Quote of the Day

Mary Beth Crain on the slips of tongue displayed by our “pastors” in the public eye recently:

But the question remains, is there any way to silence these paragons of pastorly preposterosity? Is there an Immodium for diarrhea of the ministerial mouth? Will the Jacksons and Wrights and Hagees ever learn the simple lesson of thinking before they speak? Or are they just so full of themselves that there’s no room left for a piece of humble pie? I personally think their egos are so far gone that only drastic measures will save the presidential candidates—and all of us—from their unwelcome help. Here’s an idea: How about a “Holy Roller?” That’s a Sherman tank decorated with crosses, that we could drive over blustering warriors of God when they utter insults and inanities. Or a “Minister’s Muzzle,” that they’d be forced to don for the duration of the campaign? Or a “Reverend’s Restraint,” a straight jacket emblazoned with the image of Jesus holding a finger to his lips? Or maybe just a plain old Scarlet Letter—A for “ass”—that they’d have to wear for life?



Beating Your Wives For Jesus’ Sake!

Oh, my freakin’ God, again another religious asshole justifies abusing women by absolving men of personal responsibility. Check this out! (Thanks to Ethics Daily for providing the article) How much clearer can he say, “She made me do it!”

Men, Ware says, can ONLY respond in two ways, beat her or become a wuss:

Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve’s curse in the Garden of Eden meant “her desire will be to have her way” instead of her obeying her husband, “because she’s a sinner.”

What that means to the man, Ware said, is: “He will have to rule, and because he’s a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive–and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that–but here’s the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say ‘OK dear,’ ‘Whatever you say dear,’ ‘Fine dear’ and become a passive husband, because of sin.”

Gee, which one do you think Ware HOPES men will choose? How sick is this man and how horrific that people are listening to him. Notice that Ware cannot conceive of any options but two. This is typical of the binary thinking of the hyper-fundamentalist mind.

By all means read the rest of the article. You’ll love the “women are saved” by having babies part. I predict many a man will go home from the sermon that day justified in his belief that smacking his wife around is the “manly” thing to do to keep the little lady in line. Disgusting.

Acting to Heal Relationships Around Me

In a previous post I wrote about my dialogues with a pastor of the church I’d been attending for 4 years. I was a tad smarmy then of course. Thinking I was taking the high road, I see now what an ass I probably was. Last weekend, in a fit of humility and loneliness, I emailed her and apologized for the role I played in that little scenario. She wrote promptly back and graciously said she had put it behind her and I should too. We mutually agreed that we missed the friendship we had and we are letting old feelings past and allow for a renewing of friendship.

Why have I done this? Well, because, I am acutely aware that Christians are the worst when it comes to healing damaged relationships. Don’t get me wrong. Some relationships are irreconcilable and SHOULD BE, especially where abuse is involved. But, in church especially, minor quibbles and spats can quickly get out of hand. No one wants to be the first to back down and say that perhaps they were wrong. In the secular world, it’s even worse. Our culture is saturated with a “me first” attitude in even the smallest areas, like driving. Every single day I see examples of rude behavior, people flipping other people off from their cars, road rage, and numerous instances of non-courteous living. Well, I’m tired of expecting others to be the ones to change. I’m not responsible for them. I’m responsible for my reaction to them. So I could have stewed for years about what happened at my church, but I’m not going to anymore. Regardless of whether I felt hurt or was “right” or how wrong I thought the pastor was, it damaged our relationship and when that happens, the whole church is damaged. Of course, mine was a trivial matter. Other damages in church aren’t so easy to heal, but I am so used to looking out for ME all the time that ME is who I instantly side with in every argument, whether I’m right or not. It’s the way of the beast. I decided not to let that control me.

The same goes with culture at large. I am a person of very conflicted political, religious, and personal beliefs. I don’t write about some of my political opinions because it’s not safe to in this political climate. Thought police are everywhere and conspiracy theories are ripe. Some of my opinions are not popular right now. Neither are some of my religious ones. I don’t write what I really think sometimes I know that a lot of the people I know share different points of view. I’m also very tired of Christians ALWAYS being “the heavy” in the news. All that we see on television feeds into the worst ideas that most Americans have about Christians and conservatives in general. The media take extreme and non-mainstream examples of religious hucksters and conspiracy theorists, play the soundbites ad nauseum, and then act as if everyone in certain parts of the country or all of a race believe this way. If they do that would be scary, but they don’t.

