Diversity in Books (Radio Show)

I am the host of a Saturday Afternoon Radio Show for Beaten Track Radio. This is last week’s show, “Funk with Freddie.” The subject was over Diversity in books.

Listen here:

Join us this week at 12 noon CST (5 p.m. GST) as we delve more into the subject of books and music.

www.beatentrackradio.com

((The opinions are not necessarily those of the radio station))

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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.

 

 

 

My thoughts on Donald Trump’s Shithole Statement

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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.

 

Trumpettes in my books ( I did Nazi that coming)

Yesterday, for the first time in presidential history, Donald Trump spoke at a ‘value voters’ summit hosted by the nefarious hate group ‘Focus on the Family.’

After promising support for LGBT Americans, he ditched them for his base.

Mostly, because his presidency sucks and he needs the support of his base.

I really don’t want to focus too much on what was said there, but he validated this organization that stands against my marriage. He told them that they their homophobia will be supported by him. Pence, a virulent anti-gay former governor, passed a law in Indiana that backfired spectacularly. Jeff Sessions has reversed the governments support for L.G.B.T people.

I’ve never been more worried for my country, for my friends, and for my own life as I am now under this administration.

Yet, here we are.

Often times when someone who is an actor, singer, writer, stands up and says something that his base doesn’t like they are told to shut up and sit down or they’re told to shut up and (______) fill in the blank with their chosen profession.

Get out of politics they say.

Well first off, fuck you.

This administration is a direct threat to my family. This goes beyond politics, this comes right into my home, into my consciousness, and it’s influencing my work. It’s anxiety, it’s fear, it’s rage, and fury.

Your political choices are also a threat. Maybe you voted for fiscal responsibility, party loyalty, or the republican party that once was – you know, the one that used to stand for freedom and liberty.

However, the failure of Trump to move any sort of policy forward, legislative or otherwise, and the narrowing of his support to his more virulent fans, has caused him to shift over to the evangelical hate groups with bullshit names like “Focus on the Family.”

logic

The amount of cognitive dissonance required by you to vote like this and then curl up with one of our books, or books written about gay people, knowing you’ve made our lives that much harder – is beyond the pale.

And yet – here it is. There are other books you should probably be reading. Mein Kempf comes to mind.

Or perhaps some poetry, one in particular by YEATS comes to mind:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Sound familiar?

There’s a lot of scared and hurt people out there. A lot. There’s no telling what this will turn into since the world has decided to lick the proverbial boots of authoritarianism. And once again, we’re engaging in a fight for our survival.

I am reminded of P!nk’s lyric, “I’m not here for your entertainment. You don’t want to mess with me tonight.”

prv92

This idea that people shouldn’t speak out, especially those who are trying to create a brand for themselves, or make money applies to those who are more interested in that side of the equation.  And you may find writers out there who write this stuff and still think like you do. However, that’s evident in the kind of work they put out anyway and it always has been.

These aren’t just books. These are people’s lives. Fictional characters developed from running a pen over the scars people carry.

Thank God, I and so many more of us out there are artists. And Art requires that we honestly reflect the world as it is. So, quite frankly your money is no good here anymore.

Please leave. You’re uninvited. It’s just you and your hand tonight.

 

 

Jesus on the 50 Yard Line

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Edwin Andrade

I knelt to pray in a great coliseum
a humble gesture
to the cross on Golgotha’s Hill
I turn my heart inside out
desperate
hope, and sleep, and calmness evaded
and tremble in our desperation

Great voices spoke
from the foot of that place
and I heard them all one by one
“They slipped the surely bonds of earth…”
“Ask not what your country can do for you..”
“I have a dream, today..”
“..a day that shall live in Infamy..”
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom..”
” …betwixt the negros of the north and the women’s of the south…
“A national sin shall cause a national calamity..”
“I once was blind but now I see…”
“Homo sum, humani nahil …”

I at once so weak and powerless
made all the more humble
at the commanding voices from times long since passed
in an attempt to lower myself further, in my madness
I ate the grass at my feet
and the dirt, and the rocks were made wet
with my tears

