Wednesday, May 30, 2007
How queer! You say heresy, I say prophecy
It's about time.
It happened way down in the comments in this blog post by EL, at Serial Extremist. Seriously, this is an amazing post and thread. It starts with EL calling out Dan Trabue with a broadside of rude accusatory questions about Dan's church, which, among things is -- horrors! -- an Earth-loving, gay-friendly peace church.
Then, the comments go crazy, but really never getting too far off the general topic of how Christians should act -- in church and out. Of course, EL, the host, is a fundamentalist, a "Serial Extremist," if you will, who, in his words, promotes "Unrepentant Conservative Christian Extremism."
Lovely. After 80-something comments, I posted a link to my church's wide-open Covenant of Openness and Affirmation toward those for whom the state of being homosexual is a natural state. For my extension of Grace to ALL, even the least amongst us in today's polite "Christian society," I was called a heretic.
Well. I'm in good company: Jesus, Luther, Zwingli, Spong -- heretics and prophets all.
To the accuser, I join Louis R. Carlozo in declaring:
Christ has accounted for each one of us by heaping more grace into our lives than any of us deserves. The only appropriate response is to keep our wretchedness, our falling short, our deceptions and our misdeeds in mind as we celebrate our forgiveness daily, and with humility. In imitation of Christ, we should extend that same grace to others. We all belong to the community of the brutally broken made whole by a force of love we cannot understand.
Amen. Read all of Carlozo's eloquent retort to the Falwellian judgmentalism here, at Theolog, the blog of The Christian Century.
Poor Mark. His prayers (interesting comments here, tooare either backfiring or, more likely, he's living Hamlet (III, iii, 100-103) again.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY ACTION IMPLIES THAT TEENS UNDER 15 ARE JUST AS COMMITTED IN THEIR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS AS OLDER TEENS
Nearly $200 million in abstinence-education funding — and the mental health of American teenagers — hangs in the balance.
New research, to be published Thursday in the American Journal of Sociology, suggests premarital sex doesn't harm the mental health of teens, except those 15 or younger, whose relationships tend to be less committed, USA Today reported today.
"For this study to state that teens 15 and younger tend to be less committed in sexual relationships demonstrates its incredible disconnect from reality," said Linda Klepacki, analyst for sexual health at Focus on the Family Action.
Somebody at Focus on Everything but the Family Was Asleep at the Editing Switch.
Read the whole story, which you totally misunsderstood if you didn't click through.
I miss the drought
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
See Rock City!
Tom Coburn for prez? Why the hell not?
"He's all about faith, lower taxes, and staying the course in Iraq," says an adviser outside of the Senate who has been speaking to Coburn.
Read all about it from The American Spectator.
Read some snark from Wonkette.
Read some anti-snark from Reason Magazine.
Coburn's reputation as a maverick is only half-right. He's a right-wing maverick.
Dr. ER and I sorts kinda like havin' him around, though, for comic relief -- which should tell y'all all how much rightier a person the great state of Oklahoma is capable of sending to the U.S. Senate.
Sheehan: 'I am leaving the Democratic Party'
If the Dems lose Congress and the White House next go-round, it will be their own damned fault.
Read all about it.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day Twain: 'The War Prayer'
The War Prayer
By Mark Twain
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation
*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:
"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
Twain apparently dictated it around 1904-05; it was rejected by his publisher, and was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere.
The story is in response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, which Twain opposed. See Jim Zwick's page "Mark Twain on the Philippines" for more of Twain's writings on the subject.
Transcribed by Steven Orso (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Christian nation?
"Rather than rewriting history to create an imaginary past, let us devote ourselves to work toward a brighter future. Let each professing Christian resolve to manifest the spirit and heart of Jesus Christ in every aspect of daily life. That, not theocratic statehood, is the believer's true calling."
A CHRISTIAN NATION?
A gracEmail reader asks, "Is America a Christian nation? Was it ever one?"
* * *
Our nation was founded on belief in a Supreme Being and in broad biblical principles of morality. The founders expressed these convictions in the nation's charter documents and frequently in their own speech and private writing as well. Some, like George Washington, were committed practicing Christians. Others, like Thomas Jefferson, were deists who rejected the deity of Christ and biblical miracles but believed in one true God who is sovereign over the world. The percentage of the general population that regularly attended church services in 1776 was smaller than the percentage of citizens who do so today.
Demographically, the United States as a whole is still largely populated by professing Christians. Sadly, many do not connect that profession to daily life and none of us measures up to our highest ideals. Being born in America certainly does not make one a Christian. The landscape of my own city of Houston is speckled with Christian churches, but also with Jewish synagogues, Moslem mosques, Buddhist temples and Hindu shrines. Even more numerous are the gathering places devoted to the less tangible but equally idolatrous gods of power, wealth, entertainment, pleasure and physical beauty. We are indeed a religious people.
