Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


A Pair O’ Ducks

Cute, ain't they?

Doubting your faith is a curious thing.  The farther I go the curiouser it gets.  Here are just some of the conclusions I’ve come to:

Jesus is a historical figure.  He was a real man who walked the earth, got his feet dirty, lived and died just like everyone else.

The virgin birth and the resurrection are quite unlikely.  For all of apologetics’ “most likely” scenarios, these two are not it.  I suppose if there was a God who could speak the earth and all of it’s wonders and inhabitants into being, He could make those things happen. Which brings me to :

I don’t believe that a God spoke the earth and all of it’s wonders and inhabitants into being.  He didn’t paint the sunsets or draw the stars in the heavens.

God didn’t part the Red Sea or cause a global flood or send plagues on the Egyptians.

The Bible contains some historically accurate information, but is not historically accurate, nor is it inerrant, nor is it a sacred, holy text.  It provides some valuable moral insights, but no more so than any other religious text or even a Disney film for that matter.  The Golden Rule isn’t exactly a watershed moral movement.

Even having come to those conclusions, and though I am currently unchurched, I still feel sad when I think about the prospect of never going to church again.  Not only that I feel a bit melancholy when I think about not teaching the children I don’t yet have about the love of Jesus, or not taking them to Sunday School, or not having them attend Vacation Bible School.

Kind of a weird pair o’ ducks, eh?


What’s the Proper Size?

Sometimes I get some very strange search log hits.  Today I got this – “what’s the proper size length of pvc pipe to spank your children” 😯 – which I’m sure was because of this post.

Answer:  There is no proper size length of pvc pipe to spank your children. Zero. Zilch.

Why on earth is anyone searching for this?  If you are looking for advice from the Pearls on how to discipline your children, please abandon your search. Please don’t resort to their extreme disciplinary tactics.  I’m not even certain they can be called discipline.  I think the appropriate word is abuse.

It makes me sad to think that any parent would use a pvc pipe or dowel rod to spank their child.  I get it that many Christan Fundamentalists believe that many passages in the Bible advocate harsh physical punishment

  • Proverbs 13

24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (KJV)

24 He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (NIV)

  • Proverbs 22

15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (KJV)

15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (NIV)

  • Proverbs 23
13Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (KJV)


13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (NIV)


  • Proverbs 29

15The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (KJV)

15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. (NIV)

The rod depicted in these passages is that of a shepherd’s staff.  A shepherd used his staff to gently guide his sheep, to reach with the hook and gently pull a sheep from a pit – not to beat his sheep.

Consider this:  if God is commanding you to strike your child with an object such as a pvc pipe is that really a God you want to follow? I’m not suggesting that there is never an appropriate time for physical discipline.  But that should not be the predominate means by which discipline is meted out.

  • Colossians 3

21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.(KJV)

21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.(NIV)

I wish I could say that this is the first time this phrase has landed someone here. Sadly, it isn’t.  😦

*Please forgive the wonky formatting of this post. I’ve tried every way to Sunday to fix it and when I update it goes back to this.


On the Side of Religious Liberty

Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.* But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution.

~Letter from Nehemiah Dodge to Thomas Jefferson dated October 7, 1801

*Emphasis mine

With all the to-do about religion and, in particular Christianity, running up to the GOP nomination and the Presidential election I’ve been thinking a lot about the separation of church and state.  We’ve all heard the tired trope about Thomas Jefferson’s phrasing in his letter to the Danbury Baptists referencing a “wall of separation between church and state” not meaning that religion has no place in politics.  In fact I’ve heard on a number of occasions Dr. James Dobson  reiterating that Jefferson’s letter was merely to assure these Christian men that their religious freedom to worship in the way they chose would not be infringed upon and that Jefferson, himself, would see to that.  They believe that the wall of separation has a door and that door only opens one way. The first amendment is trounced in making the case that Americans have freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

Context is everything.  What prompted this response from Thomas Jefferson?  It was the letter written to to him by the Danbury Baptists from which the above quote was excerpted.  It was their religious liberty they were afraid would be lost.  But, and this is a big but, they also clearly recognized everyone else right to religious liberty.  They, even as Christians, believed that the opinions of individuals about religion was, for lack of a better term, a God-given right and that no one should be punished or discriminated against based on those opinions.

