Life According to Me: General Update

Sunday, November 22, 2009

     I'm actually not even certain as to where to start with this post, so I'll just jump right in.  Life has been busy.  For those of you that actually read this site, and know me on a personal level, you know that I have a left knee that has been "angry" for the last 18 months.  The first surgery came and went, with the doctor simply removing most of my medial meniscus and sending me on my way.  That procedure was obviously not the "fix" I needed, because I was back a few months later complaining of even more pain and an inability to train for cycling.  
     My new doctor (we'll call him Dr. G) was more than happy to do whatever he could in order to get me back on the bike and feeling happy and living pain free.  Within about a month of seeing him, surgery #2 was scheduled, and the road to recovery was started--again.  The first few weeks post-op were great, but soon the pain returned, the knee continued to lock, and now, more than ever, I actually felt the inside grinding itself away.  This was not good.  I was soon sent to see a pain specialist to help get my pain levels under control, but this too has proved to be a challenge.  Meanwhile, Dr. G injected me with some great stuff called Synvisc, which was designed to fill in the void within the joint, help calm down the inflammation, and "oil" the surfaces to promote a fluid motion.  This worked for about a month.  I was then in even more pain, and was no longer capable of living my active lifestyle.  Each day since, has been spent in pain and discomfort.  Some days, I am barely able to walk up the stairs to my bedroom at night--good days and bad days are never predictable.  During a follow up visit, Dr. G informed me that he and his friend, Dr. V, had been discussing my issues and that he wanted me to go visit Dr. V and hear what he had to say.  Onward I went.
     After reviewing my files and current films, Dr. V. felt as if another surgery would benefit me a great deal.  The only question: What type of surgery?  To answer this, he needed to take a few more scans and review my chart for a couple of days to be certain.  And so, I had standing and regular scans taken from the hip down in order for Dr. V. to understand my knee alignment, among other things.  Finally, after about a week, he gave me a call to discuss my options.  Dr. V. felt that he could help to fix the majority of my problem through a few procedures, all totaling a roughly 4.5 hour surgery. 1) Femoral Micro Fracture-- they would basically drill holes in the bottom of my femur to encourage blood supply and help cartilage growth.  2)  Cell harvest-- harvest cartilage cells so that the next time I need surgery they can implant my own cartilage that has been grown in a lab.  3)  General debris removal-- clean out the joint.  4)  Meniscus transplant-- from a cadaver donor they will take a meniscus that matches my measurements the closest and transplant it into my medial compartment.  Talk about a "to do" list.  I thought this sounded like a plan, and gave him the go ahead.  By the next day, I was on the transplant list and all I could do was wait.
     One month later, the unthinkable occurred--a phone call.  My donor was available, I needed to plan a surgery date.  What the hell?  I thought this was going to take 4 months before I would probably get one, I haven't even been thinking about this.  Turns out, someone that fit me better than the other 4 people on the list came up... it was go time.  I agreed to accept the meniscus and frantically started trying to clear my schedule.  Now, here I am, just a few weeks later, and weeks before surgery.
     My surgery date is slotted for December 9.  This will be surgery #3 for this one injury, but surgery #11 overall.  The odd thing... I am somewhat nervous going into this one, but was rarely nervous for any other procedures.  According to Dr. V., I will not be allowed to walk for roughly 8 weeks after surgery.  On top of that, I will be in PT for approximately 10 months.  It will be 3 months before I regain anywhere close to full motion, and it will be 6 months before my muscles in my left leg are as strong as they are today.  Wow.  Talk about a long road.  Regardless of the pain, time, effort, and work involved--I'm up for it.  I'm willing to do anything in order to get my active lifestyle back. I miss it dearly.  It's actually sad when I think about it, my girlfriend has never known me to have a good knee.  To me, that is just crazy.  She has no idea who the "old" me is (or was).  I was the hiking, climbing, running, cycling, former athlete.  I was the cyclist with a competitive future and records to break.  Now I'm just a regular worker, an aspiring writer, a reader of tons of books, and a guy that looks at his bike when he wakes up and before he goes to sleep.  Quite the contrast.
     All of this being said, I have to admit, had it not been for this injury I probably would not have been reading as much as I have, nor writing.  I can't begin to describe how much of an impact my reading and writing has had on my life in the last 1.5 years.  Sure, I still want to break some of those cycling records; but, I also want to complete a novel and have it published.  I want to touch the lives of others, just as the authors I've been reading have impacted my own.  It all sounds cliche, but it's the truth.  Words are wisdom (it's what I say) and I hope to be able to share my thoughts with readers of my own, possibly inspiring them to do the same.  Truth be told, with these numerous weeks of not being able to walk, in my immediate future, I'm going to get a lot of reading and writing done.

I'll keep you all posted.  Thanks for being my readers.

Words are Wisdom.


The Running of LeRoy Baker: The Explanation

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Donald Baker's Cabin
Peaks County, Colorado
November 20th

After taking a few steps, LeRoy glances into the living room, which is illuminated by the flickering light of the TV, to get a better view of Donald.  Instead, LeRoy sees the faint light of a dying fire creeping up the wall behind an empty leather chair.  Donald, is not in the room.

"Where'd 'n hell he go?" LeRoy thinks.

LeRoy sees movement on the floor by the chair, as Rocky paws his way to the back wall of the living room.  The door is ajar.

"Must be fetchin' wood out back." LeRoy assures himself.
"Gettin' pretty cold anyhow." LeRoy begins to shiver.

LeRoy's mind ponders over the best way to go about confronting his brother.  Donald has always been a little jumpy, especially at night, so LeRoy figures it is best to quietly approach the house and knock on the door--only after making certain that Donald is alone.  LeRoy has an air of confidence about him after successfully approaching the house without alerting anyone, but he needs to be careful.  Had LeRoy found evidence of someone else lurking nearby, he would have backtracked and never returned.  On the other hand, should Donald have been entertaining a known guest, LeRoy would simply have waited it out--no matter the cold.  Feeling fairly certain that Donald is, not only alone, but in the back yard collecting another pile of wood, LeRoy hastens his steps for the final distance to the front porch.

"I swear, if ya move one more inch, I'm gonna scatter ya head all across this porch."  Says the voice behind LeRoy, as the barrel digs its way into the skin of his neck.

"Truth is, nobody probably gonna hear the gun go off, no how, we're all alone up here."  LeRoy can't help but to notice a slight hint of pleasure the speaker has in saying this.

"Look..." LeRoy begins to say, before being interrupted.

"No sir, you don't talk.  I'm the one gonna be doin' talkin'!"

"Donald... It's me, LeRoy."

"LeRoy?" Donald's voice becomes strained with confusion.
"LeRoy, what are you..."

"Donald, shutup.  And if ya don't mind, stop pointin' that thing at my head!" LeRoy demands in a stern, but low volumed, tone.  Donald lowers the shotgun, and LeRoy turns to face his brother.

