Thursday, September 20, 2018

Prayer, nuts and common sense

My job is like a baseball game. I’m in the outfield kind of looking at the sky when all of a sudden somebody hits a double and I have to run like “h-e-double-toothpicks “ to get to the ball and try to stop the baserunner that was already on second base from scoring.  Then I can go back to patrolling the outfield until the next time somebody gets a hit. So, I’m usually either running full out or not running at all. Sometimes during the lull in the action I have time (although limited when you count the documentation I’m already behind on) to write a little on my blog. Back and forth during the day or all at once depending on the length. 

 So, that brings me to today and right now I’m just kind of waiting on the next pitch so I have a minute to write. Two things caught my eye today. One was a friend posting about the local school system not allowing a prayer before the football game and the other was a wild eyed tax dodger evangelist who has migrated across the state line from Florida to South Alabama.  Lawd, don’t Bama already have enough nuts?

The thing about the prayer before the football game kind of struck home. I’m born and raised in the vicinity or at least the part of North Alabama the issue is being raised in. I remember countless football games from my youth both as a small child and during high school and it was a tradition and honestly a bit of a comfort for the local Baptist or Methodist or Church of God preacher to pray the Lord’s protection over the players and for the safety of the crowd on the way home. I don’t know how many if any injuries were actually avoided by the prayer but the minute of stillness and recognition of our own human frailty before The Deity always seemed comforting to me if I thought of it at all. At the most it was as I said a comfort and at the least I just waited patiently for the adult to finish his or her prayer so I could raise my head and get on with the night. No harm at any rate and so I would never have thought anything about it.

Now in all honesty my faith and my beliefs and worldview have undergone a lot of changes since my childhood and teenage years. Even from my young adulthood. I no longer feel that one size fits all when it comes to religion and I understand that not everyone is going to agree with the concept of God or meaning in the universe or if Jesus saves. I get that. I am uncomfortable at work when during an office lunch somebody say’s let’s bow our heads for the blessing. It just seems phony on some level and a bit oppressive on another. I personally do bless my food. I do it quietly between me and my Source (God) and move on. Others don’t do a blessing at all and some are atheist or agnostic or maybe even Pagan or Wiccan or Buddhist. I have come to a place where I understand the bible is not some holy book that was written by God and personally handed down from an angel to mankind. It’s a collection of wisdom and holy interaction and myth and politics and war and slavery. Much of what the “church” now considers scripture was given by Rome and sanctioned by Rome and interpreted by Rome and others for a specific agenda. So, when you hear actual scholars (not Dallas Theological Seminary or Lee College of the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee) talk about the actual meaning and culture and time and place then you realize that some people are trying to judge other’s and modern society based on 6000 year old Jewish dietary laws and 2000 year old stories that may or may not be literal.

Please don’t misunderstand. I absolutely have no regrets at all for the times I prayed at an alter in my youth or attended the Church of God of Prophecy with my Grandmother. I cherish the night I was Baptized at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Attalla, Alabama. It gave me a foundation and a parameter for my life and the gift of prayer . I was once asked by a fundamentalist if I thought I could take part of the bible and leave part out. Well Yeah I can. Because the “bible” isn’t a single book written by a single author. Honestly, I have more respect as a so called heretic than I had in my fundi days. Because then I was “believing” because I was told what to believe. Now, I can be honest with myself about what I do think and what I don’t accept.

But, anyway considering the prayer at a football game.  I firmly believe that a community has the right to have a prayer before a game. Most of the time the people protesting are from outside the community and are trying to impose their power and will on others. It’s not done out of love of country or fellow men. It’s done out of bullying and silliness. Because if you don’t want to pray or bow your head then don’t pray or bow your head. If you want a Buddhist prayer or a Wiccan prayer or a different prayer then get enough people together and have your prayer or invocation. We seem to have lost all common sense in this world.

But, also if your “God” can be kicked out of schools or ballgames or anywhere else then maybe it’s time you spelled it “god” instead of God.  J I don’t like forced prayer and I don’t like public prayer that assumes that I believe or live just like the speaker or the preacher. Seems hypocritical to me. But, I also don’t like somebody coming in to a small community and disrupting the peace just to make a point. The prayer of the local minister and the community isn’t going to hurt you and it isn’t going to oppress you unless somebody is standing there forcing you at the threat of life and limb to take part. So to the atheist and the secular folks (who I would otherwise agree on some points with) get a life. Sheesh.

The second thing I saw today was a nutty dude who started an anti evolution theme park in North Carolina but he migrated south (Lawd, why do the idiot snowbirds love South Alabama and Northwest Florida?) So, he now having served time in prison for tax evasion Are ya listening Donny Trump?, is now of course asking the “children of the lawd” to help him fight Satan and pay off his bills and support his anti evolution and 6000 year old earth idiocy.

