Purpose-Driven Hypocrisy

All you’ll hear from rightwing bloggers is how the MSM (mainstream media to those of you who aren’t total label-dependent losers) doesn’t care about religion, about how it ignores the fact of wide-spread christianity in this country.

Riiiiight.

Yesterday on Meet The Press, Rick Warren and the Editor of Newsweek were on talking about christianity and religions for the entire show. Rick Warren got to pimp his ministries and tell the world how he’s not like the other religions.

Tonight, ABC news had a whole special on christianity in this country, citing statistics like “79% of Americans identify as Christian, 26% identify as Evangelical Christian”. 26 was never such a scary number. Then the piece went on to talk about Christian schools and teen pledges of virginity and exploring the nuances of the jesusy teeny-boppers’ concept of “messing up”. Which apparently means when a teen boy masturbates.

At least no kittens get killed.

So back to Rick Warren. I was watching him talk. He was saying all the right things. About how there’s no respect among people who disagree. About how there are more important things in the world to be accomplished than political wins. Like poverty. Like education. Like HIV & AIDS.

Right on, Brother Warren!

And he talked about how the megachurches and politico-religious have forgotten that a central tenet of their religions is this: humility.

Can I really be hearing this? Is this the beginning of a new era of civil disagreement? Where everyone begins by respecting the basic humanity of one another while even vehemently disagreeing? Where not everyone walks in with the Correct Way to do things, without a socio-political Not Invented Here Syndrome? With—dare I say it—humility?

Off to Google. “Rick Warren”. “Saddleback Church”. “Purpose Driven”.

What did I find? I found Kay Warren, Rick’s wife, ministering to the sick:

“I’m here to tell you there is hope because the Church of Jesus Christ is getting up, and when the Church of Jesus Christ gets up, things happen,” Gataha said. “When the Church is getting up, HIV/AIDS will sit down.”<br/> “If we don’t do something, who will? If we don’t show God’s love, who will? If we don’t show up, who will?”

Ummm, ‘who will?’ How about the rest of us who have been trying to do and actually doing things for over twenty years, you stupid bitch? How about those who have been struggling to get people help, get prevention education in place, and all the while having to fight people like you who stopped us at every turn, who went on claiming that the wages of sin were death?

For someone who opts into a book of popular mythology which goes back over most of recorded history, you sure don’t have a sense of the past, lady.

As if you thought her “humility” wasn’t suffering enough already, she goes on:

Now she’s leading Saddleback’s HIV/AIDS Initiative and encouraging other churches to start their own HIV/AIDS ministries. “The goal I see is to end HIV,” she said. “Humanly speaking, it’s impossible. When God enters the problem, suddenly things become possible.”

Ahh, so she does have a sense of history after all. She acknowledges that others have been trying to save peoples’ lives. But where have our efforts fallen short? We haven’t left it up to God to fix.

Well, how about that.

So let’s think about all this “humility” floating around. These are like the cavalry, letting everyone else fight the good fight and coming in, refreshed and ready and loving the smell of abstinence in the morning, to save the day.

Not only that, but apparently, HIV is a blessing for Christians:

HIV/AIDS gives the Church the chance to do what it has been called to do – to love other people and to love God, [Robert Redfield] said.<br/>

•••

Sam Brownback, a senator from Kansas, said that American Christians have been given much and must use those gifts to help people who are suffering. “If we’ll just give them the crumbs off our table, they can live and we can save our souls,” he said.

So there we have it. They do for their own rewards, offering the rest of us their crumbs, so they can sleep at night.

I write this while watching Saturday Night Fever on Cinemax. Tony Manero just said something relevant:

“Everybody’s gotta have somebody to dump on.”

Well, how about that. Maybe that’s the true anti-gay agenda. They just need someone to dump on.

And what, then, is humility? Humility is this: I welcome all their true efforts to end HIV and AIDS irrespective of their motives if it means life for more people. Not only do I welcome their help, I am begging their help, begging everyone’s help. I miss Allen each and every day. I would do anything to have him back, including selling my soul so that Sam Brownback will give us those precious, supposedly life-saving crumbs from his table.

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Fuck Reuters and Fuck the Pope

Reuters runs this ad on cnet’s news.com.com:

Reutersad

And if you follow the ad’s link, you get another story about the Pope bitching and whining about the “folly” of gay marriage as he belittles the “freedom of choice”.

Wasn’t Free Will a Gift of the Creator? Call it a cassock & surplice, or call it a robe, but it’s still a dress he’s bedecked in, and so I can call it crossdressing. Isn’t it fun to fuck with word-meanings?

All these “signs” of Western “decay” point to “an eclipse of God” in the West.

