Thursday, September 14, 2017

White House: Fire those who say what we don't like



So now the White House supports / encourages / condones the firing of employees who exercise their rights of free speech? Really? Goebbels did that too, you know. Jemele Hill, resist!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/sports/jemele-hill-espn-white-house.html

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Changes to Majority America

Times are a'changin'.

Give it 12 years. Maybe 16. But it will change. The demographics don't lie.

In 12 years, the conservative older voting bloc will be diminished and the younger, more liberal crowd will be emerging.

America tomorrow is more educated, more tolerant, more open, religiously diverse, more brown, and will have more females in positions of power. The favored religion of today will be on equal footing with other faiths, and conservative Christianity will not like it when other religions begin using their tenets to discriminate. That Christian baker in Oregon who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, will become the Muslim baker who refused service to the Christian couple because the woman wouldn't cover her hair for modesty sake ... and there are no other bakeries that would serve that Christian couple.

Those state tax schemes that allowed Christians to designate their tax bill to private Christian schools will be hated when the growing Muslim population do the same thing and Muslim schools start popping up in every community.

Yes, America will change. That means we will have the opportunity to right the ship in a few years, if we survive that long.

If we survive the economic, cultural, and worldwide upheaval of the disaster upon us as of January 2016.



Inauguration Day and A Lot of Mourning

I am generally an optimistic person. But not today. Not with what I believe is the biggest disaster this nation ever voluntarily put on itself. And, sadly in this case, it is not just what happens to the US but what will happen to the rest of the world, and even the future of the planet.

Donald Trump is a national calamity.

Don't give me that "well, he is the president and we have to support him," or the "we have to give him a chance," or even worse the "we lived through Obama and look at how bad he was." Bull. In every language --- bull excrement.

This is not just any Republican but a fascist. His speeches, his rallies, the content of everything he said is so eerily similar to that of Adolf Hitler that I am shocked no one is calling him on it. Wait. They are pointing it out in the media but those stories are discounted as fake news or liberal wrangling that should be ignored because, hey, the media is won't tell the truth and only Trump has the truth. After all, it doesn't matter what the facts are because if you feel something is true, it must be. The media is filled with elitists, i.e., educated, who are trying to keep the common people down. It's not the wealthy who will benefit from these policies --- nooooo, the poor and middle class will prosper again when the tax burden falls on them and off the wealthy.

Trump played on people's fear, racism, bigotry, lack of education, desperation, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and called it all patriotism. After all, you can't be a patriot and love America is you don't agree with Trump and you certainly don't want America to be great again like the liberal elites who are working against the common man. He played it well. It worked. And now we have to pay for it all.

Don't misunderstand me here. I don't want Trump to fail because I don't want America to fail. I no more want Trump to fail than I want something awful to happen to my own kids. No. It's not that I want Trump to fail but that I know Trump will fail.

I grief. I am still in mourning over the election. That is exactly how I still feel: in mourning. That deep sense of loss. It's real. Because I know the policies of Trump will be horrendous.

Women will lose a lot of specific health care needs with Planned Parenthood vilified with manufactured controversy that is completely false.

Health care costs will go up more than needed.

Lawsuit limits of malpractice will be implemented, something that will decimate the ability to care someone with a lifetime injury.

Insurance for those outside of employer coverage will see premiums go up exponentially, if it is evern offered.

Lifetime coverage limits will come back, meaning the most sick and vulnerable will not be able to receive the care needed.

The Obama Care taxes and required coverage mandate will go away, making it impossible to provide premium assistance to cover the risk pool that will be older, sicker, and in most need of services.

The environment will become the litter box of the nation.

Our national parks and public lands will become the free resource of large corporations, who will rape the treasures and return them to us forever damaged.

The economic policies simply don't work, e.g., Kansas under Brownback and Louisiana under Jindal. The tax cuts will not spur the sort of magic growth promised. That is not how economics works but it sounds good to people who have not taken econ. Of course, the ideologues insist Nirvana is just arund the corner in KS.

Building a wall --- not gonna happen.

Education is about to take the first step in being privatized.

Manufacturing jobs will not come back to the US and protectionism doesn't work. There is a structural shift in the global marketplace and that genie can't be put back in the bottle.

Russia is celebrating because they did it. Their plan worked. Now the US will focus on internal problems of Trumps on making and his international alliance re-structure and trade arrangements will leave an easy opening for Russia to do whatever she wants.

I could go on but it is irrelevant. All I can do is speak out, though my representatives from GA will discount my emails, phone calls, letters, and opinion.

God help us all.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Theologies of Change: Wittenberg Door 2.0

I have a question. Several questions. Actually, I'm not entirely sure what the exact question is but I do know the direction of what I'm seeing.

First, I submit this link that says maybe our traditional idea of God's Sovereignty is outdated, if not flat out wrong. In particular, perhaps God is not in control of everything that happens.

God is Not in Control


Second, here is an article about Bart Campolo (son of THAT Campolo) who now no longer identifies as Christian.

