I give a damn. Do you?
Every Hour, More Hate
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, in the U.S., one violent act of hate takes place almost every hour of every single day. In 2008, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were voluntarily reported to the FBI. It’s time to give a damn about hate crimes!
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes involve beatings, rape, torture—even murder. Victims are targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, race, color or any number of superficial factors. According to FBI statistics, 1 out of every 6 hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
Imagine walking down the street and wondering if this will be the day you get beaten up, simply for who you are and through no fault of your own.
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate, to target a specific community and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”
Imagine hearing about a brutal crime and having to worry if you’ll be next—not because you know the victim or because you did anything—but simply because some stranger has chosen to hate one aspect of who you are.
Hate crimes affect everyone
Think hate crimes don’t affect you? Think again. Hate crimes are particularly insidious because they are committed against innocent people—people who live in your city, in your neighborhood, even on your block. Anyone can become a victim: your sister, your uncle, your son, the woman you work with, the guy you sit next to in class… even you.
Federal legislation is starting to buckle down on perpetrators of hate crimes. On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gives the Department of Justice the authority to prosecute hate crimes, including attacks based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
But we still have a long way to go. Because—be honest—are you really OK with living in a country where a hate crime takes place every hour? Do you really intend to look the other way while such violent acts of hate are perpetrated—on your relatives, your friends, your neighbors?
It’s time for things to change.
It’s time to end these violent crimes of hate for good.
Hate Crimes July 31, 2011
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 6. Politics, 8. Sex, Christian, Christian spirituality, Christianity, conversation, Elton John, Faith, freedom, Gay, Give a damn, God, Grace, hate, hate crimes, Homosexual, Homosexuality, Idina Menzel, kingdom of God, life, love, Loving God, peace, Relating to God, Ricky Martin, Truth, Wanda Sykes
I give a damn. Do you?
Conviction July 27, 2011
Tags: Abra Rice, Barry Scheck, Betty Anne Waters, capital punishment, Conviction, Conviction movie, death penalty, DNA, DNA evidence, executioners, Faith, Hilary Swank, Juliette Lewis, Kenny Waters, law, lawyer, lawyers, legal, legal system, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, movie, movie review, movies, Nancy Taylor, ove, perseverance, Peter Gallagher, prison, sacrifice, Sam Rockwell, The Innocence Project
Amazing. Inspiring. Awesome. Unbelievable. TRUE!
My wife and I just watched “Conviction.” Wow. What a movie.
I suppose it would still have been an excellent movie as a work of fiction, but by being a true story, it’s made all the more remarkable.
Strong love, faith, perseverance, and incredible sacrifice are all on display here.
“Conviction” stars Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher.
It’s the story of Betty Anne Waters, who spends around two decades going to law school and becoming a lawyer for the sole purpose of proving her brother innocent of the murder for which he was convicted. Talk about conviction!
It’s also the story of a “justice system” that doesn’t like admitting to mistakes, as well as a story of the advent of DNA evidence and Barry Scheck’s “Innocence Project”.
Yes, there is a lot of profanity in this movie. But what is truly profane is the corruption of those who willfully twisted the facts, and procured perjury in order to get a conviction.
They don’t whitewash the fact that the man found guilty was often a short-tempered obnoxious jerk. Rockwell gives a performance that shows us a man it’s hard to be compassionate toward. But he is still a man falsely accused.
Had he been in a state where the death penalty was in effect, he would have been dead before his sister had time to exonerate him.
Hundreds of convictions have been overturned due to DNA evidence. We’ll never know how many hundreds or thousands of innocent people have been “proven” guilty but the lawyers, found guilty by the jurors, sentenced guilty by the judges, and put to death as guilty by the executioners.
There are many who think this “collateral damage” is acceptable in order to keep the death penalty in place for those they believe “deserve” it.
I am NOT among them. I’m pretty sure most of them would think differently were it their son or daughter wrongly sentenced. The possibility of even ONE person wrongly convicted and put to death is reason enough to abolish capital punishment.
All the performances in “Conviction” are top-notch. My favorite was probably the few, but excellent minutes occupied by Juliet Lewis.
I don’t recall hearing of this movie at the theaters, but I’m very glad I found it. It was time well spent.
Buy, rent, or borrow this movie.
Buy the movie. Click HERE.
Here’s a CBS news article about the real story: Read HERE.
