A solid article about the need for a “race case” to be handled by all people as a justice case, rather than delegated to the African American in the room. The killing of a young man and the lack of urgency in the police response is unconscionable and beyond the pale for what should be seen as acceptable by people of faith.
Seriously. Maybe that’s the problem. Any takers?
No? I don’t blame you. It would be one thing if he looked like Sean Connery, but the man really does look like his given name was Ratzinger.
You’ve already heard about his circular logic that homosexuality is destroying marriage, an argument that seems lifted directly from the Prop 8 Playbook, which puts him in cozy company with Southern Baptists and Mormons. But almost as offensive as this claim is the tortured excuse for theology that gets him there. The references to natural law, Reformation-era devotion to the family unit, and the absurd ending place: endangering humanity itself.
Please. Biggest danger to humanity? Guns. Bigotry. Arrogance. Plutocracy. Greed. Exploitation of resources. Global Climate Change. The disappearance of honey bees. Unregulated corporations. And all the idiots that keep us from loving one another and protecting the weak, powerless, disadvantaged, and the disabled by talking about “culture wars” and “playing the race card”.
I’ll give the last word to MadPriest: “Celibate Former Fascist Speaks Out of Arse“. [Plus you have to see the cartoon.]
On her blog yesterday, the Rev. Susan Russell announced a Celebration of Equality. It is a really special event in the life of her Pasadena congregation and I’m sure is going to be an awesome sight. In the midst of this celebration is a “sneak preview” of a new documentary about the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, whom she describes as “the first openly gay bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom”. The film is called Love Free or Die. It says on the poster:
LOVE FREE OR DIE is about a man whose defining passions the world cannot reconcile: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Bishop Gene Robinson will not give up on either.
I for one am eager to watch what is certain to be an engaging documentary with a subject that is so close and relevant to our recent Christian history. But the film brings up a greater question to me than simply how does Bp. Robinson reconcile what he has been taught with what he feels, which makes for an engaging film, but there is something more fundamental than that. How do we reconcile being taught things that are in conflict with each other? In this case, the specific teaching by modern churches of the incompatibility of homosexuality with the conviction of loving anybody generously as demonstrated frequently in the form of loving those we’re taught (often by society, but also often by our church) to despise.
The wholly inadequate response of “love the sinner / hate the sin” shows neither such a clear division of action or any of that supposed “love”. Similarly, the drive on the part of many to ignore one teaching while supporting the other rings hollow and false to most people, Christian and non-Christian alike. In my own sandbox of Christianity, the supposed “listening process” that was begun in the late 1990s to determine the mind of the church on homosexuality was a farce. Not because there weren’t a large number of Episcopalians and other Anglicans wrestling with the theology of homosexuality (as many did), but because this was a political attempt to sweep it under the rug and stop the rising tide of support for equality; and therefore not listen.
My own views on this have evolved over the last decade, and thankfully continue to evolve. But this can only happen if we engage the challenging bits of our faith. Like not necessarily reconciling two teachings that are at odds with one another. Perhaps one of our teachings is wrong. Perhaps one of them is less right than the other. Perhaps one is for us to worry about and the other is for GOD. Perhaps we should take a more mature reading of Scripture than we normally take. Perhaps Scripture shouldn’t be used as a dividing line in any event. Perhaps it isn’t GOD that screwed up, but us. Perhaps current teaching is based not in good exegesis but in faulty human tradition. Perhaps Scripture never actually said what we think it says.
That is where Christ meets the world, after all. In those spaces of human abuse and rejection of our brothers and sisters is the place where Jesus appears, feeding, clothing, comforting, liberating. And where we, in our ivory towers of certainty, erected by a self-righteous belief in our own systems of separation find ourselves further and further from those in greatest need of Christ like a Babelish tower reaching toward GOD and departing from the people GOD calls us to serve. From this spot, we wrestle. Wrestle with these great questions of our faith. Or like Jacob, we wrestle with the very figure of our God.
I do think that sometimes 1+1=5. That doesn’t make me crazy. It means that we ought to account for our own blind spots. To help me explain, I’ve recruited my own daughter.
