Clove’s Notes

September 29, 2016

Jesus Doesn’t Seem to Like Sharing

Most of us can remember the friends we loved during our childhoods, and if we’re lucky, we’ll have the opportunity to cross paths with these members of our nostalgia every so often throughout our lifetime. I recently had the opportunity to engage with one of my oldest childhood friends, but unfortunately, this latest encounter we had was sad and heartbreaking. My now ex-friend has adopted a Christian world view that ultimately ended our long-term friendship.

Let me take you back a little and say that in our youth, we were ‘thick as thieves’. Two skinny white kids with parents struggling to make ends meet. We discovered and shared a love for hip hop. We went trick or treating together on Halloween, and came up with clever ways to ‘inspire’ cash donations for Unicef, which we winded up keeping and spending on more candy later, never having intended to hand in these elicit donations. This one time, we walked into the local corner store and stuffed our school backpacks with whole boxes of chocolate bars and candy. I realize now that we got away with a lot of it because of privilege.

We were both raised Catholic and attended Catholic elementary school in Toronto. We both had contempt for Catholicism, and we mocked its rituals (which I still do to this day :P). For some reason, it didn’t seem to speak as loudly to us as it did to our surrounding classmates. We both acted out in predictable ways that befit children whose homes are fueled by alcoholism and separations. We were, in fact, a couple of young punk thieves, and we bonded with that, we gravitated towards each other with new schemes to hatch out hoping to make some quick loot. It was our thing.

We spent a lot of time together, even a couple of Christmases. However, my thieving came to an end when I was pinched for stealing from my job. I was almost 16 years old at the time, and being exposed to those consequences, shifted my moral compass more towards compassion. It did, however, take a substantial amount of time afterwards to develop enough integrity to stop trying to justify my bad behaviour, but once this shift happened, there was no going back, the behaviour was wrong, and I was wrong for having taken from others. I realize now that I was not looking out for the well-being of others, and it could easily be argued that I wasn’t even looking out for my own.

My friend, however, chose a much more nomadic lifestyle, going on the adventure by hitchhiking his way across Canada, living in foreign countries, and getting into countless hi-jinx. I was always impressed by his ability to survive without the need for stability, in fact, I envied it. He told me how important it was to gain some life experience to kick-start his dreams of being a writer. The stories he brought back from the road need to find their way in to print… his tales of adventure are that good!

He eventually moved to an entirely different country with different cultures, customs, and justice. He started distributing narcotics to other Ex-Pats and would engage in scamming tourists after he had picked up the language enough to freely interact with the locals. Although the scams where extremely clever, and I know he pulled them off with ease, I could tell he was somewhat conflicted, bouncing the ideas off me in a way that was seeking my familiar support.

I was vocal on areas I disagreed with, and he seemed OK with that and absorbed my honesty with grace because he could trust it. Our relationship felt strong because if anything, I felt we were being completely honest with each other. This bond was not strong enough to last forever though… the beginning of the end was only triggered when he recently embraced the faith-based worldview of Christianity. Most Christians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing are kind, sensitive, caring individuals who value the well-being of others over their beliefs. Some Christians however, seem to resent non-believers, and receive criticism to their faith (in areas I particularly find illogical) as attacks, and are only interested in engaging with people that can demonstrate a belief in things (or beings) without empirical evidence.

His brand of Christianity arrogantly claims; all other religions as confused; homosexuality as ‘chosen’ behaviour undeserving of equal civil rights; men naturally make better leaders and are the true heads of households; same-sex marriage is a sin worthy of punishment; slavery is not the same as indentured servitude; evolution is a hoax; non-believers such as myself are lost, and need help finding a path to Christ, etc… It was shocking and confusing to realize my longtime friend had chosen to subscribe to such an unreasonable and bronze age worldview.

I came to the conclusion that my old friend was no longer interested in being my friend at all. He was, however, interested in ‘taking’… excuse me, ‘saving’, my soul. Our conversation went off the rails once he proselytized by sharing a Christian propaganda article in my Private Messages. This article was aimed at exposing the Child Welfare System in Norway as an evil entity that steals children from loving Christian parents in the middle of the night. In hindsight, he only shared this article with me to divert his argument towards the ‘Straw Man‘ he was trying to build. I knew then my old friend was going to vilify my world view as a means to piously disengage.

