Monthly Archives: August 2016

Sweet Greens And Lemon

I’m at SBUX earlier than usual, and just starting to watch people walk in… stumble, really… just put the coffee in the cup and no one gets hurt. I’m having one of those Evolution juices and a venti soy latte. I originally wanted to eat breakfast, but I couldn’t decide on food, so I decided to drink it instead. I’m not particularly hungry. I had a rough day emotionally yesterday- found out a friend has a sibling with cancer and it brought up all sorts of feelings that I am spewing on Talkspace.

Talkspace is online therapy, and it is exhausting. Basically, it’s like blogging with feedback, except much, much more painful because there are no limits. I can say whatever I want with no blowback from readers, which means uncovering even more of the sludge in my soul than can surface here. Excruciating doesn’t begin to cover it, and I’m serious… although if I wasn’t serious, therapy wouldn’t help.

Therapy is much akin to rubbing alcohol. You know it cleans a wound, but you can’t help but say a few choice curse words when it hits broken skin. It stings before it feels better.

I hold myself accountable to an enormous degree, and so it is the same with this therapist, that they think I’m beating myself up too hard. But I’m so good at it! Why take away my superpower?

SHe does have huge respect for the fact that I don’t try to blame my problems on anyone else, though. I know what’s mine to own, and what’s not. But the part I own, I own hard. I’ll be glad with the Freudian analysis of my past is over, and we can move into visioning and values, coping mechanisms and healthy reactions. But right now, what I mean by Freudian analysis is what a general practitioner would call an “H&P,” or History & Physical. It’s basically how I got here and why, along with my chief complaint, of which I do not just have one.

I like Talkspace because I get more help than an hour a week for the same price as a BCBS co-pay.

So if my writing drops off, it’s not because I don’t like you anymore. 😛 It’s that I am so exausted from personal exegesis that I do not have the energy to unpack here, too. Perhaps I can take selected exerpts of what I write on Talkspace and post them here. Not everything is shrouded in secrecy. I’m interesting, but I’m not THAT interesting.


No Big Is, No Little Yous

Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.

– Oprah Winfrey

Last year, when Jeffrey Thames took over the pulpit at CCC, he preached a sermon called The Certain Samaritan. This week, he said that as certain Samaritans, it was our job to make sure everyone was on a level playing field. It was a call to action, and the congregation was tracking right along with him. He used a line I’ll never forget, that there should be no big Is and little yous. I love a good grammatical double entendre, and this one made a clear point. We all have sins, even when we think we don’t. If we are called to be Christ in the world, and we don’t use that power, it is a sin of omission, because we are actively rejecting the Christ-called mission to feed the poor, to stand up for whom the Book of Common Prayer calls “the sick, the friendless, and the needy,” and standing in judgment of people whose sins we think are greater than ours.

When my friend Casey was between his sophomore and junior years of high school, he was in a car accident that killed one of his friends. He was crushed because he was the driver, and later wrote a fantastic book about it called Tragedy to Truth. From that accident, he went on to become one of the most popular preachers in the Houston area. When I went to hear him, we hadn’t seen each other since we graduated from Clements together, and I cried all the way through his sermon… not because his sermon was sad or anything like that, but because he had allowed God to put him back on the potter’s wheel. Casey’s success after everything that had happened brought me a bucketload of tears, and I was weeping with joy.

Therefore, when Jeffrey brought in one of the young men he’s now working with at Hope Restored with a similar story, it was another moment of tears slipping down my face, because this boy had gone from years of incarceration to going back to school for a physical therapy degree. He’d gotten interested in working out and exercise science in prison, and that gave him the strength to start thinking about his future rather than his past. Jeffrey made his point… that if no one had been there to stand up for that young man and say, “this man made a mistake, but that is not the man I know,” he might not have made such a miraculous transformation. That standing up for him was letting Christ work through his family and friends. That love and belief helped put him back on the potter’s wheel, because we are clay.

