One more politically-themed thought, and THEN, I'll get into a more jolly holiday spirit...
Imagine a PTA at a school with one member being an especially wealthy
person who quite often gave a good deal of money to the school. Let's
call him, Donald Pettydick. An issue comes up and the PTA votes for idea
A. Mr. Pettydick is outraged because he wanted idea B.
Pettydick then says, in a bit of a huff, "You're going to regret this! I'll just have to remember this when it comes time to give money to the school again! I'm taking names!!!"
Now it is, of course, within his rights to give money or not to give
money. But it is an extremely jerk-y move to threaten to withhold money
to the poorer people in the school to try to bully them into getting
your way and force people to go along with you.
administration is being that jerk in its reaction to the UN this week.
It's a very petty and un-classy thing to do. Not to mention, a blow to
the ideals of democracy and liberty.
We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate
with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.
~Martin Luther King, Jr
Whenever you see a board up with "Trespassers will be prosecuted," trespass at once.
To the wrongs that need resistance,
To the right that needs assistance,
To the future in the distance,
~Carrie Chapman Catt
Resistance is the secret of joy.
Be a drop in the bucket
and a bucket in the pond
and the pond fills the river
and the river rushes on
And the river swells the river
till the power can't be stopped
and what becomes a mighty ocean
started as a drop.
Here's something different. I'm going to post my son's blog post from today, where he talks about a big concert he and his students put on in a relatively small town in Albania. I'm so proud. My son, Jordan Trabue's, blog post from today...
Today was it. The big concert (koncerti in
Shqip). My Youth Council had been preparing for this for over a month.
When we voted on projects all the way back in October, one of the big
ones was to continue the annual Youth Council Anti-Bullying Concert that
the previous Youth Council had held for the two years preceding.
easy to say 'yeah, we're going to to a big concert' and more difficult
to actually implement it. Over the past month this has taken over my
life. I needed to find singers, dancers, someone to give a speech,
anything else we might want. I found an anti-bullying skit on the
internet and my students translated it then ran it through so many
drafts the end plot might as well have been a new skit. I talked to the
director of Education in Lushnje, to the director of the local
auditorium, the principal and vice principal of EVERY elementary school
in the city. We scheduled practices. Hunted down anyone with a talent.
When those people would drop out we'd find new ones. It's been a flurry
of activity. Tensions would rise one day as half the group didn't show
up or someone forgot to make some important phone call, then we'd all be
laughing after a particularly good practice or meeting. Finally,
yesterday, we had our final rehearsal with all the performers in the
auditorium yesterday. It was a grueling three hours of doing everything
again and again and again.
night I barely slept. I didn't know if anyone would come. I didn't know
what would be worse, if no one came or if a ton of people came and
something went horribly wrong. I texted with some of my students about
things that could go haywire. What if one of the singers accidentally
ate a microphone? What if someone in the audience had a heart attack?
What if we all simultaneously crapped our pants onstage?! We don't have back-up pants!!
alarm was set for 6 but I woke up at 5:30 and just stared at my phone
for a half hour waiting for the alarm. I got up and left for the
auditorium. I brought a guitar with me that I'd borrowed from one of the
local churches. I didn't intend to perform but on the chance that one
of our singers didn't make it I would be the backup plan.
Youth Council members and performers trickled in over the next two
hours. We got everything ready and waited for the schools.
first year of the annual Bullying concert there was a whopping 34
students in attendance. The second year There were more, but the
auditorium (which can seat 400) wasn't even halfway full I was told.
Moreover the students who came were horrible. They jeered, didn't
listen, and shined laser pointers on the stage. Part of the reason is
that they didn't know what they were coming to. They hadn't been told
anything about the concert beforehand, they were just randomly pulled
out of the classroom.
year I went not only to the director of education, but visited each
school individually and spoke with the principals. My students and I
explained in detail what the concert was, and left a letter with
instructions for each class to make an anti-bullying poster that they
would then bring to the concert. I doubted we'd have much follow through
on the part of the schools but I could say I tried.
When I went out to open the front gate, I was greeted by hundreds of kids with dozens of
posters. We let them in one class at a time, taking pictures with their
posters. The auditorium wasn't quite full, but was at least at 80%
capacity. Well, we had our audience. To add to the pressure, one of my
bosses had visited from Tirana and the local news media had been called
in and was setting up cameras.
the show started we invited the kids with the best posters up on stage
to be cheered. Then we had our opening speech and jumped into the
performances. First an anti-bullying video we'd found on youtube and
added Shqip subtitles to. Then two dancers took the stage. Then a
The whole time I was running around backstage. You go over here. You don't forget to take these props onstage. Girls be quiet! As
the next act began, a dancer who danced over a beautiful orchestrated
piece while someone read a monologue on bullying, I stopped to watch
from backstage. For all my worrying, for all my complaining and whining,
things were going pretty well.