A long silence followed
and I dared not raise my head
for the voices that had spoken was to great
and mine eyes too unworthy
until I saw a pair of sandal clad
nail scarred feet standing just inside my outstretched
hands
that braced myself against the burdens of the world

“Oh, my child…”
A warm voice softly spoke
as a gentle hand lifted my chin
the sight I can never fully describe
“I’ve not left you, or them, alone.
For they are the most beloved you see
and the most favored, the most blessed, by me”

“How?” was the only word
that managed to escape my lips
Softly and tenderly he wiped my face
with nail scarred hands and knelt down
to look me in the eye
“My love is not tangible items, my son
a blessing isn’t the same as a gift
and while they thanked me for games and wins and gold
I turned a blind eye

but when they knelt, ah yes, when they knelt
though proud gladiators one and all
I stayed the anger of twenty thousand angry fists
and kept them glued to where they stood
for even though no one could see me
I once again used all that was foolish to shame the wise
and no one would mess with the Seahawks tonight
not with Jesus on the fifty yard line ”

 

From a veteran: Grow up, America

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Mark Jefferson Paraan

I have seen two posts over as many days saying ‘we don’t care about the kneeling’ or ‘you’re a rich NFL player and kneeling is disrespectful to those who served and fought yada yada yada”

What’s happened here in America with the rise of racism and would be fascist dictatorships and authoritarianism, is happening all over the Western World.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Murkel was just reelected for her fourth term. That’s great!

The bad news, the far right party, which is equivalent to the Nazi party got 13 percent headway into the new government.

The U.K has Nigel Farage and Theresa May, etc.

First off, if you don’t live in this country and you comment about what’s going on in this country – watch your lane. You need to check your own.

Secondly, the reason the whole kneeling thing is happening by the NFL, WNBA, NBA, MLB etc. is due to dead people in our streets murdered without due process of law. The majority of them being black.

So black athletes – starting with Colin Kaepernick starting making this issue visible using their platform.

See we like black people when we’re bumpin their music, when we’re watching their movies, when they go out and win championship titles, and trophies, and boxing matches, and super-bowl rings.

Black Athletes have brought home the gold in Olympic sports representing this country. They’ve fought and died for this country’s freedom.  (By the way, how did service members and the military get white washed?)

We like our black folks, then.

But when they kneel and we know what it is they’re kneeling over it makes us uncomfortable.

So to deal with that uncomfortablness of your country not being all sunshine and roses, instead of dealing with it – you want to put that off on the flag, or over the anthem, or best of all on veterans and current service members.

Stop putting your bullshit off on us. Because quite frankly, the majority of the responses from vets to the black community and those who are kneeling has been supportive.

Why? Because like major sports, the United States Military integrated successfully. They make it work, everyday.

See, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights is the Beatrice to our Dante. Do you understand?

Of course you don’t.

See, when you sign up to serve, you need something grandiose to hang on to. A reason. A deep abiding faith in more than just looking good in a uniform. Because once you sign over that blank check you know you could die and dammit you have to have a reason to die and an even better reason to live.

That reason is that one day the words of our forebears would be actualized and not just conceptualized.

That oath we swear to uphold and defend, regardless of selective incorporation, regardless of federalism, regardless of SCOTUS decisions – we stand for life, liberty, and all of what it entails.

We stand for the right of the Klans member to march and for fuck sake – we stand for the black man (universally speaking) who was brutally discriminated against for 300 years – to make a statement about his freedom.

Because at the end of the day – our money is not on those who can’t take three minutes of a wake up call. Our money is on someone who’s suffered and died for over three hundred years and still —AND STILL —- remains.

Slavery didn’t wipe them out
The Civil War didn’t wipe them out
Jim Crow never wiped them out
Organized and racist religions didn’t wipe them out
The Rise of the religious right didn’t wipe them out
The war on drugs didn’t wipe them out
These killer cops aren’t going to do it either.

