Fighting Back: LGBT Rallies and Academic Freedom

1-fun-home-alison-bechdel-coverIn late February, South Carolina Representative Garry Smith punished the College of Charleston for its choice of College Reads! book, which was Alison Bechdel’s tragi-comic Fun Home. Although the state’s funds did not actually fund the College Reads! Program, the state legislature chose to cut $52,000 in funding to the College. This caused quite the kerfluffle among CofC students, including myself, who began a series of protests against the legislature’s decisions. This coincided also with the appointment of Glenn McConnell as College president after a politically dubious search process. On Monday, we held another protest, as Fun Home the Musical came to Charleston. Having watched the show myself, I hope it great success and also hope that the play helps spread the message of how homophobia can destroy people’s lives.




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I read the following poems at last Friday’s protests:

Several writers across the country have also spoken up about academic freedom, information for which you can find here:

Find media on the protests and controversy here:


A Brief Jaunt in the Woods: Appalachian Journal

Last night, I returned with four other guys from a three-day trek along the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smokey Mountains. We imagined a fine stroll in the woods, a few days breathing good air and overlooking mountain vistas, but we ended up with cramped calves, blistered feet, and weathered shoulders. While it did not bring the calm or enlightenment that some people claimed, the mountain trip taught me a lot about expectations, companionship, and the nature of nature.

                Below is a direct transcription of the little journal I kept throughout our hikes, including crazed ideas, admissions, and swear words. The entire journey proved harder than any of us thought, but we made it out alive and mostly intact.

June 9, 2013


Spirit Quest. Walkabout. Seeking.

Whatever cultural term might be used to describe a spiritual journey in the wilderness, this is not it. Rather, this will be a walk to death, the ascension to the hangman’s noose. Like many other confused, existential, directionless Caucasian males in their teenage prime, we chose to amble up into the Smokey Mountain National Park, hike a few miles of the Appalachian Trail.

The sky has decided to piss all over us, and I admit I’m not ecstatic to begin walking through muck and cold rain and liquefied misery.


After a wrong turn, we found ourselves lost along the highway. Using our smart phone devices, we found a new way to the entrance to the park. After picking up a map and looking through the visitors center, we are preparing for the hike.


Having entered the trailhead at 2 pm, we have not yet reached our destination. I sit along, awaiting the slower leg of our group to catch up. I need their water. I am unsure how much further it could be, but I hope I am close. The hike has been far more strenuous than I believed, heaving a fifty pound pack uphill. The incline never ceases, and even when I think I have reached the summit, the trail continues up. The last 1/3 has been tame, but exhausting. The first three miles went up a creek, the water rushing past our soaked shoes as we scraped our legs on rocks and climbed hand and foot. We did not prepare for, certainly did not anticipate, the sheer pain of going on and on, trapped in a steaming hallucination of green.

We spotted a single snake, but our worst enemy is the streams. Some have simple brides or even fallen trees to cross, but many we fall into, slipping on the rocks or moss. At the beginning of our journey, just past the first friendly mile, I took off my shoes to clear the stream, clinging to branches as I skirted along the clumsy rocks. My sleeping bag splashed into the stream, soaked through, and for a mile, I carried the bag draped over my shoulders.

I hear my comrades approaching and admit the time to sit has been restful. Like with every new horizon, I pray the campsite lies just beyond.


Steeper. The camp is nowhere in sight, and I feel my body and mind slipping away. My shoulders bulbous and raw and red.


This trail mocks me. Every tree masquerades as a peaceful meadow, but is only another sharp turn up this damned mountain. The Devil hovers behind every boulder, beckoning with bread, with rest, but there is nothing.

It is dark and grow darker. A storm brews in the distance, and not for the first time today am I considering whether I will die here.


I am taking more frequent breaks as I begin to lose hope. I sit on a log observing the first sign I’ve encountered in hours. Ricky encountered me on the trail, on his way to locate Stephen who had disappeared long ago. The sign says there is only a half mile left to the campsite, and I remember believing we had only 1.5 miles left after the 3 mile marker, but we crossed that at 5pm.