"LeRoy, what are ya doin' here?  What's goin' on?  Aren't you supposed to be..."

"We need to be gettin' inside, Donald.  I'll explain everything then.  We just need to be gettin' inside before somebody sees us." LeRoy says in haste.

"But.. LeRoy, we're..."

"I know, just trust me.  I'll tell ya as much as I can once we get inside, but no more talking out here." LeRoy begs.

Donald nods and motions for LeRoy to follow him around to the back of the house.  The front door is locked.  Silently, they ease their way through the maze of darkness to the back door.  Once inside, the blinds are drawn and the doors bolted.  The two men stair at one another, not sure who should speak first.  Snow begins to fall on the ranch, as a blanket of uncertainty covers the mood inside of Donald Baker's home.

"Donald, I think you need take a seat." LeRoy hints.

"I reckon I do," Donald replies, "because last time I checked, ya shoulda been sittin' in a cell at the Supermax in Florence."
"You aren't up for release for another 5 years... how'd 'n the hell ya make it a hundred and seventy miles from there, to here?" Donald glares at his younger brother.

"Bro, I know it's been a long while, " LeRoy's eyes begin to water, "but I really need your help."
"You gotta understand, though..." LeRoy pauses and looks past Donald searching for an explanation that will make sense.
"You gotta... This thing is deep, Don.  This thing is real deep and real scary."

"LeRoy..." Donald also pauses, trying desperately to choose his next words cafefully.
"...I'm here for ya, LeRoy.  I know we haven't talked since ya messed up and went to prison a few years back, but I'm here for my brother.  You just gotta be honest with me and not keep no secrets."

LeRoy nods in an uneasy manner, but agreeing none the less.

"Now tell me, how'd ya get out of supermax years before ya even be up for parole?" Donald's voice sounds shaky, perhaps worried of the answer.

"It's a long story, bro..."

"I've got time, LeRoy.  What are ya doin' out of the ADX?"  Donald, pours two tumblers full of scotch as he searches for answers.

"Don, maybe if you'd at least written, you'd know I wasn't in with the tough boys."  LeRoy's voice conveys in anger.
"I was in the minimum security tract.  The Unabomber wasn't my cell neighbor.  I was locked up around guys busted for fraud just like me."
"Gettin' out wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done.  I'll save you some time and just reassure you that I didn't kill anyone to get out, I just tricked 'em."

"LeRoy," Donald shakes his head in disbelief, "you always was a con man."

"Donald..." LeRoy's face looks to be more serious.
"had I not walked out of there, I'd probably be a dead man today."

"What are ya talkin' 'bout?"

"Just like I said, bro.  I caught wind of something while I was in there."  LeRoy's face begins to lose color.
"The guy that told me about it had been transferred from a prison down in Mississippi, Parchman--some place like a farm.  Three days ago he was found hanged in his cell.  He wasn't the suicide type... if ya dig what I'm gettin' at."

LeRoy becomes solemn and looks at his brother with worry.

"Don, I knew if I didn't get out of there I would be next."

"Well, I don't know 'bout all that LeRoy, but..."

"Don," LeRoy interrupts, "don't you find it a little odd that the news ain't talking about a prison escape?"

"Why would the cops not be lookin' for ya?  Maybe the news ain't heard about it yet?" Donald asks in a hopefull manner.

"Don, they don't need to be looking for me.  They got someone out hunting me.  They want to find me and shut me up for good, before I have time to tell others.  He almost saw me last night, until I slipped in the woods near the pass."

"What kind of guy they got after ya?" asks Donald.
"And what exactly do ya know, anyhow?"

"I need to keep the knowin' to myself, for now, bro.  He's some paramilitary guy.  Cold.  Calculative.  Military skills but not the looks.  It's just strange.  Saw him at a truck stop below the pass.  It was definately him.  Seemed to just be looking around, not talking to anyone, though.  Hunting."

"cal-u-tat... a para what?" Donald stutters.
"LeRoy, I know you are the smart one, the college kid and all, but what are you telling me?"

"Bro, this guy is a pro.  He takes care of other people's problems."
LeRoy takes a finishing swig of his three fingers of scotch.
"I'm someone's problem."

Sensing the stress, Donald hands LeRoy what is left of his scotch.  LeRoy is quick to deposit the drink in the company of his own.  The stress is still there, just blurry and numb, for now.

Down the road, the hustle and bustle of swanky living continues in Juniper Grove, as locals celebrate the first snow storm of the season.  The slow lifestyle of the small town of Rockpoint continues, as usual, unbeknownst to the happenings up the hill at Donald Baker's ranch.  Outside, the snow continues to fall over the scape of uncertainty that has surrounded the once quiet way of life in Peaks County, Colorado.  Within a few minutes, blizzard conditions ensue and cover up any trace of footsteps around the Baker property.  Planted in curiosity, the black boots of Peaks County Sheriff, John Maxwell, become white--and the remaining trace of his presence at the top of Donald Baker's driveway soon covered in snow.

As the storm intensifies, Donald and LeRoy fall in and out of sleep--the fire soon dies, leaving the room lit only by a flickering TV.  The fading footsteps of Sheriff Maxwell lead to an SUV parked at the front gate of the Baker ranch. Quietly, the sheriff puts his Tahoe into neutral, allowing the vehicle to roll several yards away from the gate before starting the engine and blindly driving back towards the town of Rockpoint.  Morning will surely hold more questions, as a body awaits discovery outside of Juniper Grove.

The Running of LeRoy Baker: The Encounter

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Donald Baker's Cabin
Peaks County, Colorado
November 20th

The wind wove its way through the Aspen trees, carefully tracing its steps in a delicate dance among the base of each member of the grove.  What was left of the fall confetti stirred in unison with the invisible sweeper, the noise just loud enough to cover the footsteps hiding in the shadows.  A flicker of white and blue light pierced the darkness from the windows of the house, as Donald Baker sat alone in his living room watching re-runs of his favorite show. Meanwhile, the shadow of LeRoy Baker navigated the darkness, like a moth seeking a flickering candle.  Each step, bringing him closer to a possible life altering, or ending, moment in time.

As the wind began to die down, LeRoy felt a worrisome undertone cover his body. No longer having the stirring of leaves to mask his surgical footsteps, LeRoy might as well be ringing a bell to announce his arrival.  Donald, also takes notice of the changing weather.  Rising from his well worn leather chair, Donald makes his way to the living room window, casting a glance above the trees--searching for the approaching storm.  LeRoy quickly notices the silhouette of his older, estranged, brother in the window.

"Christ," LeRoy thinks to himself.
"He's seen me."

"Could be our first winter storm." Donald says to his dog, Rocky.
"God knows this temperature has been falling all night."