Then the music stopped and everything went black.
audience, mistakingly thinking this was an unexpected, epic end to the
piece, erupted with applause. Even I found myself thinking 'when did we change the piece to end with a sudden cut to black?' But no. This wasn't planned. The power had gone out.
would be later told by the sound guy that, although power outages in
Albania aren't uncommon, the building has generators and never in his
years working had they lost power during even a practice, let alone a
performance. Just my luck I suppose.
a few moments we were in complete darkness, then the phones came out
and there was just enough light to see. the performers had retreated
backstage. I walked alone across the stage to the other side to speak
with the workers through a translator. Everyone was speaking. It was
total confusion. People were running this way and that, to what end I
can't guess. The kids were losing it in the seats. Talking and yelling.
Everyone was looking at me. "Jordan, what are we going to do?" I was
asked again and again by person after person. I was reeling. "I don't
know" I would reply. It took about a minute to get my bearings and be
decisive. I grabbed four or five of my students and started barking out
out into the audience. Find the teachers. Tell them we're going to wait
for a couple minutes and to try to keep their kids quiet. If the power
doesn't come back on then we'll cancel the performance."
students set to work. I went onstage and began waving my hands. There
was enough light that I know the kids in the audience could see me, but
there was no way to subdue them. They were talking and talking. It was
that moment I felt almost as though I was out of my own body, watching
this happen. Everything was happening in slow motion. The kids were
talking. I looked at my own students, who had worked so hard on this.
Their faces were nervous and confused. I suddenly remembered all those
years in America I'd been a musician. All the places I'd played.
Traveling on the road. Picking at strings alone in my room. In this
moment I felt as though everything in my life had been preordained, that
everything that had ever happened to me had been operating according to
some kind of logic. That everything I needed in life was already laid
out before me.
turned and walked offstage to where I'd set the guitar I'd borrowed
from the church. I slung the strap over my shoulder and walked back on
the darkened stage. I told my students "Follow me and shine all your
phone lights on me." They did as they were instructed and a halo of
bluish light surrounded me as I walked off the front of the stage and
into the middle of the audience, strumming my guitar as loudly as I
this point I was the most visible thing in the whole room and people
were noticing 'oh, hey, there's a guy with a guitar.' The hundreds of
students quieted down out of curiosity. I began to sing one of my songs
from my days as a musician by heart. The students couldn't hear my voice
for more than five feet or so, but the rhythm of the guitar carried far
and even kids in the back were waving their phones back and forth to
the beat of the song.
Halfway through the song, the lights came back on and everyone erupted in applause.
finished our concert. It was a smash hit. Our skit that we'd practiced
to death got whoops and applause. At the end a representative from the
local government passed out certificates to everyone who had performed.
However at the end all anyone was talking about was when the power went
off and the American stood in the middle of everyone playing guitar.
Even the people who had worked on the concerts from previous years
agreed that this one was the most exciting.
can't help but feel happy. I'd been so worried something would go wrong
and in the end something did, and the show was all the better for it.
I am writing to you today to say that it's time for some basic agreements that we all need to come together and find common ground around. We all are aware of the bitter divisions that separate this country, but just as surely, when push comes to shove, we are also aware of the love that we have as family, as neighbors, as community and fellow citizens that unite us. We are aware, and need to be reminded to stay aware of this reality:
That those things which unite us are greater than those things that divide us.
I was raised as an extremely conservative, traditional Southern Baptist boy and I am who I am today because of (and not, in spite of) my wonderful, conservative Christian parents, Sunday School teachers (love you, Miss Marie, wherever you are! You, too, Dalton! And etc, etc...), youth group leaders, pastors and friends and family who surrounded me and helped raise me. I love my God just as strongly now as I did then, thanks to you. I strive to love my neighbor now as you taught me to back then. And although my understanding and approach to it are different now, I still love and read the Bible now, just as you taught me.
In the church I attend now, we welcome, work with and alongside all sorts of people, including the homeless and mentally ill we have in our urban neighborhood. Occasionally - rarely - that means that a service might be a little disrupted. One Wednesday evening, while having our community supper, we had a gentleman who was getting too loud and abusive and we politely but firmly asked him to leave. One of our strong women leaders walked him to the door as he put on his coat and stepped out into the cold, yelling and protesting all the way. After closing the door, the man continued to yell from outside. He just stood there, looking in through the window in the door and yelling at the woman who escorted him out. She stood her ground and just kept insisting, "No, I'm sorry, you have to go. Just go on and come back sometime when you've calmed down. Go on, now..." like that. Eventually, she stopped and leaned in to listen to what the man was yelling...
"My coat. Is stuck. In the door!"
Sometimes friends, we have to pause and listen.
And so, with that as preface, this former raging-conservative-now-flaming-progressive writes to you, Alabama, along with the rest of us, to make a plea to listen to this call for a few basic decencies where I am confident we all can find common ground...
If faced between what I consider two evils/two wrong/two immoral choices, I cannot and will not choose a "lesser evil."