My feet are blistered, numb. Even to curl a toe takes great exertion. But Ricky’s presence made me feel better.

It just started raining.


Inane thoughts, rambling.

As I neared the site, I stepped wrong, rolling my angle. I could feel my muscles stretch unnaturally, snapping loudly. “Arrrgh. Fuck.” I collapsed, thinking the worst: that my ankle was broken, that I was trapped.

Three weeks before in La Habana, Cuba I had sprained my ankle and been unable to walk properly for a day– it still affects me now. If I suffered the same fate on the trail, we would be stranded. Alone, I called out the names of my friends. No one could hear me.

Clutching my foot, I assessed the damage. This did not feel as before, and I suspected I could walk given time. Putting weight on the foot, I hobbled across the trail until I felt comfortable walking upright. Then I hefted my pack onto my shoulders and plod on. Each step sent a jolt through my leg, but by now, that sort of pain felt irrelevant.

Funny to think, but while making the final stretch, I thought of how I could transform this experience into a lesson, the sort of clear, cut-and-dry morality  imposed in a standard college essay or fable. Nothing came to mind except that I had overestimated myself– we all had.

We were weak, broken by strain, and lost. Five inept white bys, wondering the dark, dangerous forest.

I reached the camp where Tim and Ricky were, and I set up a tent with ease. While waiting on food, I spilled a bag of granola in my tent, and I cursed myself for bringing rats and other vermin to me.

Ricky showed up with Stephen, both exhausted, and we ate soup. Stephen, like all of us, had at once lost hope on the trail, sitting down on the side, refusing to move. In that way, we are relying on each other to keep going, and I hope we can continue to do this tomorrow.

We learned that the estimation of the trail (4.5 miles) had been wrong and instead we had hiked 6.7 miles. That was why my mind suffered delusions after mile 3, because I thought I was nearly finished. But the I had not even been half-way. Not even half-way up what we learned was the second-highest mountain in the entire park.


We talked for a long time, eating a type of soup that warmed itself when you shook the can. It began to rain in earnest, and we retreated to our tents.


June 10, 2013


Woke up to my tent filled with water, my shoes and much of my clothes soaked. I could not sleep in my wet sleeping bag and so made do with two towels covering me.


The others still sleep.

Not all is misery here. I trekked up a hill to the mountain’s peak, though a good view is impossible through the thick of green leaves. But finally I am feeling a bit of accomplishment at climbing this damned mount.


Waiting for clothes to dry. Packing up.


Our first leg of our journey proved easier than yesterday, a few brief inclines but mostly flat trail. The descents are no easier, and we move slowly to avoid tumbling down. I packed my bag better with the mostly dry sleeping bag packed inside. We rest now on a bunch of logs. We overlook the mountains draped in white gauzy mist.


We have stopped to cook lunch. My shoulder burn again under the strain of a heavier pack. The trail has been tame, and most of yesterday’s rain has evaporated. No more sliding, spilling, and falling.

The mountain we climbed yesterday was one of the highest in the range, more than 5,000 feet. Hopefully, we will not continue to underestimate this wicked place.

For lunch, we’re eating from a  giant canister of beans and rice. I admit I’m quite hungry, and we will not eat again until nearing nightfall. The sun is very warm in this spot, the wind refreshing.


We arrived in the campsite an hour ago. I have set up my tent. Others are currently setting p theirs. Very hot at the moment, but the bulk of the day’s strain is behind us. The final miles was perilous and muddy, and we hiked through more creeks.


Woke up from a nap. Cooking chicken, rice, and beans with pita chips.

The others have decided against spending a day to explore the area. There is not much to explore we have not already, and we will want to come home soon. The adventure might end prematurely, but it has been an adventure.