They have 300 years of this, you have three minutes.

I don’t see black people as the problem. I see you as the problem. You’re lazy. Intellectually slothful, hanging on to something your grandpappy put in your head, hanging on to the war of northern aggression, hanging on to dead ideas and death culture, because you’re whiteness somehow equates rightness.

I can’t speak for the rest of my brothers and sisters in arms but quite frankly all of this is the reason why we really don’t like civilians.

You’re children. Spoiled rotten ass children. This country has kept you this way. Your faiths have kept you this way. You’ve refused to leave your colloquialism behind. You refuse to travel the world and see and experience other people. Hell, most of you won’t leave your neighborhoods.

It is 17 years into the 21st century.

It is well passed time for you to grow up.

Personally, I think a mandatory 2 year enlistment for all citizens in one of the service branches would do a great deal toward working out the issues this country has with race among other things.

Check your words three times (Poem)

 

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(Photo by Imani Clovis)

 

check one
check two
check three
sit and ponder – is this me?
pick it apart, tear it asunder
flip it over and look at it under
a microscope, throw it up in the air
a telescope, wondering where
the words they say stop and where I begin
Is it normal to be living in sin
and what is sin? What is this thing
is it still constant even with my wedding ring
and is it still real if I don’t believe everything
that comes rolling out of the mouths of they
who’s sin is wrapped up in the modesty of Sears Clothing?

But there’s no softer side here
no pastel feelings no warmth do they bring
Sat up before us like kings and like queens
of banana pudding and too much hair spray
hair jacked to Jesus – as drag queens often say
who are they? Who are they?
who use rhetorical flourish – who use a book to beat people
when it was origionally created to nourish and bring life
now its a weapon used against a wife
who wants to leave because her man is abusive
the comfort of The Holy Spirit who was supposed to be constant
has now become elusive, obtuse and
M.I.A.
What Can I say?

Tear down that statue, iis what I say, rip down that flag
But they reply , “Don’t say nothin’ boy, you’s nothin but a fag”
those black men, they don’t like you
it’s all gang-bangers and do-rags, its inbred in their race

But those same people who try to sew division
on Sunday they’re the loudest when they sing
Amazing Grace – hands stretched to God
tears rolling down their face
My God, don’t they know?
That John Newton was The Captain of a Slave Ship
Who – back when those men’s backs learned the anger
of the master’s bull whip
said “STOP!” Wait. What have I done?
How can I claim The Father and the Son
How do I try to plea the blood
when I’m the one who failed to read the book of Exodus
So, here, let me fix this – let me become the worlds first Abolitionist and pen a song now that I’m blind
and feeble in my bereavement let me work to do God’s work
and live to free men to see them
so mine eyes can see the glory of the coming of the Lord

Check one
Check two
Check three
sit and ponder – is this me?
Or is this them who be talkin’
talkin’ talkin’ yet they don’t do no walkin’
Their faith has become static – like that statue in N’awlins
lost in time they don’t realize
the differences in mankind aint about them
but this poem is, my flow is, the words often spoken
in hate, and fear, and malice -they’ve used that that I toss back at them
us ‘others’ we ain’t in it
talk about sin
their sin – they sit in it – and are proud of it
and repeat it, and believe it, and wonder why they’re all alone
sittin’ on a throne of bones, tombs, and headstones
When you say you’re saved – ain’t nobody believes it
The God you speak of – yeah he probably still loves
but it’s in spite of and not because of
those words that should make any man hesitate
and say, “Wait a minute, is this me?”
Let me stop, drop, let me see
and before I speak – are these words anointed
in the love I so needed , from God up above
or has my philosophy been informed solely by my geography
and grandaddy’s broke down theology
so’s I’m out creating disciples twice as fit for hell as I was?

Check one
Check two
Check three
Check your words three times before you speak.

I can’t be a racist because I’m hungry

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(Photo: Todd Diemer)

I can’t be a racist. Not that I’ve ever tried but seriously, I just can’t.