The weather is unseasonably warm for this time of year in Peaks County, Colorado.  Typically, every inch of ground is covered by a foot of snow by now.  Just another twenty more miles down the highway sits one of the most famous ski towns in the country, Juniper Grove--its slopes remain thirsty for the white stuff.  There has even been talk that the opening day of ski season might be pushed back, but a strong winter storm could change everything.  Donald Baker's place is no different, but time has taught him well.  When winter holds off from painting the hills white in November, it usually means a storm will take care of a dry month in only a matter of days.  The week, just as the month, has been fairly warm--until now.  The temperature is quickly dropping from the sixties into the low thirties.  A storm is surely on the way.

Donald Baker's house sits in an aspen grove.  The front of the house faces the majority of the grove, and located just beyond is a sprawling field for horses and cattle.  Though Donald owns neither, he rents the land out for grazing.  The rear of the house has enough room for a stock pile of fire wood and a large area for a prized garden.  The tall, wire, fence helps to keep the wildlife from robbing Donald of his hard labor.  Just beyond the fence, a large sloping hill works its way up to the main gate and road.  The house is perfectly hidden from view.  Should curious eyes peer down onto the property from the road, not a single square foot of the log home can be seen.  Donald enjoys his privacy, but holds nothing against the public.  He worked hard and saved his money, built the house with his own hands, and now, spends his time enjoying the land and quiet.  Little does Donald know, LeRoy will soon interrupt his quiet way of life--and it may never be the same.

As LeRoy eases his way to the edge of the grove, he is a mere twenty yards from the front porch.  He's not being quiet out of fear of his brother, he is worried for much worse reasons. Granted, he and his brother didn't leave things on the best of terms, but this is the furthest from his mind.  Slowly, LeRoy concentrates as he takes his first careful step on the gravel drive way.  Looking down at his feet, planning his next step, LeRoy does not notice his brother step out the back door to fetch more fire wood.

Occasionally, Donald loses track of the dying fire--tonight is no different.  Though he's comfortable, Donald would rather stir from his seat now, instead of during the coming blizzard.  As he rises from his chair he catches a movement out of the corner of his eye--something is in the trees. Pausing to look a little harder, Donald catches movement again.  Whatever is moving in the trees appears to be tall. He watches for roughly another minute, and without seeing anything, walks towards the back door to retrieve more fire wood--probably just a deer.  At night, and due to the bear presence in the mountains, Donald takes his 12 ga. shotgun outside with him.  While walking towards the woodpile, Donald pauses and hears something in the driveway--something, walking methodically.  Curious, Donald begins to ease around the house. Though most likely a bear, Donald lives alone and miles from anyone, he'd rather just make sure.

The barrel is cold when pressed to the bare skin on the back of LeRoy's neck.  Even more cold, to the point of bone chilling, is the sound of the safety being clicked off. LeRoy stops in his tracks, and must remind himself to breathe.

Meth Heads & Magazine Sales

Friday, October 30, 2009

Canton, MS
Wednesday, March 2006
8:30 PM

Sitting in my living room, while watching TV, the knock on the front door goes unnoticed.  I've had a long day of running some private soccer sessions and my own training ride for cycling.  The knock comes again, and this time I pay attention.

"Just a second!" I shout while trying to peel myself from my chair.

Knocking again...

"Give me just a second!" I command.  This time I am in the process of holstering my .45 caliber Glock pistol.  I'm not doing this out of fear, but out of habit.  I don't go anywhere without my gun, especially to my door at night.

As I get to the door I take a quick look through the "peep" hole to see who is knocking at such a random hour in the middle of the week.  It looks a lot like my neighbor, Rex, with his hat pulled low.  Rex is a good guy, normal, easy to get along with, and someone I chat with on a regular basis in front of our doors.

"Hey, what's up Rex?" I ask, while opening the door.
"Hey man, I'm not Rex, but I was curious if you want to buy some magazines?" Says the stranger standing before me.

At 8:30 on a Wednesday night, this guy is not selling magazines, nor is he dressed for the occasion.  Standing before me is a young white male, wearing ripped jeans, a t-shirt that appears to have been washed sometime in the last two weeks, a stained hat, and filthy shoes.  When he smiles, I am quick to notice the burned out section between his top two teeth. As he does his best to avoid eye contact, moving his head side to side, I notice the sores on his face.  And while he continually scratches at his neck, I notice the burns on his fingers.

I'm thinking this guy is a meth head, everything adds up.

"Like I said, man, you want some magazines or not?" He says in a jittery tone.

"I'm sorry.  I'm just not interested.  I appreciate you..."

"What the hell dude?  You are just cutting me off before I even have a chance to tell you what I'm selling.  What's your deal man? Just give me some cash and I'll get you some magazines."  He's angry now.

Since first opening the door, and not being able to get it open fully before discovering this was not Rex, my foot has been positioned behind the edge of the door--leaving only the left side of my body exposed.  As the conversation turns more irate, I unholster my weapon and maintain it on my right side.

"Look man," I say in a stern manner.  "I'm really not interested.  I appreciate you coming by, but I think it's time for you to leave."

As I begin to close my door, the meth head steps forward and puts his hand against the door.

"Maybe instead of me leaving you can shut the hell up and listen to what I have to say."  He's more than irate at this point.

"I'm not going to ask you again," I say, while placing the muzzle of my Glock against the door at chest height. "You need to turn around and walk away, or I will be calling the Sheriff's department."

Just beyond the inch and a half of wood in my front door, and the muzzle of my pistol, beats a jittery heart of a meth addict.  My finger rests just outside of the trigger guard, and my palm maintains a firm grip.  My mind has already assessed the situation and gone through the motions of my next few actions.  If this guy forces his way into my house, it will be the last house he ever enters.

"Just give me some money!" He says, while pushing against my door again.

With my left arm, I make contact with the center of the tweaker's chest.  He stumbles backwards as I open my door fully, revealing the prize behind door number one.  Standing in my entryway, I bring my right arm around and extend it to join my left.  I am now in my shooting stance, finger on the trigger, and focusing on my target.

"Whoa! I'm sorry bro!" He says... arms raised.
"Look man, I'm leaving. Ok?"

"I told you to leave a few minutes ago and you wouldn't." I say.
"Face the column, lean against it and cross your legs." I order, in my boldest tone.

"Look man, I'm really sorry bro.  I just need some cash.  I'm sorry." The tweaker is really starting to tweak out, now.

As he turns to face the column, he runs.  He's free before he takes his second step.  Not knowing if he is alone, I am certainly not going to pursue some meth addict on foot. Besides, I'm not the police.  I wanted him away from my door and now he's doing just that.  I grab my cell and call my buddy with the police department.  After I pass along the info and the description of the subject, he hangs up to call the sheriff's office dispatch.

I holster my weapon and knock on my neighbor's door.  Rex doesn't answer, reminding me that he's out of town.  I walk back inside my apartment, lock the door, and plant myself back down in my chair.  In the silence of the moment: "What the hell just happened?" I say aloud.

My heart is beating like a tweaker when I hear a knock on the door, again.  As I stand up, my hand tells me that my Glock is still holstered.  I check the "peep" hole--sheriff's deputy.  "Thank God," I think.

