Friday, July 5, 2019

All We have to Fear is Freedom

As best as I can tell, evangelicals fear freedom:

Their opposition to abortion is less a care for the fetus than a fear of a woman's freedom to choose. They can't really say that, so they dress it all up in a pretended care for the unborn.

Their opposition to euthanasia is less a care for life than a fear of someone's freedom to choose.

Their support of the death penalty, a tit for tat response, requires no thought, and no care for justice, because justice demands thought, and thought requires freedom. The criminal violated the law, as they see it, and while that's true, the evangelical is content to see the death penalty as th final elimination of freedom - theirs in the deliberative process and that of the criminal.

Their labeling of climate change as a hoax is less a regard for truth, or God's purposes, or whatever, as it is a fear of responsibility, which is an element of freedom.

Their love of the military stems from their fear of the other's freedom, and the need to build a wall against the other's freedom, whether that freedom be a mother and a child crossing the border or Iran building its own nuclear weapons. The evangelical cannot allow that kind of freedom, so they join the military and learn how to kill freedom for others, even as they salute and march in lockstep with one another, having long ago surrendered their freedom to half-wit preachers, narcissistic politicians and their "almighty" gawd.

Their approval of fascism is linked to their need for order, complete order, an order that no longer needs thinking, because thinking requires freedom, the freedom to consider choices and options, and that's deeply disturbing to the evangelical mind. There is only one way to interpret the Bible, only one way to worship, only one way to live. In that kind of mindset, freedom is a bother, a threat.

Their need for a "sovereign" god who approves of rape is driven by their fear of freedom ... there has to be plan for all of this suffering, so rather than challenging the nature of suffering, which requires their responsibility, and likely requires regard for the woman/girl and her life, and her right to choose, they lay it all at the feet of god, walk away, as Pilate did, washing their hands of responsibility, care, concern and love, and then sanctimoniously tell the girl that her pregnancy is of god, and she darn well better carry that fetus to term.

And with that, not even their god has any more freedom. And without freedom, there is no love; only rules and regulations, guns and violence, enforced by fear, the fear of freedom.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Supporting Abortion Rights

To support abortion rights, one has to care ... to love ... for

More than the fetus.

But the mother, too, and the family, and then seek some understanding of the situation, the many pieces involved in such a decision, because life is complicated.

To seek the end of Roe v. Wade, one has to limit the scope of care and knowledge, reducing everything down to the fetus, and in the process damning the mother, calling her names, supporting the "rights" of a rapist father over against that of the mother ... and all sorts of other mean-spirited thoughts and laws.

It doesn't take long to see the harshness of heart driving the anti-abortion community ... they really don't care about the conditions of life, but only their ideas of life.

To want to criminalize abortion, one has to trim the energy of love down to just about nothing, and then ramp up the anti-abortion rhetoric, and dress it all up with religious language, to justify the shrunken love and still manage feel good (though the shouting and ferocity of their moods belie the claim of righteousness).

A loving heart acknowledges the wholeness of a person and their life ... all the elements, all the pieces, all the actors and all the moments.

And, fundamentally, essentially, a loving heart trusts that most people will make a thoughtful decision, and then, even when "thoughtful decisions" are not likely, driven they might be by panic and fear, and even irresponsibility, to still trust God Almighty, to be, faithfully, at work in all things, for good.

In the Romans passage, Paul adds, "for those who love God," which is to say, those who love God can certainly trust God in all matters of life and death, but that doesn't mean the negative for those who may not know God in any coherent sense. The work of God throughout creation is for all of God's creatures, great and small, including those who are lost in the sorrows and hurt of life, and likely, most especially, the lost and the confused.

To support abortion rights, there can never, ever, be a moment when one can label a rapist and the ensuing pregnancy as "gawd's will." This is an ultimate cruelty revealing the bankruptcy of thought and faith in those religious circles wherein law trumps mercy.

Never ... ever ... dress up such evil with good ... never.

