Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Unchurched

If you know me, or if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’ve been a long-time member of a church. You also know that I’ve considered myself a Christian, despite what others thought about my thinking that.

Neither of those two things is true any more, although getting to this point has taken a while.

About a year ago I started a test. I hadn’t really intended it to be a test, but it became one. I stopped going to worship every week and instead ended up going about once a month.

And what was the test? It was whether anyone would notice.

For me the important thing about belonging to a church is community.

It’s not the singing. Praise music isn’t important to me—I don’t believe in a God that demands praise. I’m not opposed to thinking of praise as a metaphor for being grateful for things, however. I do have some favorite hymns (and Christmas carols), but with a lot of hymns I don’t pay attention especially to the words (the metaphor of God as king doesn’t work for me, for example). I do like singing, especially in groups, but then that gets back to being in community, so it’s not the singing that’s important but what singing together gets you. (One study found that singing in a choir is good for you, but I think it’s the being part of a group, not the singing itself. And you don’t have to go to church to sing in groups.)

It’s not the sermons. Over 30-odd years of attending church (from age 5 to 18 and then again from about age 30), I figure I’ve heard about 1300 sermons. A few have inspired me, but most I can’t even remember. Something ironic is that my (former) denomination believes that “God is still speaking” and yet every sermon every week is based on the Bible. Yes, you can get an infinite number of sermons based on passages from the Bible (even if you restrict yourself to passages in the Revised Common Lectionary), but at some point it gets old, or at least it has for me. (And yes, progressive Christians such as those in the UCC respect that God speaks through other religions and in other ways, but the UCC’s Christian, not universalist, when it comes to worship and sermons.)

It’s not the Bible. Not that I think there’s nothing good in the Bible—that “Love one another” and caring for the least among us stuff is good—but frankly the world would be a better place if there had never been a Bible. Even ignoring how hatefully the Bible can be used against people, it’s absolutely amazing how much time is spent analyzing Biblical passages. Countless authors have spent countless hours writing books about the Bible, and even more countless people (including me) have read those books. We worship the Bible. Figuring out what it really means is paramount; it’s what church seems to be about. But it shouldn’t be, and understanding the Bible is not the main reason church used to be important for me.

And it’s not the praying. I wrote earlier this year about some of my thoughts on prayer. I know that many people are comforted when others pray for them. To me, however, prayer’s been seeming like the least you can do.
snippet from our church newsletter the week they prayed for me (click to embiggen)
For a couple years, my church has been “car[ing] for each other through prayer, […] praying for several households each week.” The beginning of July was my turn this year. There my name was in the church newsletter, amongst five other households. Even if not everyone who got the newsletter bothered to pray, I knew at least some folks were praying for me.

You know what? Knowing that people at my church were praying for me made me feel worse, not better.

Great, you prayed for me. Did you call me to see how I’ve been doing? Mail me a card to say you’ve missed me? Send me an email to see where I’ve been? Nope, you didn’t, but I’m supposed to feel good because you prayed for me?

 

Actually I do know that people have wondered where I’ve been. The way I know is rather round about, though. A couple weeks ago I had lunch with our church’s senior pastor and my friend. (He was my friend before he was my pastor and he’ll remain my friend after having been my pastor.) He told me that people had asked him about me. I told him that made me crazy. They wonder where I’ve been but can’t contact me directly to ask?!

Over a decade ago this happened to a friend of mine, someone whom I met at church. A fun church story about her is that we were in a small group together, shortly after our church started, and she looked around at everyone, and it dawned on her that everyone else was gay! Although the church had a reputation as the “gay church,” in fact not all the members were gay. The point of mentioning my friend, however, is that a few years later she stopped coming to church for several reasons, and no one noticed. In fact a few people did notice and they asked me where she was, but did anyone call her to see how she was? Nope. I stayed in contact with her and knew why she’d left. She didn’t have to come to my church to remain my friend.

What’s more painful than people wondering where you are but not bothering to ask is people who don’t even notice whether you’re there or not. Last night I went to a fun event downtown and ran into some friends (Bekannte?) from church, a couple who’ve been a part of our church since it met in a storefront. I like them well enough, as, I think, they do me. They came up to me to say hi, and in the course of our conversation I asked if they were still going to our church. Yes, they were, they answered. Wasn’t I?