Bart Campolo No Longer Believes

Here's what I'm thinking: Is it possible that we have been wrong on God's Sovereignty in the same way we were wrong on so many other issues? In situations such as slavery, evolution, the earth revolving around the sun / being round, or countless other things, we damaged ourselves greatly in reaching people because they viewed our ideas as backward and uneducated. Is that a necessary roadblock to keep throwing out there? If we adopt a theology that says God is not always in control of everything but is completely Sovereign in Love, does that damage the definition of God? Or take Campolo, for example: he had trouble believing in the idea of hell and eternal damnation, so he adopted a Universalism of sorts a long time ago.   The idea of an eternal hell, created by a loving God, for the eternal punishment of people who didn't believe, is all sorts of problematic for everyone's senses. Is that another area where we need to re-examine what exactly it is we believe?

The point here is that in this era where we have (hopefully) a better sense of thinking through all this stuff, oftentimes our theology creates more moral problems than it resolves. I can certainly see many inconsistencies in our theology that unbelievers are pointing out as reasons to reject the faith outright ... and many of those inconsistencies are not ethically defensible on our part. Many positions can be resolved by simply changing our interpretation of some texts, and that would make us be more consistent morally/ethically in our presentation. Perhaps it is that inconsistency that people are seeing, what Bart Campolo recognized, and that is =a= reason (not just =the= reason) some reject the Message.

I'm not in any way saying we should change our theology to fit the "world." I'm not suggesting we soften our positions. I'm saying that perhaps we need another nail on the church door at Wittenberg. The post-modernity doesn't reach everywhere at the same time but it is coming whether we like it or not. Maybe it's time we address legitimate questions about our theology. Are we being resolved in our commitment to truth, or are we being bull-headedly stubborn in refusing to recognize our own inconsistencies?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pharisees in GA

So very, very sad. GEORGIA IS BEING GOVERNED BY DEMETRIUS THE SILVERSMITH The US constitution guarantees that no faith will get a Most Favored Status from government, even if it is our own. We Baptists were the persecuted minority at the nation's founding and it is we that were told the Word of God was against us and our beliefs were not scriptural. It was the Established Churches that claimed they rightly interpreted the text and should be given special favor over the heretical Baptists. Our nation and stae are not governed by the Bible or any religious text but by the US Constitution. As far as I can tell, no church has been shuttered; no one has been denied access to a house of worship of any faith, even our own; and all public businesses have to be held to the same public accommodation laws that may not refuse service to anyone for any reason, =unless= they are LGBT, a non-protected class in our state. No pastor has ever been forced to marry anyone with whom he/she didn't want to; and no church has ever been forced to host a ceremony it didn't want to host. Now that is not the same for =BUSINESSES= since all =BUSINESSES= are held to the same standard of law.

GA is not governed by the Bible, or more aptly one narrow interpretation of a select few passages. We are a nation of laws that protect everyone and makes sure everyone is treated the same in the public arena. If we don't make sure other interpretations of faith are protected in the public arena, then one day another religious group can force THEIR religious interpretation onto us in the business arena ... you know, kinda back to where we Baptists started in England, Boston, Virginia, etc., when we were refused service in businesses, or buying/renting property, or getting services from state employees, and the government sanctioned that discrimination because the majority faith said we were not true Christians.

An analogy of Demetrius is not the proper one in this case. Maybe it should have been the Pharisee standing outside the party Jesus was, saying: "Why does Jesus even associate with those sinners?"

"Christian Index" Editor and Facts




It is no secret I am not too happy with the GA Baptist Convention nor its editor, Gerald Harris. I was a frequent poster on the GA Baptist Convention Facebook page for a few years, usually pointing out when they used Alt Right and fake news sites as source material; decrying the politicization of the Convention; warning of a creeping acceptance of fascist political thinking; criticizing the Pharisaical attitude of faith that has become acceptable; wildly yelling about the anti-science stance at our Baptist colleges; etc. I guess they finally got tired of me being a gadfly and banned me, something I'm very proud to wear as a badge of honor.

On Monday, 19 December, 2016, the Electoral College was set to vote to validate the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency.  Not to disappoint, Gerald Harris gives his normal editorial makes one of those really, really, REALLY ignorant statements that is such an embarrassment to every GA Baptist. Here is the quote:

Many staunch Clinton supporters want the Republican electors to break precedent and refuse to vote for Donald Trump, denying him the required majority. Some celebrities vainly hope Republican Electors would even dare to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. 
However, if the electors were to do as some of the Hollywood elite demand, they would be violating the Twelfth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which says “they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President.” (emphasis is mine)

 Perhaps Gerald Harris would do well to call upon a history professor or a Constitutional law professor and get input before making such a naive claim.

Really.

Monday, December 12, 2016

It Can't Happen Here ... Did It?

I realize that the source I'm using for this is considered "liberal" by current political majority. I get that. Nonetheless, that doesn't invalidate the point being made. Thom Hartman is spot on.

