Saving Grace

prayer-in-school

I just had to do some admittedly too late to call it spring cleaning of my friends list on Facebook. I know you should not live in an echo chamber but the absolutely psychotic degree of hatred leveled at the poor (or as they like to call them “takers”) in our country was starting to trigger me, hard. I wish had saved the internet meme that put me over the edge. It was something along the lines of “share if you think it is wrong that some, hard-working, people are taxed to the point of breaking to give money to those who refuse to work.” Frankly I put a bit of the blame for the timing of that meme on a crap broadcast by that bastion of “liberal” media, 60 minutes, on disability benefit fraud. Nothing says legitimate journalism like sensationalist, nasty, speculation by two disgruntled employees, but I digress. I blame the ongoing nastiness directed at the less fortunate in society on something far more insidious. Continue reading

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The Co-Opting Of “Karma”

I want to put it right out there that I have not read the Bhagavad Gita. I am not an expert on karma, whether it is the Hindu vision of it, the Buddhist vision of it, or the Granola Chomping, New Agey, Buddha-Lite vision of it. I have read here and there, I listen,  and I pay attention. To my understanding, and please, actual experts on it correct me if I am wrong, it is not some tit for tat, good for bad exchange. It is not, at least not strictly, a means of correcting bad deeds with good and keeping some sort of cosmic check book. Continue reading

Sometimes Compassion is Hard

I know a thing or two about bitter. I have felt the sting of anger and hatred. I have known the disappointment of living in world that does not accept me, and that allows those that openly vilify me to spew their bile. It is so easy to give in to outrage or, worse, into self-righteous satisfaction when those who have hurt us willingly have fallen. Still, I would hope we could get beyond all that. Continue reading

Macho, Macho Messiah!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, so to speak. There is plenty of weird to go around in the far-right, Christian circles, and mostly not in the good way, but I think Jerry Boykin’s assertions about Christ may take the cake. He is, of course, not the first to make such statements. I once owned a book called the Lexicon of Stupidity, full of quotes from speakers who were not quite all there at the time they were speaking. There were at least a couple of quotes rejoicing Jesus’s manliness. It is too bad that people like this are missing several points. Continue reading

Go To Meetin’: What Kind of Growth

FAITH

FAITH (Photo credit: cacigar)

It is a theme I hear come up often. I hear it from friends and family. I see it on 24 hour news networks. I read it in my newsfeed on Facebook. People in churches are concerned with the membership levels in their particular faith community. Evangelicals like to boast how theirs is the fasting growing in America (they tend to skip over the fact that non-believers are the fastest growing group overall on this question, but whatever.) Mainstream Protestant and Catholic groups worry about dwindling membership, and other, newer expressions of faith worry that they are not big enough. Continue reading

Go To Meeting: Beating on The Chest of God

Walks On The Beach

Walks On The Beach (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

Faith isn’t always easy. I don’t know this from personal experience, not being a  person of faith myself, but from those of my friends that are part of a faith community. Many have kept their belief in divine love (as opposed to divine “I love you better than everyone else”) through incredible difficulties. They have sat through other people feeding them tired clichés and conflicting advice and come through the other side with their faith intact. I find that kind of strength stirring to my soul (and while I am uncertain of its existence, to quote Neil Gaiman “call it a soul for it is solely mine.”) Continue reading

The Incredible Shrinking God

Pendant depicting the Dwarf God Pataikos Egypt...

Pendant depicting the Dwarf God Pataikos Egypt 664-525 BCE Faience (Photo credit: mharrsch)

June is upon us once more, which means, among other things, that the Pride Parades have begun in earnest. Today my new hometown of Buffalo enjoyed theirs. It was a fun spectacle, and always great to see so many queer folk and our allies out there refusing to be silenced. No more being forced into closets no matter how much some may howl that we belong there, or in hotter places. I was fortunate that my friends and were nowhere near those poor baying beasts, but out there they were, shouting their hate and fear to any who would listen. Continue reading