Sunday, November 30, 2014

WANTED POSTER


This was posted on Face Book and apparently you can buy this as a real live poster. Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Just want to be sure who we're waiting for here. I"m also waiting for the yearly conservative entries trying to prove that the family wasn't really poor etc. OK. Back in the day there were pretty much two classes of people. Especially in a backwater like Judea. The very rich and everybody else. Mary and Joseph were definitely from the everybody else class while the rich and the wannabe rich have been trying to claim Jesus for themselves every since. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

COMFORTED AND FULFILLED

Another piece from Drum Major for a Dream. Interesting how the piece works, with a few changes in words, works for just about any martyred prophet from the last two thousand years or so.

Is heard no more.A silence now stands
Where hope once spoke.
The voice in the wilderness
of inhumanity crying
against the indifference
of the righteous.

Silenced?
            So then is justice,
            So then is hope.
            So then is faith.
            Decency.
            Dignity.
            And a dream.

Where one dies thousands rise
For Martyrs are made to
            multiply.
            The stars catch the sound
            The wind carries the word
            The earth contains the eternal law
            Struggling to be born in
                        Man.

In the silence
Where he once stood
The children grow
The poor gather
And those now mourning know
They shall be comforted
- Comforted – and fulfilled.

N. Ellsworth Bunce in Drum Major for a Dream.


Friday, November 28, 2014

THE UNKNOWNS


And the same social groups that ended up being drafted back in the sixties are the ones volunteering for a chance at an education or job training. And the real irony? The same guys were involved in both wars. Especially Rumsfeld and Cheney.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

FOLLOW THE SPIRIT

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Above the shouts and shots,
The roaring flames and the siren’s blare,
Listen for the stilled voice
Of the man who is no longer there.

Above the tramping of the endless line
Of marchers along the street,
Listen for the silent step
Of the dean man’s invisible feet.

Lock doors, put troops at the gate,
Guard the legislative halls,
But tremble when the dead man comes,
Whose spirit walks through walls.


Edith Lovejoy Pierce in Drum Major for a Dream

Over a half century ago MLK gave voice to his dreams for his children. That a time would come when who they were would count for more than the color of their skin. It's 2014 and that dream is as far from being realized now as it was then. If not further. Dipping my toe into the comments on an article on AOL about the president pardoning two turkeys this Thanksgiving. I'm not providing a link to the story it's too damn depressing and frankly disgusting. And I only read the first page. I didn't feel like going any deeper into the cesspool. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AND FOLLOWING THE REBEL

Just might lead to a similar fate. According to what I've read Jackson Brown wrote this for the Celtic group the Chieftains. Didn't record it himself until a little later. A couple of lines echo the lament of a Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara. "If I give food to a starving man, they call me a saint. If I ask why that man is starving? They call me a communist." And the Celtic churchman Pelagius wrote to a new convert that not only would she soon realize that scripture and doctrine were created by men, but that some pagans were better Christians than some Christians he'd met.

THE REBEL JESUS

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Brown


And I'm old enough to remember that Christmas gifts meant a doll or a book or maybe a record. When I was a kid helping decorate our tree I never imagined they'd be pushing cars and big screen TV's and all the other glittery blankety blank blanks. Most days there are more ads than newspaper. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE ONLY GOOD PROPHET

is probably a dead one. The living ones are so inconvenient and pushy. They hold up mirrors to our actions and insist on pointing out that what we do and what we say we believe not only seldom match, they aren't even in the same zip code. And yes, Jackie is just a teensy, weensy cranky today.

Now that he is safely dead
Let us praise him.
Build monuments to his glory
Sing hosannas to his name

Dead men make such safe,
Convenient heroes:
They cannot rise to challenge the images
We would fashion from their lives.

And besides,
It is easier to build monuments
Than to build a better world.

So, now that he is safely dead
We, with eased consciences
Will teach our children
That he was a great man…knowing

That the cause he lived for
Is still a cause. And that the dream
For which he died is still a dream.
A dead man’s dream.

Carl Wendell Hines Jr. in Drum Major for a Dream

This piece was written in memory of MLK Jr. However it could also describe the fate of the teachings of a certain footsore rabbi who came a cropper when he went against the combined power of Rome and the Jerusalem power structure.

We don’t know what HE taught. He didn’t write anything down. People with their own agendas did write things down and out of those writings at least one author has identified eight distinct theologies. And he believed that seven of those were wrong.

Now that He is safely out of the way we can make just about anything we want out of the scraps that were allowed into the accepted canon and proceed to beat each other over the head with them and build fences with safely locked gates. Above those gates are the words Keep Out.


