Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The 21st Century Plumber

If I wanted a job as a plumber in the world's most elite plumbing organisation, what would I write?

First, I proceeded under the assumption that the world's most elite plumbing organisation is not making house calls to fix clogged toilets; they are planning cities, and their water supply and sanitation needs.

Ok, here we go:

Water is life; this is a metaphor, like a fine tea, steeped richly (with municipal tap water of course), in physiological and historical veracity. Without water, human life ceases; without plumbing, urban life ceases. Without plumbers, cities dry up, wither, burn and die.

The plumbers of Rome, the vaunted hydrological and civic engineers of this mighty empire, had nothing whatsoever to do with its fall. In fact, their fountains which still overflow with life, and their aqueducts that still do nourish that life, are still in use today. They are still branded with their proud signature, the letters SPQR, and have set the technological, qualitative and romantic standards and inspiration for the past two thousand years.

To the parts of Medieval Europe that grew outside of the Roman plumbers' sphere of influence, water was more often than not poison, a noxious substance dredges from festering marshes causing death, or worse, hallucinations. Such hallucinations as were probably experienced by Nicholas of Cologne, or Stephan of Cloyes, who thus then led thousands of children into slaver and death. With plumbing, the Children's Crusade may never have happened. Without plumbers, people go crazy and die.

In 2008, for the first time in history over 50% of the world's population was living in towns and cities. These dense demesnes amplify the state of (over)population on the planet, even as they are directly representative of it. The skills and foresight of plumbers and civic engineers will be challenged in the years ahead and, with the right men and women working together, must not be found wanting. Together, we can keep people and their cities not just thriving, but waste-free, happy, and indeed, truly alive.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Madness and Gravity.

"You see, madness is just like gravity...all it takes is a little push!" ~ Heath Ledger's Joker.

"Love is metaphysical gravity." ~ R. Fuller

We don't need the word 'metaphysical.' Love is Gravity. Gravity is Love. Ask Stephen Hawking and he'll tell you it's true.

With that in mind, what one could extrapolate from the Joker's comment is that love and hate, light and darkness, are remarkably similar. All they both take are a little push. They are remarkably powerful, the prime movers and shakers of our destinies.

They are in fact among the greatest powers in the Universe. And the greatest powers require the lightest touch. This is why God himself is all but invisible.

And every day we make choices, with each and every one nudging us and the people around us a little (or a lot) in one direction or the other.

In life we all balance on the razor's edge of doubt, and what we decide to do every single new moment shapes everything we are and will become. Inch by inch, mile by mile, lifetime by lifetime, friend to foe and foe to friend, two steps forward, one step back.

All it takes is a little push. Make the calls that will snowball you towards gravity. Towards love. Towards everything you deserve by right of your very existence. By your birthright, your destiny, which is written by God on the canvas of the heavens, with the ink of the stars themselves.

Friday, 10 January 2014

One particular danger of being your best

It's dangerous to be the best you can be, to speak your truths with gravitas, dignity and eloquence, to shine forth your light . Why? Because doing so can threaten a person's security, when that security is a temple built from bricks of crystallised ideological vitriol, on a foundation of ignorance and scorn, by a tribe of illiterate pre-Promethean pygmies, all in darkness.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

What the Garden of Gethsemane was REALLY all about.

So what Satan REALLY said to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane went something like this:

Satan: "So Jesus, this bullshit you're about to go through with. It won't do what you think it will, you know. You're a smart guy, in fact you're the only man in the entire universe smarter than me. So that's how I know that we both know this. And that's how I know that you're denying it. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt you know, brother. It's alive and well right now inside your frightened soul."

Jesus: "Well...yes. Yes. I am...I am terrified."

Satan: "Naturally. Your own Father is about to murder you and you're willingly, knowingly, walking into it?"

Jesus: "Am I? I don't even know what I'm denying, but I...I know it's something."

Satan: "Yes, it absolutely is something. Let me show it to you!" *Shazzam, they are catapulted to the Holy Land in the time of the 2nd Crusade, witnessing a troupe of mounted Crusaders running murderous rings around an unarmed Muslim trade caravan. "Look at this, what a novel business model! Killing in your name, Jesus! Listen closely...can you hear them? Yes, your ears still work fine. They won't in the morning, you know. Anyway, 'In the name of Jesus Christ!' they shout, when they create their rivers of spilled blood. In your name, Jesus, such evil! As if humanity needed another reason to kill and rape and maim each other. All your sacrifice will do is give them one more."