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 6. Politics, Bible, Christian, Christian spirituality, Christianity, Church, conversation, documentary, eternity, evangelical, Faith, For The Bible Tells Me So, freedom, Gay, gay Christian, gay christianity, God, Grace, Hell, Homosexual, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, Jesus, kingdom of God, law, legalism, life, love, Loving God, Relating to God, Religion, religious bondage, Salvation, Scripture, The Bible, Theology, Truth
Provocative. Eye-opening. Moving. Award-winning.
You can buy this documentary at my LifeWalk Store. It is also available at Netflix, as both a hard-copy rental, or an instant-view download. If none of those options work for you, I have a copy I loan out. I’ll mail it to you, and your only obligation is to mail it back within one month. If interested, email me at email@example.com .
Whatever method works best, please don’t miss this important documentary.
Also check out the very moving video “Through My Eyes.”
AND, read a little about my journey by clicking HERE.
The Gods Aren’t Angry July 23, 2011
Tags: 3. Christian Life, Abraham, Anthropology, beginning, beginning of time, Bible, Brian McLaren, caveman, cavewoman, Christian, Christian spirituality, Christianity, Church, conversation, destiny, educational, evangelical, Faith, freedom, freeing, God, Grace, informative, Isaac, Jesus, Jewish, Jewish literature, kingdom of God, law, legalism, life, love, Loving God, peace, refreshing, Relating to God, Religion, religious bondage, Rob Bell, sacrifice, Salvation, Scripture, The Bible, The Gods Aren't Angry, Theology, thought-provoking, Truth
“So, There’s this cavewoman…”
Thus starts this wonderfully educational, informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining presentation.
As usual, Rob weaves theology, history, culture, and philosophy into a beautiful verbal tapestry, where we learn of various religions, as well as the proposed beginning of religion.
We discover the nature of God along with pre-biblical, as well as biblical, characters.
There’s a positively refreshing and, somewhat freeing, understanding of the story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It’s right in tune with McLaren’s teaching of the evolving understanding of God. Not that God changes, but our understanding of Him has, and must. Rob helps us enter in to Abraham’s mind-set, and see how God was showing himself as incredibly different from the other “gods” of Abraham’s day.
New light is also shed on the incident of Jesus in the temple with the whip.
[So many use this story to justify violent behavior. I’ve frequently stated that nowhere in the text does it say or indicate that the whip ever made contact with a person, thus causing bodily harm. Jesus rebuked his disciples for that kind of action. To do so himself would have been contradictory to everything he taught and held to be sacred.]
Anyway, Mr. Bell, again using history and the culture of the day, helps us see what may have actually been going on here.
We, at one point, get into a good discussion of the book of Hebrews. We see how radical this book was in its time and setting.
There’s so much more he goes into in this approximately 90 minute production.
At the end, he brings it all home in a way that timeless truths, and a love of God, can be applied today, in our world, in ways that truly matter.
As would be expected, much controversy emerged over the content of this video. But, as one blogger noted:
“The watchdoggies didn’t see the gospel because they weren’t looking for the gospel.
They were looking for the reformed religion they’ve invented to make themselves feel better.”
When those “watchdoggies” start howling, that’s a pretty good sign there’s something worth listening to.
What others have said:
Rob Bell does an amazing job of weaving historical narratives and Christian and Jewish literature together with contemporary questions about faith and what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a pluralistic and postmodern culture. You will find this video presentation to be refreshing and challenging.
— C. Lambeth
Loving God and loving one’s neighbor go hand in hand, not just in word but in deed. The beauty of Bell’s vision is that the things he’s relating could be done by anyone. You don’t need an MDiv to change someone’s world. You don’t need a certificate to make things better for someone in need. I think Rob Bell is purposefully singing alto on many issues because all the parts of the music are beautiful and worth focusing on. Some people listen to Rob Bell and can only hear a failure to stick to the melody. But I hear someone who really understands the melody and can make it even more appealing to people.
— John Sexton
Buy the video. Click HERE.
The thing I most enjoyed about it was his constant comparisons to Old Testament sacrifices and the Grace of God. This release explained what the Gospel is in a way that I have never thought of before. I am honestly thinking (as a pastor) that if you have someone with doubts in the existence or even love of God, allowing them to borrow “The Gods Aren’t Angry” and “Everything is Spiritual” may dismiss their doubts and get them on the path they need to be. Thank God for teachers like Rob Bell who speak in a way that even the biggest biblical novice could comprehend 10,000 years of history.
