Friday, February 29, 2008

Chad's Treatise

I recently had to write a piece on my inspiration and motivation. Thought I would share it here as well:

I am a passionate believer in social justice. Race relations, diversity and inclusion, to me, are stepping stones toward the greater goal of social justice. I am moved to this conclusion because without progress towards social justice none of the other values will ever truly be brought to fruition. Minor successes in the areas of race relations, diversity and inclusion are to be applauded—but without working toward social justice, it is the equivalent of baling out a sinking boat with a teaspoon. . . there will always be an overwhelming sense of drowning even as small gains are made.
This deep passion for social justice was first brought to fruition through the words of Jesus where he declared “the kingdom of God is in the hearts of men.” I take this to be an all-encompassing commandment and warning that it is how we act and how we treat others, which defines us as followers of God (by whichever name he may be known) and that is what defines WHO WE ARE. This belief has been bulwarked by the writings of Paolo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the venerable Malcolm X.
To me “the kingdom of God” is not a utopian wonderland where one sect or group is proven “right” and given rule and authority; but rather it is the collective, altruistic nature and desire of mankind. That innate human desire to be better than we are, and more human than we thought we could be. The wisdom of this single quote is also the key to its success. It is in the “hearts of men (and women)”. Despite what faith or tradition you come from, or whether you hold any faith as tradition or not-the impetus is the same. It is up to each and every person to look within and bring about a better world through our own actions.
The work of social justice is not always accomplished on a grand scale on a world stage. More often than not, is accomplished through the words and relationships and stands of everyday people. And my commitment is to always be one of those people. I believe we must strive and work towards social justice if we are to fulfill the dreams of the framers of our constitution and create a pluralistic democracy that truly functions and truly benefits its citizens.
This is where race relations, diversity and inclusion come in to play. While the greater goal of social justice must be kept in focus; it is through these “teaspoons” and other such values, that real ground is gained. In everyday life, it is my decision and goal to operate in love. This is not a “hippy” mentality, nor a non-reflective Christian jingle. Rather it is a decision to make the hard decisions because they are right and because my actions (or inactions) impact others around me. I am passionate about living my life this way, because in the end, this is what matters . . . is the world a better place because you were in it.
In the Emperor’s New Clothes it is the voice of truth that would not be silent that showcased the absurdity of status quo and group think. We are living in a time when the Emperor of Group Think is parading about and too often no one is willing to speak up and expect a change. We must be willing to not only hold our elected officials feet to the fire of truth, nor just the leaders of business or self-proclaimed “advocates”, but our friend and neighbors, each other and ourselves.
I can only speak from my own experience, and I will not attempt to presume to tell another group how they should handle themselves, that is not my place; but I can speak for groups of which I am a part. We, as whites, must be able to admit racism is a part of our culture, institutionalized along with white privilege and a sin we are all guilty for; we must acknowledge who we are in realistic terms and not as either “white devil” or “great white hope”. We, as people committed to change, must strive hard to acknowledge and be inclusive of groups not only defined by race. We must recognize not only everyone’s right to exist, nor even their right to be successful, but also their right to bring their own perspective and wisdom to further the greater goal of social justice. We, as a community, must move beyond “hate as heritage” on one hand and “token” appreciation and accolades, on the other. Race relations, diversity and inclusion are not the sole property of one paradigm or ideology, but we must not allow them to be derailed or made impotent in the name of bi-partisanship. Compromise should not compromise the greater goal. We, as a country, must acknowledge our past and present sins ranging from the desolation of the indigenous American peoples, to the bitter stain and scar of slavery and Jim Crow to more recent travesties, such as writing discrimination into law. Finally, we as humanity must move towards seeing “those people” as we see ourselves. We must be willing to “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins” and appreciate the unique perspectives that can only be gained from unique individuals. We have to get to the point where we acknowledge another human beings right to feel and interpret based on their beliefs and experience regardless of whether we agree with those feelings or interpretations. We must learn to forgive and we must learn to act in love. This can only be accomplished, as Margaret Mead so wisely said, through a group of committed people. I choose to be a member of that group, not by my affiliations, rhetoric or prose; but through the actions and interactions of my everyday life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Propensity for Myth on Roasted Religion-INTRO

OK--after many long weeks, here is the post I have been promising--or at least the first part of it.

I have noticed how fascinated the religious right/evangelicals/fundamentalists (hereafter, for brevity's sake I will just call Fundys) are with myth.

Before I start proving this through MANY examples, i want to kind of work backwards and explain why I think the fascination exists.

I think because fundys are so anti-myth and mystical tradition; and in many cases have cut the mystery, culture and "flavor" from their religious traditions. Fundys are very concerned about being pure. Pure in heart and mind and spirit and pure in practice as well. This is noble and inspirational. However, they, like the Pharisees of old have gotten a little bit off track and the idea of purging myths has given way to increased restrictions and adherence to "man's law".