In terms of my own life, I have to believe that these last three years are God’s way of saying there are cracks in your vessel. When are you getting back on the wheel? I also must undergo the transformation of tragedy to truth, because to me, rock bottom was the way I treated both Dana and Argo on the way out. In discovering my emotional abuse, confusion and rage bubbled up inside me that should have come out appropriately and, in a word, didn’t. Now, the rage is directed at me, because I am so ashamed of the way I behaved. But none of that means I am any less worthy than the love of God than anyone else. It’s what I do with that love that counts. I cannot go backward and undo anything, but what I can do is to stand up and own my mistakes, then make it possible to stretch myself out of that self-directed anger into promise.

I have oft been accused of not living up to my potential, and until my 36th birthday, I couldn’t wrap my brain around why.

Why couldn’t I use the emotional toolbox that I used when friends came to me with their problems on myself? Why couldn’t I motivate myself? Why couldn’t I pick myself up by the bootstraps when I could so easily build up others? Why was I so angry all the time? Why did I direct that anger at the people I loved the most instead of the people who deserved it? Now, I know the answer, and so do you if you’ve been with me on this journey. I didn’t feel that I was worthy of love, that people would discover I wasn’t worth their time, anyway, and it was easier to push people away before they figured this out on their own.

Dana was my rock, and in some ways, my redeemer, and I still had moments where I treated her like crap… but only because I was treating myself much, much worse.

I raged at Argo because she was an easy target. I didn’t really know her, and therefore, she was only real to me in some ways. In others, I was just screaming into a void. It was a mistake of gargantuan proportions, because she was the one friend that would literally call bullshit and tell me when I was being a “judgmental dickhead.” If I’d taken the time to really invest in that friendship, without making it this fantastical rabbit hole of emotion, she might still be. In a lot of ways, when the rabbit hole was severed, I was Alice falling unmoored, and when I landed, there was no padding.

Rock bottom. There’s a reason they call it that, and I landed on my head.

Everything I held dear slipped away at my own hand, and it created permanent scars that are healing nicely, but I will always be able to look at them, because that’s the thing about scars… I know this from cooking. I haven’t picked up a Chef’s Knife in years, and yet I still have scars from the days when I did, and a pink triangle on my forearm where I touched the corner of a convection oven. They don’t hurt anymore, but they’re still there.

And so it goes with emotions. Eventually, the scars won’t hurt, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have flashbacks of the person I used to be and the desire to be different… to keep working to be a better person because of them.

Maybe it takes falling apart to come back together, but what I have learned is that all people are really two, and we have to learn to love them both. There will never be a time when any person is rid of sin, but God doesn’t mold us once. God molds us whenever we ask. Not to ask is putting a ceiling on what we believe is possible, and what we tell ourselves makes all the difference.


Richard from Texas

I just took two Klonopin and I’m sitting at my desk trying not to cry… partly because I lost a friend and I feel like I’m losing one now.

Weeks ago, The Professor asked me to do something the weekend of the Ghostbusters movie with Danni, Autumn, and the crew. I told her that if I couldn’t get a ticket, I’d love to do something, or we could get together on Saturday or Sunday. I wrote her back and said that I did get a ticket, told her which theater we were going to, and asked her if she’d like to come. Then, complete radio silence until a few days ago, when I finally reached out to her, because it was her turn to reply until I thought so much time had gone by that it was silly and decided to swallow my pride and see if she wanted to get together. She did.

Then, the next day, I get an e-mail saying that she’s in a relationship now and she’s going to be pretty busy at work, etc. We’d gotten sort of close, a relationship that I thought might turn into something, and I was so surprised that I told her I thought it was best we didn’t communicate.

The last time we’d spoken, we’d planned all kinds of things to do, and admitted that we had feelings for each other. We’d by no means gone on any kind of date, but I was just beginning to accept the idea that I might want to go on one. I could be done brutally punishing myself for the past and try to move into the future. Her first e-mail to me sounded like the relationship was exactly where we’d left it- she still wanted to meet at a coffee shop and read/write together.