— Matthew C. Hafer
Rob once again turns Christianity (as we Westerner’s know it) on its proverbial head with his lecture: THE GODS AREN’T ANGRY. I found this DVD not only to be a breath of fresh air, but couldn’t stop saying “WOW!” for 15 minutes after it had ended. You will be inspired.
— David Margulis
Buy the video. Click HERE.
Abomination July 21, 2011
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 6. Politics, abomination, Christian, Christian spirituality, Church, conversation, Death, evangelical, Faith, freedom, God, Grace, Hypocrisy, Jesus, kingdom of God, law, legalism, life, love, Loving God, peace, Relating to God, Religion, religious bondage, Salvation, Theology, Truth
I’ve often heard things like
“Yeah, he say’s he’s a Christian, but he drinks beer and cusses.”
How about instead,
“Yeah, he says he’s a Christian, but he doesn’t feed the hungry, or stand for equality.”
“Yeah, he says he’s a pro-life Christian, but he doesn’t stand against the death penalty or torture.”
“Yeah, he says he’s a Christian, but he still thinks the church is a building, and on some level, grace has to be earned.”
I could do this all day, but the point is obvious:
The way religion has twisted the gospel is truly an abomination.
Three Dog Night July 15, 2011
Tags: 70's, 70s music, blues, concert, country, Foellinger Theatre, Fort Wayne, fun, hit songs, love songs, Music, rock, Three Dog Night, top 40
One // Easy To Be Hard // Out In The Country // One Man Band //
Mama Told Me Not To Come // Celebrate // Liar // Shambala //
Old Fashioned Love Song // Never Been To Spain // Black & White //
The Family of Man // Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here // Joy To The World //
And Many More!
Wow. Another great concert at the Foellinger Theatre.
These guys still sound fantastic!
Plus, the obligatory humor and anecdotes. They even did an updated
rap/hip hop version of Mama Told Me Not To Come. Good times.
From 1969-1974, nobody had more Top 10 hits, moved more records, or
sold more concert tickets than Three Dog Night.
Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot July 12, 2011
Tags: 6. Politics, Al Franken, Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, books, conservative media, conversation, deception, divorce, Dole, dry wit, freedom, Gay, Gingrich, Humor, Hypocrisy, jokes, laugh, laugh out loud funny, left wing, marriage, media, Newt Gingrich, political humor, Quotes, right-wing, Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Saturday Night Live writer, shtick, the Clintons, the White House, Truth, wit
Anyone offended by the book’s title should remember that Rush made his career out of insults. That is the great irony.
He once told his audience the the Clintons not only had a family cat, they also had a family dog. He then showed a picture of Chelsea.
So no, I have no problem with the title.
As with “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” and “The Truth (With Jokes),” this book is filled with biting sarcasm, laugh-out-loud humor, and lots of verifiable truth that Al’s targets wish you would just ignore.
Also like “Lies…” there is a fiction chapter that I would highly suggest you skip altogether. It’s called “Operation Chicken Hawk.” I can handle its “adult” language. I can’t handle that it’s just not funny. I’m a big fan of Al Franken. Both his humor and his politics. But these fiction sections he throws in are a needless distraction.
BUT there is SO VERY much worth reading here. True stories, insights, and well researched facts delivered in a way that will make you laugh while your stomach turns at the hypocrisy, stupidity, and outright willful deception perpetuated by so many on the masses.
If you only read one Al Franken book, PLEASE read “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” That’s the one, thanks to my daughter-in-law, that I started with. But, if you like that one, and want more “insider information” as to the workings of our political system, and some of our media stars, Check out “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.” Don’t let the name fool you. Not all the truth in this book is that obvious.
Buy the book. CLICK HERE.
Rush Limbaugh claims his talent is on loan. With this book, Franken demonstrates that he owns his. The frankly Democratic author’s shtick reminds us how much of a free ride conservatives have gotten in the mainstream media. For instance, he really drives home the weirdness of the conservatives’ preachiness about “family values” in light of Newt Gingrich’s and Bob Dole’s first marriages, and Rush Limbaugh’s first, second and third marriages.
Buy the book. CLICK HERE.
I like this book because it is hysterically funny and quite entertaining. Al’s wit is dry and sometimes vicious. I laughed to tears when I read the chapter about Phil Gramm (“I own more guns than I need, but not as many as I want.”)
He lampoons the right wing, and I think he does it well. If you are a conservative with no sense of humor, you will not like this book.
Buy the book. CLICK HERE.