Before Hitler was Anything – He was a Racist

 

I read an article in the Baptist New Global online magazine.  It was a dressing down by Miguel De La Torre dated Nov, 13 2017. In his scathing remarks, he addresses what has transpired in America concerning the support of the Evangelical Movement and their support for Donald Trump. You can read his article here. 

The article itself was bombastic – but I think De La Torre brought up a few good points. However, being a preacher’s kid a long time ago in the fundamentalist tradition – I am not as surprised to hear about the move of Evangelicals to Trump. I think they were waiting for someone like him to come along.

America’s churches are in a crisis. Some say, including the late, great, Phyliss Tickle, that we are actually at the beginning of what theologians and historians are starting to refer to as The Great Emergence. You can read about it in the books she published later on in life. You can also seek her out on youtube where she talked, at length, about the phenomenon.

Yet, as someone who is now on the outside of fundamentalism, I can’t help but think with their minds. I remember well the indoctrination, the wrath, and the judgment, but most of all I remember the hypocrisy, and the anger, and the bigotry.  Or, the stories about how a preacher took off the with the church’s money, ran off to Vegas with a woman he was having an affair with. Or, the daughter of the preacher getting caught having sex in the nursery with her boyfriend. Or, the woman who was pulled up on stage one night and called a whore because someone drove past her house and saw a man’s car in the driveway.

For those outside these movements, what goes on inside these churches seems almost patently absurd. I mean, it’s like Payton Place, if you know, Payton place had jean floor-length skirts and a cloud of Aquanet hovering above them. It was a political atmosphere to be sure and despite all the railing from the pulpit about morality and judgment, these organizations seemed to suffer terribly from their own lack of both.

It took me years to get away from that worldview. Because that’s what fundamental evangelicalism is.  Christianity is the faith, sure. But fundamental evangelicalism is the lens through which you view everything around you.  If naivete can shade someone’s worldview rose-colored, surely these people wear yellow-colored jaundiced ones.

The world didn’t change my worldview. Not really. I began to backtrack away from fundamentalism when looking into the legacy of the church. It’s not all pretty. Heck, the reformation was a terrible bloody event on both sides. Yet, I do believe there were great moments of triumph and terrible moments of failure.

De La Torre is right in his view of these people who’ve allowed the church to become so ill on its own ager and hatred – it can no longer see clearly. And while history doesn’t repeat itself, as Mark Twain pointed out, it often does rhyme. With people like Trump  and company having won such a big swath of this kind of believer – it’s worth noting that we’ve seen something like this before.

 

In the 1930’s, famed Lutheran Theologian and minister Detriech Bonhoeffer came to study in America. Upon traveling to the deep south during the height of Jim Crow law, Bonhoeffer was stunned at what he saw.