I wasn’t blindsided by any means in terms of her being in a relationship now, because there was no relationship between us save a friendship I’d hoped would get closer… and perhaps turn into something more as we walked together… where the idea of waking up next to someone else wasn’t scary anymore.

However, I was hurt and disappointed that she ghosted, showed up as if nothing had happened, and then sprung it on me that she was too busy for me between work and this new person. Overnight, she was different.

Overnight, so was I.

Communicating with her was something I knew would hurt, so that’s why I ended the friendship altogether. Having feelings about her in this space is different, because I’m not writing to anyone but me. You’re always invited, but even if I didn’t have any readers, this would be the place where I’d keep my memories.

I’m always certain that people have my URL. I’m never certain that they’re reading, and it can’t matter to me, because I won’t heal if I put others’ opinions above my own.

And then today I saw that Scales and The Colonel had gotten married on Facebook. We’d gotten fairly close, so it wasn’t like I expected an invitation, but I had to deal with my disappointment that I didn’t get a heads up. Maybe she thought I’d try to talk her out of it, but I wouldn’t have. If she’s happy, so I am I. But again, it’s another friend that’s just been lost in this cocoon of relationship that no friendship resides outside of it, at least between us.

I do not understand this, only because I dig the fuck out of The Colonel and never felt like a third wheel. But I get it. She’s leaving on assignment soon and probably just wanted to spend as much time with her wife as she could before she left. She was noncommittal on even seeing me before she left the country, which stings like a motherfucker because I feel like I got to be her friend during a really crappy time in her life and be the supportive person that would listen while she cried, but didn’t get to enjoy her in all of her laughter.

But if there’s something we all have too little of, it’s time.

I know that a little part of her wanted that whirlwind romance to be with me, but I couldn’t do it, knowing that she was leaving in four months and I wasn’t even ready to go on a first date, much less a tenth… and I definitely wouldn’t have been ready to get married the week before she shipped out.

But the Colonel has more resources than I do, the ability to travel the world, so I think that Scales ended up with the right person for her. But it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her friendship, and part of me wants to push her away, too, because she has so clearly pushed me away as well.

Maybe, like Argo, she was a soulmate not designed to be permanent, but to shake me into a different reality, like Richard from Texas in Eat. Pray. Love.

I also had a moment of, “so this is what it’s like to find out big news on Facebook,” relating it back to my separation announcement from Dana. And then I had a huge moment of clarity. You don’t include people in your divorce. You don’t invite them. The problem of who to tell first still exists, because you’re not spreading happy news. It bothered the shit out of me for a long time that Dana approved the post and held it over my head immediately afterward, even though the comments on that post were among the most supportive and loving I’ve ever gotten. I can’t speak for Dana, but just as much love poured out for her as well, but it is not up to me to decide if she felt it.

And even then, the reality of divorce didn’t hit me. I even wrote in the post that perhaps our paths would ultimately lead us back to each other. It hit me much later, after a lot of writing and processing had taken place. That our communication styles would never mesh, that I could forgive her for the fistfight but I couldn’t forget it, that her family was never going to take me in the way mine had wound themselves around her.

And that Dana liked our cocoon, and the fight regarding Argo would never be over, not ever. Too much had gone on between Argo and me that made Dana feel absolutely excluded, and that left-out feeling was the seat of her resentment and always would be as long as Argo was in the picture, no matter what the painting entailed.

It’s pizza night, but I’m not hungry.

Cold Coffee and a Caffeine Pill

I woke up at 0215 and didn’t get back to sleep until about 45 minutes later. Fell asleep to WTF (Alan Alda was the guest). Then, in the middle of the night, I had this dream that drove me so crazy it woke me up. I took a Benadryl last night (thus what I’m having now), which gives me extremely vivid dreams, so I doubt I would have remembered it save that.