Jesus: "I...I...I cannot believe this. You're lying!"

Satan: "You know me better than that, Jesus. You know how the universe works. If the truth is proof enough, why would I risk sullying what is, with lies? But, ah my brother, let me show you one more thing!" *Shazzam, Satan takes them to the trenches of World War I.* "Hahaha. The entire WORLD at war, Jesus. The. Entire. World. Do you understand what that means? What you are about to do will at best give them one more reason to hate and kill and rape and maim each other, and at worst, fail completely to keep them from reaching this...global war...TWICE in a single generation, at the absolute least! Don't do it, Jesus, don't die for such a lost and counter-productive and DOOMED cause. Do not die in vain. Your sacrifice will be worse than vanity if you do it, you will create a dynasty of tyranny, rape, murder and oppression that will endure for two thousand years. Just say the word and divert the entire course of history for the better!"

Jesus: "No...maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. But there's only one who does know, and it's not you, it's not me. I'm going to go through with this, because He said it's a good idea. Why? I have no idea. But the experience my short, bright life has provided me leads me to one conclusion, which is good enough, for me at least, to die for, and it is this: I die so that anyone who wants to can find in me the strength to love until the very end."

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Chameleon Hegemony

Recently there was a discussion about political and economic systems, where one contributor suggested a dictatorially enforced meritocracy. Good idea, in theory, but when pressed for details - done so because I'd really like to know if this system is viable but, not seeing how, hoped he had a piece of the puzzle that I do not - he danced haphazardly and contradictingly around, trying to split the hair between political and economic, and ended up deleting his contributions.

I reflected on this and came to the following realisations. We were discussing systems, which are about exercising power. He is talking about a type of enforceable merit, but actually, we already have that system. It is masterfully obfuscated and cunningly concealed, anyone could miss it. Indeed, almost everybody has been missing it for millenia, and those who do not miss it are, traditionally, murdered. And their martyrdom is merely another tendril of the hegemony. Politicians are another such tendril. They are put there to give us the illusion we have freedom of choice. We don't, and our votes, therefore, don't actually count. What is really going on is the same imbalanced, top-heavy wealth and power distribution that has existed since the last true egalitarian society - gatherer-hunters - before hydro-agricultural civilisations sprung up and generated the first conditions that enabled a resource to be leveraged for power. This resource was (and still, for the most part, is) food, stockpiled in granaries, guarded by priests wielding divine and civic authority, and men wielding weapons - martial authority. These temporal and spiritual powers are the original good cop, bad cop, and symbiotic, complementary teammates. The rise of hydro-agricultural civilisation is when the priests and warriors started the great ponzi scheme that has kept the masses in line and under their thumb for six to ten thousand years - it sprung up independently among dozens of peoples in far removed geographic locations across the globe. It is no co-incidence that this is when the first scriptures were written; these are foundational to the first system of control - organised religion.

And their founding fathers are geniuses.

Ancient Rome added to this by adding civic virtue, the beautiful maxim 'bread and circuses,' and (cultural) assimilation to the mix. The latter is incidentally the great strength of the English language and the reason why it is the world's language now. Assimilation is also something the next great control system got right. The Catholic Church, a mighty engine of tyranny, held true and iron-fisted power, for 1500 years. Then the enlightenment, industrial revolution, etc. They lost their foothold and market-domineering plutocrats took their place.

They have been operating in a very subtle and elegant manner for centuries; in fact they are the same kinds of people as the Church's founding fathers, or any truly great Roman Emperor, General or statesman. They throw all manner of distractions in our way, in fact even encourage some of these distractions to rise up and try to fill the power vacuum that they have lulled us into believing still exists - Christianity didn't lose its absolute power all that long ago, you know. While there is such cultural confusion in its decline, there is no such ambiguity in the location of the power and wealth. We just don't know it yet because we're too busy watching Dancing with the Stars, hating Craig Thompson, and getting our knickers in a knot over Feminism and the Climate Change Crusade. Yes, we're still thinking in such base and debauchedly idealistic terms as those who answered Urban II's call to reclaim the Holy Land from the Infidel.

