Hilarious Motivational Posters about Doubt, Disloyalty, Discovery and Destiny

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Zen Talk: Spill The Cup of Your Life So That the Beauty Runs Out

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out.
– Ray Bradbury

Now, I know that Ray Bradbury is no Zen Master, but this quote had a nice Zen-y essence, and I thought it would be appropriate to share it on Zen Talk day. Plus, I really like it.

We can each imagine ourselves as a vessel – a cup, if you will – and over the course of our lifetimes, we are constantly being filled with things: ideas, both good and bad, friendships and relationships, notions, concepts, experiences, sites, sounds, smells, tastes and everything else you can imagine.

Some of those things are good and some are bad. Some need to be shared and others do not – or at least, sharing them in just the right way is what’s important.

This quote reminds us to tip ourselves over – to spill out all of the things that have filled us up in the most beautiful way possible, whether to influence others for the better, to teach them things from our lives and experiences or just to inspire them or fill them with awe. Coming from such a talented writer as Ray Bradbury, I can see how this quote made sense to him. He was a man who tipped himself often and let much beauty come out.

What do you think of this quote?

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Quran Read-A-Long: Al-‘Imran 42-54 Talks All About Jesus, Pre-Birth to Adulthood

In verse 44, Asad is saying that the Quran is saying of itself that it is revelation: “We [now] reveal unto thee.” Even though Christians regard their understanding of Mary’s life as true (virgin birth, mother of God, etc.) the Quran is making clear that this is the true version of the story.

It’s clear that the respect afforded Jesus and the honor done him are not to be disregarded by the Quran. The Quran and Islam believe in the prophetic quality of Jesus and in his greatness as a human being and one beloved by God. However, in Islam, as in Judaism, there is no Son of God in a literal sense. There is no virgin birth. Jesus was a human being with a wonderful message that fell in line with the messages of the other prophets.

Okay, as of verse 47 I’m confused. Verse 47 implies that there is a virgin birth going on here, as no man has ever touched Mary (according to her). I thought, however, that Islam didn’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. How is this interpreted otherwise? I understand the purpose of the next part of the line (I think) about God creating what He wills. It actually recalls the creation story in chapter 1 of the book of Genesis, which, considering Christian theology, is a fascinating thing to relate in these Quranic verses. But despite God being able to create what He will however He wants – and we know that to be the case – why would the Quran make a point of saying such a thing here when Muslims don’t believe in the virgin birth? Either I’m wrong about that belief or there’s another way to understand this verse.

The next few verses are things that we consider Jesus to have said in his lifetime. It’s unclear whether or not this is a foretelling of what’s to come in Jesus’ life or another statement of these things. Based on Asad’s note, it’s interesting that verse 49’s reference to the ‘destiny being shaped’ is the word used for bird, considering the fact that in Christianity, the bird is a representation of the Spirit, or God’s third essence. In verse 50, what still remains of the Torah would seem to be those things that the Israelites are still practicing rightly. I’m not sure what Jesus made okay that was forbidden to people beforehand. Jesus, according to the Gospel, said that he intended to change nothing at all about the Law (i.e. the Torah) and he actually seems to make (again, in the Gospels at least) things a little bit stricter (e.g. thinking naughty thoughts is adultary). Only Paul wanted the Torah’s laws to be abolished.

Verse 52 takes quite a little jump there in time. That seems strange to do and inconsistent.

The final verse here talks about God preventing scheming against Jesus from coming to fruition but when I think of the crucifixion, though it’s spun as something that had to happen, it would certainly seem as though the scheming came to something.

I had a lot of disjointed thoughts in here and a variety of questions that were poorly phrased as questions. If you can add anything or clarify anything, I’d be much obliged. Thanks for reading!

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Al-’Imran 42-54

42. AND LO! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God has elected thee and made thee pure, and raised thee above all the women of the world. 43. O Mary! Remain thou truly devout unto thy Sustainer, and prostrate thyself in worship, and bow down with those who bow down [before Him].” 44. This account of something that was beyond the reach of thy perception We [now] reveal unto thee: for thou wert not with them when they drew lots as to which of them should be Mary’s guardian, and thou wert not with them when they contended [about it] with one another. 45. Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honor in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God. 46. And he shall speak unto men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be of the righteous.” 47. Said she: “O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is: God creates what He wills: when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, ‘Be’ – and it is. 48. And he will impart unto thy son revelation, and wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel, 49. and [will make him] an apostle unto the children of Israel.” “I HAVE COME unto you with a message from your Sustainer. I shall create for you out of clay, as it were, the shape of [your] destiny, and then breathe into it, so that it might become [your] destiny by God’s leave; and I shall heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life by God’s leave; and I shall let you know what you may eat and what you should store up in your houses. Behold, in all this there is indeed a message for you, if you are [truly] believers. 50. “And [I have come] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to make lawful unto you some of the things which [aforetime] were forbidden to you. And I have come unto you with a message from your Sustainer; remain, then, conscious of God, and pay heed unto me. 51. “Verily, God is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer; so worship Him [alone]: this is a straight way.” 52. And when Jesus became aware of their refusal to acknowledge the truth, he asked: “Who will be my helpers in God’s cause?” The white-garbed ones replied: “We shall be [thy] helpers [in the cause] of God! We believe in God: and bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto Him! 53. O our Sustainer! We believe in what Thou hast bestowed from on high, and we follow this Apostle; make us one, then, with all who bear witness [to the truth]!” 54. And the unbelievers schemed [against Jesus]; but God brought their scheming to nought: for God is above all schemers.