What I quickly learned from google is that the Child Welfare System in Norway is called Barnevernet, and that they forcefully remove children from families that indoctrinate their children with religious faith, and further protecting them from potential abuses such as genital mutilation, underage marriage, limited access to education, and so on. I applaud the Norwegian government for placing children’s rights ahead of parental rights because too much abuse is happening in silence by religious parents who can’t exercise enough critical thinking skills to realize that they are willfully exposing their children to unnecessary misery and harm. Seeing as the children in these circumstances have a right to privacy, Barnevernet has never responded to any religious attacks to ensure privacy for the kids. Needless to say this is a one-sided issue from Christians, and it’s being fueled by their dogma. My now ex-friend used this as a means to draw his Christian line in the sand.

After our lengthy conversation on Facebook, I can easily say that his newly found faith is but another layer to his ongoing shenanigans to manipulate the ignorant and willing. Our friendship, after all, was an acceptable amount of collateral damage to reinforcing his worldview. He was willing to sacrifice our friendship to prove how much faith he has. I’m no longer sad about this loss because we’ve shared a lot of history together, and they were good times, but we’ve grown apart. He can’t seem to reconcile being friends with both myself and Jesus at the same time.

Once he said his goodbye’s by laying some verses from the book of Romans on me and gave his final blessings to me and my family, I felt sad. I’ve been hesitating to share the dialogue that took place in our secret group, but feel it’s important to be able to spot the familiar narratives that drive religion to sacrifice long term friendships. It’s is also important to keep challenging their dogma when it’s encroaching into friendships, and rejecting claims that are unsupported by empirical evidence. I did, however, change his name and location to keep his identity concealed.

The final thread.

November 28, 2014

Dear Ronin, An Open Letter To My Black Son

As your father, it is my duty to protect you and your sisters, to be sure you are free from physical and emotional harm during your childhood. It’s my job to make sure you are equipped with all the tools I’ve used to navigate the grown-up world.

Fatherhood has presented me with some exciting and scary challenges over the years, and you have helped me be a much better father more than I could have ever predicted. And even though, I wrestle with my own insecurities every day, I want to eliminate that cycle of putting my baggage on to you, as my father did with me. I promise to always make myself available to you for anything, and more importantly, I promise to never lie to you. When needed, I will always share with you my personal experiences (age-appropriate of course) to help you gain a better perspective to any confusion you may be faced with while growing up, and continuing on into adulthood.

Having said this, (deep breath) I will always be there for you my son… and this next part is the kick-start of an ongoing and sometimes unpleasant conversation we need to have… You need to know that racism is real, and my personal experience with racism will be different from yours. You will experience racism from a black male perspective, which is something I have never experienced. I promise that if you have questions about racism, I will make sure you get the answers you deserve.

Again, it is my duty to prepare you as best I can… So I encourage you to reach out to our friends and family who have firsthand experience with being a black man. You can always count on your uncle Wilson, uncle Gerry, along with Grandpa Joseph, and any of my friends to make time for you.

I am so proud that you are my son. You have brought me more joy than you can imagine. You are everything to me, and I will always love you, no matter what!

Your pale and loving Father. 😉

#DearBlackMen #BlackLivesMatter

August 23, 2014

Chick Tracts! What?!

The original ‘viral’ message.

Back when I was about 13 years young, and living with my father in Toronto. I used to do a lot of travelling on the city transit system (TTC), and I remember seeing for a short period of time, these hand sized comic books called Chick Tracts. I used to LOVE reading these…

I would get so excited seeing a new tract that I hadn’t read yet, just waiting for me in an empty seat! Sometimes, the previous reader of this newly found tract, would blatantly tuck the thin comic into one of the buses window seals, patiently waiting to spread the word of god… one idling passenger at a time. I was a believer at the time, and the stories were scary. They especially made me think about my relationship with God. I would try to remind myself that no matter what this Chick tract was telling me, there would never be a legitimate reason to send a child to the worst place imaginable ‘HELL!’ was there?…

It was a legitimate concern back then. Suddenly, and as quickly as the tracts had made their way through the Toronto Transit System, they disappeared. Never to be found again. I chalked it up to ‘new cleanliness policies’ on the transit system. Then slowly, over time, I completely forgot about these, until i came across The Bible Reloaded you tube channel and watched one of their Chick Tract readings.