BPK 10.016.073
Now, mind you Hitler is just beginning his ascension to power in Germany and although Jew’s had been treated badly the world over for centuries -the worst was yet to come for them.
Also, mind you, that the last Lynching on record in the United States was 1955 with Emmet Till, a 14-year-old boy, who was accused of winking at a white woman.
In grief and despair, Detrich Bonhoeffer declared that, “…Christianity in America is dead.”
That was until he was invited by a minister to attend another gathering at Abyssinian Baptist Church, a black church, in Harlem, New York.
It was the first time he’d ever hear gospel music. There, he recanted his statement and said, “…these people suffer and they are joyful. God is in Harlem.”
He would take that gospel music back with him to Germany and share it with his friends and fellow believers in what he called, “The Confessing Church.”
Now, Bonhoeffer was a pacifist, and he loved his country desperately, however – before the Allies could rescue him toward the end of the war he would be taken out and assassinated for his plot to kill Adolf Hitler.
My father was an evangelist for a time and I would, of course, ride the small circuit up in Michigan with him to various churches where he would go to preach.
Someone would give an altar call, someone would begin to sing Just as I am, or All to Jesus, or Amazing Grace. And here, these lily white folks would come streaming down the aisles hands raised to heaven to be saved or to ‘get right with God.’ Not knowing for a second – that the song they were singing, “Amazing Grace” was entrenched in Slavery.
The author, John Newton, was a slave ship captain, who would lose his eyesight, become a monk in the Church of England, and in turn would become one of the world’s first abolitionists. As a matter of fact, he along with Wilberforce would end the practice of Slavery in Great Britain years before the United States would.
There are so many people surprised that 85 percent of white evangelicals would side with Donald Trump despite the many flagrant and cavalier ways he stands for almost everything Christianity stands against. Yet, I don’t understand why you’re so shocked. This has gone on for years. This has been their M.O. for as long as I knew them. It’s been their M.O dating back decades since before Brown Vs. Board of Education.
I left the faith tradition over 15 years ago and while I was still there, I left it mentally long before that due in large part to it’s inherent racism. See, I grew up in a predominately African American City, went to a predominately black middle school and high school, and while the preachers preached AGAINST interracial marriage – due to inequality of the races – I wondered at who was actually unequal.
The Principle was Dr. Betty Hines. Exceptionally well dressed, professional, she ruled over that school with an iron fist. There was Dr. Granderson, a Chemistry teacher who could always be spotted walking up and down the hall with his lab coat and pushing a cart. He was also always smartly dressed and professional. They all drove nice cars and were this constant stable presence in my life while at home – my personal life was in shreds.
In the 1930’s, according to Charles Marsh’s ‘Strange Glory’ the biography of Bonhoeffer I highly suggest people read – the author makes it very clear that when Hitler began his ascent to power, the Lutheran Church in that era immediately abdicated to him. They wanted the power that Hilter promised them and he did grant it to them for a time. They even flew the swastika in their churches. Until he found no more use for them and unceremoniously cast them aside.
But by then it was too late.
Understand this: Before Hitler was anything, he was a racist and so is this 85 percent of evangelicals. All you have to do is look at case law after the 1954 Supreme Court Decision of Brown V. Board of Education. Bob Jones Sr. v The United States.
Before Donald Trump is anything – he’s a racist all you need to do is look back at his trying to get men put in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, his having to be sued by the Nixon Administration for not allowing blacks to rent apartment space in his buildings, his statement against Hispanics, Muslims, and the list goes on.
They can call themselves Christians all day long and twice on Sunday. They’re not. They never were. They’re anti-Christians since they do the exact opposite of what was told to them by Christ. That being, take care of the poor, the sick, the weakest among you, and pray in private.
I am a Christain. I don’t believe Christianity is dead in America. I think preachers like John Palvolitz, Bishop Barber, and Nadia Bolz Weber (this Emergent or Emerging Church leaders) are Christianity in America – and they’re struggling. And they’re not the only ones. They’re out there.

Is Christianity dead in Evangelicalism? In 85 percent of them, I’d say yes. Yet, again, I think they’ve been dead for a very long time.

 

 

 

Anxiety Author

nik-shuliahin-251237

unsplash-logoNik Shuliahin

Living with anxiety is like living with a ghost who, on occasion, like’s to pop out of the closet, from behind the door, or behind a shower curtain.
Yes, that’s exactly what it’s been like for the past three months.
The first attack was bad. The second was worse. The third was a little more expected but having one makes you feel like you’re dying.
Your body is screaming at you that something is wrong.
You feel terribly light headed, you shake, your body feels off and you feel like you’re in another world.
Sometimes it gradually comes on, sometimes it hits you like a freight train after you get off an elliptical machine.

After several trips to the E.R., an EKG machine, and a CT scan to make sure that I was having neither a heart attack or a stroke, I was given medicine for it.

I let the medicine run out because I thought I was too much of a man to need it.

I regret that decision as of late as they’ve returned. My therapists have talked me through how to bring myself down off of one, and those techniques are somewhat effective. The key is to try like hell not to give into the fear.

But it’s lonely as hell.

I haven’t been able to work very much since all this started. I’ve been silent on social media (for the most part and probably to the pleasure of some folk) as an attack can eat up an entire day.

I will be going back to the doctor and will be getting back on medicine for this. White knuckling your way through something like this isn’t healthy long term. While there’s nothing wrong with your organs, yet, a constantly elevated blood pressure can cause injuries and lasting medical issues later on.

I don’t want that.

I’ll be going through the blahs again once I am medicated. Contemplating cracks in the wall and dealing with nausea as my body adjusts to the chemicals I am putting in me.