This is a great and good nation, but its record is flawed and scarred. That record includes ruthless slaughters (from Native Americans to the unborn), the abomination of human slavery, support of foreign dictators who persecuted Christians and denied their own people basic human rights, and, on occasion, domestic agendas grounded in cold-hearted selfishness or in flagrant immorality. Rather than rewriting history to create an imaginary past, let us devote ourselves to work toward a brighter future. Let each professing Christian resolve to manifest the spirit and heart of Jesus Christ in every aspect of daily life. That, not theocratic statehood, is the believer's true calling.
For more on society, law & politics, click here or go to www.EdwardFudge.com/gracemails/2_Chronicles_7_14.html.
Copyright 2007 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. To visit our multimedia website, click here or go to www.EdwardFudge.com .
Why ER will always hug the center-left, compared to his more lefty friends and acquaintances
The states founded the federal government. If the federal government is disbabled, the states should be the ones to whom its tattered remains fall.
Thomas Jefferson was a state's rights advocate. He believed -- wrongly, it turned out -- that the states would be most likely to protect civil liberties. Of course, he was thinking about whites' civil liberties. Emancipation screwed that up.
But the fact remains that the United States of America started as united states of America. If the federal government is disabled, surviving states will prevail.
Memorial Day: Flags of My Fathers
Great-Great-Grandpa ER on Daddy's side, Civil War:
Great-Grandpa ER on Mama's side:
Confederate flag of ER's home stomping grounds:
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Rally for Reason.
Which is a reaction to this:
Which I found here:
BlondeSense: Do Not Bite the Hand that Created You, from whom I swiped the photo of dinosaurs present at the Last Supper.
So many hoots! So little time!
Friday, May 25, 2007
ER's book proposal lives!
And I've not touched the manuscriot in a year, even though the editor was very eoncouraging and gave me a pretty specific task to "broaden the scope" of my work.
"Broaden the scope" scared me to death. I spent a year researching this thing and a year writing it -- and to broaden the scope seemed overwhelming.
Then Dr. ER's broken hip, and concentrating on her, demanded my attention. Then Mama ER got sick. Then Mama ER died, and it made me not want to do anything but sleep and drink -- and go to work like a zombie, which is OK since I can pretty much do my job with half my brain and none of my spirit, if need be. Then Dr. ER took the job in Boulder and freaking out over that and the impending move has taken most of my nonwork attention.
But this morning, I got up all chirpy and skippy because Dr. ER is coming for the long weekend -- and I was so dang inspired I just got on the phone, and with a little fear and trepidation, called my editor -- yes, I am being overly optimistic in declaring this person "my" editor -- and I spilled my guts. Told of all the Real Life obstacles that have been thrown my way the past year.
We also talked about just how I might "broaden the scope" -- and it's something I can do in one uninterrupted weekend because I have most of the data I'll need in books and microfilm rolls in my home office and the context I need in my head.
In short, rewrite the introductory chapter, and add some material to the conclusion, and cut some of the present manuscript to make room for the addition -- NOT, thank God, rewrite every chapter.
So, ER's book proposal lives! Woo hoo!
What a saga.
I was so dang inspired that I got back on the phone and talked to someone at Regional History Journal about submitting an article I have in the can.
Dr. ER ribs me because in my home office I have plastered the walls with every award I've ever received for writing, going back to college. The fact is I am a pessimist and I think lowly of myself and my abilities out of habit.
I need encouragement, but I'm not embraased to admit it because I have managed to come a pretty good ways in life with others' help.
So, dudes and dudettes, I shamelessly ask: Wish me well! :-)
'He grows a little garden in the back yard by the fence. He's consumin' what he's growin' nowadays in self defense' ... damn health nazis!
Congress should give the Food and Drug Administration new powers to regulate tobacco products -- including a plan to reduce nicotine levels -- to help slash smoking rates, an Institute of Medicine committee said yesterday. The committee also recommended steep increases in cigarette taxes , prohibitions on marketing to youths, and a nationwide ban on most indoor smoking.
Read all about it.
Dr. ER has said more than once that she quit smoking at the right time, about four years ago, the same day I quit dipping Copenhagen.
The current FDA chief, according to the story, says the FDA shouldn't regulate tobacco, which is inherently unhealthy, because regulation means tacit approval. That makes sense.
Downside to a Dem president: He or she will probably appoint some health freak to the FDA who will be glad to impose such on the country.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Help me mix a drink!
That tells you how long that can of kraut juice has been sittin' in my icebox! It is, in fact, the very brand in the picture.
After the amusement of making Bird go EWWWWW wore off, I started thinking: "What kind of cocktail might be made using kraut juice?!?
Now, I like kraut, and I like extra juice, so there is nothing necessarily in this idea to make me go EWWWW, but if you need to, go right ahead.
