Grocery Shopping With Atheists

Grocery CartI would call it a holy time, but that would be wrong… very wrong.

See, there is this moment each weekend when it is glorious to go grocery shopping. There are barely any crowds, the shelves are fully stocked, the workers are hanging around and very willing to help, and you feel like you are the center of the store. This wondrous time is Sunday morning when all of the good people are at church.

I would not call me or my fellow Sunday morning shoppers rebels. We are not the cool kids who were smoking on the corner in high school. If anything we are smart scavengers, taking an opportunity in front of us while others have their backs turned.

When I try to imagine who we are Biblically I always immediately think of the masses who when Moses was up on the Mount Sinai decided to throw a wild party and then built a golden calf. (And, to be honest, after all those people had to go through didn’t they deserve at least a little party?)

We are more sophisticated now, of course. We are all listening to our iPhones, buying fresh fruit, and enjoying the casual attire that not attending church allows us. Sundays for me is about wearing hoodies not ties. And the great thing about a hoodie is I can hide my face if I need to, because I do feel a bit of guilt each time I see a family in smart clothes on their way to a service.

I always tell myself that they aren’t judging me, and I have no reason to feel this way, but I still do and I avert my eyes accordingly.

I’m sorry about the golden calf. I’ll just put it over here. It won’t bother you. I like the tie, by the way.

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Why The Littlest Angel is the worst holiday story… ever

The First Cover for the "classic"When The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell was published in 1946 it was a holiday phenomenon. This “classic” story has since been published numerous times (with many different illustrated versions); made into movies (cartoon, musical, and live action); and in the list of best-selling children stories of all time (!) it comes up in the top 20. 

Heck, even holiday crooner Bing Crosby sang a song based on the plot of it! 

I remember the first time I heard this story. It was at catechism. and the teacher read it to us as if she was bestowing a great holiday gift on us children. I can still see her smile. While the other kids casually sat near me with crossed legs, I remember really being bothered by the story. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but that reaction to the tale has never gone away for me. And that day, I raised my hand for I had some questions.

My hand is still up in the air.

The fact is, after thinking about it far too much, and being haunted by it like Marley’s ghost each year, I can’t escape my problems with this narrative. I have come to the opinion that this Christmas traditional yarn is… just awful. Horrendous. Possibly the worst holiday story. Oh, God, it is just bad.

Okay, it takes a lot for a story to be a worst holiday yarn than the appalling song “The Christmas Shoes” (which for those lucky not to know is the materialistic and disturbing ditty about an ignorant child who leaves his dying mother’s bedside to go shopping, assuming that the shoes he puts on her feet will go with her soul to heaven and there impress Jesus), but The Littlest Angel does it. It does it ten times over.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie, snuggle in by the fireplace, and let me tell you why… Continue reading

Halloween, In Spirit

I don’t believe in magic.

I also don’t believe in witches, ghosts, wizards, dragons, unicorns, demons, devils, poltergeists, vampires, werewolves and anything else that might go bump in the night.

And, for those curious, I don’t believe in angels either.

None of these things exist (or could exist) in the world I see around me every day. And if any of these things really were real, there is no way it would be a secret to all of us. If there is one great truth about human beings, from the North Pole to the South, it is that we are all lousy at keeping a secret. Remember, even Deep Throat said who he was before he died, and that was a secret kept by only three people!

Frankly, we would all know about Hogwarts.

I wish I could see a ghost.

Why?

Because I would find the experience incredibly satisfying. Continue reading