Thursday September 6, 2001

I was reaching over to try to clean up the semen and I knocked my clock radio on the floor and it suddenly turned on the radio. I usually turn if off right away when this happens but I heard a voice coming from the little plastic box (that I got when I opened my first checking account here in SF) that made me lay back and put my head on my pillow and just stare at the red numbers.

Dr. Charles Stanley had me agape. What occurred to me as I listened to this excellent sermon on How To Handle Those Who Hurt You was how much the behavior he was describing was like what I experienced last week at Burning Man. That warm fuzzy. That unconditional love was such a powerful force out there in the desert that the very moment I started to sway under it, I checked myself. With it came a mild unease. Like something inside of me was telling me to run. I think it was my "cult alarm" going off. Reading the signs coming into camp (get over yourself, no spectators, pick up your counterculture utopian rhetoric guide at the gate) was a little like the orientation at Bible camp: "Here we offer love. If you refuse, you will be branded an evil troublemaker. We have not made up the rules. We only follow them."

As Dr. Stanley read "But I say unto you, that whosoever",-- the very words of Jesus -- I heard an echo in my head of William S. Burroughs' soggy recitation of The Sermon on the Mount from "Dead City Radio" and was comforted and conflicted. His was the voice of the devil. At the end you hear the old codger muttering: "Of course it's absolute, it's biological suicide. It's absolute madness, no, it's just ridiculous."

38 seconds into this RealAudio you hear, "Now, it's not easy to love an enemy, but it is possible, if we have the right attitude."

10 seconds into "Love Your Enemies", Mr. Burroughs says, "It isn't easy to love an enemy, as this goes against your most basic survival instinct. But it can be done, and, turned to an advantage."

And that, (thank you Bill), is the question of morality. What is our nature? And should we follow it or try to overcome our nature with willpower? Is there a Golden Rule encoded in our genes? I've got to know, can both Dr. Stanley and Dr. Benway be right? Is there an element of what Jesus says that is part of our nature? Because knowing what I know about emotions tells me that there must be. Namely, that humans are not moved by ideas, as much as we would like to believe. 90% of what moves us is playing on survival mechanisms developed early in evolution. I'm talking before there were even humans. My clock radio had pulled me into a morning reverie.

The sermon ended and the "DJ" came on to talk about what was coming up. This is part of a 5 part series. Other subjects include:

If it itches, but I don't scratch it, is it God?
How can there be Evil when there is so much god?
Straightening out the money crunch.
Why do good things happen to bad people?
What does God say when I pray? I can't hear him.

Right now there's some (undoubtedly fat and sweaty) southerner blathering on about the wrath of god and the wickedness of man. He has showmanship, yes, the ability to make one's heart race with his very words, but I hate him and long for the simpler teachings of Dr. Stanley. He's my Christianity. Whops, did I say hate? I meant, he's aesthetically unappealing to me.

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