Archive for the religion Category

Turning the Other Cheek is Not a Suicide Pact

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, god, philosophy, politics, race, religion on February 9, 2017 by furious buddha

Huck,

Your most recent comment regarding violence in the wake of Trump’s election deserved better than my initial glib response..

First of all, I’m guessing “the violence” you are talking about includes the four African Americans who have been charged with a hate crime for live streaming their kidnapping and abuse of a developmentally disabled white man. Right wing reaction to the crime is predictably hypocritical in the sense that they suddenly set a new threshold for “torture” that is decidedly different from when they are talking about the recipient of the abuse being black or brown; these conservatives also apparently now think that hate crime laws are a good idea. That aside, the attack was perpetrated by people so brutally stupid they broadcast themselves committing it. That they felt pride in humiliating and tormenting a person incapable of defending themselves speaks more shamefully of them than anything that could be written or spoken about them; they deserve the charges being brought against them and to be tried with the evidence weighed cooly in a courtroom. There is no moral question here, but then, unlike conservatives, I make no connection between these four lowlives and people of color in general, any more than I would claim that everyone from Saudi Arabia is a terrorist simply because a majority of the 9/11 attackers, plotters and financing came from there or that because white men are overwhelmingly likely to be the perpetrators of violence in churches I should think that every white man is potentially going to mass murder a Sunday School. The only people that actually want a “Race War” are white and the handful of black people who are as crazy as the four criminally insane ones mentioned above to think they could somehow win a “Race War”.. The population of African-Americans is barely above %10; there is no scenario where they win “Race War”. Trying to connect this crime to Black Lives Matter or otherwise blow it out of proportion is the willful misrepresentation of a fearmonger.

Then of course there is the sucker punching of Richard Spencer, the natty neoNazi everyone’s talking about. Punching Spencer only allows him to play the martyr which is something that conservatives love doing even more than they love accusing liberals of doing it. That’s why he’s standing in public places saying provocative things in front of a camera; he is trying to create a narrative where the barbaric liberals are assaulting the clean cut white guy who is calmly talking into the camera. The Nazis used similar tactics, but the same could be said for a lot of things going on right now. So I am certainly against violence in this case as well. The guy who hit Richard Spencer is Not Helping, and the four psychopaths above certain didn’t do anyone any kind of good.

Violence is wrong, mostly.
Violence is wrong always in a hypothetical sense.
But specifically is where the world happens.

Was Lincoln wrong to use violence to preserve the Union?
Was Roosevelt wrong to pursue war against the Nazis?
Was Truman wrong to drop the atomic bomb?

Is it wrong to use violence to prevent barbaric atrocity?
Would it have been wrong to allow UN forces in Rwanda to use violence in an effort to stop the genocide?

Is it wrong to respond to violence perpetrated by a foreign power upon one’s nation?
Would it have been right to invade Saudi Arabia as opposed to Iraq after 9/11?

Gandhi faced a civilized oppressor in the British Empire that could be shamed by nonviolence into taking just action; how long would Gandhi’s campaign have lasted if the Nazis had been in control of India?

Should we admire the Vichy Government for peacefully collaborating with the Nazis and condemn the French Resistance as a pack of murderous terrorists?

My faith declares that it is the peacemakers who are blessed which is a rather straightforward precept that is easy to comprehend if not easily achieved. But as a general principle it makes sense.

Then there is the admonition to turn the other cheek. This is a more complicated idea that can actually seem insane if taken literally. On the other hand, the One who bade us to do so allowed Himself to be scourged and crucified rather than compromise His essential integrity. So does that mean that we should allow innocents, our loved ones, and ourselves be butchered by barbarians?

Here’s how I interpret turning the other cheek. I will not be provoked into violence but neither do I cower. I present my other cheek to demonstrate that I do not fear violence. I practice Judo. I can take a punch. My principle is to subdue a violent person with the minimal amount of necessary violence. I respond to rage with calm,  and I prevail because I am not trying defeat anyone or prove my superiority; my conditions for a “win” is de-escalation. Pacifism is scoffed at by weaklings who puff themselves up with macho bravado and mistake aggression for masculinity; making peace is bloody difficult and sometimes you have to use your hands and get dirty.