Ah, you who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
... ... ... Isaiah 5.20.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Gay Pride

Thinking a bit about Gay Pride.
Transgender.
Me and mine.

We're all a hodgepodge of nature and nurture.
Mystery and mayhem.
And who knows what?

Those who fixate on sin can't stand it.
They gotta have answers.
Binary answers.

Yes, no.
Right, wrong.
Up, down.
Good, bad.
Male, female.

Sin-fixation requires delineation.
But delineation fails.
Fails to be real.

But, heck.
Who needs real.
When we can count sins.

Anyway, life is fluid.
Flexible.
Not fixed.

We transition.
Transform.
Move along some kind of continuum.

A calculus of mystery.
Beyond comprehension.
But here we are.

A wonderful holy confusion.
Which is what the Trinity is.
Nothing to pin down.

The only real choice?
Welcome.
Peace.

Joy:
Diversity.
Splendor.

Ok?
Good to go.
Love!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Unfound Finding God

Save me, O God,
From ever finding you.
For you are the finding God.
Never the found one.
For what is found is only prideful illusion.
What I find of you is what I pretend to find.
So, let me be content.
To never finding you.
For it is you, dear God.
Who finds me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

We Will Recover

The genius of American Democracy is that neither "side" should ever gain a permanent victory.

The nature of the beast should then always offer a degree of tension, and likely frustration, too, as the two sides vie with one another to implement their vision (and it most always boils down to two sides, here or in other parts of the world).

When Eisenhower agreed to run for the Presidency, he became a Republican, believing that the US has been in the hands of the Democrats for too long. Emotionally, politically, Eisenhower could well have been a Democrat, too. But he wanted to balance the system.

For me, we're in a period of time when the Oligarchy has essentially taken the upper hand, using both Republicans and Democrats to game the government for their advantage. America, more than ever, has fallen in love with money, fame, fortune, and the power associated with all of it. And for millions more, who always seem to be locked out of the house of plenty, a deep and often violent resentment fueled by tribalism and fear.

It's always been about money, but somewhere along the line, the scales were tipped toward a particularly venomous version of money - no longer the WASP sense of duty to a nation, or even a semblance of some kind of Christian or Jewish orientation, but now just greed, and hanging around the edges of power, those in the tattered rags of evangelicalism yapping on about Cyrus and Israel, and a whole of biblical cockamamie.

Democracy is threatened, as I see it.

Yet, we will recover, not because we're Americans, or because we're the apple of God's eye, but because we're human beings, and this is how history totters along, always out of balance, and always seeking balance, and sometimes, in those brilliant moments of peace and wellbeing, actually achieves some degree of balance, wherein the two sides, locked in struggle, enable the better angels.

Empires come and empires go ... and along the way, enormous suffering, and always war. Yet science discovers, musicians compose, poets write, historians publish, people fall in love, children are born, some rise to greatness of heart and vision, and lead nations to better days.

It pays to be cynical in order to be honest about humanity's inhumanity to itself ... but it pays to be hopeful lest one give up and sink into despair or some form of quiet hedonism. As long as poets write and artists tell their stories, there is hope for tomorrow.

I don't know the timeline. A physician-friend said to me a few days back about socialized healthcare - "We'll eventually get there, but not likely in our lifetime."

He may be right, but I hope he's not, and I hope that we can move things along a bit more swiftly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Americans Have Been Dazzled ...

Americans have been dazzled out of their brains by wealth.
We love it.
The thought of it.
And having it someday ourselves.

Our preachers have taught us get-up-and-go.
Our teachers have taught us how to have a career.
Our preachers failed often, too often, about love.
Our teachers failed often, too often, about daring to think.

America's god is really, truly, thoroughly, crazily, Mammon.
TV, books, prayer meetings, continuing education, and seminars.
It's all about wealth.
Who has it.
Who doesn't.

Meanwhile the wealthy go about their sordid lives.
Using charity to dazzle us.

We puff up with admiration for these "kindly" people.
Who, like the rich of Jesus' time.
Make sure everyone sees them with their bags of gold.
Dropping them loudly into the treasuries of human pride.

