The World of Lu

Creating a digital heritage while engaging in some quality musings!

Archive for the category “Quality Musings”

[Scientology]: Losing Cruise?

Cruise+Suri2012

Tom and daughter Suri after break-up

Back in October some articles started showing up with regard to Tom Cruise and the possibility that he could be leaving or appending his faithful following of Scientology. At that time as Scientology’s most famous adherent, Tom Cruise, was believed to be receiving special dispensation to see his daughter, Suri, six, after ex-wife Katie Holmes withdrew herself and their daughter from the membership.

“Normally members are forbidden from contacting ex-partners who leave the 60-year-old cult. Is this special treatment intended to prevent Cruise quitting Scientology? A Cruise friend is quoted as saying:

‘He’s finally seeing that being such an advocate for Scientology hasn’t served him as well as he’d hoped – he’s gone through three divorces, and his public perception has sunk to an all-time low.’”

However another quote states…

‘Tom hasn’t admitted that he’s definitely leaving Scientology for good. But he’s distanced himself from those in the church and has been hanging out with good friends who aren’t part of the religion… Tom’s been leaning on friends who have different perspectives, getting advice on moving on from Katie as well as on everything he’s been going through with Scientology.’

Glad to hear that.

One evidence of a possibly changed Cruise came the other night on the Jimmy Fallon show where Tom abandoned pretension and Scientology superiority in favor of some great humble fun.  An epic “Water War” was staged between Cruise and Fallon and the result is hilarious.  I think people will be relieved to see Tom (at least for this brief time) freed up to get slapstick with Fallon, tossing water at each other like kids. 

Could this scene be a sign of a pulling away from Scientology?  Has Tom taken a different course after such a close affiliation with Scientology with three failed marriages corresponding to the time of his involvement?  After his rants and couch jumping this is a welcome change in any case.

It would be nice to think that Scientology would be losing Cruise.  No bets being placed here!  However the “Water War” clip is so worth watching.  It stands on its own as one funny video.  Check out the link “Fallon & Cruise Water War” and the pictures below.

Also you can check out my other Scientology posts; “Mission Imposssible” & “Tom, Cruising for Chicks Again?”

Cruise-Fallon-Water02Cruise-Fallon-Water01

Cruise-Fallon-Water03

Advertisements

Disasters? Make Mine Mayan!

Forget about the Fiscal Cliff!  It’s not happening… no I don’t mean Obama and Congress will or won’t work out a budget solution by the December 31 deadline.  I’m just saying it doesn’t matter.  Why?  Haven’t you heard?  The world is toast on December 21, 2012!

2012_endsYes, if you place disasters next to each other, the Mayan Apocalypse trumps the Fiscal Cliff!  By a long shot! As the song says, “it’s the end of the world as we know it”!  Good-bye 2012, may old acquaintance be forgot!

According to many soothsayers and doomsday predictors the world’s axis will flip on its sweet magnetic poles and the vacation you planned to the Outer Banks this summer, your 25th anniversary cruise you plunked down big bucks for and the hoards of money you’ve invested in blue chip stocks will be history!  That family reunion you planned this summer has been moved to a new venue… please show your ID to the angel at the Pearly Gates to confirm your new reservation!

CancunMayaMuseumThe 5,125-year-old Mayan calendar, also known as the Long Count calendar, begins in 3114 B.C. and ends, of course, on 12/21/2012.  The Mayan version calendar is based on a 20-day cycle in 394 increments known as baktuns. Dec. 21 marks the end of 13 baktuns and the conclusion of a key cycle of time.

But are Mayans worried? If they are they are ignoring the signs and betting on a Mayan cash cow.  And their Cancun Maya Museum is set to open for 12/21/2012!  The “End of the World” Mayan Tourism Consortium wants the last thing you see before you say bon voyage to Terra Firma is its Mayan relics and stone calendars and anything else that will enlighten you for your journey to the other side of the Galactic Alignment (yes the sun is set to align itself with the core of our galaxy on 12/21/2012!!) Be sure to sign up for a Mayan Enlightenment Seminar and learn why these advanced people bit the dust eons ago!