So while we’re telling Reuters and the Pope to fuck the fuck off, let’s include Catholic butt-boy Aquinas in it, too: who the fuck cares about your theories of god playing unstoppable badminton with an immovable shuttlecock? God isn’t playing physics, y’all, he’s too busy sunning himself under a sun that he can lose access to.

Oh, and Reuters? O Bastion of “Liberal Media”? You’re missing a third checkbox: Equality.

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“Gay Marriage” and “Pro-Life”

Same-sex Marriage is not gay marriage. It’s marriage. You don’t have to be gay to avail yourself of a same-sex marriage. Just like I can avail myself of the institution of marriage right now, so long as the one I’m marrying has an inny to my out-y.

Pro-Life is not Pro Life: it’s Pro-pagation of the Faith. I should know, I remember the agency’s relationship the Diocese of Scranton. Every Diocese makes obeisance to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. After all, it’s the sales & marketing arm of the Catholic Church and no amount of truth (or “Truth”) is enough to keep membership up. It’s like KQED and Public Television: it’s free and it’s awesome, but you still have to have membership drives—and some of the funds raised by the membership drive go to fund the next membership drive, etc., etc.

On the other hand, I never thought the word “gay” would be said so frequently and so relatively blithely by everyone. Still, it’s a demonizing word when used to build the phrase “gay marriage”. It’s ironic, too, because as the Rightwingers attempt to separate marriage from gay marriage, their real argument is that people will confuse them as the same thing and therefore the notion of marriage will mean nothing.

You know, it’d be like Baptists saying that Catholics aren’t Christians because if you let the Catholics call themselves Christian then Christianity will be diluted by welcoming everyone to Jesus.

And look! A timely timing for me. Today the Catholics issued a set of guidelines on how to handle the homos. They’re (we’re) supposed to be welcomed, but we’re not to have sex or, god forbid, fall in love. We’re only supposed to ‘come out’ to a ‘small group of people’—I have a feeling that they didn’t explicitly set a number on what constitutes ‘small group’. And if we ‘openly embrace’ the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ (what is this, the 1970s?), then we are not permitted to hold ‘leadership positions’ in the Church. Does that mean that only bottoms of the non-pushy variety are allowed to be as out and proud and stylishly-lived as they wish and still be held close to Jesus’ muscular bosom?

So get it right, folks. It’s same-sex marriage. If you’re straight, you can have one. The gays aren’t interested in abridging straight’s rights. You’d be able to marry within or without your own gender, just like everyone else. As an added bonus, your race will be rendered equally moot with respect to your choices!

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The Qi to Happiness

I need to spend more time outside. What informs me of this does not speak so much as tell. I need to be able to wake in the sun. The cozy dark of the bedroom makes the waking a chore, an exit instead of an entrance.

It was never my choice, except in complicity, to sleep in the inner room, the only room in the house, in fact, with no windows. It is not the room to spend a third of one’s heartbeats in.

A window is reason enough for itself.

Complicity is a conspiracy of pramatics and the rational mind; a point of view I put far too much store in, for who can explain the ebullience that comes from the out of doors? Scientists (the followers of scientism, mind you) give you pO2 quantities and other such ablative absolutes or they’ll present sublime yet uncertain oblations to evolutionary theory, but all tacks fail to capture the nonesuch experience.

It was never my idea to sleep in that room.

Pragmatics always seem to win in the end; the solution is in reimagining what an end is. Playing the pragmatistic game is merely a philosopher’s self-loathing and it seems that mostly only a greater practical need can vanquish an in-place practicality.

That game always ends badly.

If you dismiss any particular end and instead opt for obeisance to deictics, pragmatism becomes only a means to an end—and remember, the end which can no longer be defined.

Choose instead an indexical quality: say, happiness.

Happiness, to borrow the pragmatism of the scientists, must surely be predicated on the qi; energies must align and such alignments are relative to the form of the person.

Perhaps sleep is not a thing the awake should abide. Perhaps awakening is a dream to the sleeper. Rollaway, hideaway, stowaway. No reminders of sleep while awake, and the sleeping should inhabit all in the time it’s given.

The feng shui of a Murphy Bed in the torpor of turgid prose.

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The God of Dangerous Toys

Here at the Geisinger Medical Center Hospital, the restrooms on the second floor share a vestibule with the “GI Fellows” office. I found that funny, for some reason, and I laughed—not something you want to do in Straighty McStraightsville when you’re a man walking into the men’s restroom.

006 Photo Main Title Concepts New Marie is here for an outpatient thing-thing and I rode down with her; she’s at her appointment and I’m sitting in the hospital’s coffee shop. They have a Douwe Egberts push-button cappuccino machine and my coffee tastes appropriately….European.

