What started with "Why?" has blossomed into
The files of Andrew Arp

His emails are in blue & mine are in black and white.

Every year Halloween and New Years Eve battle it out for the top slot on my Favorite Holidays list.

I went and got me a flashy new tuxedo and hit the town last night with my friend and photographer Venessa Nina. We took the subway into Manhattan, painted my nails at the Bowery Poetry Club, got a bite to eat in Union Square and had some drinks in Brooklyn where we rang in the new year with the eastern time zone and Christopher Reeves.

We had our share of memorable moments. Took one bite of the worst chocolate chip cookie ever, got some strange looks from strangers, was informed that Halloween was two months ago by one of those guys who embarrasses his girlfriend every nine minutes with the things he shouts in public places, and that pink haired girl in the Union Square station who recognized me and shouted praise at me.



I've really no idea what to expect from 2003. I didn't make any resolutions. I'm happy enough living in wonderful New York, living off of my art and impressing myself with what I've accomplished in 2002.

So, what do you suppose are the chances of that pink haired angel emailing me? Gosh I love those punker girls.

This year New Years Eve has won.

“CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE”

Why?

Andrew Arp
Christian
Andrew.Arp@CIGNA.com

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CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify the sender by e-mail at the address shown. This e-mail transmission may contain confidential information. This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) or entity to whom it is intended even if addressed incorrectly. Please delete it from your files if you are not the intended recipient. Thank you for your compliance. Copyright (c) 2002 CIGNA


Hey, I think that I may have received this e-mail in error. I wasn't sure until that warning at the end of your e-mail got me worrying. I've deleted this e-mail from my files and I suggest that you look into the problems you might be having with your computer.

Bob Smith
Creator of http://JesusDressUp.com/


“Please take into account the worth and value of something before you openly deface it.”

Bob,

It wasn't sent in error. I am sorry if the whole confidentiality notice frightened you on security issues. I work for CIGNA and they are a bit overbearing on privacy issues. The reason I wrote the short quip of an email was because of your Jesus dress-up. I was looking out on a mullet site, because everyone needs to know how to defend themselves against these ravenous hair-cuts, and I noticed your link. I was just going to ask what you thought was funny about taking an icon, that many consider sacred and letting people dress it up Santa Claus outfits and baby diapers. I am sorry if this is the first email that you have gotten of this nature, but I was not so much offended as I was hurt. I am sorry if you find this funny. But to me, the icon of my Lord on the cross is more precious than the American flag. Please take into account the worth and value of something before you openly deface it.

Thanks,
In Christ
Andrew Arp
Andrew.Arp@CIGNA.com


Oh, don't worry Andrew. That image of Jesus on the cross has no worth to me. I'm an atheist.

Taking somebody like Jesus who's been elevated to the level of absolute perfection and reducing Him to a mere store front mannequin for dressing up is the portion of the idea that I find so amusing. In fact, it's similar to how one person can believe that a mullet haircut is an attractive hairstyle while there are others who think it's a preposterous hairstyle worth laughing at.

Talking snakes, eternal paradise and wives turning into pillars of salt is the mullet of my world. Ya get what I'm sayin'?

Bob


“What do you hope in?”

Just one question then...What do you hope in? Ultimately, even as strong humanists, there is a need for hope. The human spirit becomes crushed and abased without it. Don't take this offensively please. I am just curious as to where your hope lies.

Just in case your curious though, here are a few things about me. I am 24 yrs old and recently married. I reside in Nashville, TN and work as a Data Analyst for CIGNA Healthcare. I am also a Divinity student doing master's work in Theology at Trevecca Nazarene University. I hope to one day be a minister, but somehow escape the stigma of condemnation that usually comes with that role.

I wish you the best during this awesome time of the year.

Andrew Arp
Andrew.Arp@CIGNA.com


Oh come on. You're hurt by that? How do you think that guy in the mullet feels?

Before you go and devote your life to preaching the word of God you need to ask yourself if you only believe because it's a nice message of hope. It's amusing to me that it's the initial response you had ready for me.

I personally don't think you're doing yourself (or your wife) any favors makin' believe that there's a mysterious magical force helping us out in our lives by spreading love to all those who seek it. For many people it's an excuse to make less of an effort in this life because the important life lay after. For others it's a chance to have something that gives them worth.

You've no idea how many teens I hear from who no matter how hard they try can't make themselves believe in a supreme being that needs our silly love, sin equals bad weather or Adam & Eve instead of the dinosaurs. And they think they're damned to hell because of it. No amount of kindness on your behalf will make it any more believable.

We both know that what matters most is the truth, not hope, fantasy or good feelings. It's also ignorant to assume that there is no hope without Jesus or an afterlife. There are real things worth believing in that will actually show results!

You were pretty lucky to have been coincidentally born into the right religion huh?

Bob


“...you spelled God with a capital 'G'. Sometimes even by the denial of someone or something we verify its very existence”

I find it interesting that you spelled God with a capital 'G'. Sometimes even by the denial of someone or something we verify its very existence. And fortunately my religion isn't built upon myths or feelings, but upon faith.

I too agree that it is sad that many of the teens that you hear from have these misconceptions about God. Unfortunately this is one of the downfalls of the modern church. The church has quite a few shortcomings, not least of which is being able to communicate what Christ truly is to be to the world. And I don't believe that it is kindness that wins people over. Sometimes its just love, and love and kindness are far from synonymous.

And yes, I do feel extremely lucky and sometimes guilty for having been born into a family that embraced the truth. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I were born into an Islamic family or even a Jewish family. I can't help but think that somehow Christ would have sought me out even in that situation. So why can't I attempt to exhibit that same love and desire for those less fortunate than me. After all, according to scripture, God is the God of the broken and outcast.

I don't know if any of this is making sense, or even if you consider it all fuel for a dung fire, but I thought I needed to share it.

Andrew Arp
Christian
Andrew.Arp@CIGNA.com


Ya got me. Yes, I'm in denial about the existence of an enormous living being out there in the cosmos who's made of love and spreads that love across the galaxies directing it at our hearts. Deep down inside I know that this super being exists but I won't admit it because the idea of paradise doesn't appeal to me. It surely isn't because it's proper grammar to capitalize the "G" in God's name. You've really got my number Andrew.

Trying to communicate the idea of your god to a kid who's starting to think for him/herself is where the problem lies. When an adult (a parent, teacher, pastor) is behaving like they've got a screw loose trying to convince this kid that super beings exist, they want your soul and if they don't get it you'll burn forever in eternal hell fire - you're going to have a kid with misconceptions.

Some kids just buy into it without question, despite the lack of evidence, sense or logic, simply because every adult they know tells them it is so. But then there are those teens who are for the first time starting to think for themselves and have nowhere else to turn. Every adult in their community is harvesting these same crazy thoughts because the adults who surrounded them harvested these crazy thoughts because the adults who surrounded them harvested these crazy thoughts and so on and so forth. It is these teens, the ones who are given no other options, who hurt themselves. Their communities have no diversity and their perception of the world is through a pinhole.

This has nothing to do with the teachings of the modern church. It has everything to do with the delusions in your head. I know that I'm not getting through to you but it's something I needed to share.

Bob

 

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