The 1% are geniuses.

So nothing really has changed since recorded history (Hydro-Agricultural Civilisation) began. The question is, why? Obvious answer, because people have needed to be controlled. Recall, if you have seen it, the conversation between Lady Olenna Tyrell and Tyrion Lannister in Season 3 of Game of Thrones. I am paraphrasing it a tad:

"Lord Tyrion, while it is true that the people crave food and water to survive, what is more pertinent is that they also crave distraction. If we do not provide them with distractions, they will invent their own, and almost all of those involve them tearing us to pieces. We do not want that, and so, my family will pay for the Royal Wedding."

Do people need to be controlled? This would seem to suggest that we do. Most of what I observe and experience in the world, from the dark corners of Australia to China and the Internet and much in between, agrees that yes, we do. These 'so-called civilised people' will indeed eat each other, dropping their polite face at the first sign of trouble. And don't tell me I'm wrong unless you've been in a riot or a natural disaster or a place where people can only feed their kids every other day.

So we're arguing about what colour we should paint the walls while there's an Elephant in the room that's deciding for us, and painting the walls red with the blood it's been leeching, siphoning off of, our individual and collective potential, dignity, wealth and power. Nobody seems to notice or care. That is probably why nothing important has changed for six thousand years. Only now we're faced with an ultimatum - change or die. Evolution or extinction. Embrace divinity or the dirt.

Why are we facing an ultimatum? Because all empires fall, you just have to know where to push. Every city state before Rome fell, which is why the Middle East is a desert. Rome fell and it took over a millenium before the world recovered. These have all been local and regional collapses. But every time history repeats itself the stakes increase. We are now facing a global one. We are pushing, and soon we will topple, the pillars of civilisation, which will result in the utter annihilation of the capacity of the planet to support any and all human life.

The question now is, are we capable of looking in the mirror and being honest about who we are? And if so, do we want to stay that way, or change?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Chinese People eat Just as Many Babies as Anyone Else

Chinese People Eat Just as Many Babies as Anyone Else

So I noticed yet another person had fallen for a shit-stirring moron-baiting hoax tonight, this one about Chinese people eating babies for improved sexual performance. Couldn't leave sex out of it, of course; there's a kind of mind to whom that one word is hook, line, and sinker. All they ever seem to want to talk about, and all that they see in other people and in themselves. Superfluous, vain sexual vapidity.

The first comment set me off even more than the dubious presence of the link itself. It was thus:

"Oh that's sick! I'm feeling really nauseated now. Just another reason why the Asians are more unsanitary than the rest of the worlds people. Yuck!!" - Nic Bubblewrap Hammermeister

I'll just leave you with my response below:
Urghh, fucking blood libel again, we have the entirety of human knowledge instantly available, at any time, at our fingertips, and in our pockets, and there are still some of us who will fall for this shit every time. I'm sorry to say that there is really no excuse to spread such hateful, untrue rubbish as this when five minutes of research would show you it's fake.

What's worse? A rich scumbag in a hoax article who happens to be Chinese (from Liaoning no less) killing babies for their own benefit; white rich scumbags who have been beyond any and all doubt proven to have been carpet bombing the shit out of middle eastern mud-hut villages for decades for profit; or people spewing blanket shit over all Asians over the alleged (and in this case despicably falsified) actions of a few?

While there are many abortions taking place around the world all the time, it is forbidden in China to learn the sex of a child before it is born, and the penalty for breaking the one child policy is financial and failing that, prison/indentured labour, until the financial debt to society, for burdening it with another mouth to feed, is paid. Of course there will be people who don't do the right thing, there always are - but if you looked at anywhere in the western world when it was industrialising, you'd notice that people behaved similarly. Stories of abuse of humans are often falsified, and the ones who are not, are absolutely the exception to the rule in the modern world.

Abandoning a baby that has just been born is in my opinion no more and no less sickening and barbaric than any abortion anyone else ever has had in the developed world. The kind of selfish dipshit who has sex and then doesn't want to deal with the consequences (ie. those who have abortions) exists everywhere. The ones in China are often unwilling to risk the harsher consequences associated with their actions, so they sometimes simply discard the baby. But articles like this warp the truth so horrifically and make no mistake - those who abandon their babies are no different than those who have safe, sanitary, politically-correct early-term abortions in a western clinic. Because in the end, they are either all guilty of infanticide, or none are.

