Dear United Methodist Church: Do The Right Thing — Let The Bigots Leave.

Leadership from the United Methodist Church will gather this week in St. Louis for a Special Session of the General Conference. Usually the General Conference only happens once every four years, but the Council of Bishops can call a “Special Session” to have delegates from the church (usually about half laity & half clergy) tackle pressing issues. The issue they will be discussing and voting on at this week’s Special Session will be surrounding the UMC’s official position on matters of human sexuality… specifically reexamining the passages in the Book of Discipline which set a policy of exclusion from leadership for people who are openly LGBTQ+. And though I am not a member of the United Methodist Church (or ANY church right now, for that matter), my kids attend a UMC youth group, I have many good friends — both laypersons and clergy — who call the UMC their home, I have a great respect for the denomination, and I believe I have something of value to say about all this… And this is my blog, so deal with it.

First, let me say that even though I have personally come to a place of peace and clarity on the issue of LGBTQ+ inclusion within the church, I acknowledge that — for many — this issue is far from simple. The UMC is a giant denomination, with almost 7 million members in the U.S., and just shy of 13 million members worldwide… And this already divisive topic is made even more complicated by the presence of members from cultures and places in the world where LGBTQ+ discrimination and oppression is even MORE commonplace and accepted than it is in the United States. So it is no surprise that when they attempted to wrestle with this issue during the 2016 General Session, they basically kicked the can down the road by creating a “Commission on a Way Forward” to reexamine all of the places in the Book of Discipline (the BoD is basically the collection of official UMC law & doctrine) which address human sexuality. This Special Session is to respond to the Commission’s ideas and recommendations of a path forward which maintains church unity. I mean, it’s right there in the name: UNITED Methodists.

Right now, the Book of Discipline says (among other things) that “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” And without boring you with the specifics (you can read more about them HERE and HERE), they basically came up with four options…

  1. “One Church Plan” — This would remove the restrictive/exclusionary language from the BoD, while giving conferences, churches, and pastors more “flexibility” to make decisions regarding LBGTQ+ inclusion. Basically, it allows for local and regional groups of Methodists to be inclusive or exclusive as they see fit, and though there is would be nothing officially preventing UMC congregations from, say, performing and blessing same-sex marriages… There is ALSO nothing officially preventing other congregations from excluding LBGTQ+ folks from places of leadership and, for example, firing a worship leader who comes out of the closet. This plan was endorsed by the Council of Bishops, and is the one the Commission is recommending.
  2. “Traditionalist Plan” — This plan would keep things the same, basically affirming the restrictive/exclusionary language in the Book of Discipline.
  3. “Connectional-Conference Plan” — This is more complex, but my understanding is that it would sort of set up three different conferences with which local churches and congregations could affiliate themselves, assumedly with different conferences representing different places on the spectrum from Inclusive & Affirming to Exclusive & Rejecting … All under one connected & “United” Methodist Church. And then when people say, “I attend a United Methodist Church,” the follow up will be, “What kind of United Methodist Church are we talking about, here?”
  4. “Simple Plan” — Basically, this plan would remove the “incompatibility clause,” as well as all prohibitions limiting the roles of homosexual people in the church. It would allow, but not require, same-sex weddings in churches.

Notice there is no option for a plan which appropriately labels a policy of LGBTQ+ exclusion & rejection by the Church what it is: HARMFUL. HATEFUL. SINFUL. And DEADLY. There is no option for a plan which officially repents and asks forgiveness for the harm done by years and years of the Church’s LGBTQ+ discrimination. And there is nothing which rightly describes this policy of exclusion & rejection as “the deepest unkindness” and “horrid cruelty” and “barbarity.” And if you’re wondering why I chose these words, it is because these are the words John Wesley himself — The founder of Methodism — chose to describe the Church’s policy of exclusion & rejection toward THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN AS PREACHERS.

I don’t think most people know about the deep history and tradition of inclusion within the Methodist Church. At a time when most people in the world thought “the Bible was clear” about its instructions for women to be silent and the “sinfulness” of women in leadership, John Wesley was the first in the Methodist movement to authorize a woman to preach. In 1761. A full 159 years before women in the United States earned the right to even VOTE. He confronted traditional ideas about female submissiveness, and in 1784, he even removed the word “obey” from the marriage rite he sent to North America. After Wesley’s death, there was much division within the Methodist Church over the issue of women in leadership. You can read more about that timeline HERE.

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After their sign was vandalized, this UMC in Florida decided to surround the hatred with love. This is way better than one that says, “Choose the Bread of Life or you will be toast.”

And now the UMC wrestles once agains with the issue of INCLUSION. And there are many questions looming on the horizon… Who is “in?” Who is “out?” Who gets to lead? Who gets full privileges? Who is three fifths of a person? Which people deserve to be second class citizens/church members? Is the Bible actually as “clear” on this issue as we have been told? Are the “Traditionalists” actually confident in the infallibility of scripture… or are they simply confident in the infallibility of their OWN INTERPRETATION of scripture?

People act like LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Church is some sort of “abandoning of scripture.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The story of the Bible has ALWAYS been a story of movement from exclusion to INCLUSION. Inclusion is the trajectory of the Bible. It is the story of a small tribe who thought that God was only on their “side.” It is the story of a God who sends Jonah to tell the sworn enemy of the ones who were “in” that God loves them too. It is the story of an Enemy-Loving God, who calls us to do the same. It is the story of a baby who would bring “good news of great joy that would be for ALL PEOPLE.” It is the story of a Rabbi who — when asked about how to inherit eternal life — pointed to a Samaritan who got all of the theology wrong, but wasn’t afraid to love someone who society said was “unclean.” And it’s the story of a Jesus who — as one of the last things he said to his disciples — said, “I have so much more to tell you, but you you wouldn’t be able to handle it right now.” 

Yes, there are ways to read the Bible which would lead some to conclude that LGBTQ+ exclusion is part of “God’s Plan.” But this would be like citing Huckleberry Finn as a defense of using the N-word… Any competent reading of Huckleberry Finn would lead us to conclude that the text is pointing us in the direction of supporting the full humanity, respect, and inclusion of Jim. And all people like Jim. The real distinction between groups has less to do with differences in theology, and more to do with differences in an understanding of how to READ. When we read the Bible, we are reading a book which was written in a startlingly barbaric and misogynist time. Imagine reading in such a way that when you read about a small movement toward equality and justice, you decide that THAT amount of movement — and NO MORE — is all the author was advocating for. The Bible doesn’t provide a destination… It points us in a DIRECTION. And that direction is one of inclusion and respect and love.

What do we do about “the gays?” What do we do about women who want to lead? Or simply vote? What do we do about divorced people? What do we do about interracial marriage? What do we do about slavery? These issues are nothing new. The earliest members of the Church struggled with whether to include Gentiles (non-Jews). Many of the “Traditionalists” of that time thought you had to become Jewish BEFORE you were able to become a Christian. The early church leadership sided with inclusion.