Why?

Food.

I’m serious.

Food.

I am always hungry.

I love to cook (see above statement).

My inner fat boy – who is trying to be an out fat boy these days – loves people like he loves cake.

So let’s just break this down, shall we?

Arab Food – you haven’t lived until you’ve had Gallayah (chicken or beef) with Almond Rice.

Jewish Food – FALAFEL – Just Falafel. All of the Falafel, please.

Italian – all of it. ALL OF IT.

Mexican – (See Italian)

Chinese – God Bless General Tso, wherever that baby is.

Japanese – Nom nom nom nom

Vietnamese – PHO!

Tai – see Japanese

German – More Sour Kraut, please

African American – Soul Food? Bless me with some friend chicken, some collard greens cooked with a smoked pork hock, and some mashed potatoes – I am yours. Seriously. The adoption papers can be made available. It would make family reunions fun.

I think you all get my point.

I don’t want to be racist because it cuts off all the good food in the world. These things that we’ve grown so accustomed to as we are sitting around our dinner tables every evening. Maybe to get rid of all the superfluous rhetoric floating around out there we need to go back to the basics. Find things we all have in common.

We gotta eat. We love food. And what problems in the world haven’t been brought up and resolved around a dinner table?

I can’t be racist because I’m hungry. And I hunger for a day when we can gather around the dinner table and be blessed by each other’s company.

So why don’t we just stop the craziness and wash our hands of it?

And while you’re here, will you help me set the table?

The Fundamentalist Inside Me.

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The fundamentalist in my head – that little part of me – that ‘thing’ so wretched and vile, so unmerciful and braggadocious, has been whispering to me all day.
In that corner of my consciousness. In the back where I keep the memories of the past so malignant like cancer, that stinks like spoiled meat, has been echoing its angry voice through my head all day.
I see in my head truth becoming a lie. Facts have become fiction. Climate change is ignored for coal production and more fossil fuel extraction.
I see in my head the rise of authoritarianism. Conway is calling the media the ‘instigators’ of trouble – when her boss is the ultimate trouble maker. For having whipped a country into a feeding frenzy with the wretchedness of his speech.
Although, I see compassion blazing white hot. When a Mosque was burnt to the ground due to the encouragement by the sitting president to mistreat foreigners and strangers – Jews, the people Christ first went to, the most persecuted people in history, hand over the keys of their synagogue for their distant cousins to worship. And when I see people march for their rights, for their futures, and for their posterity – it is met with scorn and ridicule from a populace that’s been encouraged to bear its teeth.
I see the rise of white supremacy. “Go back home,” “We don’t want your kind here.” “Speak English.” “Build a wall.” “Turn refugees back.” “Make America Great Again.”
I see the rise of fascism. “The newsmen are all liars.” Denial of Russian Involvement in this election. Denial of the popular vote. The rising up of power hungry preachers into key positions in government ‘to investigate’ higher learning. The placement of a woman to teach children ‘creationism’ in place of good, solid, fact-based science. Someone who will eradicate history. The great agitators who speak of Christ out of one side of their mouth yet starve men in the streets, cut off workers compensation, make health care less affordable, while living in palatial splendor. Those who castigated the Popes of old and called the church “The Great Whore’ while wearing thigh high boots on television with their 1-800 numbers convincing old women to endorse their social security checks to them. Men, more in love with power than the God they pretend to serve.
While that Pope, seemingly powerless, begs the world not to head into the direction it is heading. While he tries – maybe in vain – to steer the world back from the brink by reminding them of supremacy’s failed history. While he tries to hold back the flood.
I see a nation teetering on the edge of oblivion. While the world shudders in horror and absolute fear. I sense a war on the horizon. The drums beating down from inside the bowels of the earth. Perhaps The Church was His church after all.
No, that little troll isn’t warning me. He’s celebrating. He’s basking in the glow of what he sees as this ‘world’s’ comeuppance. He is the one so filled with rage and contempt for the world that didn’t lock step into what he thought it should be. They didn’t believe exactly how he believed. He who thinks himself superior to all others. He who thinks he is saved of the saved and everyone else is damned. This is the voice of radical. This is the voice of a hatemonger. This is a fearful and loathsome creature who can never ever be satisfied.
And no – Donald Trump is not the Antichrist. No. To Republicans and their voters – he is revenge. He is justice. He is law and order. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when someone whom they consider lesser demands equality. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when cruelty and malice rage forth like bile. That turn a blind eye when they see someone on the street hungry and abandoned. When they blame the woman alone for becoming pregnant. When they call a soldier a hero but the veteran a drag on society. No, Donald Trump is their hero.
To us -who know better – He is the Beast.
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