First of all, you have to know that my dad is a ridiculous prankster. For instance we’re riding in our van and decide to stop at Mickey D’s:

One of Kelly’s school friends: I bet you won’t mess with the drive-thru guy.
Leslie (thinking): Oh Lort. Here we go.
Drive-thru Guy: Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?
Dad: You’ll have to excuse me. I have Alzheimer’s.
DTG: That’s ok, sir. Take all the time you need.
Dad: I’d like a cheeseburger.
DTG: Would you like fries with that?
Dad: With what……………… You’ll have to excuse me, I have Alzheimer’s.

This seriously goes on for what seems like fifteen minutes. I’m sure it was only two, but the passage of time makes it stretch. The guy was literally dumbfounded, had no idea what to do, and we’re all in the back of the van, crying we’re laughing so hard.

Now, I know this isn’t very PC, but it was almost 20 years ago, and you never dare a Lanagan. Never.

My dad is also an excellent whistler. He and his friend Paul once whistled the Vivaldi two-trumpet concerto just to see if they could do it. In terms of pranking and whistling, my dad will often whistle something beautifully and then end on a quarter-tone, which cracks me up every single time.

So last night in my dream, my dad was whistling something that ended in “Shave and a Haircut,” except he ended on the note corresponding with the word “two.” I woke myself up when I said, out loud, “RESOLVE THE CHORD!”

That’s my dad. Pranking me in my dreams.

Sermon for Proper 16: Slapping the System

It is really eerie that the blog entry I just wrote not an hour ago has so much to do with this sermon. I couldn’t have planned it better, really, which is the best part ever. I didn’t plan it at all.

I told you my favorite example of Jesus changing his mind, and here is today’s Gospel in its entirety, taken from Luke 13:10-17:

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

This is the ultimate smackdown between Jesus and the keepers of the law, a standing ovation of a story that has me whooping and hollering and clapping, even sitting alone in my room typing. Jesus knows that the legal system does not prevent Jews from being cruel to animals, so why in God’s name (literally) does it say that healing humans is “work?” Why is being cruel to humans okay, and being cruel to animals is not?

Jesus slaps the law in its face, using its own words. That’s the most fun in reading Jesus. When he uses the legal system to make the people in charge of it look like jackasses. There’s a beauty in it, really, and always my favorite part of the Bible. To compare Jesus to modern day rebels, Elizabeth Warren stands out as a pure example. She just slaps the law in its face, and as Matt Damon famously said regarding American banks during a speech at MIT:

It was theft, and you knew it. It was fraud and you knew it, and you know what else? We know that you knew it. I don’t know if justice is coming for you in this life or the next, but if it does come in this life? Her name will be Elizabeth Warren.

Yes. Yes, it will.

I don’t know and I don’t care whether Elizabeth Warren or Matt Damon believes in Jesus, but I do know that this is such a Christ-like example of turning power on its ear that the Christ would be so proud he’d throw a parade in their honor.

For instance, take a look at this:

Regardless of religious affiliation, there are people out there being Christ in the world, as all Christians are called to do. OF COURSE being Christ in the world is about the soft touch of helping a neighbor in need, giving to the poor we don’t even know but want to protect, and giving of ourselves to our faith community so that we can continue the ministries we wholeheartedly support.

But there’s also that other thing. The foresight to see wrong and correct it. Democrat or Republican Christians are not called to vote among party lines, but to tell the difference between right and wrong. I am not endorsing anyone, but standing up for what’s right. It is not my job as a theologian without any degrees to say for whom you should vote, but I can see individual laws going through the House and Senate and feel the need to slap them the way Jesus did… and slap them HARD.

Right now, it’s Republican policies that are hate-filled, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t stand up against Democrats if they were pulling the same stunts. It’s my job to be neutral when it comes to the party and up on my soapbox for the things Christ would tolerate and the things he wouldn’t.

