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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Born This Way? April 29, 2013

Intelligent.
  Articulate.
    Humorous.
      Relevant.
OK.  I can tell you’re thinking, “Gee, Dave, we already know that about you.” But, as it turns out, I’m not talking about myself (this time). No, I’m speaking of a man named John Corvino.
If you’re familiar with his work, you already know the description above is accurate. If you’ve not seen any of his videos, now’s a great time to start.

BABYOne of the entries in his newest collection addresses the issue of whether or not LGBT persons are “Born this way.”
Finally, we’re starting to hear “I don’t care!” instead of some supposed definitive response.
I’ve been stating for some time that the “born this way,” and the “change is possible” arguments need, as T.L. might say, “Left Behind.” (Which would be the first time he used that phrase with any exactitude. I digress.)
Anyway, it’s time, in my humble opinion, to leave in the dust those opponents of equality who wish to engage in the same old, tired and worn out donnybrooks.

It matter’s not one iota if you were born gay. Even if you were not, your life and experience are just as valid as if you were born that way. So what if someone, somewhere, sometime actually did change their orientation. That doesn’t mean you can or should.
There are, quite sadly, those who still do not believe in racial equality. Equally sad are those who still think a woman’s place is in the home. There will always be some who’s minds are closed tighter than a dolphin’s butt.*
The best revenge, as someone has said, is living well.
Yes, we always need to stand against prejudice and bigotry. We will continue to fight for equality for all. But, as much as possible, let’s quit giving undue attention to the naysayers, and prove them wrong by contiuning to live life to the fullest.

And, with that, let me introduce to you, the following video:
(With Corvino, always stick around for the tag.)





John has a lot of great videos.
Click HERE for his latest series.


* “Dolphin’s butt” reference provided by Kathy Foreman.

 

The Vega, The Ghost, and the Rambling Old Man January 19, 2013

Well, we’re a few weeks into 2013.
I can’t count the number of times the world was supposed to end by now.
(Of course, this could all be an illusion created to satisfy us while we’re just being used as batteries to keep the machines running.)


I thought I should write something before the first month of the new year is over. Since I don’t have a specific topic in mind I guess I’ll just ramble.
I don’t get how some people blog every single day! I do think I’ll shoot for a couple times a month.
Yeah. Good luck with that.

58
Oh, I just turned 58 this month.
I’ll talk about that.
Ya know, I keep saying that getting older sucks, and many aspects do, indeed, suck.
But there’s plenty to be thankful for, as well.

Man. 58 years on this planet.
Fifty-friggin’-eight years.
That seems like a long time. Simultaneously, it’s like a flash in the pan.
I feel like I’ve lived a number of different lives in that time. I should write a memoir.
I’d need help from a good ghost-writer. But I know some of the things I’d include.
I’ll give a very, very small sampling.

So many experiences.
Experiences I shouldn’t even still be alive to…
well, experience.

I’ve lost track of how many wrecks I’ve been in.
Crashed into a tree. Into a bridge.
Rolled a car in front of a moving semi.
Flipped a motorcycle.  Just to name a few.

Hey! Ya wanna ride?


When I was younger, growing up on a farm, we used to play “pitchfork toss.” We’d see
how close we could get without actually impaling each other.
We really knew how to have fun, didn’t we?
I don’t know how the hell I survived childhood, let alone live to 58!

I got beat up a lot. (Something to do with having a “smart mouth,” I think.)
Still, they never shut me up.
There! I showed them, huh?

I’ve been threatened at gunpoint. That’ll get the heart pumping.

I had a rather odd (and not much fun) trip to the Grand Canyon.
(And, if I recall, the Painted Desert, Petrified Forrest, Royal Gorge, and the Rockies.)
Four people, camping gear, and a couple weeks on the road…chevrolet-vega-1
all in a Vega.
Yeah. A Vega.

It wasn’t my friends fault that I had a bad time.  It was just a personal thing.

I used to go camping. (OK. Sometimes that was fun. A little.)
I went spelunking once.  The kind where you start by slithering through a
hole you wouldn’t make your dog go through.  I can’t say that I recommend spelunking.
Sure, it had some interesting aspects. Just not enough bang for the buck from my perspective.