After telling the deputy about the events that just took place, another knock, and this time a radio call: "It's me, ___, open up."

The deputy's partner informs us that he just picked up a young white male, fitting the description that I provided.  The tweaker was wandering around in a daze, while trying to find a way out of the gated complex.  It wasn't even necessary for me to give a positive ID, since the guy apparently broke down and told the deputy everything while being cuffed.

After visiting with the two deputies, about a wide variety of subjects, they turn to leave.

"Guys, I really appreciate you helping me out tonight.  Make sure you tell _____ that I said hello.  Thanks again and stay safe." I say as I extend my hand to one of the deputies.
"No problem, Jordan.  But..." He pauses.
"Well, look... next time just pull the trigger.  It'll make it easier on all of us and you'll be in the right."  And with that, they shut the door.

At that moment, while standing in my living room, I knew what he meant.  Though he wasn't completely serious about me pulling the trigger over magazine sales, he also wasn't completely joking about me dispatching some tweaked out punk trying to force his way into my apartment.  The day I applied for a permit to carry my weapon, I decided that I could pull the trigger if need be--in order to protect myself or those around me.  After experiencing this tonight, I haven't changed my mind.  As I clear my thoughts, I lock the deadbolt on the door, unholster my weapon, and sink back into my chair.

Though, this time, instead of a gun in my hand, I now have a nice stiff drink... and I already know I'm going to need a refill.

Lost Time: Self Abduction and Midnight Meals

Monday, October 26, 2009

For an August morning in Mississippi, it is freezing.  Well, let's be honest, it's freezing inside my apartment, a very comfortable 62 degrees.  I have awoke in a daze, and as I attempt to gather my thoughts I grab my phone for a time check.  It's 10:30 in the morning, and I just slept for fourteen hours.  I feel weird.  I'm not tired anymore, but, it's hard to explain, I feel zoned out.  I feel as if... I've lost time.  As a 24 year old this is usually the result of alcohol, but I haven't had a drink in weeks.

"What the hell happened?" I say to myself, while rubbing my eyes for clarity on the situation.
This feeling is familiar, "I feel like I just woke up from surgery," I think.
I quickly check my back.  "Yup, still have my kidneys," I say to myself with a half smile.

As I walk into the bathroom to wash my face, I discover a wet towel in the middle of the floor.  This is very strange.  Not only did I not shower before going to bed last night, but I always hang my towel up, as well.  After washing my face, and waking up a little more, I find that I'm wearing different clothes than what I went to bed in.  My other clothes are quickly located in my closet, which is positioned between the bathroom and my bedroom.  Walking back into the bedroom, I sit on the edge of my bed and look through my phone.

"Nothing!" I say aloud. 
"There is nothing new in here from the time I went to sleep until now."  This is getting really weird.
"The door...?" I think in a panic. 
"Is my door locked, still?"
I quickly walk into my living room to check the locks.

Not only are the locks secure, but the keys are on the table right where I had left them--I clearly didn't leave.  Though it is evident I didn't leave in the middle of the night, it is becoming ever more clear that I didn't stay asleep during the night.  A very clear sign, hinting that this is fact, the TV is on.

"What the hell?" I ask myself.
"Not only did I turn the TV off when I went to bed, but I was also watching a movie on HBO... not the History Channel."  I'm shaking my head in disbelief, now.

As I turn and face the kitchen, I am forced to catch my falling jaw in my hands.
"This is getting too weird," I tell myself.
There, before me, is a messy kitchen.  In the sink, a left over pasta dish. On the counter, a half full glass of orange juice, an empty gallon of milk, a jar of pasta sauce, and a box of whole wheat pasta (empty).

"...but, I had pizza for dinner?" I ask myself, trying to determine what is going on. 

Sure enough, I find the empty frozen pizza box in the trash.  The kitchen is a mess, though.  This is so unusual, because I always clean up the kitchen when I am finished cooking.  Not only this, but I don't remember cooking pasta last night.

"There's only one explanation for this," I start to say to myself. 
"I clearly abducted myself and cooked a midnight meal." 

I'm laughing at this point.  I can't help but to think how funny this is.  Hell, my doctor even warned me about this happening.  I just never thought I was capable of wandering into the kitchen in the middle of the night and making meals while watching tv. Or showering and getting back in bed.  All without remembering.

"Damn Ambien," I say while laughing.
"I guess it could have been worse--at least I didn't drive."

Regardless of the side effects... I'm pretty sure I slept well.

"At least I'm not an insomniac anymore," I think to myself.
"Hell, this is going to result in much better stories than when I couldn't sleep!"

No Big Deal: A Break Down

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I don't have the same favorite color as you:  No Big Deal.

My favorite food is different than yours:  No Big Deal.

I don't pull for the same sports team as you:  No Big Deal, unless it is playoff season.

I like to read books, you don't: No Big Deal.

We don't like the same genre of music: No Big Deal.

We don't vote for the same political issues or party: No Big Deal, unless it is an election month.

We don't belong to the same denomination of church:  No Big Deal, at least it shouldn't be.

I don't believe in the same parts of religion as you:  Kind of a Big Deal, but not to those who don't judge and realize religion is truly individual.

I belong to a different religion than you: No Big Deal to those that respect the ideals of others.

I don't believe in a religious god: A VERY BIG DEAL.  I will be judged for this greatly.  Some judges will even feel this is a personal attack on their own belief. "How dare he question or doubt my god?!?!" I will be told that I am wrong and that you are right.  That I need to pray for answers and forgiveness.  This single act of doubt will result in a judgment that can't even be described here in words.  You will justify your judgement of me in your own mind.  

The last point is a very interesting one.  Religion and a belief in a god is a very individualistic act.  What we define as faith, god, love, etc, will all differ from person to person.  However, to doubt or question this belief often causes a lashing out of great public judgment against the individual.  What is it, in self-examination of this, that causes others to strike out with a judgment that seems to come from fear?  Is it because they are afraid that if they ask the same questions, that their own belief will not hold water?  I don't know, to be honest.  I don't care what others believe or don't believe, so long as they don't allow it to impact my own life in obvious ways.

If you find yourself looking at even one of these scenarios and thinking, "No big deal? What? That's a very BIG deal!", then perhaps you need to read the post before this more carefully.  

Thou Shall Not Judge Less Thee Be Judged. These words are often ignored by people too afraid to ask themselves the tough questions in life.  These individuals most likely vote the way their own parents voted, and use that as reason for their own political ideals.  They also were raised to never question faith... "if it was good enough for mom and dad, then it is good enough for me."  "I believe what I believe because that's how I was raised."  The list goes on...

Have a reason for your own ideals... and don't be afraid of those that are different than yourself.  This will only show the world how, truly, closed minded you are.

Learn from yourself.  Learn from others.