I don’t think that Jesus would necessarily be for abortion, but at the same time, in Judaic law, there is no prohibition against it. In fact, abortion in Judaic law can take place at any time, a much longer statute of limitations than Roe v. Wade gives us now. However, I do think that Jesus would stand up for Planned Parenthood, not because of abortion itself, but because Planned Parenthood tries so hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I think that Jesus would stand up for a safety net in which parents do not have to fear an unwanted pregnancy because they are so financially strapped that they cannot afford another child which plunges them deeper and deeper into poverty. I think that Jesus would stand up to the pro-lifers that have no plan except preventing abortions and nothing for caring for children once they are born.

If this issue was really pro-life, the people who want that statute would be lined up around the block with bottles and blankets for the children born of unwanted pregnancies we already have. All children are a blessing from God, but it makes it harder to believe it when you have no way of taking care of it… when you have to choose between rent and food. When you have to choose between diapers and electricity. When you have to choose between child care and staying home, because the choice isn’t easy. When you look at the cost of child care in this country, if you go to work, you come home with maybe an extra $100 a month, because 90% of your paycheck is already spoken for. In a two income-family, this may not be as much of an issue as it is for single moms, because even with working and paying for child care, there’s no way to pay for the rent, bills, groceries, etc. without half the country screaming about social programs and how to get rid of them.

I am looking forward to the day when Republicans come back into the fold of working together with Democrats to accomplish great things, but I am probably going to be waiting a long time. Until then, we need to slap the system senseless.

Just as Christ would have done.

The issue at hand is that Jesus did not want to put anything off until tomorrow that could be done today. Why should that woman have had to wait to be healed when it was okay to be kind to an animal and not support the sanctity of human life?

The system failed that woman, just as ours is failing us now. We need our Christs in the world, whether they’re Christians or not. They are pointing the way to marked change, and so shall we. Because we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ… and that means something. It means hardcore advocacy and radical change. It means a fearlessness that needs to be mustered from deep within.

It takes faith, and a lot of it, to be that brave. But I only have two words for you.


Don’t be a Democrat or a Republican. Be a Jesus.


Really Crappy Coffee

I don’t know why I thought that coffee would keep as long as I tried to… It’s Christmas Blend, if that gives you any indication. I am sure it would taste much better with CoffeeMate and Splenda, but if I wanted coffee that tasted like that I would have gone to McDonald’s. The thing is, though, I turned off the burner as soon as it was done brewing so that it wouldn’t taste burned once it was cool. I have a feeling it will taste much better in the morning, especially if I go to Trader Joe’s and get some “Coconut Beverage.” I could also turn it into a Bulletproof coffee with Kerrygold and coconut oil, but I am still deciding between a meal replacement and actually making eggs or going to Waffle House.

I am also still deciding whether I’m going to church this morning, because I somewhat hate it now. It has nothing to do with the people. It’s that I’m not in choir anymore (long story) and the pews dig into the corkscrew scoliosis in my back, so that by the end of the service, I am in so much pain that it takes about half an hour to really feel ok walking again. Besides, Matt has a podcast and I really enjoy writing my own sermons before I listen to him, because then I know whether I’m on the right track theologically, or whether I’ve just taken off into “The Lanagan Lectionary” that just makes no damn sense.

I got ripped a new one a few weeks back for saying that I thought Jesus was tired and burned out on Judaism, but not for lack of faith. For the way it was being executed. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin were all ready to eat Jesus and his Disciples’ lunch at any given moment. If Jesus hadn’t taken that burned out feeling and used it to great effect, Judaism would not have changed and brought to life the new church he was seeking- one that focused on promise theology and not beating people down with the law.

Jesus and his disciples practiced radical inclusion, and that’s the take-home message. The entire Bible is the journey from how Jesus created his own sect of Judaism, and how that new church eventually became Christianity, because unlike Judaism, the new sect was open to Gentiles as well.

There are several moments that stand out to me, but my favorite is Matthew 15:21-28:

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Do you see it? DO YOU SEE IT?

Jesus went from “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” to healing a CANAANITE’s daughter.

Jesus changed his mind, and THAT’s THE POINT.

This is probably not the Gospel for the Lectionary today, so I’ll be writing something else later.

