Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


35 Comments

We Have No Use for Them

I says to myself, “Self, don’t do it.  Just don’t do it.”

But then myself did it anyway.  How does that work?  How does it work that when your brain tells you one thing you up and do another?  My brain is a real asshole sometimes.

I don’t even post to facebook very much and I rarely get into discussions.  It leads to nowhere.  As my blog buddy Swarn Gill said in his fine post, Social Media, Fear, Change, and Love, “either I’m utterly awful and changing people’s mind, or social media just isn’t the place to do it.  Or maybe it’s both.  Either way the result is the same.  My sanity and well-being is more important, because being bombarded with the kind of people there are out there just drains me of my strength.”

Anyway, I’m sorry Michael Mock for littering up your facebook post with my brain assholery.

Michael posted this:

So, apparently the Bible was right: perfect fear casts out love. That *is* how that verse goes, isn’t it?
::is depressed::

To which I posted a comment:

Right, my knee-jerk reaction had been, “Not accept refugees?!? Are you kidding me? How unAmerican? What’s next internment camps for the refugees we have already accepted? Tracking devices for a particlar religous sect? What happened to freedom of religion? Shut down mosques? Are Christian churches next?” Having had time to absorb all the fear-based rhetoric has made me re-think accepting refugees here. The backlash they might face would only increase their anymosity and create a whole ‘nother set of problems. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think we should accept them, but I don’t think a lot of Americans are prepared or even capable of doing that. ::is depressed, too::

And what followed was even more depressing.  I didn’t expect what I said to get a pass.  But I didn’t expect a response like this, either:

Why not just feed them there, where they live?

Which is where I should have left it.  But did I? Nooooooo.  Because….well…my brain. Did I mention my brain?

So I responded(bad move):

They aren’t running because they don’t have food. They’re running from attacks on every side. Let’s see; I can either eat a bomb or a sword. Seems like a good selection to choose from. Where they live? They have no home anymore. They are displaced. They don’t have an address.

It only devolved from there.  I should have seen when the respondent said this…

…Ultimately- these people need to handle their shit- the 75% of them that are young men need to return and fight for their homeland, as men are expected to do. The women and children may remain in refugee camps locally.

But we as a population have no use for them, no reason to bring them over here, and no imaginable benefit– hell, their fellow syrians who immigrated her years ago don’t want them (and i don’t blame them- most of the Syrians over here are Syrian Christians, with some VERY interesting stories about their peaceful neighbors.(emphasis mine)

…that he had no interest in being compassionate, nor accurate facts.

This went back and forth for way longer than it should have.  I should have just stopped, dead in my tracks, right there.  We have no use for them.  There is no imaginable benefit.

I did provide some facts, to which he provided some of his own skewed facts.  We were using the same website to get them.  But even when I showed him the nature in which they were skewed he replied with:

Did you not see the stats I just posted were also from the UN? *shrug* To be honest? It doesn’t matter one way or the other- this still doesn’t address the question of why we’re paying to fly people here instead of leaving them In Situ.

Meh….facts, schmacts.  Doesn’t matter.  Facts are stupid.  No facts will change my mind.

It did take him quite a while to invoke Jesus’ name:

These people need food, and shelter, and safety and comfort- frankly, even Jesus Christ doesn’t require us to do more than that. The Good Samaritan didn’t find the man on the side of a road a job in Samaria- he helped him, paid for his treatment, and they both went on in their lives.

What is this twisted interpretation of those scriptures?  Suddenly the Parable of the Good Samaritan is a maxim on foreign policy and an analogy for doing only what’s required.  Somehow I thought that parable meant exactly the opposite.

I left it here because that part of my brain that isn’t an asshole kicked in and told me to get out:

The whole point of resettlement, not only in America(we would be taking relatively few in comparison to the total number) but around the world, was to help these people become self suffient and get back on their feet. Teaching them to fish, so to speak. But since they are of no use to us, perhaps it is better just to throw them their daily fish. My concern is that we will be doing that forever which will be far more expensive than plane tickets. In a few years we’ll be bitching about paying their way, too. I guess we can agree to disagree.

His parting shot:

*shrug* to be honest? Jesus commands us to help our neighbors. I have no idea, as an intelligent person or as a Christian, why the hell this is our issue- any of it. From helping the Afghanis fight communism to invading Iraq to this. The middle east is like this, it always has been like this, it always will be like this. All we can do is kick the can down the road- but as the Euros have seen- bring them in, and they keep fighting their ancient wars in your cities.