What they DIDN’T do is they didn’t chicken out and say, “In the interest of ‘unity,’ if some individual ‘Traditionalist’ conferences, congregations, or pastors want to keep on excluding Gentiles from full membership, they can.” I’m sure some people at that time were upset. I’m sure there were some who were convinced the church leadership was “abandoning scripture,” and some of those people probably left. But… Oh well. I mean imagine the Church attempting to come to a place of “unity” around a decision to “leave it up to the churches” as to whether it was sinful to marry interracial couples during Jim Crow. The people who thought it was “sinful” for blacks and whites to marry thought they had a “Biblical basis” for that belief as well.

I realize that these things don’t change overnight. One thing is for certain: The current verbiage in the Book of Discipline is the stuff of Reparative Therapy and self-harm and suicide. It is the stuff of “the deepest unkindness” and “horrid cruelty,” and it needs to be changed. If the UMC can’t muster more courage than this weak sauce “One Church Plan,” then so be it… But the United Methodist Church has been far from “united” about the issue of LGBTQ+ Inclusion for quite some time… And regardless of how the Special Session of General Conference decides, that is unlikely to change. But the United Methodist Church wasn’t necessarily “united” around the issue of ordaining female pastors in the Methodist church either. There are always going to be people who are angry about letting others in. Regardless, there is a difference between Unity and Unanimity. And today, there are 16 female UMC Bishops, and over 12,000 female clergy.

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Don’t let the church door hit ya where the good Lord split ya…

In my last blog post, I wrote that “Unity is not the goal… Justice is the goal.” It is so interesting to me how so many of these things are connected… Political and Religious. It is Political Correctness, it is Heaven & Hell, and it is Trump’s Wall. It is everywhere, and it divides us… But make no mistake: It is a necessary division. This whole issue is really about The Morality of Inclusion… About whether Inclusion is better than Exclusion. LISTEN — If you’re part of an all-white country club that decides to accept black members, and some current white members throw a fit (citing “tradition”) and threaten to leave, you do the right thing, and you let them leave. See ya. Take your money… Take your bigotry… Take your Tradition… BYE. There are always going to be people who confuse their bigotry with their theology. I have been through the process of a church taking a stand for inclusion. It will not be easy. There will be people who are hurt. There will be people who will leave. LET THEM LEAVE. If this means a less “united” Methodist Church, then that’s what it means. At least there will be a place where LGBTQ+ kids can grow up knowing that a large part of the Methodist Church affirms and values and loves them exactly as they are. And that is more important than any cosmetic “Unity.”

 

Thank you so much for reading. If you are part of the UMC — both laity and clergy — I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter in the comments. And if you are a person who values this blog, I’d love for you to consider supporting it by BECOMING A PATRON. Or if you want, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Now is a great time for that, because I recently broke my laptop (on account of plain old stupidity on my part), and that has made writing a lot more difficult. If you’d like to keep up with me, the best places to do that are ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. Peace.

 

 

 

 

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“Both Sides.” The New BS

This Covington Catholic/MAGA Teens video was such a perfect storm for Liberal Outrage. It had everything… Young men, privileged and white, wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats, in D.C. on a “field trip” to the “March For Life,” in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on MLK weekend, during the Indigenous Peoples March, openly mocking Nathan Phillips, an Elder from the Omaha Tribe who was playing his drum and singing a prayer during a confrontation between the MAGA Teens and a small fringe group known as Black Hebrew Israelites. And an abbreviated video emerges of a smirking white face, staring down an old Native American man, and it bought up the still fresh trauma of another smirking face of white privilege…

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… and many people lost. Their damn. Minds. They wanted this kid’s NAME, they wanted his ADDRESS, they wanted his future RUINED, they wanted BLOOD.

Then, as people viewed longer videos of the confrontation, the picture of what happened became a little more nuanced. There was name-calling by some of the members of the Black Hebrew Israelites. Mr. Phillips approached the boys instead of the boys approaching the man. And just as immediately as the outrage started on the left, the political right was FURIOUS over the mischaracterization by the “main stream media.” “PROOF OF MORE FAKE NEWS!” they yelled. But really, it wasn’t the MSM that was propelling the story. It was Social Media doing what Social Media DOES: Making a perfect storm of outrage go instantly viral.

And for most people, that is where things ended. Very few people have the time or patience to view close to two hours of unedited footage to see how things actually went down… So what most of us do is decide that the point of view we had before is STILL RIGHT. People who needed there to be a reason why these good, white, Catholic boys would act that way GOT their reason (conveniently enough, there were some black guys to blame)… And just like Trump defending the “very fine” Tiki Torch-carrying nazis in Charlottesville, they start talking about “BOTH SIDES,” and “Whatabout Antifa?!?” Meanwhile, the folks who needed these smug little shits to be the Devil Himself stayed furious… Until their (admittedly, sometimes OUR) next outrage fix comes in.

But the fact that there was more to the story doesn’t mean that the young men from the all-male Covington Catholic weren’t TERRIBLY in the wrong. The REAL story isn’t the behavior of these wound up boys on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The REAL story is the CULTURE in which they were raised… A culture which allows and encourages actions like THIS:

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The real story in this picture isn’t the kids yelling with their faces painted black… The REAL story is the man in white looking on in silent approval.

A culture which allows and encourages kids at the National Mall to do something like THIS:

A culture which stands by while the kids you are in charge do THIS to very old Native American man playing a drum:

A culture which produces boys who harass and scream “MAGA” at girls passing by (well before there was any confrontation with the BHI or Mr. Phillips):

And a culture that wants the world to see these young men as “victims” in this situation after one of them yelled out, “IT’S NOT RAPE IF YOU ENJOY IT!”

If these young men are “victims” of anything, they are victims of a CULTURAL FAILURE.

The REAL story is not one about some smirking teenager in a MAGA hat… It is about the CULTURE which raises so many boys to be the sort of people who want to wear a MAGA hat. It’s about the CULTURE which leaves so many young men blind to the inherent racism behind that slogan and that stupid red hat. It’s about the CULTURE that protects its white boys at all costs (including hiring a PR Firm to pen and release the kid’s statement… A PR Firm with HEAVY republican ties, and co-founded by Mitch McConnell’s former aide), while apparently not noticing that when black and brown boys get shot and killed, those same people say “I’m not racist” while looking for justification for the death… Like a young person acting foolishly, or marijuana use. HOW MANY OF THOSE BOYS FROM THAT SCHOOL DO YOU THINK WOULD FAIL A POT SCREENING?

And the REAL, real story is how SO MANY of these private and religious schools appeared (coincidentally) right after school desegregation became the law of the land… Born of a desire to provide an educational environment for their white kids which did NOT include People Of Color… And born a VERY SHORT TIME AGO in our nation’s very racist history.

Yes, we shouldn’t be watching a 30 second video clip and decide that some kid’s life needs to get destroyed. But if the “lesson” you learned from this disturbing video is that “both sides” are to blame, you are getting it SO wrong. There is almost always MORE TO THE STORY, but this does NOT mean that “both sides” were right, and “both sides” were wrong, and we can “never know which is which.” We can look at this event and learn from it, and we can get closer to the truth.

Instead, people will use this example of an Outrage Avalanche as a “proof” that we need to be more open-minded… As if “open-mindedness” is an absolute moral good, and as if drawing conclusions about something is an act of hubris. They’ll look at this debacle and claim that “division” is the enemy… But some things SHOULD divide us. Unity is not the goal. JUSTICE is the goal. Morality is the goal. Truth, Equality, Goodness, Compassion. There is a name for “unity” that comes at the expense of Justice and Morality and Truth… It’s called TYRANNY. It’s called despotism and totalitarianism and fascism. It’s called injustice.

