Steelman The Humanist Sunday Sermon
(aka “What is that phallic symbol between the trees?”)
It was such a relief to leave NYC in January 1988 to vacation in Los Angeles with my girlfriend, Elaine. The Apple was deep in snow, making it murder to find a parking spot on E. 13 St. every two days. However, we left the cockroaches and the snowy streets behind and couldn’t wait to arrive in La-la land. We had a fabulous time visiting all your basic tourist attractions and I took lots of photos (using real film). Of course, Santa Monica and Venice Beach were very special for us because of the proximity to the ocean. We love the water and even had become sailors on Long Island Sound. The photo above was taken in Santa Monica at the end of Wilshire Blvd. where it intersects with Ocean Avenue.
The statue there didn’t register with us then because we didn’t know what it represented and didn’t care. I saw this scene as we as we crossed the street and immediately said to “E” (that’s my girlfriend, Elaine), “Stop the cars while I take this shot.” We could only do that in LA where the pedestrians have the right of way. If I had tried that in NYC, I wouldn’t be writing this now.
We got married in October that year, but neither one of us wanted to get hitched in a church. Because we loved the water so much, we came up with the idea of having the ceremony on a boat. Although we were non-believers, we hadn’t been together long enough to work out the specifics about that. As time went by we thought more about religion and identified a number of religious concepts that had driven us away from Christianity. One extraordinary Christian doctrine is original sin.
Today I was going through a box of old photos and when I unearthed those ’88 vacation photos I wondered anew what that monument was there at the end of Wilshire Blvd. I discovered it was a statue of Saint Monica, the patron saint for the city of Santa Monica. Big surprise, huh? You know who she was, right? The mother of Saint Augustine, that crazy dude who promoted “Original Sin.” If you believe in original sin, you must then believe that you have to be saved. You’re bad, but God will forgive you. (I mean, really? Why did she make such bad human beings? Bla, bla, bla, bla.)
We can be evil or we can be good. It’s our choice. We Humanists believe we can be good without god.
At the bottom I’ve included more about St. Augustine. . .if you’re interested.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of other photos we love from that trip:
Santa Monica Pier with the Cirque du Soleil tent
Santa Monica Beach
With the advent of digital publications, I wonder if this many
newspaper vending machines are still there.
Welcome to California!
If you’re interested in my earlier blog about St. Augustine,
check it out here. Click on the postcard.