Tuesday, July 22, 2014


When I was a boy, the nun who was my first grade teacher, Sister Antonita, marched us in the sanctuary of Saint Athanasius church in West View, PA. She pointed to the altar, containing the box with the newly consecrated Eucharist. I can't remember her exact words but my seven year-old brain interpreted it as "God is in that box." Imagine the Infinite God contained in a box in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. How I wanted to sneak back in later and let God out of that box. The cartoon below shows how God is not bound by man's religion or theology. Evangelicals try to confine God to a partisan political agenda. They also create an evangelical bush league of Christian music, movies, books, and schools to isolate them from the secular world, thus separating into a subculture. They view the world through a binary of secular and sacred. They believe God is working only in their Christian subculture. Whatever box man forces God into, God kicks the box over & laughs. God is Infinite, and everywhere present. Fundamentalists told me as a youth Hell is where people are "separated from the presence of God." King David taught the opposite. "Where can I flee from Thy presence?" he wrote in Psalm 139. "If I make my bed in Hell, behold Thou art there." God is omnipresent. Yes, He's in the box but He's also outside the box, beneath the box, above the box. There is nowhere in which we can be separated from His presence. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor height nor depth can separate us from the unconditional love of God. God transcends man's words and understanding. You don't have to be owned & bound by any man or group's definition or dogma. God is like a mirror. The mirror doesn't change but each person sees something different in the mirror and may explain God differently. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts..."

Saturday, July 19, 2014


The California man in the above January 1990 story was arrested, after reading the Abraham & Isaac story and acting on it. I just read Genesis 22, the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son. He lifts a knife to slaughter him and is stopped at the last minute. This story is central to all 3 major world religions. The man in California read it, took it as literal example, and tried to sacrifice his son, claiming God told him to do it. In all due respect to Abraham, if I heard a voice telling me to do that, I wouldn't raise a knife to my son. I'd question the voice and run to a therapist. I'd protect my son, not endanger him. Far too many children have been sacrificed to unjust wars & abusive parents. Looking at the story not just literally, but also as an allegory for the question "What is Your Isaac?," sometimes in life I've observed people with a beloved they need to sacrifice. For example, a romantic obsession over someone they need to detach and let go of, or something they have an unhealthy self-will about and they could benefit from saying, "Not my will, but Thine be done." In my movie, "Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories," Roberto Clemente decides to sacrifice being with his family for New Year's Eve, to go on a mission of mercy to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The dramatic fulcrum of the film is his grappling with the story of Abraham and Isaac, and coming to his understanding of sacrificial love. The theme is "Greater love has no man, than to lay down his life for his friends..." If you haven't seen the film it's on Amazon and there's also a screening coming up in Long Beach August 16th, tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com

Thursday, July 03, 2014


I just caused a ruckus when my wife and I were on a date as part of our week of fun outings to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We had lunch at Nate n Al Delicatessen for lunch then went to TV museum where they had exhibits of iconic shows. They had stuff from Flintstones, Batman, Seinfeld, & the holy grail of Wonder Woman Lynda Carter's costume there. Seeing the costume, I felt disappointed. I lost my social filter and turned into a little kid throwing a tantrum. I approached the guy guarding the costume. "The costume's fake," I said. My wife tries to stop me. "It's authentic, how dare you," he said. "No, it's not real. I remember, you can't fool me, Wonder Woman's satin tights were bright sky blue with white stars like an American flag. Don't you remember the theme song?" I decide to sing it for him, because he looks clueless. "Fighting for our rights, in her satin tights, of red, white and BLUE..." I sing. The docent's face is beet red. "Are you through with your performance now?" he said. A crowd is gathered now around the costume. These tights are light purple," I said. "He's right," my wife said. "Lynda Carter's were blue." The offended museum docent breathed deeply and calmed himself. "Yes, you're right. They were originally bright blue satin tights, but the show is nearly 40 years ago and the tights faded over time. Between filming outdoors, languishing in storage for years. It all takes a helluva toll. Hence, the shading is no longer bright blue. However, if you look underneath this exterior part that is torn to an original interior patch..." He is now playing with the WW tights and revealing bright blue thread underneath. "You can see, sir, these are in fact Lynda Carter's original satin tights." Like Leakey on an archeological dig, we're excited to unearth the bright blue thread deep below the recesses of the outer fabric. My wife is smiling. "My husband doesn't remember everything from growing up," she said. "But for some reason he sure remembers Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman..."