But better yet why not trade in your 2013 vacation for a “last cruise in the world” party on December 21!  Why not go out in style if you’re going to go.  Forget the college fund cause it’s going down the Mayan Disaster drain.  Or… so they say!

mayancruise-galacticalignment

Then again I saw one ad which said “Celebrate the End of the Old World of Darkness… And the Beginning of a New World of Light”!

Now that sounds more hopeful but it probably costs more because it’s a round trip ticket.  True Mayan Disaster Cruises are strictly one way! So make your plans now for Armageddon, Revival or both! 

Why stay home when disaster can be shared at some exotic location near a Mayan Temple at End of the World prices… and if you survive you tell your friends and kids where you were the day the earth stood still and then kept going.  And you can write a blog called “How I Survived The Mayan Apocalypse and Learned to Accept My Galactic Aligned Destiny!”  Now isn’t that better than “How I Survived The Fiscal Cliff and Found an Overseas Tax Shelter!”

[Scientology]: Tom, Cruising for Chicks Again?

Now that Tom Cruise is on the loose, another divorce in the books what will this Level 6 and climbing Operating Thetan do?

Maybe track down his favorite personal Sci auditor for a few spins on the E- meter to flush out any lingering or hidden engrams before he goes out cruising for chicks.

Maybe just take a break and bask in his own wonderfulness for awhile as he reflects on the failure of his runaway wife to fully embrace the awe-inspiring life of a Scientology “clear “.

Maybe arrange a few more covert Scientology auditions for a perspective partner… probably not… they didn’t work so well. Read the Vanity Fair expose for the insider Scientology revelations and the sad state of affairs that resulted.

All kidding aside… Tom is in a sad predicament.  He has gone through three wives plus a 3 year live-in stint with Penelope Cruz.

And is there any signficance that the years of birth of his 3 wives are 11 years apart: Mimi Rogers was born in 1956, Nicole Kidman in 1967 and Katie Holmes in 1978.  That would project his future fourth wife being born in 1989 or 23 years old at this time!

TOM’S CATHOLIC QUANDARY

How will Tom find his wife if she isn’t 23 years old?  Tom as a young man aspired to be a Catholic priest but after one year of seminary dropped out.  It took Mimi Rogers, Scientologist Supreme to get Tom out of Catholicism and into Scientology in 1990 (L Ron Hubbard Sci-Fi founder of the faith is said to have been radically anti-Catholic in his lifetime).  Ironically that’s the year listed for Tom’s divorce from Mimi.  She was the older woman who took young Tom (born in 1962) under her wing so to speak.

Even though he renounced his Catholic faith he keeps hooking up with women who were Catholic and are led into Scientology by Tom.  His evangelism is never complete as the spell gets broken later into the marriage after kids arrive.  He keeps hoping that the same enchantment that befell him and led him out of his Catholic chains will somehow come upon his lovely wifey victims.  Alas each a painful failure.

THEY KEEP COMING HOME TO ROME

Nicole Kidman was able to return to her Catholic roots with a beautiful church approved wedding celebration to Keith Urban in Australia.  It was a spiritual homecoming for her.

After Nicole came Penelope Cruz.  She was so close to marrying Tom and was ready to leave her Catholic roots for Scientology.  No go. Tom tripping over Catholic roots?  This Rome stuff runs pretty deep in the Cruise-meister.

Five years after revealing that she had started to study Scientology, Katie Holmes has officially returned to the Catholic faith, registering as a parishioner at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City.  In her case coming home to Rome may be more like getting into a safe house than a homecoming!  The battle over raising Suri as a Scientologist was a key battleground in the divorce.

