Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Oklahoma Freethought Convention

The Oklahoma Freethought Convention was held today at All Souls Unitarian Church from noon to 7 pm.  HAT was one of the groups with a table.  The were 318 attendees, perhaps the largest gathering of freethinkers in Oklahoma.  As Kenny said to me today, "Did you ever think when you started this group we would reach this size?"  I had to admit not.

I arrived around 10 am to set up the HAT table.  Herb also arrived about that time.  Set up was easy since I had all my materials in a box.  I attached the banner to the cloth covering the table with duct tape.  Then I spread out the printed material on the cloth.

I collected e-mail addresses from those showing an interest in HAT.  I got 24 names and addresses.

The first speaker was Dr. William Morgan, formerly on the faculty of ORU.  He lost his faith and became agmostic.  He was followed by atheist Abbie Smith, a researcher at the University of Oklahoma.  The last speaker before the break was Seth, the Thinking Atheist.  Actually, The Thinking Atheist is the title of a series of videos on YouTube which he produced.

During the break, I drove down Peoria and had a couple of soft tacos at Taco Bueno.

Returning to the Convention, we heard two more speakers: AronRa and Matt Dillahunty, leader of the Austin Atheists.  I did not stay for the meet and greet.  I had been there for 8½ hours and had reached my fill of freethought talk for one day.

Below is a picture of Herb, our president.

Tabling at the Oklahoma Freethought Convention

Herb (reading paper) and I manned the HAT table today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Copies of copies of copies

The original autograph is lost, of course, rendering the claim of its inerrancy meaningless.  What we have, as biblical scholar Bart Ehrman reminds us, are copies of copies of copies, in which all the mistakes, both accidental and intentional, have been multiplied exponentially over the centuries.  If fact, there are now more known differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

--Robin Meyers

Crucifixion story

Serious study of the Bible reveals that no crucifixion story even existed for at least forty years after Jesus' death, and yet we continue to read the gospel accounts as if they are the work of eyewitnesses and view the crucifixion itself as if it is the unfolding of a divinely ordained drama.

--Robin Meyers

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Robin Meyers quote

Arguing over the metaphysics of Christ only divides us.  But agreeing to follow the essential teachings of Jesus could unite us.  We could become imitators, not believers.

--Robin Meyers

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week in Review

It has been a few days since I last posted anything (other than some pictures).  Going back to Monday, I got together with my duet partner, Gail, who is recuperating from having a cancerous tumor removed by surgery from her left lung.  She was in good spirits and eager to resume playing duets.  We played for an hour and could have gone on longer, but we stopped there.  For the first time, we held our practice at her house.  It was quite enjoyable to get back to playing duets.

We took Luke and Ayle to the Charles Page Library for a program on magic.  The library had hired a magician, and he was quite good.  He performed many illusions.  He did card tricks, coin tricks, and metal ring tricks.  He was smooth.  He certainly fooled my eyes.  After the program was over, we bought Luke and Alya a kit of magic each.  The kit had three tricks in it.  They seemed to like best the one with a sliding tray which seemed to turn one coin into another.

On Thursday we traveled to Springfield to visit my parents.  The AC in the car kept us cool all the way there and back.  Outside the car the temperatures were over 100.  We have had some scorching hot days here in Oklahoma.  While in Springfield, we went to Hoover's Music Store near downtown.  I bought four pieces of piano duet music: "Hoedown at Cripple Creek," "Festival Suite," "Festival Toccata," and "Waltz" from "Three Fantastic Dances" by Shostakovich.

The previous week I received in the mail 4 American Folk Songs (piano duet), which include the songs "Long Time Ago," "Every Night When the Sun Goes Down," "All the Pretty Little Horses," and "Cindy;" Piano Together (piano duet), a collection of five pieces which are: "Alouette," "Scarborough Fair," "Billy Boy," "A Little Rocky," and "The Fountain;" All American Boogie Woogie, a collection of twenty pieces for piano solo all written in boogie woogie style.  I also received Erik Satie, Piano-Album -- a collection of 286 pages of solo piano music written by Erik Satie.

I have been listening (while walking) to a series of lectures titled Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion.  The lectures were recorded by Bill Messenger of the Peabody Institute of Music.  I recently had to buy a new MP3 player after my other MP3 player went through the wash while in a pocket of my cut-off jeans.  The previous player had a 2G capacity.  My new one has 4G capacity, but costs the same as the 2G.  The music I recorded on the old MP3 player is still on it, but the player will not hold a charge for very long.  We transferred the eight lectures on The Teaching Company discs by Messenger to the new MP3 player.