White supremacists have infiltrated police departments across the US and the new Attorney General of the US once said he would be ok with the Klan except that some of them smoked weed. The only person the President of the United States has anything nice to say about is Vladimir Putin, a murderous tyrant whom he admires for his strength. His chief advisor is an anti-Semite who believes an existential war with China and Islam are inevitable and that our society needs a trial by fire; he has taken actions that can only be rationally interpreted in the worst possible way.

Turning the other cheek is not a suicide pact.

 

Comrade Trump’s Locusts

Posted in arguing with lunatics, current events, days in the life, philosophy, politics, race, religion on November 11, 2016 by furious buddha

I suppose the thing that makes most people nervous is that he will do the things he said he would do, even the contrary and nonsensical ones.

I suppose what makes me nervous is that nobody has any idea what he’s going to do, including him. He is going to become a president with unprecedented power, thanks to the majorities he brought into Congress; unless Obama does a recess appointment of Merrick Garland he is going to be holding onto a Supreme Court nominee from the get go. I suppose what makes me nervous is that he has demonstrated the stability of the Joker and the moral compass of Lex Luthor and he is going to be handed real, true temporal power over us all.

I suppose people are being either willfully stupid or are spectacularly naive when they say he’s going to be fine because in the past 36 hours he hasn’t grabbed anyone’s pussy or mockingly imitated someone with cerebral palsy. They seem to think the last seventy years of his life was just an elaborate act to craft the persona of a narcissist obsessed with fame and power who treated other people as objects and whose idea of business savvy was often simply fraud by another name; the real man is wise and sober of judgement, they assure us with fervent serenity. However, they are not calm; their panic causes them to freeze in the presence of a predator.

It is Veterans Day and the President Elect is a draft dodger who says he felt like he was in the military because he went to Exeter and compared avoiding catching an sexually transmitted disease to serving in Vietnam. He said of a POW who spent six years being tortured by the Vietcong that he preferred soldiers who don’t get caught. As of a few months ago he didn’t even know what a Gold Star family was while he was in the middle of denigrating one. He calls our generals “idiots” while demonstrating the same grasp of military tactics as a fifteen year old playing Risk. He has an extremely suspicious relationship with Russia that he has lied about. Now he is the Commander in Chief of our armed forces.

I have been warning for years about the Jezekiah Grasshoppers but now they have swarmed into Trump’s Locusts. The Klan is on the march and the Nazis are wanking themselves bloody. Kenny, you should join and I’m going to try to figure out the way I can be most effective; we have a large circle of quiet underachievers that we need to awaken, embolden, and activate for duty. We are not in the future, we are in the present our entire lives have been preparing us for.

 

No Connection (Donald Trump is a worshipper of Mammon and his own reflection in the golden eye of Baal): channeling Bill

Posted in arguing with lunatics, current events, guns, philosophy, poetry, politics, pop culture, religion on August 12, 2016 by furious buddha

Chicago’s gun ban ruled unconstitutional in 2010.
(There is no connection between these links and you would be a fool and a communist to make one.)
On Monday, 19 people in the city of Chicago were shot, 9 of them fatally.
(there is a fevered ego run amok among us)
And the beat goes on. and on
(
tainting our collective unconsciousness and making us pay a higher psychic price than we can possibly imagine)
This story was made possible by modern medicine and mass media.
(He is sowing chaos and madness, lowering the standards for the perfect and holy children of God)
This story was made possible by people trying to rob a man of his wheelchair.
(everywhere his hateflowers bloom)
How do the Evangelicals who embrace him not feel his contempt for them?
(Donald Trump is a worshipper of Mammon and his own reflection in the golden eye of Baal)
And what’s crazy is that William F Buckley agrees with me.

Terrible Jokes, Awkward Stories and Days in the Life.