Not so much any more, is what I told them, and we moved onto other topics. It wasn’t really the right place for a serious answer, and they weren’t the right people to give a serious answer to. If they care, they can find the serious answer here.

     
     

So yeah, I was a part of a church not because of the singing or the sermons or the Bible (or God) or the praying. I was a part of a church because of the community I found there.

Being in community requires effort on the part of all who want to be in community, although each person’s ability to work on being in community varies. And I’m not perfect, so as a Christian, or someone who’s not a Christian but still finds value in some Christian precepts, I shouldn’t judge others for being imperfect. There are plenty of people who’ve left our church for reasons I don’t know because I was one of those who remained but who never called or emailed to find out how those who’d left were doing or why they’d left. And I’ve also not made as much effort as I could have to check on people who have not left the church but who I have good reason to suspect might be lonely or struggling.

I haven’t done nothing, however. I keep a stash of blank cards in my desk at work to make it easier to dash off a note to someone. For a while I was pretty good about it, trying to send at least one card a week to someone. I’ve slacked off, but I still send cards if I find out someone’s suffered a death in their family. Although I shouldn’t judge, I admit I’m rather scornful of those who think adding a comment to a thread on Facebook is a decent way to offer condolences. Still, a handwritten card, taking only a little more effort, really isn’t much more than the least one can do.

A couple years ago a church friend went through an extreme crisis and did something that let a lot of people know about this person’s situation. I hadn’t been a very good friend before this person’s crisis, but I tried to step up when the crisis hit—making an effort to visit, driving this person home, buying this person gas, taking this person to dinner. This person survived the crisis and is in a better situation now, an active member of our church’s community, and I’ve gone back to being the bad friend I was before, not having made any effort to check with this person to see how things are now.

What this person did was a cry for help, and it was an effective one. Something perhaps to be learned from that is that if you need help, you should ask for it. I’m not good at asking for help.

 

Over the last year one way I tried to help myself, and in a way, to ask for help, was to hold a few “Facebook dinner sweepstakes.” I would do a post saying that the Nth person to comment would win dinner with me at a particular restaurant. It wasn’t a bad idea. Each time I had a nice dinner (my treat) and conversation with a friend who, as it happened, I had never spent time one-on-one with before.

As it happened, two of the winners of my dinner sweepstakes were also members of my church. One was someone I’ve known since the beginning days of our church. Another was someone who volunteered with me at the church food pantry. As you might expect, they both asked me why I was doing these dinner sweepstakes. I took a risk and I told them: I’m lonely and I’ve been struggling with depression. Perhaps a bit much to dump on someone expecting a casual dinner but then again not done in a dramatic way, no tears or desperate crying and not the only topic of conversation. And my friends were sympathetic.

But I also did not hear from these friends after our dinners. I don’t mean they didn’t thank me for dinner—both sent nice handwritten notes of thanks. After that, however, they went on with their lives. I can understand that. They’re busy with jobs and taking care of families. But in a way, as with not going to church as often, I’d set up a test, and they failed it.

It’s not fair, though, to say that no one from church has asked me directly how I am. A few have, although only after having been prompted by circumstances.

Last fall, after I sent an email to another of our church’s pastors to let her know about a food pantry volunteer who’d decided to stop attending our church, that pastor in her reply asked if I was okay, mentioning that someone had been asking about me (but not asking me about me!). I gave her an honest answer—that I was feeling disconnected from folks at church and sometimes felt lonely in a crowd there, and she responded sympathetically, offering to meet for coffee or lunch some time. I never took her up on that, although last week she emailed again saying we were long overdue for coffee. We’re meeting this week, which has prompted me finally to write this post, although I’ve been thinking of writing this for a while now.

