Senator Brett’s Forward
by Senator Brett
Let me begin by telling you that I am, in no form or fashion, to be considered any sort of theologian, counselor, good Christian, deep thinker, brilliant mind, or even a decent writer. I am simply… me, at my best and worst.
And, I think that it’s safe to say that I speak for both Conflicted and myself when I say that when we decided to undertake this project all we truly had in mind is laying out a view of what we perceive that is happening in religious circles today, and to do so in an open and honest manner, from where we stand and with the words, language and conversation that is more befitting to how our minds truly work, despite all appearances to the otherwise. We wanted this work to be candid and about serious issues within our religion. We wanted this work to be inclusive of other religions as well, since I think that we both perceive the term “religion” to apply to all systems of belief in which the term of God is tried and defined, and by which a group of people align themselves with a particular set of rules and a particular style of living their lives.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you that in this book the majority of you will come across things and ideas that will, most likely, offend you in some manner. This cannot be helped. I am sure that there are those among you who will, as they begin to read, think that the offensive parts could have easily been left out and the targeted point, or points, could still have been reached without much trouble at all. I assure you all that this is not the case.
For one, until the book is read in its entirety one will not be able to see, definitively, exactly what we are reaching for with these here muddled crazy words, and, even after an entire reading, it might still be quite possible that one can walk away from these words not fully understanding our intent and goal. And, for the most part, we are okay with that end result, should it sadly be the case.
We realize that this book is nothing more than a mosaic of two very different people’s thoughts, ideas, emotions, ideologies, beliefs and experiences. Each portion, when taken individually, will by no means give away the entire picture.
We also know that once the whole picture is perceived some of you will still be offended, perhaps even hurt a little. Again, despite that not being our motivating intention, we are, again, at peace with that end result. It is impossible to speak of the matters that lie ahead in this book in an open and truthful manner without ruffling more than a few feathers. And, as it turns out… we are fairly good at ruffling feathers.
Secondly, and perhaps this is giving away a little more than I should, especially considering our true intent to leave it up to you to come to the your own conclusions and realizations for yourself, one of the reasons that we wrote this book and, more importantly, why we wrote it in this style is so that our message is relatable to the world… all of it and not just to “Christians” (We’ll delve into that later), or “Muslims,” or anyone from any one religion. This book was written with everyone -every single one of you that cling to any religion- in mind, not to placate you, or to place ourselves within the boundaries of what you consider right and good, bur rather to open your eyes to what is happening around you, to show you how a lot of the world perceives you, to talk about deep, sometimes dark, subjects in a more open and safe atmosphere. We want this book to not be a “read” as much as we want this book to be a “conversation” between people with like-minded opinions, as well as with those who almost vehemently disagree with us.
I sincerely believe that those types of conversations, when done in good faith and reasonable humanity, lead to progress. And, we, as a Church, as a Religion, as a People called by whatever name you have for Him, are in desperate need of such things.
And, lastly, we wrote this book honestly, with honest intentions and with the honest idea that if we were to truly and sincerely open up our lives and our inner thoughts, well, then people might be able to do the same within themselves as they read along. Look, there are, literally, thousands of books out there claiming to be of Christian sort that cover everything from theology to instruction. This is not one of those books. There are hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of books written by people who claim to be of Christ and who want to tell their stories of inspiration, redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness. This is not one of those books. The bookstores are filled with many books on every religion that help define that religion and that help people of that belief system better understand the religion of which they claim to be. This is not one of those books.
So, prepare yourselves… this isn’t your typical “religious” book… not even anywhere close.
In this book you will find things like the words “fuck” and “shit ass.” In this book you will find things like drugs, and sex, and yes, rock n’ roll. In this book we will discuss heavy topics, topics that a lot of people of religious backgrounds seldom talk about, and when people of faith do bring up these “Proceed With Caution” subjects… well, they are always hurried, or glossed over, and rarely are they brought up in a truly thoughtful, considerate and honest fashion.
But, before you put this book down because you are already offended, let me just add… in this book you will also find words of encouragement, a view from the inside the minds of a minister and an honest sinner, perhaps a new way of looking at true issues within your religious circles. You will find a few nuggets of gold, a few nuggets of silver, and, probably, a lot more bronze than you need. In this book you will find some words of hope for better things, words of love and forgiveness, stories that will make you laugh, stories that make you cry. And, in this book, it is my sincere hope -that no matter our differences of opinion, our differences in the metaphors that we use to explain our belief in a Higher Power, our differences of life choices and lifestyles- you will see that despite all that appears otherwise, way down inside of our straightforward and deeply human places, we are not that much different, you and I. We all need our versions of God to help us maintain our humanity.