Too bad all the very white, very overweight very old Americans crash that feeling. That, and there’s a rack of “choice books” in the gift “shoppe” area. You won’t be surprised that I’m thinking about trash novels, and that leads me to remember something Marie said about the “crazier” Christians out there…that people should be worrying about their own sense of decency, their own kindnesses towards others, their own souls and stop worrying about death and other people’s souls and “many Biblical scholars believe that everyone is going to Heaven”. She rules.

07280008So combine trashy novels and “crazier” Christians and what do you get? Well, my big round head cooks up the image of those scarily wildly-popular “Left Behind” novels about the Rapture and the war against the anti-Christ, etc. Reading the Book of Revelation will bake your noodle. And not in a good way.

The word I’ve come up with to describe those types was “hyper-ecstatic”, meaning craving the extreme religious-ecstasy experience. But that word sounded a lot like “super-elastic”. And, of course, if you’re older than a fetus, you would remember “Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!” Yeah, Marie wouldn’t let us have that because of the fumes it produced.

There was an old Saturday Night Live skit back in the days of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players about toy safety at Christmastime. One after the other, a sleazy Dan Ackroyd pimping ever more horribly dangerous toys, including “Bag O’ Broken Glass”.

So, anyhoo, now I have another jinked juxtapositioning: Super Elastic Bubble Plastic and the kind of people who read and believe the “Left Behind” kind of stuff. This may be where the wheels come off the wagon, but it occurred to me that for some, Religion is like Super Elastic Bubble Plastic! It’s stuff that we breathe life into such as we see fit. The surface area of the stuff expands, capturing more and more of the air and space around it. And it gives off noxious fumes that, in high enough doses, can alter one’s perception of reality. And in the end, what you got was something that was far less fun and far more ugly than advertised.

Then again, I did sneak the purchase of Super Elastic Bubble Plastic! a few times without Marie’s knowledge, played with it as directed and stopped blowing bubbles when the smell got to me. So I know first-hand how the stuff worked, but I don’t go hunting on internet specialty stores to buy it.

But if I could get my hands on a Monster Maker or a Vertibird, I’d be right there with my credit card…

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Meme of God

Agnus Dei. That’s Latin for Lamb of God, did you know?

In 1985, there was a movie whose title was a play on those words. Actually, first it was a play whose title was a play on words. It was called Agnes of God.

Anyway, Agnus Dei is Jesus. Jesus is the Lamb of God. Jesus Is Lamb.

It’s difficult to overestimate the effect that ol’ Is-Lamb has had on the Western world (even though some would claim the entire world).

The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the whole Microsoftian embrace-and-extinguish approach to non-Catholic cultures. The Reformation, essentially a cell-division of Catholicism into enemy Christian factions leading to all-out wars in Spain and the Netherlands and just about any other place you can think of—any other place in the West, that is.

Is-Lamb is almost everywhere in the West. It’s the “almost” that really pisses off the flocks of followers. Almost isn’t enough. They want it all because all is an absolute and absolutism is the only thing that matters. The rest is just relativist crap. The rest is the not-Good. The rest is Evil. There’s a certain syllogistic elegance to it all, in their illogic “thinking”.

Is-Lamb is to blame for so much good and so much bad. Is-Lamb has brought unity, and the idea that there’s something more than a given moment or a given individual to consider. Is-Lamb can be blamed similarly for nonpareil violence throughout history, that which stems from Absolutist Illusion.

Only it’s not just Is-Lamb that aligns all the ecstatic energies of its followers into the fire that drives the crucible that removes the so-called impurities, is it? It’s any dogmatic reverie that finds traction in the reality-based world of accident and time.

The Ideals must be expressed! Is-Lamb wants us all heterosexual and applying our genitalia to only state-approved tasks. Is-Lamb insists, moreover, that it own the reproductive apparatus of each female. Is-Lamb wants your babies so that it can continue to feed on a never-ending stream of humanity. Is-Lamb wants and needs, takes and feeds.

Is-Lamb does violence, just as Islam extremists do violence. Is-Lamb is more insidious, more clever, more covert in its violence. Is-Lamb has learned to adapt and pervert itself in order to continue to exist in its multi-cultural environment.

Islam hasn’t yet had to adapt.

Is-Lamb sips where Islam gluttonously gulps. Is-Lamb obstructs where Islam extinguishes. Is-Lamb institutionally cuts you a thousand times with the paper pages of the Bible while Islam individual extremists resort to scimitars.

Is-Lamb knows there is no reflexive relationship: it does unto others whatever the hell it will with impunity. Islam suffers from a conscious form of absolutism.