SCIENTOLOGY LOVES NOT FOUND

Just when Tom is renouncing Catholicism you would have thought he and Mimi had finally found some kind of Scientology Synergy but it was not to be.  They broke up in 1989 and divorced in 1990.

Somehow pure Scientology women do not either fancy him or he is not enamored with them.  Some overlooked engrams? Just ask actress and former Scientologist, Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born beauty who was allegedly chosen by Shelly Miscavige for Cruise, whom he dated for two months. (Notice that Boniadi is listed as a former Scientologist now!)  She was supposedly one of a number of women audited by Scientology as a potential mate.

So where does Tom cruise from here?  He’s 50 years old.  His Catholicism keeps haunting him and his Scientology keeps failing him.

Unless he doesn’t really care about going through so many mates he will rebound and be searching again. Cruising for chicks as it were.

Ultimately one must ask… what is it that an Operational Thetan really looks for in a relationship or marriage?  Conversion?  Control? An ex-Catholic?  A Clear?

Hmmm… Maybe it’s time for a “Come to Jesus” moment for Tom!

(if you liked this post check out my other post [Scientology]: Mission Impossible )

——————————————————

Interesting “Seeking for Cruise Mates” links

http://thestir.cafemom.com/entertainment/142873/tom_cruises_scientology_auditions_for

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/showbiz/cruise-vanity-fair/index.html

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/09/tom-cruise-scientology-marriage-katie-holmes

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-et-mg-tom-cruise-scientology-wife-audition-haggis,0,3843713.story

[Scientology]: Mission Impossible

Years ago when I was in college before Travolta and Cruise and other famous actors became identified with the Church of Scientology I had my first encounter with the group.

I was with a friend in Georgetown walking around one summer evening when an unusual fellow in jeans and a t-shirt came up to us and asked us if we were “clears”.  Taken off-guard yet curious as to what a “clear” was we engaged him in some conversation. After a little while his eyes seemed to glaze over and he started blubbering about how one could become clear of the engrams that were in your head that prevented you from living your life unencumbered… this state of being unencumbered and free from all your engrams was called being a “clear”. Which he was! (tada!) 

An engram is a painful memory or a judgement about a memory or a memory you got stuck on and couldn’t leave well enough alone.  Not all engrams are directly aware to our consciousness.  We all auto-magically develop them without knowing as we go through life.  Which is a real bummer… cause you don’t know if you have them, how many and if a number of them have ganged up to form a formidable engram wall or barricade in your life.

Now enter in the “genius” of Scientology which is the Engram Meter that is used to identify these neural speed bumps and roadblocks!

Before going further here is some helpful definitions… Engrams are a hypothetical means by which memory traces are stored as bio-physical or bio-chemical changes in the brain (and other neural tissue) in response to external stimuli.  They are also sometimes thought of as a neural network or fragment of memory, sometimes using a hologram analogy to describe its action in light of results showing that memory appears not to be localized in the brain. The existence of engrams is posited by some scientific theories to explain the persistence of memory and how memories are stored in the brain. The existence of neurologically defined engrams is not significantly disputed, though their exact mechanism and location has been a focus of persistent research for many decades.

E-meter is considered a religious artifact

Back to the Engram Meter or E-meter.  Through the use of this apparatus (which is listed as a religious artifact in Scientology literature) one can identify these neural memory traces.  And become free of these nasty pests… through a series of sessions with a trained Scientology professional (or high priest or Grand Thetan?!?  this is a religion, is it not!)… set free all for a relatively low fee!  Low is relative here for who can put a price on freedom!

So we listened to our new-found “clear” friend who encouraged us to go take a short test so we could sign up for a free session or two of “auditing” which is what using the e-meter with a professional is called!  We said we might go and he seemed quite excited.  He then told us something curious.  He said that now that he was a “clear” he was ready to explore the bright clarity of the various upper levels of being an “Operating Thetan”!  He then went on his merry way leaving us to contemplate that last unexpected concept.  “Operating Thetan?!?” All right then…

She is audit-ready!