We started a fire and sat around it, some of us smoking cheap cigars we bought at the Cherokee Indian Reservation. We’re going to sleep now, as tomorrow might be the longest leg of our journey yet.


June 11, 2013


Woke up late at 10am with a stiff back and throbbing head. We encountered an old man hiking who simply grunted in our direction. Now we have learned that he hiked a mere 0.3 miles from a highway to our campsite; we had the opportunity to simply hike out, then hitch-hike, but instead we are already headed in the opposite direction. I do not particularly like this loyalty to the direction we’re headed because we’re unsure how far we must travel.

We left at 12pm and made decent time to the sign we’d encountered before. 1 mile uphill was more difficult than yesterday’s 4 miles down. We have stopped for lunch now– rice and beans again.


Making lunch now that Kevin and Stephen have caught up. Cooper Creek Trail is at 1.5, then there will be more space before we reach Mingus Creek Trail. Hopefully not too far. Though we feel nearly finished, we have a long way to go.

We have decided to eat at Waffle House once back in civilizations, and the thought of a sizzling burger will hopefully keep me moving forward.


Walked another 3.6 miles since lunch. The first 1.5 to Cooper Creek felt easy, so when we reached the crossroads, we kept hiking without stopping. The next 2.1 miles almost killed me.

Half a mile in, we started uphill, back up that damned mountain we climbed the first day. This was a place called Deep Low Gap, a huge elevation change between two high mountains. We spent the morning going down one, and I just spent three and a half hours hiking up the other.

I slowed, dehydrated, exhausted, and eventually I fell behind Tim and Ricky who took the lead. Our pack spread thin, stretched across miles of mountainous terrain. I took many breaks, fearing I could not make it.

700 feet before this intersection, I stopped, plopping down. I saw nothing, my mind turning to mush, but I came to two realizations in that moment of desperation:

1.) I could not go on.

2.) It didn’t matter.

Even though I thought there was no way I could go on, it didn’t matter. I had to go on. I needed to stop, but I could not. This mountain cared nothing for what I thought I could or could not do– it never considered my limitations. The thought of it growing dark again, being trapped here, haunted me. I stood up and kept on, not because of any resolve or new-found strength, but because there were no other choices. Soon, I spotted Ricky and Tim at the intersection, and I collapsed next to them.

Here, there was nothing to learn, but what pain could teach me, and somehow, despite the fact I knew deeply I could not make it, I had made it. And there were still 3 more miles to walk, heaving that pack.


We worry about Kevin and Stephen who have not reached our stopping point yet. They have fallen behind. Ricky and Tim have walked back down the path, sans their packs, to locate them.


We reached the end, after plodding through creeks, and I rolled my ankle again. We waited for ten minutes and continued. Seeing the parking lot brought great relief. Everything did– sinks and toilet seats and the promise of air conditioning. I dresses in fresh clothes I had kept in the van. We washed our muddy legs in the restroom.

We took the Blue Ridge Parkway, which gave us views of those mountains of wicked beauty, all the view we never got climbing them.


Strange to think we camped at the second-highest campsite, seeing these mountains tower over us now. In a way, we feel like conquerors. Weakened by war, but victorious.


Saw an elk on the side of the road. A much more interesting animal than ever we saw trudging through the trail. Up there, there were deer, snakes, and bugs– mostly bugs.


We’re sitting now at a Waffle House, that wonderful bastion of civilization, that beacon in the distance we each crawled towards. We may not return home until very early tomorrow morning, but that seems a little irrelevant now, as the smell of hash browns floats under our nostrils. Mostly, we’re broken, though mostly, we’re exhausted, though mostly we’re satisfied. Never mind– mostly, we’re just hungry.

7 Habits of a Highly Successful Secessionist

             A satire

   My good fortune found me sitting down with famous Southern writer and political analyst Henry Cotton III, author of 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Secessionist. He is renowned for works such as A Southern Guide to California: Into the Eighth Circle of Hell, The Five People You Will Meet in Georgia, Chicken Soup for the Confederate Soul, Eat, Pray, Secede, and Three Mason Jars of Moonshine: One’s Man’s Mission to Promote American Values in a Liberal Land.