Fundy religion has evolved over the years, especially recently. they have earned a high degree of success both culturally, monetarily and politically. But the roots of Fundy religion, from what I can ascertain, almost universally began among the less educated populations of people. I am not saying that makes the religion ignorant nor the followers--just hang with me, I am making a sociological argument. Because the traditions and rituals and philosophy and beliefs of most Fundy denominations (and non-denominations) have roots among the less educated--some emphasises and teachings come from that mindset and the associated conclusions.

Roman Catholicism, with its pomp and mystery were "bad", they took away from G-d, they worshiped Mary. AND G-d must want us to live according to the New Testament--The Bible is G-d's word and therefore must be read literally--if the Bible says it, then that is the way it is--anything not understood at this point is either swept under the rug or over explained. These are not a problem individually, but when you put them all together, add the religious power-trip that leaders naturally seem to fall into, add the money and power temptations, and then time to let it all ripen and really concentrate.

What evolved was all these above beliefs in extreme. Even in my lifetime and the increased political power, I have seen the increase in the concentration of some of these beliefs. For example, I was raised that evolution was OK to be taught in school; and most of my church friends felt the same way--you had to put up with it--believe differently because the bible (Sunday school teacher or pastor) said so--but there was not a lot of complaining about evolution--and remember I went to a very small, southern conservative rural high school. NOW, pastors preach not just Creationism, but AGAINST evolution. Parents are encouraged to challenge, fight and protest--or better yet, pull your kids out and put them in the church school or home school them. (I am sure I'll get around to doing a post on this one day) See, that is just an example of the change in the past 20 or so years, and the biggest national change has been increased power and influence through the political process. Well take that same "ripening" effect and spread it out over the past 100+ years. The older religion gets the more outside credibility it gets, the more credibility it gets the more sure its adherents are that their religion is RIGHT. Look at the difference Mormonism is treated now versus 25-30 years (or more) ago. While it still may have been an issue for some that Romney was Mormon, many evangelicals--especially near the end--decided he was closer to them than the other candidates.
So the point I am making is this:
Fundy denominations have ripened and become more "hardened", sure and extreme in there adherence to their original set of beliefs.

Part of that was anti-mystery/anti-myth. In that vacuum (as with any vacuum--EX: tell a kid not to do something, and likely or not that is what they'll try and do first) along with a deeply primordial human need for myth, mystical, mystery and just plain "storytelling"--and you get a group of people who abstain from religious myth/mysteries but subconsciously and sociologically have a need and have developed other myths to fulfill that need.

More on these myths later . . .

To go to The Propensity for Myth, Part I, click here
To return the main page of Roasted Religion, click here

ROASTED RELIGION: "America NEEDS Conservatives"

You read it right. I said it. Me the avowed and proud LIBERAL said America needs conservatives.

This was prompted by William F. Buckley's death today. Buckley is the father of the modern conservative movement.

It has been said without Buckley there would be no Barry Goldwater and without Barry Goldwater there would have been no Ronald Reagan.

Now I may not agree with all of Buckley or Goldwater--and I think Reagan did quite a bit of damage but also quite a bit of good--I think what Buckley did for conservatives is much needed.

For America to be great, we need a variety of opinions and we need everyone to feel as though they have a voice. One of the great strengths of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention was the discourse and debate that occurred. Jefferson and Adams were on very different sides of the fence, and Franklin was way out there at some points. However, they debated and arrived at consensus--their compromise did not mean one side laying down; nor did their discourse involve airing dirty laundry, scandalizing or slandering each other. (Not that that wasn't done in the political campaigns later on--but at the conventions--work was done) They understood parliamentary procedures.

One of the things that is admirable about the British Parliamentary system is the concept of "LOYAL OPPOSITION". In Britain, the party that is out of power actually form a coalition entitled the Loyal Opposition. Their opinion is taken into account, they form a shadow cabinet and a shadow Prime Minister. Granted, the ruling party rules; but they don't shut out the losing party--they do not discount their loyalty or patriotism. They serve a much needed function--to regulate and provide checks and balances.

This leads me back to William F. Buckley--in the early 50's and into the 60's Buckley set about getting all the cooks and nut jobs out of the conservative movement. He drove the intolerant hatemongers and isolationists from the conservative movement. He made being a conservative about fiscal/free market policies and small government. Yes, he (wrongly) opposed voting rights acts of the 60's (which he later apologized for) but he encouraged the Montgomery boycotts and civil discourse and civil disobedience.--WHY, you ask? What is the difference you ask? Because he saw racism and Jim Crow laws and segregation as wrong--but he felt that change should come not from the gov't or above but from economic factors and the individual.

