Courtesy Among Men

Every weekday morning, around 9:30am, most of the office gets up and walks down the block to our usual espresso joint for coffee and tea. We pass through several doors on the way out, and again on the way in, and being the mature, courteous men that we are, we’ll hold the doors open for each other. The first person to reach the door will generally hold it for the rest of us to walk through.

You can imagine, then, what was passing through my mind yesterday morning as we filed out the building, nodding our thanks to the door-holder, after reading this about Ken Hutcherson, pastor at Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland:

[One Sunday] Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”

Hutcherson’s arrogant, opportunistic bigotry is well-known and I’m saddened, but not surprised, by his hatefulness. What is shocking, though, is that he preaches such violence at church. His message is so counter to my understanding of Christianity it borders on blasphemy. How is he tolerated in the Christian community?

I’m an atheist. I have thought long and hard, and with as much humility as I can muster, about religion and its place in my life and the world around me. I’ve also considered the place of religion in the lives of my family and friends. I have been inspired by the passionate joy of my friends’ faith and the quiet humility of their service. My views about faith are continually challenged by the compassionate, intelligent beliefs of my family and friends. Their diverse beliefs motivate my quest for understanding, keep me asking questions, and keep me humble.

When I hear about someone like Ken Hutcherson, though, I’m filled with smug righteousness. Thank god I’m not a believer like him.

Hello, Square One. Have we met?

My back is injured again.

After a week of on-and-off back pain, I played soccer Thursday night. Turns out that was a dumb idea. Despite taking lots of breaks, and being pretty careful overall, I did some major damage and I’ve spent the last two days flat on my back — and probably have a few more horizontal days ahead of me.

I’ve decided I’m going to sit out the rest of this soccer season (3 or 4 games) and all of next season. That’ll give me four months away from the activity that is most aggravating to my back. My goal is to not return until I can run onto the field completely pain free.

I went to the doctor on Thursday (before the latest serious injury) to have my back evaluated. He basically said, “you need to stretch your hamstrings”. I’ve been hearing this advice for the past 10 years, and I’ve followed it at times, but it doesn’t seem to help. But, I’m going to try it again. I think my problem is that I’ve haven’t had all aspects of my fitness (weight, flexibility, core strength, conditioning) firing at the same time since, oh, 1996.

The past six months (since I hurt my back in August) have been pretty lame. (Pun! Sorry.) I hope things turn around soon.

Heave Ho

I’m starting off another work week with a sore back. It’s now been six months that I’ve had constant lower back pain. I’ve tried both resting and exercising, and neither has seemed to work — although I’m still working hard on the latter and have only recently started making decent progress towards some of my fitness goals.

It’s no coincidence that my back is worse on Monday — I spend all weekend carrying Ruby around. I do it because I love to hold her, whisper in her ear, nuzzle against her cheek, and see the world with her. But I think the sad truth is that as she’s gotten heavier, the strain on my back has gotten to be too much. I generally carry her just on one side, which doesn’t help things.

I’m going to try spending a week consciously avoiding carrying Ruby. It will be difficult, and I don’t know how many exceptions I’ll need to make to get through the week. And in the end, I’m not even sure if it’ll be worth it.