His newest work follows the efforts of anti-Obama protestors calling for the secession of 20 U.S. states. It focuses on how by seceding from the Union and creating a new Constitution based on allowing the minority vote to choose the presidency, these states will display what real democracy looks like.

Derek: Mr. Cotton III, what do you think spurred the recent secession movement?

Cotton: Well, Derek, Texas was basically its own country anyways. So, allowing it to break off and swim somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean seems like the best way to settle our differences. As for the rest of the states, it is our divine right to reject our government when we disagree with it. What do you think the Revolutionary War was about?

Derek: Or the Civil War?

Cotton: No, the War of Northern Aggression was not about rejecting government. We were attacked. Our values were attacked. We protected them.

Derek: I see. What are the chief complaints of the states involved? Why would they want to leave the United States.

Cotton: Well, recent research has brought to light that democracy has not been carried out in this land. For example, when a majority of electoral votes goes to somebody I don’t like, there must be a real glitch in the system, especially if that happens twice. For decades, real Americans have suffered attacks on our freedoms and rights. Just the other day, I went down to the Piggly Wiggly, and what did I see? Two men holding hands, infringing on my rights to be a heterosexual.

Derek: How unfortunate, sir. Well, what other reasons might you have?

Cotton: I know you think I’m just some ignorant hick, but I think that we have every right to secede if we want to.

Derek: No doubt. It’s actually in the Constitution. ““Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” one portion read, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”

Cotton: That’s right. People say we’re unpatriotic, that we don’t know what we’re talking about, but if we disagree with the federal government, we actually have every right to secede.

Derek: If enough states leave the Union, will they form their own country, do you think, or will they continue on, each state as a separate, sovereign entity?

Cotton: I imagine a new nation with rise, one that our Founding Fathers imagined, one where we can carry guns to church without harassment. And anybody don’t like it, they can move up North to Yankee-land. We have survived long enough in enemy territory, ever since the Usurpation of Lincoln in the 1800’s.

Derek: Well, I thank you for your time, and I hope everyone buys his new book 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Secessionist. It’s a thrilling read about how you too can secede from the union!

An Elegy of Consciousness

The strangest thing is to be alive. Or to be conscious. Especially to the fact that, right now, you’re alive. And that your body will keep pumping blood through your heart down miles of thin veins that dangle like the fragile yarn of the Fate’s within your living carcass. One day, your body will die. Unless you do not die, which might be possible. It has yet to be proven that either you or I (unless either of us are zombie or ghost) can die. When someone proves us wrong, it won’t even matter.

But being conscious does not simply mean being awake, yet it means exactly that. Not simply entering into daytime out of deep REM cycles, because even waking, we sleep. Our minds are passive rather than active. We spend a lot of time watching cat videos on YouTube, passively processing information we might possibly forget. That’s why it is strange to finally take deep breaths and truly consider your existence. To ask, what is my purpose here? Why am I alive right now? How am I alive right now? What will happen next? Or most importantly, what will happen when this body of mine crumbles to dust?

Even overweight and overly hairy, I’m not too fond of the idea of my body deteriorating underground, the diet of worms. But we must face the truth of death; we all must. Death is the only disease no doctor can cure. So, if we’re not dead, why are we not alive? Why do we drool while living droll lives? Why do we stare so often at nothingness so that we forget ourselves, forget we even exist?

It is strange to be human, strange to be anything at all. If we were simpler animals, then the existence from moment-t0-moment would make sense, acting on whims and fulfilling basic needs. Yet we are capable of higher faculties, able to wield our minds like razor-sharp swords. We are intelligent with powerful, breath-taking bodies. What our brains do without us even trying, that is incredible in itself. But with application, what our brains can comprehend, explain in words, calculate– those things are worthy of some consideration.

