Tag Archives: philosophy

Foreva? Foreva-eva?

Today we’re talking about the concept of eternity. You know, that never-ending expanse of time that, according to many major religions, awaits us all once we shuffle off our mortal coils. Our bodies die but our immortal souls linger on forever and ever yada yada yada.

Before we get going, I want to note that for this particular piece I’d just like to consider what a positive eternal setup might look like. While it’s hard to refute that all of us deserve some sort of punishment after we die (or at least be made to perform some sort of embarrassing musical number in front of all the assembled nations, tribes and judgmental peers), I’d rather not spend time speculating on what a negative eternity might consist of. I can’t even imagine a never-ending DMV trip or traffic jam, much less with flames.

Moving forward with the ‘positive afterlife scenario’ paradigm, what will we do with all that time after we die? Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Hindus and most other religions all have different ideas of how the hereafter works. Zoroastrianism contends that the righteous will forever reign with Ahura Mazda.  (sounds so peaceful and automotive!)

We have the official orthodox party lines from all these religions about what eternity will consist of and how we’ll spend our time. Most of which seem to predict various forms of idyll, worship, pleasure and ongoing paradise. Sounds pretty cool.

But how about some specifics? I have so many questions about this arrangement.

I suppose no one alive really knows exactly how it all works. What eternity looks like and consists of is one of those mysteries of the universe we’ll just have to wait on, so in the meantime let’s do what we do best here: offer up some wild speculation, outside-the-box thoughts, unsubstantiated hypotheses, and hopeful guess-ery.

Involvement with Human Affairs

If we learned anything from Angels in the Outfield (other than the fact that Tony Danza had clearly never thrown a baseball in his life previous to filming this movie), it’s that the dead have the power to exert influence over the outcomes of sporting events. I imagine this sort of thing will occupy much of our time (such as Auburn’s Chris Davis being carried on sweet angels’ wings all the way to the end zone in last year’s supernatural Iron Bowl).

Chris Davis, flying to sport glory on the wings of blessed angels?

Chris Davis, flying to sport glory on the wings of blessed angels?

Perhaps we will also be involved with the living in other ways, like Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Maybe the recently deceased are immediately given ‘helper’ or ‘guardian angel’ tasks? If this is the case, it will be interesting to see whether or not we are assigned to monitor a geographic area, specific individuals, or if we’re just supposed to be on the lookout for certain problems (i.e. bridge jumpers, weaving motorcyclists, rollerbladers with no brakes, drunk people trying to feed animals.) Continue reading

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Frosted Flakes

When’s the last time you had a nice bowl of Frosted Flakes? It’s been years for me. I’m not sure why, they are delicious – perhaps the greatest of all the breakfast cereals – and yet I just keep ending up with some sort of lesser cereal that’s not even a little bit frosted. I guess this is part of getting older. As we age, our cereal selection gets progressively worse – more bran, more fiber, fewer marshmallows – until eventually we just give up and settle for plain Cheerios.

Are we powerless to reverse this trend? Am I doomed to a future of bland breakfast cereals that have no toys inside? Is there any going back? Continue reading

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Fourteen Holy Helpers

In our self-obsessed, individual-driven world of medical breakthroughs, technological wonders and incredible Hot Pocket innovations, human beings are only becoming more self-reliant, insular and independent. We are ‘masters of our fate,’ and the ‘captains of our souls.’ Many of us have no need for God or anything of the sort. We are our own helpers, our own healers.

But back in the 14th Century, when the Black Plague was mowing down everything in sight, we weren’t quite so sure of ourselves. We needed all the help we could get. In those days, the people turned to 14 Holy Helpers to deal with their many problems. Let’s have a look at this elite group and what they were called upon to help protect against.

Agathius – – Headaches

At first glance, this seems like overkill having a Heavenly Helper designated just for headaches. But then again I can’t imagine spending a day productively threshing wheat, being a blacksmith’s apprentice or cheesemongering with a pounding headache. Continue reading

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Flailing, Fallen, Fearful, Flopping, Foolish Failures

We are weak and pitiable creatures. That’s what we are. I have no problem accepting this.

The worldview I subscribe to offers a remedy to this situation – redemption through Jesus – which is great (albeit an esoteric future thing that is hard to grasp). But still I struggle with this notion of how consistently awful mankind is.  Sure there are days when beauty and goodness seem to outweigh evil, but most of the time it sure doesn’t seem that way.

