Thursday, April 30, 2009


Riker's legacy

Saturday, I wept as I mowed the back yard, grieving for Riker, our beloved corgi -- blubbering, gasping, talking to myself in incredulity. The yard was his world.

Crying -- hard! -- for a dog!

It pried open grief, long ignored, for Mama ER, and the long, slow march to her passing in late February 2007, chronicled here almost daily starting Nov. 22, 2006.

This happened as I was thinking hard about my automatic call for bombing when I heard the Taliban was close to Islamabad -- and immediately wondered whether I should try to repent of such kneejerk reactions.

And I thought, as I wept: If I can love my Riker so much, and grieve him in a way that causes me to grieve my mama -- how much more do the mamas and daddies and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of my enemies love them?

And how can I, if I'm trying to follow Jesus, how can I want to hurt so many people? How can I nurse such thinking, such potential for vengeful violence, in myself, and dare even consider any kind of formal ministry?

That was the epiphany I mentioned the other day.

I don't see how I can.

Riker's legacy? It could be that his passing unlocked whatever part of me it is that naturally keeps me from being a peace maker. I'm no pacifist. But I don't see how I, or anyone, can be a Christian and be anything like a warmonger.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


How in hell can people hate Obama?



Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Arlen Specter, Democrat

Specter to run as Dem in 2010.

He just THINKS he's seen the meanness of the Repubican Party.


Monday, April 27, 2009


Pontiac, RIP

Never owned one. Lots of redneck yoots had Trans-Ams back in the day, though.

To old muscle!


Sunday, April 26, 2009


On 'strangers' over there, and amongst us

"I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture ... and kill them."

-- Private Joker, "Full Metal Jacket," 1987.

That quote was rattling around in my head after lockin' horns over here and here with the Jesus-would-look-away-and-pretend-it's-not-torture-and-kill-'em-all-and-let-God-sort-it-out mindset. Gah.

And yesterday, while I'm not quite ready to write about it, came a weepy epiphany, I think, that, I think, maybe, has me trying, perhaps, to repent of whatever it is in me that hears "Taliban 60 miles from Islamabad," and *immediately* thinks: "Bomb them." (I'm sort of embarrassed by that now.)

Man. Turning from *that* would be-is harder than turning from homophobia. Gaa-aa-aah.

Being ready and willing to kick ass and take names, at least in defense of others -- or thinking of myself that way, at least -- is a huge part of who I think I am. To turn from that, I might have to change the name of this place, drop my R.

And this morning came the Stranger, on the road to Emmaus.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION today at church:

Lord of Life, help us to be careful about labeling someone a "stranger." We have it on good authority that the one we call the stranger is in fact the Lord. Help us to be careful when we talk about those who come looking for a better life. They are not "aliens" but human beings who follow in our immigrant footsteps. Help us to remember that when we think we know who is "in" and who is "out," we are breaking the first rule of gospel hospitality: we are all in. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord, we pray, Amen.

Lordy. Thinking of illegal immigrants as Jesuses is one thing -- and a thing I'm thinking especially now since at least one congressman, a Democrat from New York, has already called for totally closing the border because of the swine flu outbreak.

Thinking of Jesus as the enemy -- even though those are the very ones we are called to love! -- that's tough. That'll take an act of God. But ... but ... if I can't, then WTH am I doing, doing anything with Jesus in the first place?


I can try, is all.


Saturday, April 25, 2009


UCC in OK: Signs of Life More Abundant

Mainline churches in decline? Yes. But the church I serve has begotten a baby, and this morning the baby's pastor is being ordained in services hosted by the association at the mother church.

Thanks be to God. Progressive Christianity is progressing -- in Oklahoma.

Miracles never cease.


Friday, April 24, 2009


Friday falderol -- and haiku at Feodor's place!

Haiki Showdown. At Feodor's joint. Y'all come. It's Poetry Month! I'm pretty sure non-haiku poems are welcome, too.



Oklahoma's "Church Lady" House of Reps purses Lips; Gov. Brad Henry (Brad Henry) makes 'em smile -- and ER will be glad when the Legis. goes home!

Oklahoma House slaps The Flaming Lips.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


For everything, turn, turn, etc.

I'm exhausted, and here's why. This morning at 3 in the a.m., I awoke and couldn't get back to sleep, so I finished off When Religion Becomes Evil, by Charles Kimball, then I tossed and turned for what seemed like a couple of hours, when ...

I realized I was coming out of sleep, being turned from my right side to my back ...

That phrasing is deliberate. I wasn't turning myself, as far as I could tell.

And my first microthought was not again!

Then in the next split-second, I thought: "God is turning me."

Then I thought: "This is easy. I usually shake the bed when I turn over my large self (ask Dr. ER). But I'm not turning myself. God is here and is turning me over."

Then I thought: "Why is this turning so easy?"

And I sensed this come from the Cosmos yet from a source as close as my own breath: "Because you're letting me turn you."

And although I'm whipped from lack of sleep, I've been thinking about this all day.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Calling Commander-in-Chief Obama

The Republican Party has grown so disdainful of government that it can't handle its most basic responsibilities. Not even defense!

