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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

I’m Too Old For That November 11, 2016

My wife recently expressed concern for my safety and well-being.
You see, I’ve decided (for a while at least) to leave my “Hillary” magnet on my vehicle.
Kathleen believes that in this time of Trump-sanctioned acts of violence, I may be inviting hate-crimes against myself or my property.
She’s right, of course.
And I have considered removing it for just that reason.  Seriously, I really don’t want to get beaten up or spat on.  In my younger days I did take a number of beatings (many from my younger brother. 🙂 ).  But my bones weren’t nearly as brittle then.  Now, I don’t know that I could survive such an incident.  I’m too old for that shit.

Still, I’m leaving the magnet on my truck.  Yes, I have a little fear in doing so, but I will not be ruled by that.  Now is not the time to go into hiding.  Now is certainly not the time for anyone to stay in their closet (unless they’re praying).
No, now is the time to stand.
To stand tall, vigilant and proud.
I will display my support for social justice on my vehicle, my clothing, and any other way I can.  I will be more bold than ever.
Hate-crimes are increasing by those who believe they have the government’s blessings.
We need to stand up for ourselves, and whenever possible, intercede on behalf of anyone we see being harassed, belittled or abused.
We’ll all have to give more to the causes of social justice.  Time, or money.  Both when possible.  We need to keep our camera phones ready to record when needed.  We must be unafraid to speak out against discrimination and hate.  Especially hate that comes from those claiming to stand for God.  Yes, that’s hard to do if you fear for your safety.  It’s been hard in every civil rights movement of the past, and it will often be hard now.

We may not be using swords, rifled-muskets or breech loaders, but we are in a civil war. Hillary won the popular vote (by quite a lot, really), but Donald won the electoral college.  Either way, This was a tight race. We are living in the Divided States of America, and we can’t just all get along.  The opposition will often use physical violence.  We MUST use what author and activist Mel White calls “The Practice of Relentless Nonviolent Resistance.”  Love still trumps hate.  It sounds trite.  It’s not what I want to hear or say right now.  But it has to be.  It just has to.

Yes.  Hate won.
Hate won this battle, but the war for justice and equality goes on.
And by the grace of God, I will stand.
As of yet, I’m not too old for that.

– dave


I don’t know who put this together, but I like it:

if-you

 

Everything Must Change September 11, 2014

EMC

Everything Must Change
(When The World’s Biggest Problems and Jesus’ Good News Collide)
– Brian D. McLaren

This is not a quick and easy read. At least it wasn’t for me. But this is potentially one of the most important books you may ever read. The is one of 4 or 5 books I would like to see in everyone’s library.
More importantly, I’d like to see it in the hands of every “young” person between 18 and 30. I totally believe the future of the world as we know it depends on the issues addressed in this book.

“Everything Must Change” is written by a Christian, predominately to a Christian audience (although many fundamentalists doubt this target audience is “Christian” to begin with). But, the issues and principles here apply to every human on the face of the planet.  And they effect every human and non-human on the face of the planet.

Some issues covered are:

* The Prosperity Crisis – Environmental breakdown caused by our unsustainable global economy.  One that does not respect environmental limits, while creating great wealth for about one third of the world’s population.

* The Equity Crisis – There’s a growing gap between the ultra-rich and the extremely poor, most of whom are growing in envy, resentment and hate of the rich.  The rich become fearful and angry as they seek to protect their wealth.

* The Security Crisis – The danger of war arising from resentment between the groups at opposite ends of the economic spectrum.

* The Spirituality Crisis – This is the failure of the world’s religions (especially Christianity and Islam) to provide a framing story that could bring healing or at least reduction to, the previous three crises.

This is another book that will help readers see how we’ve misconstrued so many of Jesus’ teachings.  Brian helps us to hear Jesus’ words more in alignment with how his first listeners heard them.  We see that we have a “framing story” that desperately needs changed.  So we revisit “the essential message of Jesus.”  In doing so, we re-examine metaphors like “The Kingdom of God.”  We consider our human situation in connection with the message and purpose of Jesus

In one section, Mr. Mclaren likens our past religious attempts at understanding to those of someone piecing together a puzzle.  We’re trying to fit it all together according to the picture on the lid.  The problem is, we have the wrong lid!