One thing that you will probably not find in this book is originality. I mean, we try to come up with our own ideas and thoughts, and we even go out of our way to ensure that we are not merely voicing the opinions of others that we respect. But, the truth is, as the Bible puts it, “There is nothing new under the sun.” That truism is never more prevalent than in most forms of literary works, books concerning a religious connotation, especially. So, trust me, we know that we are not putting anything out there that hasn’t been said by someone, somewhere. But, we also know that our goal is to not reinvent the wheel, we are merely here to add a little more rubber to the tire, perhaps a different tread, perhaps to make these conversation just a little more different than their predecessors and, maybe, open up a new kind of dialogue.
Another characteristic of this book is that it is chalk-full of just absolutely ridiculous thoughts, metaphors, ideas, analogies and references. To say that this book lacks any sense of highbrow fortitude is the understatement of the year, to say the very least. So, we will grant you the default notion that we are moronic at heart and that we both are, basically, emotionally and spiritually (And, in Conflicted’s case, physically) no older than a twelve-year-old boy with a Nerf gun, with an unlimited amount of ammo and in a target-rich environment.
However, when I look at the landscape of the world’s religions I can’t help but notice all the ridiculous thoughts, metaphors, behaviors, ideas and notions that litter the highways of religious-minded people. And, in case you don’t see all the ridiculousness, then let me clue you in… you’re probably a part of it. Trust me… it’s an easy pitfall to stumble into when searching for the meaning in higher things and wanting to be right so much that you can only see what you hope for and not what is directly in front of your feet. I do it all the time.
And, one last thing before I let you go and you begin this wild and crazy journey that is the wading through our words… I will consider it a travesty of great proportion should this book fare well in the marketplace and Pat Robertson does not blame Conflicted and me, personally and individually, for some hurricane, or some drought, or him not being elected President of the United States, or, perhaps, even a large unforgiving comet hurtling through space and time to destroy Planet Earth as God’s holy retribution on a world that did not immediately, and publicly, condemn us to death by stoning the both of us for our heathen-like ways and our blatant disregard for what he perceives to be righteous and holy.
Oh, wait, a portion of our profits is being invested in Pat Robertson’s diamond mining company, or at least in the charity he uses as a front for it. We should be fine by him.
Okay, okay… I was wrong about the previous thought being the last thought I had to impart to you before the mess of words and the English language to come. My final thought here is this: In this book you will find several instance of what appears to be contradictory thoughts. This is not so. Yes, I do have conflicting thoughts and ideas on religious matters, especially religious matters. And, while that might strike some of you as disingenuous, I would ask to consider this: Like you, I am a human, born with heart, soul, body and mind. And, while my heart and soul might know one thing to be certain, that does not mean that my body and mind will follow their course. As a human, I am bound to this temporal life where, oftentimes, what I know to be true to my soul differs from what I know to be true with my reason. Such is a Life of Questioning. And I, for one, am happy for such a life, and may God bless you as you continue on in your version of it.
P.S. Again, my apologies for jumping the gun and saying that I was done introducing this book. I was wrong, again. That happens a lot. If you pay attention you will notice that, when quoting the Scriptures, Conflicted always gives the Biblical reference. You will also notice that I do not. Conflicted is a pastor, a graduate of multiple Bible colleges and has his Blah, Blah, Blah in Bible Blah, Blah, Blah. I am not… and I do not have such things. He is trained, by a good education, to give references. And, while English and Lit papers taught me to do so, as well, I have to be honest and say that I just don’t give a shit.
Ahead, when I quote from the Scriptures, oftentimes I will not give you the reference. And, it’s not because they aren’t real or true. It is because, partly, I am a giant a-hole, but it is also, mostly, because if you care that much about the authenticity of the reference, then try and find it for yourself. Google that shit. Crack open the Bible. Wake up the hamster that runs the wheel that gives power to that three-pound blob of gray matter inside your head that you call a brain, and discover those scriptures for yourself. No longer take things at second or third hand, nor take things from me (Did you dig that Walt Whitman reference? I did.). No, kitten, find them for yourself. You may discover, as I often do, that the words around a reference matter as well, and that there are many things, sometimes important things, that can be unearthed along the search.
P.P.S. Oh, and before I forget… if you will look closely, read this book several times, buy several copies and give them to friends and family members, you may be able to uncover the many hidden clues that we have woven into the text of this book that points the way to The Secret City of Paititi and all it’s billion dollars worth of Incan gold and treasure. But, trust me, people, you will only be able to clearly see the whole picture if you review, at the very minimum, let’s say… uh… ten copies of this book! Yeah, ten copies of this book should just about do it. We set the scavenger hunt up this way so that we could find out who truly believes with their very soul. Good luck, you few, you few brave should who dream big and go “all in” with open hearts, wide eyes and flawless wonder! Go with God… and, remember… it’s ten… the number of books you need to buy and review is ten!