Monday, November 24, 2014

DRUM MAJOR FOR A DREAM

This is from a small collection of poems written after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. titled Drum Major for a Dream. Appropriate for the beginning of Advent. What happens to inconvenient prophets and Messiahs. 

DRUM MAJOR FOR A DREAM
Ira G Zepp, Jr.

Your dream was clear,
We understood it perfectly.
Liberty and justice for all –
But that was too costly
For us, too expensive
Too dear, as they used to say;
Have-nots having
Disinherited, inheriting.
Is that what you meant by
Lowering mountains and
Exalting valleys?

But you beat your drum
Slowly, persistently, non-violently.

Your dream was clear,
We understood it perfectly.
Heaven on earth.
But heaven can wait.
It is often unwise and untimely for color of skin
To give way to content of character: for black, white
Brown, red yellow
To live together in Shalom.
Is that what you mean by
Making rough places plain
And crooked paths straight?

But you beat your drum
Lovingly, redemptively, faithfully.

Your dream was clear.
We understood it perfectly.
Love your enemies,
But that is impractical, not
Calculating enough.
Loving those who despise you
Who speak calumny against you
Enables us to be brothers and sister
In the Beloved Community.
Is that what you meant by
Seeing the Promised Land?

We understood all of this
So perfectly, saw it so clearly
That we beat the drummer

Senselessly, violently, fatally. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

TWO DADS


Ran across this on the web. Seems true enough. Bless the Anglicans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NOVEMBER

Actually it's been an unusual mid October/November this year in the southern Willamette Valley. We haven't had the day in, day out, chilly fog so far. Rain yes, fog no. Ran across this by a Thomas Hood.

No sun - no moon!
No morn, no noon!
No shade, no shine!
No butterflies, no bees!
No fruits, no flowers!
No leaves, no birds!

November!

And Lisa knows exactly what I'm talking about. Althoooooogh, Earlier in the month when it was chilly, but sunny in the mornings you could still hear a few birds calling in the mornings. The flickers harvested all the dogwood berries. And we haven't cut down the black eyed Susans seed heads yet. The little gold finches and the siskins love them. How anything that tiny can cope with the cold. I think they hang out in the big holly tree across the street. If they stay close to the trunk of the tree almost nothing can get in.

SONS OF ABRAHAM


Last week theEpiscopal church hosted an interfaith get together with several hundred Muslims. During the service the South African ambassador to the US, who is a Muslim, called on Muslim moderates to fight back against extremism. Peace, brotherhood, prayers; what’s not to like. Apparently the usual list of suspects from Louie Gohmert to Franklin Graham found plenty not to like. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But, what really struck me in the comments section was this little number from a commenter who shall remain nameless.

“So funny that the term "political fringe" was used in this article. It's not exactly just the fringe that would question this activity. That being said if it was the Episcopal church that hosted this, why would an evangelist have any input on it? The Episcopalians went off the rails a long time ago so why be surprised or outraged? I think the "having no other gods before me" would be where inviting a group into a temple dedicated to the God of Abraham to openly worship another god might get static. That IS one thing God makes pretty clear.

You see it’s the bit about the God of Abraham that caught my attention. Other folks too. Over and over I’m amazed at the abysmal ignorance of the fundies on the right. Yo, spam for brains. Sorry for insulting a perfectly good, if high salt, brand of canned lunch meat. Islam is not only a religion. Islam worships the same God as the rest of us in the Judeo/Christo universe.

Bet he forgot that Abraham had two sons. The eldest, Ishmael, was the son of Abraham by Sarah’s slave girl Hagar. When Sarah finally had Isaac she was afraid that Ishmael would share in the future promised to Isaac so she convinced Abraham to send them away. You know Abraham doesn’t come off very well most of the time but that’s another story.

You’d think he’d have had the balls to point out that “look he’s my first born and we’re in the middle of a desert; their chances of survival are just about zero.” But he didn’t so God had to. Out of water Hagar despaired of her son’s life. To make a long story short, an angel appeared to Hagar and showed her a well. They survived and Ishamael, according to tradition also had twelve sons who were the founders of the Arabic peoples.

Abraham/Ibrahim. Samey, Samey. And since nobody can hurt you like family all three branches have been trying to kick the bejeezus out of each other ever since.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

CLASS WARFARE

From your mouth to the ears of somebody a little south from heaven. Discovered on the Christians on the Left website.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NOT SURE WHAT TO CALL THIS

Oregon's (thankfully) defeated Measure 90 would have dumped the partisan primary process for a so called open primary with the top two candidates going to the general election. Even if they both came from the same party. Which did happen in Washington this year. Two Republicans running for the same office. One a TP candidate. The other, presumably, a more sane Republican. I'm not sure who won.

