Keith Snyder
Door always open.

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The San Antonio Franciscan retreat!

That was the earworm all the way there on the plane. Now I'm sharing it with you. You're welcome.

I was wondering whether I'd blog about this, and sort of thinking not, it being so personal, when one of the few things that could sway me in the other direction occurred.

Someone asking in just the right way, you guess? A spiritual epiphany?

What are you, new here? I got into a pissing contest.

On, there's a thread called MY BIKE GOT RELIGION TODAY!!! that started as a conversation (with pictures) about people riding their bicycles to church, but quickly turned to a derogatory discussion of Mormon missionary bike gear, and then became a nonconformism competition.

I believe online pissing contests are childish and stupid, and I thought I could win this one. So after someone said:
I am a Democrat Yankee former Catholic Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher living in East Texas.
I wrote:
I'm an undeclared quasi-liberal Angeleno agnostic bike commuter who lives in New York, makes short films about God, and just got back from a non-proselytizing Franciscan retreat at a church in San Antonio run by a foulmouthed Texas Baptist preacher/blogger.

I took my Xootr Swift with me and got tacos.
As for the retreat itself, I'm still mulling. I've never had an easy time with religion, particularly Christianity, but I also don't have a lot of tolerance for closedmindedness, particularly my own. On top of which, I have this personality, so why read a book and talk to a local Christian or two when I can fly to Texas and get up in the middle of the night for Matins and Lauds under a big crucifix?

I don't know what the aggregate adjective for the whole experience is, but it's positive. And I'll second this comment from reallivepreacher:
I think our world needs a place where you can go to find peace and friendship and love, a place where you can ask questions and talk about the meaning of life without feeling pressured or threatened by religious people with a conversion agenda.
Without a conversion agenda--that's big. That's the major deal-breaker, and if it's not there, we can all sit as human beings, interested in each other's particular windows on whatever it is each window is too small for. But here's mine, and since you're not getting all weird about whose actually shows the whole thing, which none of them do, I want to look through yours.

(Speaking of windows, that link to RLP includes a magic window to Larry winging a blues song with Paul and Lexie. Keep an ear cocked for the unidentified offscreen bible-thumper.)

(Wing. Wing a song. Make it loud. Make it long!)


After the retreat I stayed a few more days in a Super-8 and rode my new Xootr Swift around San Antonio. I hereby concede, based on a sampling of 2, that San Antonio has better tacos than Los Angeles. And there was some reengagement with my manuscript, some food at IHOP that was lame to the point of unidentifiable--literally; I couldn't tell what the plastic ramekin of air-whipped Country Crock was supposed to be until I read "Hollandaise Sauce" on the menu the next day--and some more conversation and hospitality.

Here are some cell phone pictures, in journey order. After that, I'm not done thinking or feeling about it, but that's probably the end of the public postings, at least until I think I can win another pissing contest.

New bike, disassembled in new Samsonite 31" suitcase

GW bridge to Newark airport

San Antonio, 6AM

San Antonio, 8PM

On the Mission Trail—not sure which mission this is

Empire State Building from cab in New Jersey.

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