They’ll tell you that “Everyone has a right to their own opinion,” and “BOTH SIDES” are a little right and a little wrong. They’ll act like the problem is “Tribalism.” They’ll act like the problem is “Taking Sides.” But the problem isn’t that people are on different sides… The problem is that so many people are on a side which has it’s foundation in injustice and oppression. This is not to say that one side is totally “right” and one side is totally “wrong.” But we can certainly say that one side is BETTER… And the reason we can say this is because Goodness EXISTS. Everyone’s opinion is NOT equal. Both Sides is BS. There is truth in the world, and we can know something about it.

And the Truth is that Trump is the villain in any story anyone could write, and if you are raising young men who want to wear the villain’s hat, you are raising them WRONG. If you are raising young men in a culture which okays harassing young women and screaming “MAGA!” at them, you are raising them WRONG. If you choose to send your kids to a school with zero diversity (actually zero on the staff, and close to zero diversity within the student body) and deny them the opportunity to grow up around different cultures, you are raising them WRONG. If you have enough money to send your sons to an expensive, all-boys private school, and you aren’t teaching them to use their privilege to HONOR and STAND UP FOR the rights of oppressed people, but instead they use their bodies and their voices to openly mock and disrespect them, you are raising them WRONG. If you aren’t educating your sons about the objectively racist past of religious and private schools in this country, you are simply doing it WRONG.

Covington Catholic is doing it WRONG… And if you are defending them, you are too.

 

This week has taken a lot out of me. It’s exhausting to to care this much, but this blog energizes me and fills me with Life… And part of that Life is the people who care enough to help support my writing. I seriously love you all. If YOU would like to support this blog, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy, and it makes a big difference in my life. If you’d like to LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, you can do that too. Please follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Stay hopeful, get some rest, do good work, have some fun… Don’t give up.

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I Refuse To Let That Gillette Commercial Make Me Cry

No! Nope. No, goddammit. I mean, yes… Of COURSE I’m going to cry while watching it… That was a given. I have watched it three times so far, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t TELL SOMEONE about that commercial a month from now without tearing up. But that was always going to happen. What I’m saying is that I’m just not going to spend time in tears over the fact that there seem to be so many people who see something like this commercial — something so clearly Good, and something so clearly a moral step in a better direction — and yet they react with offense and anger and hatred. Here is the commercial that has everyone in an uproar:

There have been times in the past when something like “the political right’s” reaction to this would leave me feeling disillusioned and hopeless. I would have tried in vain to figure out how people could look at an ad showing men stepping in to hold each other accountable, calling on us to not equate masculinity with violence, and calling for better examples for young boys as something which could make people ANGRY.  I would have despaired over the seemingly insurmountable gulf between two groups of people — pulled in opposite directions — who can look at the same two minute commercial… One group seeing Goodness, and the other seeing an evil attack. But not today. Not this time. And here’s why: The people who look at this add and see an “attack on masculinity” are totally outnumbered.

When a company the size of Proctor & Gamble decides to invest money in a commercial like this, it is not because they are necessarily “trying to do the right thing.” Although, it should be mentioned that P&G is the same company that made this wonderful ad that aired during the Super Bowl…

They are making a business decision. They have done their research. Yes, there are going to be a bunch of misogynistic Jordan Peterson disciples who are going to get loud and angry. Yes, some trumpers are going to call for a boycott. And yes, there are going to be a few imbeciles taking pictures of their razors in the toilet…

But the vast majority of people who see this commercial see it for what it is: An obvious step in the right direction.

If you’re like me, it wasn’t Trump himself who was so disheartening… He is nothing more than a sad, hopelessly broken man who never learned to love anyone but himself. The REAL heartbreak and hopelessness came from the shocking number of people who could bring themselves to vote for such a person. Because it’s not the existence of a bully that will break your heart… It’s when so many people either support him or are indifferent to his bullying. And that’s why the election affected us (me) so much: Because it felt like we (I) might be wrong, and the Moral Arc of the Universe might NOT be bending toward justice.

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“Boys will be boys” is some serious bullshit.

But here’s the good news: If you find yourself despairing over how it is that so many people could be so backwards as to find this ad offensive, consider these 3 things: 1) Russia (and other countries) pay people and creates countless “bots” to get on comments sections of these sorts of issues and make horrible comments. Do you know why? Because those kinds of comments make people feel HOPELESS, and hopeless people are way less likely to participate in a democracy. A LOT of the awful comments (and the “likes” awful comments get) are created by bots and trolls. 2) Could Gillette have made a commercial like this even 10 years ago? Never. Think of how far we have come in the last decade. And yes, we all know how very far there is to go… But we are living through a GIANT shift in human consciousness. 100 years ago, women couldn’t even VOTE. When it feels like everything and everyone is getting worse, find a history book… And be encouraged. And last, but not least, 3) Proctor & Gamble is not in the business of losing money. They have done their research, and their research has shown them that speaking out against toxic masculinity is a GOOD business decision. Supporting the #MeToo movement, supporting women, speaking out against Toxic Masculinity — These are WINNERS when it comes to big business. Because that’s the direction human consciousness is heading… And that direction is GOOD.

So, sure… I’ll shed a few tears while watching the commercial — Though having a commercial make me tear up is nothing unusual for me. But I’m not going to let the angry reactions to that commercial succeed in making me feel sad or hopeless.  People who have become accustomed to privilege are always going to feel “oppressed” when they see others gaining equality. And fear is always going to make some people react with anger and hatred as humanity learns to be more compassionate. And there might even always be some white supremacist idiot somewhere serving fast food “hamberders” to a national championship football team… But don’t give up. And don’t be sad. There’s too much to celebrate.

 

Thank you so much for reading. You might have noticed I took some time off over the holidays. I hope the holidays where peaceful and sweet for you as well. If you value this place, and you’d like to help support me and my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. If that’s not your style, but you’d like to leave a tip because you really liked something I wrote, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Or you can just follow me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER. Either way, if you read something you like (here or somewhere else), share it with the people in your life… Exposing people to new, different, and better ideas can change the world.

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My First Christmas As A Non-Believer

Last night I sat with some friends, and we talked about our favorite Christmas songs. For whatever reason, ever since I was a little kid I have always loved the version of “Little Drummer Boy” with David Bowie and Bing Crosby. I used to think I was one of the only ones who knew about it (the sort of thing people — especially we Enneagram 4s — used to think before social media), but now I know I’m am FAR from the only one who is aware of this beloved Christmas classic…

I just love it. It has just the right mix of playfulness and reverence and harmony and Hope. You probably don’t know this about me, but I can sit down at a piano and play just about any song by ear (As long as it’s something I’m familiar with)… It’s just something I can do. Anyway, one of my favorite Christmas traditions is sitting at my keyboard and doodling on the piano and filling the house with the sound of Christmas songs and carols. Maybe that’s why I love that video so much. I don’t know…

There are so many good Christmas songs. A friend reminded me of this one… It’s a song by Chris Rice called “Welcome To Our World.” It’s a precious song. I hadn’t thought of it in a while, so when I got home last night, I listened to it… Even if you’ve heard it before, you should listen to it again:

It’s strange for me to think about how much my theology has changed over the past 10 years. Last night I thought about the fourth verse of the song, where he sings…

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born

… and I found myself thinking about the God and the Christmas story of my youth… The one with the God who impregnated a teenager with a perfect child — God’s own son — All with the plan to have that perfect child grow into a perfect man, just to have him necessarily tortured and sacrificed on a cross, so that his “blood will save us.” And I thought to myself: “If that is the story of Christmas, I don’t believe anymore.” I don’t believe in the God who requires a blood sacrifice in order for us to be safe.

