Religion is Like a Penis

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I couldn’t help myself when my dad passed this along. The Zen of South Park just seemed like the perfect place for it.

The book is almost done. It’s been “sitting in a drawer” for a while, but it wants to come out and be finished. Where does one find the time to finish when life seems to have moved on?

Matt Stone and Trey Parker Interview with Charlie Rose Reveals Zen Buddhism at the Heart of South Park

I really enjoyed this interview between Matt Stone and Trey Parker and Charlie Rose.  Not only was it fun and interesting, but Trey Parker said something that vindicates the very title of my book. The Zen of South Park.

He said:

“The people screaming on this side, and the people screaming on that side are the same people.” After watching South Park, “all in all, at the end of the day they’ll be a little more Zen Buddhist.”

Well, if calling my book The Zen of South Park doesn’t make more sense than putting peanut-butter and jelly in the same jar, I don’t know what does.

What did you think of the interview?

Want a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park?

Enjoy posts on specific South Park episodes.

“All About Mormons” (712) Is South Park’s Explanation of Joseph Smith and Mormonism

I know that on a blog called The Zen of South Park, a blog dedicated to a book on religion and South Park, you would expect a pretty long post on South Park‘s episode about Mormonism. But you’re not going to get it.

This episode is incredible, relatively accurate and an amazing portrayal of Mormonism for a few reasons that I will list succinctly.

1. It totally calls out the bullshit story.

2. It doesn’t actually judge Mormonism’s quality based on it’s bullshit story as evidenced by the kind behavior of the Harrison family and this speech at the end by Gary:

“Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life. and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that’s stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan, but you’re so high and mighty you couldn’t look past my religion and just be my friend back. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls.”

3. A religion is judged based on the quality of the religion to its adherents, not the veracity of its story. Mormonism makes it out on the good side of this dividing line during this episode.

What did you think of this episode? Are you Mormon? Can you shed a little light on the accuracy of the story as believed by Mormons for us?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.

The Zen of South Park is Happening All Around You

In a recent episode of Lovephones with Dr. Drew and some douchebag who isn’t nearly as good as Adam Corolla, someone called in to discuss the difficulties he was having with his girlfriend’s devoutly Mormon family. After the guy voices his problems, to which many people were likely thinking, “Dude, get out while you still can,” Dr. Drew advises this guy that “if you’re motivated” you can make it work.

When the caller continues on about what gung-ho Mormons this family is, what ardent McCain supporters and how veritably nuts they are, Dr. Drew asks, “Did you see that episode of South Park?” and then relates this problem to the South Park episode called “All About Mormons” when Stan befriends a Mormon kid, who in the end tells Stan that Mormonism may be weird but it works for him and if Stan isn’t mature enough to overlook his religion and just accept him as a person then screw Stan.

This is what The Zen of South Park is trying to do – no, not screw Stan. Use South Park as a conduit for understanding situations in our own lives. My book demonstrates the applicability of South Park and its many valuable lessons in everyday situations like dating people of different religions. In America, a land with so many different races, ethnicities, religions and so forth, many of us can find ourselves having trouble relating to someone we like or at least that person’s family. And South Park has a lesson for us to learn and some advice to help move life forward. That is the essence of The Zen of South Park.

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about All About Mormons.

“The Biggest Douche in the Universe” Knocks John Edwards and Being a Phony

I really love this episode, primarily for its central message. A friend of mine once argued with me that this episode didn’t have very much to do with religion. Believing that it did, however, I was relentless about the connection between John Edwards and cult leadership.

Why? Because John Edwards acts like a charismatic cult leader. He fakes knowledge about unknowable truths, goes to great lengths to convince others of his powers and then tries to take money from them by selling them on his lies. Of course, many charismatic cult leaders do not know that they are telling lies and thoroughly believe what they are saying, but for Edwards, this isn’t the case. What’s more, Stan knows it and resolves to stop the biggest douche in the universe from destroying Kyle’s life and messing with others’.

Stan explains that by lying about things that no one can know – life’s ‘big’ questions – Edwards is literally slowing down the progress of humanity. His conversations with Edwards are delightful and poignant. Telling lies, even if it’s to give people hope, literally slows down the progress of humanity – and especially if it’s to make a quick buck – is despicable behavior. John Edwards is the biggest douche in the universe, as any trip to his real website will verify.

