Yesterday’s snail mail brought a survey sent to me by the director of a political science department in a mid-west college. The letter said my name had been randomly chosen out of a pool of names of politically active people who were expressing their religious views.The survey was several pages thick, and I doubt I could have fitted it into the standard letter-size return envelop, if I had completed it. After the first two pages, I gave up. Most of the multiple choice answers I simply could not answer. Although I might be mistaken, it seemed the questions were designed by the religious right. In all events, it did not seem the questions were designed by someone or someones who had moved past religion (Christianity, it seemed pretty obvious) into direct experience with God.
I wrote back by hand on the back of the cover letter my sentiments about the difference between religion and God, which formed as the result of my having experiences with the hand of God day and night for over two decades. I said I feel Christianity is the anti-Christ because it claims Jesus as its head but, in the main, does not live as he lived and told other people to live. I said the people who started our country meant to separate religion from state, but not God from state, evidenced by the Declaration of Independence, which begins with a reference to God, and makes several other references, none of which are in Christian terms. I concluded by saying I see no help for America in surveys and religion, and I feel it will take a massive intervention, perhaps much more massive than the intervention Jesus represented, to help America. I included my phone number and a goodmorningkeywest.com “business card,” on the back of which I said the home page gives some indication of what my runs for office and experiences with God have been like.
I spoke with Sandy Downs a while yesterday. She has been trying to work with Major Tommy Taylor about helping inmates. Among other things, she wants to donate money to start a library of books detainees will not likely otherwise have a chance to read. She said she spoke with Tommy about my coming into the jail and doing groups with inmates. He expressed interest in inmates getting spiritual help, but said there were a lot of hoops to jump through. What hoops?, I asked Sandy. I will not charge money. All I need is a room with chairs and inmates. No, I cannot provide a course outline, because the inmates will lead. Those who wish to speak will set the course. Those who wish to remain silent, don’t have to speak. They can leave whenever they wish. They can stay as long as they like. I will respond to what they provide. They will be pushed to their limits. It will be very hard. Very hard. And there will beauty. I’ve done this before with inmates, and in other groups. The Spirit leads, the group and I follow. I told Sandy I will need about an hour with Tommy, to explain what it will be like in the group.
For those who might be wondering, I bought a Sony laptop yesterday at Radio Shack, which cost a little less than what I’d been told in a dream the night before to spend replacing the stolen laptop. I then spent much of the rest of the day downloading updates and a virus scan from the Internet. Fortunately, McAfee allowed me to transfer my virus protection from the stolen laptop to the Sony, which seems to be a better machine than the one I lost. I told Onett Johnson, who, with his wife, Penny, owns Sippin’ Internet Café, that I almost would have paid what the new laptop cost, to keep the old one. But for Onett, a bona fide computer wizard, I’d still be trying to figure out the downloads and updates.
My dog memorabilia street vendor friend and political instigator just came in Sippin’ and asked if I was writing on a new laptop, or did I get the other one back? When I said the new laptop, he asked if I had named it yet? I said I didn’t even name the other one, then I thought, said, maybe I should name this one. How ‘bout “Sippin?” Yeah, how ‘bout Sippin.
Sloan Bashinsky, New Year’s Eve, 2008