Meanwhile, I’ve been drinking warm milk and working out on my machine. I’ve gained some weight, enough to stretch my buttons on my pants to the breaking point, but I think it’s because I’m building muscle underneath my insulation. But slowly, and surely, I’ll work on getting both my body and mind back under control.

There have been a lot of friends who’ve helped me out – who’ve talked me off the ledge. They’ve assured me in the throes of the panic that I am not dying and the doctors I’ve been to aren’t crazy. To them, I say thank you.

I do, however, have a greater appreciation for mental illness. I really appreciate and am humbled by this mess going on right now and could only imagine what someone with a more powerful illness must go through. When your mind speaks, it demands that you listen, and that gray matter is a powerful and very loud instrument.

I know often times I am not the most diplomatic person, sometimes to the detriment of popularity, but as a mental health advocate, especially my brothers and sisters in arms who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries – I am pretty much ready to become even less so.

Mental health should not be put into the shadows, I agree. But it shouldn’t be brought out into the light and treated as a trope or a money maker. It should be respected as the diseases of the mind are extremely powerful. They hurt in ways that are impossible to explain. Depression, S.A.D., Cyclical Dysthymia, Eating Disorders, Panic Disorders, G.A.D, Borderline Personalities, Bi-polar Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Schizophrenia are just a few of the many issues that American’s have.

There’s an entire doorstopper of a book called a D.S.M (it’s up to volume 5 now) that psychologists and Psychiatrists use to treat and diagnose these maladies. Psychopharmacology that is used to treat these and many other illnesses often times makes the treated physically ill. Personally, they made me weepy, tired, they gave me diarrhea, dry mouth, and made me very tired. There were zaps in my head that would make me feel scared and it takes up to a month to get into your system and become therapeutic. In the interim, the patient takes benzo’s (a highly addictive fast-acting medicine) to calm down should a panic attack happen.

Googling your symptoms is a double edge sword. BEcause according to WebMD you could have a panic disorder, or you could be dying of cancer. But that’s always their second choice, even if you stub your toe. You could ice it, or try chemotherapy. However, also thanks to Google, there are a lot of forums and support groups that pretty much list every symptom you possibly could have and there’s something to the knowledge that what I am going through isn’t unusual for my condition.

I mouthed off about a book recently that had some controversial topics about it. I don’t apologize for that, especially now that I am going through this. But I will apologize to anyone who reads this about not listening to other’s when they said that some of the things being written were hurtful. I brushed them aside. I now know what it’s like to feel invisible, to not be heard, to be sitting next to my husband who’s laughing at a television program while I sit on the opposite side of the couch trying to catch my breath. It’s not fun. It’s not something that should be brushed aside.

Hurting someone whether intentionally or unintentionally isn’t funny. Making a buck off of someone else’s misery is …well, I promised myself I wouldn’t cuss about this…fucked up! (sorry, I didn’t make it) If you’re going to get into an issue, I would encourage you to get into it. Learn something, teach something, elevate the conversation into something that can educate the world. If you don’t feel like you can, then don’t. Let someone else do it.

Meanwhile, I will continue drinking my warm milk. Exercising. And keeping my breath Trying to get my head back on right. In the interim, consider me batshit crazy – but that’s always been the case.

Conversion Therapy, Revenge Porn, and Criticism

Al of this.

M/M romance is the cross between Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel and Sean Cody.

Most of the time it is benign.

However, m/m has some serious fucking issues which have nothing to do with gender.

It has everything to do with people who push into realms they don’t understand in a subject matter they’re not 100 percent sure of.

“Well, people write about wizards…”

Stop. Stop right there.

Wizards aren’t real.

Gay people are. Conversion camps are. PTSD and child abuse and neurological disorders due to overexposure to toxic levels of the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline are. Suicide, lung cancer, and ischemic heart disease due to this exposure are real.

Rape,
Panic Disorders,
Eating disorders
are all real

If you can’t treat your subject matter’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc with reverence and do your due diligence when it comes to that AND the environment you put them in – you shouldn’t be writing. At least not this.

If you can’t fully grasp what is happening then perhaps you’re simply not qualified to write it.