Fun Experiences:
White-water rafting. Para-sailing. Flying in a helicopter. Flying in little 2-seater planes.
Trips to the ocean. Trips to lakes. Multiple times sailing and other boating trips. Lots of trips to amusement parks. Trips to Las Vegas.
And many enjoyable memories of concerts (from Alice Cooper to The Monkees, to Marvin Hamlisch) and live theater performances (Like “Les Mis ”, “Cats”, “The Lion King” and “Wicked”.)

I’ve written, produced and recorded two CDs with my wife.
I’ve written (and been paid for) some articles for a magazine.
I was so happy to play a small part in bringing the movie “Blue Like Jazz”  to the screen, and be listed in the ending credits.


Changes.
A less than stable first five years of life.
Then adopted.
Loved, but grossly miscast as a farm boy. Not a lot of friends.
Got in lots of trouble.
Lots of trouble.
Seriously, I was ADHD long before they knew what that was.

I had a number of teenage crushes, and at least one long-term teenage love.
High-school dropout.
Convicted, incarcerated felon.
Late-teen/early twenties evangelical. Pentecostal/Charismatic Jesus-freak.
Right-wing. “Mostly” Republican.
Got Married.
Became a stepfather.

I’ve worked in a lot of factories. I really need to get back to that kind of work.

More changes.
Marriage troubles (mostly my fault.)
Divorced.
“Post mid-life” crisis.
Coke-snorting, multiple drug-taking, party-boy.
Trying hard to find my place.
Trying to distinguish what I know about myself from what I’ve thought I should be.
Trying to distinguish God from what I’ve been taught about God.

Grace.
Lots and lots of grace.
Re-married (same woman).
Became a grandparent.  Twice.
Co-pastor. Elder. Sunday-school teacher. Worship leader. Counselor.
Ex-co-pastor. Ex-elder. Ex-Sunday-school teacher. etc.
(Still a pastor and a counselor in a more “real-world,” organic kind of way.)
Ex-member of institutional religion.
Left-wing. “Mostly” Democrat.

Speaking of leaving the IC:
I tried hard to maintain some of the relationships I had there. Sadly, no one was really interested. Religion can so entwine some people that, to them, leaving a man-made organization constitutes leaving the friendship.
There was one man at the institution I used to attend who, I have no doubt, would have remained a close friend to this day, had he not already transitioned to the next part of eternity.

So, I went a few years without much positive social interaction. Recently that changed when I associated myself with a group called “Lifetree Café.” It’s a conversation cafe, which I’ve hosted a number of times.
We’re currently on hiatus.
A few friendships evolved out of that, as well as a 4-man discussion group/book club.

58 years.
So many changes.

Philosophical.
  World-view.
    Religious.
      Spiritual.
        Social.
          Political.

All of those areas of my life have seen more change in the last 3 to 8 years than I would have imagined or thought possible.
good-newsI’ve been freed of much of the horrible theology I used to accept and promote.
I learned that the “Good News” really is good.
I was pretty young in life when I was “born-again/saved/converted/came to know Christ,” or whatever you wish to call that form of spiritual awakening. I used to think that during all of the “troubles” I’ve mentioned that I somehow lost that “salvation.” A couple of the more important revelations in my life were, first of all “salvation” is not primarily about what happens after this life, and secondly, I couldn’t disconnect from God if I wanted to.
Ignore God; live out of selfishness and greed; Yes. But be separated from God; never.

2012 saw me more politically engaged than I have ever been, financially and actively.
This engagement was, for me, simply an extension of my faith and of my love for God.
I won’t go into much detail here because I’ve explored many of those issues throughout this blog.


Sexual/Spiritual healing.
I’ve learned to accept myself the way I am wired as a sexual being.
(If you haven’t already done so, you can read more about that aspect in my “Tribbles” article.)
I’ve learned to reconcile my sexuality with my faith, and with my life as a happily married man, without having to deny, dislike, or fight that inner part of my soul.

My wife, Kathy, is truly the best part of my life. I don’t recommend divorce as an avenue for making your marriage better, but it seemed to help us. I’ve now spent much more of my life with her than without her. Neither of us, of course, are the people we originally said “I do” with. We’ve grown together, and evolved together in amazing and unbelievable ways.
Sidelight: I can’t imagine spending all those years together – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and all the in between – while being told that our love wasn’t worthy of being called a marriage just because it was looked down upon by someone else.
Tragic.