In chapter 4, a young man from Khayelitsha, South Africa, delivers a very weighty message to a group of pastors and evangelists from America.  It is a message every pastor and evangelist needs to hear.  If you’re a “missionary,” please read this chapter.  Even if you don’t want to buy the book, borrow it from the library.  Borrow it from me.  Just read this chapter.

It seems many people shy away from politics and religion.  As Brian states, “A lot of us are very happy to go through life knowing as little as possible about economics, politics, and ecology.”  The thing is, these are both the problem, and part of the solution.  For me personally, my politics are intrinsically tied to my faith in Christ.  Yes, we pray.  But then we help bring God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” by taking action: Action that can help bring about equality, justice, and environmental responsibility.  I believe a proper look at the teachings of Jesus will reveal that very thing.

This was my 9th Brian McLaren book.  My “Comrades” and I are getting ready, as a group, to read Brian’s latest, “We Make The Road By Walking.”

If you’re someone who cares about the future of your children, your children’s children, and so on; I would suggest you read “Everything Must Change” and seriously consider the message it contains.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.


Quotes:

– Not only am I often unsatisfied with conventional answers, but even worst, I’ve consistently been unsatisfied with conventional questions.

– Part of what it means to be “a new kind of Christian” is to discover or rediscover what the essential message of Jesus is about.

– Many of our religious institutions have taught us to see no horizon for the message of Jesus beyond the soul of the individual.
Buy the book. Click HERE.

– The way of the kingdom of God calls people to a higher concern than self- or national interest: namely, concern for the common good.

– We can no longer deal with global problems as discrete unrelated issues.

– Jesus bursts on the scene with this scandalous message: The time has come!  Rethink everything!  A radically new kind of empire is available.

– Theocapitalists have tended to see the rich as morally good and the poor as morally culpable for their own poverty.
Buy the book. Click HERE.

– Many of our current eschatologies, intoxicated by dubious interpretations of John’s Apocalypse, are not only ignorant and wrong, but dangerous and immoral.

– We don’t have a violent “Second Coming” Jesus who finishes what the gentle “First Coming” Jesus failed to do, but we have a poetic description of the way the gentle First Coming Jesus powerfully overcomes through his nonviolent “weakness”, a prince of peace whose word of reconciliation is truly mightier than Caesar’s sword.
Buy the book. Click HERE.



 

 

The Dangerous Meshing February 4, 2011



The struggle between the church and the state is perhaps nowhere more painfully apparent than in soldiers who are trying to integrate their national and spiritual identities.  One soldier said he is trying to serve two masters, the cross and the sword, and his arms aren’t big enough to carry them both.  Many military chaplains have felt this collision most poignantly and express the crippling sense that they are simply preparing soldiers to kill and helping them to recover from killing, without ever having space to question the killing itself.
To refuse to kill for patriotic reasons is to show that we actually take our identity in Christ more seriously than our identity in the empire.
– Shane Claiborne

Read “Jesus for President.”  Click Here.

I would no more tach my kids military training than teach them arson, robbery, or assassination.
– Eugene Debs

Every war…with all its ordinary consequences…the murder with the justifications of its necessity and justice, the exaltation and glorifications of military exploits, the worship of the flag, the patriotic sentiments…, does more in one year to pervert men’s minds than thousands of robberies, murders, and arsons perpetrated during hundreds of years by individual men under the influence of passion.
– Leo Tolstoy

Do the people believe that the killing of foreigners is somehow different that the killing of Americans? – Timothy McVeigh.
No doubt he had been deranged by the myth of redemptive violence.  He bombed Oklahoma City [a deplorable act] in the hope that complacent Americans could see what “collateral damage” looks like and cry out against bloodshed everywhere, even in Iraq.  Instead, the government that had trained him to kill, killed him, to teach the rest of us that is is wrong to kill.  Dear God, liberate us from the logic of redemptive violence.
– Shane Claiborne

Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.
– Tertullian

Murder, considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse.
– St. Cyprian

For the last 1700 years the Church has not only been making war respectable; it has been inducing people to believe it is an honorable profession, an honorable Christian profession.  This is a lie.  The early church saw a complete and an obvious incompatibility between loving as Christ loved and killing.  There is NO WAY to follow Christ, to love as Christ loved, and simultaneously to kill other people.  Militarized Christianity is a lie.  It is radically out of conformity with the teaching, life, and spirit of Jesus.  As an Air Force chaplain I painted a machine gun in the loving hands of the nonviolent Jesus, and then handed this perverse picture to the world as truth.
– Catholic Air Force chaplain, Father George Zabelka.