I totally get that, as conservatives and Republicans, that you probably can't vote for most Democrats with a clean conscience. There are policies that Democrats hold that you just can't agree with and find yourself needing to oppose. I get that. I have that with many conservative Republican policies (although I bet if we dig down, we can find some common ground starting places on many of those policies... but setting that aside for now). I understand not being able to vote for the other party in good conscience. No problem.
At the same time, we have to have lines that we draw. There have to be some basic standards that we hold to. And, IF my candidate... my party's candidate has crossed some of these basic lines, then we must need agree to say, "No. I will not vote for him/her." Period. That isn't to say, "therefore, I'll vote for the other party..." not if that candidate holds positions you can't in good faith vote for. It's just saying that I can not and will not vote for a candidate that crosses certain basic lines.
In my life, in trying to be a good citizen, there have been times where I have "thrown my vote away" and voted for a third party or written in a candidate that I knew couldn't win, just because I could not in good conscience vote for either mainstream candidate. Sometimes, we just have to do this in order to live with ourselves.
And this is my main point...
I'm writing to you today to say that we messed up on that basic drawing of a line last year with Trump. Alabama is considering messing up with Roy Moore. I'm asking for us to not do that. I'm asking for us to draw a line and say, "I will not cross that line."
There were/are many, many problems with candidate Trump and candidate Moore. But perhaps the greatest problem, the most serious line that we should not cross, is the ease with which they make false claims, spread false messages and - whether or not it's their motive/intent - told lies. They make up stuff and do it regularly and with careless abandon. We see this especially with Trump but Moore does it, too. When he says things like, “It is more likely that Doug Jones and Democrat operatives are pulling a
political stunt on Twitter and alerting their friends in the media.” ...he is making a serious and, by all evidence, clearly false claim.
He is saying that they many women who now have made these claims are liars. Period.
Let that soak in.
Here we have many women who have independently and, so far as anyone knows, without any influence from the Democrats or "the media," made these allegations. He is saying that they are lying.
But based on what? Why would they make up these stories? What do they have to gain by exposing themselves in this manner?
Look, I fully know that, in some extremely rare circumstances (and if you're not familiar, look at the research - it's a tiny minority), women have made false allegations about harassment/abuse. But these are the extreme minority. And okay, IF you have one allegation made against you by a woman, maybe she's one of this tiny minority that have made false claims. But when you have five... eight (what is Trump up to, now, 20??) women make these charges, and in some instances, where they had told others about it in the past and it's all something that can be verified by several sources... then to say that they are ALL lying begins to strain credulity.
And then, when you add to that charge that these women are liars (a very serious charge!), the claim that the Democrats and/or the media are behind it all, it just becomes clear that these are false claims. Maybe he SUSPECTS that these women were sympathetic enough to the Democrat cause to make false allegations, but you can't just make those sorts of claims without support. Data.
But that reasoning appears to be not apparent to Alabama voters. According to a new poll in Alabama...
...a new CBS News poll found that 71 percent
of Alabama Republicans say the sexual misconduct allegations against
Republican Roy Moore are false. Many blame Democrats and the media for
? Based on what? We can't just make up claims or beliefs without some evidence. That is not intellectually honest and I believe that the good people of Alabama, if they just stop and think about it, can agree to this.
So, again, my point: People who make false claims, especially when they do it regularly and with no support, they are crossing a line that should not be crossed.
Trump did this regularly leading up to the election and that should be a show stopper. Period.
Look, Trump isn't really a conservative or a Republican, he's an opportunist who has supported Democrats in the past. He could just as easily have run as a Democrat. And if he had and if he was making regular, casual false claims as he has been doing, then that would have been a deal breaker for me. It was a line that I could not cross. I would not vote for a casual liar and Trump and Moore are casual liars. They make ridiculous false claims. We can't abide this, friends. This is a line that we should not be crossing.
People of Alabama, I'm asking you to not cross that line now. If you're opposed to Democrat policies, I'm not asking you to vote for a Democrat that you can't support. I'm just asking you to do as I would do, as my parents, no doubt, would have done: Not vote for someone who crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed. Write in a vote. But don't cross that line.
But, if it were just the one line - the making ridiculously false claims repeatedly - that would be bad enough, and it should be! But with Trump and Moore, we have men who, by all the data we have available, are men who've abused, mistreated, oppressed or sexually assaulted or harassed women. In both cases, they did so even with teen aged girls/young women.
This is a basic decency line that cannot be crossed. It is/should be an instant deal breaker.
I don't need to know anything else about the candidate or his opponent if I know he has abused/mistreated women/girls. Period.
I'm not saying that there is enough evidence to convict either man of any crimes, I'm not a legal scholar, but I'm guessing there isn't enough evidence for that. But, just because the data is not sufficient to rise to a level of legal conviction, the evidence is sufficient that they are bad men who have mistreated women. Regularly.
This is a line that should not be crossed. Please, for the sake of our common humanity, do not cross that line.
When the stories about Bill Clinton came out, there were two... then three women. And their stories were not proof positive. There was, I think, reasonable doubt in at least their more serious allegations (murder, rape). Nonetheless, I thought the evidence that Bill Clinton had a problem was sufficient for me to not vote for him. It was a line that I could not cross. In both of his elections, I held my nose and voted for a third party candidate and against Bill Clinton. Conservatives at the time agreed with me... he was a problematic candidate and they loudly said so.