Onward.
58 years, so far.
Sometimes I wish I knew how much time is left on my clock. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t know.
Some nights I call it a draw.”
One day at a time. Despite what we may try to believe, there’s really no other option. (That doesn’t seem to stop me from often borrowing tomorrow’s troubles.)

Kathy and I are discussing our retirement plans. We know we won’t be living high-on-the-hog, but we figure we should be modestly financially stable. We may still need part-time jobs, unless we retire in another country. That’s a real possibility.

I hope, in retirement, to spend more time volunteering for causes I support.
I have a deep desire to do at least one more CD.
I’d like more opportunities to put my multiple counseling studies to good use as I continue to “pastor.”
And maybe someday, I’ll connect with that ghost-writer.

– df
.                                                                             .  ghost-writer

 

Kittens. We’ve Got Kittens. June 21, 2012

Filed under: Entertainment,Humor,Personal,video — lifewalkblog @ 4:15 am
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Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot July 12, 2011

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.

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.
— df

Buy the book.  CLICK HERE.

Amazon.com Review:
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

Other Reviews:

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

 

Stray Cats July 8, 2011

Filed under: Humor,Personal — lifewalkblog @ 1:19 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,


[A Re-Post]

(We saw this on the wall of our vet’s office, and
made a plaque for our wall.)



Rules Concerning Stray Cats.

Stray cats will not be fed.
Stray cats will only be fed dry cat food.
Stray cats may have dry cat food moistened with a little milk, but that’s all.
Stray cats may have dry cat food moistened with warm milk, yummy treats and tuna.

Stray cats will absolutely not be played with.
All right – Stray cats may be played with, but will not be given a name.
Tigger will not be allowed in the house.
OK, Tigger is allowed in the house, but only in the kitchen.

Tigger may sleep in the living room in a blanket-lined cardboard box.
Tigger will sleep in a special kitty comfort bed with non-allergenic lamb’s wool pillow.
Tigger will never be allowed to sleep on our bed.
Tigger may sleep on our bed, but never under the covers.
OK – Tigger may sleep under the covers and on the pillows.

The kittens will not be allowed in the house.

 

Some Seek A Sign April 28, 2011

                                           

OK. Most of you have probably seen a sign somewhere like
the first one below.  But hey,  if you’re going to  go that route,
these other signs may be just as appropriate!

          

                                                                        

     

                                                        

                                                                                                                            

 

The Truth (with jokes) July 7, 2010





“Using access to confidential documents and firsthand accounts, Franken weaves the true story of the Making of the President 2004, staring the Three Horsemen of the Republican Apocalypse: Fear, Smears, and Queers.”


The above is taken from the Foreword of Al Franken’s “The Truth (with jokes).”

This is a good informational follow-up to Franken’s “Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”   The documented and undeniable deceit, corruption, and manipulation by the Bush administration is truly mind-boggling!
This particular book is filled with play by play accounts of the post 9/11 America, and how those in power used fear, among other things, to dupe a nation into unnecessary war, and torture. It was not about right and wrong. It was not about morals. It was not about justice. It was, to be sure, about power and money.


Also discussed is the Terri Schiavo case: an example of how a family’s suffering was exploited for political purposes.
Then there’s the examination of a little island by the name of Saipan. Saipan is a place where, basically, things like slave labor, forced abortion, and other horrible atrocities are committed in order for us to get the designer clothing we need for our survival. Here’s the thing: Saipan is actually owned by the United States. So, all these goods produced under these despicable conditions can still be labeled with “Made In The USA.”


For entertainment value, “Lies…” was a much more enjoyable book. It still had lots of “expose” type material. It was, though, more broad-based. But, if you really want to know what levers the “wizard” was pulling behind the curtains, this book will chronicle that for you.

We all have the right to support whomever we wish, but we also have a responsibility to investigate the truth about those whom we support. As for myself, I have truly had to repent before God for my right-wing, conservative, evangelical mindset.  What is often promoted as a “Christian worldview,” is nothing more than a perverted political position wrapped in manipulative religion. These charlatans use a few “hot-button” issues, like abortion and gay rights, to stir up the conservatives and attempt to claim some kind of moral high ground, all while committing some of the most immoral activities imaginable. People like Tom DeLay, “who reportedly spends hours a week in church praying to his pro-life God,” while perpetrating crimes against humanity that make me want to vomit.