But, what? What would make a good drink using the stuff?
I'm thinking something like a bullshot -- vodka, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco -- which I prefer hot, but maybe y'all have better imaginations than me. Here's one recipe -- but I think kraut juice just needs to be served hot!
So, cough it up. If you had to make a cocktail with kraut juice, what else would you put in it? Clamato? V8? What? :-)
Mountain home of the week
But what about these digs? Purdy cool. Horsey even.
It's about 45 miles, or an hour-plus on dry roads, from about anywhere I would work in Denver, and about 25 miles and 45 minutes on dry roads from where Dr. ER works in Boulder.
We would find out just how spoiled we are from livin' in the shaodw of a Wal-Mart Supercenter for seven years. Hmmm.
Assuming gas were to hit and remain at $4 per gallon, it would cost me about $560 per month to get to work and back. (That's 15 miles per gallon X 100 miles per day X five days X 4.2 weeks.)
The truck's paid off next year. Then I'll get some litle 4WD thing that gets better mileage.
Ah -- hmmm, Satellite TV, I'm sure. How do they get the Internet in las montanas??
Just thinkin' out loud.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
No wonder they're pink
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Might could've been the pickled okra, barbecued chicken, butter sweet peas & sweet tater with cinnamon & marshmallows I had for supper late last night
I'm sitting on the floor in a dark corner trying my best to stay unseen, and keep my parts hidden, but people keep coming up and talking to me.
An older guy who I worked with at a paper in Texas -- a sports reporter, then business reporter, now a semiretired part-time PR guy for the local university -- comes up and says, "Hey, ER! Long time no see!" I say, "Yeah, and of all times. Sorry, I'm nekkid." We shake hands, we laugh and he goes on.
Then a guy from work comes by with a small entourage. He was handling a politician of some kind; for some reason I know he's from Tulsa. The politician spies me and start over, and the guy I know from work says to him, "Don't bother. He won't write anything about you. He doesn't give a s--t." I say, "That's a little harsh, but that's right." The guy from work (3 Desks Down, who comments here once in awhile), laughs and leads the group off.
Finally, I tire of crouching and I stand and realize I've had a sport coat with me. I position it the best I can and muster a shred of dignity and walk into a crowd of people, asking, "Where is the elevator?" I know that the elevator will take me directly to my hotel room, which I also know is in another room in a multi-building complex.
A long walk away, way past where all the people are, is the elevator, and it appears to be in a lonesome hallway on the top floor of the Student Union at Oklahoma State. I get on the elevator and push a button.
The elevator car starts moving horizontally, the walls fall away and I'll be damned if the thing doesn't turn into a actual roller-coaster, and the ups and downs, the ascents and plunges feel as real in the dream as they would in the the real world.
It swoops down to a food mart, then climbs up to near the ceiling of the atrium, then swoops down and up and few more times as it leaves the building and goes into another one and comes to an abrupt halt -- and I wake up shaken but laughing.
Monday, May 21, 2007
What a sad dream
I turn and see in the other room a shadowy Dr. ER and a child. I don't think it's Bird. Both are looking away from me.
I turn back around and, through a window, through a sliver between the shade and the window frame, I see ice and snow on the porch.
"Oh, my God," I say, and open the door. I step outside and turn and look at the house and see that it's decorated for Christmas.
At that instant, I realize that I have lost a year. In the blink of an eye, I realize that I don't remember anything that has transpired over the past year, and, in fact, the last thing I remember is the prior Christmas. I wake up weeping.
Not too hard to analyze this one. I've been working on our house all weekend, trying to get it ready to sell, or rent out.
Saturday afternoon as I did a little trimming on a maple tree, I realized I was going to miss the damn thing. And the wilderness protection area that used to be my vegetable garden. And the little places where Bailey and Riker like to wallow around in the grass and bury and dig up bones. The place where I sit and smoke while grilling for Dr. ER and Bird. This table where I'm sitting, where Dr. ER sat to my right, Bird to the left, me at the end.
We will have to live in a smaller, older house than we have now, I am positive, because the Oklahoma City metro area has some of the least expensive housing in the country and Denver has some of the most expensive.
And 2007 is going to be a complete bust, it looks like. The only way I could stand Bird being gone is that Dr. ER had been spending more time at home than usual, because of her hip recovery. And now she's vamoosed.
I wish I didn't get so attached to places. Houses and streets and neighborhoods are just so many commodities to be used, to so many people. I wish I were one of them.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
My culinary color wheel has a flat
There are no canned or frozen greens at the local Albertson's, or one in Oklahoma City where I also checked.
I need some greens!
Even mixed greens!
I am jonesin'.
A little bacon grease, or bacon itself crumbled on top, some butter and some (not sweet) cornbread, and I'm set. Fried taters. Brown beans. Sigh.