Posted in art, books, days in the life, film, music, poetry, pop culture, religion on October 16, 2015 by furious buddha

Kenny,

So, a Catholic Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The Priest orders a glass of red wine and blesses it. The Rabbi orders a glass of Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine and drinks it. The Imam has a Diet Pepsi. The Mormon waitress condemns them all.

A man with a monkey on one shoulder and a parrot on the other rides a horse into a bar. The bartender says, “Get those filthy fucking animals out of here or I’m calling the cops!”

So a Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and says, “make me one with everything.” And the hot dog guy says, “Aren’t you supposed to be a vegetarian?”

I was just telling someone about how for your birthday one year we went to the Field Museum to see the Darwin exhibit, when we were standing in front of a collection of the species of carnivorous plants and I said, “well, that kind of blows the concept of vegetarianism to hell.”
The other guy in the exhibit laughed.

I marvel at how light a quarter century feels; It was around that long ago we went walking around your old high school while you felt nostalgic for four years earlier. Then we got even more very drunk; God, do you remember that breakfast? We had all slept for forty five minutes and were still reeking of booze when we threw on suits and had breakfast with your family. Wulf didn’t take off his sunglasses the entire time. Then we went and got your ass married to that lunatic. I mean, she was a beautiful lunatic, and I was making the exact same mistake with Persephone, after all. I’ve told you about how I proposed to her, didn’t I? So, we were at her sister’s wedding which was at the Park Ridge Country Club, and Persi was the Maid of Honor. We were like, twenty at the time. So, the wedding was in the morning but the reception wasn’t going to start for hours so nearly everyone left to get lunch or whatever and the wedding party went to go take pictures. I had nothing to do but sit at the bar all afternoon. By the time the cocktail party started at four, I was loaded. By the time dinner started at six English was pretty much a second language. By the time the speeches at finished and dancing started I was proposing to Persephone. I don’t remember much else about the night.

Do you remember how we used to drink? Neither can I.
/rimshot

Right now the shuffle brought up ‘Ring of Fire’ as covered by Wall of Voodoo. It’s pretty cool, actually. Julia is binge watching a terrible show called ‘Reign’ so I threw on headphones and I’m listening to music and writing to you. We are relishing quiet adult time while little dude sleeps. He just turned four a few weeks ago and we had a big party for him at our house. There are elements of the castle here in our house. We have an (inoperable) fireplace with built-in bookshelves alongside it in the living room. Julia has painted the rooms in vivid colors and they are filled with books and toys and musical instruments and our art on the walls. We have a corner lot with a big yard. I’m six minutes away from work. Mom and Dad are good; Tony calls them Nana and Coco.

Toilet training has been kind of emotionally brutal. I am taking a Zen approach but it can be exhausting. We’ve tried it all and are kind of stuck in a good cop bad cop cycle with him and I don’t think it’s good but it’s the dynamic we keep reverting to and I can’t help but be good cop. But then its all over and we are in bed singing to him. There’s a lullabye I’ve been singing to him since he was probably two years old and now he demands I sing it to him every night and it’s the highlight of my day life; first I sing it by myself, then Julia and Little Tony sing it with me. We end up doing it three times at least before you do Mama’s songs. It’s to the tune of Silent Night and I came up with the words over time. He calls it ‘Sweet Little Boy’.

Sweet little boy
Dear little boy
I love you
You’re my joy
I love you more than all words could say
More every night and every day
I love you so much
Oh, I love you so much

I know it’s doggerel but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever written because it’s the first song my son ever learned to sing.

I know that there will be a day when I won’t be singing him to sleep anymore and it makes me indescribably sad.

It’s the next day and I’ve gotten home from work for a little bit before I have to go back out and they’re out and I’m listening to Bjork’s ‘Army of Me’ and writing to you. Here’s the thing about having a kid; I’m doing more real writing than I ever did when I was single. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been blogging very regularly; I’ve written over 20,000 words of a novel this year as well as producing some of the best paintings I’ve yet done while working full time at the Clown Factory and I am still a fully present dad who doesn’t miss dinner or night night. And the Clown Factory is just going smashing, with a kind of Imperials vs the Rebellion vibe giving things an extra spice to my days. Plus I had a meeting last night for the little theater company I’m helping start up; I’m directing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ this winter.