I have undertaken this notion for some time now. To truly consider what it means to be alive, to experience everything as novel and incredible. Even getting a tooth pulled can be a worthy experience. Edgar Allen Poe, as we can see from his gruesome stories, was obsessed with sensation. He once suggested that any prisoner being beheaded should take heart that he is experiencing what not many are able to experience. But it is difficult to think about pain as good, as useful, but even pain is a teacher. For anyone to truly understand himself, he must experience grief, heartbreak, and ultimately death.

He must stand at the abyss of eternity, looking into the dark, uncertain depths. He must teeter forever at the edge, since we can never prove eternity exists or does not since we will never reach the end. And if we do, those who might could have gloated will not be able to.

It is difficult to imagine ceasing to exist while it is also difficult to imagine existing forever. And at least as humans, we can take solace in knowing we were made into being, that we have some origin. When we consider God, who has no origin or end, our minds fail to come to terms with these things. Yet these are the unsettling, fascinating thoughts that make us lie perfectly still in our beds just before sleeping. Those overwhelming questions that can leave you weeping in confusion, that can blast the breath from your lungs with their pure incomprehensibility.

The best we can do, perhaps, is concentrate and appreciate the present as we often do not do. I do not suggest you forgo the past or eschew anxiety for the future, but perhaps to live as we are now with eyes open. Notice what happens around you. Consider who you are and who you want to be. Compare everything you do, each trivial action, to those visions. Often, they collide because we do not live with the constant consideration of our own core beliefs. We stuff them down our own throats for the sake of personal benefit, laziness, and selfishness.

But one of the only ways we will learn to consider others, to consider our own actual beliefs, is not to live so sleepy, where we must consume energy from aluminum cans. You are a body brimming with energy if only you breathe, if only you use it. If only you begin to truly pay attention to the fact you’re even alive.

Is It a Sin to Be a Christian in America?

Warning: Author expresses his actual opinion without succumbing to popular beliefs. Be forewarned if you disagree. And here’s the great part: if you disagree with me, you can do that and I won’t hold it against you. It’s your right as an American.

America was founded on great principles, the freedom to believe whatever you wish and act on those beliefs without government officials knocking down your door and shooting you in the head. We have an idea in this country that if you believe in something, you should be allowed to believe it, no matter if other people do not. For the past two hundred years, however, the major religion in America has been Christianity. And interestingly enough, it still is statically so. We, however, have perpetuated a weird illusion that to believe in something that popular and well-known is to “be ignorant,” to be a simpleton. Why, then, if the majority of Americans profess themselves to be Christians, is Christianity attacked so often?

Let’s get down to brass tacks. As a group, we Christians haven’t exactly been the most accepting sort of people. In the past, The Church has prosecuted non-Christians, but those who did do not represent the whole of the Christian nation.

For the most part, presidents have been predominately Protestant which keeps politics mostly in line with the Christian doctrine. In fact, because of the Christian majority, many laws have been made that somewhat delude the rights of other religions. Before reading on, understand that I understand that. I totally get that the establishment of “The Church” has done some really despicable things throughout history, and because most people do not differentiate between “The Church” and the body of Christ, this makes Christians look pretty bad.

It seems now the tables have turned and it is Christians who are being persecuted for their beliefs. Before you stab me with pitchforks and burn me with torches screaming “There’s no real WAR on Christianity,” think again. The truth is, those in power have a very difficult time coinciding their personal beliefs with their jobs. Think about this. You have very strong views on something, let’s say… anything, but you also have an obligation to listen to the will of the people. Which means putting aside your personal beliefs to kowtow to the wants of the people who put you in power. You are their figurehead, after all, right?

This moral dilemma of doing what one personally feels is right and what others believe is right has caused serious schisms in the political world. And as long as we’re being completely honest, there are really only two groups taking part in this argument: Christians and non-Christians. Those who are Christians say that what they’re doing is exactly what America wants, but those of other religions and those who do not proscribe to any religious beliefs claim that Christian lawmakers force their own beliefs onto the people through public policy. And for the sake of argument’s sake, both groups are actually kind of right.

