Welcome to The Wild Things of God. I hope you enjoy it and come back often. This page explains a little about the site and some facts about me. If you want to know what frimmin' means, follow that link, and if you want to see the site's "Table of Contents," go to the Site Map. If you see anything here that you'd like to reprint elsewhere or use on your own site, please read my copyright page, which clarifies what you do and don't need my permission to copy. My bibliography page provides sources for most of my quotations from other writings.
Since 1996, in one form or another, this site has been my main digital playground, and since 2004, it's included my blog, "Jedi Life in the Real World." I choose that name as a metaphor for what spiritual warriorship means to me. It's not about swinging lightsabers, of course; it's about a deliberate life of seeking the One behind all the appearances.
Apart from the blog, this site is loosely divided into several sections: spirituality—mostly Christian mysticism (the wild things of God)—book reviews, movie reviews, poetry, and humor. You could also say it's my exploration of the question: “After salvation, then what?” I'm still asking the question. If you're a serious seeker, I encourage you to find a teacher who embodies the answer.
Who am I ?
I was born at a very early age . . . (pause for laughter).
Seriously, my name's Jon Zuck, and I live in Norfolk, Virginia, in a neighborhood called Ghent, with my cats, Talbot and Buddy. (Ghent's a wonderful place; I live close to what may be the world's greatest arthouse cinema and the world's greatest video store, which are right next to each other.)
My two main hobbies are writing for my Web sites, and studying languages. I'm nuts about the Web—I've been on the Web now for more than twelve years, and I do some part-time work creating sites for others as well. See my other site, WildWebWeaving.com. I work full-time as a user interface programmer for Dominion Enterprises.
As for languages, I fell in love with language study while in high school. Like most Americans, although I studied languages, I never really learned them. Toward the end of 2006, I got on a language kick, and decided to actually learn some languages. Esperanto is coming along very nicely, I'm studying French, and I've acquired a base in Spanish and Catalan which I plan to build on in 2009. If I'm able to get to a decent conversational level in all these by the end of 2009 (and I think I might), I'll have learned four languages in just over three years.
But I have many other interests. I love the arts. I do computer graphics, write poetry, and occasionally paint with acrylics. I love good movies and TV, and I love to read. Some of my favorite authors are Thich Nhat Hanh, Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L'Engle, Rumi, and Hafiz.
I'm a geek. I'm indoors way too much, but I also enjoy biking, the beach, camping, and I've been known to go mountain-climbing with my friend Katherine.
I also enjoy martial arts, particularly the "soft" ones, such as Zen Mushin Ryu and Tai Chi, and the healing/energy arts like yoga, reiki, and qigong.
The spiritual journey
Since this site deals with spiritual themes, some of you might want to know something of my spiritual background. It's diverse. I never had much respect for the “brand names” of churches growing up, so I went to whatever seemed to resonate best with me at the time, regardless of denomination. After participating most major Protestant expressions, I eventually came to Catholicism.
For a while now, I've also seen the world's religions as “brand names,” and I learn from them as well. I study Zen with an internationally-known master, Kitabu Roshi (Vernon Kitabu Turner).
The important thing for me has been the drive to know God directly, which is what I mean when I write about mysticism. Mysticism is the inner core of all faith traditions, and Christianity is no exception, and although it is no longer widely taught in most Christian churches, the mystic heart remains the essence of Christianity, seeking to become like Christ and know God as he did.
We can change the world only by changing ourselves, and we can change ourselves only by letting ourselves be changed. This site is my effort to share a little of what I've learned and experienced on the journey so far.
And now, the stuff you really want to know:
- Myers-Briggs: INFP
- Enneagram: 4 with a 5 wing
- Astrology: Aries (Sun), Leo (Moon), Scorpio (Rising)
- Favorite exclamation:
- English, Esperanto (conversational), French (beginning), Spanish (beginning), Catalan (beginning), German (forgotten), Russian (studied in college, learned nothing).
- Favorite musics:
- I'm pretty eclectic: I love rock from the 50's through the 70's, New Age music, classical choral and orchestral music, and world musics from gamelan to chant to reggae. On the other hand, country, jazz, and hiphop are not my favorites.
- Favorite movies:
- “Spi-Fi.” Movies that explore the spiritual side of life, regardless of whether or not they're religious in any conventional sense.
- Least favorite movies:
- Anything with "3" "III," "Three" or a higher number as part of the title (except for the original Star Wars trilogy, of course!).
- Favorite incense:
- Amber resin. It puts frankincense to shame.
- Favorite wines:
- Shiraz and Sangria. Because wine doesn't have to taste bad to be good!
- Blue Moon.
- Tea or Coffee?
- Neither. It's yerba mate for me. It's better than tea or coffee, and better for you. Yes, I do enjoy iced tea sometimes, but I can't understand how anyone can actually drink coffee and smile!
- Worst addiction:
- Diet Pepsi, closely followed by chocolate.
- Favorite spice:
- Ginger. Fresh, pickled, powered, crystallized, on sweet dishes and savory. There's nothing good that isn't somehow better with some kind of ginger.
- Talbot's favorite human food:
- Salsa. (Yes, really!)
- Sudoku or crosswords?
- Crosswords. (I like sudoku too, but I suck at them.)
By the way...
If you're still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, do yourself a favor and stop! Modern browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, and Safariand even Internet Explorer 8 are vastly superior to older versions of IE in terms of speed, security, and rendering pages and images according to Web standards. If you're a Windows user with an older operating system that doesn't allow you to use IE 8, please consider trying Firefox. It's relatively lightweight, is probably the most versatile, has a community fanatically devoted to supporting and improving it, and ever since it appeared it's been by far my favorite browser. You can find more information on Firefox, Opera, and Safari at BrowseHappy.com.