I would not cross that line to vote for Clinton. People of Alabama, the evidence against Trump and, now Moore, is greater than that against Clinton. I'm just asking you to do what you said we should do with Clinton back then and refuse to cross that line. Do not vote for this man. Vote third party or write in a candidate, but do not vote for him.
There are lines that we should not cross.
Be the strong moral and rational sort of conservatives that I remember from my youth. Let there be some candidates on your side that have crossed a line that you will not cross.
I don't know that I've ever posted a link to a TV show, but this is good.
I, of course, am a believer in God and disagree with the boy's opinion. However, I am also NOT a believer in specious arguments, especially those made by religionists. Young Sheldon rightly destroys these specious arguments offered by this pastor.
the ridiculous number of men of all stripes in positions of power
who've been outed as abusive towards women, how 'bout a time out?
Following in the steps of the Abuser-in-Chief, why don't we have a
temporary ban on anymore men assuming positions of power?
The data is there: Power corrupts men. Absolute power corrupts men absolutely. Especially sexual corruption, the sense that they are entitled to sexual oppression, abuse and misuse.
just elect women a while, just long enough to ensure some extreme
vetting of men before they get in positions to be abusive on a larger
If that is reasonable for the tiny percentage of foreigners who might potentially possibly maybe be possible terrorists or criminals, perhaps, then it's at least as reasonable if not more reasonable for men, given our track record.
Look, fellas, we've had a nice run in this country. For nearly 250 years, we've dominated the politics in our nation. But we just keep messing up. Let's surrender, at least for a while.
This is not to say that all men are dicks, like Trump, like Weinstein, like Judge Roy Moore, like Weiner, like Billy Bush, like... well, you get the idea. I'm quite sure that there are decent men out there in politics (Hey, that Obama fella seemed to be especially gentlemanly and above reproach! Hell, setting aside his politics and his perversity about LGBTQ matters, Pence seems like a straight arrow, sexually speaking!). But just for a while, just until we get some extreme vetting in place to keep out the perverts like our current "president," let's stand down.
“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never
alone or weary of life. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth
find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. The
more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of
the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
“In nature nothing exists alone.”
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and
excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed
vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is
dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with
the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all
children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a
sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as
an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later
year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
“But [humanity] is a part of nature, and [our] war against nature is inevitably a war against [ourselves].”
“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is
wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these
qualities... If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not
because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write
truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been
traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we
progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork
of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only
chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the
One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself,
“What if I had never seen
What if I knew I would never see it again?”
“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does
the beauties of nature.
The starry sky, the sea, and every sight
afforded by these wonderful regions,
seems still to have the power of
elevating his soul from earth.
Such a man has a double existence:
and be overwhelmed by disappointments;
yet, when he has
retired into himself,
he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo
within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”
"Ask the experts.
In a new book published this week, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,"
a group of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts warn that “anyone
as mentally unstable as this man should not be entrusted with the
life-and-death-powers of the presidency.” Seemingly in defiance of the
American Psychiatric Association’s "Goldwater rule,"
which states “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a
professional opinion [on a public figure] unless he or she has conducted
an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a
statement,” the various and very eminent contributors paint a picture of
a president who has “proven himself unfit for duty.”
Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo — of the famous
Stanford prison study — suggests the “unbalanced” Trump is a “specific
personality type: an unbridled, or extreme, present hedonist” and
Psychiatrist Lance Dodes, a former Harvard Medical School
professor, says Trump’s
“sociopathic characteristics are undeniable”
his speech and behavior show signs of
“significant mental derangement.”
Clinical psychologist John Gartner, a 28-year veteran of John Hopkins
University Medical School, argues that Trump is a
“evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of
psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader.”
For Gartner, the
“catastrophe” of a Trump presidency “might have been avoided if we in
the mental health community had told the public the truth, instead of
allowing ourselves to be gagged by the Goldwater rule.”"
is nothing whatsoever in the murky dark of the ancient forest at night
that is not there in the daylight hours. Reason assures us that this is
I know better.
Having explored the local woods all
my life, I am well aware that there are noises at night that can not
always be identified. An angry snort from somewhere nearby, the rustle
in the leaves of something too large to be a squirrel, the wingbeat of a
creature that sounds much too leathery and brittle to be a feathered
bird. These are sounds that disturb the conscious mind.
the day, we know the snort is a startled deer. The rustle, just a
raccoon. The beating wings from a fleeing owl. In the daytime, we know
But at night... Well...
It was dusk and I had
settled myself on a convenient tree stump next to a pond in a forgotten
woods. The roar of the interstate and lights of the city were blotted
out by the trees stretched out overhead and the rolling hills separating
the known world from the unknown.