Why are we so bad? Are we even worth saving? Is this generation bound for destruction? These sorts of questions keep all of us here at TMF up at night; resulting in our intern having to make many late night fact finding trips to Krispy Kreme. (‘What the #@%$ Fred you idiot I said SPRINKLES!’) Continue reading

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Flagellate, Flatulate: A Social Commentary

A former roller hockey standout, World Record-setting Leap Frogger, and Sheep Lifting Champion for the state of Indiana, Robey Barnes is now a beloved teacher and leader of men here in the great state of Florida. We are honored to have him with us today to help unpack the second-most delicate topic we’ve ever tackled here.

By: Robey Barnes

flag·el·late: [v. flaj-uh-leyt; adj., n. flaj-uh-lit, -leyt] verb, flag·el·lat·ed, flag·el·lat·ing, adjective, noun verb (used with object) — to whip; scourge; flog; lash. (dictionary.com)

It wasn’t until recently that I became aware of a practice of a more extreme order of ascetic monks –the Flagellants. These monks, in a show of penance, would whip themselves across their back. With some it could be as many a hundred times in a single session.

Our modern sensibilities are shocked by such a display of self-harm. Imagine the severe pain, ripping across their backs. Is that agony really necessary to show devotion? Our instincts are to say to these ancient and modern radicals, be free. Your stripes are not necessary.

But before we deem this practice as primitive and distasteful, we have to face an uncomfortable truth. It intersects with a practice that we are all too familiar with. Flagellation has an unlikely cousin. A word, similar sounding, and more similar in concept than we would care to admit: Flatulence.* Continue reading

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Fake Recipes: Fried Fritters

A couple months back we thought it would be funny to start a series documenting some fake recipes – in an effort to combat what we feel is the unfortunate, misguided “Pinterest-ization” of America. Human judgment and insecurity are reaching new heights and aspiring cooks are being discouraged by the thousands due to this troublesome phenomenon. It’s a real problem.

In this series, we’re speaking up for all the folks out there who may feel marginalized or pressured to not just crank out delicious meals with hip ingredients, but also present them in a way that would pass the Gordon Ramsay hissy fit test.

We are all about freedom here – including freedom from judgment. However you express yourself in the culinary realm should not be subjected to snooty scorn. Hot Pocket Ramen? Baloney Tacos? Sounds good, go for it! (maybe slip a multivitamin in there as well though)

No one should feel coerced into a competition of frivolous fancy-ness or feel bad about trying new things that may very well end up being pretty gross.

With that in mind, please enjoy this (fake) recipe idea for open-minded people on the go! Continue reading

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Four Fancy Things That Don’t Need to Be

As technology advances, the more demanding we become. Whereas our grandparents’ generation made do with what little they had and tolerated circumstances many of us could not have endured for more than 20 minutes, we are a bit more high maintenance. We’re not satisfied with things that simply work; we insist on having the thing that works but is somehow more deluxe than the normal version of the thing. We take stuff that works perfectly fine, add something shiny to it, then immediately dismiss the previously acceptable item as unusable.

We are a fancy generation who increasingly demand bells, whistles and other needless rhinestonery. Consider the evidence.

1.       Ketchup – Ketchup was a marvel when it was first invented in the 1800s. People were blown away by this magnificent condiment that paired so well with so many things. At some point, regular ketchup ceased to dazzle, so a group of marketing wizards decided it was time to take ketchup to the next level – Fancy Ketchup.  In true Big Ketchup fashion, despite not even so much as changing the recipe, they have since upped the ante even more with the advent of “Extra Fancy Ketchup” – which will surely become obsolete once “Incredibly Fancy Ketchup” debuts.

2.       Apples – Not even the pure, wholesome apple can escape our insistence upon tinkering with things that are just fine.  The fact that “fancy apple” status is awarded only to those apples that appear unblemished and are perfect in color — regardless of what’s on the inside — leads to the tragic humiliation and discarding of who knows how many millions of perfectly good slightly uglier apples every year.

3.       Pants – It used to be that a man’s pants were little more than protection against animal attacks, or a place to put your hammers. Nowadays, you see fancy pants with absolutely no utilitarian value everywhere you look.

4.       Cat Food – What’s that Mr. Snuggles? You only eat Fancy Feast made with symmetrical medallions of marinated liver bits? Even our cats grow soft; demanding only the fanciest.

Of course there are other examples but you get the idea.

The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness offers an alternative path for those with no use for fancy things.

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