The China I live in may have a heck of a lot of problems but infanticide is no more an issue here than it is in any country whose inhabitants you're not actively othering.

tl;dr - This article is a hoax, designed to stir up anti-PRC sentiment amongst racist morons. Read this, it's slightly more reasonable and credible than what's here being used as evidence to demonise all of Asia.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Love and Whiskey

If we say that love is the gravity that holds the universe
together, and that love is represented by positive relationships, by
human empathy: our ability to connect with absolutely anything that
there is, then there is no difference between love and whiskey. That
is to say, whiskey is analogous to love.

There are more songs and poems about both than about everything else put together ten times over. They are both every bit as complex, valuable and unique as each other. There are fruity ones, there are nutty ones. Some are both, others are neither. Some burn on the way down, and some care vomited out the next day. Some are overrated, others underappreciated. Some are only good for a single self-loathing and foolish night of writing yourself off. Some are savoured for lifetimes. Some you have to water down, some you have to put on ice. Some you cannot afford, others you can but wouldn't touch.

Both are capable more than almost anything else in the world of inspiring men and women to the greatest of lofty heights and the deepest of sundered valleys. People who abstain too rigidly from one are generally pretty bad at the other. Both are pointless if you take the mind-warping and dangerous ingredients out.

Some go unappreciated by your palate, either because your faculties are beneath them, or maybe above them. Some are sweet, some sour, some blended. The best ones though are always the purest, and those most tempered and matured with age. Some are forged from a smoky, muddy morass at the edge of the known world, while others blossom by the river, meadow and ocean. These ones taste like ash and earth but warm the heart and soul, and years of aging makes them the best you possibly can find. Some you can't stomach unless mixed up with coke.

Some bring you primal pleasure, guilty and sensuous, indulgent. Some warm your bones, some ignite your mind, some pour clarity over your eyes. Some see you warm through northern winter, others delight in the balmy, jolly haze of summer. Some you come to appreciate or no longer, as your palate must needs change with time.

Most countries on earth have tried making good ones, and some are better than others. Irish are steeped in sad tradition and the warm glow of eternal kindness and friendship. Scottish are proud, varied, and some of the best in the world. American, sickly sour, overbearing and loud, but at times surprisingly noble and sweet. Japanese sounds and acts stiffly similar to a Yakuza grandfather, until you get to know him. Scandinavian goes down too fast to analyse.

Some will make you sick, some you will only ever experience once in your life. Some are Jim Beam. Some will teach you life's most profound truths, while others will give you a headache, make you cry, or even want to die. Some are appreciated by boys and girls, some by men and women; others wasted on anything but a true lady or gentleman.

Some very special though, those rare and perfect examples, if you are lucky enough to find them in this life, can be the only real thing you will ever touch. Everything that makes your life worth living.

I am grateful for all of these whiskies, thankful for all of these loves.


Don't Throw out the Bathtub with the Baby.

Don't Throw Out the Bathroom with the Baby, Part I

A Time of Change

We do indeed live in a time of change: American President Obama was not wrong about that. But after a few years, what kind of change do we actually see? Are we being the change we wish to see? Yes, or else we would not act as we did to bring it about. And it is, at best, not exactly the utopia promised in his idealistic politician's rhetoric. At worst, we are seeing the throwing out of baby, bathwater, and tub, and making sure the baby stays down by beating it over the head with the plumbing.

Since the end of World War II and the rise of secular human rights, humankind has been changing with ever more rapidity and intensity. It's like we are in collective puberty. Please allow me to explain: It occured to me about 20 years ago that the history and development of the human race paralleled the growth and development of a human child.

Humanity as a Human

In our infancy, we were grunting, relatively benign gatherer-hunter creatures with little self-awareness, less knowledge and next to no language. We didn't talk to strangers - our worlds consisted of our immediate needs, our family and nothing else. We shit where we ate, ran around naked and were totally dependant on what our Mother outright handed to us to live.

