Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It may be that this is what public discourse has come to. It's brilliant and sad at the same time. But yes, it is brilliant.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Soldiers, War, Loss, Honor

It must have been 1969 or 1970, with Vietnam still going full blast. My sister's boyfriend was over there and we were visiting relatives in New Hampshire. It was a regular summer event with my aunt and uncle having an awesome pool and big 3-story house. We kids, my two sisters and I, got the third floor as our bedroom and it was an evening I'll never forget.

I was outside by the pool, heard the phone ring in the house and didn't think much of it. My aunt picked it up, called my mother to the phone and it was a brief conversation. Moments later I heard the wail, the scream of pain, the total bottoming out of my sister's world as she got the news that Larry had been killed in combat. May his memory live on with those that new him and may they be at peace. Him, too.

We must honor every soldier, no matter the war they fought in.

That honor includes respect for their duties done under the orders of the powers that be, regardless of what we think of the powers that be.

That honor includes giving a little space and time to them when they do or don't want to talk about what they did and saw.

That honor includes making the Veteran's Administration hospitals places they can return to as often and as freely as needed, with great services for health both mental and physical.

That honor includes never telling them what you think about whatever war it was they fought in unless to say they did what they were called to do and they did it to the best of their abilities.

Thank honor includes thanking them for their service.

It isn't the soldiers that do right or wrong in any given war, it is the war makers, the top dogs. I do believe war can be just as much as I hate those that start unjust wars.

But I will always honor the troops.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Healthcare "Negotiations"

Let's see - Republicans refuse to vote for any bill that includes a public option along with a many other demands, the Dems lamely give in on all of the demands, and the Republicans then refuse to sign the bill anyway.

When will the Dems learn that the GOP is all about stalling, all about obfuscating, all about lying about anything to protect their constituency, big business?!

Or are too many of the Dems in bed with the same crowd and only running a facade of a campaign for real reform?

As the GOP has refused to sign anything, the Dems should go back to a plan with real teeth - The fully available public option that any individual or business can buy in to - and get it passed anyway.

Anything less is failure, or perhaps it would be success if my assumption in paragraph 3 is correct.

I want the change we voted for.

And yes, all this could be avoided if we had a true public campaign financing and laws that engaged liability for free speech that includes lies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Conservatives Protest in Washington

I had the pleasure of driving through central California on Friday and got an earful of talk radio right and left. Starting with Randi Rhodes in Palo Alto, I'm glad to say that this ex-Marine and very intelligent woman's rhetoric didn't leave me with a wet ear from the spittle spewed. Thank God for radio. At the moment I don't even recall what she was speaking about.

Then it was Sean Hannity and his drool. The callers-in on his show were all in Washington or headed to Washington for the upcoming protest march. They were, IMHO, about as intelligent as the tomatoes out in my garden but they sure were on topic and commented from their hearts on the things that have them so riled up.

I guess that's what free speech in America has come to mean - those talk show folks that appeal to the extremes get air time and callers, the rest of the media is afraid to say anything to offend their advertisers.

Here's why the progressive president we elected should ignore that Saturday protest in Washington - they didn't elect him, they fought him to the end and won't shut up even though they are LOSERS!

Did we shut up when W. was president? No. Did we get listened to? No. That's how this democracy called America works - those that win elections get to set the agenda and hopefully get it passed. Those that LOSE get to protest.

Fair enough. Let them rally as they please but please, Mr. President, ignore those selfish ignorant and yes, sadly racist fools as they quite entirely deserve to be ignored. And yes, I sense racism as a fever I haven't sensed in decades.

Mr. President - you won with that mandate W. falsely claimed was his. You have both houses in your party if not at your dinner table. You have the chance to change much of what is wrong with America. Get it done, please.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama's Healthcare Speech

It's painfully obvious that even if President Obama had laid a big turd on the podium the leftest wing of the media - the MSNBC crowd of Keith, Rachel and Ed - would have praised it for its pungency, fine texture, and well ... I've gone too far already. They are spinning madly to try to bring the leftest of the left in line with the President's agenda.

But it was no turd. It was the middle ground that is achievable. I'm not happy with it but I see there is hope of real reform and, maybe, a real public option that anyone can buy in to. May it be so.

The best thing to come from it in my mind is that he sounded reasonable and that will make the nutjob liars of the right, like that congressman from the Carolinas, sound like nutjob liars even to some of their nutjob constituents.

May it be so.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Imperfect Bible

I've been in a struggle of late - I had started hearing that the Bible was perfect and wasn't in a position to say otherwise. Teaching the youth I wanted to be on the right theological page with my church. I'm frankly uncertain if those words were being spoken or if I was only hearing them, but a subtle change had taken place in the way things were being spoken.

Then I found support for my thinking on the new ELCA web site. Here is a quote from http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/New-or-Returning-to-Church/Dig-Deeper/The-Bible.aspx :

The Bible’s authority rests in God
ELCA Lutherans confidently proclaim with all Christians that the authority of the Bible rests in God. We believe that God inspired the Bible’s many writers, editors and compilers. ...

... At the same time, we also find in the Bible human emotion, testimony, opinion, cultural limitation and bias. ELCA Lutherans recognize that human testimony and writing are related to and often limited by culture, customs and world view. Today we know that the earth is not flat and that rabbits do not chew their cud (Leviticus 11:6 ). These are examples of time-bound cultural understandings or practices. Christians do not follow biblically prescribed dietary laws such as eliminating pork from one’s diet (Leviticus 11:7) because the new covenant we have with God has replaced the Old Testament covenant God had with his people. Because Biblical writers, editors and compilers were limited by their times and world views, even as we are, the Bible contains material wedded to those times and places. It also means that writers sometimes provide differing and even contradictory views of God’s word, ways and will.

Listening to the living Jesus in the context of the church, we therefore have the task of deciding among these. Having done this listening, we sometimes conclude either that the writer’s culture or personal experience (e.g., subordination of women or keeping of slaves) seems to have prompted his missing what God was saying or doing, or that God now is saying or doing something new.

Obviously the question becomes “How do we know which to choose?” It is much easier to say that everything there is inviolate and we must obey each word, but we’ve walked away not only from the dietary laws that Jesus clearly stated were no longer valid, but also the “laws” that we now see as customs – tassles on clothes, particular hairstyles, etc., i.e., we’ve already chosen to leave some of that behind that Jesus did not release us from specifically. I think those items and those similar to them we would agree are not the yoke we are to wear.

So, how do we choose? I’ll go with the apostle Paul on this – we’re Gentiles and have right and wrong written on our hearts and the words of God as well as the Word of God call to us even beyond what we have written on our hearts. Still, it does not make it easier. But these are not easy times.

May the peace of the Lord be with us all.