Sigh…we have no use for them. I wish I could say that this has been taken out of context, but I really don’t think it has.  Ugly is out there and I know it full well.  Yet each time I encounter it I’m just as surprised and dismayed.

::is depressed::


32 Comments

Trouble on Every Side

refugee

Dear refugee woman,

I see you there, struggling with your children, wondering what might be next.

You weren’t Muslim enough for the extremists in your country.  Or you refused to become Muslim and instead were threatened with your very life and the lives of your children.

You’ve probably already lost your husband.  And if you haven’t you are afraid for his life, too.

You’ve been bombed by those fighting the extremists in your country.  Your home and your homeland is in shambles.

I see the worry in your face.  Every line earned.

You’ve seen and experienced violence the likes of which my privileged, white, self has never even had nightmares to rival.

You had no choice but flee.  Flee the problem. Flee the arrogant supposed solution to it.

Run for your life.  Run for your children’s lives.

Run to where?  Nowhere.  No job, no home, no money.  Run away from terror into horror.

I’m sorry for your luck, really.  Through no fault of your own you look like them.  Whoever them is.  You have the wrong color skin.  You wear the wrong garments.  We can’t help you.

To hell with you.  We’re closing the door in your face.

I see you, but you are on your own.  I will turn my head pretend that my country and others have no blood on their hands.  I will pretend that we had no hand in empowering those who seek to do you harm. Your plight is not my problem.

I see you there, with your trouble on every side.  You might just bring your trouble to me.  I will close my eyes and hope it turns out alright for you.

I’m praying for you, nonetheless. I hope you find Jesus before it’s too late.

Warmest regards,

The United States of America

——————————————————–

I am sad to see our country closing it’s borders to those in need. I have no idea how to help in any tangible and meaningful way.

If you want to help, even in a small way, please consider giving to one of these organizations:

 

The UN Refugee Agency

The Red Cross

Refugee International

Amnesty International


45 Comments

On Bitterness

DSCF1854

This cute little gopher tortoise showed up in our garden!

: having a strong and often unpleasant flavor that is the opposite of sweet

: causing painful emotions : felt or experienced in a strong and unpleasant way

: angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment

Am I bitter?  I’ve been told that I am.  Okay.  Maybe.  It depends on which of these definitions you use.

Have there been experiences in my life that have left a bitter taste in my mouth?  Who hasn’t?  That might be a shorter list.

Have I had experiences that were painful or that I felt in a strong or unpleasant way?  Who hasn’t?  That might be a shorter list.

Usually, though, when someone calls you bitter it’s that last bit of the definition they’re alluding to.  Am I angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment?  The short answer is no.  At least I don’t see myself that way. Then again, we often have trouble seeing ourselves as we truly are.  But I don’t feel angry or unhappy.

Having said that, I do get angry sometimes when certain topics come up based on my experiences.  For instance, when someone – be it a man or a woman – says that a wife’s submission is the bee’s knees and that it’s a perfect plan for harmony within a marriage.  It’s God’s plan afterall.

You know what?  I’m not totally opposed to submission.  The way I experienced it had horrific results.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for anyone ever.  Sometimes men choose to submit, too.  Sometimes people just want all the little details taken care of and never to have to make any decisions.  If the two people involved are cool with that then who am I to say that submission is a terrible idea?

In fact, there are many relationships where one is submissive and the other more dominant.  And they aren’t all religious.  If it’s a free choice made because a person knows themselves well then I think it can make for a mutually beneficial relationship.

However, if the submission is based on coercion (i.e. lording religious precepts over one’s head)?  That’s where I can become angry.  If, based on your religious beliefs, you want to submit to your spouse, by all means go right ahead and do that.  But if, based on your husband’s religious convictions he forces submission by continually reminding you it is your wifely duty, that you are sinning if you don’t, or threatens you in any way – emotionally or physically – it isn’t willful or chosen freely.

In fact, if your husband is doing any of those things you might be in an abusive relationship.  The teachings on submission within religions are but mere weapons in the arsenal of an already abusive person.  Anyone who uses scripture to guilt you into doing things to suit them is being abusive, be they male or female.