The Iraq debacle. Quagmire in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is imploding. The last thing we need is a failed state run by thugs imposing barbaric "law."

It's time for war run right, by a party that knows the awesome power of government and knows how to use it shamelessly.

It's time for President Barack Obama to become Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama!

Kick the Taliban's ass once and for all.

Clinton: Pakistan a 'mortal threat' to the world.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Ninth Circuit extends 2nd Amendment

You read that right. The crazy-lefty Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco. The heads of rightward one are exploding like the Martians' when they heard Slim Whitman yodeling.

Second Amendment extended.


Monday, April 20, 2009


Resurrection , not resuscitation, but ...

(I just hate to not post every day. Ignore this post. This one is alive and well!) :-)

-- ER

Sunday, April 19, 2009



I remember watchin' "Jot" on Sunday mornings when I was real little before going to church with Mama, and I love the memory.

As a late teen and into my earliest 20s, I seriously looked at the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission, which produced "Jot" starting in the mid-1960s, as a potential employer.

And now, I watch this and think: OMG. How did I make it out without a guilt complex as big as Noah's ark? Wow.


Saturday, April 18, 2009


Resurrection, not resuscitation, but ...

The body has to be involved, I think, whether it's Jesus's resurrection or ours.


Friday, April 17, 2009





If you cannot remain silent


Thursday, April 16, 2009


Riker, 1995-2009

Sad, sad day in the ER household. My stepdog entered whatever comes next and heard: "Well done, good and faithful servant."



Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Whither weird weather?

This beats all I've ever seen, weatherwise. Snow rollers! Who knew?

Weird weather I've seen or experienced:

A microburst shot the temperature up from the 70s to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes one summer night around 10 p.m., in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Dust devil at least six stories tall, maybe more, as wide at the base as my house, one late afternoon somewhere between Dickens and Benjamin, in Texas.

Hailstone as big as large canned ham (srsly), which crashed through the trunk lid of a car in Knox City, Texas.

Twelve dead Holsteins, legs akimbo, splayed in a circle, killed when lightning struck the metal doohickey around the large round bale of hay they were eating, Muenster, Texas.

Wall clouds? Check. Rotation? Check. Funnel? Check. Rain curtains, downflows, updrafts, etc., and etc., yes, yes yes.

One time there were three tornadoes on the ground within a mile of some rodeo grounds where I was covering a rodeo. But I've never seen a dang tornado.

Y'alls' weird weather tales, please.

But I've never seen a dang tornado.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A headline that makes me dizzy

"Dr. Dobson Sets the Record Straight on Tonight's 'Hannity'"

Just can't get my head around any headline with "sets the record straight" and "Hannity" in it. Gaaaahh.

As for the meat of the article: No opinion. Hadn't heard, or misheard, what he said or didn't say. Whatev. Focus on the Family gets to act offended and get a free ride on an alleged slight.

Pshaw. There is no brou to this haha.


Monday, April 13, 2009


Easter Monday

Kinda blue today. Of course. The rhythm of life. Expect-expect-expect-expect-GET. Then the letdown.

Maybe I'll celebrate Easter Monday tonight ...


Sunday, April 12, 2009


'Rome closed the Jesus File. God reopened it.'

Prayer of Confession today, Easter Sunday, at church:

Lord of Life, we gather as people removed by centuries from that audacious claim, made by those who dared to break silence and speak with their hearts. Rome had tried to do in another troublemaker, and all seemed well. Except for one thing. Our best-laid plans do not include a force stronger than our love of violence and wealth. Our attempts to control the universe must compete with a universe we do not control. Our short-term solutions neglect the staying power of the Long View. Rome closed the Jesus File. God reopened it. Thanks be to God. Amen!



He has done rose plumb up!!!

I love y'all! Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 11, 2009


'Harrowing of Hades'

"Harrowing of Hell."

God in Christ descended into hell, Scripture says.

"If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there," the Psalmist says of God. (139:8).

Frederick Buechner observes: "It seems there is no depth to which he will not sink. Maybe not even Old Scratch will be able to hold out against him forever."


Friday, April 10, 2009


Good vibes, happy-happy thoughts, prayers for Mena, Ark., please; the state line is all that keeps it from being as much 'home' as home

Twister rips Mena.

And wildfires will probably rekindle here.

Black Friday in more ways than one.


(Photo by Dr. ER, fall 2005)

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Wildfires sweeping down the plain

Hurricane-force winds fan wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas.

Some 100 homes destroyed in Midwest City, as any as 20 in Choctaw, both OKC suburbs.

Front coming through right now, shifting winds, rekindling fires already beaten back.



Speaking of heaven: I'm off to go serve the bread thereof, and to help fill the holy shot glasses we call 'cups of kindness'

May your Maundy Thursday service be just what you need tonight.



Speaking of hell: Sean Hannity can go there*


In my haste, I forgot my usual asterisk and footnote, and Trixie gently and properly chastised me for it -- for wishing hell on anyone on this Maundy Thursday, no less.