Assumin' y'all have access to the delicacies, tel me how you like yours.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Announcing the First Annual First Ever ER Blog Community Companion Critter Invitational
Bailey, the semisweet and slightly 'tarded weinie dog, and Riker, the stately and regal Pembroke Welsh corgi, have been complaining that Ice-T has been gettin' way too much press, especially after ER and Ice-T's Excellent Adventure last weekend.
They demanded equal time. Here they are exploring their, um, orientation, on the back patio, on a pair of my old jeans, which Bailey LOVES to lay on, chew on and drag around the yard. (He *is* a redneck dog).
And they gave me an idea!
Bailey and Riker want to meet *your* companion critters!
If you have a link to a picture of your pet, post it in the comments. Or, if you know me in the RW, e-mail me a pic. As I have time today and maybe tomorrow, I'll post them below.
What a furry-fun Friday!
Fenway and Apollo, my granddogs, companion critters of Bird and YankeeBeau:
Belle, my dog-in-law, companions of Dr. ER's parents in Texas:
OK! Ice-T, my erudite cat, was whining. He gets to play, too!
DrLobojo's Visa and Igy:
DCup's Daisy, Morris and brother and sister Tiger and Ivy:
An imposter masquerading as Bird and YankeeBeau's Ortiz:
Dr. ER says this is her companion critter! Ha! She wishes!
DrLobojo's Veto, alpha cat:
ER's own Bobo, age 39:
Terry, the companion critter of the son of Crystal, who admits she is just learning how to use a new scanner! :-):
Kiki's neighborhood kitty:
Nick Toper's Jilly, age 15
Frenzied Feline's Twix:
Sweats and standoffs, Mexican and otherwise
Almost instantly, the plan brought vehement criticism from both sides of the immigration issue, including liberals who called it unfair and unworkable and conservatives who branded it an overly permissive "amnesty." ... Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was noncomittal.
That last line cracks me up. But that's COMPROMISE, and it's the only way government works most of the time: Everybody is pissed, and nobody gets exactly what they wanted.
Godspeed to 'em. Let's get something right for a change.
The White House immigration reform page.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's immigration reform page.
125 years of immigration laws, from The AP via Chicago Sun-Times.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Survey says ...
The herdsman speaks
"Then, I won't either!" -- ER
Hey, if ya got weight, ya might as well throw it around. But this seems, like, panicked or something: Rudy's Not the One.
Political compass check!
This is me today:
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.36
In other words, more than halfway from the center to the left end of the scale on economics, which sounds about right. I drift left as I grow older and see more.
And a little more libertarian than authoritarian, which makes sense to me too, being generally live-and-let-live when it comes to personal behavior and morals.
Me and Nelson Mandela could hang out.
Take the test. Report the result in the comments, and look at the example and tell us which political figure you're closest to!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Far left and far right meet in hate
All you sons of bitches, on both extremes, make me sick.
Ron (a)Paul(s) GOP faithful
Read all about it, from the National Review Online.
Truthfully, I started out a lot closer to Falwell's way of thinking than I am today -- but, my own Southern Baptist experience was pre-1979, which is the year he founded the Moral Majority, and the year of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. I attended a Southern Baptist church through about 1984, and kept my membership there until July 2006.
A friend of mine doubts that the convention moving to the right is the only reason I've separated myself from it. I never meant to imply that. The convention did lurch to the right, where it remains, but I veered to the left -- but not as much as I stand accused of -- which, I believe, is the destiny of anyone who 1., tries to follow Jesus rather than simply worshiping the Christ; 2., adheres to the faith rather than clinging to any church; and 3., actually reads the Bible, with his-her brain in one hand and heart in the other, taking it seriously, but not very much of it literally.
As for Falwell, I like this, from a story in the Rocky Mountain News in Denver:
"I could take issue with the man without condemning him completely," said Rabbi Joel Schwartzman, president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council. "He wasn't correct in everything he did or said but this man practiced leadership and created great faith in many people."
Schwartzman said he regarded Falwell's more offensive statements about Judaism as a kind of "parochialism" that made him unable to see the bigger picture.
"But maybe he was on the road to greater enlightenment," Schwartzman said. Read it all.
Maybe. I do know this: Once I literally stood with members of the Moral Majority -- outside a federal courthouse in Arkansas where some white supremacists were on trial. Faced with standing closer to some Ku Kluxers or some Falwellians, I chose to stand closer to the Falwellians. Faint praise, but true.
Here are a few tough but fair criticisms of Jerry Falwell (no overt attacks here; thery're easy enough to find; I don't need to link them):
From Faithful Democrats:
We would be wise to emulate his passion and effectiveness; we would be downright sacrilegious to conflate our church with our party — a habit which, ultimately, renders Christ our pawn instead of our king.