It’s the evening. I got home late but not too late to sing him down to sleep, so hooray for that and Captain Spaulding. Julia is still watching this terrible show. It’s like if the CW did the War of the Roses. I have to tell you brother, I never have known a woman quite like her and that is why we work. We bring out good things in each other. And even though she usually has awesome taste this show is so terrible I’m putting on my headphones and  ‘We Love You’ by the Stones is on my shuffle; it’s such a great psychedelic tune and has a certain distinction because John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing on the chorus and Lennon’s voice is very clear at the end of the song as he seems to knock over a glass. I don’t understand why it never seems to get played anywhere.

I’ve read several excellent books lately. If you’re in the mood for some light magical realism I really enjoyed ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. My friend Wendy has gotten me reading memoirs and I discovered I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing; ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a deeper piece of writing than you would think. The problem is that the film is a story of a pretty white lady taking an extended vacation and falling in love with a hot older man which completely misses the point of the book; it is her writing which is relevant, not the narrative. ‘The Way of the Samurai’ by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Hesse, and ‘Brave New World’ are all books that somehow evaded me until this last year but are now nestled into the Core. Speaking of, did you guys see ‘Inside Out’ yet? Little dude loved it almost as much as me and Mama did. Pixar consistently makes not only some of the best family films but some of the best films of all time.

I’m sorry my reply to your email was so brief. I didn’t know what else to say and have been thinking about you since I sent it and I’m hoping they figure it all out. The hospital sucks except for how they perform miracles of science there. Hopefully they’ll have you out by Monday. I just wanted to give you a little something to read. Get some rest and give my love to those around you and yourself.

Unlimited Love,

Winston

 

Not Wanting To Think About Terrorist White Supremacists Is Sympathizing With Them.

Posted in arguing with lunatics, current events, god, guns, politics, race, religion on June 20, 2015 by furious buddha

I know that Stormfront has a link to at least one of my posts and that white supremacists visit this site. I also know that everyone, even the most ardent white supremacists can change their minds and find their souls. That’s why I take the time to write to them. I also know that there are some readers who are very conservative people who are not overt white supremacists but because they embrace the status quo thinking of modern conservatives they are unwittingly embracing some very white supremacist ideas. I write to them as well. I know many ‘soft’ racists who lazily embrace cultural stereotypes and think that because they watch television they understand the world; they aren’t reading, let alone this..

The Confederate Battle Standard flew at full staff over Charleston, S.C. even as Old Glory was lowered to half staff; the reasons for it are asinine. The symbolism is not subtle, but South Carolina is not a subtle place; they are flying the battle standard for white supremacy high. The murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church perpetrated by the terrorist Dylann Storm Roof are only the latest atrocity perpetrated in the name of white supremacy. There is nothing new about white supremacists attacking churches and murdering innocents; these are not creative people. Judging by the patches on his jacket Dylann Storm Roof seems to have drunk deeply from the sewer of white supremacist ideology; wearing the flags of the Rhodesian and Apartheid-era Afrikaner regimes indicates that there was nothing incidental about the race of his victims. His statements at the scene of the crime make his motives clear; Dylann Storm Roof is a jihadist for white supremacy.

