Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Omens, visas and impossible life decisions

September 29, 2015

So, the world’s being weird to me. So weird it’s spooky.

Not quite the dream I had in mind.

Not quite the dream I had in mind.

Those who know me know I call myself an atheist. As in, I don’t believe in a godhead. The idea of a human figure running things is preposterous to me. Any spiritual force able to control and link all the world’s creatures is surely more ambiguous and more complicated than the dude in any of the books.

That doesn’t mean I don’t experience what other people call a spiritual life (I’ve seen a ghost), or enjoy religious rituals occasionally, particularly when it comes to the part where you eat and drink feel gratitude for the good things you have.

Being an atheist also doesn’t mean I don’t believe in forces beyond my control. Recently, I’ve been reminded that I have no choice but to do so, because I’ve felt like the world has been trying to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that I’m nobody. I’m nothing. I’m at the mercy of “It”, whatever “It” is.

I don’t know. I’m probably a pretty shitty atheist.

See, while I was trying to depart the USA for South Africa via the UK, first my sandles broke. Odd, timing wise, but no biggie. Then my other sandles broke, too. Then my car broke. But I found my way to the airport.

LAX Departures International

So close, and yet so very far.

Then, they didn’t let me on the plane because I lacked a UK transit visa. And then, just coincidentally, the UK visa site was down, so I couldn’t apply for a transit visa.

As a young twasa and soon to be sangoma who approached me uninvited in a bar once told me, you ignore messages from the spirit world at your peril. Two days ago, I decided to listen to what I think the world is saying. I was going to get a new apartment in Cali, and see how that went for a year or so. If I didn’t, I feared that the next thing “It” would do is break my legs to keep me here.

Of course, I didn’t get the apartment because they don’t take freelancers and I don’t have six months rent to advance the landlord – not after everything I’ve had to deal with recently. That’s the one landlord that replied to me at all. Most just let me twist in the wind.

So I’m back to nowheresville, limboing from day to day, wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do now. The world and people around me seem unreal, and I’m never sure where I’m waking up until I open my eyes and look around me.

this shit is bananas

This Shit is Bananas. No kidding.


Life’s full of bumps. Yes. And oddly, all the images on this post were snapped in the last 48 hours – as if some all powerful force feels the need to state the bleeding obvious every time I round a street corner.

I know things could be worse, so I’m trying to stay grateful, but I feel physically tired and heavy and very afraid right now.

I wrote about UK Visas and Human Kindness  (hint: they’re opposing forces) in my News24 column this week.

If you can read this, you can read the bible

November 13, 2011

But why would you want to, when you could be reading oh… so many other better written, less violent, and more more entertaining books?

Thanks Alex Griffin for the photo. I actually tried to take a picture of this exact same car the other day, but I was driving at the time and nearly went into a lamp post in my eagerness to photograph it. At some point my survival instincts kicked in and reminded me it wasn’t worth dying for a blog post. Specially since I’m almost certainly headed straight for hell.

It’s fall in California. It’s surprisingly cold – at night, in any case. I guess it is a desert. There’s snow on the mountains an hour’s drive away. The red leaves are so pretty. The frantic sound of leaf blowers fills the air most mornings.

Jesus loves Amusement parks

February 21, 2011

I’ve discovered Adrenaline – the miracle drug that has remarkably few side effects, unless a slightly stiff neck or the odd bruise counts. In the last few weeks I’ve been to Disney, Skiing, and to Six Flags, where the rollercoasters stretch for a mile.

Those things stuck to the pole are gum. I thought they were beautiful.

These places are so artificial they make Venice look like a real city. But often they’re exactly what I need.

A joke? Took me a whle to realise it was. On Disney's Monstor's Inc. ride.

This ride - the Pinnocchio ride - cures paralysis. Get up and walk! We nicknamed it the "Jesus Ride"

Damn! If only I'd known it was as easy as this, I'd never have wasted all that time thinking.


Obama is… oh who cares?

August 22, 2010

I wrote this while watching CNN, who on the day explored this theme: 20% of Americans think Obama is muslim. Which has forced the White House to release a statement to say that he is christian who “prays every day” and receives a “daily devotional” to guide him as a leader.

So I’m sitting there thinking, who GIVES a fuck? How is it relevant to his job? It’s so disgusting that he has to stand and say that to keep his job. It’s directly related to the big hubbub over his support for the building of a mosque at ground zero. Don’t people here understand the concept of reconciliation yet? Mandela could definitely teach them a thing or two about that.

43% dont’ know what their president’s religion is. About 36% think he’s Christian. More people think he is Muslim now than used to a year go. CNN blamed the (more) conservative media, and made the point that this is very negative for kids to hear – no matter what their religion – to think that being Muslim is not acceptable. They don’t even discuss the option of being atheist. Their news coverage is the storytelling equivalent of a dog chasing its own tale, which may or may not be wagging it. The same thing gets said over and over and over again.

I’m watching this broadcast in a Muslim car audio / alarm installation place. It continues to amaze me how diverse America is, and then how uniform the political and economic establishment seems by contrast. Osama was born a Muslim. But if you’re prepared to believe the equally ridiculous myth of Christianity, you’re allowed to swap, right? That’s supposed to be the whole point of being reborn. You can’t be born into Christianity.

house in orange at night

The flag and the cross guard the doorways of many of the houses in the quiet streets of Old Town Orange, CA. Which is fine, unless they bar entry to some.

Perhaps this clueless conservatism is a result of the fact that, although the US health care system is meant to be crap, Americans are still living way longer than people in most of the world. The dominance of adverts on TV aimed at very old people – ads for supplemental medical aid plans, joint lubrication, heart attack preventions pills, pills to soften or harden your poo, ant-acid and catheters – is noticeable. These products dominate slots that in South Africa would be Nando’s, budget cars, banks looking for new clients and other signs of a young economy. The money is in keeping the nearly dead alive for longer and longer. I’m beginning to suspect that the masses of old people who on the whole tend to resist change and fear it, are voting in a more and more conservative leadership.

As they say on The Wire: “Follow the money.” You’ll find out more than you want to know about the world that way. The money’s in Christianity and old-school values here, and that means a very self-serving “jesus” gets way too much airtime.

*I’m not singling America out. You should have seen how freaked out Swaziland was to discover that their KFC was now finally halaal. To my Muslim readers, have a good holy fast – although I struggle to imagine both believing in a deity and avoiding food during daylight hours, it’s all good, and means… more food for me! To my non-muslim readers, I hope you enjoyed lunch. I had a very cool vegetarian hamburger at Natural Foods in Santa Barbara. Will blog about the hippies I took pictures of there, next.