Read it all.
From Peter Laarman at Progressive Christians Uniting:
What I hope we won’t do is conclude that the original group of Christian Right leaders-– Falwell, Robertson, Kennedy, et al. -- represented the high water mark of their movement, and that things will get better as each of these elders receives his just reward beyond the grave. ... And you thought the Christian Right was on its last legs? Think again!
Read it all.
From Geoffrey-Kruse Safford at What's Left in the Church?
Sometime in the '90's, after dissing the Metropolitan Community Church, he appeared on CNN with a pastor from that denomination. Falwell started quoting Leviticus and the first chapter of Romans, and the MCC pastor was asked to respond. The answer was as beautiful, compassionate, and full of the true gospel as Falwell's was lacking in all of these qualities. "Here's the difference between us, Jerry. You believe when we die, I will go to hell and you will go to heaven. I believe that when we die, should I go first, I will be waiting in heaven to greet you." Such a classy response should go down in history as the best way to respond to these people.
Read it all.
From the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:
“Falwell manipulated a powerful pulpit in exchange for access to political power and promotion of a narrow range of moral concerns. I appeared with him on news programs dozens of times over the years and, while I disagreed with just about everything Falwell stood for, he was a determined advocate for what he believed.
Read it all.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
What sparked Bro. Falwell's heart attack?
Scared him to death.
Rocky Mountain highs
How Dr. ER and I really spent the weekend ...
Where we looked for houses: Nederland, and Black Hawk.
Woo hoo. Know why the Nederland link says "call for price"? Probably because the market is way volatile right now -- as in falling. Ergo, the best thing Dr. ER and I can do is bide our time and NOT get in a hurry. ER predicts that first-quarter numbers will show home prices in the Denver metro actually go backwards in the first quarter. Numbers available (the only ones I trust) here on May 31.
Where we had Mama's Day supper: Boulder ChopHouse.
My search for the perfect steak has ended -- in my own kitchen. I swear, I can pan fry a ribeye, with a little Lowery's, garlic powder, thyme and fresh-cracked black pepper, with a dollop of butter just as I take it up, that will beat anything you can buy in a restaurant. The Boulder joint was OK, that's all. And they do not actually now sell a microbrewed stout -- "aged in Old Grandad whiskey barrels" -- that is mentioned on their Web page. Unpardonable.
Where I went to church Sunday morning: Community United Church of Christ.
There was a kids' program, a play called "Nurtured by Nature." Very fun and cool. A great melding of the concepts of the Love of Christ and the care we should take with Mother Earth. (Of course! It's Boulder. The small congregation was very gracious and welcoming. When they asked me to introduce myself, I told 'em I was a "recovering Southern Baptist," which, of course, got a big laugh, and I told 'em I was a member of Mayflower Congregational-UCC Church in Oklahoma City, which several of them seemed to have heard of, which I don't doubt, it being a rare blue pinpoint of light on the red, red Southern Plains).
Here's a call-and-response poem one of the members, Cathy Russell, wrote, which also is the framework for the kids' play:
"Nurtured by Nature"
By Cathy Russell
Leader: In the free flowing river,
People: He was baptized.
Leader: In the wilderness,
People: The angels ministered to him.
Leader: On a high mountain top,
People: He was transfigured.
Leader: By the shore,
People: He fed the multitudes.
Leader: From the mount,
People: He taught of love and forgiveness.
Leader: By the cool mountain stream,
People: His blessings flow on.
Leader: In the quiet of creation,
People: We are with the One, nurtured by nature.
Where I bought the highest-priced gasoline I've ever bought: $3.49 per gallon. At a Valero at Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 183 in Hays, Kan. Ouch.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
FLASH FLASH! BIRD IS ENGAGED!!!!!!
Somber Mother's Day
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Kitsch as cat can!
Who says there's nothin' to see in western Kansas?!?
Fun with Ice-T at The World's Largest Easel in Goodland, Kan.!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Kitsch as kitsch can, I always say
I will not be able to resist this.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Dr. ER is taking me out to a ballgame!
... at Coors Field for my belated birthday present Saturday night! :-) I've never been anywhere in the majors but The Ballpark at Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. So this'll be way cool.
Play ball, y'all!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I agree with one of the commenters:
It seems to me that an overwhelming preponderance of Jesus' teachings and actions imply that the way we live is a lot more important than the doctrine we confess. He accepted and blessed people whose beliefs spanned the entire theological spectrum of his day - Levites, Samaritans, and Roman centurions. About the only people he seems to have consistently opposed were the "scribes and Pharisees" - the champions of Israelite religious orthodoxy.
So, much as I deplore the morality, ethics and conduct of the Bush administration, I don't think the imposition of denominational purity codes is an appropriate or effective response.
Besides, I am not a member of the United Methodist Church. What think y'all?