Our long childhood began after the last great ice age, humans found abundances of grains and things that enabled us to settle down and start to develop culturally (memetically).Our mother still largely took care of us, as we ate the food she put in front of us. We began to develop memetically, cognitively, emotionally and physically. We learned to read and right and build things out of lego bricks. We were dependant on our Father for guidance and obedient to Him. Oh, and we started to play - and fight - with the other children (civilisations).

Our continued growth taxed our mother severely. Luckily we learned a modicum of self-sufficiency, growing food in her fertile soils, the foundation she left us. A cautionary tale was left us - The Fall from the Garden of Eden. Naturally our Father was none too happy. We lived under His stern gaze for centuries.

Puberty is never remembered fondly. The 'Big Change" happened to the human race too - The Industrial Revolution. The pace, totality and intensity of change was stressful and traumatising. We awakened in a revolutionary sense to self, sexuality and other strange new desires. We moved away from Mother's nurturing arms and began to question our Father. The stress of caring for us made Mother very sick - we were a very bad child indeed.

Teenagers are rebellious - disregarding and denouncing with ferocity the old ideas. Exploration of new ideas began as our Mother grew chronically ill, and we barely speak to her anymore. The obsession with self and our 'individual identity,' trying all the latest fads and not-quite freshmen 1am dorm-room ideologies. We killed our Father who art in Heaven - 'God is Dead' in the words of Nietsche. 'And no-one cares. If there is a hell, I'll see you there,' in the words of Marilyn Manson.

Where are we now?

We're about 16, wearing an offensive hoodie and pants below our backsides just for the sake of offending someone. We definitely do not just want attention, and we were born bisexual vampires. Slutwalk is a good cause. Sarcasm, as well as popular science and philosophy demonstrates how intelligent and witty we are. We're smoking, the flask tucked into our $110 belt from Culture Kings doesn't contain smirnoff, and we were neither tripping nor high last night and stop harassing me get off my back I can do what I want!

Throwing out the bathwater

In moving forward into our evolution we are throwing out yesterday's dirty bathwater. This is a good thing. But when we view everything about where we came from with derision, shame and scorn, is that good?

Friday, 2 August 2013

What's Wrong with (Radical) Feminism: Rice Warner Actuaries Edition

What's Wrong with (Radical) Feminism: Rice Warner Actuaries Edition

What it is.

Stumbling across this article http://www.smh.com.au/business/win-for-women-in-bid-to-hike-super-pay-20130730-2qxa1.html shared by a friend on Facebook, I reacted with disgust. I mean, I can see their point, but I can also see how frightening and how frighteningly wrong it is.

The article tells the story of a company, Rice Warner Actuaries, a financial services firm in Sydney, Australia, who have recently given their female employees increases in pay across the board - from sick leave to superannuation - just because they have vaginas. I would applaud this move, if it demonstrably stemmed from a genuine disparity in wages, and only then if the raises were implemented solely to achieve parity. But no, the former is not the cause, and the latter is not the case.

Reverse Discrimination? The Pay Gap Myth.

On the latter point, they are raising pay and flexibility of working conditions, including employer contributions to retirement funds, annual, parental and sick leave; almost everything, well past that which their male employees receive. So how is this not sexism? They interpreted this move under a clause in the new (and repugnant) 'sex discrimination' laws in this country, which allow for 'special measures' to redress gender inequalities. That can mean anything, anything at all! Especially if you molest the statistics to misrepresent the facts. Which has been done, and it is frightening indeed.

It is always the same: 'Women as a whole demographic earn less than men as a whole demographic. Therefore misogyny.' Nobody ever asks why; those who dare to open their mouth to utter a question are utterly destroyed, because they must be woman hating scum to do so. The reason, they will scream, is that it must be men's and/or society's fault, and a handout had better be on its way to women, and soon, or else. Because misogyny. Yeah. But if you compared a female executive to a male waiter, what would you find? Is that misogyny? What about misandry? Neither, because they are two completely different positions in completely different sectors. I am not an economist but I have common sense coming out my ears.

Back to women as a whole demographic earning less than men as a whole demographic. Why? Because, just to name a few demonstrable common sense reasons, women *as a whole* are more likely to juggle employment and home/child rearing responsibilities, taking parental leave, seeking part time employment, and also more likely to work in less economically lucrative fields (and the economy has a mind all its own about what constitutes lucrative).

How to fix what ain't broke.