Much of what Buckley did in the Conservative Movement is actually "Individualism" in that he believed in the rights of the individual over the collective community and definitely over the state or gov't. However, thanks to Reagan (and this is why I voiced my issues with him above) the cooks slowly started coming back into the movement. He started off courting the religious right and then just gave them carte blanche within the party. Then the intolerant and isolationists came back. This escalated until we elected a man to the US Senate from SC who said "A homosexual has no more business in the school system than a single mother."

Do you see the danger of courting intolerance? Now, you may be adamantly anti-homosexual--you may have religious beliefs that you hold dear about their lifestyle and divorce. But under a constitutional democracy you recognize that while your religious beliefs may not be in agreement with divorce--you would never say that person should not work in the school system---the same is true for homosexuals. You cannot legislate morality--and when you do we are just a few steps away from figuring out that if you allow one group to be oppressed, it may be your group next.

That is why we need conservatives, William F. Buckley conservatives--most of whom have joined the Libertarian party after the Republican party became the party of government small enough to fit into private bedrooms and legislate from there. Liberals are made better because of real conservative discourse and debate. Liberals need to hear pragmatism practicalities.

AND YES--here I come again---Conservatives need to hear Liberals vision and progress. Liberals are right that government can be better and should be used for the good of the people--see where Buckley was wrong on the Voting Rights Acts of the 60's--

We are both important to the betterment of America, and the American people will do better when both groups have their voices heard and no one feels marginalized or scandalized or shut out. The best ideas (perhaps the best in the world--The Declaration of Independence, The American Constitution and Bill of Rights) were generated from debate between liberals and conservatives and CONSENSUS and COMPROMISE.

Republicans, Democrats, McCains, Clintons and Obamas on ROASTED RELIGION

I just wanted to do an overall summary/appeal for moderation and common sense intelligence.

As an Obama supporter we do not have to nor should we be petty. It makes us look like juvenile jerks. Hillary has her flaws, but she is a great and intelligent lady. She does and would do a lot for our country, and I, for one, am glad to have her on our side.

That being said--I just think Obama is better at getting us to move forward--he'll need people like Clinton on his side to accomplish his goals--and he'll need true conservatives and moderates--that is what is so great about his appeal--he wants all the views expressed so we ALL have an investment in making America live up to her expectations. He is the leader we need for such a time as this.

I also do not believe the Reps will "roll over and play nice" but I do hope that Obama will cause the intelligent, decent, fair minded Reps to come out and take their party back. (more on this in my next post)

Nothing like a good back and forth to keep us democratic and great. But the Republicans have to throw off the shackles of intolerance and ignorance and fear that their leadership and the religious right have fed them over and over.

Some issues should just be gotten over--that is the nature of society. You don't find people still arguing that we shouldn't examine cadavers or that the earth is flat or the sun goes around the earth. there might be people who still believe some of that, but as a society we moved forward. It is now time to do that with the Roves and Neo-Con tactics and most of the Social Conservative/Religious Right's agenda.

And all this talk about Obama being liberal--you may not agree with the liberal philosophy (but you might believe in more than you think) but you cannot say it is wrong, un-American or "bad" to be liberal. AND--just throwing a label around is ungrounded--look at who is defining who as a liberal and why. I, for one, am liberal--and very proud of that fact--however, I also recognize true conservatives (not extreme right wing fearmongers) and moderates play a needed role and America needs all these points of view to be truly great. (more on this in my next post)

Obama is popular and going to win because he helps America (all of us) feel like we can be who we really want to be--benevolent, gracious, fair and strong. (more on this in another post)

The race between Clinton and Obama should not tear us apart or turn Dems/Progressives against each other--Dems should be proud to be supporting the party that gave us the first woman on a nat'l ticket (Geraldine Ferraro) and will soon give us either the first Woman nominee or the first African-American nominee.

Either way America wins!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Reagan and Obama Comparison on Roasted Religion

This is a copy of a post I made earlier:

I think it is important to point out that the comparisons with Reagan are not about ideology.
I don't think anyone thought Reagan was anything but a conservative--I think the point that is made is at the time Reagan's conservatism represented hope and the american ideal--especially "how we want to view ourselves." Americans like being LIKED. We want to be seen as helpful and generous--which is one reason Bush's approval ratings are SO low.
The Reagan comparison to Obama is more about capturing a wider swath than previously touched. Reagan (like him or not) did a great job of healing the Rep party after Watergate by getting Reps and America to believe in the VALUES he put forth and identified with--"The Shining City on the Hill--It's Morning In America Again"
Obama is capturing that same message--that is why the Obama campaign could stand the chance of winning a Reagan-esque landslide--NOT by capturing (or recapturing) the same voters as Reagan, but appealing to Americans as American's first--party members second.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Florida Debate on Evolution on Roasted Religion

Hi all--As a Floridian I can tell you the news that Florida has decided to teach "the scientific theory of evolution" has been nothing less than fiercely entertaining.

