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Saturday, January 10, 2015




“We fill our lives with stuff. We live in a great country where even the poorest among us is in the top 12% of the world’s income, yet we’re so unhappy. We have so much unsatisfaction, so much depression, so much despondency, so much misery, and that’s because God did not make us so we can be in a relationship with stuff. God made us so we can be in a relationship with Him! Isn’t that the truth? We are a relational people! You know, we love our friends, we love our family, we love our children. We’ve got these relationships on a human level, and that’s how God made us. We are a relational people. That’s why it’s said it’s not good for a man to be alone, and that’s why God gave him a wife, and Adam had Eve, and he was thankful. Adam could not live without her. Why? It’s because God Himself needs relations. Even though we can’t understand the concept of what the Bible calls The Trinity, one God in three person, the triune nature of God, but in that nature it shows relationships. It shows that God Himself is a relational God, that there’s a need for love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

God gave us everything, but we still wanted more, so we betrayed Him. When God went into the garden, Adam was hiding in the bush. God knew exactly where he was, but God still said, ‘Adam! Adam! Where are you?’ Finally, Adam gave it up. God said, ‘What did you do?!’ Adam answered, ‘ Whoa! It’s that wife you gave me!’ Ha, how quickly things changed, from whoa, a wife, what a blessing, a wife, to she’s my downfall! Eve was only tricked, but Adam willfully rebelled. The decree was given to him so he should have been bold enough to stand up and accept his responsibility. When it was time for Eve to talk to God, she blamed it on the devil, the serpent, so it’s never your fault but always somebody else’s. Oh, it’s my parents, my friends, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, it’s how I grew up! Or take the rich, even the rich kids have excuses. Ha ha! Oh, I was spoiled too much, I was given too much stuff and no parameter, I didn’t have enough responsibility. This, my friend, is what’s called ‘passing the buck’!

Some people even blame God! They say, ‘I’m in trouble, but where is God? Why doesn’t He help me?!’ Though we have church people coming out here to give us food, give us sandwiches, give us clothes, we’re too blind to see that that’s God’s way of reaching out to us.

All this music, all this sport, all this entertainment, all this stuff are getting in the way of us having a relationship with God.”



Chuck Olroski said...

Yo Linh,

Spent time looking at this Camden gent who looks like a bearded & strong Old Testament prophet, dressed in a cool style, Carhatt coat and using an expensive gadget which looks like it serves as a Public Address (P.A.) system. He probably commutes from King of Prussia or some other "better world"?

At any rate, I have respect for the guy, after all, he emphasized how, "We fill our lives with STUFF... and all this music, sport and entertainment gets in way of a relationship with God."

Undeniably, I make relationships with the "stuff" (noted above), including the P.C. desk where I now sit. At times, I tune-in to local Catholic T.V., where its evident the ancient bible story- miracles, televised Masses, sound lectures by Bishop Sheen, and "News" with a Catholic spin are mightily strained to compete with scientific miracle breakthroughs (Viagra), "Survivor" reality shows, and Judge Judy's T.V. court wisdom.

A "relationship" traditionalist, I have yet to try highly advertised "Christian Singles."

As a past Blogspot and poem entry pointed out, babies are even murdered in the name of RESEARCH and science which promises to cure diseases, save mankind.

Back to the photo:
Looks like the admirable gent spoke The ancient message, using modern technology. NOTHING, including the world's most wealthy church congregations, seem capable of separating from technology. (Note: Worst case, do you remember Jim and Tammy Faye Baker's T.V. evangelist multi-million dollar racket?)

As pointed out daily on your Blog, even strapped Americans like ME are hooked on cell phones, video games, and computer internet sites. No doubt, since getting to know and witness what you do via TECHNOLOGY, I seem to have avoided completely spinning out of control at work, and so far, have managed to step back from the Exceptional abyss.

Certainly, on the Camden street, someone must have listened to the serious looking guy deliver an ancient message. Indeed that's good... but I also like the strategy of Saint Francis of Assisi who recommended to believers, "Preach the gospel constantly, but use WORDS only when necessary."

By all means, I'm not Mr. Know-It-All, average i.Q., and have problems with safely negotiating a school bus in tight squeezes and getting articles and poetry posted on web sites.

However, Linh, thus far into the N.W.O.'s 1% paradise, I sense that stressed worker bees should NOT require a Christian P.A. system street-announcement to show human GOODWILL and divinity in action. Daily, people are filled "to brim" with ho-ho bullshit from teachers, bosses, and politicians.

Am frustrated -- is all the above too sarcastic, pontifical, unnecessary, Linh? In "Tropic of Cancer," I know Henry Miller recommended COPING with life's inanities, and Christians tried banning his book.

Good day to you and Linky! Thanks!

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Chuck,

All of this stuff, the entertainment, the constant noise, are getting in the way of our relationship with each other, so one doesn't need the Christian angle to know that we're seriously out of wack!

Simone Weil talks of attentiveness as an orientation towards God, so doing anything with full attention, with love, is to look for God, but nowadays everyone is programed to be fully distracted all the time (while thinking about Pornhub), so there's no attentiveness and nothing approaching awareness of other people or self-knowledge. The Buddhist concept of mindfulness also addresses this problem.


Anonymous said...

I really like Simone Weil! I have not read a lot of her but what little I know, I love!