Earlier this year another church friend asked me why I wasn’t at church much any more. Ironically she posed her question at card ministry, a church activity I still participate in and enjoy. We meet in a member’s stamping studio and make cards to be sent to church members having birthdays or who’ve helped with various church activities or who are ill or have suffered a loss. Stamping isn’t about prayer or the Bible but rather about community, both amongst those making the cards and with those who will receive them. But I didn’t give this friend an honest answer, instead saying something about being busy traveling. It wasn’t a good place for her question or for the answer I could have given.

And then a couple weeks ago, two days after my lunch with my pastor, I got a call and then an email from a friend from church, the food pantry and PFLAG. We missed each other’s calls, so she sent a nice email saying that she missed seeing me around church, that she missed my leadership at the food pantry, and that she hoped I’d be back. I was honest with her, probably more honest than she wanted, saying basically what I’ve written here. One thing I wrote, though, is worth sharing here:

I like the folks at church and I don’t doubt that there are many who would be absolutely willing if I were to call with a specific request for help (e.g., my car’s broken down — can you come now to give me a ride), but I have shared a more general issue with a few people (I’m depressed and I’m lonely) and really gotten nothing from that, which just makes me more depressed, more lonely and more disconnected.

I got absolutely no reply to that, and that amazes me. Yes, she might not have known exactly what to say, but surely she could have come up with something. How about “I’m sorry to hear that. Are you talking to someone about this?” Ugh.

     

And so that’s that. My church is no longer a place I want to be.

Actually any church is no longer a place I want to be. I’ve gone a few times to another church, pastored by two friends of mine (God, I do know a lot of people who are clergy!), but while the people there are nice, I’m not feeling drawn to be there instead of my own church.

Part of why is that I’m tired of the complicated metaphors I’ve used to reconcile being Christian with my beliefs. Thinking of the Divine as the interconnectedness that comes from being in relationship with one another is pretty, but when it comes right down to it, I’m an atheist. Thinking of praising God in song or prayer as being grateful for what we have is nice, but we can be mindful of how lucky we are without bringing God into it. Thinking of prayer as a way to bring awareness of others’ needs is okay, but instead of asking God to do something, how about we each consider what we ourselves can do to help ourselves and those around us?

For a long time jumping through those hoops was worthwhile because I valued being part of a church. Now that I no longer do, there’s no point in playing semantic games about whether I’m a Christian. I’m not.

Despite the fact that I’ve been very negative in this post, I recognize that I am very privileged and that focusing more on being positive and less on being negative would help me to feel better about life. Not going to church is going to be a part of that. If I can’t go to church without feeling negative, then I shouldn’t go to church.

I still plan on being part of the stamping group, because I like it, and I won’t rule out ever going to any church activities such as picnics or retreats. I’ll still send out the weekly newsletter when the guy who normally does it is unavailable. I’ll train someone on the database I developed if the church does another service auction.

But there’ll be no more worship services for me. No more pretending I’m a Christian. No more seeking something that isn’t there to be found. I’m unchurched.

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Rubi Girls, James Bond and Marion’s pizza

I thought I’d mention a few fun things I did this past weekend, lest you get the impression from Sunday’s post that my life’s all gloom and doom.

Saturday evening I saw the Rubi Girls at the Dayton Art Institute. The highlight of the evening was a special 10th anniversary showing of the Rubi Girls documentary film by Jonathan McNeal (aka Ileasa Plymouth), followed by a live performance, all in the Renaissance Theater.
Taj Mahal and me in my brand new t-shirt
The proceeds of the evening were split 50/50 between the Rubi Girls to support AIDS organizations and the DAI towards a new sound system (which, as I’ve noted before, is desperately needed). The Rubi Girls were fun, as always, even doing a rendition of the ever-popular Rubi Dance.

After the show, everyone moved to the Gothic Cloister for the after party. Souvenir t-shirts were on sale, the bars were flowing, the Rubi Girls were mingling, and everyone was enjoying the food catered by Dana Downs of Roost Modern Italian. Unfortunately this was the last time we’d be able to enjoy Dana’s food at the DAI, as they have parted ways (see “Restaurant owner says lack of revenue, disagreements doomed Art Institute partnership”) and Leo Bistro is now managed by Elite Catering, with a new menu lacking favorites such as the Branh Mi sandwich (ginger lemongrass pork, carrot daikon pickle, siracha mayo, bacon jam, yum!), which luckily I had one last time the week before. I do like going to Roost itself but I’ve really enjoyed having Leo Bistro right across the street. I will try out the new Elite Catering Leo Bistro in the hopes that it’s worth patronizing.


