I forgave him and settled into his presidency. And, then, of course, we had 9-11.
    I left Bush when we invaded Iraq. I remember discussing with a co-worker that if there were not weapons of mass destruction, then he should resign because the buck, surely, stopped with him.
    There were no weapons of mass destruction, many innocent people died, and some in office lost their jobs – of course, Bush kept his.
    So, I went into 2004 really wanting to vote a new way. (A liberal email friend or two also helped sow into my new leanings.) But, I couldn’t get past abortion. I was listening to the Democratic National Convention on Fox News (still my choice for news at the time), and I really resonated with what John Kerry said. After his speech, Newt Gingrich came on Fox to basically say, “that was a very good speech, and I’m sure a lot of you folks liked it. It’s too bad you can’t ever vote for a guy like John Kerry because he’s pro-abortion.”
    And, in that moment, I decided I wasn’t going to let a guy with the history of Newt Gingrich tell me how to vote my conscience. I’m still not pro-abortion, but I’ve become pro-choice, and I’ve voted for every democratic choice for the presidency since John Kerry.

    • wordkyle says:

      Regarding the 2000 election and Florida recount(s), what exactly is it that you think Bush did?

      • Anonymous says:

        Made all the legal and political moves to ensure victory, ultimately, getting Gore’s concession. A fine way for a politician to deal with it… but not the way a guy who’s playing the God card should have done it IN MY OPINION.

        • wordkyle says:

          Can you be more specific on what you think Bush actually did?

          • Anonymous says:

            He immediately began trying to stop recounts. Didn’t matter what the voters’ intents were, he didn’t want recounts.

            • wordkyle says:

              I can see that this could easily degenerate into a LL-style battle, so out of respect for Geeding’s more delicate sensibilities, I’ll be brief.

              Bush won the initial vote count and every subsequent official recount. Later, a consortium of media did some “what-ifs” with the ballots, and Bush won most of those also. Only by applying extraordinary acrobatics to the ballots did Gore ever win.

              Gore was the one who disputed the results at every stage — that is, the “voters’ intent.” You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but I question your reasoning.

              • Anonymous says:

                Yeah, I don’t think the goal was to have folks question other people’s “change” experience, but to each his own.

                BTW, one thing I didn’t say was how much I loved the change story, Keith. As if that wasn’t obvious from my exuberant response! It reminds me of a change story I have in regard to believing that Halloween celebrations mock the devil instead of celebrate him (to the extent Halloween does either)!

              • BSG says:

                I don’t know whether to be offended by the “LL-style battle” reference or trademark it.

    • Larry Lindsey says:

      Blueman,

      Your logic is terribly flawed. You use the premise “WWJD” and then turn around and tout the party that is trying to remove all religion from our lives.

      Re-think your position again, please.

      • Y.A. says:

        Mr. Lindsey –

        While there may be individuals who claim to be a Democrat who want to remove religion from the lives of citizens, the Democratic Party doesn’t have that as a platform. And even if there isn’t an official platform for such a thing, most Democrats don’t embrace that line of thinking, to the dismay of extremist on the other side. The majority of us fear an establishment or endorsement of an official religion by the government, whether it be Christianity or Judaism, which would go against the First Amendment. In brevity, there’s a slippery slope concern. People should have the choice and freedom to choose what religion they want and the freedom to express it, as long as it doesn’t impede on the rights of others. And that’s the tricky part, finding ways for people to be expressive without it impeding on others.

        Respectfully,
        Y.A.

      • Blueman says:

        Peace be with you too, Larry!

        I would propose that good “religious” people on both sides of the aisle wrestle with “WWJD” and how that squares with their politics.

        If anyone wants a great read from a devout evangelical (actually a former one given he’s since passed) who rose to the position of Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the Bush (George W) White House, please check out David Kuo’s, Tempting Faith. I think it’s an outstanding book.

  4. Mike Honcho says:

    Enjoy some time away, Keith. Hope you are able to get outside and enjoy Fall. It is a wonderful time in Texas.

  5. RPM says:

    Enjoy your blogging hiatus, Keith. Unless you’ve tried to do a daily blog, most folks don’t understand what a grind it can become instead of the fun it was starting out. At least that was my experience. Trust me, if I see something interesting, I’m still sending it to you.

  6. Seymore says:

    I cannot think of any major issues I have changed my mind on. I miss kids riding bicycles up and down the streets, Saturday morning cartoon marathons, and having homemade ice cream with the neighbors.
    I do not care for the media that puts fear in our lives and puts people against people for ratings.

  7. Former Fundie says:

    Enjoy the sabbatical, Keith – you’ve earned it! And if there’s anyone who doesn’t like it, just offer them a refund.