Because for most of the history of Christianity, this has been the story:
1) We are hopelessly broken and sinful, and deserving of an eternity of hell…
2) God is unapproachably holy…
3) God sends Jesus to die for our sins…
4) The son’s blood saves some of us (if we believe the right things) from the consequence we deserve, which is an eternity of torment and torture in Hell.

But this version of the “story” is based on the idea that there has to be a TRANSACTION. There is a PRICE that has to be paid… and that price is BLOOD. This is based on the foundational belief that there is no such thing as a free lunch… That there is always a transaction… That there is no way God could be so good as to not require one. Because — as the story goes — God is perfect, we are not, and the only way we could ever hope to get close to God is by someone paying a very steep price. And in the story we have told ourselves, the God of the universe uses a currency of blood. Something — SomeONE — has to die. That is the transaction.

And so, for the majority of human history, we have believed in a transactional god who requires our best… Who requires a sacrifice… Who requires blood. It is the Volcano God who requires a “pure” virgin to end the rumblings that shake the mountain… And even THEN, sometimes the Volcano erupts, the lava burns the village, and we tell ourselves that it must have been because we are so Totally Depraved that we DESERVED it. Human consciousness realizes that a god who needs us to sacrifice our kids could NEVER be called “Good,” and so — just like in the story of Abraham and Isaac — God provides a ram to be the blood transaction. But here’s the truth: God never needed the blood. WE did.

And then along comes Jesus, trying to convince the world that God is so much better than that Transactional God Who Requires Blood, and he gets killed for saying it… Killed by the very people who need that picture of the Transactional God Who Requires Blood to maintain their positions of power. And THEN, the people who were unable to imagine that God was actually like the Good Father Jesus described looked at Jesus’ death and said, “See? One final transaction! Except for that OTHER perpetual transaction of us having to believe all the right things (instead of making all the right sacrifices) in order to be safe, that is…”

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Umm… Is that a PALM TREE?!? Are there palm trees in Bethlehem? Also, is there a tiny camel/wiseman on top of that donkey? Are Mary & Joseph looking at their phones? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE?!?

I don’t believe in that story anymore. If that’s the story, I am a non-believer. But here’s the good news (the “gospel,” if you will): That is not the only story! They want you to believe that that is the only story, but it’s not. They told us that in order for people to believe that Jesus was worth anything, we also had to believe in the Volcano God. In order for Jesus to save us, he had to save us FROM the Transactional God Who Requires Blood. In order to believe that we needed saving, we needed to believe that God, as the song says, “saved a wretch like me.” But what if they got it wrong? Who told you you were a wretch? What if Jesus saves… Not FROM the Volcano God, but instead saves us from feeling like we need to believe that THAT’S who God is? And who we are?

What if the story of the baby born in a manger is about saving us — FREEING US — from the belief that our brokenness is too much for the God who loves us and longs to be close to us? A love so true and a longing so intense that it is willing to lower itself… For an eternal God to enter time… For an omnipotent God to limit their own power… For God to make herself vulnerable, and feel our pain… For God to reveal himself as Emmanuel — The God Who Has ALWAYS Been With Us…  The beautiful story of a child born in a manger, a king who rides on a donkey, and a God who flips the script by telling us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

I don’t know if an angel spoke to shepherds. I don’t know if a great multitude appeared in the sky and started singing in Latin to a people who spoke Aramaic. I don’t know if a star appeared in the sky. I don’t know if wisemen from the East traveled from afar and followed that star (It would have taken them over a year to get there… and why in the world would Jesus, Mary, & Joseph still be hanging out in a Bethlehem manger a year later when they just visited for a census?). I don’t know if Herod heard of a newborn “king” and tried to kill all the male babies… It sounds a little too suspiciously like the story of Moses. I don’t know WHAT I believe anymore. But here’s something I DO believe: This video right here is pure magic. I can’t get through it without crying.

And I believe that God loves diversity. I believe that music can change the world. I believe that love and hope are stronger than fear and hatred. I believe that humanity is slowly but surely learning what it means to be made in the image of God. I believe that the hope represented in Jesus is bigger than Christmas or Christianity or the name “Jesus.” I believe that God is Good, and I believe that our brokenness is not too much for the Good God who loves us. I believe that it is not our right theology which saves us, but that we are safe because God is so very good. I believe we love God best when we take care of each other — Including the “each others” outside of our borders… And I believe that if the Nativity can’t teach you that one simple lesson, you’re probably not going to understand much else. And even though I don’t believe in the old Christmas story of my childhood anymore, I believe that something deep inside me still longs to stand with you and sing, “Oh come, let us adore him.”

I’ll leave you with David Bowie’s part from my favorite Christmas song:

Peace on Earth, can it be?
Years from now, perhaps we’ll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on Earth, can it be?

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He’ll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be?
Can it be?

So yeah… Maybe Christmas isn’t a statement. Maybe Christmas is a question. And maybe that question is “Peace on Earth… Can it be?” Regardless, my prayer and wish for us is that we give all the love that we can… And teach our kids to do the same. So Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas… From this non-believer.

 

Thank you so much for reading. If you love this blog, and you want to leave a Christmas tip because of how much you appreciate it, you can do that ON PAYPAL. If you’d like to become a Patron and give a little each month, you can DO THAT RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, you can follow me ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. And remember to get into an argument this Christmas (as long as it’s FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS).

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Dear Evangelicals: Here’s Your “Christian” President

I’ve known the Apostle’s Creed by heart since I was about five years old. It’s one of the things that happens when you grow up in a conservative little Christian Reformed Church in small town Michigan. We said it every Sunday. But really, anyone who’s ever spent any time in Church before has probably heard it. There are other Creeds, but the Apostle’s Creed (along with maybe the Nicene Creed) is probably the most famous. It’s meant to be a sort of bare-bones, bare minimum of beliefs people profess who want to call themselves Christians. Here are the words to it (though there are certainly different versions out there):

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

I remember the mesmerizing rhythm to it… The way the congregation magically knew EXACTLY how long to pause between phrases… The way we all took breaths at the same places… The way the S sounds danced in the words “communion of SAINTS, the forgiveness of SINS,” and then hung in the air for a bit…

For us, the thought of having to LOOK AT THE WORDS was just insane. EVERYONE who was “in” knew them by heart. If someone had to actually open the hymnal to read those words, they had to be a newbie. But good for them, you know? Cute little baby Christians. They’ll get it some day…  But the thought of someone standing there in silence as we recited that profession of faith was just… UNTHINKABLE. They would be outing themselves as a non-believer… Rebellious and Hell-bound… An apostate. Now take 10 seconds to watch the person 80% of White Christian Evangelicals voted for:

In fact — It’s short… watch it a few times. I’d be willing to bet that he and Melania are the only people in that church who are refusing to say the words to the Apostle’s Creed. And like I said before, there are multiple different versions of the AC, so reading the words in a setting like this is certainly understandable, lest you find yourself being the only one in the place saying “Catholic Church” while everyone else is saying “Christian”… or you find yourself being the only schmuck blurting out the word “Begotten.” But just observe how defiant he looks. This is the guy you chose. This is the guy all those FAKE “christian” leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress and Paula White (among MANY others) ASSURED you was “born again.”