The asterisk is now in the headline. The footnote is below:

*Not meant to suggest the destiny of his immortal soul.

Original angry post:

Eff. Him.



Here: What you MUST believe to be saved!

Summary of various doctrines, essential, cardinal and otherwise.

The funny thing is I much believe -- that is, I assent to -- some version of the "essentials":

Salvation by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone

Christ's Vicarious Atonement (The Penal Substitutionary View)

The Bodily Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the Dead

The Unique Deity (and Humanity) of Jesus Christ

Christ is fully divine and fully human. He has two complete natures.

The Trinity. Within the nature of the one eternal God there are three persons (Gk. prosopon, L. persona): the Father, the Son, and the HolySpirit. They are coequal and coeternal. Moreover, they are of thesame substance or essence (i.e., their nature being divine), and share the same glory.

Here I've edited the above to fit more close my own thinking at this time:

Salvation by Grace Alone ...

Christ's ... Atonement

The ... Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the Dead

The Unique Deity (and Humanity) of Jesus Christ. Christ is fully divine and fully human. He has (at least -- ER) two complete natures.

The Trinity. Within the nature of the one eternal God there are three persons (Gk. prosopon, L. persona): the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are coequal and coeternal. Moreover, they are of the same substance or essence (i.e., their nature being divine), and share the same glory. (OK. I guess. I don't worry about the details. -- ER).

Now, while I do assent, more or less, to those propositions -- especially the first Gracey one -- I don't think adhering to them has very much to do with whether one is saved.

This is my "essential": I trust God through Christ, and try to live accordingly.

It's pretty clear that's not enough to satisfy the preparer of the linked summary, which I found linked to HWMNBN's blog with this little lagniape appended, he said, at the last second: "Deny the essentials all you like as well. Just use some intellectual honesty and don’t call yourself a Christian. And if you think I’m talking about you, you’re probably right."

Talk me down, y'all. Or up, as the case may be.



Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Can someone queer the air?

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Good. In the name of liberty, I'm for it.

My church is "Open & Affirming," which means that gays are welcome at every level, from the pew to the pulpit. Good. In the name of Jesus and God's Grace, I'm for it.

See this big "God vs. Gay" article in The Advocate about a lesbian Presbyterian deacon trying to become an ordained minister.

What does this mean? Romans 1: 18-32. Open question.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Why prosecutors, as a class, suck

Sorry. My default is almost always with the defense, because of bullstuff like this.

The power of the state is an awesome power. That's mainly why I'm against capital punishment. Period. Any prosecutorial misconduct is too much. And then, there's this.


Monday, April 06, 2009


Carrie Underwood does my Okie heart good!

Carrie Underwood, fellow rural eastern Okie!

What a winning doll.

What a dress!

(What a babelet!)

Oklahoma country music: What history!


Sunday, April 05, 2009


2 Peter 3: 9?

Read "One man's ambivalent retreat from his racist past," by Helen O'Neill, Associated Press.

I see the stirrings of repentance. What do you see?


Saturday, April 04, 2009


Neil on 'The Power of Satan'

By Neil

It was with great sadness that I learned that a theologically liberal blogger was going to spend many, many thousands of dollars and countless hours going to some form of seminary. I grieve for him and how he will spread his false teachings to a broader audience and I grieve for those he will mislead. What a waste.

Read it all.


Friday, April 03, 2009


UCC hails Iowa Supreme Court decision




God dog, dog God, God dog, dog God, God dog

Here's a different kind of theology, the kind that's more meaning to most people, I think, than we've been talking about lately. My Bird e-mailed it to me today. I like.


A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.

He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.' The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'


What's y'alls' take on God and pets, or animals in general?

Thursday, April 02, 2009


The Apocrypha, Bel, his priests, the dragon, Daniel, the lions, the prophet Habbukuk, seminary, holy Hot Shots, cow herdin' and me

Linda, the gal in charge of plying us wannabe seminarians with victuals at these here so-called alleged "discernment dinners" and corraling us up, then lurkin' around by the loadin' chutes until we're so cow-eyed we willingly stumble onto the truck for a trip to, you know, just check out the campus, all the while pokin' us with a spiritual Hot Shot to keep us dogies movin' along until -- clang! -- the gates to the religious-tradition-and-preconceived-notion kill floor slam shut (how's THAT for a metaphor!) told me the following:

"For some reason, your effort to make this decision reminded me of a story that's found in the apocrypha, a version of the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den that was ultimately rejected by the protestants. There is another familiar character in the text, Habbakuk the prophet. You can find the text of the story here. Pay particular attention to what happens to Habbakuk."

At the time, all I could think of to say was, "Very cool. Habbakuk: What a 'call'! :-)" -- but now I'm not sure what she mighta been thinkin'. It'd take a real miracle for God or anyone else to find enough hair on top of my head up by to yank me.

What do y'all think?


Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Krugman's 'Conscience of a Liberal'

New to my blogroll: Paul Krugman's blog, "Conscience of a Liberal."


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