Cartman Hates Redheads but Becomes One Himself and Tries to Kill the Other Kids in “Ginger Kids” South Park Episode 911

This wasn’t an episode that I saw when it initially came out. For some reason, I didn’t catch it or know that it existed until I got the 9th season of South Park on DVD and watched the last disk. Fortunately, it was a hilarious episode.

Cartman gives the class a racist presentation on the danger of Ginger Kids, including a mention about Daywalkers, like Kyle, who can stand the sun enough to be out during the daytime. Kyle is pissed at this hateful tirade and insists on trying to stop Cartman from making hateful speeches. Why? Because other kids, now scared of gingers, are kicking the redheaded kids out of the lunchroom.

In order to convince Cartman that what he’s doing is wrong, Kyle has Cartman’s hair dyed red and gives him freckles while he’s sleeping, making him believe, when he wakes up, that he’s a ginger kid.

Cartman refuses to see the irony behind the fact that he hates gingers and has become one himself, and instead of recognizing the difficulty of being a ginger and reforming his ways, Cartman begins a Ginger Pride club and gathers together all of the Ginger Kids to convince them that they can no longer accept being oppressed by society. “Red Power! Red Power!” they march and chant. Cartman then begins rounding up all of the non-ginger kids in town in order to kill them in a huge ceremony.

At the last minute, before Kyle is killed, Kyle whispers to Cartman what he’s done, and Cartman stops the insane ritual of non-ginger kid killing to tell everybody to wait – that hate and killing are wrong and that they should all love one another. He gets the rest of the Ginger Kids to disregard whatever Kyle whispered to him and then gets them singing a song about loving everybody.

“You’re such a manipulative asshole,” Kyle says.

Hilarious episode. I especially love the manager of the hotel who comes in the banquet room to make sure they have enough dip and lava and Cartman’s polite impatience. The song at the end is great as is the back and forth between Cartman and the gingers.

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Hilarious Motivational Posters about Defeat, Delusions, Demotivation and Despair

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The Queer Eye Guys Popularize Metrosexualism in Episode 708, “South Park Is Gay”

Ah, the Queer Eye For the Straight Guy craze. I remember that. Yeah, I admit it, too: I enjoyed it. Sure, the novelty wore off pretty quickly, and even though South Park made a good point of not letting an obsession with gay culture make straight men forget that they’re men, the residual effects of a show like this, I think, are positive. There are a crapload of men out there who really need to get it together – cut off that rattail, clean up their homes, learn to practice a little personal hygiene, etc. If a team of flaming queers had to come in and wake them up for the purposes of entertainment, so be it, I say.

In any case, this episode of South Park was about the way becoming a metrosexual took over the town, making all of the men and boys of South Park hyper-concerned about their clothes, hair, fashion and hygiene. Kyle, however, can’t get into this new fad. Metrosexualism just isn’t for him.

Indeed, when he comes home beat up one day because the other boys kicked his ass for being different, Mrs. Broflovski immediately concludes that Kyle was tormented for being Jewish. “No,” he tells her. “For not being a metrosexual.”

When Mr. Garrison learns about this awful fad, he and the women of South Park – initially pleased with their husbands shifting priorities but eventually in desperate need of the men back in their lives – march to the president to demand that he put an end to this horrible metrosexual craze and stop the Queer Eye guys. Unfortunately, the Queer Eye guys have gotten to the president first and are making him over. That’s when we uncover the evil Queer Eye plot.

They’re not really homosexuals but Crab People who live beneath the earth’s surface. By turning the men of the world into sissies, they plan to rise to the surface and take over. Fortunately, Mr. Garrison and the women of South Park kill the Queer Eye Crab People, thereby saving us all.

This episode is pretty hilarious all the way through, but I must say I think that it peeks in hilarity with the Crab People song: “Crab People. Crab People. Taste Like Crab. Look Like People. Crab People. Crab People.”

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Can growing Muslim populations result in shrinking Islamophobia?

Enjoy my latest article from the Nashville Free Press.

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