Being inspired by this new memory, I did a little more research, and as it turns out, I can thank the Canadian government for banning this propaganda from crossing our borders. Thanks Canada!

Chick Publications is the brainchild of Jack T. Chick who also created full-sized comic books Crusader Comics, and my totes fav was titled Exorcist‘! 

 If these bring you back… Enjoy!

If you haven’t seen this… this is for real!

March 16, 2014

North Carolina

I had such a great time visiting the beautiful city of Raleigh (Pronounced Raw-Lee) North Carolina! I was in town for business and was fortunate to meet up with Terilyn from Digging Discography, Nicole from What’s the Tea podcast and Leonard from L. Brothers Media, LLC. I showed up an hour late like a hollywood douchebag but ended up feeling like I was meeting and catching up with old friends. We shared some great stories but for some weird reason, none of us took any pictures… Wha! Next time I’m there I will take a ton of pics. Great city, great people, Raleigh North Carolina is my new favorite place!

February 5, 2014

The Biz-nass of Creation.

Bill Nye loves the kids.

I am a non-believer raised catholic and take issue with teaching our children things that aren’t true. I even take issues with supporting beliefs like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy… But I get it… there is tradition and it can be a fun way to introduce the spirit of ‘giving’ in a metaphoric way, and we can even say that finding out these entities are ‘make believe’ as we grow up, will give us skeptical tools that will help our relationships in the future. However, willingly taking advantage of a young mind that is designed to absorb information and whole heartedly believe in what they are being told, is in my opinion despicable and downright immoral. Making a child worried that a mere thought that passes through his head could condemn them to an eternity of the worst thing they can think of, is straight up abuse. Our children should remain curious and look for answers without any fear of unprovable stories designed to promote fear and control.

Ken Ham wants your kids money and devotion.

How do you debate someone who doesn’t value evidence? Ken Ham said that it will never be possible to measure the age of the earth, so his position would never change. This means, even though having evidence that the earth is older than 6000 years, it will never be possible in Ken Ham’s perspective based on the ancient scripture he refers to. He is ok with being ignorant and propagating this ignorance to any one who is willing to listen. The fact is, this choice of ignorance is his lifeblood, and he is making business decisions when he looks in the opposite direction of evidence. I guarantee you that every time we make a new discovery, he is evaluating how to manipulate this new discovery to protect his business interests. It goes beyond his belief of the heavens, and the insult he feels when given the proposition that when you die it’s ‘lights out’. Ken Ham is a snake oil salesman that wants our children to ignore evidence to make himself rich, he claims he wants our children to be critical thinkers… as long as it doesn’t fuck with his money.

Young Earth Creation seems to be a viable business model.

There will always be gaps in science and we can rely on the scientific method to place effort into looking at those gaps, and help us understand why there was a gap, with the purpose of predicting the natural world and cosmos around us. As long as you are willing to dupe people out of their hard earned money, you will adopt a position that supports it even in the face of contrary evidence. Only the scientific method will allow us to survive and prosper as a species on this beautiful planet and eventually beyond… unless we are hit by God’s wrath in the form of a giant meteor. BAM!


January 29, 2014

Steven Fry confronts LBGT haters.

Man… Steven Fry really puts it all out there, and confronts anti gay representatives of cultures and regimes that have made homosexuality against the law with punishments of death. It was very brave for Mr. Fry to face a danger that seems ridiculous in this part of the world. I learned a lot from this doc and hope that our understanding of how normal homosexuality is in the human condition will propogate to countries that are killing innocent people. Hats off Steven Fry.

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