The complaint is that if the voter registers as an independent they can't vote in the partisan primary and claim that they are thereby "disenfranchised.". My recent take. Well boo F'ing hoo. You knew that going in. Should I complain that as a registered Democrat I don't get to vote for the Republican candidates as well? Because that's what it boils down to.

While looking information up for this entry I discovered that, yes Virginia, Oregon does have a real live Independent Party complete with donation guidelines and all those assorted goodies. No donations from unions, corporations, no money from out of state. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

The Republican candidate for governor also entered the Independent party primary held in July. And a quick check of his donors shows that he sure as hell didn't follow the guidelines. Surprise, surprise.

So, in Washington we had two candidates from different wings of the same party running for an office. In Oregon the governors race featured six candidates from seven different parties. The Republican was also running as an Independent. The house race had five candidates from six parties. The Republican was also running as an Independent. I forget now, if there was any overlap in the Senate race.

 Frankly I very much prefer our much messier way of doing things. Under the top two the Greens, Libertarians, Progressives and any other small party would be SOL for the general election unless they could mount a successful write in campaign. Yeah, that's a really "democratic" scenario.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

UNWANTED POLITICAL ADS ON FACEBOOK

Imagine my surprise when I found an ad for Oregon Republican senate candidate Monica Wehby on my FB page. I mean guys, I follow Chicks on Left, Christians on the Left, moderate Christian bloggers. What glitch in your algorithms even suggested I would appreciate finding her and the comments going with it on MY page? After a dip in the kitchen midden of the comments I axed the page with no regrets.

She supports axing the IRS, the Department of Education AND the EPA. Nothing personal, but it’ll save money. Excuse me while I start laughing semi hysterically. Dear Monica was in her early teens when the EPA was created. And I suspect she hasn’t looked into WHY the EPA was created. Under a Republican president by the way. Anybody remember Love Canal? Contaminated industrial and electrical substation sites, the abandoned factory site where the PBB’s that poisoned Michigan were manufactured, Hanford. They didn’t even get started on the Michigan site until 2012.  20 f’ing 12 for God/dess sake. Almost thirty years after the factory was closed.

These agencies were not created just to piss off the Koch brothers and their loyal minions. They were created for a reason. Oh, and the possible replacement for the IRS? Setting totals state by state and leaving it to the states to raise the money. Folks that’s been tried before. Under the Articles of Confederation which were replaced by the constitution. It didn’t work then either. Fancy that.

I’m working through Forrest McDonald’s book on the ideas that cited to support the constitution. Don’t know if I’ll get a blog entry out it, but there truly is nothing new under the sun. LOL. What ticks me off is that we're arguing over the same damn ideas from state sovereignty to nullification over two hundred years later.

UPDATE: With twenty odd percent of the votes Merkley and DeFazio are going back to Washington. Happy, happy. Joy, joy. 




Sunday, November 2, 2014

OUT OF MANY...

Well getting the one came close to a miracle. Ever catch the chariot race in Ben Hur? Imagine a chariot with not four horses, but thirteen. None of them wants to go in the same direction and at least one of them is trying to get in the chariot with the driver. That's what our not so sainted founding fathers were faced with in the summer of 1787.

Just finished literally blasting through E Pluribus Unum by Forrest McDonald. Book originally dates to the early seventies. It's a fairly short, often irreverent survey of the (dis)United States of America in the years between the start of the revolution and the ratifying of the constitution.

He goes section by section, state by state (briefly). Some states come off better than others. And his description of traveling conditions in say North Carolina, remind me just how easy we have it. Fronted by sand bars and barrier islands it was easier to ship exports up or down the coast and ship through Philadelphia, New York or Charleston.

And next time somebody tells you they "don't have time to go cast a ballot" ask them how far they live from their polling place. There were more than a few back country farmers who owned enough property to be eligible to vote but couldn't afford to from one to three days (both ways) to cast their ballots.

There was a whole lot of horse trading, private planning, arm twisting and down right chicanery that went into the creation of and ratification of the final version of the constitution. As for original intent. There wasn't one, in my opinion. More than a few of the delegates still called their home states their country and weren't in any hurry to allow more power to a central, national government.

McDonald refers to farmers, planters, storekeepers, sailors, ship builders, butchers, bakers and candle stick makers. Nowhere does he mention corporations. Probably because corporations as we know them DIDN'T  exist in 1787. I suspect that Patrick Henry for one would consider treating a corporation as a "person" as outright blasphemy if not underhanded chicanery.