Religious Crap in Geocaches

Groundspeak forums are aflame once again… this time over a month old thread that has recently been resurrected from the grave.

And, then I found it. Slightly larger than my signature business card was this paper religious tract type of a thing.

Shock! Horror! Oh the travesty!

So what do you think of religious tracts left in geocaches? Personally I dislike the idea – anything paper or even card left in a cache ends up becoming damp and soggy – affecting the overall presentation of swag – not to mention does anyone other than the dilligent CITO’er really get much out of trading for them?

I’d like to know what generous Christian traded for their 1 penny tract… is this a case of “Riches I have not, but I do have this handy geocaching-friendly¬†salvation-simplifying cartoon¬†tract…”?

Come on, there’s some much better religious swag that can be used as quality trade items over a soggy tract!

Bookshelf: Beam Me Up, Jesus

Beam me up, JesusI picked up this book, by Jim Gerard (who is apparently a comedian) expecting a witty, well-researched, ‘Louis Theroux’ look into end-times rapture pop culture – the cousin of Christian theology that we don’t mention in polite company, but I must have been thinking of another book and mistook it for this one.

To be fair to Gerard, he does offer a disclaimer right at the start and this should be taken as a pitch for the humour and intellect level to be expected – “If you’re a secular humanist who believes in reason rather than magic fixers, this book will provide that warm feeling of smug superiority.”

The book does start off well, the first few chapters and the Readers Digest version of the Book of Revelation really did make me genuinely laugh. As I delved further into the book however, the book became less of a research-based humourous guide or retelling and instead more of a compilation of tired and stretched out anecdotes and bad jokes.

It’s painfully clear that Gerard has made up the bulk of his research with Wikipedia and Google. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but it’s obvious that material gleaned from search engines dried up pretty quick – which left Gerard to pad the rest of the book with drivel.

By about half way through the book, it seemed as though Gerard had outsourced the writing to an angst-ridden 14 year old. I hate not finishing a book, so I began to skip chapters until I got to the end – I found I skipped most of the last half.

The real tragedy about this book however, is that there is so much real funny material to go on, why make it up? Why couldn’t Gerard interview some real people who believe this doctrine and utilise subtlety to drive the point? I felt this Amazon.com reviewer put it very well:

“And yes, this book could be humorous, but in my own view, most of the humor would derive naturally from the peculiarity of the doctrines and beliefs that comprise Rapture Christianity. Instead, however, author Jim Gerard has apparently done only a small amount of research and then has embellished his meager findings with a whole lot of kooky commentary and absurdist tangents. It’s a kind of Dave Barry-esque treatment, and for me it just did not work. In some places it’s actually difficult to differentiate between what is truly strange or funny about the Rapture community and what is merely “schtick” added by Gerard to beef up his chapters and evoke readers’ guffaws.”

To sum up, you should really only read this book if you are:

  • An angst-ridden atheist 14 year old
  • You hate Christians in general and revel in any opportunity to reaffirm your bias and loathing, regardless of accuracy
  • You don’t understand the humour of Louis Theroux, Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen… actually just about any British comedian as well as Michael Moore, Stephen Colbert, possibly even Jon Stewart or books like The Men Who Stare at Goats and think they are not real comedians.

And for those people, I’m going to offer up the Amazon link anyway. Buy Beam Me Up, Jesus: A Heathen’s Guide to the Rapture now at amazon.co.uk.

Lost TV Series Theories (spoilers)

The TV show Lost is now well into it’s final season and yet so many mysteries still remain, as rabid fans such as myself will attest to.

Lately I’ve been passively browsing Lostpedia in order to explore the themes and links (between characters, objects and places) and there is just so much to absorb. I particularly enjoy reading some of the comprehensive theories that exist, some seem more plausible than others of course.

I do wonder if, over the course of the show, the creators have ever read a fan theory and enjoyed it so much that they decided to include it as part of the overall mythos. I also wonder if any of the more plausible theories that are out there, if one has already hit the target.

I notice that the theories can be roughly split into two categories. One is a reference to culture/literature/history/religion/myth, the other is a more general end-game theory – what is it all about.

I have had my own musings but never really was interesting in speculating on where it was going, much more content to wait and see where the show takes us. However after the last two episodes (604 & 605), and since we are so close to endgame I decided to have a go.

You’ll have to forgive my Christian outlook, which causes me filter my perception of the show through Christian lenses, but I’m going to choose to see my theory as a reference rather than endgame.

My Lost Theory: The Fall

The Island is the mythical Garden of Eden. The skeletons in the cave are possibly the genuine Adam and Eve (though probably not as Locke already made reference), the ‘angel’ guarding the entrance to the garden is the Smoke Monster/MiB or possibly the mysterious boy who appears to be an unknown 3rd party power on the island. God made sure that humans could never re-enter the garden by making it a ‘floating’ island that moves all over the earth and never appears in the same place twice.

There are a few events that would support this theory, but I’ll concede in weight of all the other happenings on the island it is still weak.

  • Jacob as the “Jesus archetype.” – Reconciling God to man (man to the island/Eden), granting miracles and appearing after death. The MiB is a Lucifer archetype – the “accuser” who points out that man will always fail.

    “They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.” Man in Black, The Incident Part 1

  • Jacob as God the Father, watching over all. Appearing to some and giving them specific instructions, to others he does not appear directly but instead provides a way for them to find him.

    “Sometimes you can just…hop in the back of someone’s cab and tell them what they’re supposed to do. Other times…you have to let them look out at the ocean for a while.” Jacob, Lighthouse

  • The MiB is the guardian angel to Eden, Jacob is a fallen angel or Satan himself (which would be a great Supernatural tie in) – trying to bring man back to the island/garden to overthrow Heaven.
  • Eternal life and resurrection. Richard Alpert states that his agelessness was a ‘gift’ from Jacob. Perhaps the island contains the tree of life with which Jacob used to give Richard eternal life?
  • Tree of knowledge. One of the things that led me to this theory was when the MiB tempted both Richard, and later Sawyer with access to knowledge in The Substitute. Richard chose to continue to obey Jacob, even without knowing Jacobs plans or reasons. Sawyer however gives in to temptation, and falls to the dark side.

    “Oh, Richard… I’m sorry. You mean, you’ve been doing everything he told you all this time and he never said why? …
    I would never have done that to you. I would never have kept you in the dark…. I would have treated you with respect. Come with me… and I promise I will tell you everything.” MiB (Locke) to Richard, The Substitute

    “What if I told you I was the person who could answer the most important question in the world?” MiB (Locke) to Sawyer, The Substitute

  • Jack. Lighthouse was a Jack-centric episode where we see in the flashsideways that he has a son named David. Jack’s number is 23 and we learn that Jacob has been watching Jack all his life – that Jack is special. Psalm 23 is the famous “Lord is my Shepherd” psalm, a psalm of David about God’s leading him through the the wilderness and being his source of protection and guidance. Jack is a candidate and the candidates are ‘protected’.

So my theory is not as thorough as could be, and it will probably be blown out of the water come the next episode but it’s fun to digress once in a while.

So what are your theories, anything else to add to this list, anything that would disprove it?