 Hard for me to believe but we actually went to the Scientology Center (not a ‘church” building but a townhouse) near Georgetown the next day.  We were cordially welcomed by a friendly enough chap and given a multi-page set of questions that were not too taxing on the brain.  Once we finished we sat in the reception area.  Our host told us all about the Thetan part of ourselves,  the spirit or soul part of us that is to be freed up via the audit process. Being pre-clears we needed to get to clear before moving on into the “Operating Thetan” stage like our friend from yesterday. So far so good… 

After asking where this Thetan part of us came from he gave us a synopsis of the Super Thetans (extraterrestrials?).  These beings willed themselves into existence a gazillion years ago and then united their “visions” and together created the “perception” of the universe.  Gradually these Thetans got so enmeshed in the material world that they gradually forgot who they were.  They flat-out forgot they were Thetans!  My friend and I looked at each other mouthing “they forgot!” to each other.  We were getting a tad bit uncomfortable. 

And all was still quite manageable until… we started hearing shouts and stomping of feet from the upstairs of the row house. It sounded a bit painful and a bit intimidating.  Our host was totally unaffected and explained what was happening… the  e-meter had come across a particularly painful experience like a major rejection by a parent and that the auditor needed to help the person push through the pain and in turn push through the particularly nasty engram or engrams.  Like pulling out a splinter or a nail or popping a blister or boil… no pain, no gain!

At that point when our host answered the phone and turned his back to us, we eyed each other knowingly, forsook our free audit and we slipped out as quickly and as quietly as we could.

It is widely believed that the creation of Scientology was the result of a bar bet between L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein. The story says L. Ron Hubbard dared that he could create a religion all by himself. According to Scientology critic Lindsay this is “definitely not true”, no such bet was ever made, it would have been “uncharacteristic of Heinlein” to make such a bet, and “there’s no supporting evidence”. However, several of Heinlein’s autobiographical pieces, as well as biographical pieces written by his wife, claim repeatedly that the bet did indeed occur.

No psychiatrist is going to mess with me!

The whole engram painful memory part has some merit in that we all know that memories with bad meanings attached to them can be particularly debilitating and Tom Cruise himself has forcefully communicated its benefits along with the freedom from psychotropic drugs and psychiatrists which is an OK goal.  Though the price tag on auditing ain’t cheap by any means!  

However to call this a religion you must add the Thetan stuff.  Thetans are beyond extraterrestrial because the Super Ones existed before the universe existed.  They are deities or super beings in the way Zeus, Hercules and Thor are… not supreme beings but powerful “creators” of the “game” called life.  The material universe started as a projection of their consciousness and now all us amnesia-ed Thetans involuntarily participate in upholding the projected universe with our perceptions and thoughts.  

All in all this stuff seems pretty loony and beyond far-fetched to me, even with the above mentioned redeeming aspects.  And I haven’t even touched on Xenu or Xemu! I can only think of it as L Ron Hubbard’s big joke on the world!

With the breakup of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Scientology goes under the microscope again and I think it looks none too pretty.  However a deal will be cut with Katie to give her full custody in exchange for an end to any revelation of dirt on Tom and the church.  This was the apparent strategy used by founder L Ron Hubbard during one of his divorces.  I provide the link below for those interested in more about not only Katie and Tom but also about the potential crumbling of significant parts of the Scientology empire.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/07/scientology_katie_holmes_tom_cruise_divorce_rathbun.php

Afer leaving the townhouse I actually read my free copy of Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard.  I found it fascinating. But also filled with flights of fantasy amid some good points concerning psychological health and dealing with your past.  But they lost me for good at a step beyond “clear” heading towards the ET-like Operating Thetan… all I can say to that is…

Mr Phelps… er I mean Mr Cruise, this is one MISSION IMPOSSIBLE I will not be joining you on…  be careful, your message is self-destructing in… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Have you had a personal experience with Scientology?  How about sharing it in the comments section!  Thanks.

