This meme has gone viral on facebook!  Here’s mine.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

STUFF I DISLIKE

1. HOLIDAYS

Hallmark holidays where people to expect me to emote on queue (Pavlov, anyone?). Saying “I love you” on valentines day feels like an obligation, not an opportunity.

2. PEEVES

I have pet peeves which I’ve blogged on, but certain things really get under my skin – hearing other people masticating when I am not and it is quiet, guys who pee in the sit-down toilet when a perfectly good urinal is available, overused low-brow preacher jokes, and car doors that open outwards. See details below

THINGS ABOUT MY PERSONALITY YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW

3. MY OPINION IS FREE, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST

You don’t have to ask me for my opinion more than once, and sometimes, less than once. But I will tell you when I just don’t know, and am aware of the limits of what I know (most of the time). And yes, I am uncomfortably familiar with Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in
expressing his own heart.”

4. SENSE OUT OF NONSENSE

One author said that all psychologists are just adult children trying to heal themselves. Another said “we teach what we need to know.” I have always tried to make sense out of nonsense – order out of chaos. Like many, my existential pain drives me to find answers. This led me into science, then theology. They are a natural pair. Add Philosophy and you’ve got a trifecta.

5. I LOVE TO DEBATE

Call it discussion, arguing, whatever you like, I enjoy intellectual sparring. When I first met the Jewish side of my family at age 27, we argued religion and politics for over an hour before my uncle starting laughing, saying “You may not have been raised Jewish, but you sure argue like one!” After a lifetime of feeling a little different from my family, I found a deep sense of finally being around people who were like me. It was a game. A serious one, but taking the contrary position to see what’s true, and just to spar, comes naturally. It’s unspeakable fun as long as it remains good-natured, even when it’s intense.

6. I LOVE CATS

I am a tried and true cat person. I’ve had to work hard to not despise dog owners (cf. Dog people : golf :: cat people : ???), but it all comes down to this – cat people love repose, contemplation, and quiet. That’s me. I love animals, including dogs, but they are not like me, they are noisy and overly playful.

7. IMMUNITY TO GUILT

After five years in a spiritually controlling Christian organization, I am almost entirely immune to guilt manipulation, even when I am guilty. Try it and find out – you’ll get less than nowhere with me. I can pass 100 San Francisco panhandlers without remorse, though at times I do feel compassion (see #8).

OTHER STUFF

8. HITCHHIKERS

I almost always pick up hitchhikers because once, I was one. God protects me, and I love them. I do, however, have four conditions, however, which will cause me to pass them by – otherwise, I always stop.

  • Am I late for something important?
  • Do I have women or children in the car?
  • Am I carrying anything really valuable, like my guitar? (My car doesn’t count)
  • Do I get a hesitation in my spirit from God?If not, I screech to the side, esp. in the rain.

9. BOOKS AS FRIENDS

For years, esp. high school and parts of my adult life, I have really lived by the motto “If it wasn’t for books, I wouldn’t have any friends at all.” My love for books goes way beyond mere love of ideas. They are my security blanket. On depressing days, I will carry a book under my arm or in my hand all day. Often, the Bible, but not always – but I do LOVE the leather in my hands. i love the smell of books, new and old. I can spend all weekend in a large University library.

10. LOC v. DEWEY DECIMAL:

I plan to index my books, and hope to one day have a two story library with over 4K volumes (I have about 600 now), most of which I hope to have read. And I have already decided to use the Library of Congress indexing system, not the Dewey Decimal system. It’s just more elegant, and I spent many hours in the UNC-CH Davis Library, which used that system.

11. SILENCE AND CONTEMPLATION

I would rather spend sunny weekends indoors reading, with a cup of tea and a cat curled at my side, than anything. I actually don’t like spending time with people. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times I want to hang out with people, but even more when I wish for long stretches of silence. Like days.

12. SPIRITUAL PARADOXES

The greatest lesson I’ve ever learned, and hope to write a seminal book on, is that most profound truths appear in paradoxical pairs. Love and truth. Mercy and justice. Free will and predestination. They communicate so much, yet have a persistent mystery that defies human reason. I like that.

13. BUDDHISM

I have a deep respect and love for Buddhism, and still practice awareness meditation (and Yoga, which is Hindu). I explored and benefited from these when I left Xianity for 6 years (after 10 years of being a Christian). I found Buddhism, however, incomplete, without a personal transcendent God or principles that translate into a complete world view. It seems especially lacking in useful ideas of justice and social structure. Christianity seems to outshine all others in producing freedom and virtue.