I live in the bible belt of Florida (just above the left thigh) (pun intended) and I think the compromise is actually a good deal for Progressives, more forward than I imagined and not that big of a deal.

Despite South Florida being much more "blue" than North and West Florida--something happens to our politicians when they go to Tallahasee (which the city itself is more "blue" than the politicians who work there) And despite that everyone persists that Florida is NOT part of the "real South" they run our government with the best of the "good 'ol boys". The politicians in our state government tend to ignore the fact that we are one of the largest states and that our voting population is a microcosm of the nation--they instead act as though Roy Moore was on OUR Supreme Court, and fall over their feet trying to out-Conservatize each other.

more to come . . . picking up Friday

So to just cut to the chase--this is why the evolution wording is really a wonderful compromise and the "evolution camp" got more that they should have expected. YES, thsi is sad we have to add qualifiers; YES this runs the risk of every scientific theory being perceived as "just a theory"; but you know what, you are up against people who really honestly, passionately believe the bible is literal about Adam and Eve; and think the word "day" must mean a literal day or (as I have heard it quoted) "as a 1000 years to God" which seems the most they are willing to give.

When you take into account the severity of their position, the few words "scientific theory of" SHOULD be counted as a victory. at least it will be taught and acknowledged. And what an awesome opportunity for these same people to turn the tables and demand anything religious, faith-based or "mythical" be labeled as such. Talk about truth in advertising!

Conservaties Should Be Ashamed--and Yet McCain Continues to Pander

I just heard that at this year's CPAC convention (where Romney dropped out) they were selling T-Shirts that said:
"I'd rather be water-boarded, than vote for McCain.

How insulting and WHO is dispariging the legacy of a "military hero" now. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE McCAIN IS SELLING HIS SOUL FOR????????

McCain refused to back the Senate version of a ban on water-boarding after being such an outspoken critic of this policy an dtorture in general--WHY??? To win conservatives (who are still willing to vote for Huckabee)???

This is crazy? It is funny that these Conservatives are the same ones that preach family values and "America" and claim to be the experts on Christ's teaching.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Funny Thoughts from Cousin Lynn

The following thoughts came to me from Cousin Lynn. Enjoy! :)

During these serious times, people of all faiths should remember these four religious truths:
1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people.
2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4. Baptists do not recognize each other at Hooters!

Jesus Camp Commentary--Youth Camp Religion

Below you will find the video "Jesus Camp". It is an exciting and interesting documentary. While some of the people may be "extreme" as anyone who grew up Pentecostal will tell you; people like you see in this video are not that far from the norm, nor that hard to find.

Many people will condemn this and say it doesn't represent them, their church or the fundy's they know. However, that is largely not true. Those i the movie may be more persistant in their faith, but the logical conclusion of the faith professed by most Pentecoastal's/fundy's is found in the lives of the people in this documentary.

I was saddened, deeply saddened. And also sickened by this video. It was too real, and it really made me feel cheap and sad to watch many of its parts. I felt bad for the kids, for the way emotionalism and extremism are masking for spirituality. I felt sad for the way organized religion retricts and holds its converts captive. I hate and detest the way religion, specifically fundamental religion, seeks to keep free thought down. If there is any one sin that rises to the top. It has to be the suppression of free thought. To me, a true sign of a religion founded in ignorance is reflected in its opposition to free thought. WHY would people fret that G-d would be intimidated by mankind's free thought. Do we really think that he would create us as sentient beings and then expect us to not use the minds and intelligence He/She gave us??? Is G-d really that ephemeral and temporial that any human of average to above-average intelligence can blow the cover. The answer is no. However, what that same person can uncover is the ridiculousness of religion and the underlying oppression of organized religion.

I am not saying everyone should believe in G-d; nor that my atheist's friends do not make a logical point. But the point I am making is that people can continue to debate in the existance of a G-d (in whatever manner); but that organized religion, especially when it is fundamentalist or so steeped in (selective) literealism, is derived from some sort of delusional conscious or subconscious decision to suspend logic, reasoning and free thought. One has to suspend their knowledge of real vs. fanatasy; and suspend their own inner thoughts on logic and reason to really buy into this midset. Someone on another blog said it was easy for her to keep her religious identity in a box. That is so true, that is what every fundamentalists have to do in some sense. Keep there religious identity and/or logical identity seperated from each other--each in their own box. The trouble is, the more you learn, the harder it is to keep that box in tact. You want to tear it down and throw it out because it defies logic. You overcome, you adapt, you blame this on Satan and doubt. But the barage continues. Eventually you either decide to not hold it to the scrutiny of logic and just wall it off completely; or the wall crashes and you are left to deal with the bitterness and disbelief.

