"Instability is a permanent feature of capitalism, but the coronavirus pandemic has introduced a whole new level of volatility. Amid the turmoil, the American right is dreaming more feverishly than ever of apocalypse and heroism." ~ Meagan Day - Jacobin magazine
Monday, August 31, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
I look out my french doors,
across my deck,
and I see a pink crepe myrtle,
pulsing with extravagant energy,
palm trees reaching high for the sky,
and mountains’ purple haze.
A witness to creation!
But I have to be careful, don’t you think?
Because some look out a broken window right now, and what they see is full of sorrow, everything broken, twisted, soaked, tumbled and torn. We give ‘em names like Laura and Hana …
when they might better be named
Hells-Bells or Holy Crap.
Think of it.
Holy Crap now up to category 4.
Making landfall in twelve hours.
And Hells-Bells churning just south of Florida.
But that’s how nature does it …
it would seem:
a little help from us
carbon and and lot of other junk
we throw above our heads
like children lofting lovely leaves in the rituals of fall.
I see …
For TV and the Internet.
Because I see what some have to see.
And it’s not pretty.
LORD have mercy.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
I need a shower, maybe two or three … and a good mind-scrubbing.
I just finished a remarkable book by historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez, from Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.”
I knew a lot of this story, but Du Mez connected a lot of dots and forcefully draws the conclusion: Trump is not an anomaly, but the culmination of 50 years, and more, of evangelical militaristic masculinity.
Trump is their man - his behavior confirming for them his manliness, a virtue desperately needed to preserve this nation’s greatness, a greatness built upon patriarchy, white supremacy, nationalism, and militarism. A nation under attack from within by liberals and progressives who support women’s choice, women’s equality, gay rights and voting rights, and under attack from without by Communism and now Islam.
Along the way, evangelical fixation on sex has led to some of the most bizarre ideas and behaviors that are nothing less than pornographic - all in the service of the easily bruised male ego, which is crucial to the welfare of the nation. It all begins with the man, a clearly defined manly man, masculine, dominate, steak-eating, gun-loving, soldier-like, and powerful, with women created by God to keep the man happy, proud, strong, through her obedience, quietness, sexual servitude, and child-bearing and rearing, to produce another generation of soldiers for Christ and the little women to serve them.
Hence, anything that blurs the lines between male and female is to be rejected, and those who would promote the blurring of lines, as do Democrats, liberals, universities, public schools, socialists, people of color, and Hillary, are to be vilified, hated, feared, mocked, and condemned.
Boys should play with guns, and girls with dolls. And if boys are boys, well, then, girls need to be forgiving and quiet. Everything, of course, should be reserved for marriage. Boys are initiated into the secrets of manhood in a hunting camp, and girls at purity balls and makeup parties.
15 years in the making, this book dives deep into the murky waters of evangelicalism, and while some evangelicals have protested all along the way, the bulk of evangelicalism has moved into hyper-conservatism, bolstered by the Christian publishing and music industry, talk radio and FOX News, in partnership with politicians who have played the evangelicals for all their worth, and evangelical religious leaders who have loved the power of their influence peddling in the halls of congress and the Oval Office.
Du Mez’s writing is clear and her points well-documented. That she survived this ordeal is a testament to her fortitude and her faith, that what has been done can be undone, and to a host of people around her - family, friends, and scholars who share her commitment to the truth and her hope for better days.
I thought I knew much of this story, but I didn’t. I had no idea as to the depth and breadth of it all, so well-funded, and so well connected to rightwing politics and rightwing military leaders. I knew something about Colorado Springs as the center of it all, but no idea as to how deep it went, and how deep it remains, though more and more is being revealed, and brought under scrutiny.
I find it amazing that evangelicalism thrives in an environment of control, fear, and secrets, and when brought to light, it reacts with violence, and lies all the more to cover itself and keep the flock obedient.
This vital book filled in lots of my knowledge-gaps, and drew lots of lines between people, organizations, and ideas, to make it painfully clear just how insidious and deadly is the evangelical hold on much of America. Evangelicalism is not about life, no matter what it claims, but control and power and greed and manipulation, with the white male as king of the mountain.
My thanks to Ms. Du Mez for this extraordinary book, a book that belongs on everyone’s shelf, or on everyone’s kindle, deserving a careful reading and much prayer.
And, yes, like me, you may need shower or two after reading it.
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Whether it be Cain killing his brother, Abel, or Elisha using his newfound power to kill some children, the splintering effect sets one against the other - people, communities, entire nations, the world.
Jesus fought evil's effects by crossing boundaries and going where "proper people" didn't go.
The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ reconciling the world, through the cross, through his death, by his suffering, to repair the damages of sin.
Ultimately leading Paul to the glorious affirmation, that in Christ all the usual categories of splintering are overcome, so that in Christ, there is no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free, no longer male and female.
Movement Conservatives*, of either the political or evangelical bent, require splintering for their purposes.
They thrive on division, folks pitted against one another - the usual categories of splintering: saved or damned, man or woman, white or colored, taker or maker, capitalist or socialist, straight or queer, strong or weak, Reagan or FDR, public schools or private schools, voting rights or voter fraud, voting in person or voting by mail, masks or no masks, stay home or go to church.
For the Movement Conservative, everything is a reason for splintering, because in splintering, they find their perverse strength.
Movement Conservatives are not strong enough in the usual shove and push of politics and faith; they don't have the votes to win, except through gerrymandering and voter suppression, and likely Russian influence.
Nor do they have a Gospel of hope and reconciliation - needing instead schools and churches with harsh boundaries, seasoned with white supremacy, male dominance, the love of guns, and the hatred of LDGBQ persons.
Movement Conservatives have to divide in order to conquer, and let's be honest here, the Movement Conservative is determined to conquer, to win everything, to destroy democracy and rebuild the Oligarchy (Southern Style), to undo FDR's social supports and replace them with Reagan's supply-side economics, to undo voting rights, civil rights, rights for women and people of color, because such rights for all, they claim, diminish the rights, the liberties, the privileges, of the few, those few who alone know how to run things, to advance the American cause, or the cause of Christ.
That some should be Movement Conservatives for the sake of politics doesn't surprise or sadden me. There have always been those like the Genesis story of Lamech who love the blood and gore of revenge and victory.
But what truly saddens me, though it doesn't surprise me either, is how the evangelicals have bought into Movement Conservatism lock, stock, barrel.
In so doing, evangelicals have abandoned the salvation of Christ, rejected his purpose, denied his call to discipleship, and joined the hostile crowds standing in Pilate's courtyard to shout at the top of their lungs, hands raised in praise, "Crucify him."
Evangelicals have bowed the knee to Baal, Mammon, and Ceaser. With their trumped up claims to "freedom of worship," and personal rights, they trample upon the public good and further splinter the nation. They no longer serve Christ, but some distorted version thereof.
History is full of such hideous moments: and of more recent times: the church in Spain with Franco, the church in Italy with Mussolini, and the church in Germany with Hitler. Fascism, national socialism, militarism - white supremacy, racial purity, the dominance of the rich, the subjugation of women, and government by brutal power.
Movement Conservatives are out to get it all, and if they can't get it all, they'll destroy it all.
In the meantime, dear friends, be smart, be careful, wash your hands, wear your masks and don't be misled by those who would splinter the nation while working for their own privilege and power.
If you're a Christian, spend some time in the Gospels, especially the Sermon on the Mount and Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
And to all my friends here, if you've read this through, I salute you for your care and compassion, your larger sense of life and hope, your commitment to the common good of this nation, and the welfare of the world.
*For Movement Conservatives, see the work of historian, Heather Richardson ...