What strikes me as so extraordinary is how conservatives refuse to see Dylann Storm Roof as a terrorist for the white supremacist cause; it’s as if they cannot admit that a person was racially motivated.when they said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” to black parishioners he then gunned down in the coldest possible blood. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, said, ‘we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another’. Yes, we do, very clearly in this case; the poisonous hatred of the white supremacy movement. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina thinks that 21 year old Dylann Storm Roof “is just one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that.” If you follow that link you’ll see what Senator Graham thought about 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in 2013. It’s an interesting contrast. Dylann Storm Roof clearly is cognizant of the white supremacist movement, its symbols, and its ideology; he is operating as a lone wolf terrorist cell in the same way that ISIS and Al Qaida encouraged Muslims to do the same. If if the dopey kid brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should have been treated as an ‘enemy combatant’ to be interrogated by intelligence agents as Lindsey Graham demanded, then how can someone who has worn the flags of foreign nations and murdered a state senator among the eight other African Americans who were targeted for their race in their church just be a whacked out kid? Some of the other responses from those on the right are myopically insane in ways that reflect the obsessions of the theorists. Regardless, they all agree it’s not about white supremacy.

It does not require a Godlike perspective or the fresh insight of an alien species observing us through telescopes to see how crazy the neurosis of white Americans about race really is. To be clear, the 223,000,000 white people in the United States are not being ‘taken over’ by the 41,000,000 black citizens; that’s a 77% to 13% ratio, or approximately 6 white people for every black person. The treatment of African Americans by authorities is well documented and undeniable. The racial anxiety in the United States has always buzzed at a pretty high frequency but confronting the fear of a black president is giving our collective unconsciousness a nervous breakdown. For many, their coping mechanism is denial.

Denying the existence of the terrorism of racists empowers the criminals. Obfuscating the existence of racism or downplaying its magnitude gives cover to the terrorists. Ignoring a crime against another is to participate in the crime as an ally of the perpetrator.
But hate won’t win.
God bless everyone.
No more hurting people. Peace.

In the name of family values we must ask ‘whose family’? @GovMikeHuckabee @duggarfam @FOX @oreillyfactor @homeschooling

Posted in current events, days in the life, god, politics, pop culture, religion on May 30, 2015 by furious buddha

When I was young, I was often compared unfavorably to my cousin. He dressed neatly and kept his room and possessions clean and organized. He was an Eagle Scout, an honors student, played first chair trumpet and was a nationally ranked golfer. I smoked cigarettes, cut classes, and chased fast girls; I dressed like I was trying to piss people off, listened to rude music, and was generally an obnoxious jerk. I have spent the past thirty years growing up. He’s spent them in and out of prison. Their family had some serious problems that they worked very hard to keep out of sight. Our family had problems that we worked very hard to fix. Admittedly, their problems have always been far more severe in terms of the scope of how much greater the intertwined demons of mental illness and substance abuse afflicted them, but we faced them as well and we were spared because aside from dumb luck my parents had a better attitude. Everyone faces storms of adversity and the key to navigating past them is to head on straight through, facing reality squarely; at least this is what my parents did and I have tried to incorporate their Way into my own approach to life.

Julia and I are moving in together with Little Dude into a new house; that’s its whole own story but it has me thinking about family in a way I never could have even five years ago. My love for him has transformed me into a parent and brought me to consider things I never thought I would, like worrying about how to expose him to religion. I have very complicated feelings on the matter. My parents have been going to a nice Catholic Church near their home; their faith is quiet but growing in strength as they age. I see how much it enriches their lives and it makes me happy; they are practicing a progressive Christianity that is bringing them both Grace and Enlightenment. They are growing in love rather than finding people to hate. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no way I’m going to tell my kid that someplace that institutionally has nurtured unspeakable child abuse for generations has any kind of moral authority over him. Which brings me to the unspeakable crimes of Josh Duggar, his parents, and the TLC executives who gave their cult a platform to spew their toxic propaganda into our collective consciousness.    .

There is no gloating schadenfreude here; there is horror, disgust, and a rare sort of righteous fury that demands expression. The girls in this situation have suffered in an isolated authoritarian hell run by a demented patriarchy run amok for their entire lives which have been broadcast to a gaping world they are forbidden to even know about. They have been violated, exposed, and silenced by the people who should have been protecting them. They were born to parents who are under the sway of an evil fundamentalist theology that has wrought tremendous misery upon them and so many others who are chained to the dark altar of its founder. The details of the case have a particularly sour reek of evil, like the Arkansas state trooper who Jim Bob brought Josh to for a stern lecture before he helped cover up the crime; he was a child predator who listed ‘preschool’ and ‘puberty’ as his ‘interests’ on a Yahoo! profile. I literally had a physical wave of nausea pass through me as I typed those words. People who are determined to foist their morality upon the rest of us are always hypocrites of tremendous magnitude (think of Bill O’Reilly lecturing Black America on their terrible family values) but this is grotesque in its enormity.  .