Words are Wisdom,


Judgment: Closed Minds and Open Mouths

The term, judgment, can be an action planted in negative or postive roots.  In the positive sense, a judge collects and reviews the information at hand, and processes it within the mind in an attempt to formulate an honest and educated opinion prior to orally releasing his decisions on the matter.  This can also be described as having an open mind and a closed mouth.  The ability to take in the information, form an educated opinion, and finally, release said opinion in an intellectual manner.  For the purpose of this discussion, however, I will be focussing on the second root of judgment, the negative root.  Also known as an individual, having a closed mind and an open mouth.

Individuals with a closed mind and an open mouth tend towards self pitty and cowardly intellect--they are quick to judge and ever more quick to speak without thinking.  These are people that will often attempt to bring those around them down to their own level of sorrow when times are tough, and they lack the ability to retain happiness for those around them--no matter the circumstance.  For them, life simply is not fair, and they take every opportunity to remind others of this feeling.  They may even display rages of jealousy via striking out against those who are happy, thereby isolating themselves within their own world of self sorrow and destruction.  These are also people that tend to be too afraid to ask the hard questions in life, lacking the courage to carefully examine the world around them, and thus not respecting those who do.  They are the type of individual that would rather jump to an opinion instead of investing the time and resources required to adequately understand a subject or person.  Shame on you if you fall under this category.  Have you no courage to face the hard questions on your own?  Have you no common decency to respect the hard work of others?  Have you no confidence in your own abilities that you must seek to destroy that of others?  People aren't better than you, they are merely more suited for success because they do not dwell on their own misfortune.  Those that succeed, take advantage of the correct opportunities, they strive for something greater than what they are in that very moment, they yearn for the fruits of their labor--instead of hoping the fruits of others will simply spoil.  If you find yourself in this description, I hope for your own sake that you find the ability in yourself to move forward, to change what you have become and strive to be of the first root of judgment.

It has been difficult for me lately to not harbor anger against these negative judges.  Usually, I am able to brush these people aside and carry on with my life.  However, I have struggled with doing so, as of late--as I have found myself being judged by them.  I have worked hard to get to where I currently am in my life, and where I am headed.  It has taken a great deal of courage for me to face certain beliefs I have held for a long time and have debated within myself for years.  I will not ever apologize for my hard work, or my indepth examination of myself.  I am living my own life, not yours. For those of you that choose to cast judgment on me for what I believe, you need to be warned: I have no time for you in my life.  I will not waver in the face of your judgment.  I will carry on with my life, my hard work, my success, and my self examining philosophy.  I will not, for a moment, stop to ponder about your own.  I will not judge you, nor will I acknowledge you.  I have more important aspects of life to focus on, and can only hope that you see this and use this as a wake up call.  

With that being said, carry on in your judgmental ways.  Just know, you are slowly isolating yourself into a lonely world of individual sorrow and despair.  One day, you will awaken to discover your world consists of only yourself.  There will be no way out at this point, for you have burned all of your bridges with others--and you will only have yourself to blame.

Words are Wisdom,


Pretty Much Perfect: Mystery Girl & Me

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

After just arriving back in town from being gone for a few weeks, I quickly shower and get dressed.  Looking at my watch I only have minutes in reserve.  "I can't be late!" I tell myself, knowing fully well that my entire life runs 15 minutes behind schedule.  With what little time I have, I spend it frantically cleaning my condo.  Granted, I've been out of town and there is little to no mess to clean, I want to make sure it is spotless in case she asks to come up.  I pause to look around my living area in the main room.  The stainless steal shines with a cold, sterile feel.  The wood does well to catch the light coming in from my wall length set of floor to ceiling windows--warming the room.  My friends would often compare my condo the that of the main character from the movie, American Psycho, but would stop short of comparing me to said character--thank God.

By now, I have been on a few dates in my new city, but I am still nervous for this one.  Mystery Girl and I have been talking on the phone for the past few days and we both have been able to detect the excitement each time the phone rings. Hearing her laugh at my witty humor casts a light of confidence within me, I just hope I don't run out of jokes.  Looking at my watch, for the tenth time in five minutes, I realize it's time to head downstairs and continue to the pub in my building for a hopefully flawless date.  "Well," I say to myself, "here it goes."  With that, I lock the door to my condo and make my way to the elevator.  Once inside I press the button that has a giant question mark on its face.  The doors open, I step out into uncertainty.

Ten minutes later we find ourselves sitting in my kitchen.  She has opted to come hang out with drinks prior to getting a meal downstairs.  "Thank God my place is clean," I think.  She is gorgeous and seated at my kitchen bar.  I am nervous and pacing, drink in hand.

"Is your drink alright?" I ask.
She smiles, "It's perfect.  I love crandberry and vodka."
"Me too." I concede.  "Actually, I used to really enjoy gin and tonic."
"Ugh!" she says with a look of digust.  "My mom drinks that... I think it taste like pine sap."
"That's what my brother says too!" We both laugh.
I catch her eyes watching me while I pace in the kitchen and fumble with the music.
"You know, you shouldn't be nervous."
"I'm not nervous." I partially argue.
"I'm fine, I just don't want you to be bored." I plead.
"Bored? I promise I'm not bored.  I like hanging out and talking." She says, still smiling.

After pacing my nerves away, I relax as we start to get to know one another a little more.  With all of our talking we grow hungry and decide to move the conversation downstairs.

The pub is small, and comfortable even when crowded. Though not a full house, conversations dance through the air as we find a table near the window.

"This seems like a fun place.  Do you come here a lot?"
"You know... I did when I first moved here.  I seem to stay busy with work and travels, so my visits here are more sparatic.  But yeah, it's a fun place to just grab a table or a seat at the bar."  I pause, she's smiling.  "I like places like this."
"What do you mean?" She's puzzled.
"I like places where the majority of the customers are regulars.  This is that type of place.  It's nice to be able to relax with friends in a pub like this and still be able to hear one another talk." I explain.
"Yeah, screaming at your friends in the loud bars gets old sometimes." She says with a slight laugh.

I find myself getting lost in her eyes and smile.  We both appear to be relaxed yet partially guarded.  The wine is going down smooth and we both find ourselves laughing more with each glass as the guarded walls begin to fall.  Mystery Girl seems interested in everything I have to say as she continues to prod for answers into who I am.  Our meal comes, is eaten, and is taken away. The wine continues, as does the laughter and the budding emotion.  "Mystery Girl might like me," I'm thinking.  Our eyes remain locked as we trade stories of our youth and confess embarrasing moments of our lives.  The time has passed quickly as our meal turns into three hours.  I don't want mystery girl to vanish into the evening sun.  I want our eyes to remain locked in unison as we continue to fill the air with our own dance of words.  This moment is pretty much perfect...

...and 453 days later I still feel it is.

Caffeine Crazies: The Inability To Fix Stupid

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Running off of a theme from an earlier post--it's the little things in life that you need to keep an eye out for.  Some people simply don't amaze me anymore.  Of course, there are all types of people in this world and I am a firm believer that no one is even close to being like someone else.  However, there are some of us in this world that share a common gene--the stupid gene. 