Martin Bevis peforming on the Wurlitzer Organ at Victoria Theatre
I spent Sunday afternoon with my mother. First we went to Victoria Theatre to see one of their Cool Films. This weekend was James Bond weekend and the Sunday movie was Live and Let Die, the first Bond film to star Roger Moore, my favorite of the James Bonds, perhaps because Sean Connery was before my time. The movie was preceded by Martin Bevis performing on the Wurlitzer organ and then a Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote cartoon. I liked James Bond but something I didn’t realize watching Bond when I was kid is how inept the criminals in this film are: if you want to kill James Bond, don’t stick him on a rock in a pond full of crocodiles and then walk away—just shoot him!

After the movie, Mother and I went to Marion’s Piazza to use our 48th anniversary 48% off coupons. To celebrate their anniversary, Marion’s used to sell pizzas at their 1965 prices, but they switched a couple years ago to offering a discount matching their anniversary—here’s hoping they keep the current policy for their 100th anniversary and that I’m still around! Marion’s was born the same year I was, and I’ve been eating Marion’s pizza all my life (the sausage may look like animal droppings, but it’s delicious!). You can read another fun Marion’s memory here. The deal with the anniversary coupons is that you can’t phone in orders but have to place them at the restaurant. Marion’s is very efficient, though, so the line moves quickly. I was wearing my brand new Rubi Girls t-shirt, and interestingly three different people, including the manager at Marion’s, asked me about it. The Marion’s manager wanted to know if I was one of the Rubi Girls. Another person said they loved the Rubi Girls. A third person asked if I knew Josh Stucky aka Dana Sintell (I do); it turns out she went to high school with him but amazingly has never seen him perform!

So there you have three fun things to do whether you live in Dayton or are just visiting. Actually folks who aren’t native Daytonians often don’t like Marion’s, but they’re crazy!

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

What’s Facebook good for? (church edition)
Facebook logo

How Facebook isn’t good for church
(click to embiggen)
I’m resurrecting my Facebook series for one more post because God wants me to. Okay, okay, I don’t actually believe in God, but given the timing of two things, it’s tempting to think God is calling me to write about how Facebook is not good for churches.

Two days after my blog post about becoming unchurched, a church friend of mine posted in our (former) church’s FB group. She wrote, “I am still in such disbelief of the lack of support/contact from what I previously considered my church family.” That resonated with me because I feel the same thing, but unlike me, who posted on an obscure blog that no one reads, this friend, by posting on Facebook, made sure that people at church (at least 58 of them) would see what she wrote.

And cue the surprised and the “if only you’d said something” responses:

  • “I don’t remember seeing a post from you saying you needed support.”
  • “I may have missed your posts about a need of support.”
  • We “would love to see you back at church. That way we would definitely see you more than twice a year.”
  • I am “also puzzled by your post. I have scrolled back over the last 2 months of posts on this site and could not find a request for prayer or assistance from you.”
  • “I too scrolled back 2 months and couldn’t find a post either.”
  • “I sent you an IM; it might have gone to your ‘Other’ folder.”

Click on the image to the right to read the whole sad thing (including my snarky response at the bottom).

In my blog post last Sunday I wrote that “being in community requires effort on the part of all who want to be in community,” but I also wrote that “each person’s ability to work on being in community varies.” So while it’s not good to judge people who can’t read minds and don’t know when someone in their community is feeling alone or depressed, it might be helpful too for them to realize that someone who’s feeling alone or depressed might not have the energy to reach out for help.

In other words, “if only you’d said something” is not a very helpful response to someone who complains about not having received support.

The thing is (and I’ll use God language here since I’m writing about church even though I don’t believe in God), God doesn’t call us to be mind readers but does call us to be mindful of one another.