Freedom & Religion

Freedom.  Religion.  In your mind do these terms go together? When you think of Freedom do you think of Religion?  When you think of Religion do you think of Freedom?

This past Sunday, July 1, my Pastor at The Life Church, David Baird gave an excellent message.  Not sure of  the title… I was going to put a link on this post to an audio file but I don’t see it up yet.  In any case let’s call it “Freedom & Religion”.  The message focused on three relationships freedom and religion can have.

The first relationship that he spoke on was called “Freedom OF Religion”.  This part was definitely prompted by the coming 4th of July Celebration on Wednesday.  Pastor expressed his gratefulness for being in a country where Religion can be for the most part practiced in Freedom. He said it is great to be able to drive down the street and see churches, synagogues, mosques and temples where people can freely worship.  He took the opportunity to chide those who would try to remove “God” from government contending that those kind of references did not violate government’s mandate of not establishing religion.  Prior to the message we saw a video that showed an amazing number of inscriptions referring to God on government buildings and some powerful quotes from our founders concerning God and effective government.

The future of the use of the word “God”, prayer at school events and at government facilities, Bible clubs and Church meetings in public schools or displaying of the Ten Commandments anywhere in government is still not resolved and is currently up in the air.  Judging by the way the courts are approaching these types of things as violations of the “separation of Church and State” I foresee the removal of the word “God” from the pledge of allegiance and from our coinage in the not too distant future.  Just think, the government’s National Day of Prayer was recently ruled as unconstitutional. 

The current status can be summed up by a commentary I saw on the web saying… “Though the ”place of religion in our society is an exalted one,’ the Establishment Clause, the Court continued, prescribed that in ‘the relationship between man and religion,’ the State must be ‘firmly committed to a position of neutrality‘.”  I find this to be an odd interpretation of the Establishment Clause which says that government shall “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  (I hope to write a post about it in the near future.)

Regardless of how all this shakes down I join with Pastor David in grateful thanks for the freedom that our country provides us now for practicing our faith.

The second relationship that he spoke on was called “Freedom FROM Religion”. This part focused on truths found in the book of Galatians. Our Pastor is pretty passionate about this aspect of the Christian Life.  He has been quite adamant about us being a church that celebrates its freedom FROM religion.  He reminds us of this regularly!

Galatians 5:13 says “For you were called to freedom” (ESV)  and 5:1 states “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”. The yoke or bondage is what Pastor defines as “religion”.  He defines it by saying “Religion is what we do to get God’s acceptance and approval.  It is performance-based living of any kind!” As Galatians says, a life based on the law is bondage and does not bring freedom. Pastor then referenced Galatians 5:12 to reinforce the severity of leading a Christian back into this kind of “religion”.  “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves”!   That’s right…  emasculate!  That’s a nice word for “castrate.” Paul is pretty darn serious about keeping us out of dead performance-based religion!

The third relationship that he spoke on was called “Freedom FOR Religion”.  For  this part he went to the book of James.  He said if there is a good side to religion then it is defined here in James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”. So there is a good side to religion and we are to wholeheartedly embrace it. 

It’s also important to note that we at TLC seldom use the word “religion” to describe the Christianity that we are to live.  The word that Pastor David would use to describe the Christian life is LOVE and not religion.  For we have been set free to LOVE as it states in Galatians.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another”.  We use our freedom to love… to love God, to love people! (Gal 5:13)

Because Freedom FROM Religion and Freedom FOR Religion go hand in hand we embrace both. The Apostle Paul exhorts us therefore to put off the OLD and put on the NEW! We thank God for this wonderful FREEDOM in Christ! For the “from” and the “for”!

What I’ve heard many times before applies here…

“It’s not Religion, it’s a Relationship!”

Or as singer Scott Wesley Brown used to sing in the late 70’s…

“I’m not religious, I just love the Lord!”