I just want to point out the words of the Book of Common Prayer here, from Rite I, that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs,through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom.” It is just a gargantuan change from the theology of the Old Testament, and something you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d be able to recite verbatim.

Though I have a few theological problems with Rite I, because it is not as inclusive as Rite II, I started going to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church at Woodway & Sage in Houston, Texas when I was 17 years old, and Rite I was my first exposure to the BCP. So therefore I have the whole thing memorized, tattooed on my heart, because there are so many times that I have not felt worthy to gather up the crumbs under Thy table, grateful that Thou are the same Lord whose property it is to have mercy. So many times have I knelt at the communion rail in abject pain and sorrow, and acknowledging my sin and my redemption has been the grace that has allowed me to move forward with my week.

These words are harsh, as harsh as I felt about myself, but the forgiveness is worth it. That even though I have committed egregious sins in the past, there is nothing that could separate me from the love of God as long as I truly and humbly repent and make it my goal for these sins to never happen again.

…even as I drink my crappy coffee.

The Bold Gold

I usually title my entries with what I’m eating at SBUX, but I’m having the same thing I had yesterday. Gold Coast is the “bold pick.” Yesterday I drank it black, perfect in its own way, but today lots of Splenda and half-n-half. Coffee needs fat… at least sometimes.

In other news, I forgot to e-mail Dan yesterday, but I got a great letter from The Professor, so we have plans in the near future. The last time we talked, she wanted to start an exercise program, and I asked her how she was doing on it, because having a workout buddy is so much better for me than trying to motivate myself. It’d be nice to roll out of bed and shower at the gym. I’d rather join a gym or the Y instead of running outside, because of the whole showering before work thing. Plus, a hot tub. Musn’t forget that.

Maybe one of these days I’ll work in an office with showers in the building. Pri-Diddy had that at the World Bank, and I was really jealous because she could get in her morning run without spending the rest of the day smelling like feet. #careergoals

Although to be honest, I really thought I’d be a mommy-blogger by now, exploiting my children for fun and profit… no pictures, though, just saving up for their therapy. I had to give up that dream when Dana and I divorced, but I am only 39 on September 10th, so I have at least three or four years in order to get my shit together. And if I can’t make it through the trying to conceive process, it would be great to adopt a toddler/kindergartner so that I’m not 90 by the time they graduate from high school.

But my life has taken its own turns, and that’s okay. I am happy the way I am, single and loving life because I have the time to turn trauma into promise. Jesus knows I need it. My “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert have provided me with more wisdom than ignoring my feelings ever would’ve.

I can only hope that I have done a good job of presenting my friends with a portrait that reflects their 3-D nature… that my interactions with them are not bad or good, just human. And it helps so much more to talk about good times than bad. It sustains me, keeps me from being a bitter old biddy, looking forward to love when it’s the right time instead of the wrong one.

I feel like I am ready to move on, with the possibility of dating, because there’s really nothing more to say about the rearview mirror. There’s a reason it’s so small. And in terms of my side mirrors, objects are not as close as they appear. Nothing is chasing me, and nothing is keeping me from being able to let go and trust that the direction of my life is going down the path I am trying to create, rather than waiting for things to happen to me. I saw a memory from a few years ago about becoming a confirmed minister in the UCC/DoC rather than going to seminary- in effect, learning on the job. It’s something to explore, because as much as I try to geek out over technology, I can’t be as excited about it as I am about philosophy, theology, and soteriology. As I have sad before, soteriology is the study of salvation, but I am not a big fan of substitutionary atonement (Isaac in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New). I am way more interested in the way we fall and resurrect ourselves. The versatility of the human spirit is hope springing eternal, that things will always get better if you put shoe leather into it. It’s not that I can’t swallow the idea of substitutionary atonement and miracles, it’s that they don’t matter to me nearly as much as the message Jesus presented and the way he went about it.

So what if Jesus bodily resurrected? So what if he turned water into wine? Whether these are oral histories passed down or absolutely real is missing the point.

They are Stories That are All True…. and some of them actually happened.