I work in technology and I think it's full of noise too. I agree, it gets in the way of our relationship. You know, companies actually exploit human psychology for propagating more noise.

Chuck mentioned video games. There is a company called "Valve Software" that makes games. Open their job opening page here ( and click on "Psychologist (Experimental/Researcher)" to see the job description:

"In order to create exceptional products that people will use and appreciate, we need to know about human behavior and about the motivations and influences underlying how and why people do what they do. We believe that all game designers are, in a sense, experimental psychologists. That is why we’re looking for an experimental psychologist with superior research skills to apply knowledge and methodologies from psychology to game design and all aspects of Valve’s operations. We want to exploit your experience with experimental design, research methods, statistics, and human behavior to help craft even more compelling gameplay experiences for future Valve titles."

Chuck Olroski said...

Dear Linh and Anonymous:

Tuesday is my birthday, Russian New Yeras Eve, and thank you for giving me Simone's view on "attentiveness and orientation toward God" and a heads-up on the "Brave New World" job opening.

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Chuck,

You should be like the piraha people of Brazil. They can only count to two, with anything after that designated as "many." You will be older than two on Tuesday.

For Simone Weil, obedience is prayer. Thus, "The most beautiful life is that of a slave," and "Christianity is a religion par excellence for slaves."

I'm only quoting her from memory, however, as I sold my Collected Writing of Simone Weil in 1989 or so. Over the years, I've sold most of my books to get needed cash.

Milosz said that the 20th century did not deserve a Simone Weil.

Though I admire her, I also find Simone Weil monstrous. With her voluntary death by starvation, she exceeded even Kafka, whose self doubt, abnegation and erasure never became quite so literal. Tellingly, they were both Jews.


Linh Dinh said...

Here's a 2012 piece I wrote on Kafka.

Chuck Olroski said...


Your postings move lightning forward, and due to having watched the Packers beat the Cowboys, I am late in catching-up to your comment above, namely, "All this stuff... gets in way of relationship with each other, so one does NOT need the Christian angle to know that we're seriously out of wack."

Having grown-up in Scranton area during late 1950-1960s, my Byzantine Catholic Church Father Steve Zajac had some influential success with kids like me, and looking back, I'm encouraged with the many good deeds the priest did in uniting a parish of wealthy, poor, and families like mine, where my father Charlie had a good Teamster truck-driver job.

No doubt small town life at the time was not as "out-of-wack" as Selma and maybe even Baltimore, where I spent Summers, but however DISPENSABLE was Father Steve's "Christianity" at the time, the youth of St. Nicholas (Old Forge) parish had an extra force which helped build relationships, perhaps imperfect, but they have endured to this day.

We can chew on this matter until black and white sheep come home, but I continue to make another point.

I am sure you have noticed how US presidents NEEDED Christianity in order to garner support for distorting America's relationships with foreign countries and waging war. One remarkable example happened during the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush.

G.H.W. Bush hauled Reverend Billy Graham into the White House as resident counselor for the Gulf War effort. Admired albeit everywhere as a holy and clean-living man, Graham expressed confidence God was on the U.S. side, and attempted to dress what Pat Buchanan described as a "turkey shoot of Saddam's Republican Guard" in the robes of Holy War.

Moral here is that the US government has institutionalized a warped Catechism. As required, leaders turn to Christianity and Judaism in order to corrupt its citizen relationships with one other, and also (of course) selectively distort and demonize relationships with foreigners.

How did Billy Graham fit into the head of the American Dream, and leading up to the weird building block of "The Exceptional Nation"? Was Billy a rose or a thorn upon the head of the Military Industrial Complex? Dumb question, eh Linh?

O well -- this stinking madness now in Paris! And before signing-off, just so you know, I saw J. Pollock featured in Life Magazine, but except for a small minority of students, Steinbeck and Salinger were not around at Riverside High School, 1966-1969. I had the Beatles, the Stones, drum set, a 1961 Bel Air and had no idea what Martin Luther King was up to, and my eyes did not open until getting draft #22.

Wish you and Linky a good week. Schools cancelled here today, icy roads, I will read your latest posts later. Thank you!

Rudy said...

Whoa Linh,


Some time ago I was trying to explain the paradox of Gabriel’s horn to a friend. I knew he wouldn’t understand logarithms, or that maybe he would, but might conclude that something was amiss with the reasoning that establishes the paradox, since both calculus and logarithms are required for the explanation, so I concocted a version that uses nothing but addition of numbers. Of course, infinitely many numbers are required, but nobody has trouble accepting that there are infinitely many numbers, with the possible exception of the piraha, who, as you pointed out, only know there are one or two or more than two. The piraha can also converse without words, and so I figure we shouldn’t discount them just because they can’t count. Anyway for my friend I worked out something that requires nothing more than sums - one diverges, the other converges.

If you don’t know what Gabriel’s horn is, you can find it with google. The shape that goes with the sums resembles the horn except that it’s layered and it’s not round. Beyond that your imagination will have to fill in the gaps.

I don’t think my friend believed the paradox, or what I said about the piraha, for that matter, but it didn’t affect our friendship.

But all of that is beside the point right here. I was just pleased to see you mention the piraha.

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Rudy,

I'll have to google "Gabriel's horn."

When I took my SAT, ah, roughly a century ago, I scored in the top 1% in math, but I've lost all of my number skills since. I can still comprehend a clock, though.



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.