More later . . . watch the video below and comment away!

Jesus Camp Video on Roasted Religion

too long and bye Hillary

OK--there is a bunch to talk about. A bunch of promised posts. A bunch of random thoughts. And another comment from Lynn.

1st we'll start with the election--I recently sent an email to the Clinton Campaign unsubscribing to her newsletter.

The reason is simple: I think the way she is positioning the argument between her and Obama speaks a lot to her charachter and the fact that she feels threatened.
To say that he is just all talk is low and inaccurate and plays to people's ignorance. This is the kind of divisive, pandering politics Obama is speaking out against. Sadly, it is the same kind of misleading political attacks that have followed her and her husband--you would think they, of all people, would not stoop to that level.

So I unsubscribed from her newsletter and took her pge off my Facebook. I recognize it is "just politics", I am not saying she is a horrible person; nor am I saying I wil not vote for her if she is nominated. However, it will be less a vote for her than a vote against Republicans and the failed policies of Bush/Cheney.

As I said in my email--I hope she changes my mind.

Monday, February 11, 2008


What a really big word. It has become something of a buzz word in the 21st century, and has been heavily mentioned in almost every election since 2000.

It basically means, people's votes are being denied, or not being counted.

The latest this was heard was in Washington state. Mike Huckabee, this morning on the Today show, mentioned he felt his voters were disenfranchised at the Primary on Saturday. Or rather, after the primary, when party leaders stopped reporting votes with 87% precints reporting, and declared McCain the leader--even though it had been close, and from my recollection, Huckabee had been leading for most of the afternoon.

This is crucial, because while I think the "religious right" are wrong-headed and intolerant; I think the Republican party chiefs/"deciders" are verging on "corrupt and power-mongering". This is especially true under the leadership of Bush/Cheney (also influenced by Rove/DeLay/Rumsfeld). I have been saying for 10 years now (since I discovered it myself) that the Religious Right/evangelicals/fundy's were just pawns to the Republican establishment. They hyped up social issues and used propoganda, myth and fear to cement their support (a great argument against ignorance, not thinking for yourself, propensity towards myth and "literalism").

Now, maybe I am naieve--but so be it--but I don't believe in "out and out" conspiracy theories. Nor do I believe the Republican establishment is "being evil". I believe they are doing what they believe (and this is probably always the case) to be right. The only issue is what they are willing to do to make that happen. You see it is messy living in a democracy. Everyone gets a voice, regardless of education, ability, work ethic, etc. That means voters have to be courted and what one person sees or thinks is best, is not always what happens. But with the neo-cons or whatever you want to call them in charge--they believe it is OK to use power to get across the greater prinicple. This is one reason why fundy's tend to love them and vote for them. Again, the propensity for myth,--standing tall, making a stand, standing for something . . . I could go on. The only problem is what happens when it is someone else who holds the power, or wants to make a stand. That is the major problem with Republicans and Fundy's--they never seem able to put the someone else's shoes on.

So what probably happened in Washington state was that the party leaders, in all their wisdom, felt it really would be better for their party, their state and the nation; if McCain had a solid victory; especialy after Huckabee won 2 of the 3 contests for Reps. In their (misguided) wisdom, they probably felt justified that the count was trending towards McCain, so lets opp out of counting anymore, declare a McCain victory and get about shutting Huckabee up. Good intentions (misguided and undemocratic though the result and actions were) but fundy's and Republicans both tend to believe it is the outcome not the means that matters.

Only problem is Huckabee is no dummy, and has already had lawyers file to restart vote counting and get to a conclusion. My gut feeling tells me the count would probably have gone for McCain anyway--but it is the PRINCIPLE that matters. It is the appearance of transparency that matters in a democracy. I hope Huckabee can successfully fight this. I don't care much about the results--I won't vote for either of them in November anyway--but I DO care about our democracy. One of the reasons people have been turning out in droves this election year, is because they are tired of being cynical and/or "myth-injected". We want to participate, but we want it to matter. We don't want to be trumped up into voting one way because someone waves a flag and shows a picture of a kneeling soldier; nor do we want our vote, our support and our voice to be taken for granted.

It is amazing to me that Obama and Huckabee are both doing so well this year. They are both from oppsite ends of the political spectrum; but I think for the first time in a long time--people are saying "That is what I would want to be like, if I were a candidate." and for that reason alone--disenfranshicement should not be tolerted in a democracy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008



Obama goes rolling into the Potomac Primary with three big, decisive and diverse wins under his belt.