Facebook, Be Patient With Me!

Welcome the new FaceBucket!

“I am sorry FaceBucket (I mean Facebook) I have no pictures to upload today… please be patient with me.”

In this present age of Tweet where economy of words is paramount (at least per each Twitter offering) a new phenomenon has dawned on the digital horizon.  I call it Uploadmania!

Recording artist and Classic Rock fave, Rod Stewart once sang, “Every picture tells a story, don’t it!?!”  And there’s a saying we all have heard, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” Today many Facebook Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Friends of Friends are taking those sayings to heart and have been uploading hundreds of stories and millions of words each hour… all via photo uploads!

You may say… “Chris, you must be arriving late to the revolution! Folks have been uploading digi-pics to the web liberally and in quantity like forever.”  Well, OK… I can’t argue that but that upload revolution started with Snapfish, Shutterfly and Photobucket and the like.  The digital camera revolutionized how we processed photos.  Most if not all Kodak processing plants are now out of business as a result.   Online storage of digital images with the ability to edit and organize and then advertize to friends and family transformed how we ordinary humans did photography and photo-sharing. And who even needs online storage… I get emails with ten to twenty pics from people I know from around the world!

To my way of thinking the digital world changed significantly with the proliferation of the Smart Phone.  But not just a phone that can surf the web or even update your status.  It’s the Smart Phone camera that has evolved and become a legitimate force in capturing real life photos.  Not only that it has the advantage over the camera in that it does not need to be connected to a computer to download the pics.

All you need to do is focus, snap, save and upload the latest photo to your FaceBook or Twitter account.  If your’e only a little techno-savvy you’ve got a web shortcut already set up on your phone that always has you logged in! 

Then again why limit yourself… snap you and your friends in the car, beside the car and on top of the car.  Capture your lunch or your dessert or your fancy drink in a series of still shots!  Oh and I don’t have to tell you to photograph your child (or grand -child!), do I? I think I have seen more baby pictures in one week on FB than I have in my previous 25+ years of having children.  Good thing I like kids!

The self-portrait has skyrocketed to new heights.  Arms length photography took a major leap with the reverse lens being added.  Now all your FB buddies can see themselves in the view screen BEFORE snapping the shot.  A vast improvement… since then profile pic morphing occurs on an noticeably accelerated pace.

 And who knew we needed a super mobile phone photo app like Instagram. Boom! This app allows you to save, edit and apply filters to your mobile device photos before uploading! This is so awesome, folks, Facebook is buying it!  For $1 billion!

But it gets better.  Even before Facebook closes the deal on their Instagram purchase they released their own app called Facebook Camera (for iOS but soon for Android) that allows FB-ers to edit and filter their photos before upload.  And if you can’t decide which photo to upload FB Camera lets you upload a bunch at a time! The upload revolution kicks into a higher gear!

http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/24/facebook-camera/

So FB will offer both apps in competition with each other! Effectively saying, we don’t care how you upload your photos, just upload. Upload often, upload much! 

So I say they ought to rename the site “FaceBucket” in honor of the steady stream of pics I see uploaded each day, having steadily increased over the last 18-24 months.  Not just individually but in FB multi-packs!  And if that isn’t enough grab your iPad and start snapping away.  The most recent iteration was almost all about the camera and screen resolution (so you can ooh and ahh over the photos you upload with even greater eagle-eye clarity!)

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is amazing.  My gripe is that I’m so rotten at taking photos these days.  Can’t even take zoom lens graduation pictures correctly with a hi-tech digital camera.  And forget me and my smart phone… somehow I get nothing but grainy pictures from my Stratosphere.  But I love to see photos quickly and easily on FB these days especially if they are ones of my son Daniel and his beautiful lady Lariah getting married.  Hey, I’m even in a few of them! 

So thanks for uploading.  FaceBucket, I mean Facebook thanks you too!

Post Navigation