LGBT people and survivors of child abuse and / or religious abuse have been put through a certain kind of hell you will NEVER EVER understand unless you’ve been there. Don’t touch it unless you’re willing to go all the way.

Don’t do these people a disservice because you’re trying to turn a buck.

It’s ignored by the world at large because, according to Fox News, only Muslims do that kind of crazy shit to people. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are scores of conversion camps and attitude adjustment camps all over the United States as well as fundamentalist churches. And they’re in your own backyard. And the old saying is true, “never is a man so joyfully committed to heinous acts against his fellow man than he is when it’s done in the name of God.”

It’s all over your country.

Poetry Book (Review)

The first book review for my new Poetry book happened today.

Five stars!

frederick_poetry_ebook_take2

“This is a book of free-form poetry, containing the poet’s musings about nature, youth, seasons; reminiscing about family, lost loves, faith and religion, and life in general. Some are profound, others less so, but I think poetry, like music, speaks to each of us in a different way.

Personally, I prefer poetry that rhymes, but my standards are pretty high. In my opinion, the best poem in the English language is “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, and nothing will ever top that. The rhyming and alliteration is that poem is beyond brilliant, but Poe was a genius beyond compare. Free-form poetry, on the other hand, is more like short artistic essays about feelings and moods. Having said that, some of the poems in this book of poetry will provoke a very emotional response. For me, there were several that I enjoyed; the ones about trees and nature, and those about lost loves, but the ones that moved me the most are ‘The Rain Remains the Same’ and ‘The Man by the River’. If you enjoy poetry in general, you will enjoy this book.”

To read it on Amazon follow the link here

To purchase your own copy click the link here

 

The Collective Unconcious (Poem)

redd-angelo-344550

unsplash-logoRedd Angelo

The wind is howling
at seven thirty in the morning
a bitter wind
shoves it’s way down from the north
I’ve walked the dog, 
dressed in Corpus Christi Coture
which consisted of work out shorts
a hoodie, and a robe
before dashing back inside
and now with a cup of Earl Grey
my dog asleep in the corner
the cat asleep on a chair
I come to the altar of humanity once more
to bear my soul
and write my song
as if I didn’t know the dangers
of being naked
to the bitter winds of the world

Lately, my mind
has not been my own
my body
has been in pain
and I’ve spent countless hours
my arms splayed out at my sides
grasping realities
trying desperately to hold myself together
but the reality of my situation is
that I am in the most danger
when I cannot give myself away
when I cannot imbue a part of my soul
in a book, in a story, in a poem
and set it to sail among the many souls
adrift in the collective unconscious

No children, have I, at my age
that fate wasn’t written on my heart
due in part to a hijacked mind
but I do have family among those
who kneel at the water’s edge with me
and murmur their truth to the stars above
that family, no one could take away
not even death
their truth lives on in stories they told
when they in a living way
took time to kneel beside the ever-flowing river
speaking their truth to the firmament
when they bowed their heads to pray.

 

My first Poetry Collection

frederick_poetry_ebook_take2

 

I am proud to present to you a collection of poetry I put together over the past 2 years. My poetry, like my other writing, is informed by life experiences, memories, seasons, or by things I’ve observed about the intrinsic beauty and complicated nature of humanity.
For a very long time – having been raised in fundamentalism – I believed there wasn’t much about humanity that gave it worth. However, through the act of creating art, I have discovered that simply isn’t the case.
In a few short years, I have discovered love, regained my faith in God, and most importantly, regained my faith in my fellow human beings.
I also discovered that the things that attract us to a person aren’t the same things that make us stay. Often times it’s our imperfections that are the most endearing qualities that we possess. I believe God regards us the same way.
I hope you enjoy this collection

 

Buy Link for Amazon here

Smashwords links will soon follow

 

My thoughts on Donald Trump’s Shithole Statement

kristina-flour-185592

 

2017 was the year for irony and it looks like 2018 is going to similar in those regards.
Donald Trump’s “Shithole” comment about Haiti and other countries that are predominantly brown-skinned is another example.
Why is that?

Well, here in the United States we’ve had several mass shootings in schools since 1980 with a death tally of almost three hundred. Since then, there has been no legislation passed to prevent the murder of our nation’s children.