We always eat well while in Springfield.  Dad took us Golden Corral and the next day to Logan's.  We ate high on the hog.  We returned to Oklahoma Friday evening.

Today was Food and Fellowship for July.  There were 11 of us present at Rib Crib for the meal.  I had the catfish dinner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden pictures

Here I am standing next to my tomato plants.  Beneath the plants is a 4 ft. by 4 ft. frame.  It is no longer visible due to the growth of the plants.

In this picture (above) you can see my squash plants in the half-barrel in front of me.  At the rear next to the fence, you can see my cucumber plants.

Here I am examining my topsy-turvy plants.  I have two topsy-turvy plants hanging side by side.

Here is a general overview of my garden.  The topsy-turvy plants can't be seen from this angle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend update

Today at Church of the Restoration we watched another part of the documentary about the Mormons.  Then followed the service which today was led by Mary Rounds.  There were only six in attendance this morning.

I heard on the news that thieves hit another northside (of Tulsa) church, stealing the copper from the AC system.  I figure it is just a matter of time before our church will be a victim of a copper theft.

We had the grandkids after church again today.  Nick and Jen went to a movie and then ate at Panara Bread.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We get rain

It has been dry here, but occasionally we get some rain.  It rained yesterday and again today.    Although the weatherman had said chances of rain were only 20%, we were located in that 20% area.  At times the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled.  It reminded me of James Weldon Johnson's poem The Creation.

After we picked up Ayla, we went to Tulsa and to Incredible Pizza.  First we ate lunch and then Ayla played games.  I like to watch the old TV shows from way back when that are constantly running in the dining area.  I saw an episode of the "Dick Van Dyke Show" and an episode of the "I Love Lucy" program.

The music I ordered from Sheet Music Plus arrived this week.  Among the pieces I ordered is a book of music by Erik Satie, one of my favorite composers.  The book contains dozens of his compositions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Meyers quote

Christianity has become primarily a strategy for "victory," but it is an individual victory over debt, obesity, or low self-esteem, not a collective victory over injustice, poverty, war, or environmental degredation.  Faith has become essentially an individual transaction, and the average image of God is that of a personal trainer.  Much preaching today is framed as an invitation to God to come into our story, but the biblical invitation is radically different.  We are being invited into God's story.

--Robin Meyers

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Reading and From the Mail

I am currently reading a book I downloaded from Amazon to my Kindle.  The title is Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary by Ken Daniels.  The writer is quite sympathetic toward Christianity.  He tried hard to stay with it, but in the end he had to leave the church.  To stay with his religion would have forced him to be hypocritical.  In the foreward, Guy P. Harrison writes "Daniels has retained plenty of sympathy for those who cannot yet see that the supernatural claims of Christianity cannot stand up to honest scrutiny."

This past week I received two courses from The Teaching Company.  The first is on DVD and is titled "Optimizing Brain Fitness."  It is 12 lectures long.  We have viewed the first two already.  The second course is titled "Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion."  This course is made up of 8 CDs, each 45 minutes long.

Today we went to the Humanist Discussion Group, which met at Church of the Restoration.  The meeting started at 1:30 pm.  It was a hot day today.  Brandon was at the church for his monthly computer help.  He help people with their computers, getting rid of viruses and the like.  As he got ready to leave, his car would not start.  I went out to help him.  Even though I was out only a few minutes, the heat was unbearable.  I was soon back in the building.

I suggested that next month we discuss Ray Kurzweil.  According to Kurzweil, knowledge is accelerating exponentially.  He believes that life extention will soon be available for mankind.  I am presently reading Kurzweil's Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.  He believes that we will conquer diseases, which will aid a lot in the extention of human life.  Of course, there will still be car accidents and other mishaps to cut short lives.

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer deserves to be remembered as the greatest Christian of the twentieth century, yet he did not believe in literal miracles - the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection, or the second coming, just to name a few.  All he did was to walk away from everything the world calls good to follow Jesus.

--Robin Meyers

Friday, July 08, 2011

Christianity as a belief system...

Christianity as a belief system requires nothing but acquiescence.  Christianity as a way of life, as a path to follow, requires a second birth, the conquest of ego, and new eyes with which to see the world.  It is no wonder that we have preferred to be saved.

--Robin Meyers

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The heat is on

There is only one good thing about this Oklahoma heat, and that is it kills the grass. I guess you can look at that two ways. I am thankful that I do not have to get out and mow the stuff. Just as we broke records for cold weather last winter, we are now breaking records for hot weather.