So, if you can handle “The Truth” and the “Jokes,” pick up a copy and prepare to be educated.
— df

 

Bert Gary and the Funny Video May 14, 2010

My wife and I laughed out-loud at this “Jesus Loves You” video.

It takes an awful lot of back-peddling and double-talk to even try to
explain away the holes in a lot of theology.

Watch the video, then read some comments (below) by the ever insightful Bert Gary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2bpc7LSRZc

———

“…many [people] have not thought through the inherent contradictions in modern evangelicalism’s fundamental claims—specifically, Jesus and the Father are different and have a different mind about you, God’s default setting for all people is not love and grace but eternal torture, and Jesus is bound by a rule more powerful than Him that forces him to torture you forever if you don’t knuckle under and say “the magic Jesus words.”

What is ironic is that an atheist, cartoon comedian sees so clearly what is wrong, and most [people] don’t see it or are in various stages of fuzziness about it. It makes me want to start a class, show the cartoon, and then walk through the contradictory theological assumptions in modern evangelicalism’s message, contrasting it with the biblical message:

1. Jesus loves me but I will be tortured forever if I don’t love him back, so there is a “love” that not only allows torture, but requires torture.

2. Jesus has to torture me if I don’t love him though he doesn’t want to, so there is a rule more powerful than Jesus that forces him to do what he doesn’t want to do.

3. Jesus and his Father are very different and are of two different minds about me, so Jesus loves me but his Father’s hate of sin and sinners overrides the Son’s love.

4. Jesus was sent by the Father not to change me, but to try to change the Father’s mind about me and his plan to torture me by threatening me with his Father’s torture-plan, so I must love him in order to stop him from torturing me.

5. Fear then is supposed to make me love, making fear more powerful than love and making love dependent upon fear.

This theology is fundamentally founded on hate. The Father hates sin, so he is required to hate sinners. The hate of sinners requires that the Father punish sinners. But apparently there is another “side” of the Father that wants to offer sinners a loophole. So he sends Jesus, his Son, who is very different from him, to say “I love you, but my Father hates you and plans to torture you forever if you don’t love me back.” This “loving threat” is intended to frighten you into loving him in order to save your own soul.

Modern evangelism by and large begins with this fear of hell. It’s their foundation. But if fear is the opposite of faith, and biblically it is, then how can you lead someone to faith with fear? Fear cannot lead to faith. Fear and faith are mutually exclusive. How can we label religious motivation and manipulation of people using fear as “faith”?

1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

We love him and have faith in him because he loved us first. Using fear, on the other hand, is a faithless, loveless act. Basing everything on fear of punishment drives out faith! Love, however, both compels faith and is the fruit of faith (Galatians 5:22).”
— Bert Gary

 

Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them April 3, 2010

.

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“Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:
A Fair and Balanced Look At The Right”
by Al Franken

The humor in this book really was laugh-out-loud funny.  The truth in this book was turn-my-stomach sickening.  There were even a few parts that were tears-in-my-eyes sad.

This book came out in 2003.  I really wish I would have read it then.  I still may not have read it now, if not for the recommendation of a family member.  The thing is, in 2003, I may not yet have been at a place in my journey where I was ready for this.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Long before I read this book, I began to realize that most on the “left” hold their beliefs, not due to a lack of morality, as right-wing evangelical leaders would have us believe, but actually because of their morality.  Many, because of their Christian faith.  That was pointed out by one of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey.  He mentioned that as he was relating his experiences with President and Hillary Clinton.  It was truly one of those scales-falling-from-my-eyes moments.  Reading “Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” was another.

The language contained in the pages of Mr. Franken’s book can be very raw, but far more vulgar than any language could ever be, are the actions, lies, and abominations committed by those exposed in this book.
Some of the people discussed are, well, just plain stupid.  But much worse, most are not.  They are, instead, calculating and intentional as they lie, manipulate, distort, and smear.

This book is extremely well researched, and has detailed footnotes, endnotes, and internet links, so you can verify all the facts for yourself.  Al Franken commissioned 14 Harvard students to do in-depth research so he could “do something my targets seem incapable of doing – get my facts straight.”