But now more than ever, in today’s society, it is especially unpopular to be a Christian. Why? Well, it is extremely popular to claim Christianity, to say “Jesus is my homie” and that “God is love.” That’s all fine and dandy as putting a Bible verse bumper sticker on your hybrid car, but saying something isn’t the same as doing something. So, what’s so hard about being a Christian that it causes consternation? Again, being perfectly honest, it’s extremely difficult. When you want to express your opinion as a Christian, which so happens to be what the Bible says, you get labeled as “brain-washed,” a conformist who doesn’t bother to rely on facts. Someone who accepts what he is told.

There is this stigma of Christians as bleating sheep, repeating the same things to each other. But that stereotype simply isn’t true. Just because someone is a Christian  doesn’t make them unenlightened. Forget for the fact I too am a Christian and think of this: if I said that yes, cells are the building blocks of biology, you would not question me. And some people know that as absolute fact who, unlike me, have never studied cells, who have never looked at micro-organisms under a microscope. To believe this, then, takes faith, yes? Some people simply read this in a book and call it fact. So, why are Christians the only seen as the ones believing things they read in books?

Another question we should ask ourselves is this: should we base our political beliefs on our religion? One of my not-really-friends on Facebook once said, “I don’t understand why everyone has to have certain political beliefs just because they have certain religious beliefs.” My response to this is, Huh?! What someone believes about life and about the afterlife, understand, are not at all mutually exclusive. You can’t say, yes, I believe everything the Bible says, but when it comes to politics, I have my own set of beliefs. And the obvious problem everyone will point out is that we’re aligning ourselves with the exact principles of a religion. Which makes us in the eyes of society close-minded. And what ever happened, you say, to the American spirit? So what if your holy book calls a person wrong? They’re entitled live the way they want, right?

Of course they are! But because of that doesn’t negate the fact that Christians too are allowed to hold and voice their own beliefs. I am not trying to say either that people legally restrict Christians from expressing Christian beliefs, only that media construes these beliefs as “bigoted” or “narrow-minded.” When the real truth is that when it comes to beliefs about the afterlife, God, and morality, we are ALL close-minded. That’s right. We HAVE to be, or else we’re left believing nothing. Sure, we’re not going to deny someone a job because of their religion, but that doesn’t mean we’ll agree with them on theocratic doctrine solely because we’re accepting people. No, because no matter what you believe, you BELIEVE that. And by believing that, you are– however unawares you are of it– calling everyone else essentially wrong.

Believe in God? Well, that means that you believe people that do not believe in God are simply wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. And if you don’t believe in God, that only means you believe those who do believe in God are wrong. And this is a simple example, but everyone facet of life we base on our beliefs: what the purpose of our life is, where we go after we die, who rules the universe, and so on and so on. Only those without any conviction at all are truly “open-minded,” and is that even a good thing? To believe in nothing, flip-flopping, changing opinions based on who we talk to?

Yes, we need to keep open minds. We need to allow others to change us, but that’s a fine line to cross, a difficult trapeze walk. You’ve got to allow yourself room to change for the better without compromising what you know to be true. So, many of you will disagree with me on this and on many other things. If that’s what you believe, that’s fine. If you gain pleasure from shooting down other people for your own amusement, what does that make you?

So, why is that? Why do we claim to be a free country where no one should be condemned for anything, yet Christians are condemned for stating what they believe? The Church is viewed through a skewed lens where it is no longer accepted to act morally. We spend so much time in America defending the rights of those who wish to act immoral that we stomp all over those who want to do any good. Tom DeLay mentioned in an interview by NBC that Christianity is treated as “some second-rate superstition.”