We are the last major industrialized nation on the planet without universal healthcare. Last night a man videotaped a woman, clothed in only a hospital gown, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere because she couldn’t afford to stay in the hospital any longer. She was dropped off in Baltimore, Maryland in the dead of winter.

Speaking of Universal Healthcare – the coverage we do have under The Affordable Care Act – provides healthcare for 13 million people. The Republicans are doing everything they can to repeal that and therefore leaving those 13 million people without adequate care.

This past summer, partygoers at a concert in Las Vegas were gunned down when a deranged psychopath who had no business owning weapons, opened fire on the crowd. 500 people were shot, and fifty-eight people lost their lives. Thoughts and prayers were distributed but no laws have been passed to prevent this from happening again.

From what my African American friends tell me, there are 0 places where they feel safe from being murdered by psychotic police officers.

Speaking of African Americans – it wasn’t until 1955 that this country stopped hanging them for arbitrary reasons in places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The last recorded lynching that I know of was a very young man by the name of Emmett Till. He was 14 years old and was accused of ‘wolf whistling’ at a white woman. She was offended. He was brutalized and murdered for it. To paraphrase FDR, it doesn’t matter how poor a white man is, if you can convince him that he’s better than any black man rich or poor, you can steal his money and he’ll thank you for it.

Here in the United States is a hatred of people of color so bad – that there is a phenomenon called White Flight. See, they’ll tell you that places like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore all suffer because black people live there. What they won’t tell you is that when African American people move in – white people pack up and leave taking their tax dollars with them. Because you see, even though a court decision back in the 1950’s ruled against segregated schools – they’ve still not gotten used to the idea of little Bobby and little Suzie going to school with little Tyrone. They won’t say it outright – but whenever there is a shooting like the one in Vegas, they’ll bring up Detroit or Chicago as an example as to why guns are necessary. But don’t let that fool you as those cities are code for the word black.

Right now in our legislature, Republicans are working tirelessly to end health care for children under a program called CHIP. A bipartisan piece of legislation passed in the 1990’s provided health care for 9 million kids. Children. Speaking of Children, according to the Washington Post, America has the highest infant mortality rate all the wealthy countries of the world. We sadly boast a death rate of 6 children per 1,000 born.

Wages have had no real growth since the 1960’s. According to Forbes magazine, 65 percent of Americans cannot afford a 500 dollar emergency. With the steady decline of unions and the spreading of ‘right to work’ states – those wages aren’t expected to move any time soon.

America ranks 14th in Education, 24th in Literacy, and 17th in Educational Performance. The richest country in the world doesn’t know how to read very well. The top ten are:
Finland
South Korea
Hong Kong SAR
Japan
Singapore
United Kingdom
Netherlands
New Zealand
Switzerland
Canada.

And everyone gets mad when they call a helpline and get someone from India answering the phone. This is why.

According to the military times, The United States in hemorrhaging veterans. According to them, we are still losing 20 veterans per day to suicide. For as patriotic as we claim to be – that’s a national disgrace. Oh, by the way, the Republicans are also trying to do away with their healthcare benefits as well.

Here in the United States – we are in the midst of a terrible opioid addiction problem. However, studies have shown that medical marijuana and nonmedical marijuana use curbs people’s addiction to meth and heroin. However, as a response to brown vs board of education – those sneaky little politicians declared a war on drugs in the 1980’s which has disproportionately affected people of color. What? Really? Now how on earth did that happen?

We also have a huge fight in our country over conservativism versus liberalism. The conservatives claim they love to cut taxes, spend small, and allow businesses to create revenue. Yet, out all the states in the union, all but two are these deeply red states are referred to as ‘moocher’ states. They are, according to CNSnews.com:

Mississippi, 42.9% federal aid as percentage of general revenue
Louisiana, 41.9%
Tennessee, 39.5%
South Dakota, 39.0%
Missouri, 38.2%
Montana, 37.4%
Georgia, 37.3%
New Mexico, 36.6%
Alabama, 36.1%
Maine, 35.3

That means that for all the smack talk they do about liberals, they really don’t mind spending their taxes.