On any given day, I can usually predict what the line in this Starbucks is going to look like.  After about 12 months of detailed analyzing I came to the realization that business here is heavily influenced by weather and the days of the week.  No matter the day of the week, a really cold morning usually results in a lengthy line of caffeine addicts and wannabe hipsters.  However, a Monday will always cause a line to the door full of various professionals and students, especially in the morning.  Tuesdays are fairly relaxed business days, no matter the weather, sans a snowstorm.  Wednesday appears to be a continuation of Monday, especially if the weather produces any form of moisture.  Thursdays... who cares, only one more day in the work week, and this day tends to be slow.  Now Fridays... Fridays are odd and interesting.  At times, Friday can be mistaken as a Monday but customers are typically in great moods, even prior to loading up on their daily dose of caffeine.  Weekend days are fairly relaxed, no matter the weather, as you see customers migrate to and fro throughout the day.  The next few times you are headed to your local Starbucks, make some observations yourself.  Note the day of the week, the weather conditions, and see how this appears to influence the flow of customers in your own neck of the woods.  The customers... Ah yes the infamous customers of Starbucks.  Quite the lot of characters aren't they?

Several years ago, I remember hearing a funny observation while sitting in, no less, a Starbucks.  Thinking back, I'm certain I was probably sitting at the Starbucks/Barnes and Noble in my old hometown during the hour that I should have been sitting in a college class.  Skipping college classes... that's a whole other post topic, but in short, I greatly preferred to be sitting where I was, either with a book in hand or writing of my surroundings in a journal.  Don't get me wrong, I loved most of my college classes, but I didn't mind missing those slow days that were absent of discussion.  Alas, I digress... back to the funny observation. 

So there I was, minding my own business over a cup of coffee and my journal when my co-class-skipper from French sat down at my small table.  For the purpose of this story we will simply refer to my friend as Joe, though this is clearly not his name.  "So are you a fake writer?" Joe asks under his breath. I look at him in an effort to indicate that I don't follow where he is going with this question.  Seeing my confusion, Joe attempts to clarify.  "Have you ever noticed the 'writers' that are always in these coffee shops?  Feverishly slaving away on their master script, quietly enough to not bother others but just loud enough to draw attention to themselves?" he says.  I quickly process the scene he has described and begin to glance around the room.  "Holy Christ!"  I say, between a sip of coffee and a smirk.  "These guys stick out like a sore thumb.  I can't believe I've never really picked up on these people."  I exclaim with astonishment. 

It's true... go to any coffee chain or local cafe--these people are there.  Now don't get me wrong, there are some truly genuine people that are there to write without making a scene (no pun intended).  That being said, there are clearly those that show up repeatedly to be, "The Starbucks Writer."  In fact, if you look hard enough, there is a whole cast of "Starbucks People" that you can find in almost any Starbucks.  I call them the Starbucks Five, for obvious reasons...  and it's a goal of mine to find them all in one cafe, in one visit.  Allow me to explain:

The Starbucks Writer: This is typically a male, late 20s to mid 30s.  There he sits, either at a well positioned corner table for all to see, or a table in the middle of all the action.  He keeps to himself, he doesn't speak to those around him and he's not on his cell phone.  He's just there.  Typing.  Occasionally looking up from the screen, possibly for divine inspiration, and then he's back to the typing.  Throughout the hours he will leave his seat to stretch and run to the restroom.  He will order more coffee or bum free water from the Barista who he knows on a first name basis.  No one knows what he is writing... or if he is writing anything at all.  Yet there he is, on almost a daily basis, seated at his table with computer in front, phone to one side, and the same cup of coffee on the other.

The Starbucks Phone Lady:  This one kills me, she's like a ninja.  Don't worry if you cannot find her quickly, though she is good at blending into the crowd, the phone lady usually reveals her location on her own.  Sometimes, you luck out and she walks into the cafe after you are already seated or in line.  Nevertheless, there she is, talking her damn head off.  At times, she can be spotted with a kid hanging on to her leg; in either case, the phone is glued to her face.  She talks as if no one else is within 100 feet of her, and does not mind revealing personal information for all to hear.  Don't worry, you won't be the only one there that can't stand this fine specimen.  Often times, the Baristas grow tired of her if she attempts to order her coffee while still talking on her phone.

The Starbucks I-Used-To-Be-Retired-But-Need-More-Money-So-Here-I-Am Barista:  This one is fairly self explanatory... and bless her heart for trying.  This Barista is typically a female and over the age of 50.  She tries extremely hard to understand her job and all of the various complex orders that exist in the world of coffee, but trying is never enough.  She just doesn't get it.  I have actually placed an order and had this Barista just look at me as if not only did I just order my coffee in a foreign language but had my face painted like the Joker.  Not only this, but after clarifying my order, including explicit instructions on how to make it, my order is still not correct on the receiving end.  The exclamation point on this one comes when you inform her of her error and are met with, "Oh I'm so sorry sweetie... well, I tried!"  You don't even want to give this lady another chance, because you have by now convinced yourself you will never get what you order.  There is no hope.  You have lost this round.

The Starbucks Creepy Middle Age Man:  Obviously a male and of middle age.  This guy just sits at a table by himself, sipping his coffe, staring at the young women that come in the cafe.  Though in major cities these guys are usually in business atire, it becomes even more creepy when they are dressed in a t-shirt and athletic shorts. 

The Starbucks Rookie Regular:  This can be either a male or female, and age doesn't really matter either.  This individual tends to feel as though they know what they are ordering (proper order, slangs, etc) yet they either constantly screw it up or they make really odd request.  An example: "I would like a double grande mocha, please."  Grande drinks come with two shots--so this doesn't make sense.  The list of examples go on, but you can pick them out for yourself.  

The door has always bothered me, what with its offset hinges and all. Now, obviously, all doors with offset hinges don't bother me, but this particular entryway does due to it not being as wide as a typical storefront. When entering the cafe, I feel as I almost need to dodge the door as it swings open, all the while keeping in mind to not run into the other door due to the narrow entry. "Who in the hell builds an entry like this?" I think to myself. Welcome to Starbucks, the home of "what the hell?"

As I make my way to the line I realize how badly I need a caffeine fix.  It's friday, but with my travels this week, my caffeine reserves are running low--dangerously low.  Friday is like a monday, but happier, so I don't mind waiting in line--especially because it allows me to try for the Starbucks Five... I've counted four, but never the sacred five.  For obvious reasons, I find the Starbucks Writer almost immediately.  He's off in a corner by himself with his coffee, cell phone, and computer--typical.  "What's the deal with these guys?" I think to myself.  As I'm peering around the room, Mrs. Obnoxious walks into the cafe and gets in line behind me.  "Well, there's the Starbucks Phone Lady... I wish someone would mug her so she would leave this damn cafe," I almost say aloud.  I'm not a bad person, I just really can't stand this character.  I turn around and play off my 'check' by giving her a friendly smile.  Sure enough, it's a 40 something blonde chatting on her cell phone.  She even gives the classic line of "Girl, I might have to go real quick because I'm in line at Starbucks.  No it's fine, they are busy so there is a line, but if I have to go it's because it's my turn to order."  She follows this up with the most annoying cackle of a laugh I've heard in a while.  May God have mercy on her soul.  Now I'm two out of five.  I check behind the counter... no joy.  The Baristas are all young college kids working the shift, so I won't get the crazy retiree points on this trip.  Try as I may, I can't find a creepy guy checking out hot coeds, either.  I'm not feeling the love in here this morning, I usually find at least three out of five.  