So, the long answer to the question of whether or not I’m bitter depends on whether you believe that a person’s life experiences informing their ethics makes them bitter.  If you learn nothing from the experiences you’ve had, if you can’t recognize what you’ve been through and honor that with future life choices and held values without being labeled bitter it is likely that there is something wrong with the label maker – not the labeled.

That is all.


107 Comments

Broken and Spilled Out

shattered-glass-1-daniele-smith

Often when reading blog posts I’m triggered.  Not into a downward spiral of despair.  More of a remembrance.  A remembrance of who I used to be.  A remembrance that causes me to take note of who I am today in relation to that person.

As I read this post at VictoriaNeuronotes and the subsequent comments I was brought to just such a remembrance. I remembered when I thought so little of myself that wanted nothing more than to be broken and spilled out because of what my supposed savior had done for me.  I was, in my mind, such a wicked person; so evil and vile that only a perfect blood sacrifice could atone for my shame, my depravity, my iniquity.  Unworthy of such a sacrifice I would be willing to sell my soul to the one who had made such a sacrifice.

I was reminded of this song by Steve Green which used to be a sort of personal anthem:

Broken and Spilled Out

One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn

And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of You, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee

Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Lord, You were God’s precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father
Just for love it was done

And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me, Jesus
God’s most precious treasure
Lavished on me

Broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet, in sweet abandon
Lord, You were spilled out
And used up for me

I so identified with the very first verse of Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

I even took to heart that John Newton had originally written, “…that saved a worm like me.”

A worm.  I was nothing more without Jesus than a wriggling worm in the dung heap of life. As a result of being told over and over that I was born as an affront to God, his enemy, I needed Jesus to mediate on my behalf. Made in God’s image, of course.  But I marred that image from the start by my own unrighteousness.  Anything good, and noble, and beautiful were the remnants of God’s perfect image.  The blackness, the ugliness, the humanness, that was all me. And that part of me deserved eternal damnation in a lake of fire. I needed a savior. And like anyone who has ever been saved from a sure fate of hell I was enamored with the savior.

This, folks, is the prescription company defining the disease and selling the cure.

I wanted to be broken and spilled out and used up in sweet abandon for any cause to which my savior called me.   And I was.  I was broken.  Every bit of my essence spilled out.  Shattered into a million little pieces.

You see, just as Victoria states in her excellent post, this all comes at a price.  Any notion of self-worth is hijacked and jack-knifed. Why would any loving parent want their child to be so broken?  How can this be called love?  In any other setting, if you removed the super-natural being from all of this, we would see it as twisted and abusive.  How can we just excuse this and say that because this is God there is some sort of caveat that makes this all different?somethingnew

So I’ve taken my million little pieces of broken and spilled out mess and I’m putting them back together.  I’m making something new.  I am reborn.


58 Comments

Coming Out of the Dark….

…Ages, that is.

“When evil is called good, darkness is ushered into the land. And with the darkness comes a threat to our freedoms,”  says Janet Porter, author of the Faith2Action documentary, The Criminalization of Christianity, as she walks into view in the darkness under a moonlit forest, the tree branches bare.

What is this evil, you might ask?  The gays.  It’s always the gays.

Conservative Christians are alleging all sorts of actions by the “gay agenda”, such as making it illegal for a business that has an owner who has Biblical principles from opening in specific locations. Mike Huckabee has this to say:

What kind of freedom of speech do we have, if a person who expresses a biblical viewpoint about marriage is told they can’t open their business in a location?”

Yes, there has been much controversy over wedding services providers refusing service to LGBT couples.  Nowhere has anyone been told that if they have a Biblical viewpoint they cannot open their business. They have been told that they may not discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.  In turn, businesses have screamed loud and long about having the right to refuse service to anyone they see fit.  It’s quite reminiscent of the days when businesses could refuse service to people based on the color of their skin.

In response to the upholding of non-discrimination laws some businesses have opted to shut their businesses down.  Not really.  They close their storefronts and then continue to operate out of their homes.

Another Conservative Christian pastor has this to say:

...homosexual activists get everything they want. Nothing less than criminalization of Christianity.

Listen, conservatives, it’s not that hard.  No one is forcing homosexuality on you.  The legalization of homosexual marriage in no way forces you to be homosexual.  How is that so hard to comprehend?    What you don’t seem to recognize is that what you want to do absolutely is forcing your lifestyle on others.  If you get to dictate whether or not consenting adults can marry then it is you who is cramming your morality down the throats of those who do not agree with you.