I came to this spot regularly
in the autumn, to enjoy the sounds of the leaves falling, the crickets
calling, the night coming to life. I came to listen.
as I sat, quietly listening – intent upon separating out this creak from
that groan from the other nearby rustle – I first heard the hideous
Shriek. Inhuman. Grotesque. Impossible. What in our local woods would
make such a disconcerting scream?
The Shriek came from Not
Nearby. If I were to guess, I'd say 100 yards or more away. Curiosity –
cursed curiosity! – won out over my fear, and I rose from my seat and
quietly made my way in the direction of the Shriek. I didn't want to
scare away whatever was making the noise.
Twenty steps closer and
I heard it again, that soulless Shriek! Could it actually be a human,
wounded and in trouble? The Shriek sounded so pitiable this time, and
clearly closer. I moved, still quietly, but more quickly, in the
direction of the Scream.
Twenty steps more and I paused to listen.
I nearly fell backwards in my fear. It was significantly closer. The
Shriek – although human-sounding – was clearly NOT human, I knew this
now. It was the sound of a – of a madwoman, nails turned to claws,
abandoned in the woods and seeking food. It was the sound of Anger and
In the dark of the night, I knew that it was the sound of Evil.
And maybe on the other side of me.
Between me and my path out.
I waited. I listened. I barely breathed.
No Shriek returned. No sound at all.
The leaves were not falling, the crickets were not calling, no frogs
croaked from the nearby pond. I was alone and surrounded by a maddening
silence, frozen in fear, unsure of which way to go.
An hour later
– or so it seemed – I breathed again. I took a step. I walked back down
the path and exited those Awful Woods, to my car and began heading
home, but only after checking the back seat of my car.
It was empty.
The next day, the Google told me that foxes shriek when they are at
play with one another. Harmless foxes cavorting in the woods. I listened
to field recordings of foxes and there it was, the Shriek. But harmless
now. In the light of the day.
Over at Stan's blog recently, he took on the conservative boob who said the two most important things to him are "the Constitution and Boobs." [Clay Travis, who said to a reporter, who happened to be a woman (not that it really matters), "I believe in only two things completely. The First Amendment, and boobs."] Stan criticized the guy for being in the wrong. Stan said, "She (and I) thought it was rude for him to say it."
Okay, as far as it goes. But, Stan didn't leave it there. He added a BUT. "But," he said, "I do wonder why women who rightly are offended when men are that rude continue to wear outfits clearly intended to accentuate the features men are not supposed to comment on..."
Stan (and his commenters, with him) rightly found Travis in the wrong (although, I'm not sure that merely calling his comment "rude" is the right way to identify his error...), they also shared some blame towards women who dress "wrong..." meaning, of course, wrong, by their measure...
Oh, they assured and reassured us that it was entirely the man who was wrong or, in the case of a rapist "aroused" by women dressing "wrong," the rapist who was wrong... BUT... why would the women dress "that way..."?
Craig put it this way...
"Why would anyone assume that they won't run into one of them [rapists], and be dressed in a way that draws attention?"
Stan clarified it this way (speaking in the voice of those who defend women dressing, you know, how they want)...
"Women should be allowed to ... nay, celebrated for dressing as slutty as they wish..."
So, allow me to try to clarify what seems like it would be obvious...
Craig, consider these questions:
1. Why would anyone assume that they won't run into one of them [rapists], and be dressed in a way that draws attention?
2. Why would anyone assume that they won't run into one of them [robbers], and be dressed in a way that draws attention (i.e., dressing as if you had money)?
3. Why would anyone assume that they won't run into one of them [killer atheists], and be dressed in a way that draws attention (i.e., wearing a cross necklace and carrying a bible, for instance)?
With those extra questions, do you see the problem with your approach?
Let me spell it out for you:
3. Christians wear what they want because it is their choice to do so and they should not be intimidated to wear something else because it might draw the attention of killer atheists.
2. Wealthy people wear what they want because it is their choice to do so and they should not be intimidated to wear something else because it might draw the attention of robbers.
1. Women wear what they want because it is their choice to do so and they should not be intimidated to wear something else because it might draw the attention of rapists.
It's our human liberty to wear what we wish and we are not wrong for wearing that, nor should the reality of bad people who might be "aroused" by what we wear cause people to opt for other clothes. Are you suggesting that Christians should NOT wear things that identify them as Christians to avoid any conflict? Or would you bristle at that suggestion?
You of course don't need to comment here, Craig, but if you choose to reply to this post, please begin with an answer to that question. Thanks.
Stan, I am sure you were truly thinking you were defending women and only attacking this guy, but you sure (and if not you, some of your commenters) didn't sound like you were defending women. You sounded sexist and a bit perverse.
You see, you all are saying, "Yes, it is the MAN who is wrong for saying 'boobs' matter most to him... BUT, why do women..." and "Yes, it is the MAN who is wrong for raping women... BUT, why would women..."
And when pushed on it, you said you "got" it, what the complaint was... you'd encourage women to dress to a degree that you would call "modest," and if they weren't dressed "modestly enough," then they might be sort of asking for it... of course, it's the MAN's fault... BUT...