I'm probably just trying too hard and need to relax and see if some more psychos come strolling through the door.  
"I know!  I couldn't believe it either!  Well look girl, I'm walking into Starbucks right now!  Yeah... you know me... I gots to have my morning mocha!" she says as she attempts to squeeze through the narrow entryway doors.  
"Bingo!" I'm thinking.  Now, let me just stop you before you get too far ahead of yourself.  You can't get double points in this game.  Only one point each, per person, per cafe is allowed.  And this girl has potential to fulfill one of my favorite points--The Starbucks Rookie Regular.  She has "Orders Like An Idiot" written in bold face print on her forehead.  She's a few places behind me in line so I'll need to keep an eye out for her after I have ordered.

Finally, I'm up.  "Good morning, how's life today?" I say to the Barista taking my order.  
"It's going great! I've been taking shots of espresso, so I am really wired!"  she responds.  
I catch myself before being too harsh with my response and only offer "hmm, working while wired?  Might want a decaf intervention before it's too late."  My comment clearly takes a while for her to register, but she eventually giggles and takes my order.  

*I know what you are thinking... "Hey!  What did you order?"  Well, I have to keep some aspects of my life private...  So I'll start with my coffee.

As I'm waiting at the 'receive' area for my coffee, I catch myself anxiously waiting for the loud mouth mocha girl to order.  Before too long, the moment of truth arrives.  I feel time slowing as she approaches the counter.  I can actually hear the coins dropping into the Tip Jar as the previous customer departs the counter space.  She firmly plants her feet as her head swivels from side to side, as if searching for something to order.  This is out of habit, however.  She already knows damn well what she is about to say--almost as if it is rehearsed.  My coffee is sitting on the counter waiting for my hand to marry it.  I don't care.  This suspense is resulting in a massive adrenaline dump.  I feel my heart racing as she begins to order...  She's a southerner.  
"Hey y'all!  Good morning," She says.  
I'm thinking "Oh man, this is about to get good.  Overweight, loud mouth, phone talkin', SOUTHERNER.  This is like a perfect storm of ordering f*ck up potential."  
With the utmost confidence she says, "I can't ever remember... Venti is the large one, right? So a Venti White Mocha with ice.  But I want two shots of coffee, extra whipped cream and non-fat milk."  
She then pauses as the girl behind the counter repeats the order to the Barista. 
"Iced Double Venti White Mocha with extra Whip please!" the Barista calls out.  
"Wait!" interrupts the southerner.  
"That's NON-FAT milk! Make sure you get it right!" She demands with all her weight might. 
"Jesus Christ" I say aloud.  
The man next to me leans over and asks, "did I just hear that correctly?"  
I reply, "Yes sir.  She just demanded a sugar drink with extra whipped cream AND non-fat milk.  Clearly she has it figured out that the milk is her problem."  
The man begins to laugh in a quiet manner before driving the point home to me, "Son, we are probably both going to hell, but I am a doctor and I can assure of you one thing in this case."
"What's that?" I ask.
With the most serious look possible in this moment he answers, "It's quite clear... we still lack the ability to fix stupid."  
With this, the doctor collects his coffee and leaves.  Meanwhile, here I am, struck in awe by stupid and laughing to myself over the doctor's comment.  Soon, I too gather my coffee and head out the door, but the degree of stupid that I witnessed this day will soon not leave my memory.  I might be a coffee whore, and I might deliberately surround myself with caffeine crazies in order to gain a fix from time to time, but I never imagined I would put my own intellect in the direct path of someone firing off stupid without clear consideration of those around them.  At least my coffee was good.

Until next time...

Words are Wisdom.


No Apologies: I'm A Writer

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's no secret that some of the topics I write about, and subsequently open for discussion on here, are not without controversy.  In fact, I could easily elect to keep certain opinions to myself.  Then again, this is a blog, this is designed as an outlet for individuals that want to be read.  As an aspiring writer I would be foolish to keep my thoughts from others.  Not only do I use this blog as an avenue of expression, but I also hope to encourage discussion among my readers--possibly even causing some to view a topic in a new light.  Fellow Blogger, Kim Ayres, said it well:

And if something I write triggers a feeling in you, then in a way I have succeeded in what I do. When I blog, I am trying to communicate something to other people. So if you then feel compelled to relate it to your own experience, then I am pleased.
Like Kim, I'm not out to get anyone, to put them down, to call them names, or to tell them they are wrong for what they believe.  I am simply here to write my thoughts, share my feelings, and encourage discussion.  Just because we might not see eye to eye on certain issues doesn't make either of us wrong or right, it makes us different--and different is never boring.  I might not agree with your religion, political affiliation, or thoughts on a certain event in history, but that doesn't make one of us wrong.  Hell, I might even tell you that my favorite color is blue, but that doesn't make you wrong for liking green... though blue is better.

I do not intend to offend anyone by anything I have written here.  If you do become offended by certain material it is your own fault and should be taken as a hint to yourself to explore open mindedness.  I will not apologize for material that might push the boundaries of comfort.  If we never examine opinions that differ from our own we will find ourselves in a static state of intellect.  I do not prefer to be static, nor should you.

With all of this being said, I hope you find the discussion here captivating, thought provoking, well thought out, and yet intimidating at first glance.

Happy Reading,


Fall is in the Air

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I don't know where you might be as you read this, but if you were here, you could walk outside and smell the impending winter.  That's right, take it in... fall is in the air.  That being said, there is no better way to spend a wonderful fall weekend, as the leaves are changing, than at The Ranch. There is just something peaceful about it all, and it is quite easy to lose oneself amongst the changing seasons. Walking up that road (pictured above) and just thinking about the world around me, the meaning of everything, my own mortality, and various other topics that dip down into the deep void of my own mind, makes it very easy to forget about the simple things in life--such as my dog.  There he is, walking next to me, looking for the next big stick.  He has his moments too, however.  I've often caught him staring off into the nothingness of this world--solving all of life's mysteries.

I don't know what it is about that clean mountain air, but it always causes my mind to start dwelling.  There is not a feeling of urgency in life when I am in the mountains, only a feeling of ease.  All is well in the world... at least for this moment.  I've always found the odd irony of the beauty of fall.  Never has death been so attractive.