My father, grandfather, both of my brothers and myself have been and continue to be public sector union employees such as police officers, transit workers, teachers, paramedics and firemen. My little brother has brought people back from the dead who are trying to break his union.  I have voted Democratic tickets my entire life and anticipate voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. I think the government should stay out of people’s private medical decisions and that contraception should be free and legal; Julia and I aren’t married yet but we have terrific mutually satisfying sex. I think that sex education should be honest, fact based, and presented without moral judgements.  Although I have been sober from alcohol for nearly fifteen years I still enjoy cannabis on appropriate occasions and believe it should be legal. I think that biological evolution as first articulated by Charles Darwin is by far the best explanation for how life came to be in it’s current form; I submit that all modern medicine and biological science is based on this as the evidence for my belief. I agree with the scientists who argue that the climate is being disrupted by human activity.  I think that ISIS is a result of the misconceived Iraq war and the subsequent actions of the Bush Administration. I drive a fourteen year old car that is missing a fender. Julia is my equal in our relationship; furthermore I have many relationships with both women and men that are warm, affectionate and emotionally intimate without being sexual. I have people who depend on me every day of my life. I am grateful and happy. I will never accept the demented views of fundamentalists as my own. For all these reasons and more I accept that FOX News and people who support the Duggars view people like me as lazy parasites and hellbound sinners while believing that Josh Duggar is being persecuted for his religious beliefs.

I went to a lot of different churches when I was a kid. I was curious and questioning and was asked to leave more than one Sunday School class for not accepting what was being spooned out. I had a long discussions about God and the Bible with my grandfather that pretty much lasted from when I was four until he died when I was thirty three. When he lay dying the hospital chaplain came into the room and walked up to the bed and asked us if we minded if he sang. We said of course. He had just arrived from Nigeria the week before to take the position as a chaplain and this was his first real shift on his own and he hoped to give us comfort; his francophone accent gave his English a music when he was simply speaking and when his voice became song it resonated within me. But what was most extraordinary was that this man from the other side of the world spontaneously chose my grandfathers favorite hymn,’How Great Thou Art’, which he frequently sang in his sweet baritone.I believe in a God who loves all of us with perfect compassion. I believe that heaven and hell are right here, right now, all around us, not something that happens later in some other place, and that it is incumbent upon those of us who are dwelling in our paradises to help free as many people from their cages as possible, not dangle our feet off our clouds while pointing and laughing at the suffering of others.

It’s funny, just writing this helped clear up what I thought was complicated. Little dude will go to our fine well funded local public school that is staffed by top notch unionized professionals who will give him an excellent academic education (that I will certainly supplement). For his religious training, however, he will be homeschooled. It would be irresponsible to do anything else, really. We will take field trips to all manner of temples, shrines, and churches and observe the many ways that our brothers and sisters try to bother God. He will hear soulful gospel music, Bach chorales, sacred ragas and Tuvan throat singing. I will teach him as many of the seven billion names of God that I can. I will tell him what Lou Reed told me; no kinds of love are better than others. And I will make sure that he understands the Bible in context; he will learn what is metaphor, what is history, and there will be particular focus on what Jesus taught such as this bit from Matthew 7:15-17:  15″Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16″You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17″So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.”

Rethink your beliefs.
When you practice doing this
You will be happy

delicious word snack

Posted in god, philosophy, poetry, religion on April 21, 2015 by furious buddha

faith is to belief
as ethics are to morals;
they are not the same

equivocation
is not equivalency;
delicious word snack

a voice discerning
censors itself and ceases;
teaching in silence