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The temples of ancient Greece were in competition to see who could put on the best show, and thus collect the most money. It is no different today. People attend the mega churches for the show, and the networking that might help their business or profession. The bare-bones churches who claim to be teaching the true word of God, are largely empty, and closing. I've long suspected the big time preachers of being the worst kind of cynical atheists, because there is no way they would ever want to face their maker and defend the lives they've led.

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The show is the point. It makes the rubes feel good and think they have had a real experience with God, when it is just an emotional response designed to open their wallets. Megachurches and their spectacle have been around long enough that most of the leaders are true believers, because they have been conditioned by the previous generations that the feeling of God is reality and not just brain chemistry doing its thing.

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The religious temples of Rome lined the boulevard leading to the Senate. The temples would roast sacrificial animal flesh and serve it to the select few. One of the few was the Ceasars who were want to up and leave the Senate proceedings upon smelling the delicious aroma of a roasted sacrifice. Christian services would be a lot more enticing if the flesh of Christ was consume “with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” https://youtu.be/SEQZiElLp-E

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The last sentence is cutting. One wonders if Falwell Jr. believes or expects to be allowed into heaven with his pants unbuttoned and a glass of "black water" in his hand.

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What pants? Those were just for the photo.

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I'm pretty sure I would've enjoyed a Greek temple more than a modern mega church.

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More pleasing architecture, anyway.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

Self awareness is not their strong suit.

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Pastor Greear speaks like a cult leader. Mandated conformity that is followed by his flock is the litmus test of his charismatic authority.

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That's the first thought I had, it's a real and utter lack of self-awareness and a serious resistance to acquiring any.

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You said it. There are more and more reports of non-MAGA pastors being shocked to hear from their Trump-loving congregants that, in so many words, Jesus Christ was not a "true Christian."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uBTQubfIYI

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

They don't know it but technically they are not wrong . christianity started decades after his alleged death.

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This fool reminds me of the priests of my youth, yelling at the congregation during their sermon that people aren't coming to church. I remember wondering why he was yelling at the people in the church, since they are the ones who actually came.

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Ha. How clueless can you get? [Answer: pretty damned clueless!] This is like a comic, blaming his audience for not laughing at his bad material. Then, too, the whole evangelical act probably has to get old after a while. Only so much bible-thumping to do before it gets old. Ditto the threats of hell.

Here's a thought: instead of spending tons of bread on video production equipment, ENGAGE DIRECTLY WITH YOUR AUDIENCE! Greet them at the door, tell them that you're glad to see them, hope they're well, and MEAN IT! Work at creating the kind of Christian fellowship that actually brings people together, and maybe, just MAYBE, they won't come in late or walk out early.

Or is that too much work? [For THIS schmuck? Of course it is!]

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I was just thinking about this, the connecting with the congregation in a personal way. My manager was just out for a funeral yesterday so funerals are on my mind and I was thinking about the last couple that I attended. My uncle died earlier this year and my cousin is an atheist but she accepted his wishes to have a Catholic priest preside over the funeral. The priest discussed how he didn’t know my uncle in the service, he had only met him while he was on his deathbed. And yet my uncle attended church weekly while I was growing up (he lived with my grandmother who insisted anyone staying in her house must attend church on Sunday so we always went to mass when we were visiting her, despite rarely going back home). So maybe he didn’t go to church as often, but any church he did attend should have known who he was.

My friend from high school died in 2019 and his funeral was at a UU church and this preacher had never met him and discussed that during the service. I didn’t really think he went to church much, since he was gay and married to a man, but the UU church was very accepting of that. Anyway, the preacher didn’t know the deceased but still felt equipped to talk about his life.

Another funeral in my recent memory was my best friend’s mother. This was another Catholic service and I assume she attended that church as my friend talks about still being active in church and following all the traditions, well a lot of the traditions. And again, major point in the service was the priest mentioning how they didn’t know the deceased. Not even like “I didn’t know her well, but when I met her I liked her” but complete lack of knowledge of her.

My impression of all three funerals was that they were advertisements of the church and religion more than any remembrance of the loved ones or comfort for the grieving. Just stuff like “our church provides a path”. Or this is how this rule/dogma addresses these feelings”. The UU church allowed folks to eulogize the deceased whereas the other two were very strict white who was allowed to speak, only one or two people who actually knew them. It really felt like a church service not a specific ritual for a specific person. It was clear that the clergy weren’t interested in getting to know their congregations.

I would honestly rather have a free for all memorial with no MC than anything run by any religious clergy. Have someone who actually knows me talk and skip the finger wagging from the books.