I'm different than a lot of people around me, and those of you that truly know me are nodding in agreement right now. Yes, I look at this mountain in awe and wonder much like the next person.  That's where most people stop, though.  I keep going, my mind gets to turning, I become curious about the history.  Here is a former volcanic area, with a town even named for a form of volcanic rock... and here in front of me lies what is left of it all.  This area is reminiscent of what once was--when life once was but is no longer.  Just as my mind gets a little too far ahead of me, I am pulled back to the "now" by the sound of a stick on gravel.  My dog always knows the best time to distract me without even distracting me.

He finds peace while swimming.  I find peace while watching him.

Words are wisdom,


At Least Someone Reads!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Well I was not expecting this one bit! Thanks goes out to my dear friend Jessica at ...And Baby Makes 3 for my Superior Scribbler Award for blogging.

1. Each Super Scribbler I name today must in turn pass the award onto 5 most deserving bloggy friends.
2. Each super scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the award.
3. Each super scribbler must display the award on his/her blog, and link to THIS POST, which explains the award.
4. Each super scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
I used to follow a lot of people, but they let their blogs die. The following are three very wonderful blogs:
The Wiegands
Shaun Menary
Kim Ayres
Take the time and check these blogs out. Drop them some comments if you like what you see. Also, leave me some comments on some other blogs that I should be reading! I always enjoy finding new people to follow. I hope everyone is having a great day! It's cold and snowing here. Thanks again to Jessica for the Blog Award! At least I know one person still reads this scratch pad.


Ignoring the Evidence

Friday, October 2, 2009

In 2008, a Rassmussen Poll revealed that 44% of Americans believe that life has not changed on Earth since its creation less than 10,000 years ago. Then again, in 2008, a Pew Research Poll revealed that 42% of Americans believe that life, in its current form, is how it has been since the beginning of time.

These numbers are shocking to me.

Clearly, the majority of these figures are attributed to people of faith--specifically Christianity. What is ironic about these findings, however, is that people are clearly still set in the old ways of their beliefs; whereas their own churches have adapted to the changing structure of worldy knowledge. Though most of the denominations of Christianity have not released an official stance on the theory of evolution, they have most clearly stated that it is acceptable to believe in it and still have faith--due to overwhelming evidence in its favor.

The following are excerpts from certain denominations regarding this subject:

Has the Episcopal Church spoken officially on evolution?

No. However, clergy and scientists from both the Catholic and Evangelical traditions in Anglicanism have accepted evolution from Darwin’s time to the present. In a resolution passed by General Convention in 1982, the Church affirmed the ability of God to create in any form and fashion, which would include evolution. Several Anglicans and Episcopalians, some of whom are both theologians and scientists, are contributing to the development of new theologies of an evolving creation.

The Catholic Position:

What is the Catholic position concerning belief or unbelief in evolution? The question may never be finally settled, but there are definite parameters to what is acceptable Catholic belief.

Concerning cosmological evolution, the Church has infallibly defined that the universe was specially created out of nothing. Vatican I solemnly defined that everyone must "confess the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing" (Canons on God the Creator of All Things, canon 5).

The Church does not have an official position on whether the stars, nebulae, and planets we see today were created at that time or whether they developed over time (for example, in the aftermath of the Big Bang that modern cosmologists discuss). However, the Church would maintain that, if the stars and planets did develop over time, this still ultimately must be attributed to God and his plan, for Scripture records: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host [stars, nebulae, planets] by the breath of his mouth" (Ps. 33:6).

Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Theology and Worship - Evolution Statement:

Neither Scripture, our Confession of Faith, nor our Catechisms, teach the Creation of man by the direct and immediate acts of God so as to exclude the possibility of evolution as a scientific theory. Scripture states that "out of the ground" the Lord God formed every beast, Genesis 2:19, and "of the dust of the ground" the Lord God formed man, Genesis 2:7. Genesis 1 teaches that according to the Word of God there came into being Light, Firmament (called Heaven), the Earth and the Seas. Then, God said: "Let the waters bring forth" and "Let the earth bring forth." After the creation of Light, the Firmament and the Earth, after the Earth and the Waters brought forth plant, aquatic and animal life, then God said: "Let us make man." This man, Adam, meaning both a man and man, is by nature both individual and corporate. The name Adam is simply a generic term for man brought forth from the Earth. Genesis 1 describes Creation as taking place in six days; however, it is not necessary to understand the Genesis account as a scientific description of Creation....

If the Confession of Faith, or the Catechisms, appear in some manner to support the position of the General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889 and 1924 this is not because of Scripture itself but rather because Scripture was interpreted with 17th Century perspectives and presuppositions.

Some form of evolutionary theory is accepted by the majority of modern scientists. The Darwin Centennial celebration, composed of fifty outstanding experts on the various phases of evolutionary theory, expressed the meaning of evolution as follows: "Evolution is definable in general terms as a one-way irreversible process in time, which during its course generates novelty, diversity, and higher levels of organization. It operates in all sectors of the phenomenal universe, but has been most fully described and analyzed in the biological sector." (Evolution After Darwin, edited by Sol Tax, University of Chicago Press, containing the University of Chicago Centennial papers and discussion, 1959)

Our responsibility as Christians is to deal seriously with the theories and findings of all scientific endeavors, evolution included, and to enter into open dialogue with responsible persons involved in scientific tasks about the achievement, failures and limits of their activities and of ours. The truth or falsity of the theory of evolution is not the question at issue and certainly not a question which lies within the competence of the Permanent Theological Committee. The real and only issue is whether there exists clear incompatibility between evolution and the Biblical doctrine of Creation. Unless it is clearly necessary to uphold a basic Biblical doctrine, the Church is not called upon and should carefully refrain from either affirming or denying the theory of evolution. We conclude that the true relation between the evolutionary theory and the Bible is that of non-contradiction and that the position stated by the General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889 and 1924 was in error and no longer represents the mind of our Church.

We re-affirm our belief in the uniqueness of man as a creature whom God has made in His own image.

What you will find, often enough, is that within these explanations of stance a general notation of attitude towards science is usually made. Obviously, those churches that choose to settle with current scientific theory are a little more welcoming to the scientific community as a whole––quite opposite of those that are strong in their opposition. It is an interesting fact that those churches that are clearly not accepting of the evidence in support of evolution tend to be evangelical in their root, and choose to ignore the growing support at hand in favor of a literal interpretation of the Bible. That the world was created within the last 10,000 years (even 6,000 years) is not only an acceptable position, but also makes rational sense. The fact that their own text contains two creation stories within Genesis, and a world wide flood, are far more believable to them than the evidence that reveals the earth is in fact billions of years old and once home to dinosaurs. I can't help but to wonder, in a humorous manner, if some of these people believe that God planted fossils and other evidence here in an attempt to confuse us. How ever crazy that notion may seem, there really are people that believe this. Which to them I ask: Why would a god want to confuse you and hide from you instead of revealing himself once and for all--pushing aside all doubt forever? Then again, there are those that simply believe that if it isn't in the Bible then it isn't true... because the Bible is the truth, no matter how you look at it.