Sometimes typing a comment on Facebook is the wrong thing to do (believe me, I know). Step back from your stupid computer, and pick up your phone. Wonder why someone’s no longer coming to church? Call him. Wonder why someone is venting about church not supporting her? Call her.

And do not ask your pastor where someone’s been. Your pastor may very well know, but if you want to know, you have a tool that you can use to find out. And it’s not Facebook.

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

A good place to find some solitude is Cox Arboretum on a Sunday morning.

My first stop today was the Butterly House. I’d visited last month shortly after it opened for the season but that was a bust—tons of kids, both of the lepidopteran and human kinds, but hardly any butterflies and no peace or quiet. This morning was kid-free, and there were lots of butterflies.

Next was the Tree Tower, which is just beyond the Butterfly House. The tower is a new addition to the arboretum. A couple of ladies were descending as I arrived, but then I had the tower to myself. Pleasant breeze, nice views, good place to clear one’s mind.

I didn’t have a specific destination in mind after I left the tower, but I did decide to veer off the pathways and walk on the grass through the trees. I’m glad I did because I was able to get the nice shot of the tower that you see to the left.

My final stop was the south pond, or to be more specific a bench in the shade by the pond. A few walkers passed and one couple jogging but otherwise it was surprisingly quiet. A perfect place to spend an hour reading. I finished one book and started another.

The book I finished was Stephen Fry’s memoir, Moab is My Washpot, about his years growing up away from home at boarding schools. Fry’s making the news right now for having written an open letter calling on British Prime Minister David Cameron to get the 2014 Winter Olympics moved from homophobic Russia. I’d heard of Fry before this, at least vaguely (oh, yeah, he played Mycroft in the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes), but I didn’t know he’d written any books. This one’s ten years old.

Part of why I liked Moab is that I’m a bit of an anglophile. I grew up reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. I don’t know why would an American kid from the Midwest would enjoy learning about an English way of life that doesn’t exist any more, but there are plenty of Americans who like the royals and watch Downton Abbey. Part of Fry’s vocabulary is like a foreign language, not all of which is available in dictionaries or online. It’s easy enough to figure out Heinz Salad Cream and buttons A and B and tuck shops, but what’s with dividend tea?

I also liked Moab because different though Fry’s life is from mine, I understand much of what he went through as an adolescent. He hated gym and sports (or in British, games and sport). He had to deal with kids at school calling him queer. He had an obsessive crush on a cute boy. And he loved to read, seeking out books that explained who he was:

Today the gay boy in every section of society has a world of gay music, dance and television to endorse his identity. … They don’t need a parcel of old poofs historically sequestered in Capri and Tangier to tell them who they are and where they come from and whether or not they have the right to hold their heads up high. I did need them, however. I needed them desperately and without them I am not sure what I would have done to myself.

I needed them too, although I didn’t discover that some of the old poofs like Auden and Forster were in fact old poofs until after I was out of high school.

Although his story is rather serious at times, what with growing up gay and a thief (finally hitting rock bottom at 18 and going to jail for his thieving), Fry’s a great story teller, taking a path connecting incidents in what at first may seem meandering but in fact works to keep our attention and hit all the points Fry wants to touch. I enjoyed it so much that I’ll be getting Fry’s novel The Liar (parts of which, Fry explains in Moab, are based on Fry’s life) and his second autobiography The Fry Chronicles.

The book I started today was Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, an account of her year of grief after her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died unexpectedly. I haven’t gotten far enough into it to say much about it, although already something Didion quoted has got me to thinking. Thinking about grief, Didion quotes from a letter a priest sent her after her mother died:

The death of a parent, he wrote, “despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago.”

Perhaps why this struck me is that yesterday and today I’ve been thinking about my biological father and about my uncle Bill.

Yesterday, googling myself (sounds naughty, but don’t we all do it?), I discovered my father’s grave (on Find a Grave). Well actually it’s not his grave. I know where my father’s remains are, and they’re not where this tombstone is. I guess it’s rather fitting that he’s not there, because he was certainly not in my life when I was looking for him. I never mourned my father’s death—he wasn’t capable of being a father really—but it’s true that even now, thinking of him “cut[s] free memories and feelings that [I] had thought gone to ground long ago.”