    I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things, but the biggest would be changing from a devoted fundamentalist Christian to an agnostic. I grew up in a small-town independent Apostolic church (essentially a hard-line version of Pentecostal – we thought the UPC holiness standards were too loose). This, obviously, dominated every single aspect of my life – from school to extracurriculars to relationships to career choices. For example, I was one of the strange few who went to college (mainly because I have zero mechanical/technical skills), and although I greatly enjoyed the psychology classes I took as part of my degree requirements, the thought of going into the mental-health field was laughable, because mental illness wasn’t real. If you were depressed, it was just the devil fighting you and you lacked faith. I loved music/band, but couldn’t grow up to be a band director because they went to football games – and that was forbidden.

    Perhaps because of my frustration with these types of obstacles, it was during college that I started doing the one thing that was most forbidden: asking questions. Some difficult things happened in my life right after college, and I retreated back to the familiarity of the church; trying not to question, perhaps subconsciously relying on the theory that “ignorance is bliss.” In my early 20s, I met my wife, who was in a similar type of church. Little did I know, but she had been struggling with the same questions. After we married, we started having conversations. We started reading more. We started studying – not just the Bible and the church-provided literature, but outside sources – secular sources, literature from other denominations, historical sources – basically anything we could find.

    Over the course of the past 15 years, we’ve journeyed through multiple churches, trying to find one that “fit” or felt like “home” or even made sense. But the nagging, growing issues remained – biblical inconsistencies, the effect religiosity has on people, the history of how the Bible (“God’s” word) came to be and just how political that process was, the ugliness of what is done in the name of Christ (and other religions), hyper-egotistical pastors, the ever-increasing politicization of the GOP/”Christian” right, the fact that your entry point into whatever you believe to be the “one true religion” is based almost entirely on where on the planet you were born, the “us vs. them” mentality, the absurdity of the “megachurch” and millionaire pastors, and a thousand other things. Until eventually the collection of small issues grew into a giant mountain, and we stepped back and asked “What exactly are we doing here?” And, over time, we realized that we just no longer believed. We didn’t believe in Christ, or God, or any of it. We made the mistake of looking behind the curtain and the Great and Powerful Oz was, in fact, neither great nor powerful. But he was a great way for little “leaders” to exert power and control over other people using fear and abuse–and to extort money from people based on threats to their “eternal” life–and we had no interest in continuing down that path.

    So here we are – maybe there’s a God, maybe not. But I certainly can’t know for sure, and if he does exist, I really don’t care to follow the people he’s put in charge of doing his business here on earth. There are some very, very good Christian people. I harbor zero ill will against those who seem to truly care about the red-letter words in the Bible and treating others with a Christ-like love. But after the last 2-3 years and seeing what Trump and the most prominent evangelicals have reduced American “Christianity” to, including some friends and family I had respected for my entire life, I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d ever return to believing. Calling yourself a “Christian” or wearing a cross necklace doesn’t garner any respect from me. It’s your actions, your behavior, your actual life–not your words–that matter. And there are a lot of really great people in my life – some call themselves Christian, some don’t. I don’t care either way. I love them as people. And that’s all I need.

  8. Bryan B says:

    Enjoy your time away from the blog. Whatever the reason, I’m holding a good thought for you. BON is part of my daily routine and I always enjoy your insight and looking at what’s going on in the world through your lens.

    I don’t have a groundbreaking or profound change-of-mind experience, but I went through a similar reversal on U2. I was a fan as a teenager through the tale end of the Joshua Tree years and Achtung Baby made me a huge fan. I loved the Zoo TV live special that came out in the early to mid 90s and couldn’t get enough of their music from that era and from their early years. They started to lose me with Zooropa and, as my music tastes evolved in a different direction during that part of my life, they really lost me with Pop. It’s not that they were just terrible albums, but they weren’t the same as the music that made me a fan. I avoided ATYCLB when it came out because I had pretty low expectations. I liked Beautiful Day, but I refused to let it suck me in. Walk On gained some notoriety after being performed live in conjunction with Peace on Earth on a 9/11 telethon special and my radar was definitely pinged. Sometime in the next several months I saw the CD at Target and thought, “what the hell?” and I picked it up. The album is always describes as their reapplying to be the best band in the world and that’s exactly what it was to me. It was addictive and timeless. It was and still is my go to album when I need something to distract my brain. It reminds me of Joshua Tree how it leads off with 4 rousing anthems and closes with a haunting selection of (for lack of a better term) b-sides. I made my wife, not a fan, listen to it on road trips and she fell in love with the album. I was hooked. I dove head first into their entire catalog and anything that followed. I saw them live for the first time in 2009 and I’ve seen them two more times since even traveling to NYC to see them in 2015. Vertigo was equally outstanding. The albums since have been a mixed bag, but I’ve liked a little part of each one.

    Best wishes during your well deserved break.

  9. Chupacabra says:

    U2 are not at the TOP of the list of pretty OK bands that somehow became legend- but they are ON that list.

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