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My beliefs have changed A LOT since my days of proudly reciting from memory the Apostle’s Creed while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other conservative Christians. If I broke down that Creed line by line, there are many of those lines I wouldn’t be able to sign off on… at least not without an asterisk or two. There are many people in the world who would say that I’m not a Christian anymore, because I don’t believe the “right” things… Because I’ve let go of the need for Hell, and the Monstrous God who would send us there with no hope of redemption… Because I believe there is nothing inherently “sinful” about being someone who is LGBTQ+… Because I believe that God ISN’T in control of everything… Because I believe that following Jesus is wholly incompatible with supporting the horrible and immoral man defiantly standing in silence as a whole church recites the Apostle’s Creed. But even though I may never darken the halls or sanctuary of a Church again, I still BELIEVE… I still FOLLOW… I still LOVE JESUS. And I could still stand next to them and corporately confess that fact.

What a total and complete shame and embarrassment it is that so many people calling themselves “christians” still support this broken, narcissistic man… A FAKE and FALSE Christian man willing to lie to ignorant church folks to win their vote, but not even willing to say the words at a funeral honoring a former president. And even though I whole-heartedly believe in God’s profound Goodness, I say this as sincerely as I ever have: Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.

I’ll leave you with this amazing tweet from an amazing woman. It’s the truth. I co-sign…

 

If you’d like to follow me on social media, the best places to do that are ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. If you value this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON and give a couple dollars a month. If everyone who read this did that, this could be my actual job… Which would be really cool. Otherwise, if you’d like to leave a tip for something you really enjoyed (like Carol did — THANK YOU SO MUCH!), you can do that on MY PAYPAL. Thank you SO MUCH for reading.

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The Liberals Have Ruined Flirting

Well, it’s official. Romance is dead. Are you happy now, Liberals? You’ve KILLED romance. Was that your goal? Because THAT’S what happened when you started questioning the lyrics to the beloved holiday classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” ARGHH… Look what you made me do: “HOLIDAY” classic?? I’m just going to call it what it is: It’s a CHRISTMAS classic. Trump is president now, and we can say CHRISTMAS again. It is a Christmas song about a guy who won’t take “No” for an answer… Just like Mary and Joseph wouldn’t take “No” for an answer when they were looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem.

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“Where do you think YOU’RE going…”

The song was written in 1944 — A mere 24 years after the liberals demanded that women have the right to vote… Or, as I call it, “24 years after America stopped being great again.” The original score had two parts: One for “Mouse,” and one for “Wolf” (I’m betting I don’t have to tell you which part was the male part and which part was the female part) but it became famous after it was put in a movie called “Neptune’s Daughter.” Here is the video of that performance:

And as you can see, it’s purely innocent! Sure, he repeatedly puts his hands on her as she tries to leave, and he pushes her down on the couch a couple times, and he playfully removes her clothes and takes her hat to keep her from leaving… But look what she was WEARING! Do you really think she would have put on that sexy, pointy bra and chosen that shirt that showed off all that sexy arm if she WASN’T planning on spending the night? What is “flirting” if it’s not some good-natured manipulation and putting your hand on a woman’s knee after she keeps telling you NO??

And now a radio station has pulled the song from rotation. This is EXACTLY what it must have been like living in Nazi Germany. Fascism has come to America. And it’s not because we have a president who constantly lies, attacks the press, works to consolidate power, and punishes private businesses that don’t do what he wants… It’s because some snowflakes don’t want their kids listening to a song that their liberal sensibilities have deemed a little too “rapey.” This is hardly “Making America Great Again.” You know when America was REALLY great? Back when a man could club a woman and drag her by the hair back to his cave. Ahh, simpler times…

This is all the fault of the “#MeToo” era. “ME TOO??” They should call it the #NoFun era, because that’s what it is now: NO. FUN. I can’t think of a word that is less fun than “Consent.” A guy can’t even playfully refuse to let a girl leave his apartment without being accused of harassment and attempted kidnapping.  Because here’s the REAL question, women: “WHAT’S THE SENSE OF HURTING MY PRIDE?” And what’s the sense of hurting the pride of other great American men… Powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and Woody Allen and Brett Kavanaugh. What’s the sense?

What kind of country would we be if we just took “No” for an answer throughout history? What if America had taken “No” for an answer when we asked Hitler to stop taking over Europe and killing all the Jews? What if we had taken “No” for an answer when we asked the Japanese to not attack Pearl Harbor (or when we asked those Japanese Americans to go to those internment camps)? What if we had taken “No” for an answer when we asked the Native Americans to give us the land WE RIGHTLY DISCOVERED that they happened to be living on? WHERE WOULD WE BE THEN?!? I mean, “Not taking no for an answer” is as American as Baseball or Apple Pie or Date Rape. So much for the good old days represented in this classic cartoon:

It’s just a New Puritanism, is what it is. The Puritans wanted to be tell people what they could and couldn’t do in the bedroom, and that’s really all this is: Liberals insisting we follow their “morals.” Sure, Puritanism was about enforcing their ideas of morality on consenting adults, and New Puritanism is about enforcing the idea of the the morality of consent… but really, what’s the difference?!? If it’s wrong to tell two men who love each other that they can’t be together, it stands to reason that it must ALSO be wrong to tell a man that he can’t be with a woman he loves… Even if it’s against her will. That’s the beauty of moral relativism…

Hot-blooded men like me can’t even whistle at a woman or let her know how sexy her body is as she walks by on the street anymore without being called a “Sexist Pig.” And now here we are, living in a time where garbage like the video below passes for “funny.” POMEGRANATE LaCROIX??? How can we be expected to get laid without getting the other person drunk first???

You know who are the REAL victims of this whole #MeToo Hysteria? Because it’s not the actual victims of sexual assault… It’s MEN, that’s who. Men are the victims. And I know, because I’M a man. And lucky for me, I’ve got me a wife, so I don’t have to worry about “consent” anymore… But I can’t even IMAGINE what it would be like to be single and have to navigate this new romantic landscape these days. WHAT DOES “ROMANCE” EVEN LOOK LIKE, IF IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE PUSHING A GIRL BACK DOWN ONTO A COUCH, FORCIBLY PUTTING YOUR HAND ON HER KNEE, AND STANDING BETWEEN HER AND THE DOOR AS SHE’S TRYING TO LEAVE? You know what’s going to happen? We’re going to see a drop in birth rates, that’s what. Nothing kills the mood like asking a woman if she’s into it. I’m genuinely shocked that ANYONE is having sex anymore, now that flirting is illegal, and the liberals have killed romance.