I had a father figure whose death I did grieve, however, and that was my uncle Bill. His birthday’s this month, so I was already thinking of him, but this morning I happened to check my website’s log and saw that some Internet visitor had been on my page about my uncle. I pulled it up myself and re-read the eulogy I gave five years ago. It made me cry again. Uncle Bill was someone I could talk to about books, and I miss him.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Web logs, dealing with bots, and an AutoHotKey tip

I've written about my site’s log files before, noting some strange activity and popular search terms. Every time I check my log I find attempts to break into an admin area on my site or to post something, even though I don’t allow comments on my blog. Sometimes I take time to add offending IP addresses to a blacklist, although that’s like trying to plug a leak in a dike.

One such log entry that caught my eye today was one from someone looking for the page “/blog/tag-Whining Goto: Forum List "Attach a file ..." illumination&ct=clnk.” I do have a Whining blog tag but there’s no place on my website where people can attach files. This entry came from 192.69.90.198, which belongs to volumedrive.com, which seems to host a lot of spambots.

Another log entry was from 192.119.154.162, an Avante Hosting Services address assigned to Ryan Wilson. This entry had POST data for a spammy comment (“Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our area library however I think I found out more clear from this post.”). I won’t include the URL but will mention that it was for a domain that is not even registered. Perhaps this spammer was just testing to see if a comment would go through, although a quick glance at this site would show that there are no comments.

Another set of interesting log entries were from IP addresses 95.160.18.178 and 95.160.105.174, both of which belong to the Polish cable company Vectra. Someone from Poland wanted to log into my website’s WordPress admin page but wasn’t able to. If you’d like to try, visit http://www.davidlauri.com/wp-login.php. Why don’t I care if you try to get into WordPress on my site? Because WordPress isn’t installed on my site. I do have a WordPress login page, but it’s just a dummy page I set up after I realized people were trying to hack into WordPress here. I don’t doubt that there are hackers who could get into WordPress if I had it installed, which is why they look for it, but it’s not really here to be found.

I used to block unwanted IP addresses using my site’s .htaccess with rewrite lines like:

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} 192\.119\.154\.162
RewriteRule .* - [F]

but a couple years ago I switched my site’s DNS to CloudFlare, which blocks a lot of abusive bots and crawlers automatically and also makes it much easier to block additional IP addresses, either individually or by entire ranges (e.g., 95.160.18.0/24). CloudFlare offers free and paid accounts, but the free account’s been sufficient for my needs and has drastically reduced the amount of hits on my site from bots, although some, like the ones mentioned above, do still get through.


Images used in AutoHotKey macro
I visit CloudFlare about once a week to block some more IP addresses. That’s often enough that I wrote an AutoHotKey macro so that I can press F1 on CloudFlare’s threat control page to activate the IP address field and then F1 again to click on the block button. If you have AutoHotKey, you can copy the macro below (click on the to expand it). You’ll also need to copy the two images to the right.


 myImageSearch(ByRef X, ByRef Y, X1, Y1, X2, Y2, options, image) {
Friday, August 23rd, 2013

See your friends as more than words on a screen

I lifted the title of this post from a post of the same name I found today.


These exact same words
seem to be occuring to a lot of people lately
I found the post after I saw yet another occurence of the latest Facebook meme (which you can see to the left). It’s very similar to another FB meme I wrote about back in April. I was pretty harsh about the April meme, mocking it and citing it as an example of stupidity on FB. I could do the same for this latest meme—you’re “going to be watching to see who takes care of the friendship” by copying and pasting a meme!?—but that’s not why I am pointing out this version.

No, I’m writing because after having googled to see how many copies of this meme I could find, I found John Pettitt’s post, “See your friends as more than words on a screen.”

John’s post starts off with the meme’s text—“It occurs to me that…”—but issues a challenge and offers a reflection about a lost friend.

What pushed John to the point of writing about “the same inane, unoriginal copy and pasted pablum” was that a friend of his recently committed suicide, and John was struck by the “endless cries [on Facebook] of why didn’t he reach out, we’d have been there for you etc.” That reminded me of similar responses in a FB group that I blogged about earlier this month.

