Saturday, February 28, 2009


A note on James Dobson

A few people have asked me why I haven't blogged about James Dobson's resignation as chairman of Focus on the Family, since I have ranted and railed against FOTF and Focus on the Family Action so much.

It's for the same reason I haven't ranted and railed about those organizations lately. They are no longer relevant to anyone outside their immediate base. The election, and the economic crisis, have changed things drastically.


Friday, February 27, 2009


Oh, brother: 'God wrote the Bible'

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Just when I thought this thread over at Marshall Art's place mighta been fixin' to play out, along comes ol' buddy Mark to liven it up.

I dropped a nuke in the middle of the joint right off the bat:

Here's another take on the Bible and homosexuality, by the way:

Even if the Bible so clearly said what you think it says, it's wrong.

Even if the Bible was right to accept and even support slavery back in the day, it quit being right in the 19th century.

Even if the Bible, or to be specific, St. Paul, was right back in the day to "keep women silent in the churches" and present women as second-class, it quit being right in the 20th century. The biblical notion of woman and children being treated as chattel property quit being right before that.

Even if the Bible clearly declared flatly that homosexuality was wrong back in the day, which it does not, it quit being right about 30 years ago and the law will recognize it in the 21st century -- and so will the church. OK, maybe the 22nd century for the church.

Mark's recent:

ER sanctimoniously proclaims, 'I do, in fact, deem myself more informed than any writer of any part of the Bible on things not directly to do with those writers' personal experiences.'

God Hisself wrote the Bible. Therefore, you deem yourself more informed than the Creator of the Universe. It's simple logic. You've made your point.

God, or should I say, "You bless".

Y'all come. ... Neil's there, and Bubba, and some of the usual suspects. Come on, for lurking purposes at least. It's fascinatin.'


Thursday, February 26, 2009


Eatin' that Rainbow Stew ...

When a president goes through the White House door who does what he says he'll do, we'll all be drinkin' that free bubble-up, and eatin' some rainbow stew ...

It's on order.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Indication that it's an indulgence ...

People giving up blogging, or Facebook, or whatever they're online fixation is, for Lent. Wow! Not me, obviously. :-)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


(Marbled) Fat Tuesday

Tonight it's martinis and a ribeye or sirloin, some kind of tater and side, and a cream pie of some sort.

Tomorrow, it's back to the regular routine of eating right more often than not, which means lots of low-fat Subway sandwiches, and hitting the treadmill three or four times a week -- with a special Lenten twist:

No Dickel. No martinis. No wine. No alcohol!

Recall, y'all, the carnage of Easter 2006 after I went 40 days with no beef. Assuming I stick to this year's Lenten pledge, I promise not to wake up in a gutter Monday morning after Easter this year!

Your own Lenten sacrifice, please.


Monday, February 23, 2009


'What made Jesus different, I couldn't tell you'

John Shelby Spong in the Houston Chronicle:

Q: So you don’t believe Jesus is the son of God?

A: Well, I wouldn’t say it that way because I believe I meet God in Jesus. I think that Jesus was so completely and fully human that all that God is can flow through him without interruption. What made Jesus different, I couldn’t tell you. But I believe those around him were trying to say: "We’ve met something in Jesus that we didn’t think could ever have happened in human life."

I say that, as a Christian testimony, that's plenty. What say you?

Read the entire short Q&A.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


Why the United Church of Christ

Short take:


Where I'm attending today: Plymouth United Church (UCC), Spring, Texas.

Happy day, y'all!


Saturday, February 21, 2009


Creedocide: Harness the Power of Religion


Friday, February 20, 2009


Idea: Abort stupidity

Stupid Oklahoma City police officer harrasses stupid man over poorly and stupidly expressed opinion.

Like Oklahoma needs some more bad press!


Thursday, February 19, 2009


G.T.T. Busy backson.

Gone to see Bird and Beau and the granddogs and their new house in the north of Houston!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


ER keeps slippin' ... slippin' ... slippin' ...

... into the future.

Man! Time is flyin' by so fast. Dang near forgot to blog two days in a row.

It is a supreme irony that when the economy slows down, business news speeds up. I've been busier'n a one-legged man in an ass-kickin' contest.

One observation on the week: The huge-mongous stimulus bill President Obama signed yesterday? He was signing the Republican Party's do-not-resuscitate order.


Monday, February 16, 2009


Don't *make* me -- ME! -- side with PETA!

Sick sons of bitches. (Not for those with a weak stomach: Bad people do bad things to a kitty.)