When we approach political debates, like legalization of abortion of gay marriage, and Christians side with what the Bible tells them, people deride them for not being progressive enough. But being progressive for the sake of it means nothing. If people didn’t stick by what they believed, there would be no point in voting on laws in the first place. And it’s not just Christianity, honestly. Almost any religion is seen as a fallback for a belief system when those who believe see it as the truest of belief systems.

Okay, so let’s crack this shell open slightly further. Why, then, does it seem that Christians always side with right-wingers? I have for one hold no political affiliations, and I think one of our problems as a country is that too many belief rely on supporting a party rather than deciding on candidates based on what they personally believe. Because right-wing candidates use religion as a crutch, as if to say, “Hey, I’m a Christian too, so if you’re Christian you should vote for me,” we have an overwhelming amount of Christians voting in the right wing. It makes sense as these politicians have more conservative views. What we fail to realize, however, is that these same self-proclaimed Christian candidates take our votes for granted, then turn around to use their power to make things worse, not better. And if this is an OMG moment for you that, yes, Republican politicians do some very crummy things, then take a big look around.

Christianity has taken a beating in the past decade or so. On television, we’re depicted as Hell-raising fanatics coming from a bloody history. Any Christian character on any Primetime show is there only to show how bigoted Christians are, how hypocritical we are. And because we sin too (of course), we can never really escape that image. We can’t always act exactly how we preach, so when we do preach, it comes across as condescending, even pretentious, a “I know the truth and you don’t” vibe. When really, it should be a “I want to share the truth because I love you” vibe.

Think about this. Around Christmas time, you see a lot of complaints that Christmas displays are too religious. We as a country prefer the secular Santa Claus and his reindeer. But what many people fail to realize is that Christmas is a Christian holiday. We commercialize this holiday to remove the religious aspects from them, pumping it full of sugar and fluff. Why? We hardly ever take other religious holidays and begin making it a secular tradition. The idea of gift-giving and Santa Claus basically override the original meaning of Christmas SO much, that those not celebrating religiously complain about too many religious affiliations with Christmas, even changing its name to X-mas. If you celebrate Christmas for no actual reason, why are you complaining? The entire holiday has been turned-upside-down. This is one more specific example of how Christians are attacked. We have a holiday and are attacked for actually celebrating its true meaning.

If you’re not a Christian, remember to keep an open mind to us as we do to you, and even if you ultimately disagree, don’t hate on what we believe and we will not hate on you for what you believe. As Christians, if you hate others because they don’t believe what you believe, you’re sending a really bad message to the world about us. We’re supposed to be accepting and loving, so think twice before you condemn another to Hell for not agreeing with you.

Again, don’t complain about this being biased. It’s biased because I have something called an Opinion which I’m not at all afraid to voice. Share your thoughts below, but keep it clean.

The Fall of Man

Man was once simple.

He stood in simple nakedness

with his simple, limp urinary tract extension

hanging between his simple legs

with a halo of wild hair

no one told him to shave, wax, or pluck.


He understood himself

even if not in a biological way.

But he understood that when his stomach hallowed

he could eat and feel better.

When his stomach felt ready to burst,

he could squat wherever he pleased

to expel his inner demons.


He understood the world too,

that he was the king of animals.

Even lions bent to his will

for Man had given them names.

When his body could no longer move,

he closed his eyes to return to Heaven.

When he woke alone in the Garden,

none of his stuff had been moved.

His pile of rocks stood as rocks.

His fig leaf collection remained scattered still.


Sometimes, Man even bathed

because the water felt good

on his body, but no one form him to.

It made his beard a sponge,

his beard no one ever asked to shave, wax, or pluck.

The Man, he was happy.


On the next day, God created Eve.


Would You Read This?

Welcome to the small town of Lickskillet, where the good ole boys kick back with a beer every now again, where the people and friendly, where the local claim to fame is the world’s largest museum devoted solely to garden gnomes, and where a dark conspiracy is brewing. After the prominent ex-mayor is lynched in the affluent gated community Golden Oaks, the people of Lickskillet are demanding justice and quickly revamping their image as the most politically correct town in the Southeast.

