Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Speaking my mind.

I recently had a facebook “friend” tell me to post and not worry because real friends could handle it. Well, she later unfriended me because I posted what I felt and she thought I was to “fluffy” because I avoided hateful political and religious speech. She’s a tolerant liberal don’tcha know?  I’ve had facebook friends tell me that we shouldn’t abort babies because it’s unchristian. But, at the same time take kids off Medicaid and bomb kids in the Middle East because Christians shouldn’t interfere with the government don’tcha know?

I was raised as we say in the south “In the Church.” My grandmother who pretty much raised me was Church of God of Prophecy. My grandmother on my dad’s side was Southern Baptist. They agreed on what Christians call the absolutes of the faith. The virgin birth, born again and tithing. They disagreed on the gifts of the  spirit and the ability to “backslide” or once saved always saved. But, their faith was sweet. Their savior wasn’t a politician. The Jesus I grew up being taught about was a wounded and humble savior. He was with the downtrodden and the widow and the orphan. He was a friend to the poor and a stumbling block to the rich and powerful.

Back before it was politically correct and before and during a governor foolishly standing in a school house door I remember something from my childhood. Right there in the “deep south” of Gadsden, Alabama at the Church of God of Prophecy. So long ago that I barely have memory of it. A black choir came to visit that little white church. Did they rock? Lord yes. Did they worship? Lord yes. Did everybody shout with the Holy Ghost and did they have as we say in the south “dinner on the ground” together ? Good Father God YES! Did they all become more tolerant and become good liberals in the heart of Dixie? Hell to the NAH! But, they did come together and they did show a little Jesus that day.

So some of my more religious friends wonder why I don’t feel the way I used to feel about  the faith. Well, to be honest some of y’all act like a cult. You worry so much that you are going to insult an old man in the sky that you walk around with a stick up your butt all day and forget where ya came from and who you really are. You talk about a meglo maniac who wants to know if you have thought of sex or said a bad word that day so he can send you to burn forever. A place where you look down and see “sinners” in torment and shout praises to a very human ego maniac all day. Then you wonder why people don’t find it very attractive?  Your Jesus is used to justify a man who publically humiliated a disabled man and has cast widows and orphans into the street and you say he’s a “man of god” and will bring god back to America. Really? I don’t think the Jesus of the suffering and the one who said if he ask for your cloak hand him your coat too would be very welcome in Trumpland.

Saying what you really think can get you in trouble. I’ve seen tolerant liberals with their silly Obama worship want to cast me out of the club. I’ve seen big tough conservatives want to beat me up because I disagree with their religion and their politics.

I have Zero problem with fiscal conservatives who think we have too much government spending. I may or may not agree but I have zero problem with them. But, the ones who proclaim Christ. Those who would cut Medicaid and deny medical care to cancer patient’s and heart patients. Those who would call the fetus holy while denying basic care to the child once it’s  born. Those? Hell yeah I have a problem with them. Your God’s waaay to small for me to worship.

I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’ve been to far down the road and have actually had some things happen that I can’t deny and I hold them as precious. But, I’m not leaving my brain at the door. I’m not lockstepping with Franklin Graham and by the way it’s lovely how he just found the Lord in time to take over the mega organization of Billy Graham Ministries. Am I judging him? By their fruit you will know them. He’s in bed with the GOP and I hate to shake ya but GOP doesn’t stand for God’s Own Party. So, the hypocritical liberal lady that wanted me to be honest with my feelings? Well, I don’t argue on facebook. I don’t yell at my friends. But, this is my blog. I run my mouth about feelings and rock music and books and even religion. This is where I speak my mind. Nobody has to read it and it doesn’t come up in a rant in a newsfeed.

But, as always if you do read it I am honored. Agree or disagree I’m just honored that anyone would take the time to read a rant or an opinion that I post.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

I"m just sittin here

Ever wonder what it would be like to just sit down and talk with Jesus? Now, maybe you don’t believe in Jesus as a historical reality. I do but you don’t have to for this to work. Maybe, you don’t believe there’s only one way to heaven, virgin births or dead bodies rising out of graves and just knitting back together via some kind of unknown spiritual alchemy. That’s okay too. I’m not a fundalmentalist these days either. As a matter of fact I keep a lot of what I think to myself when it comes to religion. I cringe equally at the pronouncements of zealous religious people and zealous atheists. Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that reincarnation best fits the available information that I have. I have thought this and wrestled with this since the early 80’s while still maintaining my Christian identity. But, I’m not interested in convincing or putting my inner journey on trial for anyone else’s judgement, amusement or salvation. I’m not interested in proving anything.

I love meditation. I struggle with it often. It’s hard (even for me) J to let my mind go completely blank. Now my wife might disagree with that last part. But, when I meditate all of a sudden I have to pee. NEVER FAILS. My head itches, my arm is asleep, my leg feels heavy , every car that passes sounds like a jet taking off. But, every once in awhile I get still. I breathe. I just be. I think that if I can just get quiet enough. If I can just be still and listen. Look, right there where my third eye is supposed to be in the center of my forehead. I know you laugh but if I can just….