Hey, if the few of us in Oklahoma who aren't homophobic, right-wing, inbred, child-abusing, animal-torturing, Bible-quoting-but-ignoring, chauvinistic, anti-worker, anti-democratic, racist ASSHOLES can make it to the top of the State Capitol, will somebody send in a chopper to airlift us the hell out of here?


Sunday, February 15, 2009


Easter on the NASCAR church calendar

Daytona 500! Gentlemen, start yer engines!


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Off to be fleeced!

Maybe not. Wish us luck at Riverwind Casino! Dr. ER's idea. Srsly. She luvs the slots. I think I'm gonna try out my rusty blackjack "skills."


Friday, February 13, 2009


Fat chance

Church, others, seek apology from Republican bigots in Oklahoma House.


Thursday, February 12, 2009


Every time I think the Republican Party in Oklahoma can't go any lower ...

they surprise -- and appall, and disgust -- me yet again.

GOP extremists shun gay pastor -- on the floor of the Legislature. This was an attempt to silence this man, and an attempt to change the permanent record.



Happy Darwin Day! Or, a salute to both religious truth and scientific truth

Happy Darwin Day!

Happy birthday to Charles,
Happy birthday to Charles,
Happy birthday Charles Darwin,
Happy birthday to Charles!

The Clergy Letter Project

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

From American Christian clergy


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Uh oh

It's Feodor's fault. Hee hee. :-)



Chuck E. Cheese dies in Oklahoma tornado

Enter the February 10, 2009, outbreak into the record.

The tragedy of Mr. Cheese.

On a personal note: This was the closest one yet, with homes whacked within 1 mile to the northwest of the ER place.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


'The Joys That Are Left'

The habit of joy, like study, exercise or any other regimen, must be consciously maintained sometimes. I confess I'm having to work at it right now. The past few days this old poem has been an odd and unexpected blessing to me.

"The Joys That Are Left"
By Will Carleton

IF the sun have been gone while we deemed it might shine;
If the day steal away with no hope-bearing sign;
If the night, with no sight of its stars or its moon,
But such clouds as it hath, closes down on our path over-dark and o'er-soon;

If a voice we rejoice in its sweetness to hear,
Breathe a strain for our pain that glides back to our ear;
If a friend mark the end of a page that was bright,
Without pretext or need, by some reptile-like deed that coils plain in our sight;

If life's charms in our arms grow a-tired and take wing;
If the flowers that are ours turn to nettles and sting;
If the home sink in gloom that we laboured to save,
And the garden we trained, when its best bloom is gained, be enriched by a grave;

Shall we deem that life's dream is a toil and a snare?
Shall we lie down and die on the couch of despair?
Shall we throw needless woe on our sad heart bereft?
Or, grown tearfully wise, look with pain-chastened eyes at the joys that are left?

For the tree that we see on the landscape so fair,
When we hie to it nigh, may be fruitless and bare;
While the vine that doth twine 'neath the blades of the grass,
With sweet nourishment rife, holds the chalice of life toward our lips as we pass.

So with hope let us grope for what joys we may find;
Let not fears, let not tears make us heedless or blind;
Let us think, while we drink the sweet pleasures that are,
That in sea or in ground many gems may be found that outdazzle the star.

There be deeds may fill needs we have suffered in vain,
There be smiles whose pure wiles may yet banish our pain,
And the heaven to us given may be found ere we die;
For God's glory and grace, and His great holy place, are not all in the sky.


Monday, February 09, 2009


'Saving Jesus from the Church'

Talk about scandalous!


Countless thoughtful people are now so disgusted with the marriage of bad theology and hypocritical behavior by the church that a new Reformation is required in which the purpose of religion itself is reimagined.

Robin Meyers takes the best of biblical scholarship and recasts these core Christian concepts to exhort the church to pursue an alternative vision of the Christian life:

Jesus as Teacher, not Savior
Christianity as Compassion, not Condemnation
Prosperity as Dangerous, not Divine
Discipleship as Obedience, not Control
Religion as Relationship, not Righteousness

This is not a call to the church to move to the far left or to try something brand new. Rather, it is the recovery of something very old. Saving Jesus from the Church shows us what it means to be a Christian and how to follow Jesus' teachings today.

Most definitely unorthodox.


Sunday, February 08, 2009


'Glimpse of ... creation redeemed and restored'

You know, sittin' around the deacons' table with me yesterday were a practicing Buddhist, a scattering of former Methodists, a Presbyterian or two, several former Baptists and at least one gay guy, maybe more, maybe a gay gal, who knows?

