Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Some years ago when we both still believed that such things were possible my best friend decided that god had a plan that involved both of us. He informed me that he thought we were supposed to start a church together. Now, at the time it would have made some amount of sense for us to start a church in Illinois or something, since we were, you know, in Illinois. But his theory had nothing to do with Illinois. It was, in fact, to happen in a deeply unexpected place: Dallas, Texas. He reminded me of this recently. See, he moved down to Dallas a couple years ago and it was starting to look like I was about to join him. I’d almost totally forgotten about the plan and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t put a lot of thought in to it recently. When he brought it up it was a joke in a text. He has no more urge to start a church than I do. Still, it’s food for thought, right? Perhaps this is one of those cosmic nudges from god to remind my friend and I to get back on track, go back to those plans to do our long ignored Christian duty. I mean, there’s just too much coincidence in this, isn’t there? Let’s look at the back story. Back when I was still at WIU I was planning to go to Seminary after I finished my undergrad. My short list of Seminaries at the time consisted of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Phoenix Seminary, and Dallas Theological Seminary. My buddy, meanwhile, had family down in Dallas and wasn’t a big fan of staying in Chicago/Illinois, so he was considering moving somewhere else and Dallas seemed like as good a place as any to him. Basically. There’s more to the story than that, but I don’t really remember all the details. Dallas Theological was at the top of my short list, since one of my favorite pastors had gone there and, um, that seemed like a good thing. This, by the way, is one of the real dangers of evangelical Christianity. There’s no freaking way I would have considered DTS if I had been aware of one simple fact: it’s pretty much the epicenter of premillennal dispensationalism. But as long as it was the school of someone I respected I thought it was a good school, period, and didn’t really do that much research. Once I discovered this DTS was out the window and Phoenix became my number one because I’d wanted to move to Phoenix since high school and that seemed like a good way of doing things. Then I discovered that I’d have to sign off on a statement of belief that included a Biblically literal stance. Phoenix was out the window, leaving Trinity up in Deerfield. I applied, was accepted, and even got offered a scholarship. That church in Dallas was pretty much out the window. Especially when we both gave up on the idea of religion. So I looked for a job out in the real world. I ended up getting a job at a company that has a partnership with a company down in Dallas and partial ownership of another company down in Dallas. The possibility of having to take occasional trips down there came up and I thought, “Sweet. I’m going to get to go see my buddy on the company’s dime.” And yet through a strange series of coincidences, I’m on my way to moving to Dallas. I see absolutely no agency in that, however. The series of nudges and connections that would have been necessary to get me where I am right now could easily be told as a plot by a deity with nothing better to do, but, really, it makes more sense as a series of interrelated but not causally interrelated events. The main issue is that I have had agency in all of this. In short, I chose to accept my current job. When I found out my job is moving to Dallas I chose to consider going with it. I have now chosen to accept it. And the only way that I’m going to start a church with my buddy is if we go with the joke church I came up with. It’d be a for-profit* worship- and clothing-optional church with a cash bar. So, um, it’d basically be a bar. Or possibly a strip club. I’m not sure what the rules are in having a business where the clientele take their clothes off. Someone look in to that for me, ‘k? Of course there’s a huge problem with that plan. I mean, other than the liquor license. I’ll let Bill Simmons explain it: The thing about European-style pools is that most of the uninhibited women who go topless are usually the people you’d never want to see topless…like this lady, who looked like one of the Wild Samoans from the WWWF, only with 75DDDDDDDDDDDs. Those breasts are burned in my brain forever. And not by my choice.** I guess that church idea is out the window. Crud. Either way, as I’ve mentioned, the issue here is one of agency. It’s always dangerous to choose. It’s always dangerous to be at fault for your own decisions. If this whole Dallas thing doesn’t work out for me it would be really nice to be able to say, “Well, it wasn’t my fault.” So on some level it’s much better to be able to spin a tale about how god put me in the position I’m in now and guided the people in my company to start their changes to the org chart. That way no matter what happens I can say, “It’s all for the best, since it’s all part of the plan.” But I don’t believe in a plan. I’m going to Dallas because I I’ve considered my options and today it looks like the best thing I can do for myself. If it turns out in six months that I was wrong then I’ll have to consider my options. For right now this is what I’ll do. It would be easier if there was some sort of agent handling all those decisions for me. But there isn’t one. So I guess I’ll just have to trust my instincts and my decision-making skills. Scary, I know… -------------------- *Of course most churches secretly are… **It’s a known fact that sex sells. I have a corollary, however. Nudity is a commodity. One of those things I’ve noticed is that the people most likely to prance around in very little clothing are the people who should really be wearing a snowsuit in all weather. The people we’re all hoping will take their clothes off and wander in front of some cameras, meanwhile, tend to not do so. Seems to me that there’s a really good reason for that… Oh, also, I just finished Simmons’ massive tome known as The Book of Basketball. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in basketball and likes Simmons’ style. It’s 700 pages and tends to devolve in to some really random stuff, but I consider that a plus.