It's the "BUT" that is getting you off track. The correct answer is, "It's the man's fault for making sexist comments." PERIOD. "It is the MAN's fault for assaulting a woman." PERIOD.
And end it there. Don't pause and then go on to sorta blame the woman just a little bit, too. Because she was "dressed wrong." Or, as you put it, she could be dressed as slutty as she wished. The commenters at this blog kept suggesting that there was a line that is crossed and by crossing that line, women could expect to be abused, maligned and raped. "Not that it's right," you clarify, but still...
I asked you if you agree with the Muslim extremist measure of wearing a burka. You all balked at the comparison. "Well, well, bu... well, NO! No, of course we don't believe in making women wear burkas..." BUT. But they should be dressed modestly, for their own sake, because you're gentlemen, in your minds and you don't want these poor women to be subjected to a possible rapist (which is a crime of power, not sexuality, you should know) or perverse treatment by perverse men.
No, you don't advocate a burka. Not full blown. BUT...
That But is the problem.
It's not that you disagree with Muslim extremists, it's just that you draw the line at some point differently than they do. But you still draw a line, because you know what's best for these women, presumably.
there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the
Jewish ruling council. 2 He
came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a
teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you
are doing if God were not with him.’
replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God
unless they are born again.’
can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely
they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be
answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of
God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh
gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You
should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” 8 The
wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot
tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone
born of the Spirit.’
can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.
started to do a search on the internet, but after seeing that the
first page of googling didn’t reveal my answer, I gave up. I’m
not a very patient googler. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. What
I was searching for was, “must be born again craze.” I was
wondering when that began. Well, it really began with Jesus, of
course, because he’s the one who said it. But when was it that it
became such a huge thing in American religious culture? I think it
had to do with Jimmy Carter, and that was when I was a teenager. I
don’t remember exactly when, but what I do remember is that it was
very confusing to me. You must be born again, preachers would say,
meaning, you must become someone else. You must become someone else.
That’s how I remember them preaching it, anyway. And that was
hard for me to integrate, as it probably was for some of you. “Are
you a Christian?” Yes… “Have you been born again?” Well,
not really. I’m still just me.
I think that’s why my heart sang when I heard John Philip Newell
talk about this passage at Lake Junaluska this summer.
he said that Jesus wasn’t saying that we need to become someone
else. He said that Jesus, in saying that we must be born again, or
anew, was saying that we need to be born into our true selves. We
need to be born into our true selves.
pointed out something that we already knew, which is that Jesus was a
rabbi. He wasn’t a Christian, and so he didn’t adhere to the
Christian doctrine of original sin.
idea of original sin, for those of us who might not be familiar with
the term, is one that, whether we’re familiar with it our not,
pervades our lives. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of
Eden, after having sinned, all of humanity was put in a state of
separation from God, and it’s only through Jesus that we are
reconnected. That’s the idea that many of us grew up with. You
might remember the little picture that we sometimes used when we were
trying to “save” someone. There are two cliffs with a great gulf
in-between. God is on one side. Humankind on the other. And then
you draw a cross in-between to connect the two? Does anyone remember
that? Used to be an evangelical tool that we would use to share the
“good news” of Jesus Christ. But Jesus Christ didn’t preach
that kind of good news. Jesus didn’t preach about how we are
disconnected from God. Jesus preached about how God is within
concept of original sin didn’t come from Jesus.
Newell said that
he was on an interfaith panel with some other religious leaders
awhile back, and someone asked them to comment on original sin, and
the Jewish rabbi on the panel said that when someone Jewish hears the
term “original sin,” they are prone to think, now that was really
sin! In other words, original sin wasn’t, and isn’t a Jewish
concept, but rather came around years after Jesus’ death. It was
first alluded to in the second century by Iraneus, Bishop of Lyon,
and was later developed by St. Augustine. It retained its popularity
through church reformers such as John Calvin and Martin Luther, and
is very popular to this day. One of the founders of Celtic
Christianity, Pelagius, was kicked out of Rome, first, and later,
Italy, largely because he refused to accept the concept of original
sin, by the way.
spend a lot of time as Christians, not in this church, maybe not
enough in this church, confessing our sin. We are bad, bad, bad. We
were born in sin. But as Newell points out, what would it look like
if we acted that way in one of our most important relationships? What
if we were constantly apologizing and feeling guilty and less than?
It would be totally unhealthy. And yet, that’s so often the way
that people view their relationship with God. You must be born
again. You must become someone else. Because who you are is never
must be born again, Jesus says, calling us back to our true selves.
You must be born from above. You must be born anew. Born anew into
that of you which is the essence of God, the essence of your true
I’m not an artist, and I can’t draw it. But I can tell you that
I saw a very clear picture of this on Wednesday when our Diane - our homeless/hospitality minister - told me
about what had happened at the Hospitality Program the day before.