He exposes
Ann Coulter “whose lies are painstakingly crafted to serve her radical political agenda.”
Bill O’Reilly who “seems to lie for two reasons.  One, to polish his own apple”, and two, “to attack anyone who’s critical of him.”
Of George W. Bush: “The media thought he was kind of stupid.  He isn’t.  He’s just shamelessly dishonest.”
And there’s Hannity and Colmes, Bernie Goldberg, and many more lying liars.

The first 13 chapters really held me.  Somewhere after that, it went a little dry for me.  That only lasted for a couple or so chapters, and then it was back on track.

Chapter 24 is a great exposé on the “Wall Street Journal” and it’s hack journalism.

Chapter 25 was truly sad.  It chronicles how the right-wing media hijacked the pain and anguish of a family who lost a loved one.  They not only used the event as a political tool, they then blamed those suffering loss of the very political hijacking they themselves were doing.  Truly, some of the most despicable human behavior I have ever read about.

OK.  Even a great book may not be perfect.  Chapter 29 was, for me at least, a waste of time.  It is a fictional story called “Operation Chickenhawk.”  It does, in many places, make fun of the disgustingly vulgar piece of fiction that Bill O’Reilly wrote, “Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Murder and Television.”
Still, I found it unnecessary and distracting.   Later in the book there’s another bit of fiction in the form of a one-act play.  It didn’t do much for me, but it was far better than “Operation Chickenhawk.”  Still, there are well over 40 other chapters that you shouldn’t miss.

In the chapter called “I’m A Bad Liar,”  Al and friend set out to perpetrate an elaborate ruse on Bob Jones University.  It heads full force in the direction you would expect from a book like this, but then, it takes a surprising turn; one that gave me even more respect for Mr. Franken.

That’s followed by a chapter about Jerry Falwell.
OK, I know.  Falwell is funny enough without any help.  Well, maybe more scary than funny.

Chapter 33 discussed Abstinence education.  There are some very interesting statistics that every parent should read.

There’s a chapter called “The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus.”  The entire chapter is a “comic strip” of sorts.  It contrasts some of the quasi-Christian right-wing teachings with the actual gospel of Christ.  This chapter can actually be read, or rather watched online.  You can see this narrated version on YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK7gI5lMB7M

“Our air, water, and wildlife are under attack.”
Ok.  What did you first think when you read that line?  Ranting of  some left-wing wacko extremist?  Chapter 39 will do wonders to change your mind.  Many of us know we’re killing ourselves and our planet, but here are real-world examples of how bad it really is, and which political party is doing all it can to make sure no one stops it.

There is information in this book about the war against terrorism.  Stories about 9/11.  Stories about advance information our government willfully ignored that could possibly have prevented that tragedy.  There’s documentation of, again, willful deception and lies to get the American people onboard for a war based largely on information about weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist.

Should you read this book?
* If you believe for one second that right-wing politicians are more moral than the left, you need to read this book.
* If you don’t realize that the right has used your Christianity and your faith as a tool to manipulate and control you, you need to read this book.
* If you’re one of those who, despite what you say, believe deep down that “Republican” and “Christian” are the same thing,
you need to read this book.
* If you are even close to being able to handle the truth, you need to read this book.

There is an updated version in paperback, which has “More Lies and New Lying Liars!”  If you get a chance, get that copy.  If it’s not available, the original is still a good choice.  If you consider yourself a Christian, and your vote (if you vote) is based on moral choices of the candidates, you, especially, should read this book.  Ignorance may be the reason we do some things in our lives.  I know it’s been my reason many times.  But, in the end, ignorance really isn’t an excuse.

There are some major, very serious, issues discussed in these pages.  So serious, that without the humor, would be much harder to take.  While this book is indeed serious, it’s also very, very funny.

Mr. Franken believes “We have to fight back.  But we can’t fight like they do.  They fight with lies.  We can’t do that.  We have to fight them with the truth.”

This book may open your eyes to what some of that truth really is.

— df

Buy the book at: https://www.amazon.com/Lies-Lying-Liars-Balanced-Right/dp/0452285216/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498649831&sr=8-1&keywords=lies+and+the+lying+liars+who+tell+them+by+al+franken

 

 

 
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