I was going to call this "Saturday Night Special", but with the results in from US VI--I felt they deserved to lead my headline--as it is probably the only time it would happen. :)

The fracturing of the Republican party over "conservative" candidates is both good and bad. The good part is it shows the party is not as strong or united or monolithic as they are painted/claim/told to be. This is especially good as Democratic turn-out is at record numbers and dwarfing Republican turn-out. The bad part is that the Republicans/evangelicals/fundy's/religious right are notoriously REACTIVE. That is not good for our country, because it meas their VP choice will probably be farther to the right, AND (and worst of all) it means they will be playing dirty and divisive. Make no mistake, they can say what they want about not liking McCain, but they will VOTE for him over any Democrat--and they will be scratching and clawing in any way they can to win. Expect them to get ugly--and what makes me sad for our country and worry about this possible turn of events--is that it is the same set of circumstances that led the majority of Americans to vote for Bush because of "moral values" and the same tactics that made many believe Bush had a stronger/more reliable military record than John Kerry.

Lets just hope that the massive turn-outs contibue and that the people hwo vote are educated on the real issues and facts and not just fear and propoganda and religious diatribes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Comments from Cousin Lynn

I have been getting a lot of emails about my "Jesus is anti-religion" post.

One came from my cousin Lynn. She said I could share it, so I am doing so:

I enjoy your interpretation of politics because I keep up little with such things and take your opinions as a sounding board for my own beliefs. I also enjoy your interpretation of religion because I know too much and agree totally with you. I got bored with the political and jumped back to your first “Jesus was anti-religion”. I agree more then 100% percent and have lived my life on this theory and have selfishly used it as an excuse to distance myself and my family from church and anything to do with it. But as I mature I see this as a cop out. I cry as I write this. Because even though I’ve said I separate God and Church, which I do, I have fallen farther from both. Jesus had the right to condemn the church, because he did God’s work better then they did. I condemn the church and sit by idly dealing with my own issues and no one else’s. I quote the scripture, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this, to care for orphans and widows in their afflictions (James 1 vs 27)". But have never met, cared or donated to one. Yes the church is hypocritical and capitalistic, and I do not believe that attendance will get you to heaven. But I’m not sure if what I’m doing will either. People go to church because they don’t want to be Christians. They want the church to do that for them. They give money so the church can sponsor some missionary group in South America far from the comfort of our air conditioned lives. It’s so easy to point out the faults in a group of people, but I don’t think I could do it better. So what do we do? Fall into darkness because the light is dingy?

I don’t know what to do. I can’t do what Jesus did. I am both too selfish and too scared. Is that what he saves us from or did he show us a path to salvation that we are too weak to follow. My questions go unanswered and my tears are wasted salt. I pray that God leads me closer to him, but I am starting to realize that it is his people he wants us to reach out to. I remember Nanny praying that God helped her to love people because she didn’t like them very much. And even though I saw he unselfishly do for people I know she didn’t enjoy it. How do we change our core personalities? We can act like we love people, but how do we really love people, if we can’t stand them?

Sorry, I didn’t mean to make a blog of my own. These are questions I’ve been dealing with and I have questions about God’s true desire for our lives. I have to hang on to the belief that it is Jesus that gets us to heaven and nothing we do ourselves.

15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are Mathew 23:15

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What is Faith? What could Faith be?

Faith is thrown around a lot, but not every one acknowledges what faith means. Sometimes faith is used as a catch-all or even scape goat "I don't have to prove my beliefs to you--I have Faith . . ." I think Faith should mean something more. I think we should grow, extend and stretch our faith. Anyone can choose not to believe in scinece on the basis of faith--the Catholic Church didn't forgive Galileo for saying the earth went around the sun, until late in the 20th century--but it takes REAL faith to say, I'll believe what science can prove to me; and yet still seek for the better part of life--the morals, the wisdom, the grace, the LOVE. I was raised in a fundamentalist, religious right tradition. I was raised to “hear from G-d”, etc. I thought it was just my lack of faith growing up, becasue even when I thought I was “hearing from G-d”–it really felt like I was just using my own common sense. This of course led to much consternation, questioning, doubt, etc. As an adult I have kind of come to believe that faith is more like a general target, and that “thinking on G-d” or praying or meditating, is a way for our conscious and sub-conscious to settle down from the distractions of the world and focus on the truths we know in our heart, and use them to make a wise decision, find peace, or gain “solid ground”. I do not mean to disparage or trivialize anyone’s faith. I have no problem with someone beleiving. However, I also think it is important that we examine for ourselves what is happening when we “use our faith”. An unexamined faith or an untested faith leads to blind fundamentalism, intolerance and ultimately the exact opposite of what Faith is supposed to stand for. I don’t see, or feel that the acceptance of logic/reason/science and the understanding of what really happens when we “pray”, “believe” or have “faith” should then negate that. I have no problem with people calling it what they want, using whatever stories, explanations, descriptions to describe the effects. But why can’t it just be that–and why does that recognition mean that faith is impossible. In short, Knowing that gravity makes the world spin and that it is the physics of the universe that started that process and keep it going, should not negate one’s “faith”. (and again, I use “faith” to not just mean religion, or theological thoughts, but to represent the core of every human’s beliefs in whatever they choose to believe in). In my opinion this truth only makes my inner faith stronger and more beautiful. Perhaps we should move our paradigm from faith aligning more with emotions to having it align in our minds more with wisdom.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Huckabee's Speech

Did you hear it?