To read interviews with ex-cult members whose leaders were not charismatics but who truly did believe what they were saying, click HERE for Grace Lyerly and HERE for Tifany.

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.

An Announcement About The Zen of South Park’s Revamping and Restructuring

Dear Loyal Reader,

I want to let you know that The Zen of South Park blog will be changing from today forward. Don’t worry – I’m not going anywhere so there’s no need to cry. I am, however, going to be changing what I do on a couple of days. I’ll explain first and then post the schedule.

From now on Mondays will no longer be days for interviews (though when I have them I’ll just post them when they seem appropriate). Monday will be Fun with the Bible day. This may mean different things on different days but basically, I’m going to pick ideas, themes, scenes or passages from the Bible – both the Old and New Testaments (probably on a rotating basis) – and discuss them in ways that hopefully you haven’t thought about before. Whether religious or secular, already familiar with the Bible or not, Fun with the Bible Mondays are for everyone with any interest in learning a little and being inspired about the Bible’s functionality even in the twenty-first century.

Wednesdays will be Quran days. That’s right – we’re going to read the Quran…together! We will begin with the Prologue today and then every week we will read only 100 verses (about 10-15 minutes, don’t worry). I will say my piece about them and then I invite you to respond and say what you thought. This will be an open discussion, and so long as everyone is respectful, I think it will go very well.

The Quran is the holy book of the Muslim religion and should therefore be treated with a great deal of respect. Though we will be reading it with a critical eye like we would any other text, I will not be approving any callously disrespectful or prejudice comments. That said, I think it’s very important for everyone to read the holy books of other religions because it helps us understand other people better, and with the current state of world affairs, I think that reading the Quran is of special importance. I hope you’ll join me on this sure to be fascinating day to read and think about the Quran. Don’t forget to go get yourself a copy or click HERE for multiple translations to read online (click HERE to read the first Quran post)!

The final change in our schedule will be Sundays, which from now on will be Zen days. As The Zen of South Park blog, I thought it was time to incorporate a little Zen into our lives. I will begin by reading very short essays by the Zen master, Dogen, from his Shobogenzo, and providing a few comments on them. When I run out of these Zen essays I will start writing about sayings of Buddha from the Dhammapada and then move onto other texts from Eastern religions.

On all three of these days (Monday, Wednesday and Sunday) I will announce each week what I will be reading the next week so that you can keep up and prepare it yourself if you want to be ready to comment or participate. Jump in at any time or stage.

As for Topical Tuesdays, Around the World Pic of the Day, Movie/Book Review Day and Religion in the News day, all of those will stay as they are. Moreover, I will continue discussing the South Park episodes that are being aired daily, making the schedule:

Sunday: Zen Topics
Monday: Fun with the Bible
Tuesday: Topical Tuesdays – join me and my good friend and fellow author Chandler Craig (chandlermariecraig.wordpress.com) to see our different takes on the topic of the day.
Wednesday: Quran Read-a-Long
Thursday: Around the World – I will post a photo of me at religious sites around the world with a discussion about the location’s significance
Friday: Movie/Book Review Day
Saturday: Religion in the News

To see an index of my blog articles by subject matter and theme, click HERE.

I hope you enjoy the blog’s new structure and stick with us as we begin exploring some of these new subjects.

Best Regards,

Jay

The Zen of South Park Progress Report

I am glad to say that I’m finally back to work on The Zen of South Park. After packing in Atlanta, moving to San Fran, finding an apartment, setting it up with furniture and crap and then a few nights of sickness, I have, at last, begun to sit at my desk daily and plug away.

And it feels great.

We all have projects that we love, and they become such a part of us that to neglect them is like leaving your child in the rain while you go to the local bar. And then beating him when you get home. It’s just not cool – you know?

I am in the very serious editing stages of the book, which is to say that I have quite solid drafts of every chapter and am now perfecting them by tweaking jokes, analyzing word choice and examing the overall structure of each chapter for consistency, flow, and logic. I actually really enjoy this stage of editing because you can see your book go from a piece of writing to a manuscript. While doing this I am also taking notes on the single point of each section in each chapter so that I can properly write an introduction and conclusion.

As I always reiterate, There are no great writers – only great editors.

How is your project going right now? Did you catch the South Park marathon last night? Which episode did you enjoy most. Personally, I love the “Cartoon Wars” episodes. If you’d like to read an essay I wrote on them, called “A Defense of South Park,” click HERE.

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.