When I did go to mass or other church services (I attended several types of church over the years before I realized it was all bunk) they always felt more like an infomercial than anything else. I can only imagine how the mega churches are the extreme form of that now.

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I was so upset at my mother's funeral, she had consider the preacher her pastor for 20 some odd years, her brother was the choir leader, her sister attended the church. Now Mom didn't make the 50-mile round trip every Sunday, but once a month or so, but he knew absolutely nothing about her except what my uncle told him. And, of course, the Jesus talk. The only reason I didn't say something was I believe it was comforting other members of the family.

I want a nice catered meal (the little old church ladies really slacked off at Mom's funeral, we had a sandwich platter), an MC to add some structure, but mostly people remembering me. And if I have enough warning, maybe a last message.

But one word about 'Jesus' and I turn Poltergeist.

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I want Jeff Dunham to MC my funeral. That way "I" could deliver a last message. : )

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Cute thought. But I intend to already be buried by the ceremony as I don't want to be embalmed. If they want a graveside ceremony they can plant the cherry tree then.

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Cremation here, but urns/ashes can talk.

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You should really have Achmed relay your final message.

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the cremation of an average body uses enough natural gas and electricity to produce 140 lbs. of CO2.

https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/green_burial_glossary.html

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I believe some areas have mandated embalming even if you're being cremated, by the by, you might want to check.

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When I was looking at green burial, I got the impression that some cemeteries required it and it was required to cross state lines, but that was it.

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Do you really want his hand up your butt? I know where that hand has been...

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I'm on a stick.

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Everything tastes better on a stick!

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And deep fried?

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You mean a steek?

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No funeral, especially the religious part, for me. If the people I know want to organise something it will be their choice.

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My brother's memorial service sounded like a fucking advertisement for Jeebus. I'd give it one star. Hell, zero stars for pissing me off.

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When my father died nearly 40 years ago, I went to the funeral. There was a rental rabbi there, a couple of relatives, and no friends, because my father didn't have any. I was a surprise surprise surprised about the rental Rabbi, because my father went to temple, or at least said he did. The rental rabbi clearly never met my father and knew nothing about him. The person he was describing was even more of a stranger to me that my father actually was to me.

I thought the whole thing was an embarrassment.

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The graveside service for my late wife (she's been gone 6 years now) was me, my daughter, wife's best friend, and our close neighbor. I buried her ashes myself under an old maple tree on our property where I also had a marker placed. No religious bs, just those she loved mourning for her.

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"Ha. How clueless can you get?"

(cracks knuckles) "Here, hold my communion wine..."

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If every member of the clergy on earth disappeared over night, it wouldn't change much about the world. Those changes that did happen would be mostly positive as people came to realize they never needed those social parasites in the first place.

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Many in my church left 5 minutes early so they could get home by 12:00 for the Dallas cowboys kickoff. Priorities, you know.

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Rooting for the Cowboys is a sin.

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I was a Cowboy fan in the days of Tom Landry. Once the Jones' boys took over, I ran away as fast as I could.

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Patron Saint Ditka played for the Cowboys, so they weren't always sinners. : )

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I prefer this cowboy

https://images.app.goo.gl/66VV1sPrck7M9xGKA

I'd do all sorts of things for him.

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You and me both.

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Unfortunately, I'm technically at work, so I wasn't able to go looking for some more revealing cowboy photos.

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Don't try to understand 'em

Just rope, and throw, and brand 'em

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Saddle up! We're ridin'!

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Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

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Or two.

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Where on earth in the middle of a cattle drive do you have time to shave your stuff?

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Gillette makes some handy trimmers for down there.

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In my neck of the woods, we call cowboys "buckaroos."

Banzai!

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All cowboys, but the Dallas ones is a deadly sin.

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I wasn't ready for that.

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Are you ready for Orville Peck, the first openly gay country performer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoJaV-rqsiU

(Real name: Daniel Pitout. He's from South Africa and based in Canada)

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You gotta leave 5 minutes early so you don’t immediately start breaking your pious facade before leaving the packed parking lot. Especially at a mega church.

You look at rush hour type traffic just to exit the parking lot and your patience runs thin real quick and all these folks smiling and shaking hands a moment ago are now ready to run you down and backup to do it again. Don’t even get me started on making it to the restaurant before everyone else.

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We got a new priest a couple months ago. I swear if he could sing the homily, he would. He sings just about everything and at a fairly slow tempo. He also does the consecration and cleanup at the end very slowly and deliberately. Most people leave right after communion because it's already just over an hour by that time. Fortunately there's no traffic jam because so few people are going anyway.

And his homily this last weekend started out as "atheists are ignorant and arrogant for asking for physical proof of a spiritual being."

