Thursday, April 18, 2019

For This I Hope

Our nation has seen bad times before, and we've made it through or, or have we?

How many bad times can a nation endure?
How much idiocy and greed, lust and lies?

Does it all add up to something finally terminal?
Is our democracy truly at risk?

If history means anything, we have to say Yes!
Wouldn't be the first nation to commit suicide.

Yet, I have hope.
There are plenty of good people around.

The 36%, of course, are pretty much a lost cause.
And maybe most of the 1%.

But I keep believing that America is more sane than not.
That we have a basic sense of right and justice.

That the current administration is more a fluke than a fact.
That it'll pass.

But damage has been done.
Real damage to the soul of the nation.

Can we recover?
Sure, we will.

But'll we'll have scars aplenty.
And we'll walk with a limp.

And maybe have a greater sense of humility.
That we're not the greatest on the this earth.

We're just another nation.
Tempted by self-seeking.

With a populace given to fanaticism.
Flag waving and racism.

We'll make it.
But not without a wound to our soul.

Maybe that's ok.
Ok to be wounded.

Wounded people often have a greater compassion.
A slowness to judge.

We'll survive.
But with a greater sense of reality.

For that I hope.
Yes, for that I hope.

Monday, February 25, 2019

To Avert Disaster

Climate change and its dangers ...

Scientists are warning us, raising a cry that we're reaching some kind of a tipping point, a point of no return, or something like that.

Perhaps their warnings are overstated; but to pay them no heed is just plain foolhardy.

GOP leaders, convinced in their shallow world that science is hokum and history is bunk, because they're drunk on power and cannot conceive of a world beyond their mighty control!

Buttressed by the idiocy of the evangelicals, claiming that gawd would never allow such a thing, because human beings are on top of the heap, commissioned by gawd to dominate the world, to wrest from it all that we can for our pleasure.

Fill the air with dirt, the water with poison, the soil with chemicals, and kill the big animals for the pleasure of mounting a head or two, or three, or hundreds and thousands on the walls of their luxury. Don't worry, gawd will clean it all up for us ... or at the least, rapture off to happy-land those who believe.

Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, were all warned by their more seasoned generals, but full steam ahead into disaster was their way, because power deludes those who have it.

No matter what, the earth will survive our foolish and arrogant behavior, but how much better it would be for us to think our way through the times, to rely upon reason and science, to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, rather than blunder our way into disaster.

The scientists warning us are not a bunch of panicked Chicken Littles, but women and men of wisdom who are likely and mostly right.

Biblically speaking, there is nothing in the text to warrant undo confidence in God's protective providence. The storm is coming said the prophets, and it came with God's own fury for a people who deafened themselves to the prophet's cry and hardened their hearts against the poor (these two dynamics seem to run hand-in-hand).

I hope, I pray, that our next group of leaders will have a greater sense of reason, a deeper respect for science, and a heart for the poor.

To avert disaster: to remember the polar bear and to care for the children who weep at night

Thursday, February 14, 2019

An Evangelical Apology

An Evangelical apology:
To the nation, to every American.
We apologize.
We have distorted the gospel.
We have cast our lot with power.
We have made an idol of our anti-abortion beliefs.
We have sold our soul.
We have used Christ without knowing Christ.
We have abused the Bible.
We have loved guns more than God.
We have been mostly silent on race.
We have hated people of the LGBTQ community.
We have winked at child abuse in our own ranks.
We have courted the worst in America.
To further our own interests.
We're sorry.
We repent.
We apologize.
(I'd like to see this, or something like it!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Like a Cold and Dreary Rain Storm

The news swirls around me like a cold and dreary rain storm that just doesn't want to quit (sounds like the start of cheap noire novel - ha).

But it's just terrible ...

That conflict and debate should surround a president is perfectly normal, but this ceaseless barrage of chaos and corruption has taken the US of A to a new low, degraded the office of the president, crippled the government and threatens the entire economy.

Is this normal?

Heaven's no.

This is more the stuff of banana republics and third world dictatorships ... but not for America.

Yet, look at Britain, and what the conservatives have done there, with their Brexit idiocy, their headlong plunge into the past, to regain some imagined golden age of British hegemony and independence.

Look now at Brazil.

And such tendencies in Poland and again in Serbian areas, that part of the world where partisan interests and violent empires collided head on in WW1.

Wherever the conservative, nationalistic, racist, crazies, have a chance to implement their view of things, tinged as they nearly always are with religious zealotry, chaos ensues, and the people suffer, ultimately, even the wealthy, who initially often support such moves, as they appear to them as potential profit. All across the board, it's avarice, that ancient sin of desire, to have it all, to have it now, to have it according to our wants and dictates, lest someone else get more than their "fair" share of the pie.

What has happening in America right now is nothing less that pathological - it's not normal, it's not rational, it's not politics as usual - it's demonic, wicked, evil, and deadly.

It is but one world in which we live, and all of us are sisters and brothers to one to another, whatever our status may be, and we're at one with our environment, and the more we try to dominate our environment the more thoroughly the environment will rise up against us - either we learn these lessons now, or the chaos will swallow us up.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dems Gave It All Away!