As you can see, she has written an interesting equation on the white board. She is so proud of it, she wrote it over and over again:
People fall into two camps when they see this: Continue reading
Think back to your junior year of high school. Remember the things that made your blood boil: what you really cared about. Have it? Now write down some words that come to mind. Just take about 2 minutes to do this exercise.
Now look at the list. What do you notice? Who are you now compared with that person?
Chances are you disregard yourself as naïve or foolish. Current You is so much wiser and Younger You, well, was a bit of a douche. We disregard our younger selves as easily as we disregard the youth around us.
What did I come up with? I thought about how Younger Me would be righteously pissed at Current Me. Continue reading
I kind of hate Thanksgiving. I do love my family, the festivities, watching the Detroit Lions, the parade. I especially love the food. Oh, I love the food. For the longest time, my favorite food in the whole world was stuffing. It still comes close. No, the reason I hate Thanksgiving is the holiday’s origin.
The roots of Thanksgiving, as this great post about “The Real Story of Thanksgiving” describes, involves being thankful for life in the midst of murder. Being thankful for being on the side of invaders, conquerors, and murderers. One thing for which I truly am thankful was a friend I made with another volunteer advocate from Negaunee, Michigan back when I was in college. He is Native American and told me that for his people, Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday of celebrating thankfulness, but a reminder of ruthlessness and racial animus. Continue reading
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
With such a broad definition of what constitutes speech and who is protected by speech, I have to ask: then what part of not prohibiting “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” do they not understand?
The headline should read:
Presidential Candidate Eager for Gilded Age‘s Return
Instead it reads:
Gingrich’s position is, of course, more nuanced than it
sounds. And you have to give him credit for this characteristic bit of brainstorming on his part. But, as is always the case with this presidential candidate, his attraction to novel ideas is rarely balanced by those red flashing “warning!” signs the rest of us seem to get.
Warning signs that remind us of what child labor laws protect, what the culture was that formed them, and how perpetually necessary they are.
Or warning signs that say more specifically, “Newt! Calling them ‘stupid’ will get you only a little support and some buzz, but a whole bunch of hate mail.” Like the voice that reminds you that maybe there is more than one way to see something.
What Gingrich is suggesting has zero to do with child labor laws, and I’m pretty sure he knows it. I am pretty sure there is nothing legally stopping schools from innovative programs to encourage student participation in maintenance; nothing legally preventing an industrious principal from having sixth graders scrub toilets and “begin the process of rising”. What is stopping this from happening is that we are trying to train our kids to be better students, focused on academic success and most parents would see this, not as important character-building, but as punishment, or worse cheap labor.
Gingrich has two reasons to float such an idea. The simple one is to prove his supposed outside-the-box bona fides. The other is that he doesn’t want to support those employees of the school system that clean toilets daily, particularly if they are unionized. He sees that work as ripe for outsourcing, innovation, and efficiency: by getting students to do it.
He is taking a howitzer to a paintball game; or worse, a howitzer to a game of chess. And he knows it. He wants to seem innovative by removing one of the most humane accomplishments in American history. That seems like the definition of a bad idea.
[UPDATE: Check out this article I just found refuting Gingrich's suggestion that kids should even be doing this work: Newt Gingrich's Cavalier View of Janitorial Work Challenged By Facts]
You have to admit that there are some things that you know intuitively and when they are confirmed, it is all less shocking than it should be. Having said that, it was still pretty amazing to see this headline: “Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don’t Watch Any News: Study.”
The study, which had controls for all sorts of things, including political affiliation, is particularly damning to the cable news giant. When confronted with the basic truth revealed in the study: that a person who doesn’t watch any news has a better grasp on international politics than Fox News viewers, we are left with one obvious conclusion: Fox News doesn’t provide factual, consistent international news.
This is no surprise to its critics and perhaps “fighting words” for its supporters, but perhaps we should stay focused on what this should tell us about how news is disseminated and how best to inform our people. Hopefully Fox can shift its focus to better effect its viewers, but until it does, we’re all better off not watching it at all.