The Intensity of Wisdom (opinion subject to change)

I will never discuss banal things.
I like conversations about ideas. I want to talk about sex. I want to hear your thoughts about space travel and colonies on the ocean floor. I want to hear your thoughts on God. Philosophy. Religion. I won’t accept your Atheism, Christianity, or Wiccan ness unless you tell me why.
I want to know why.
I don’t accept things because we throw pretty and modern words to the masses and because it’s repeated over and over again. Tenacity is not truth. Mendacity is just a pretty word for lie.
Concerning your sexuality, I want to know your experiences. I want to hear from you about when you found out you were straight, gay, trans.
I want to hear your truth between the words you speak. I want to feel your emotion wrapped up in the nuances of your speech.
I have spent too many years with people who promoted their ‘truth’ so absolutely that I am suspicious of others? Or, maybe that’s not the right word. Inquisitive? I don’t know.
When I left the Fundi Baptist church – I left the philosophy due to its shallowness. It’s inconsistencies. It’s inability to contribute anything meaningful to the world. It lacked ethics. It lacked aesthetics. And it half lied and it half told the truth. And that truth was manipulated for control’s sake. They were out making converts twice as fit for hell as they were in accordance to their own holy text.
The Atheist makes a point that if you need the threat of eternal damnation to do the right thing, you don’t lack religion, you lack morals. And they’re right.
But even those with religion, the saved of the saved, have the fear of the ‘Big Sky Daddy’ and STILL lack a conscience. We see that played out over and over and over again through not only history but modern political thought. Ayn Rand was a shit person who had an irresponsible philosophy that our current speaker of the house shares. Donald Trump is another great example of utter garbage in our world today backed up by American Protestantism. Like the German Church, they’ve thrown their hat in with someone who could be a kind of Anti-Christ should he gain control. And on the flip side of that, Trigger warnings at the University level and even in book production today is utter bullshit. Truth is not often pretty. Sometimes it’s downright nasty. And you shouldn’t be protected from those things because people who went through them, weren’t. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the hammer blow when I see something in regards to child abuse or systemic racism. Because I often know where it’s rooted. And it’s rooted in the idea that a person ‘owns’ another.
And these things are not in an attempt to make me sound smart. There are smarter men and women than me by light years. And I don’t want to talk about these things to intimidate people. I’m not trying to prove anything. I owe you nothing and you owe me nothing.
But I’ve spent years trying to figure myself out. Trying to figure out what the truth is in regards to who I am. Because the more I know about you, the more I find out about me. And these things lead me out of a word of certainty. Statements made with exclamation marks.
An uncertain person will never kill a gay person, will never blow up a Mosque, will never call a woman seeking an abortion a whore, will never subject someone to the auspices of a book translated by a King with an authoritarian ideology, will never once hold a slave, or castigate someone for finding their own truth and living freely in it. And uncertain people make shitty terrorists.
At the end of the day, I know very few things. But I do know that I love my husband and I love my friends. Anything else is anyone’s guess. And the willingness to live in such a nebulous gray place requires intensity, I guess. And it requires the understanding that the more I learn, the less I know. Aristotle said the beginning of wisdom is the understanding that I know nothing.
But it also requires being brave. And you can’t be gay in this world and be a coward. It’s impossible.