It’s the same with politics. Everyone is playing the moral equivalence game. No one can be criticized, examined, or commented upon without someone else becoming “outraged” or “disturbed” about the “trends” we find in society and the “levels of civil discourse.” Apologies are demanded every day by somebody. No one can have an opinion unless it’s the most popular one. People from the coasts stream into the Midwest to film documentaries about all those strange people in the Heartland of America, as if they were going into the jungles of the Amazon! I can hear them now…Look at those rubes! Oh, how stupid they are! …Such forays only reveal the ignorance of those who believe them or buy their product. It’s a sickening display of hubris for starters and the fool’s way to a quick buck by pandering to your audience for another.

I have never come across anyone in the church community who displays the characteristics of those portrayed on television or in the news. The very reason those media shills and religious hucksters are rich and in the news is because they are tapping into a PARTICULAR message that feeds the fear and paranoia of those who don’t understand them. Sure, we shouldn’t be giving money to people like that. There are better uses of money and time, but people have to have IDEOLOGY in their lives; something that feeds their motivation. Politics is all about this feeding process. Again, I could sit and stew about how wrong the media are on television and how stupidly they portray things they do not understand, but it’s pointless. And because we are being lied to and manipulated this way, we are therefore not responsible for the hatred they create in the world. We are responsible ONLY for our corner of the world.

It’s a manageable scenario that works for me. I cannot trust anyone else for truth out there. I am responsible for discovering the truth by which I live my life. I cannot trust that my money goes where people promise it will go. I’m not letting media of any kind tell me what my beliefs are, how my relationships will work, or even convince me that I play a part in the political system, because I don’t. My job is right here in my small town, in my local businesses, in my local congregation, in my family. My job is to heal the damaged relationships around me one person at a time. My truth is in my corner of the world and the only thing I know for sure. If I can act on it, I can heal it.

The Pastor, the Older Man, the Lion, and the Dog

Ok, I had a WEIRD dream last night and need all your skills at dream interpretation.

I dreamed I was at someone’s house. There were people of all ages there, none of whom I knew. I don’t know whose house it was, but I was there watching TV, having a party, or a combination of both. There were people laughing and sat on couches with large pillows and even some sat on the floor like a slumber party. Of all the weird things to remember, I remember the Weather Channel was on TV all the time. I also remember feeling safe there, as if I belonged there and I didn’t want to leave. Not sure of why we are there, I am surprised when my old pastor walks in. This woman and I have a not-to-friendly rivalry and she was the main reason I left the church. I am shocked and surprised that she showed up but I am friendly enough and she seems delighted to see me. She makes some friendly comments and even compliments me, I think.

And in the weird way dreams can shift for no reason, I remember being next to an older man. In my dreams, I always dream of men without faces. I rarely dream of men I know personally, only those I’ve never met or whom I haven’t seen in a very, very long time. In fact, I never see above these men’s shoulders, so that the only way I know who they are is HOW I sense them in the dream. Anyway, I sense an older man next to me. He is protective and loving, and there is an implication of flirting and sexuality on both our parts. It is sudden and immediate and I do not want to wake from this dream. I feel safe and loved and comforted and excited to be in this man’s presence. I don’t know who he is or what he is doing there but we are inseperable.

Again, my dream shifts and I see a lion chasing a dog in a forest and the lion is playing with the dog as a larger animal would with a smaller one. It is no match of course, but the dog does not seem afraid and neither do I. It all seems playful at first. The dog is a beautiful German Shepherd type dog or a Siberian Huskie. It has a fluffy tail. I only mention this detail because faster than you can read this, in the dream the lion opened its mouth and devoured the dog up to its lower haunches. All I could see were the dog’s hind feet and his tail sticking out of the lion’s mouth! The lion then sat there and faced me with the dog’s feet and tail hanging out of its mouth. And then I woke up.

I swear I had no alcohol the night before! 🙂