It was a busy day, she said, and in the middle of all of the
busi-ness, a man brought in a woman in a bathrobe. He had found her
a few blocks away. She was wandering around, lost and confused. She
didn’t know her name, and, said the man, she was (made a motion
with his finger to indicate craziness). Diane had the woman sit down
with Kari, who talked with her and kept her calm while Diane made
some phone calls. It took about an hour for the police to get there,
and when they did, they confirmed that the woman was on the missing
persons list. Her son had been looking for her. She had parked her
car and left her keys and her purse and her i.d. somewhere, and they
tried to find it, and they contacted her son, and they eventually
took her to the hospital, where we are hoping that she received the
care she needed.
a sad story, but a precious one. I hate to think what might have
happened had that man not have found her.
And here’s the thing
that touched me most deeply about the story: The man who brought her
in, said Diane, was drunker than anyone she’d ever seen. And note:
this is our homeless minister talking. He was drunker than anyone she’d ever
And yet, this man, as drunk as he was, was able to connect
with the very essence of God within, with the love-longings of God,
to share with this woman that there is a place where you can go where
they will help you, and not just to share that with her, but to
accompany her, stumbling alongside her until he had delivered into
in that experience, I believe that that man was born anew, not in the
way we used to talk about, becoming someone else, but in that, even
in the midst of his brokenness, he reconnected with the very essence
of God. You must be born anew, says Jesus.
am reminded of the voice that we hear in “The Help,” the voice of
Abileen, a family maid, who babysits little Mae Mobley. Mae’s
mother usually ignores her, and whenever she pays her any attention,
she criticizes her. So Abilene sits her down everyday and says, “You
is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
heart of God is beating within each of us. May we listen for it, may
we hear it, may we be renewed in its rhythm.
We affirm that people are complex and God is not known, completely.
We deny that some humans are the spokesmouths for God, even though they may act as if they are.
We affirm that love is good and that hate is bad.
We deny that those who'd take away rights and choice and liberty from others are acting in the common good.
We affirm that women, gay folk, transgender folk and, well, folk in general are wonderful, strong, kick ass and live well, if imperfectly.
We deny that seeking to disempower and marginalize people for being who they are is a good thing.
We affirm that those racists and oppressors who, once upon a time and even in the name of God, sought to say "This person should not marry THAT person. God forbids it!..." that such attitudes have been cast upon the dustbin of history and recognized far and wide as wrong-headed and arrogant. Any who would, today, seek to go back to these devalued and antiquated values (i.e., bad values) would be ignored and rightly so.
Similarly, we affirm that most of us have likewise moved past the days of trying to demonize and marginalize women, gay and transgender folk or deny them their basic human liberties. Those who seek to do this will soon, like the "anti-miscegenists" of old, be summarily dismissed as crackpots and holding on to backwards, immoral and irrational ideas.
We deny that those who would promote anti-women, anti-LGBTQ attitudes speak for God, for the good, or for reason.
The "Nashville" types have lost this argument. They just have. It's all over but the fighting.
There will be much kicking and ranting on their part as they increasingly realize that they are the ones viewed as immoral and irrational, but this is just the way it is. They have lost and their numbers will increasingly diminish and their "arguments" (which amount to not much more than, "But I'm telling you, GOD doesn't want it! GOD agrees with me!") increasingly be ignored.
Within a generation or two, churches will continue meeting, lives will continue to be lived and LGBTQ folk and women will live empowered lives. The matter won't be broached any more in 99% of churches - at least in the US, any more than the "anti-miscegenationists" have any serious traction any more. Those who oppose gay marriage will simply be ignored until, by the end of the century, they will be, for all practical purposes, gone.
The few who remain will rant and gnash their teeth, insisting that God's Way is narrow and THEY are the few who remain faithful. They will deny even other Christians but no one will care, any more than we care about what the "anti-miscegenationists" say. The reason? No one cares what irrational, immoral cranks say.
I am at least almost a little sorry that these anti-gay folk, anti-women folk will feel so oppressed and ignored, but not really. They've brought it upon themselves and their arrogance does nothing to help build any bridges worth crossing.
They have been eclipsed by a more rational, more moral and, I think, more Godly way, and ultimately, that is a very good thing.
There's just so much happening, I didn't want to miss the chance to post this so I'm doing it now while I'm thinking about it.
Anyone who knows me, knows I find Trump and his ardent supporters (in
contrast, at least a little, to those who reluctantly tolerate him) to
be morally and rationally and societally repulsive. I vomit a bit in my
mouth anytime I think about him.
And his defense of "some" nazis
and racists ("some were nice guys," or whatever) is atrocious, as is his
false moral equivalency of Nazis and racists to the counter protestors.
The man is a pig.
That being said, I have problems with the
antifa movement. And I'm not the only one (amongst progressive and
rational types). I'll post an article that goes into it some more, but
in brief, here is my problem:
* They are anarchists, not liberals.
* They place themselves above the law, appointing themselves judge, jury
and judgment against those THEY think deserve it. If they THINK you are a
Nazi or sympathize too much with Nazis (again, in their head, not
necessarily in reality), then they have been known to act against you.