ER and Ice-T's excellent adventure
Ice-T is a total house cat. Freaks out if I just take him out on the porch. I've taken him on trial runs around town twice this week, and both times he squoze himself up under the truck seat and just meow-meow-meow-meowed.
Tonight, I'm going to get him a brand-new beddy-bye, one that the stepgranddogs haven't dogged up, just for him, and see if he'll sleep in it where he usually sleeps, at my feet on the bed. Then, I'll see if he'll stay put in it in the passenger's seat, after proper bribing with kitty treats.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Somebody beam up some whales already!
(Best read while imagining Grandpa McCoy or the grandpa from "Rugrats" or, better yet, an aged "Bones" from Star Trek ...)
Why yessirreee indeedy, little YankeeBeau Jr. and Birdette, I have lived through some minor-plus floodin' in my day.
Back in ought-ought seven one time twice in as many months I had to open the front gate to the back 40 (that's 40 square yards: the back yard, minus the used-to-be vegetable garden, now native prairie wilderness protection area, and minus "the shed," which a former owner started out to be a small greenhouse, apparently, but never got the walls up) -- where was I?
Oh yes. Back in ought-ought seven it rained so much that spring, twiced, that I had to open the front gate to the back 40 to let the water flow from the back yard down the side yard and into the front yard and out into the street, where the water was already purt-near over the curb.
Had to use the sand tubes, again, procured last winter for the back of the truck on all them ice and sleet storms, to block the water from gettin' through the side walk-in door to the garage.
Yep, before openin' the floodgate, I did herd the domestic livestock up into a gatherin pen -- the sun room -- so they wouldn't either make good their escape or just float away. Y'alls' Grandma Dr. ER had done already headed for high ground, up in Colorado, leavin' me to care for the critters, see.
Poor little Bailey -- he who must actually have a short-yellow doghouse, one of these days -- looked like a furry four-legged fowl ploppin' through the river betwixt "the shed" and the house: plop, plop, plop, plop went his little feet, as he used the independent suspension God gave a goose, minus the natural buoyancy.
Poor little -- heh-heh, poor little Riker's butt. The boy was not amused as he lept over tiny eddies and rivulets to get to warmth and dryness. As he walked through the sunroom door, he looked at me out of the sides of his eyes, as if to say, "Wait till my mommy (Dr. ER) finds out," then tossed a glance over his shoulder that said, "And don't think I won't tell her! Harrumph!"
Ice-T, of course, was oblivious to it all, or mildly bemused -- although he might've wondered why his daddy left, then came back and moved those nasty, smelly dogs into the house -- as the sun room is generally regarded by sundry domestic livestock.
YankeeBeau Jr., Birdette, you little sprouts, it reminded me of an old, old, outdated movie (to you young'uns): "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," which came out back in '86, the year y'alls' Mama Bird was born.
To save the Earth from an alien probe that was muckin' up the weather somethin' fierce, causin' it to rain and storm nonstop, Kirk and crew went back in time to retrieve the only critters that could communicate with it, two humpback whales.
I kept thinkin' -- we still got a few humpback whales left: Somebody beam a couple of them critters up!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Rocky Mountain high
First time. Today.
Now, this place is 30 miles and 50 minutes or so from where Dr. ER works. It's about 60 miles and 75 minutes from where I think I might wind up workin' (long shot, though.) Oh, and both of those are on dry roads.
But hey. I can see it.
I can see it.
If y'all knew how I simply haven't been able to imagine living in Colorado -- well, I've just been havin' hell trying to imagine it.
I even got the dang Rockies game on in the other room. Jine me in a lil celebratin'. A virtual Coors to one and y'all! :-)
La la la la la -- hands over ears -- la la la la la -- can't stand anymore -- la la la la la -- God, please damn this war -- la la la la la
La la la la la -- hands over ears -- la la la la la -- can't stand anymore -- la la la la la -- God, please damn this war -- la la la la la ...
"I can't stand it. I just can't stand it." -- Charlie Brown.
Must watch monkeys. Must watch monkeys. Must watch funny monkeys.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
But this photo -- by The Associated Press, which retains all rights thereto -- has managed to focus my attention on the destruction in a way that nothing else has lately. Not the emptiness left behind in Moore, Okla., after May 3, 1999, not the grainy photos and video from Wichita Falls, Texas, on April 10, 1979, not the now-ubiquitous tornado videos on the Weather Channel.
It's the grain elevator that gets me, standing as a silent sentinel to the community of Greensburg, Kan. The town was all but wiped out. It wasn't the first, and it won;'t be the last, but this one hits me in the imagination.
With a population of about 1,500, Greensburg was about the size of my hometown in eastern Oklahoma when I left it back in the day. And the spare layout of Greensburg reminds me of the little towns I fell in love with on the northwest Texas plains when I lived there.