I often hear the story of Jesus, with the whip, cleansing the temple as a justification for violence.  For one thing, although this was a very physical display, there is NO indication he used the whip on anyone.  That was not the character of Christ.  Second, and of GREAT importance, this anger was against the religious leaders; the “church” of his day.  None of this counteracts the nonviolent resistance of Jesus.
He taught things like “turn the other cheek,” “go the extra mile,” and “give more than is asked of you by your enemy.”  These are not violent acts, NOR are they acts of passivity.  No, this is a third and much more difficult way.  It’s taking a strong stand, face to face with your enemy and saying, “I will not fight you, but I WILL NOT BACK DOWN!  You will know where I stand and what I stand for, even if it kills me!”
– df


Read “Jesus for President.”  Click Here.


 

Think June 17, 2010

Capital Punishment:
A consistent ethic demands that our nation end capital punishment. We should not take life to punish wrongful death. There is no evidence that it deters murder. It is easy to make fatal mistakes, as DNA testing has shown. The death penalty is biased against the poor, who cannot afford adequate legal representation, and is racially disproportionate.
– Sojourners

Gays and Lesbians:
“Regardless of what moral or theological positions churches hold regarding gay and lesbian sexual behavior, all Christians can and should unite around a commitment to defend people’s basic rights. But the church cannot in good conscience take a passive approach to this question. It is, after all, other Christians who often have taken the lead in this thinly disguised but mean-spirited assault on human dignity. Biblically based Christians who operate out of a more loving and compassionate framework must meet the challenge head-on and forcefully oppose homophobia.
– When Dignity is Assaulted by Jim Rice

But do we really want to deny a gay person’s right to be at their loved one’s deathbed in a hospital with “family restrictions”? Do we also want to deny that person a voice in the medical treatment of his or her partner? And do we really want all the worldly possessions of a deceased gay person to revert to the family who rejected them 30 years ago, instead of going to their partner of the last 20 years? ”
– Gays and Marriage: A Middle Way by Jim Wallis

“While the passing of [hate-crime] legislation that prosecutes attacks on gays and lesbians would be a good thing, it will do very little to prevent such crimes unless Christians and other people of conscience work to change the atmosphere where gays are seen as less than complete human beings with the full civil privileges of other citizens. Gays and lesbians aren’t going to go away. Nor are they going to stay away from the church, where—rumor has it—people “love their neighbors as themselves.” This is an opportunity to practice what we preach.”
— Practicing What We Preach by Aaron Gallegos

War and Peace:
Our world faces a major challenge of how to resolve conflicts, reduce violence, and defeat terrorism without preemptive war. War has become a first resort instead of the last resort. In a world with terrorists, terrorist states, unilateralist superpowers, and weapons of mass destruction, alternatives to an endless cycle of violence are needed.

Ecology:
Addressing the degradation of God’s sacred Earth is the moral assignment of our time, comparable to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s, the worldwide movement to achieve equality for women, or ongoing efforts to control weapons of mass destruction in a post-Hiroshima world. — From the National Council of Churches Open Letter to Church and Society in the United States.

Put aside the Holy Scriptures for a while and read God’s first revelation—nature itself. Such was the advice offered some years ago by a profound, Christian thinker. We stress “Christian” here because this person of faith intended no offense to [the Bible], nor to us who hold [it] sacred. His point was that long before the writing of Genesis, humanity could already read God’s self-revelation in the natural world.

In the book of Genesis, the creation is simply gift, a garden made with care, and in its essence, very good. Our original place was to walk with God in the garden of life.

(All above comments are taken from “Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace.”

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR CREATION CARE: MAY 25TH, 2010

 

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

 

 

Who Would Jesus Torture June 8, 2009

Filed under: Religion,Social Issues — lifewalkblog @ 7:50 am
Tags: , , , , ,

WWJT

 

Why is it that ultra-conservatives, most of whom claim to
embrace Christian values, are the first to chuck their
morality once it becomes inconvenient?

–Walt D.

 

 
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