Theology and Christology ran the gamut, doctrine, too, although mostly toward the low end of all scales -- to the everyday level, where people live and die, here and now.

One way to crystallize the thing that we all can agree on is this:

God is (fill in the blank).

Jesus is just all right with us, and like Simon Peter's mother-in-law, we each have been healed, in one way or another, by His touch through other people, and now, having been raised from our sickbeds, we feel compelled to serve others, both inside and outside our faith traditions, such as they are.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION today at church:

Lord of Life, help us to remember that the kingdom is not built in a day. It starts with an act of love and compassion, and then it motivates the recipient to serve. In serving one another, the doors of heaven will open, and we get a glimpse of the possibility of creation redeemed and restored. Help us to receive love, and to love and serve others. The rest we will entrust to You. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen.



Dang it, I've let this place get way too dang erudite and not nearly enough redneck! And last night bein' NASCAR Advent and all ... well, shee-it!

I saw Willie Nelson sing the way God meant him to be seen, back in '97 or so: He was on a little stage at a run-of-the-mill dancehall in Wichita Falls, Texas.

I was sittin' on a piece of particle board put down on the top of a pool table, and Dr. ER was standin', leanin' up against me between my legs, while she pretended to sip a coldbeer and I was most debnitly and genuinely tossin' back shots of Jack and chuggin' said coldbeers plural.

GodDANG it, I need me a honky tonk sometimes.

Woo hoo! Kevin Harvick won the Bud Shootout, and him bein' my man ever since Dale Earnhardt went to be with Jesus, that is one hell of a good start to the season.


Saturday, February 07, 2009


'Cypriot Bible Could Be from Jesus' Time' -- ??

Yeesh. As an alleged piece of newswriting, this is a p.o.s.

Y'all tear into what little content there is, why don'tcha, while I go learn how to be a deacon.


Friday, February 06, 2009


I am a man. I love cat dancing.

OK, OK, it's called Booboo Dancin' -- when I get up and stumble to fix coffee, and I swoop in and pick up Ice-T and "dance" him with me into the kitchen. Dr. ER calls it Booboo Dancin' -- 'cause I'm dancin' in my booboos.

And, at least once recently, I did two-step the critter around the house, while fully clothed, for the sheer fun of it.

So, while somehow I missed this movie all these years, I will not rest until I see it! LOL

Happy Friday, y'all!


Thursday, February 05, 2009


Gee! Om! ... I try!

I dreamed last night that I was seriously pondering whether points, lines and planes exist in nature or are human constructs; whether they have mass; and wondering, since it takes points to make a line, what do you get when two planes abut?

A Subway turkey and provolone sandwich with oil and vinegar did that, I guess.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009


No amount of paid advertising, economic development or public relations can make up for this kind of unholy, insane, unbelievable horses--t!

"As Conspiracy Theories Abound in Oklahoma, John Birch Society, Others, Rally" -- from the Oklahoma Gazette.

God. Help. Oklahoma. Deliver. Us. From. Sally. Kern.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Reading *is* fundamental

Since I just finished -- finally! -- "The Brothers Karamazov" -- thus ends my 2008 late-started summertime fiction binge -- and updated my "What I'm reading" list over there on the left ... here's what I'm reading:

Geoff Cunfer, "On the Great Plais: Agriculture and Environment" (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2005). Ecological history. Great Plains history and agriculture are two of my interests.

Greg O'Brien, ed., "Pre-removal Choctaw History: Exploring New Paths" (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008). Choctaw history is one of my main research interests.

Will Carleton, "Farm Legends" (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1887). A Christmas gift from Dr. ER! Interesting poetry from the educated heartland circa 1870s-1880s.

Barack Obama, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" (New York: Crown, 2006). Dudes. Dudettes. You want to know what and how the president thinks? Read it. It's the carrot that gets me on the treadmill for 20 minutes every other day. I read it only while treading.

So, what're you readin' and why?


Sunday, February 01, 2009


Tortured souls, redux; Or, a devil of a time

By The Erudite Redneck
(March, 1998)
(First posted here Sept. 14, 2005)

Maybe faith is just a fairytale to you. Or something from dull history. Or questionable philosophy. Or a murky lesson from a big musty black book.

Maybe it’s something you never wanted to hear to begin with and that you’d just as soon forget.

Maybe you think it’s just a myth used by bad people to trick gullible people. Or it’s just a waste of time. Maybe it’s something that makes you mad and you’re not sure why. Or it makes you sad because you had it once, before you forgot it, before you got so smart.