55 Comments

Atheist Outrage: Checking your Christian Privilege

I see things.  Things I’d rather look away from.  But it’s like a train wreck.  I know I should but I can’t.  A facebook “friend” posted this and it showed up in my news feed.

Atheists Outraged After NASCAR Legend Says This About God and Salvation

I clicked on the article to read about this atheist outrage.  The article never even addresses it.  Nowhere in the article is any atheist quoted, nor even mentioned, as having been outraged.  This is the kind of propaganda unbelievers are up against in the U.S.

Let’s set the scene, why don’t we? It was at the National Prayer Breakfast where NASCAR legend, Darrell Waltrip, was the keynote speaker.  What was that again?  The National Prayer Breakfast.  The United States hosts, at taxpayer expense, a National Prayer Breakfast which is, to my understanding, intended to unite the leaders of the various world religions.

According to Wikipedia The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization.  Every keynote speaker since 1973 except for last year when Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, who practices Hinduism has been a Christian.

Here is the excerpt of Waltrip’s address which was supposedly the source of all the outrage:

Christians everywhere are giving Waltrip atta-boys and pats on the back for having the courage to share his beliefs at an event where sharing beliefs and faith is expected.  I do not take issue with his speech.  That’s what he was invited there to do.  What I take exception to is the gross mischaracterization of atheists.  The outrage, which is the subject of the title of the article, is not even addressed!  What outrage?

What I find so very ironic about the whole thing is the Christian outrage that has poured out over President Barack Obama’s comments:

You don’t have to look very far to see Christians condemning his remarks.  Here’s an article in The Washington Post:

Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast

and another here from The Week:

The folly of Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast comments

How dare the President speak the truth?  How dare he compare the Crusades and the Inquisition to ISIS’ terrorism?  How dare he point out that horrific acts, like slavery and discrimination, had their roots in religion – specifically Christianity?  Christians are outraged that the President could make such comparisons because Christians have evolved.  They’ve improved and progressed whereas ISIS is going backward.

Have fundamentalist Christians really improved so much?  All one has to do is a Google search for exorcism, Christian child discipline, or Christians rejecting medical attention in favor of prayer, to see that it most assuredly is still possible for Christians to be radicalized.  Granted the rejection of medical attention is not considered terrorism, but what about in cases where a child is the one who is ill and the parents make the decision to pray away critical illness?  What about the brand of child discipline endorsed, no advocated, by Mike and Debi Pearl and practiced by a large portion of society?  What about recent exorcisms which have resulted in the death of the recipient of such treatment?  Not to mention the psychological harm done in the name of Christ!

Christian privilege dictates that nothing negative be said about the Christian faith.  Christian privilege says, “it’s them, not us.”  “We’re nothing like those savages.”  Christian privilege is outraged that the President could point out the failures of their religion.

If we do not learn from history we are most assuredly doomed to repeat it.  Crucify the President.


40 Comments

Solidarity, Unity, Humanity

FRANCE-ATTACKS-MEDIA-DEMO

I don’t watch a lot of news.  Just enough, usually, to catch up on the day’s events.  But much like during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on America I have found it compelling to watch the news following the attack on Charlie Hebdo.  I grieve with the French, the Jewish, and Muslims who have suffered great losses.  I grieve the lives of those snuffed out by an ideology which tolerates no other.

If you’ve read much here you know that I am not a believer.  I don’t believe in any kind of deity.  However, I will defend the right of others to practice the faith of their choosing. Up to a point.  When that practice crosses over to extremism, violence, and abuse I feel we all, every one of us, has a duty to oppose it.

Having watched much of what is transpiring in France – the prevailing attitudes and multitudes flooding the streets I am inspired as I was after 9/11 that the future is brighter in spite of those who would have it another way.

“Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The tongue is mightier than the blade.” – Euripides

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

There will always be those who seek to silence those with whom they disagree whether by might or by intimidation.  There will always be radicals who take their ideals to extremes.  There will always be bullies.  They only win when they have achieved the silence of those with whom they take offense.  There is freedom of speech but clearly it is not free.  It comes at a great price.

I hope the time has come and will not fade away, as is the way, to unite in solidarity against this radical extremism.  I hope the time has come that people, regardless of race or religion, will stand together as humans.

No, I am not a believer, but je suis juif, je suis France, je suis Charlie Hebdo, je suis muslim.  Today I am human. Today I am a humanist.