* I hear that they even attacked some in the press this last weekend in
their anarchic and self-appointed vigilantism against "the enemy."
I certainly sympathize with the notion of being against fascists and
racists, but we do that within some boundaries. It's not every man (and
mostly, I believe we are talking about men) for himself, everyone
deciding who needs to be punched and who doesn't.
For one thing,
it is counterproductive. It gives the idiots and racists like Trump some
room for doing just what he has done. It undermines our efforts to stop
fascism and racism, rather than supporting it.
But also, it is
illiberal. It is not progressive to live outside the laws and make
yourself the One True Decider for everyone else.
This is not to
say that they are in anyway comparable to the actual fascists, but just
to note that they are troubling and need to rein themselves in (and we
need to help them rein in).
"for all of antifa’s supposed anti-authoritarianism, there’s something
fundamentally authoritarian about its claim that its activists—who no
one elected—can decide whose views are too odious to be publicly
expressed. That kind of undemocratic, illegitimate power corrupts. "
Just because these stories need to be heard... from a Latino family/friend's Facebook page:
"Last night I had to comfort my youngest who has heard enough about
recent events to be terrified that someone may target his father for
being Latino.....he no longer wants his father to [go to work] for
fear that he will be attacked or arrested. He kept asking me what we
will do if his papa doesn't come home one night........and I don't know
what to say. I don't know what we will do. I don't want to think about
it, and yet, we have to.
Many members of our own family voted
for, and still openly defend and support, Trump. My son does not feel
safe. He stays awake worrying, crying, begging for all of this to stop.
I am at a loss for how to protect my children when even those who love
us cannot see how much hatred is being stoked by the president they
voted for, and continue to defend him.
I am not calling out
people by names, and my anxiety runs high even as I write this. But if
you love us, if you love my children and husband, then now is the time
to help us feel loved, safe, and supported. Because even if you do not
mean for your politics to be personal or include us, it IS very personal
when it means that my kids do not know who they can trust, and that
they might be hurt for being Latino, or. even for not fitting the
traditional "male" stereotype with their long hair and preferences for
artsy or sparkly things.
I am not interested in fighting.....I
just want folks to know where we stand, how we feel, and how my heart
breaks with this reality. If you need to unfollow me or unfriend me,
And for those who worry about shit like this, this is a "documented" family. This is how team Trump is making regular citizens of these United States feel, how they're terrorizing children and families. Shit like that's got to make you feel like a Big Man, right?
I'm going to start a group: The Neo-Ted Bundians! It will be based upon the wit and wisdom of famous serial killer, child murderer, rapist and corpse molester, Ted Bundy.
But please, understand, I am only talking about the positive parts of what Ted Bundy stood for, not any of the negative stuff...
...What do you think of that notion? Do we offer sympathy and understanding for this person starting this "fan club," or do we recognize the horror involved in the suggestion?
I think the latter. Of course. (Why does it even need to be said?)
Look, these "neo-nazis" and "KKK" people don't need understanding. We understand just fine.
I understand that they are just regular guys (white guys, to be sure). That they have their concerns and reasons.
However, they have made a fatal flaw if they wanted to be treated as just regular guys: They deliberately chose to self-identify with some of the worst killers, rapists, racists and general awful people in history.
If they just wanted to celebrate "southern culture," they could have started a club about Sweet Tea and Cornbread. They could have started a "Friends of Alabama" support group. But no, they deliberately chose to identify with historical monsters. Of course, Nazis and KKK members were just regular guys, too, with some concerns that they no doubt thought were legitimate. I have no problems with legitimate concerns. BUT, there is a line that must be drawn.
That line is harm, oppression, killing, abuse, terrorism, spreading fear. Those embracing these tactics must be opposed.
Why? (Seems to be a stupid question, but okay, I'll play).
Because just as they might have some concerns, the rest of the world has concerns about justice and safety for all, about human rights. Because we value human rights, good people everywhere must stand opposed to those opposed to human rights. We can be inclusive as hell (or heaven, if you prefer), but IF you have a concern for human rights, then yes, that means we will exclude those who are opposed to human rights.
It's like all these conservatives who try to mock those who value tolerance for being intolerant towards some. But who are we being intolerant towards? The intolerant. IF you are supportive of tolerance, then by definition, you will oppose those advocating intolerance. It's nothing to be mocked, it's just rational.
These people are not imbeciles. They are not unaware of history. They know what the Nazis stood for. They know what the KKK stands for. They understand. And so do we.
That's the problem.
They are seeking to trade in on the horror and fear and oppression of these established groups. These are impotent white boys who are seeking some status and some borrowed power, so they're turning to monsters to try to access it. The thing is, IF you're going to choose to start a white boy's social club and you choose to identify with monsters, you can't ask us for "understanding." At that point, it's your time to understand and understand well:
Good and moral people must always stand opposed to oppressors. Those who choose the tools and symbols of oppressors will be lumped in with them and opposed.
You want to be understood in a moral flattering light? Begin by losing the oppressor, killer, rapist, destroyer identification. Abandon the monster, then we can talk.