The locals are not the only ones in the need of a public image face-lift. A Ku Klux Klan member, Mathew Pepper, being accused of the murder is not helping their quarterly membership ratings, so arrives in town national PR agent for the infamous organization: Roscoe Ostrander. To have a more tolerant image, Roscoe concludes, the Klan need only accept some black members of the community into their ranks.

Roscoe’s son Declin moves around quite a lot, because of the nature of his father’s job. And every place he goes, he’s the new kid, always the outsider. But maybe he can at least be the most interesting person in school for the six months while he stays. If you’re nobody, you can be anybody. Declin has never had a girlfriend and when he lands in Lickskillet, Declin hatches a plot to market himself as a heart-breaking ladies’ man. Girls will surely come his way.

As the trial of Mathew Pepper becomes explosive, Declin learns he may have to stay in town longer than first he believed, and the lies he told to people about his past seem harder and harder to keep telling. He must be the Declin Lickskillet knows, but also keep some shred of himself. But having changed himself every six months for years, Declin is not sure he knows who the REAL him is any longer.

After finishing the first 10,000 words of my next novel, I’m quite proud. At this stage of writing The Savagery of Sebastian Martinelli, the plot was not so complicated. Furthermore, I’m very proud of the character development I’ve already been able to implement, and this is only a bare bones draft. Above is only a basic premise, which I realize is long. I like stories to be fairly complicated and strange, and I imagine the story will only get stranger as I progress to write it.

My question to you is: would you read this?

Football, Too, Is a Religion

We attend football games religiously.

7 o’clock Friday, the field is illuminated in white. We stand in a pit of sweat and grunge, carrying flags like small spears into battle. Dressed in uniform green, we are antsy. Already the strips of menacing paint beneath our eyes is peeling off. The band lines up in two separate columns on either side of the goalpost. Tensing our bodies, we press up against the back of the pack of football players. Music begins, builds- with this crescendo we tumble through a banner. Stumbling across the pristine green field, squinting up at the giant white lights. Football season has begun.

Truth is, I had no idea it was called a goalpost until I just googled it:  I was prepared to call it “that white thingie with two white arms.” As far as I can tell, anyone could be winning at any moment. My knowledge of football is limited. Sometimes, I’ll watch the opposing team score a touchdown and begin dancing, only to remember seconds later that I should be sulking.

Us getting touchdown:  good.

Them getting touchdown:  bad.

Watching high school football, I suppose you have to remember these things. Not that football isn’t terribly exciting- I just don’t know much about the logistics. Or the rules.

That doesn’t stop me, though, from getting caught up in the excitement. Just what about a football game excites us? Makes us leap up in the precarious bleachers, rocking back and forth. We’re a mob of filth, sweat, and war paint. There is no science to spirit- you just have it. Must have it. Breath it. Because, if you’re not exhilarated by your team, then what do you stand for? This is a crash course in loyalty, and you show yours by painting your face two different colors, wearing a sparkling golden toga, and chanting at the highest volume.

We sing psalms of praise toward the football gods, raising our arms in innate worship. Football, if you do not know, becomes an intensely spiritual experience. Like at an old Protestant revival, we stomp our feet and raise our arms and dance in tight circles. We howl into the night sky, bodies wiggling, faces convulsing.

Football season has begun.

Of course, football could its very own religion. Texts written on it read longer than the Bible and Torah put together. Every Friday is our night of worship, and we spill into the stands hungry to worship. What if we put this much energy into God, though? What if we approached God’s love like we do football? We fall down in reverence and chant his name? We fist pump?

We could approach so many things this way:  especially things we don’t understand. You don’t need to fully understand football to get caught up in the ecstasy of the moment. And I’m not condemning football here. Football may be the only sport that pumps me so full of testosterone, I want to transform into the Hulk.

But with so much energy devoted to football, what else can we devote our energy to?