And I suppose that would be a good thing if Man-Made Global Climate Change were real… But as everyone knows, that is Fake News pushed by the same people who are trying to push the Liberal Agenda of “The Morality of Consent.”

 

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t figured it out yet, this was satire. Different people have different feelings about this song, and I’m aware of THIS SMART TAKE on the history behind it. Regardless of your position on this song, if you can’t understand why some folks find this song problematic, you probably need a lesson in empathy. And you’re probably a person who always puts quotation marks around the word “triggered,” as if the trauma sexual assault survivors face isn’t real. Looking back at a culture of male entitlement with nostalgia is some messed up bullshit. Rape culture is real, and BS like that only works to perpetuate it. Anyway, thanks again for reading my stuff. If you like it, share it. If you’d like to support my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you’d like to leave me a Christmas present on PayPal, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, please follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

Posted in 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Feeling “Manly,” and Other Lies

I just fixed a couple things around the house that needed fixin’. A few years ago, I (with the help of a good friend) re-did our kitchen. My in-laws got new cabinets for THEIR kitchen, and the ones they were replacing were in way better shape than the ones we had in ours, so we took their old cabinets and I designed a layout that worked with their gently used cabinets. Today, one of the cabinet doors had a screw that pulled out, stripping the hole… So I had to figure out how to fix it — Hopefully without re-drilling all the other holes for the cabinet doors (so the line would look right). I was given the advice of putting some toothpicks in the hole with a little wood glue (it worked perfectly, by the way). So yeah… I fixed that.

And since I was hanging out in the adhesives aisle, I figured I would get the stuff I needed  in order to fix a shoe whose sole had detached. A few months ago, I found a pair of really nice shoes at the thrift store. After wearing them one time, I realized the sole was detaching from the shoe. They were (are) literally my only nice-looking pair of shoes, so I wanted to fix them… But I didn’t want to spend $30 to fix a pair of shoes I bought for $7. I asked the advice of a friend who is a cobbler, and he gave me advice on the steps to re-attaching a sole to a shoe. So I fixed those too! There’s a little rush I get when I fix something that needs to be fixed. It feels good…

Two things: The first one is kind of an aside, but it’s something I was thinking about today. Here it is: In some ways, not having a lot of money is kind of cool. Yeah, I know it totally sucks in a lot of ways too… But if someone is swimming in money, they don’t get pushed into experiencing the fun of learning how to fix a pair of dress shoes they bought at Goodwill. If a wealthy person’s $200 Johnston & Murphy dress shoes start to fall apart, they just bring them in to Goodwill and buy a new pair. But fixing those shoes felt GOOD. And I learned something new… Which is pretty cool. Also, if someone has money to spare, they might just hire someone else to build them a new kitchen… But then they’d miss out on the fun of inviting a friend over and listening to David Bowie’s collected works, drinking a bunch whisky in the middle of the day, and using dangerous power tools — All at the same time.

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It is not at all surprising that “Tim The Tool Man Taylor” turned into a Trump supporter. Though, I guess dropping the “Man Taylor” is easier when signing autographs…

Now I know EXACTLY how our toilet works. You know how? Because I have had to fix if many different times… Partly because we don’t have extra money to call a plumber. I have completely taken apart our dishwasher, fixed it, and put it back together again. I did the same thing with our washing machine. I watched YouTube videos until I knew what I was doing. Repairmen and electricians are expensive. And NOW, there are a bunch of things I know how to do that I didn’t used to know how to do. And that feels pretty good, you know?

Which leads me to the second (and more important) thing I wanted to write about: Knowing how to do things feels good for EVERYONE… Not just men. After I fixed the cabinet and cobbled my own shoe, I sent a text to my wife that said something about me being a stud. And I was ready to post something on social media about feeling the most “manly” when I have fixed something around the house. And it reminded me of this:

But the feeling I was feeling wasn’t “manliness.” It was just a sense of accomplishment. It was the good feeling a person gets when he OR SHE sets out to do something, and then gets that thing done. How the hell have we created such a skewed and uneven understanding of masculinity that we have labeled something as simple as being self-sufficient and capable as traditionally MALE qualities? It probably has something to do with centuries and centuries of MEN being the ones who wrote the rules and the dictionaries.

Seriously though, some time look up the word “Manly” on thesaurus.com and see a list of some of the synonyms: Courageous, Bold, Heroic, Noble, Self-Reliant, Virile, Brave, Confident, Fearless, Powerful, Lion-Hearted, Resolute, Stately, Strong — Just to name a few…. There are many more. These traits are not examples “male” qualities… These are examples of traits found in quality human beings. These are VIRTUES. Want to see the ENTIRE LIST of synonyms for the word “Womanly”? Here it is: Female, Girlish, Ladylike, Maidenly, Matronly, Motherly, Womanish. THAT’S. IT. Our very language reinforces the patriarchy with every definition.

Ask a kid to define “Manly.” Then ask that same kid to define “Womanly.” Listen to their answers. Just imagine how these messages are internalizing themselves in our young women… This messed up idea that when a woman acts courageously, she is acting MANLY?!? Seriously, consider how utterly harmful this is… Not to mention how harmful it is to our young men when they accept these definitions as Truth. Imagine the harm that is caused when men believe that showing their emotions is somehow “feminine,” and being feminine is weak. You don’t have to imagine it… We see it with each new mass shooter… every one of them male. We see it with suicidal soldiers who think that they can “man up” their way out of depression and PTSD. It’s everywhere.

There are a lot of ways that men and women are different. But Bravery and Boldness… Strength and Self-reliance… Confidence and Courageousness… These are not the differences between men and women — These are the differences between broken people and human beings at their best. 

And here’s the truth: Conservative men aren’t really upset at the idea of people trying to “redefine masculinity.” They’re upset that the changing of the traditional definition of “manliness” will result in the loss of their male privilege. They act like they just “don’t like change,” but really they’re pissed of at the idea of changing the rules to where most of the best human qualities and characteristics aren’t exclusively used to describe THEIR GROUP anymore…

But I, for one, am done equating a sense of accomplishment with feeling “manly.” And I’m sorry for how often I’ve done this in the past. I am still learning. And that is a GOOD thing. I still have so many warped ideas about masculinity and what it means to be fully human. I think about this often as I muddle my way through trying to be a good father and parent to two daughters and a son… Trying to help them become better versions of themselves. But one thing I am sure of: I will not pass along to my son the lie that becoming a “real man” has anything to do with mastering traditional “manly” skills. Being a “real man” today is more about unlearning the toxic masculinity that created and sustains a society which teaches our kids that being a virtuous human being is somehow “manly.” Real men are confident enough in their humanity and self-worth to stand WITH women and help them tear down the patriarchy.