The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here"

Fascism has been growing in America for a long time, and it finally achieved its winning of the political structures. Seeking to return to the days of the Robber Barrons, where the top few dominate the economic, political, societal, and cultural structures, they have won. By playing on the the fear of the demographic shifts, the US population has been manipulated. Fake news has given validation to their suspicions and ignorance. Patriotism is no longer a support of one's national values, but of blind allegiance to anything the nation does no matter how unfair (or evil) it may be. Faith is now synonymous with being a "good American," and that faith is only of a certain stripe and looks more like a political action committee than a religious organization.

We got played.

Fascism is now in power. The US went to war to stop it 80 years ago and we've now duly elected it's descendants. God help us.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Todd Starnes, the ACLU, and the Right Thing to Do



Knightstown, Indiana, Endorses Christianity


It is not surprise to anyone that I believe Todd Starnes is one of the most ignorant people on the planet. The fact that he has teamed up with Truett McConnell College, a GA Baptist college, is frightening.

Starnes is continuously fanning the flames of a "War on Christians" and misrepresents history. Just use any search engine and you will be aghast at the twisting, contorting, and out-and-out lying about history and current events. Let's face it, the guy manipulates people with false facts for political gain. Goebbels would be so proud.

But this one is so basic that I'm amazed he hasn't been booed off the air with this one. The city of Knightstown, IN, has a lighted cross a top a Christmas tree. Not a star where it could be argued is merely symbolic of the Holiday Season. No. This is a cross, the emblem of one religion.

Dear Mr. Starnes: would you be OK if this were a star and crescent?

Very simple. If it is wrong for a city to do this for one religion, it is then wrong for all religions.

Madison's Remonstrance was very clear on how they intended to address situations like this.

Todd Starnes, you are what the founders warned us against.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve Job Description

I've had this same job for -- oh, I dunno -- 30 years. It's a very simple job but I've discovered it's vitally important if I'm to live the remainder of the holiday season.
1. Keep the glasses full. Usually it is my wide and daughter cooking and doing all sorts of other things in the house, but for me the Prime Directive is to keep those glasses full. There may be another 2 or 3 or 10 people show up on T-Day Eve for God knows whatever reason, but if I do this job right, the rest of my job description is much easier to accomplish and I will get rave reviews.
2. Run to the grocery store for whatever items left off the list. I may make 2 or 3 runs to Publix over a 3 hour period but I will have to go. Never mind what I have to get wasn't on the list the first (or second or third) time:
I'm still the Dumb Arse and should have known better.
3. Wash dirty dishes. It keeps the clutter and tempers at a minimum, and those dishes will be used several times over the cooking portion of the evening. The dishwasher and my hand washing will be a priority.
4. Make sure those glasses stay full. If you want to live, Ryan, keep those glasses full.
5. Wash clothes. You would be surprised how many dishcloths, towels, pants, shirts, more dishcloths, etc., get soiled. Wash 'em. Dry 'em. Return to kitchen. Repeat.
6. Answer questions. "Do you think I can substitute skim milk for whole?" "Could I use margarine instead of butter?" "Would 1 1/2 cups of sugar be enough?" "Should I add more salt?" I was Google before Al Gore invented the internet and still am.
7. Take a cussing. If it isn't right, I take the cussing. If it doesn't taste right, my fault. If it falls, I failed. If it needs more seasoning, I didn't issue the All Points Bulletin. If I do job #1 well enough and keep those glasses full, I can mitigate this from impacting my performance review.
8. Keep the music on. Although not officially listed as part of my job function, I've found the "Soft Rock Hits from the 70s" or "Sounds of the Seasons" will calm a lot of nerves and minimize the cussing.
9. Keep the glasses full. It's worth repeating.
10. Make sure the finished dishes are promptly covered/sealed and put in the fridge. If the main fridge is full (always is after just 10 minutes of an oven on 350 degrees), I must maintain operation and oversee transport of completed dishes to Fridge #2, the Beer Fridge, or establish a confiscation procedure of a neighbor's unused portion of their fridge. Very important. Food. Stored. Ready for use the next day.
11. Keep note of the time when something enters the oven. Never fails: a dish goes in but someone forgets the time when the oven door closed. My task is to make a mental note and recall the answer when I hear, "When did I put this in?" or "How long was this supposed to cook?" My ability to keep the time stamp will save the day.
Tonight: Glasses full at all times and I get an "Outstanding" regardless of the other appraisal failures. The cussings weren't as severe either.
My resume is expanding.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lament This November, 2016



Fear. Loss. Mourning. Bulls of Bashan all around, snarling. 
Knowledge is covered and afraid to even whisper. Worry. Concern for my neighbor trampled by the Pharisee.
No longer even my brother's keeper but my weaker brother's master, if he cannot defend nor speak. 
The cheated laborer cries out only to be told the owner who withheld wages is now the ruler; stolen wages become pocket change for the rich. 
Time and name are the only things left for the forgotten when even dignity is taken. 
Careful, beautiful and good plans destroyed by vandals.
They know not what they do.