In his post, John challenges his friends “instead of copying [the meme] blindly, [to] write something original about their friends, friendship and life.” He points out that “if you really value your friends, if you really need help, a shoulder to cry on, a person to talk to, turn the damn computer off and go and talk to a real person.”

Something about John’s challenge that’s important for me to be mindful of is that it’s not directly only at people I might think should be making an effort to contact me but that it’s also directed at me. I should turn my own damned computer off (and stay off FB with its stupid memes) and go and talk to a real person.

P.S. John Pettitt has a really fun domain name, only four characters long: p.tt

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Happy birthday, Uncle Bill!


My uncle Bill in 196x on the day of his graduation from University of Virginia
Today would have been my uncle Bill’s 70th birthday.

He earned a PhD in English literature at the University of Virginia. The photo of him to the left is of him in Charlottesvilla on the day of his graduation. I don’t know the year, but since he graduated high school in 1961, I’d imagine this would have been around 1968 or 1969.

You can learn more about my uncle Bill by reading what I said about him at his memorial service in 2008.

P.S. Someone from Cape Town, South Africa visited my blog this morning after having searched for Saudi gay stories uncle and nephew. My uncle did indeed live in Saudi Araba for several years, and I’m gay, but I expect that my South African visitor will find better results elsewhere.

 
Blog tools
<< August 2013 >>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Tags
AJ Wagner (2)
Amazon Kindle Fire (4)
Amazon.com (2)
American Express (2)
American Family Association (3)
Amy Grant (2)
Berlin (4)
Books (15)
Candi Cushman (1)
ChMS (3)
Christianists (16)
Christianity (21)
Christmas (2)
COM101 (4)
Computer tips (20)
Conservatives (6)
Cross Creek Community Church (28)
Cute actors (4)
Dan Savage (3)
David Esrati (9)
Dayton (52)
Dayton Art Institute (3)
Dayton Christian High School (2)
Dayton City Paper (5)
Dayton Daily News (15)
Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations (4)
Dayton Gay Mens Chorus (11)
Dean Lovelace (3)
Derek (9)
Dick Chema (2)
Diversity Dayton (2)
Driving (4)
Drunkenness (6)
English (2)
Epiphany Lutheran Church (3)
Exodus (2)
Facebook (13)
Fairborn High School (6)
False prophets (2)
Feeding Friends (2)
Firefox (2)
Flash (2)
Frankfurt (3)
French films (3)
Gary Leitzell (11)
Gay (85)
Gay bars (2)
Geekiness (5)
German (3)
Germany (34)
Good Friday (3)
Google (2)
Government forms (6)
Grafton Hill (4)
Greasemonkey (2)
Greek Orthodox Church (2)
Hamburg (2)
Hebrew (3)
Issue 1 (5)
Joey D. Williams (2)
Köln (3)
Ken Blackwell (2)
Kiva (1)
Lüneburg (20)
Library (2)
München (2)
Mark Luedtke (1)
Marriage (23)
Mary Cheney (2)
Mazer (4)
MeetFred (3)
Microsoft (10)
Mike Turner (3)
Movies (14)
MVFHC (3)
My stupidity (5)
Nan Whaley (1)
Natalie Barney (1)
Neon Movies (10)
Occupy Dayton (4)
Ohio (2)
Olive (2)
Oregon District (4)
Panera (7)
Park Layne (3)
Parking (5)
Parties (2)
Paul Noah (1)
Paul Pyle (4)
Photos (49)
Politics (36)
Proposition 8 (2)
Racism (3)
Remembering (34)
Republicans (4)
Reviews (9)
Scams (5)
Sean Harris (1)
Sirius (1)
Snow (6)
SPAM (5)
Stivers (2)
Teaching (6)
Telemarketing (3)
Tomatoes (2)
Travel (12)
TV Guide (2)
Typing (6)
Uncle Bill (10)
Verizon (5)
Web design (bad) (17)
Web hosts (4)
Whining (61)
Wright State University (6)
Writing (5)
Yellow Springs (2)
Other months
Email
david@davidlauri.com