It's not much bigger than the kind of town I know my good friend Ronholio comes from in southwest Oklahoma: He said once that it was so small you could climb the water town and pee from one city limits to the other.
Sweetwater, Okla., maybe the size of Greensburg but probably not, got whacked last night. Took out the high school and some houses. Tiny Sharon, Okla., population 120 or so, got whacked a little, too.
Those of us who live in these parts eventually make a kind of peace with tornados. We have to, or we couldn't live here. Unlike a hurricane, you don't know for sure where, or when, they'll hit.
Still, even with all the technology, the finger of God can dip down from the sky before you notice it was getting cloudy -- unless you're "weather wise" as we say, but even sometimes when you're paying attention they can sneak up on you. I've always thought it was like living in a neighborhood where there's a sniper.
Dr. ER lived through an F-4 tornado, in 1979, and her house was damaged, but I've been fortunate. Damage from straight-line winds is commonplace here, but except for losing the end of a big hay barn at home when I was little, I've never personally dealt with tornado damage (he said, knocking on wood).
Mama ER was kind enough to tell me back then, when I was ascairt, that it wasn't a tornado that took out the end of the hay barn; it was just the wind off the tail of the tornado as it skipped over the place.
I was in my 20s before I realized that the wind off the tail of a tornado IS THE TAIL OF THE TORNADO. What a kidder Mama ER was. What a sweetie, actually, telling me the truth, but in a way to keep me from gettin' ascairter.
Not ascairt today. More worried about Bird and YankeeBeau bein' on a Big Scary Boat for the next week, in the Gulf of Mexico! Just very, very aware of the weather. Resigned, as much as is possible, to the possibility of loss of life and property. Specifically, what I'm thinking about is how to protect the critters and this office and all my books, if it gets bad. I've got some candles out, and a flashlight. Ice-T will just have to deal with it, if I need to bring Riker and Bailey inside.
Dr. ER said to close the office door. The day "her" tornado hit, she had closed the door to her bedroom, which, she says, must have been why when the storm was over, the outside wall to her bedroom was gone, but her Easter dress was still lying there on her bed, unruffled, where she'd left it.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Bush and Cheney: the Dukes of Hazzard
F-BOMB ALERT! F-BOMB ALERT!
ANTI-BUSH-CHENEY SATIRE ALERT
NOT SAFE FOR WORK!
NOT SAFE FOR CHILDREN!
NOT SAFE FOR FAINT-OF-HEART REPUBS!
I laughed so hard I like to peed. Go. Scroll up to the audio player. Click play.
Comedian Patton Oswalt (never heard of him; I'm not that cool) on Bush and Cheney as the Dukes of Hazzard.
(Tip o' the cowboy hat to 3 Desks Down, who directed me to Matt Haughey's A Whole Lotta Nothing.)
Friday, May 04, 2007
The good ol' book meme
2. Turn to page 43.
3. Report the first full sentence on the page.
4. Cite the book, and splain why it's so handy, what it means to you, etc.
5. In the comments and at yer own place, if you like.
"Cattle done fine last night."
-- Jack Bailey (David Dary, ed.) "A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the Trail to Kansas in 1868" (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2006).
The book fits smack-dab in the middle of my historical interests: the 19th century West.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
What an interesting dream
... I dream ...
I'm in a church. It seems like the one I grew up in but I'm not sure. I'm in the bathroom. I hear voices on the other side of the wall. There's a door. I walk through to find a half-dozen adults fretting over 10 or a dozen pieces of art work done by a tween youth group.
The drawings are very colorful, done in chalk on white butcher paper. Every drawing is a side view of a church building with wide, clear windows that let you see inside.
The adults are upset because they are all so similar, basically of the same thing. "We didn't tell them what to draw," one says, which means that the kids all came to an agreement to draw these similar images.
But the images are not the same. Each is wildly psychodelic in its own way -- and that upsets the adults. "Those colors!" a woman gasps.
They are especially agitated over two drawings in particular.
One drawing shows fire inside the church, flames jumping out from a pew here, a pew there, from the pulpit, the choir loft, visible through the windows.
A man complains that the fire is devilish. He worries that there is a demonic influence among the youth.
I say: "Maybe the fire is meant to represent purification. Or, maybe it's the power of the Holy Spirit, you know, like the tongues of fire on the lips of the apostles at Pentecost." My views are dismissed. Nope. It's of the devil.
The other especially offensive drawing, the adults say, has -- horrors! -- cans of beer at the end of each pew.
"Where?" I ask, and I lean in for a closer look -- and this is weird in itself because I've never, in a dream, been able to see this kind of detail when I try to look for it -- and lo, and behold, I do see little rectangular silver and blue and red smudges.
"It's beer! We need to have an intervention!" the adults say, and they are so very loud and upset it wakes me up.