I have a friend who is always going to be a religious person. I actually miss talking to him but I don’t miss the blind acceptance of religion. Every once in a while he will post about a “ shortened leg growing out after a prayer.” Or a drug user getting off drugs and delivered praise da Lawd. I’m so sorry and it’s not because I’m an atheist because I’m not an atheist. But, stating stuff like this without any proof at all is not helping the cause of Christ. (bring the doctors xray before and after as proof) As a matter of fact it’s just providing more fuel for the scoffers and the so called unbelievers. Now, I know another friend who has a ministry to the drug addicted. His method is longer and harder and more effective because he’s working in the trenches and understands that a quick “Help him Jaysus” might not be the cure all for a lifetime of excess drug and alcohol use.

So, people like this nutty preacher trying to dumb down the flock are doing a great disservice to people who might otherwise need a spiritual foundation. But, unless they are totally unwilling to look at the age of the earth (it’s ancient by the way) and the fact of change over time (which is evolution) then only a few misguided zealots will be parted from their money by this dummy.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.  But, let me say this. When I say something about the south it’s not from a perspective of hate or wanting to put it down. I’m southern to my core. I love the south and it’s people and I think it’s the greatest part of the nation except for some backwards political junk.

When I talk about the church please understand. I’m born and bred in the church. I still have a prayerful foundation because of the church and I wouldn’t trade it. So, right  or wrong when I speak, I speak as family and not as a hater of the faith or religion. But, I can’t pretend to believe something I don’t just to get a pat on the head and to not offend people. Some of the people that this will perhaps  offend (if they read it which most of them don’t.) are my childhood friends and kin and people I’ve loved all my life. I have no desire to push away the connections that I’ve been blessed to rekindle on facebook and the memories I have of Walnut Park in Gadsden and Altoona from back in the day.

But, this is my take on this at this time. Life is a journey and a marathon. Not a 50 yard dash. Although, there are times when it seems like a 50 yard dash. It’s awfully short and fast. So, that’s all I got to say about that.


Friday, September 7, 2018

I grew up on music. First my mother sang Country and Western and my step dad played it on his Martin Guitar. 🎻🎸Now, I hated it back in the day mainly because it was a parent thing and for other more personal reasons. However, as I got older I developed a taste for Willie and Waylon and Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.  But, country wasn’t my youthful choice. Like most kids from my generation Rock was my choice.🎸

So, I was just thinking today about which music makes me smile. Small disclaimer here. I play the guitar (not well but I do play) I’m self taught in plunking out chords (however badly) on a piano. But, I’m not a huge music listener. I go through phases of listening but I don’t have and don’t want to have 2,500 songs downloaded on a loop.🎢 If you do that’s fine. I have really great friends that do. I just don’t. But, when I’m in the mood then I really do love to crank it up.πŸ”ŠπŸŽ§πŸŽΆ

I really enjoy a guitar riff and I can play air guitar even better than I play my actual six string. πŸ‘…  I can remember when Birmingham, Alabama had an album station. The D.J.  would call out the menu like a waiter. Very few to no commercials and I can still hear the menu. Tonight we have some Foghat followed by Jackson Brown. A little Molly Hatchet and some FleetwoodMac. Some Eagles and we will follow that with some Led Zeppelin. Finishing off with some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker. I mean it was all night long and commercial free. The station was even written up in The Rolling Stone in what was then a major honor.🎹🎢

I really loved Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris and I enjoyed hearing Alice Cooper as he belted out some really good summertime lyrics with “Schools out forever. School’s been blown to pieces.”  But, some songs just made me smile. Ray Stevens had one called “Ahab the Arab”πŸ‘… and no you probablycan’t play it today. Matter of fact when I was really young back in Gadsden, Alabama there was a rock and roll song called “I want my baby back.” Complete with the lyrics of describing his baby after a wreck complete with sound effects. The singer wailed “There was my baby” and “over there was my baby.” And “Over there was my baby”

Baby had been really messed up in the wreck don’tcha know. The end had the sound of a coffin opening as the singer said “I got my baby back.”

So, even though I didn’t party to a lot of parody songs and that particular one was out when  I was a very young child. There are songs that still make me smile. So, I thought I would list a few albums. These aren’t parody songs however. But, it’s either the kick ass guitar or the lyrics on some of the songs that still make me smile a big ole “Lets party like it’s 1976 grin.” πŸ‘…✌🍺🍻

These are not my favorite albums of all time. As a matter of fact one of them by Kiss is really not very good at all musically or skill wise. At least my older self doesn’t think so. But, they did make me smile and party on so here they are.