It started with an allusion to David & Goliath and then transferred to the New Testament with the reference to "The Widow's Mite".

Very savvy for Huckabee to lead off very religiously and also first of the candidates. He is making it clear, he is the Fundy candidate--and I am sure they heard this loud and clear. Romney isn't quoting cute bible stories. Huckabee is the "real Fundy" and this will help him if he is picked as McCain's Veep.

FAITH is what we BELIEVE in.

Hi everyone,
I was going to write about the propensity for myth among the Fundy right. However, I had to do this first--I may get around to that tonight, but I had to get this post out.

I have been listening to the YES WE CAN video all day long. And it has MOVED me. I did not want to get on here and write just another blogpost about "fundy-truths". I wanted to write more and deeper than that at this point.

Here's why--that video and the words of Barack Obama in that video are inspiring. Regardless of your political color, as an American, those words should inspire us to be who we know we can be. To reach for the highest pinnacles of progress--not because it is our calling, or our birthright; but simply and profoundly because it is our DNA.

As I was listening I was overcome with the desire to do better and be better. And I realized that is what FAITH is. That is what Faith is about. When I commented on Traci and Beth's blog on; I complemented Beth on her Faith (who is a Christian) and then went back and complemented Traci on hers (who is an atheist) because it is VERY important to see that Atheists are not "lacking in faith". That faith may be a different kind of faith or in different things (tangible and intangible) but FAITH still exists. Even faith in science, logic and reason constitutes dynamic faith. Faith is not the sole property of one tradition, mindset, people or paradigm. Faith is what we all have in common when it comes down to it. Faith is what moves us each day to be the people we are. The Hebrew scriptures tell us "without a vision, my people perish." Those words, while taken out of context are truth--not just for Judeo-Christianity, or even monotheistic religions; or even for religions at all. Even the non-believer believes in something--I am convinced it is what makes us human. Descartes said "Cognito ergo sum." I think therefore I am. I want to take it one step further . . . Puto ergo sum . . .I BELIEVE therefore I am.


Have you seen the video "Yes We Can"? It is amazing, inspirational and transforming. It is based on an Obama speech.

I believe Hillary would make a good President, but I want someone I can believe in, who makes me feel inspired about America and our future. Call me romantic . . .but at least my myths are based on ideas like tolerance, inclusion, ability, progress, hope, tomorrow and LOVE.

Tavis Smalley once talked about the sadness and despair of the middle east in recent times because there is no one on either side of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict who is arguing for LOVE, for inclusion, for forgiveness. And subsequently, look at how things have spiraled out of control.

I know this sounds "hippy"; but I am not a "cause head", but I do believe in the infinite power of WE and I do believe in the zeitgeist of CHANGE and PROGRESS and I do believe LOVE and FORGIVENESS are dynamic and powerful--and while that may not mean we all go off and "buy the world a Coke" . . .it does mean that the concept of LOVE and FORGIVENESS can pervade our thoughts and actions and help us keep our actions, inactions, words and deeds in check. They can move us further from who we thought we were, and closer to who we want to be.

Check out the video:

More later . . .

Monday, February 4, 2008

McCain and Religious Right

OK, have you heard all the buzz about John McCain and the religious right? I am sure you have. It is ironic to me that there is such opposition to McCain in that camp. I am a Democrat and proudly voting for Obama, but will be glad to vote for Hillary, despite some misgivings.

McCain does not interest me at all (except for the fact that he might be a lesser of evils). His turn around to being pro-Bush after the Bushies knee-capped him in SC in 2000, was despicable and a blight on his "straight talk message".

However, I think the cry against from McCain should send shockwaves to the rest of America concerning the Religious Right. They are NOT interested in bi-partisanship; nor are they interested in reasoned arguments, compromise or "growth in beliefs".

Yes, there are many progressives who may be cynical and will not vote for Hillary--but overall you cannot point to one distinct group who is willing to go so far as to campaign for the other side. Now before I am torn apart with comments proving me wrong--let me clarify by saying "on the national level"--and this excludes moderate/independents who would probably switch to McCain if he were to run against Hillary. The religious right, a bulwark of republicanism for oh so many decades, are pissed. Despite what Ann Coulter says, most will not be supporting Hillary, even in opposition to McCain.