Is-Lamb knows that it cannot literally and absolutely interpret its own texts, act upon them thusly, and expect to survive in a multiculture. Islamic extremists have yet to get over their own xenophobia and join the rest of the cultures of the world, much less try and survive in the face of all of that.

Frank Herbert once wrote:

Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: “I feed on your energy.”

Is-Lamb sits back and slowly nods the head atop its massive bureaucratic body, knowing that real wisdom lies in context, not fervor.

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Imitation of Christ

For some kinds of pensiveness, only the Psychedelic Furs will do.


IMITATION OF CHRIST


another christ is on the cross
the nails are words
the nails are lies
to make it crawl
and make it scream
and make it real
and make it bleed
and make it bleed
and make it bleed
and make it dream

imitation of christ
imitation of christ

this you who lie and scream
you fall to dust
you fall to dust
in walls of words
the words are blind
you speak and you are dumb and blind
the word is that your god
is you who fall so low and fall so far

imitation of christ
imitation of christ

fly to the moon dear
sew it on a stool
tie on the carpet all the cowboys fall
see the cowboys fat and reeling
dancing underneath the ceiling
leave the bar the theatre’s closing
make a wall of your religion

imitation of christ
imitation of christ

mary mary
mother mother
you and me and
god the father
jesus is a woman too
he looks like all of me and you
your money talks and
all your friends
will laugh at her pathetic tits

imitation of christ
imitation of christ
imitation of christ
imitation

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Old Blue Eyes

Jeffblueeyes

OMG my eyes are soooo pretty, riiiight? Well, riiiiight?

Seriously, I really mean to stress the “old” part of it. As in, I’m back on the bifocals kick. It all started a couple of nights ago when, to my horror, I was about done reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (not the porn version, Hairy Pooter and the Prisoner of Ass Cabin—hey, I should revisit the funny-porn-titles thing again!). And I didn’t have the fourth book yet!

I know, I’m one of the last people on the planet to have read them, but I do own the DVDs of the first three. I have yet to see any of the movies (including Goblet of Fire) in the theater. And the only reason I have been reading them at all is that my friend and famous Clever Monkey, Steve, gave me a boxed set of the first three books. I must say that the packaging and the cover art on the original hardbacks is quite lovely. Even the fabric used to bind the hard covers are well-chosen contrasts of color which are whimsical and definitely not “normal”: bright green and lurid purple, vivid blue and that same kelly green, etc.

Anyhow, I wasn’t going to read them since I already knew the stories, but I started. And so help me Satan Dumbledore, I could not stop. Maybe I just hate Jesus because J.K. Rowling seduced me into it.

Anyhow, with a fucked-up sleep schedule (at one point, I was sleeping from about 9am til 3 in the afternoon after having been awake all night long), and blessing the giant corporate we-can-outlast-the-little-bookshop-in-hours-of-operation Borders Books for staying open til 11pm, I dashed down to China Basin to complete my fix book collection.

There, I was faced with a choice. You see, Books 4 and 5 are already available in trade paperback. So do I buy the paperbacks and save >$40, or do I buy the hardbacks and have a complete and proper collection? Feh. I’m not one for collectibles (and that is certainly not to say our house doesn’t collect a lot of crap in it!) and special editions and all that folderol. A book is what it contains, and the content is the same in both editions, so I walked out of there with two trade paperbacks and one hardback (Book 6).

I got home and started devouring reading Book 4. Then it hit me: the pages (and thus the typeface) were significantly smaller than the hardcover editions. I immediately regretted buying the paperbacks. God, I’m old.

Yes, I was wearing my “progressive lens” glasses and yeah, I’m able to read the type without any discomfort, but I was still wishing for the regular-sized type.

So I was sitting on the sofa reading Book 4 and eating some chocolate Sam had picked up earlier at my request. Why did I request it? Well a) it’s chocolate! but b) several mentions of “Eat this. You’ll feel better. It’s chocolate.” in Book 3 made me want to eat chocolate right then and there!

J.K. Rowling is a genius and she keeps reeling you in and making you feel part of it—and without making you feel like you need to identify with any character in particular (though I must admit that if I had to choose one whose disposition and temperament matches my own, it’d be Dumbledore).

And yeah, I know. He’s old, too. But (at least in Philosopher’s Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets) he also had blue eyes! Coincidence? I think not!

Oh, and apropos of nothing, when we were wee little lads, we three boys hated the original Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. Why? Because Marie once mused that if Frank Sinatra ever asked her to marry him, she would. Ahh, the “worries” of a bunch of kids in an idyllic household, huh?

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