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Please tell him to f-off for me.

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What's Lourdes and Fatima for him then ?

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Football in Texas isn't a religion. It's taken much more seriously than that.

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Especially on Friday nights in the high schools.

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Friday Night HS football is why we pay property taxes.

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That's right. We all know that Jerry Jones is the high-priest and that Cowboy stadium is his cathedral.

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"It's that you treat church like it's a religious show instead of a welcoming family that you're a part of."

____

Church was never a family to me.

Four people out of 300 ever bothered to try to get to know me as more than a weekly handshake and (often) fake smile and three of those people were on staff. (I remain friends with a former senior pastor)

I never felt safe to be myself there. Never felt safe to voice disagreements or doubts or political opinions that weren't conservative Republican.

I certainly never felt as if I could go to someone in the church when I was in trouble or needed help.

So, really, they aren't family. They aren't places of community to a lot of us. Hell, I shudder thinking about the poor LGBTQ people who have to hide themselves. Or the depressed people having to fake smile while they're dying inside. Or the women who don't want to be someone's "help meet" and nothing else.

You can't be a safe place and a family unless you're willing to love (with actions) and accept everyone without trying to "fix" them.

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Depressed people have to fake a smile with actual family. You don't let anyone know how bad it is, it would just worry them and there's nothing they can do about it. Or at least that's what's in your head.

You hang on to the echos of community, but you never really feel part of it. You're always on the outside looking in.

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Ah. Ow. The flashbacks of my mother telling me to "Put a smile on your face and be pleasant and polite"....well, the 'or else' bit was implied, but it's not like I didn't hear it anyway.

You're not alone, I never felt like I could go to any church leader and get help, either. I suspect there are more of us around than will ever be acknowledged.

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I have lived in NC since 1990. We opened a center for conscious living in a small town. I did presentations at Hospice and gave talks to different groups. We really triggered some of the Christian churches as they pamphleted our center, prayed in our coat room, and warned us about being possessed by demons when we meditate.

One might suspect they really aren't all that much into critical thinking. The good news is that our devote Christian next door neighbor was startled by a snake in her yard. Instead of freaking out completely and having it killed, since she knew I am a heathen, she called me to come get it and I took it out into the woods and let it go. So that is good and hopeful.

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Butts in seats = more tithing. It's much easier to guilt people into giving when you're right in front of them as opposed to on a screen.

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I don't know how to get people there early, maybe a better warm-up pastor. But to get folks to stay to the end, raffle off a salvation, must be present to win.

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Indulgences by the luck of the draw!

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They’re struggling to find good opening acts these days. Didn’t you know there’s a shortage of preachers??

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I see that the hoary old Christian tradition of anything problematic just being 'out of context' is alive and well.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 11, 2023

OT - I'm Back from the hand specialist, they removed the bulky splint/soft cast that the ER put on my left arm.* 🙂 He wants me to wear a wrist brace, but my MC Advantage plan didn't approve it so I wasn't able to walk out wearing it. They want it to go through my PCP whom I won't see til later this month. 😤 So I will have to make a trip to the Wally World 3 miles down the road, instead of the one that is only a mile down the road from me. 🤬

But it gets better. The ortho wanted me to show up with a CD of the x-rays St. Anthony's ER took (yes it is a catholic hospital complete with a crucifix on the wall in the exam room). So I went there yesterday to get one. The woman in medical records said they couldn't do that and gave me a number to call. She told me that they could transmit the images directly to the doctor's office. The woman on the phone said they couldn't transmit it to the doctor's office, and that I would have to pick up a CD. At first, she wanted me to pick it up at BayCare's Carillon location which is 10 to 14 miles from me depending on which route you take. The doctor's appointment was at 9:40 a.m. so no way was that going to happen. Then she told me that I could pick it up at their location on St. Anthony's campus at 8 a.m. Better since it's on the way to the ortho's office. I got up at 5:30 to make sure I could get there on time by bus. Well, I got there on time only to have the receptionist tell me that the CD wouldn't arrive til between 10 and 11. 🤬 So I went to the doctor empty-handed. As he was finishing up with me he pulled up the x-ray of the hairline fracture on my radial post on the screen (my triquetrum is also broken). 🤬🤬🤬

So, how has y'alls day been so far? And keep in mind all of this was typed one-handed.

* The nurse that cut the cast off me was BHm sized.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

Yrsterday I went with DM to various medical appointments and errands. I was supposed to accompany her to the test lab this morning and go to the pharmacy while they took some blood and my ankle acted up again. It's chemo day tomorrow and rn I can barely walk with the help of my brace and paracetamol.