Here is why they are pissed--power and influence. This has been an odd election for evangelicals, despite being courted by so many Republicans, and even having one of their own, they haven't coalesced behind anyone. McCain is too liberal, Romney is Mormon (don't think that doesn't matter to a lot of evangelicals), and Huckabee (who should have been the obvious choice) has made too many compromising decisions. And why is that . . .because he is a populist and pragmatic. Depite what you want to say about a lot of what Huckabee has said or stands for; he has taken somewhat unpopular decisions in the name of and for the sake of governing. He is too friendly and willing to work with the other side. Thus the evangelicals were spilt, or disaffected with those running.

Evangelicals--and I was one of them--are very much about "taking my ball and going home". This is especially true when it comes to politics. Perhaps more so. You see, I know several evangelicals who are not as adamant about abortion or evolution or gay marriage or capital punishment or a host of other issues until they are polarized--often by a tag team approach of conservative pundits & preachers. What happens is, the pundits and preachers paint the choices in the worst possible light for evangelicals: they paint it as a "civil rights" issue. My grandmother (before she passed away) personally told me she thought abortion should not be made illegal, because of the potential danger of illegal abortions--yet she was adamantly against Bill and Hillary and all Dems; and the reason why? Because all of her news information sources agreed that pro-life was a civil rights issue--more about protecting the rights of evangelicals to have their voices heard than it is really about abortion.

The evangelical church is really prone to "conservatism" and I don't just mean from a political standpoint; they don't trust a lot of the institutions and government and media. There is a real tendency to "err on the side of caution" among evangelicals. This is true from raising their children, to church selection, to voting. Go with what you know and what is "safe"--even if it is counter to what you may feel would be a good decision. And the reason for this is because they don't trust the nation, the government or the "whole" to deliver prudently or act wisely. They would rather sacrifice change and progress in order to stay safe.

A lot of the hate and scorn during the Civil Rights error was more about the potential backlash. Not that hate and racism weren't contributing to that; but there main fear was "what will happen to my neighborhood, my church, my children's school, etc." Racism, ignorance and hate are behind the fear; but that is what the fear was. Blacks and the governement were not seen (in their eyes) as being trustworthy enough to pull off this social agenda; and so many evangelicals and fundamentalists of the time chose to keep the status quo; because it was safer.

The same is true today. Evangelicals may look at all of Hillary's policies (and she HAS more conservative stands than most people think) and agree; but they don't trust Hillary to pull that off; and they don't like her because of all the rumors, misinformation and propoganda (my family still argues that Hillary decorated the White House Christmas tree with condoms--and that is one of teh many crazy reasons they'd never vote for her. They don't trust the government. They may see the "R" behind McCain's name, but they don't see that he basically stands for and represents many of their major issues; and in the areas where he differs, it is out of pragmatism and reality. However, they (as a whole) are not willing to buy that. There is no guiding, gentling of the religious or party line. They are right, on edict from Gawd! and they will stubbornly hold out, claiming their oppression as a minority (I'm serious) and stand true to (their version of) Christ with an American flag waving in the background.

That is what scares me about evangelicals and also explains why they so supported Bush. He talked the talk they wanted to hear. He was stubborn and arrogant on issues that mattered deep to them. Forget the fact that he didn't deliver on everything--that was just A>Washington secularists &/or B> Democrats. He even felt he had been "annointed or called" to his position, and he could "look into a man's soul". These are all HUGE for evangelicals; and the reason why a> the evangelicals are upset; b> will not support McCain in the numbers they supported Bush/Cheney, and c>would gladly give Bush a 3rd term--if only it wasn't for that pesky Constitution, which should only have one ammendment anyway--I'll let you figure out which one they'd keep----
There is no compromising when you are trained and taught in the absolute literal interpretation of the Bible. If the Bible says it (in your mind/opinion), then to not stand on that priniciple is tantamount to betraying your faith, selling out, and being a secular humanist (the most feared word in Fundy-world).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Gen X-er Clarification

I just wanted to clarify. When I made the comment about X-ers "cleaning up" after Boomers for the past 50 years. I did not mean on a "national scale. Rather I meant , through everyday life. every social norm of the 50's the Boomers dispelled, it was X-ers through their own growth and development, that redefined them and put new ones in place.

I think X-ers should get credit for this. We had to sift through the debris and decide which and what part of social norms were salvageable and which could be discarded. We did not backlash and return to our grandparents and the "way it was done" in the 1950's. We learned the lessons from our Boomer predecessors and projected those lessons forward into redefinitions.

Again, this is what Obama is doing for this Presidential election, and the Democratic party.