1.       Nazareth “Hair of the Dog” 1975. This one has it all. Whiskey drinking woman. Love Hurts and my favorite is the title song “Hair of the Dog” with the really cool lyrics of “Now you’re messin with a son of a bitch. I love this album and if I’m anywhere near it then I  don’t need my hearing aid cause I’ll turn this sucker up and as we used to say in the 70’s “Tear the knob off the radio.”

2.       Foghat “Fool for the City” 1975. “Slow Ride.” It’s the perfect song for my little long haired hillbilly hippie soul. It starts out with steady beat and guitar and the singer gets into the high pitched rock and roll throaty heights. I used to sing along and since I have a naturally higher than it should be voice I was able to hit the notes back in the day. Loved this one and still smile when I hear it. I’d listen to the whole album just to hear Slow Ride again. The rest of the album isn’t bad either.

3.       Kiss “Destroyer.”  “Detroit Rock City” complete with the sound of a mighty gas guzzling 1970’s engine along with rattling keys and a screeching car wreck with “Rock and Roll All Night” playing on the car radio in the background. “God of Thunder” Which I really loved and of course the raspy slow rendition of “Beth”  in the midst of all the guitar and drums that preceded and followed it.

So, after a week of politics and hypocrisy from the left and the right i'm off. I no longer grab an 8 pack of Pony Miller's 🍺 or smoke a 🚬 or other things πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ˆ. But, somewhere I like to think my teenage soul will be fulfilled and maybe on the flipside there may really be a version of Rock and Roll Heaven. 

"Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Trump,Kaepernick and boycotts.

I mostly stay away from making political post because right now I think people have lost their collective minds. I am not kidding you when I say that I am flabbergasted when my conservative friends, some that I know are smart and thoughtful people. Tell me that they can’t see where Donald Trump has a personality disorder or has slandered our state in particular and the south in general with his distasteful comments about Jeff Sessions. I can’t understand how his disrespect for the POW’s and for Senator Mccain who didn’t dodge the draft is okay. Just saying “look at Obama or crooked Hilary DOES NOT excuse The Donald.

 But, that being said I also am not a Colin Kaepernick fan. He’s an asshole of the highest order. He wore piggy socks when Dallas Policemen were gunned down and he praised Castro (talk about a repressive regime) while standing in Miami where countless Cuban’s who were displaced because of Castro’s policies live.  Look, I am not a flag waving bible thumping blue blood republican. But, I have zero respect for Colin Kaepernick.  He indeed did say he didn’t respect the flag and that is indeed why he kneels. So, please spare me the “he knelt out of respect bullshit.” 

Now you might agree with him and that’s fine. I don’t but you are free to kneel or spit or wipe your ass with it if you are sorry enough to do that. It’s actually one of the things that make America great. But, remember that flag also flew when “white people killed other white people over slavery.” That flag also flew when black people were sent to the jungles of Vietnam and gave their lives for this nation that indeed has a history of oppressing them. But, the flag itself is the one thing that unites us as American. 

No, it’s not perfect. But, it doesn’t stand for the killing of black people. I’m sorry to my hyper liberal compatriots but it just doesn’t. It stands for a nation and should we stand and salute it? No, not if you don’t want to. But, please stop the hypocrisy that Colin sacrificed everything because he sacrificed NOTHING. As a football fan I can tell you he was a dried up bench rider who was on his way out of the N.F.L. and actually did have offers from teams including the 49ers that he declined.

Now, I say that to say this. No, I won’t boycott Nike. But, on the other hand the next pair of Nike I buy will be the first pair I’ve ever bought.  So, they don’t get my business anyway. But, I don’t boycott things out of political agendas. I’m not going to deprive myself of a Chick Fill A sandwich or Ben and Jerry’s chubby hubby ice cream or anybody’s coffee or my next Stephen King novel or old Clint Eastwood movies or watching classics like Blazing Saddles just because I disagree IF I disagree with the politics of the creator of the product.

So, if you love Trump then go ahead but please know that some of us question your reasoning power or at least your honest objectivity when you defend his making fun of people or degrading of others.

If you love Colin because it makes your lilly white ass feel a little better to get a pat on the head while fellow liberals call you a “good white person” then go ahead and love Colin.

I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I don’t talk with African Americans differently than I  talk to Irish Americans or Hispanic Americans or any other human on this planet. I think the far right lunacy and the far left lunacy are tearing this nation and maybe even this world apart. But, hey maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it’s just growing pains and society and humankind are about to take a great leap into an evolved species that will do away with war and racism and nationalism. I honestly don’t know.

I don’t write things just to piss people off. But, my honest opinion (as far as anybody else cares) does tend to manage to piss off both liberals and conservatives. I’m kind of proud of that because I don’t have to fake it.
Peace. ✌