God and Country

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson

   Rev Jeremiah Wright  the prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church  Martin Luther King  Jim Jones and members of the People's Temple 


Nobody sees the obvious, nobody observes the ordinary. There are more miracles in a square yard of earth than in all the fables of the Church.  -Robert Anton Wilson

Rev Harry Powell discusses theology.  As Tom T Hall might say, me and Jesus got our own thing going

Explaining the wow

My partner Eric Olsen, proprietor and Dear Leader of Blogcritics was chatting religion with me once, and said something that indicated he got me.  "Al, you're very religious.  You just don't happen to believe."  Exactly.  I was ordained in the Universal Life Church many years ago, and in my own way take that mission fairly seriously.  Without going too far into it, I would describe myself specifically as a minister rather than as a preacher, though.

Also though, I would be loathe to describe myself as "spiritual" rather than religious.  That strikes me as a cheap and cheesy way of puffing up one's own ego.  It would just seem petty and dumb to treat the mysteries of life as merely an excuse to stroke my petty vanity.  That's what my blog is for.

So where does that leave a minister without faith, a non-spiritual religious non-believing doubting Thomas?  Damned if I know, frankly.  Still I'm constantly struck by these things outside the world of our day to day material existence, a complicated and mysterious "wow" I often feel.  I'll just say that I find myself going to church regularly, wanting to give thanks and gratitude to the Maker for all the blessings and wonders of life - even if I'm frankly not sure that there's anybody on the other end to hear those prayers.

Here then are some of my modest efforts towards getting a grip on some little corner of this, my attempts at grappling with morality, responsibility ("Thou art God" as Valentine Michael Smith would say) and explaining the "wow."

Mohammed cartoons - original to MoreThings

Alcast #7:  "Lonesome Al's White Christian Narrative of American Exceptionalism"  8-27-2012 (mp3 audio recording) Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore, but it will point the pure of heart at least in the general direction of the golden gate.  Jesus and James Madison would agree with Al on this.

Churches of my childhood

Brother Eugene Kemple - Model Christian

I Was a Teenage Cult Leader

Brother Al's First Sermon

Jack Chick Tracts

Al's Got a Message From God

Anthony Flew Accepts God?!

Dr Gene Scott 1929 -2005

Ptolemy, Manbearpig, Global Warming and Epistemological Humility

God loves ugly people

I shot a family member today

Priests, thugs, and eight circuit mammalian biology

Mel Gibson, Christians and Jews

Gimme that old time religion

The Miracle of Fatima

Judge forbids Wiccan parents from teaching "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals"

San Francisco Board of Supervisors vs the First Amendment

Doing your Godly duty:  Cats need killed

Torture is bad, m'kay?  Still...

BATF Lambs of God

Five Blind Men and an Elephant - the Discordian version

KY jelly for the Baptists?


Fit to Meet My Maker

St Paul's Garden

A Satanic photo gallery    Too scared of the devil

Jesus of Nazareth


In 1986 and 1987 I wrote a weekly column for the Ball State Daily News, the student paper.  I called it God and Country.  I wrote in character as a fundamentalist Christian, based on the frequently repeated and explicit premise that  if you believe that the Bible is the revealed word of a living God, you have to say certain things based on what is actually in the book.  Words have meanings.

Now, I want to be straight.  I wasn't trying to play gotcha, taking a single verse or turn of phrase and twisting it all out of proportion just to make Christians look silly.  No, I wanted to get at real, basic issues about men and women, and authority and all those big things.  What does the Bible really mean based on just what it says?  Give some room for not necessarily taking absolutely every comment literally, but some patterns of meaning become pretty clear.  They meant SOMETHING when they wrote the books.

I generated rather a furor.  The Daily News apparently got literally thousands of letters, pre email actual letters mostly hand delivered to the office.  Perhaps as many as 20% were positive.  Others were less than kind.  In fairness to my critics, they just had the columns to judge, without benefit of any explanatory note such as you're getting here.  The editors for some reason never clear denied my proposal from the beginning to put a little box with a brief explanatory disclaimer.  Then finally Robyn Rogers, the less than genius student editor, made a lame explanation in an editorial that "Barger is NOT SERIOUS."  I sure got her words shoved up in me.  Yet I was- although perhaps in a somewhat backwards way- perfectly serious.