I know a lot of people were offended by what Donald Trump said. Rightly so. He’s a racist, ignorant, bigot. Among his almost daily outrages, he’s failed to help his own people – such as Puerto Rico who suffered a massive blow to their little island because of a hurricane. His supporters have laughed at them during their misery. However, the joke is on them. Puerto Rico is one of our biggest suppliers of I.V. bags. Thanks to the killer flu season we’re in – there is one hell of a shortage.

I love my country. I served in the Armed Forces after 9/11. Yet we have our flaws. Major, major flaws that should prevent anyone with any sense (I know that excludes the racist in the White House) from making fun of anyone or calling anyone’s home a shit hole. Keep in mind, however, that only 37 percent of the country approves of him while almost 60 percent thinks the shit hole is in the Oval Office. And of those 37 percent of supporters – a vast majority of them are too dumb to understand that they’re going to suffer the worst.

 

Empty Threats (poem)

christian-sterk-218727

unsplash-logoChristian Sterk

It started with a statement on the television
from the leader of the free world
‘He want’s to hang all of em’
he said with a smile and a hand gesture
as they talked about men, like me

My chest tightened
the floor fell away and suddenly
I was falling without moving
Shaking, sweating,
the rope tightened around my neck
“You are dying,” my mind screamed

Empty threats
from an exhausted mind,
fear of murder of my own kind,
where can I run?
Now that liberty’s run dry

I am not on my own anymore
my vagabond existence
two trash bags of clothes in the trunk
fleeing my past as soon as it
catches up with me

No more no-name face
no more hooking up
with cigarette smiles
trying to remember what’s his name
some random fuck, in some random place

there’s another, now
a family, now
I’m a husband, now
trapped by my vows
my marriage license now
a potential death warrant

Two pills a day
significant weight gain
gasping for breath at the edge of sleep
empty threats from my
tired brain
God, how do I deal with this?

I feel like there’s a storm coming
and I’m naked and standing in a field
with mud up to my knees
how long before it crawls up to my chest
and down my throat?
How long before the empty threat,
becomes too real?

Page Stuffing and Bonus Books on KU

lacie-slezak-128106

unsplash-logoLacie Slezak

You’re the reason why we can’t have nice stuff. Seriously.

Yesterday I watched a video by Heather’s Hangout on Youtube where she named and shamed authors by cheating the KU system.

You can watch her video here 

As you know Kindle Unlimited allows readers to read as many books as they want for a monthly fee of 9.99.

For readers that’s awesome – it’s like Netflix for books.

However, the agreement that each author enters into when they decided to go with Kindle Unlimted does a couple of things.

First off, it gives exclusive rights to Amazon to publish the book for the duration of the KU contract. So, while on the program authors cannot have their books listed with any other book distributor.

Secondly, once you sign up for the program authors are paid by pages read. The breakdown is like .00046 cents per page and that number fluctuates constantly.

Pages read also increases visibility on Amazon’s website. The more pages read, the higher the ranking of your book in the genre(s) it’s listed under.

That’s all great.

However, the system is far from perfect. For example, not only do authors have to deal with piracy of e-books, piracy of audiobooks, click farms in China that cheat the system, now other authors are gaming the system by stuffing their books with ‘bonus books’ and listing it all for 99 cents.

((I think listing a book for 99 cents is outrageous enough, as it devalues books and the work put into them. ))

As mentioned in the video above, this has caused some authors to jump over E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) in the Amazon ranking.

Not because of the quality of their work. Not because of the popularity of their work. But simply because of mathematics. Think card counting at a Vegas Casino.

While it’s technically allowable under the current Amazon TOS – click here – in my opinion, the entire thing is completely unethical.

With as hard as it’s become to compete with all the shady aforementioned things listed above, to know that fellow authors are out there screwing over others, is really sort of disgusting.

If your talent alone can’t carry you into prominence, if you have to absolutely game the system to reap the benefits of a program designed to be egalitarian for both readers and writers, no matter how much money you make, no matter how popular you become, you’re work should be viewed for what it is.

A fucking sham job.

Furthermore, you’re working to totally delegitimize the ranking of Amazon completely and other bestsellers lists out there.

There are authors out there who dream of becoming best sellers. Authors who actually have the talent to do it on their own and you and your buddies are standing in their way – completely unfairly I might add – so that you can pad your pockets.

Way to be a buddy fucker.