 

Thanks again for reading. If you have kids in your life, talk to them about this stuff. Teach them to challenge stereotypes and traditional gender roles. Catch yourself when calling things “girly” or equating manliness with virtue. Or saying things like “man up” or “get some balls.” And speak up to challenge the people in your lives when you hear them pass along these harmful tropes. Last thing — If you’d like to support this blog, you can BECOME A PATRON, or you can LEAVE A TIP on Paypal. You can also help me tear it down on Facebook and on Twitter. Love y’all…

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The Best Marriage Advice I Can Give You

In addition to writing about Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor, I also work as a server in a restaurant here in Nashville, Tennessee. And if you don’t live here, you might not be aware that Nashville has become something of a popular destination for bachelorette parties. I don’t make it downtown very often anymore, but last time I went down there it was hard to take three steps without running into a group of young women in matching tank tops with writing that tells about how hot, horny, or drunk they are (sometimes all three)… And there’s probably a couple of peddle taverns in the road slowing down a bus with its top half converted into a dance floor, complete with bridesmaids screaming at a bride-to-be while she does a sultry pole dance while strolling down Broadway. It’s good, clean (if not annoying) fun…

And these bachelorette invariably end up needing food to soak up all that alcohol, so there are many times I end up as their server. They are easy to spot… Even when the bride is not wearing a sash or is the only one wearing white. I usually say something. I congratulate the bride-to-be, I ask when the wedding is, and I usually say something along the lines of “The coolest thing I ever did was get married.” And then they’ll all “AwwwWW” in that way that gets higher as it goes along… And they’ll usually ask me how long I’ve been married, I’ll tell them “16 years,” and the sound of those words still surprises me a little bit. Every once in a while, they’ll ask if I have any advice for them. The depth of my answer depends on how busy I am, how serious they seem, and how much I like them (which is usually directly DISproportionate to the presence of penis-shaped novelty straws). Besides, nothing kills a buzz like some weird server getting real with you about the struggles and joys of being married… Unless, of course, we get into topics like the stuff of this tweet:

Anyway, the other night when a table sat in my section to celebrate an engagement, I wasn’t busy at all. And they seemed very serious. And I really liked them. It was just some sweet old parents taking their daughter and her fiancé out to eat. The engaged couple looked like they were in their mid-thirties. They bought a couple nice bottles of wine. And there were no penis straws at that table (at least none that I saw), so when they asked me if I had any advice for them, I gave them the full treatment. I talked until my eyes were wet with the truth. 

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It’s what bwings us togevah…

There were three things I mentioned. The first was about the rhythm of years together: How we initially discovered the other person’s issues… Followed by the discovery of OUR OWN issues… Followed by the (hopeful) discovery that this person walking through life with you is uniquely gifted to help you grow your soul. The second was the Enneagram (which I can’t do any justice whatsoever in this format… But let me just say that it helped me more deeply understand who I am, who she is, what motivates us, and how we fit together in profound ways that I will never stop learning. It is NOT a “personality test.” It is just a bunch of collected wisdom about different types of people, and how we interact with each other. If you’re interested — and you should be — you can read about it at EnneagramInstitute.com).

But the one I want to share with you is the one that took me the longest to learn… Or to UNlearn, I suppose. Somewhere along the line, I believed the lie that in order for me to be a good husband, I had to meet ALL of my wife’s needs. I believed that if she needed something other than me, then I wasn’t doing a good enough job as a partner. And if you combine this lie with a bit of fear of abandonment and some good old fashioned human insecurity, you’ve got the makings of a toxic environment. The lie is that we have to be all things to and for our partners… Or even that we COULD be all the things they need. That lie is the seeds of jealousy. And when we believe it, if we see the one we love the most receiving Life from somewhere/something/someONE other than us, it is easy for our fears and our insecurities to interpret that as the message “You are not enough for me.”

But here is the freeing truth: You are NOT enough. I am not enough. Not enough to meet all of someone else’s needs, at least. The job of loving someone else was never meant to be about being everything another person needs… The job of loving someone else is about learning what makes them come alive, and then encouraging them to do even more of that. It’s about helping someone discover what sets their heart on fire, and then working to fan that flame. If a person you love finds fulfillment in something other than you, and that makes you feel threatened instead of happy for them, you might need a new definition of “love.”

My wife wants to go out. A lot. She gets recharged by being around people. I *like* being around people… Sometimes? But sometimes I find it exhausting. So early in our marriage, I found myself in the position of either going out with her and being exhausted, or staying home and seemingly admitting I was a failure as a partner. It’s lunacy. Why would I not want her to do the thing that recharges her? Of course I would… Even if it’s without me. Recently we were invited to a wedding. It’s REALLY hard for me to go to weddings, because most weddings are on Saturdays and that means I can’t work my Saturday shift (which allows us to afford fancy things like “food”). The old me would have had to choose between us declining the invitation and staying home (making her miserable for missing the fun, and me miserable for making her miserable), or us both going (and me making us both miserable while I obsessed over how we were going to pay the bills while being emotionally exhausted). But there is a third choice: She could just go without me. So that’s what she did. She went with our friend — a guy who is, incidentally, way better looking than me. They drove together, and they shared an Air B&B (because it saved money, and because she’s a little afraid of staying by herself out of town). It was an infinitely better choice for both of us… But it was a choice that was only available to us if I trust her and actually want her to do the things which make her come alive.

A friend posted a picture of this tweet yesterday (though in the picture she posted, the person’s name was “Domestic Goddess,” and when I looked it up to share it here, her name was changed… But the truth is still the truth, even when it comes from “Satan’s Concubine”):

What a relief to let go of the belief that we are even CAPABLE of meeting all of our significant other’s needs. For a very long time, I didn’t get this. I wish someone would have talked to me about it when I was younger — If I would have even been able to hear them — It would have saved me so much trouble. I was never meant to be the only one to make my wife laugh. Or inspire her. Or give her advice. Or be her friend. Or bring her “pleasure” (which is admittedly a weird, creepy word). Or provide support. The thought that I should or even COULD provide everything she needs leads to pain and jealousy and emotional abuse. And demanding that another human being limit her emotional fulfillment only to ME is like standing at the end of a marathon with a Dixie Cup, and getting angry when a person tells you she is still thirsty. Of COURSE she’s still thirsty… We’re all still thirsty.

 

I hope you liked this. I hope there are a couple people out there who needed to hear it. This is a lesson which I’ve managed to learn fairly recently, so I hope it helps. It sure is an honor that there are folks in the world who care what I write about. If you’d like to support my writing, you can CLICK RIGHT HERE to see about being a Patron, or if you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL. Check me out on Twitter and on Facebook. And if you like it, share it… Love y’all.

Posted in 3) Bathroom Humor, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Morning After The Election: 3 Reasons To Be Hopeful

After the results of the 2016 election started coming in and it became clear that the country was electing an awful, awful man to lead our country, I felt way more than just “disappointment.” I experienced a sort of existential crisis. One of my core beliefs is that humanity is obviously screwed up, but that — little by little — we are improving. That we are learning from our mistakes. That we are getting BETTER. It’s the belief that even though the moral arc of history is long, it is bending toward Justice. And the fact that so many people in this country were even CAPABLE of voting for such a clearly horrible human being made me question that whole moral arc. So it was with quite a bit of trepidation and uncertainty that I tuned in to watch the returns last night.

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At least I voted… Unlike some of you A-Holes. 