So, Steve how are you doing? It’s okay you are in a holy place. Only you and I have the right to be here. Sit down right there. It’s your spot. Now, it’s been what 60 years since you started out on this particular journey? Me: Well it’s actually over 59. No need to rush. J  

Oh, right. What’s time anyway? Now, I know it’s been a little hectic for you at times. I know you didn’t always get everything perfect and I know you haven’t always been treated perfectly. But, I do want you to know that the things you get right carry more weight on the scales of life than the things you get wrong.   Me: Whew, that helps. I can name several things I’ve gotten wrong since I got up this morning.

This social work thing still getting to you?  Me: Yeah, it is. I started out a little right wing and then after seeing so much oppression and sickness and poverty I started leaning pretty far left wing. But, lately seeing so much whining and blaming and not taking responsibility I’ve started to go back a little more center. Still there’s that time I passed the Mexican border for instance. It looked horribly poor over there. I couldn’t imagine blaming anyone for trying to get their family across the border. Also, since that time we almost lost our own home and I wasn’t sure how I was going to buy food and medicine and my child has asthma and I knew we were not lazy or sorry or leeches. But, we needed help. Hearing some of my right wing friends talk about Christ in one breath and letting children drop off Medicaid with the other was frustrating.  I’m to the point now where I just want to go out into the woods by the river and build a cabin and drink coffee in  the morning and tea in the afternoon and my inner 19 year old wants to smoke a doobie and just let the frickin world go by.

Yeah, it’s tough. Still, you enjoy that sunrise and I know you were awed by that moon the other night. I  also know your heart went out when you saw what happened to that child while working at DHR. You have a good heart and I know that could have made you more cynical.  Me: It’s just that I learned long ago that God isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus and there are times when crap happens. But, I get the feeling that right there in the midst of the pain and misery and evil that you are still there. I don’t see hopelessness. I see evil that is temporary. I see heart wrenching soul sucking hell that is still overshadowed by the hope that this is a pale shadow of a greater reality.

Yeah, nice words but it still hurts. People seem to forget the take up the cross part. No matter what you believe there aren’t any magic beans to save you from the world.

Me: Yeah, I sometimes think about how Christ showed (no matter your religion) that this world is so precious that the “Ground Of All Being” would take on flesh to participate in it. Yet, it so pales to the reality of who and what we really are that he would lay the flesh down in pain and move on to a better place in the eternal journey. It gives me hope even though I’m sure I’m a heretic to the fundamental Christian and a fool to the atheist.

Yeah, well have ya looked at what I was to the leaders of the temple? Don’t worry about it. You have to be honest with yourself. After all you can fool mankind but in your heart when you are alone at night you can’t escape what you really believe.

Me: You know there are times when I don’t really  buy into the personal daddy in the sky. But, there are other times when I really need to just sidle up beside you and rest.

It’s okay. You can relax here. You  can pull up beside me and just rest.

Me: I will. I really will.

I love you.

Me: I count on that. I count on that big time!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Things I think I think.

Things I think I think:

1.       One of These Nights is the album I would want to have with me if I could only have one album with me on a desert island. It’s the Eagles and it’s one of those teenage angst memories for me. I got the 8 track of this one lonely winter night in my youth and drove around and listened to it for hours.

 One of these dreams
One of these lost and lonely dreams
We're gonna find one
One that really screams…Eagles


2.       Stephen King is the greatest and most unique writer of his generation. Luckily for me I already was a voracious reader from my youth. I say that because in high school for a lit class I was made to read “ Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I remember thinking “if this was the first book I had ever read. It would have killed the love of reading right then and there. Sorry, it’s just true. However, if as a young person 100 years from now I was made to read “The Stand” by Stephen King as an example of mid to late 20th Century Literature I might just develop a taste for reading. Sometimes our schools and institutions take the most amazing things and make it as dry as dust and then wonder why our youth are stupid. Our youth aren’t stupid. Their often bored.

 “Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
Stephen King, The Stand


3.       I really want Midnight Train to Georgia to be played at my funeral. Seriously.  The beat the incredible voice of Gladys Knight and the harmony of the original Pips. I had a friend who once said life is like a bus. At the last stop you get off. But, I think life is more like the midnight train. At the end you go home and find yourself after all.

He's leaving
On that midnight train to georgia
(leaving on a midnight train)
Oh yeah
Oh y'all
Said he's going back to find
(he's going back to find)
A simpler place and time…Gladys Knight


4.    Clint Eastwood movies are the most visceral or gut kicking. Who doesn’t at one time or another wish they could just deal out sweet justice to the bullies and bad men. Give the woman hitters and child abusers and the oppressors their due. As we say in the south “Give your heart to Jesus cause your ass belongs to me.”

Get your popcorn ready.


5.    Remember to breathe. Life goes so fast. I remember two ladies from a long time ago talking one day at work. I worked for Etowah County Tax Assessor back in those days. These were “friends” but they really talked at each other. One day I  remember one of them regaling her friend with some bit of her life that was fascinating to her. But, her friend could barley stay still with the urge to relate something “more important” from her own life. When the first lady finally stopped talking? Her friends response was “Okay” and then she launched into the tale she had been waiting to relate with barely any real understanding of what her friend had just said to her. We talk at each other and over each other. If I can just get you to listen I’m sure I can MAKE you understand why my politics, religion, outlook on life and death are true. So, I’ll wait and maybe the other person will shut up and I can lead them to see “the truth.”


people have more fun than anybody, except for horses, and they can't.”…Needful Things..Stephen King.



Anyway, just ramblin. I hope 2017 brings all who read this (and especially me) all the good things and hope of the year and the years ahead. God Willing.