Meanwhile the widow, gamed by the system, thinks it's the thing to do.

And maybe it is.
So she gives, too.
Her two pennies.
The last she has.

Jesus loves her for it.
But he does't love the system that betrays her in.
A system that takes.
Her last two pennies.
And her house, too.
Everything, it takes.
And then: promises God's blessing.
Yet never delivers, but always promises:
Health, wealth, and happiness.


But God, it seems, isn't about wealth.
So those who have it.
Have to create a god who loves it.
Who bestows wealth upon the righteous.
Or so they think:
The deserving.
The self-made.
Those who help themselves, of course.
With prayer and bible-reading.
Going to church.
Going for the best seats in the house.
Wearing their going-to-church Sunday best.
To dazzle the folks with wealth.
And to keep the folks in line.
Helpless to be anything but envious.
And always:
Amazed and,
Dazzled.

It's Mammon who laughs cruelly at the fooled.
It's Mammon who collects their souls.
And chows down on them, devouring them with glee.
Turning their wealth into nightmares of fear and hatred.
And the poor are ground down to flavor the feast.

And so it goes.
America the Great.
Mad for money.
Lusting for wealth.

We've rewarded the preachers who've dazzled us with dreams.
We've rewarded the teachers who stole our ability to think.
We've bowed down to Mammon so ofter we don't know any better.

And while the poor languish.
The rich laugh.
On the fantail of a yacht.
Or 40 thousand feet up in a private jet.
In comfort and style and pride and piety.

And the widow gives her last two pennies.
And her children starve.
And then she dies.

She was better than all of them.
But a victim of their game.

A game Jesus despised.
No wonder they did him in.


Friday, February 8, 2019

The Republican Mind and the Heart of God

The Republican mind was tried and tested with Nixon, and though the GOP lost that battle, and though many a Republican realized that Nixon was doomed, and finally knew that resignation was the only answer, a collective vow was likely made, a never-again pledge.

No matter what!

Now, faced with a monster in the WH, a man of limited intelligence, with an immoral character, surrounded by sleaze and influenced by his own brooding greed for power and for "love," a love never received within his family, and a love that he cannot ever give, because he doesn't have it within him, the GOP and those who've profited from this current administration, will, in their own mindless way, stand by this man, though all of them are neck-deep in filth.

It's a first class mess we have on our hands, but we've been here before, with one exception: the WH has a base of anger and bigotry throughout the nation, fueled by talk radio, the crooks at FOX, and the evangelical church for which power, at any cost, is to be courted for the sake of its theocratic dream - to rid this nation of the godless liberals, and so to "restore" morality, a "morality" in which there is no room for the LGBTQ Community, no room for workers' rights, no room for women, no room for people of color, no room for collaboration with the world, but only dominance by brute military force.

History, or as my Christian high school history teacher put it many years ago, in large scrawl on the blackboard - His Story.

Yes, I know all the linguistic and gender-issues related to that descriptor, but what my teacher meant then, and what I hear today, is this: the moral arc of the universe is always bent toward justice and truth. The love of the Creator will prevail, though beaten and battle-worn (which is why the resurrected body of the Christ was full of scars - no one, not even God, can escape the sweat and toil of seeking justice), and though raised to new life, that new life gives evidence of the costs involved, and when the Doubting Thomas saw the scars, he knew this was a God worthy of his life, and Thomas said, "My LORD and my God."

In his own way, Thomas knew, I believe, that a god without scars, a god without hurt and heartache, was no god at all, and for the times then, and surely for the times now, a scarred god is the only god worth following. Not a god of Rome or Temple, but a god of the people, a god of the creation and a god of all its creatures, great and small, a god who takes up the human cause and pays the price of love.

Sooner or later the truth will out, and justice will be done.

Never to create a perfect world, but at least a more perfect union ... on our way, with plenty of baggage, but on our way, headed toward the sunlight of faith, hope and love.