I ended up publishing seven action packed columns before being very publicly fired, and formally denounced in print by Ball State University President John Worthen, who wrote that my column was "not in keeping with the ideals and goals to which Ball State University aspires."  As you might imagine, that Worthen column rates as perhaps the single greatest honor of my college career.

This phenomenon was the centerpiece of my higher education, so I got a million stories to tell about this stuff.  Let's just get up the basic documents.  I've re-typed them rather than make you read them from microfilmed copies.  For historical continuity, I've retained the editor-composed headlines.

Column 1:  Alcohol puts conscience on holiday

Column 2:  Christians who believe in Biblical truth must also believe in women's inferiority

Column 3:   Beliefs should be followed or rejected

Column 4:  Empirical arguments only lead to breakdown of faith

Column 5:  Government ordained by God

Column 6:  Freedom to do good greater than political freedom

Column 7:  True Christians shouldn't support Christ's enemies  Second thoughts on Christians and Jews

Letters to the editor about God and Country

Anti-Al editorial cartoon

Daily News editors explain Al

Brother Al live

Brother Al fired

President Worthen responds

Images of the columns

Brother Banjo's Morality Review  More Rightwing mud-slinging, more fascist tee-totaling and the Albert Barger story



John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ - painting by Harry Anderson

John the Baptist baptizing Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth Images 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24

Annunciation of Jesus Christ Images 1  2  3  4

Birth of Jesus Images 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12

Jesus and Children Images 1  2  3  4

Jesus the Healer Images 1  2  3  4  5  6

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ Images 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24

Resurrection of Jesus Christ Images 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12

Alcast #14:  "Jesus Must Be Schizophrenic"  January 6, 2014  God is simply a single but multiple personality schizophrenic individual – like Norman Bates.  That would kind of explain the characters.  There’s the nice meek son possessed by the spirit of the evil or ill tempered parent – the mother who murdered Janet Leigh in the shower or the vengeful father Yahweh wiping out whole cities.  Then there’s poor Norman and Jesus trying to clean up after their crazy parents.  That would explain a lot of craziness in the world.

 angels collecting the precious blood of Jesus as he hangs on the cross  Jesus emerges from his grave   Jesus bearing the cross the ascension of Jesus reborn unto heaven



Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in The Seventh Seal


Max von Sydow as Antonius Block in The Seventh Seal



Belief in God changes you  - for good or ill

First Baptist Church of Laurel, Indiana  fine Christian fellowship and the best church feeding around

God Is Not Great

The Church of Answers - a Christian re-incarnationist

Anti-Sniveler Michael Hawkins

Hundreds of proofs of God's existence

Jay Bakker's Revolution Church

Biblical Womanhood

The Great Tantric Death Magic Challenge

Alt Religion

Literary Bible blog

And for our benediction, don't think that you should stop and thank the Lord for "The Air, the Sunshine and the Rain"?

Holla Back!

God and Country

MoreThings Home


Link Soup
alcasts morethings master photo gallery index boutique MP3 new album releases sammy davis shirley temple photos little richard photos buddy holly pictures fats domino images chuck berry pictures Jesus pictures leann rimes lucille ball images clint eastwood pictures beach boys janis joplin images team america pictures robert mitchum photos bruce springsteen pictures bugs bunny pictures ann coulter photos loretta lynn pictures adrian monk beatles pictures white stripes pictures andy griffith pictures kill bill pictures beverly hillbillies pictures michael jackson frank zappa pictures jerry lee lewis pictures richard pryor photos june carter johnny cash pictures u2 photos four seasons images james cagney images pulp fiction pics snoop dogg lying shysters elvis presley pictures dolly parton pictures olsen twins photos cheech&chong tori amos pictures David Bowie photos roger rabbit reese witherspoon pictures rolling stones photos adrian monk kim novak images ray charles photos marx brothers pictures prince rogers nelson pictures blazing saddles images steve martin eddie murphy photos aretha franklin photos south park  pictures homer simpson images bob dylan pictures elizabeth taylor photos alice in wonderland pictures madonna images saturday night live pictures willie nelson images lynyrd skynyrd hee haw pictures james brown images pete townshend photos tina turner pictures dixie chicks photos bill murray pictures elton john images emmylou harris images guns n roses pictures jodie foster photos eminem frank sinatra photos van halen images satan blondie photos merle haggard images rocky horror pictures monty python martin luther king watchmen pictures sarah palin