As much as I dislike the GOP, I fault the Dems for much of the current mess. Dems, of which too many were wannabe GOP, too many were willing to compromise, and too many just weren't paying attention to the local situation: school boards, library boards, town councils, state legislatures and governorships. Dems pretty well gave the whole damn store away, hoping that things would work out, failing to understand that the GOP was utterly predatory.

Friday, October 12, 2018

"Greatest Nation" Status????

The Netherlands, rich in history, largely progressive and pragmatic, is certainly one of the "greatest nations" of the world.

I realized that the first time I was here in 1984.

And along with other subsequent travels, it's clear to me that our world is rich with "greatness" ... beauty and culture, music and politics, science and industry.

If cheese and bread, sausage and beer were the ultimate values, then maybe Germany might be the greatest. But so would be the Netherlands ... had some bread here the other day that will likely be served in heaven, along with Dutch Butter.

Or maybe skating? Then, again, maybe herring and tulips! Go Orange!

And then there's public transit and rail travel.

I keep trying to figure out why "greatest nation" status is so important to so many Americans. Strikes me as both ignorance and its cousin, insecurity. Constant yelping about "greatest" seems, at best, to indicate immaturity of character.

Sure, America is huge, size wise and population wise ... we have a huge economy with our military-octopus wrapped around the world. We consume like mad, gobbling up everything we can.

The United States is about 237 times bigger than Netherlands. The population of Netherlands is 17 million people (307 million more people live in United States).

America has a fascinating history, too ... but hardly worthy of "greatest nation" status.

Our cultural contributions are mostly pop in nature, which is just fine. But it hardly merits "greatest of all" status. Our scientific endeavors are enormous, but certainly not without predecessors in other nations.

What does "greatest" really mean?

I have no idea!

But this I know: the Netherlands is a great nation!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

An Evangelical Went into the Wilderness

An evangelical went into the wilderness to pray and fast, to seek the face of God, for forty days.

And when the evangelical was hungry, the Devil came and said, “Make some bread for yourself, to assuage your hunger.”

And the evangelical said, “Of course, that’s something I can do. I work hard, I’m smart, I love God. But I’ll make just enough for myself; wouldn’t want to share my bread with anyone else.” 

“Of course not,” said the Devil.

So the evangelical made bread, satisfied the hunger and praised the god.

The next day, the Devil decided that another temptation might be in order, so the Devil took the evangelical to the pinnacle of a very large megachurch, and said, “Toss yourself off, because you know what the Bible says, “God will send angels to save you.”

Not knowing quite what do to, the evangelical thought about it, and decided to go into the megachurch and tell a conversion story, how she used to be a bad person, do drugs, mistreat little children, and loved money. And, then, after giving her life to god, she became a good person, done with drugs … and by god’s love, she now loves money in a new way, and when it comes to little children, especially immigrant children, she still mistreats them, only because of their parents; their parents made bad decisions, and you know what the Bible says, she wisely offered, that children are punished for the bad decisions their parents make.

Well, the megachurch crowed went crazy, especially on the part of loving money in a new way, and mistreating little children whose parents made bad decisions.

And the megachurch crowd anointed her with ordination and money.

The Devil said, “Well done m’dear.”

Well, a few more days passed, and the Devil wondered about some kind of final deal, a way to really hook the evangelical, so that she’d belong to the Evil One forever.

The Devil considered any number of things … and then hit upon the Great Idea, and the next day, after consulting with various demons and demiurges, the Devil went to the evangelical and said, “Look, I know that you hate abortion. Am I right?”

“Of course you’re right,” said the evangelical. “I hate abortion. I hate those who provide it. I hate the women who choose it. I hate the Supreme Court for affirming it as a right for women. By the way,” she said, “I hate equal rights for women. It hasn’t done us a bit of good except get us into trouble with our husbands. Our men need us to knuckle under and behave. We can’t be trusted. And I hate gays, too, and their agenda to take over our lives.”

“Well, here’s the deal,” said the Devil. “If you want judges to undo Roe v. Wade, judges to take away women’s freedom, and judges who will stop the gay agenda, here’s what you need to do.”

By this time, the evangelical was all ears, with a bright shining face, jumping for joy, praising god, singing praise songs. “What do I have to do?” she cried. “I’ll do it. I’ll do it!”

And the Devil said … 

“Wait, wait,” cried the evangelical. Let me get a few of my friends.”

And she did, and soon gathered around her, a smiling, eager, crowd … “We’re ready,” she said. “What must we do to have it our way?”

“Just bow down to me,” said the Devil, “and worship me …”

And before he finished the last word, she and the crowd flung themselves prostrate on the ground before the Devil, praising god and lifting their voices in endless choruses … they could feel the power flowing into them, their hatred growing stronger by the minute … the world was their’s, they’d have their way … ridding the world of all evil, making everyone bow down to their god. “Oh happy day,” they sang, while cleaning their weapons … and then the rallies began … here and there, cheering and shouting, singing and praying … flags waving and t-shirt slogans … power … oh, how the power came into them.

And the Devil was happy!