Nowhere in the Constitution, Jefferson’s letter, nor the Danbury Baptist’s letter does it intimate that this wall of separation is there so long as everyone worships the same God.  The cry of candidates like Rick Santorum, who says that the separation of church and state is not absolute, is that you and I may have religious liberty as long as we all believe in the Christian God.  That implicitly infringes on individual religious liberty.

What happened to religion at all times and places being a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor?  Laws should not be formed and implemented based on solely religious ideals.  Laws should be formed and enacted based on the greater good of society.

I will always be on the side of individual religious liberty.  Imagine if another religion becomes the majority.  According to Christians that is likely to happen.  Now imagine that the new majority religion decides to start blurring that line as much as Christians have.  Yeah, nobody wants that.  We are all better off with that wall up and the door sealed forever.

Your Bible governs you.  Not me.  Not the rest of society.  How other people live is between them and their God, or not.  The Constitution guarantees you, me, and everyone else that right.  You don’t have to like it, but that’s what was supposed to make America different and great.


Liberal Sluts!

I guess I really am that stupid.

I don’t condone calling either of these women a slut.  I don’t know the first thing about either of their sexuality. I have no idea if Sarah Palin has been faithful to her husband for 24 years and I have no clue if Sandra Fluke has ever had sex.  That’s none of my business or concern.  It is certainly not the point.

Rush Limbaugh has managed with his vitriol to do exactly what he intended to do.  He has vilified one woman by calling her a name implying what she stands for.  If anyone who plastered the above picture ever bothered to listen to Fluke’s testimony they would know that she wasn’t speaking on her own behalf but the behalf of others who are affected by this nonsense.  But that would require actually doing some fact checking and not just listening to conservative pundits and following blindly what someone else told them.

I opened my facebook page to find the above picture posted by a friend.  I couldn’t help myself and before I knew it I was posting.

I still consider myself fairly conservative.  Even as a conservative I felt that insurance plans should cover birth control pills.  The decision when or if to have a baby should be up to a woman and her partner – not her employer.  I’m not saying that pregnancy is a disease, but these plans cover other elective prescriptions.  Not only that, many diseases are controllable by diet and exercise without the need for medications.  So if someone who is overweight has diabetes, like maybe Rush Limbaugh, should he be denied medication?  He could control his problem another way.

The fact is no one has asked taxpayers to fund this contraception.  What these liberal sluts are asking for is that their insurance plan pay for the contraception.  More times than not the individual must contribute some portion of the insurance premiums for this coverage. In most states taxpayer funded contraception already exists for those with no or low incomes.  It amazes me how ignorant people can be.

And then the creme de la creme was this jewel:

He will receive no criticism from me for drawing Social Security Disability Insurance.  The irony is palpable.  These women, at least many of them, are or will be taxpaying citizens of this country.  They also want reasonable and fair treatment.  Why shouldn’t contraception be covered?  Because some single women might have sex?  Because women want to be in control of their own bodies?  Because pregnancies that women are unprepared for might be prevented? Why is that such a horrible thought?  Aren’t there enough unwanted children in this world?

Births and the ongoing healthcare of children are expensive.  Much more expensive than contraception.  Rush Limbaugh has diverted attention from the real issue at hand by screaming “the taxpayers are getting duped”.  This has nothing to do with taxpayer funded anything.  And yet when that fact is pointed out these conservative parrot heads keep going right down that same path.

Do conservative menfolk really believe we women folk really don’t have enough sense to figure what is best for our own bodies?