I lay there thinking about the dream, and after about 10 or 15 minutes it dawns on me:
Those weren't cans of beer in that drawing. They were cans of Red Bull, the energy drink.
And I laugh at the idea that I have deamed up a piece of art work by a kid from my own subconscious who is trying to let the adults know that the services are so boring they should hand out Red Bull to help people stay awake!
And I ponder the meaning of fire in the other drawing, and wonder what other secret messages were hidden in the other drawings that I didn't notice ...
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
They're the kind of Repubs who look down on the Religious Righties as buffoons -- but they'll milk the yahoos for every vote they'll give 'em, and the yahoos will keep thinking the money in the Republican Party gives a damn about them.
One of 'em even made a crack about a nappy-headed ho -- and I don't give a damn whether he thought he was with his peers and it was just a funny ha-ha thing: He was at an organized business function, in a public venue -- oh, wait, it was a country club, a throwback where the only blacks and Hispanics were servers or janitors or in the kitchen.
Of course, some of 'em were badmouthing our good governor, who did the right thing last week by vetoing a tort reform bill that would have denied justice to everyday people in favor of people just like them.
Bah. Left a bad taste in my mouth. I surrender my right to tell assholes like this off as a member of the working press. My belly is full of it. Maybe the Colorado move will lead to something that will let me untie my tongue.
On the upside of this birthday day, I came home to find some books I ordered last week had arrived. Yes, I have nine grocery sacks of books to read, but I needed these:
Wilma Ann Bailey, "You Shall Not Kill" or "You Shall Not Murder"? (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2005).
Marcus J. Borg, The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith (San Francisco: Harper, 2003).
Marcus J. Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally (San Francisco: Harper, 2001).
Birthday supper: Two Braum's chicken salad sandwiches on white bread, Wavy Lays, a big ol' pickle, three big olives and a tall glass of milk. Girl Scout cookies for dessert.
Finally, there's this:
It's dang near sacrilege to badmouth Paul Harvey in the heartland, but holy crap. Where's the Imusian outrage? Harvey: Women and children are fair targets of war. Time to retire the man, man.
This here day is history
In 1670, the Hudson Bay Co. was chartered by England's King Charles II.
In 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, Va.; he died eight days later.
In 1890, Oklahoma Territory was organized.
In 1936, "Peter and the Wolf" had its world premiere in Moscow.
In 1957, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy died at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
In 1964, ER was born just after 6 p.m. in Fort Smith, Ark.
Happy birthday to me!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
G.W.O.T. is B.S., etc.
1. It is my constitutional right, and obligation, to badmouth what I consider a bad president.
2. The war in Afghanistan is justified, and now wrongly neglected because of the war in Iraq, which was not -- but we're stuck with it, and stuck with finding a way to finish it -- a "win" is too damned much to define, let alone expect -- with some semblance of honor. God help us. Here's one idea, picked up from my blog friend Dan Trabue.
3. Let us count the "wars." "War on Poverty." Didn't win that one. "War on Drugs." Nope, no win there. "Global War on Terror." Unwinnable, unlosable, undefinable, the kind of ill-conceived idea that wears us out as a people, wastes our treasure, distracts us from real things and makes us look like we're still punch-drunk after 9/11, which maybe some of us are but I'm not anymore. Go here to read, in the comments, some of my other thoughts on that. Warning: You'll have to step over quite a bit of BS in those comments.
Think I'm off? Turn off the damned talk radio, put down whatever rag you're reading that still dares to call itself a "news"paper and read some real analysis:
By rushing into Iraq instead of finishing off the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Washington has unwittingly helped its enemies: al Qaeda has more bases, more partners, and more followers today than it did on the eve of 9/11. Now the group is working to set up networks in the Middle East and Africa -- and may even try to lure the United States into a war with Iran. Washington must focus on attacking al Qaeda's leaders and ideas and altering the local conditions in which they thrive.
Read all of "Al Qaeda Strikes Back" in Foreign Affairs.
The rift between U.S. military and civilian leaders did not start with George W. Bush, but his administration's meddling and disregard for military expertise have made it worse. The new defense secretary must restore a division of labor that gives soldiers authority over tactics and civilians authority over strategy -- or risk discrediting civilian control of the military even further.
Read all of "Bush and the Generals" in Foreign Affairs.
I'm not sure if the links will let y'all read all of the articles. I subscribe to Foreign Affairs and read the hard copy. If you can't, spend $8 or whatever it costs and go buy the damn thing at Barnes & Noble or wherever.
Then come back here and tell me I'm fricking uninformed. We might still disagree, but you'll know that I'm not as full as s--t as you think I am.
And yes, I might have one particular person in mind who jumped ugly on me unprovoked in the RW a few days ago. But reading some thoughty thoughts won't hurt anybody else either.