If Aria was still alive I would be very tempted to choke her Homer Simpson style.

PS : the couch is still waiting for me to fix it.

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Another demonstration of how America has "the greatest medical system in the world."

I still remember the ER doctor who tried to give me a shot of penicillin even though he was holding in his hand a chart that said, in a large red box and in bright red letters, "Allergic to Penicillin."

That was some thirty years ago, and things have only gone downhill.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

I was lying in the emergency room with a kidney stone years ago and an intern told me he thought it could be appendicitis. I pulled up my shirt to reveal my decades-old appendectomy scar and asked him if it could have grown back in the thirty years since they had removed it.

Remember what George Carlin said about doctors, "Somewhere on the face of the Earth is the worst doctor in the world. And someone has an appointment with them in the morning."

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As I've commented in the past, medical education in this country is the same as all other higher education: a consumer commodity. If you want an MD after your name and have the money to pay for the degree, there's a school somewhere that'll sell it to you. And even if you're so hopeless you really can't find a school here, it's a cinch there's one in the Caribbean that'll greet you with open cash register. In other words, any moron who wants to become a doctor can do it.

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I find I can't complain about healthcare via the VA. Without them, I'd be blind or dead.

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You're a lot luckier than you know.

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What was it that Larry Fine once said? "Don't ever get sick. You can't afford it."

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I was once – years ago – sent to the physio after a fall because of muscle crushing/strain whatever. After many visits to the physio – you weren't at the time allowed to diagnose anything – one of them said you should go back to your GP, this isn't working. The GP sent me to a specialist, because we have a gatekeeper system here. Paid $80 for the specialist to tell me I had a broken leg. And that's not in America.

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The height, the width or both ? 😁

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Height.

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Last week when I was having internet problems, I dined in at McDs a couple of times. The gal behind the register was less than 4' tall. I don't think they would let her work the drive thru because she couldn't reach out the window.

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Having a meal at McDonald's isn't dining, just eating.

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It's been a while since I last ate inside. I didn't have to wait at the counter for my food. They brought it to the table.

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I figured you always typed one handed.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

WHO TOLD YOU‽‽‽ *furiously looks for hidden cameras*

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That's why you block the camera lens on your laptop.

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Desktop.

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The question is, what's he doing with his other hand (as if we can't guess)?

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I feel your pain. I have frequently had medical equipment delayed because my insurance has drug their feet. I was also kicked off my diabetes medication 3 years in a row because it was removed from my insurance's formulary.

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First, here's a virtual hug. It sounds like you need it.

You might remember I had a kidney stone treated in the ER back in March. I still have at least two more. The doc that originally treated the one in March isn't on my insurance and of course they refused to pay for any further treatment with that doc so I had to find a new one. This doc is apparently still blaming COVID for how busy his office is and despite several attempts hasn't yet treated any of the remaining stones; the one time I didn't have the procedure cancelled he decided he couldn't do the work because of a rash on my ankles. (It's been there for years, and I don't care what the hospital says, it's NOT cellulitis; it's never responded to antibiotics anyway.) Right now, I can't even get his office to call me back, and I'm really thinking he just doesn't want to treat me. I'm so frustrated with this doc I'm at a loss for words.

I just want to get these stones handled so I can move on with life. I don't know what I'd have to do if I were still working; no employer I've ever worked for would have put up with this. Take care of that hand, and feel better soon in any event.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

It's harder in France for a doctor to lose his license but what you are going through now would be a cause. Insurance companies can't choose which doctor you will see either, though it's cheaper to see the ones who work with them.

*Include Aria funny pictures*

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After reading, this, I shall never complain about having a bad day.

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I forgot to mention that the cast gave me a rash. ☹️

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Oy vey. You, sir, are cursed. God is punishing you for being naughty. Or something.

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had the same thought except not going to complain about my sore back.

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$500,000 worth of video equipment could feed an awful lot of starving people.

Oh, wait! They are Christians.

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I don't think video equipment has much nutritional value.

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Build a nice house for the homeless in large parts of the country.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

"People who don't belong in church."

The rational? People who have not willingly surrendered the intellects they were born with?

The ones who definitely don't belong in church? Children, first and foremost.

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Having attended churches that ranged in size from a few dozen members to thousands, it's been my experience that the larger the church the easier it is to check out mentally during the service. With all the screens and tech and music, it's a performance and the congregation is the audience.

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Wow, I... just the complete obliviousness is astounding. The church I grew up in had one little tv on a rolling cart and we never saw it during service. This dude needs a swift kick in the self awareness. And the nuts.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

Won't work. He'll just cry persecution.

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