14. STUFF I’LL NEVER DO

I don’t have a bucket list, and I DO plan to pursue things I love as a vocation rather than an avocation (reading, writing, speaking, mentoring), but there are a few things I wish I could have done that I probably either no longer can, or won’t have time for. They include:

  • Body building
  • Speaking Mandarin Chinese fluently
  • Participating in finally curing cancer (I spent 5 years doing Cancer research)
  • Designing my own auto (see pet peeves article above)

15. OUTLANDISH STUFF I HOPE TO DO

There are some grand things I am aiming for. They include:

  • Professionally debate as an apologist (William Lane Craig, teach me)
  • Write a series of best-sellers that are perennials, rather than ephemeral. Mostly non-fiction, but perhaps one satire.
  • Reach into really dark places with the gospel
  • Get back into a rock/blues cover band to sing and jam those pentatonic solos
  • Be part of a dynamic church team that is refreshingly transparent, frail, strong, and true
  • Be interviewed on Fresh Air (Terry Gross) for one of my books
  • Have one of my letters read on The O’Reilly Factor

16.ASTROLOGY AND THE ZODIAC

Unlike many Christians, I put just a little credence in the personality profiles of the zodiac. I am a classic Capricorn. I enjoy the out of favor doctrine of (the Gospel in the Zodiac. Somehow, God used the pagan astrology of the Zoroastrian wise men to lead them to Jesus. Should we attempt to be guided by the stars or mediums when we have the more sure word of God? No. But we can learn from nature, and I get secret enjoyment when I see my personality so clearly displayed in Capricorn descriptions.

17. LOVE-HATE BEING A DAD

Raising kids is even more joyful and satisfying than I could have imagined. But as a reclusive person who used to read and contemplate a lot, I have suffered a lot not having time to myself, and I not so secretly suspect that it is harder for me than for most people who don’t have my level of need for repose. My amazon wishlist is over 500 books, my pile of unread books at home is over 100, and I do NOT buy every book I think I want to read. And I’ve already got a list of FIVE books I want to write, and have outlined a few, and I just can’t get to them. And then there’s my unfinished education…

18. PHD

Yep, I want to get a PhD – not to say that “I did it,” but just to be able to have the joy of delving deeply into my subjects of interest, and feeling a greater mastery of them. Heck, multiple PhD’s would be nice, but that’s not realistic.

19. MEXICAN FOOD AND CULTURE

I have become really glad that, despite the difficulties, I married someone from outside of my culture, and have come to really love authentic Mexican food, made with love. I never knew that fresh tamales, raw jalepenos, fresh corn tortillas, and horchata were so good.

20. NIGHT OWL

Yep, just like Mom. When I visited her once on vacation, we instantly got on the ‘go to sleep at dawn, sleep till 2 or 3 pm’ schedule. Once I pass 10PM, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t slept for 24 hours, I get a second wind for a few hours. I often have to FORCE myself to go to bed. I hate the fact that much of the world is designed for morning people. I feel like a short person in the kitchen – who put those cabinets up so high? I make that same face as the Great Horned Owl if you talk to me within 90 minutes of my waking. I like the silence of the night more than that of sunrise. Gaming all night? You bet.

21. GAMING

I do love to computer game once in a while, but I’m very narrow in what I like to play – just First Person Shooters (FPS). Third person, RTS, MMORPG? Nope. I just don’t care. I like the adrenaline. We all have our mindless pleasures, and that’s mine. Currently enjoying Crysis (without AA turned on ;).22. SING THE BLUES: I met my wife when I was the lead singer in a blues/rock cover band – you know, the kind you see in the bars at tourist destinations – they sing all that ‘Vietnam era’ music like CCR, the Beatles, Stones, and their more modern stuff is usu. the Eagles, maybe Bad Company – and of course, they all do Brown Eyed Girl. I did my best on CCR, and my growly blues voice takes people by surprise because my speaking voice is not like that. My wife came in as a backup singer, and well, she was pretty. And she sings like an angel. Really.

23. CHAMPAGNE TASTE

I’m not one who needs the best of everything, and I often buy stuff that is cheap when I should’ve sprung for the quality item. But, like all humans, I really love luxury. My car is the largest in it’s class (Chrysler LHS). And it’s not big enough. I like leather couches (though mine are pleather near the end of their 10 year life). I have a CA King bed, and it’s too small for my taste. I must’ve been born a Texan, even though I was born in NJ. Maybe Mom lied. One of the things I missed most when in Europe was the space in America. Small cars and streets made me claustrophobic – it wasn’t charming. The first thing I bought when I got back was a Big Gulp.24. O’REILLY HABIT: I record and watch the O’Reilly factor very night. Even crazier? My immigrant wife is now addicted. Go figure. I wish he would spit more.

25. MY LIFE

My favorite movie of all time is My Life. It deals with inner child wounds, reconciliation, emotional openness to one’s spouse, living authentically, and facing your own death. I cried the first five times I watched it.

26. LOVE THE SUNSHINE

I admit it – I can’t leave California. After growing up suffering the cold NJ winters, I never want to be cold again. You know those clear, warm, sunny days when it’s just great to be alive? We have those most every day. I think SAD is a real thing (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I don’t have it here.

27. LINUS

Linus is one of my inspirations. I sucked my thumb till about 9 years old, and I often carry a book like a security blanket. And I fancy myself smart like him too.28. I LIKE TO BREAK UNIMPORTANT RULES: See? I bet you slavishly stuck to 25 items. Or maybe you’re just trying to be polite to others instead of making them read a tome. I contend that there is such a thing as ‘healthy rebellion.’ John the Baptist and Jesus were both Spiritual Wildmen who broke the foolish rules of men when following God demanded it.