We kept Luke and Ayla from overnight until about 4 this afternoon. We discovered that there is a video that they love. It is titled School House Rock. I think we watched it a half dozen times while they were here. It has some catchy tunes.

Those two kids require a lot of attention; therefore, I did not do much else today. After we returned them to their parents, I did manage to go for a short walk (two miles) on the Katy Trail.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Meyers quote

Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines. Consider this: there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do. It is a behavioral manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe!

--Robin Meyers

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Meyers quote

"In my part of the world (Oklahoma is the reddest state in the union), there is actually a positive correlation between high church attendance and negative social statistics like teen pregnancy, divorce, physical and sexual abuse, and chemical dependency. Where there is denial there is dysfunction, and the more one's faith resembles a fairy tale the sooner the clock strikes midnight."

--Robin Meyers

Monday, July 04, 2011

Another Meyers quote

"A whole generation has been asked to accept a false dichotomy. Either you believe that Jesus is God or you don't -- therefore either you are a Christian or you're not."

--Robin Meyers

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Video recommendation

I watched a video tonight that I would recommend to my friends. The video is biographical; it is titled Transcendent Man: The Life and Times of Ray Kurzweil. It is so rich in ideas that I would like to view it again. Anyone who would like to gain immortality (the real kind by not dying) should see this video. It runs for 84 minutes.

Meyers quotation

I recently finished reading a book (on my Kindle) by Robin Meyers, pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City. The title of the book is Saving Jesus from the Church. Here is a quote from the book:

In the end, what right do human beings have to expect eternal bliss for being good -- or on the cheap, for just believing the right things? And what single idea is more shameful or horrific than to project our human longing for vengeance upon God by claiming that in God's infinite mercy God has made and maintains a place of eternal torment? It is no wonder that so many good people avoid the word "Christian" like the plague.

Friday, July 01, 2011

July 2011 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., July 2, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E 54th

Sun., July 3, 11:00 am
Humanist Sunday; Church of the Restoration (COTR), 1314 N. Greenwood Ave.
Dan Nerren will speak on “Horror Stories from the Bible, part 4.”

Tues., July 5, 5:00 pm
Sapulpa Fellowship of Reality, General Meeting, Java Dave’s in Sapulpa, 122 W. Taft

Wed., July 6, 5 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 9, 12:30 pm
OutREACH Tabling, 1101 S. Sandusky

Sat., July 9, 1:30 pm
Humanist Discussion Group, COTR, 1314 N. Greenwood

Wed., July 13, 7:00 pm
ACT Mid-Month Social Dinner at Fuji at Brookside

Wed., July 13, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 16, 2:00 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting, Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard

Sun., July 17, 2:00 pm
GodLessons (Bible Babble), Residence at 8017 S. Peach, BA

Wed., July 20, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 23, 8:00 pm
Drinking with Atheists, Blue Rose Café, 1924 Riverside Dr.

Sat., July 23, 11:30 am
Food and Fellowship, Rib Crib, 5025 S. Sheridan Rd.

Sun., July 24, 1:00 pm
ACT Meeting, Agora Coffeehouse, in center of Fontana Center

Sun., July 24, 3:00m
Dream Group at Marilyn Clarke’s, 4917 S. Maplewood

Sun., July 24, 3:15 pm
Post Meetup Social Gathering, Rib Crib, 5025 S. Sheridan Rd.

Wed., July 27, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK
Prepared and distributed by Dan Nerren, 918-798-3629

Mall walk

As I was typing content for my blog entry for tonight (7.29.11), a message came upon the screen saying that my content might not be saved. Sure enough, it evaporated. So now I will type my blog content into MS Word and post it later when Blogger is working correctly.

Today we picked up Luke and went to Promenade Mall in Tulsa. We first went to the Food Court where Luke got a kid’s meal at Subway. I got a chicken and rice meal at a Chinese restaurant. J ate pizza.

Next J and Luke went to the play area for children, while I started the volkswalk located inside the mall -- three laps on the upper lever and three laps on the lower level. That is supposed to equal 5 kilometers. I need two more walks and my event book will be ready to mail in.

It was blistering hot as we left the mall in the afternoon. We soon got into our car and turned to A/C to max. We drove back to Sand Springs and returned Luke to his parents. We got back to the house around 3 pm. The walk combined with the heat had me spent, so I took a nap.

In the evening, I went out and watered my garden. The tomato plants are growing like crazy, especially the three planted in the ground. The two topsy-turvy plants are growing, but not like the three planted in the ground. They have grown up through and out of the support inside the 4 X 4 area.

We are supposed to entertain Luke again tomorrow. I guess I had better get to bed now.