After some initial feelings of dread, I went to bed feeling hopeful. There were definitely wins AND losses. Let’s start with some of the reasons to be hopeful…

A GROWING MAJORITY. Yes, republicans picked up Senate seats in this election, and that sucks… But have you seen the actual numbers of people who voted? Check this out…

And these numbers are trending UP. More and more people are realizing the revolting nature of this republican administration. And though it is an injustice that this is the way things work (currently… we have the ability to change it) — and even though the Electoral College is a relic of an unjust time where slave-owning states wanted more representation — we can be encouraged that MORE AND MORE people, percentage-wise AND in actual numbers, are voting FOR equality & justice, and AGAINST the party of the narcissist who is splitting his time between the White House, political “rallies” that mirror Klan gatherings, and his golf courses.

And what’s even MORE encouraging is that young people are voting in higher numbers… They can smell the hypocrisy of this GOP administration like a fart in an elevator. And that is good news…

MORE VOTERS. In addition to larger numbers of people voting in this election, larger number of people are going to be ABLE to vote in the next election. Voter suppression is the political embodiment of people in positions of power clinging to their privilege. When more black and brown people vote, white people’s votes “weigh” less. When more young people vote, the votes of middle-aged homeowners “weigh” less. When people who have been convicted of crimes lose the right to vote, and when black and brown people are convicted a much higher rates for the same crimes, it makes the votes of white folks “weigh” more. And when steps are taken (by the man who is running for Governor, who is inexplicably also in charge of the election process) to to ensure that lines in urban areas of Georgia are unreasonably long, it makes the votes of the white folks living in rural areas “weigh” more. And when your vote weighs more, that is a privilege people cling to and fight to protect. A while ago, I wrote a post titled, “When You’re Accustomed To Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression.” More voters, more immigrants becoming voters, and more voting equality FEELS like oppression to many people who have grown very accustomed to their privilege. This is why republicans fight so much to make it harder for people to vote.

But in some key places, voters approved changes that ADD voters and make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote. In Florida, voters approved Proposition 4, which restores the voting rights of more than a million people who have committed non violent felonies and have completed their sentences. Adding 1.2 million people to the voter registry is always a good thing… But it’s especially a good thing in a state where the following is true:

In addition to this, voters in Nevada and Michigan adopted AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION. This means that if you are a resident of the state, and you are of legal voting age, you are automatically registered to vote. Makes sense, right? How could anyone be against this? Why would anyone put barriers and hurdles in front of citizens fulfilling their right and duty to vote? The only reason is because they are desperately clinging to their dwindling privilege. And And one more…

THE WOMEN’S WAVE. Last night was probably more of a Women’s Wave than it was any sort of “Blue Wave.” This is easily the biggest reason for me to be hopeful. As far as I’m concerned, the more women in positions of power, the better (not counting Marsha Blackburn, of course). So this election was historic. Or HERstoric, I suppose…

For the first time ever, over 100 women were just elected to the House of Representatives. And even though it was historic — even though it was a step in the right direction — we are STILL SO FAR from where we need to be in this country with gender equality in our representation. Still… So much to be hopeful for. There are TWO Muslim women who have been elected to Congress… Which led to one of my favorite tweets of all time:

And the people of Kansas have elected a Native American woman who is also a lesbian. This is AMAZING. But again, even though it is a step in the right direction, there are still so many more steps to go…


There are also reasons to be sad… The Mourning After, if you will. There are still a whole lot of people in this country who are willing to vote for some of the worst examples of humanity we can come up with. White supremacist Steve King was reelected in Iowa. Voters in Florida failed to elect Andrew Gillum, the candidate who was clearly more qualified and impressive, and instead elected a racist, xenophobic bag of flop sweat as their next governor. Not even someone as impressive and articulate as Beto O’Rourke could inspire the majority of Texans to pull their red state heads out of their asses… But some parts of the country are so blindingly red that they would rather vote for a dead pimp than vote for a democrat (which actually happened in Nevada, though given the choice between electing a dead pimp and Ted Cruz, admittedly I’d probably choose the dead pimp too). So many white women still haven’t figured out that the GOP is not on their side. And in Tennessee, where I live, voters chose fear of immigrants, corruption, and incompetence when they chose Marsha Blackburn… Genuinely one of the worst people on the planet. There are other losses… And other wins. This does a good job of summarizing how I feel today…

But what we do now is we get back to work. We keep having difficult conversations… We keep highlighting the examples of corruption and hypocrisy and immorality we see… We keep calling out white supremacy where we see it, and we keep educating the people in our lives about what white supremacy actually is… We keep telling the stories of vulnerable and oppressed populations, and we let those stories melt the hearts of people who are blinded by fear… We keep standing up for those who are being oppressed and looking for justice… And we get involved by showing up, writing letters, and making calls. Voting is just one part of the change that needs to take place. Take some time to be sad. Take some time to celebrate. And then let’s get back to work. We’ve got a world to change, and no one is going to do it for us.

I’ll leave you with one final reason to be hopeful. Look at this amazing picture:

 

Thanks again for reading. I needed this. If you’d like to support this blog, there are ways you can do that. One is to BECOME A PATRON. Another is to LEAVE A TIP on PayPal. You can also share the stuff I write or follow me on Facebook and on TwitterNow… Let’s get back to the work of being good citizens and active participants in our democracy.

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13 Tweets To Inspire You (AND OTHERS) To Vote

Alright, today is the day! If you are like me, you already voted during early voting… But even if you’ve already voted, your job is NOT DONE. It’s time to the remind the people around you that when we don’t vote, we end up with immoral and corrupt leaders. There is a fascinating map I want to show you… If “Did Not Vote” were a candidate in the 2016 election, “Did Not Vote” would have won ALL BUT NINE STATES. Check it out:

did-not-vote-2016-update

Most of these “Did Not Votes” have not gotten out during Early Voting. There are MANY people who are are thinking “What’s the point?” People who are “Too busy.” People who are planning on skipping because they are imagining the lines are too long. These people need some inspiration. Some of these elections could very well be decided by a HANDFUL of votes. If you have already cast your vote, you can still make a difference… Here are some of the best tweets I’ve found to inspire people to get their asses out to the polls… Starting with America’s favorite astrophysicist.

If your vote didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep you away from the polls…

In FIFTEEN states, they allow same day voter registration (I have no idea why there are only fifteen, but anyway)…

Vote because our shitty president is trying to intimidate people AGAINST voting…

Vote because being courageous is better than being filled with fear.

Vote because Jerry Falwell, Jr. is an awful human being and a hypocrite, and if Democrats take back the House and the Senate it will totally piss him off…

Vote because Ted Cruz is a total douche who uses the same joke over and over and over, and because Beto O’Rourke is an awesome dude who doesn’t kiss the ass of a man who called his wife ugly and blamed his dad for killing JFK…

Vote because over 50% of Americans have a pre-existing condition, and republicans are trying to take away requirements for health insurance to cover those…

Vote because you don’t have to stay this racist forever…

Vote because the president is a LIAR. Such a total and complete liar…

Vote because the GOP deserves to get destroyed…

Vote because a whole lot of people bled and died for your right to do just that…

And vote because the world is a mess, and people deserve better than this…

 

I love you all. Vote like your vote matters, because it does. At the end of today, there will almost certainly be disappointments… Stay hopeful, even when everything feels hopeless. Thanks for the ways you support me, my writing, and this blog. Be good to each other…

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