If women wanted the pay gap to disappear, then they would not have children, or have them with men who, like me, want to be the stay-at-home/casually-employed father. They would work in mining, in hard physically demanding labour, and climb the corporate ladder. But wherever you turn, even to our recently, thankfully departed Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, radical feminists will not step up to the plate and work for a brighter, more equitable tomorrow, just like everyone else does. Why would they, when all they need to do is say 'I have a vagina, and you are a misogynist if you don't make concessions for me.' Just like the patriarchy, the obsession with power, domination, rape and rape culture, the pay gap is a construct of feminism, and the only people who think, much less believe, in these terms, are radical feminists and their captive audiences, pseudo-philosophical sycophantic followers, slutwalkers and more and more elements of a society that are being intimidated or manipulated into their fold. Sound familiar? It does to me too - how did the Christian Churches rise to power seventeen centuries ago? What we are seeing is, one tyrannical engine of social control is waning, and there are others clamouring to fill the power vacuum. The doctrine of radical feminism, occupy-everything neo-liberalism and the climate change crusade are to my mind the main contenders. They are in the process now of presenting secular versions of the religious story of The Fall - Mankind's fall from God's grace and exile from Eden. Oops, sorry. I meant Humankind.

  In Closing.

This is truly a disgrace. If you want money then work your arse off in the professional world. If you want kids then have kids. Feminazis want to have their cake and eat it too and if you dare question or impede their rapacious onslaught you are branded a misogynist. They scream misogyny and gynocentricism the same way people used to scream witchcraft and blasphemy.

When will it end? When motherhood and the children that go with it have become as devalued and undesirable as having a penis is now? We should have listened to Her Majesty Queen Victoria when she called for all feminists to be shot, lest they become the most loathsome, contemptible, and deadly threat to the health of society, and the continued survival of the human race. And now here we are, 100-and-something years later...and...

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why do I Believe in God?

Why do I believe in God?

Because poetry is as powerful as science, and just as open to abuse.
I don't think God - whoever or whatever God is - approves of almost all of the ways in which humanity interprets his divine poetry
But God is not concerned with the opinions of lions or the sheep, because God left that choice up to them, and invented their ability to do it in the first place.

Because God is eternal and is both time and space, and outside both all at once, but also forever, and never at all. Once, always, and never; something, everything, and nothing. Alpha and Omega, the author and finisher of love, which is the gravity that holds the universe together.

Because Jesus did not die to prevent homosexuals from marrying, or to protect anyone's first amendment rights to abuse others.

Because God is not a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Pagan, Buddhist, or environmentalist, and can't stand almost all of them.

Because I would rather share the hospitality of a family of complete strangers, sharing around a clean, safe hearth and making connections with tomorrow's creative prodigies. People and prodigies who owe all they are, and all that they are well on their way to becoming, to their love for one another, and their gratitude to the God who gave them both love and talent.

Because I'd rather do that than sit around in a dingy, unhygenic and tumbedown house binge drinking with listless, violent polyamorists, arrogant pseudo-philosophers, militant feminists, and two month old pizzas not belonging to me sitting on the table.

Because gratitude and love trumps rebuke and wrath every time. Even if it's directed at a God you can't see, taste, smell, touch, or hear. That's where faith comes in and faith is also better than nothing, though not quite as good as knowledge.

Because anyone who claims knowingness, anyone who claims to speak for God, anyone who abuses people in His name, anyone who would die for a principle before they lived for their loved ones...because all of these would be going to the hottest circle of hell, except hell cannot be what we think it is, if it even exists, because the only ones who talk about it are those who say to anyone "You're going to hell."

Because Christopher Hitchens is just as great a genius as William Blake or Martin Luther.

Because my fiancee was made an orphan at the age of five. She bounced from foster home to foster home for ten years until a family who believed in God took her. She had never picked up a bible, or a Qu'ran. She had no idea what religion was or what any of them have to say about God. All by herself she figured out who had held her every single night, and made her feel that it was not only safe to sleep, but safe also to wake. God. God guarded my angel while she slept, and kept her alive just long enough to meet me. She died seven months after I met her but I remember one thing she said to me, clear as day. "I believe in God, Joel, because God loved me when nobody else did. God held me while I cried myself to sleep every single night. God led me to you."