Maybe you’re offended to even see it mentioned in a public place. Maybe, as far as you think about it, it all makes sense. But you don’t think about it that much. You just go and listen, put some money in the plate, sing a song and go home. Or maybe you just stay home.

It’s easy, with all those maybes.

Or, perhaps you believe, simply and quietly and genuinely. And you’ve been blessed with a great measure of peace about it all. Be glad.

For others it’s hard.

When Jesus and the devil are as real to you as your brothers and sisters, and they both live in your house, wake up with you, go with you to school or work, follow you around during the day, sit at the dinner table with you, hang out with you in front of the TV in the evening, watch you as you drift off to sleep at night, one constantly beckoning you to do good, the other constantly tempting you to do bad, when the stories in the Bible are messages carried by the very breath of God himself sent through specially chosen messengers and meant for you personally, when you go to church and you love the people in it and you BELIEVE and you’re strong singing hymns on Sunday morning but you were a weakling raising hell on Saturday night, when your prayers have to blast past the demons teasing your mind and racing your heart and you’re saved and you know it but in the dark hours of the night you start to wonder, when you feel an otherworldly presence in a breeze from nowhere that touches the curtains in the front room ever so slightly or rattles the screen on the back door, when you don’t know whether the spirits are there for you or against you because you see through a glass darkly, when you’re tortured in your soul yet still praising God, then it’s terribly easy to be walking with Jesus one minute and dancing with the devil the next.

Amen. Or, oh hell. Jesus is a first cousin, the devil is a cousin once removed – but you’re all still kin. And you’re all close.

Salvation is something that started when you first saw the light and it’s still under way and will be ‘til you draw your last breath and it’s complete, not just “fire insurance,” not something that happened one time that you think about on Christmas or Easter and once in awhile in between: Heaven and hell are constantly before you. And in some ways it’s hard but in another way it’s the easiest thing in the world.

It’s your self, or his, day after day, sometimes hour to hour, and when things are really rough it’s minute by minute. Redemption is painful.

Then you’ll get it when Alan Jackson sings: “The gates of hell swing open wide, inviting me to step inside. ‘I’ll be your friend,’ he calls again. I know it’s him. The flames are spreading everywhere, but through the smoke I see her there. She’s all I see between the devil and me.”

And you’ll feel it in your heart, and it’ll hurt, when you hear that his 17-year marriage is on the rocks.

You’ll get it when actor Robert Duvall, as Euliss “Sonny” Dewey, a country preacher called from on high but still stuck down below, with his own marriage wrecked because of his own sins, angrily shakes his fist in God’s face and in bitter anguish cries out for help. And a little bit later he reaches for a bottle.

In the movie “The Apostle,” Sonny is upsetting his neighbors late at night with his hollering and carrying on, alone in his room – but then you know he’s not really alone. He’s not talking to himself. He’s praying out loud – a true tortured soul. And to anybody who’s ever been there, or even close, it’s as real as it gets.

If God is a “concept,” Jesus was just a man and the devil is a bad joke, life’s probably a lot easier, truth be told, but you won’t get Alan Jackson’s song, or Robert Duvall’s movie, at all.

And you won’t smile inside when you see “Jesus Saves” on a hand-scrawled sign stuck up along the highway – and when you realize there are signs like that all over the South, where Jesus needs the least PR to begin with since there’s a church at almost every crossroads. You’ll scoff.

You won’t be kind when some kids from a neighborhood church stop by to see if there are any kids on your place to be invited to Vacation Bible School. You’ll be gruff.

You won’t cringe when another preacher or priest gets in trouble. You’ll laugh.

You won’t pray for the president and the country, then curse, then pray again.

You’ll just curse.

Now ...

Scripture reading today at my infamously liberal church, where the preacherman noted that probably no one in the pews believed in demon possession, but that if someone did they were welcome, which is a good thing, since it's clear above that I used to without a doubt, and now, whether one personificates evil or what, I know it exists, even though it makes sense to me that the demons tossed out on their backsides in Mark were probably epilepsy or Alzheimer's or some such: Mark 1: 21-28.

Prayer of Confession:

Lord of Life, we pause to ask ourselves the questions that really matter. To what have we given our ultimate allegiance? What unclean spirits have we allowed to take up residence in us? To whom do we answer when our choice is between selfish habits and the call to be compassionate? When the moment comes to decide between addiction and freedom, what master shall we serve? We ask these things in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord. Amen.

Question: Demons -- real, actual beings or not?


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