III – Wisdom and Innocence

Wisdom and Innocence, 11/23/2018, Deon Mumple

I’m here living in a world where all the innocence is lost
We all said we didn’t want it, but we didn’t know the cost
I gave it up too cheap; I can’t afford to buy it back
Now the interest is so high no one bothers keeping track
But I wish I could have known it, without having ever known

Wisdom is for sale,  pray it doesn’t drive you insane
All that wisdom ever costs is higher premiums in pain
Mum tried to instill grace and faith, and some patience to wait
We gain wisdom looking backward, can’t go back ’cause it’s too late
But I wish I could have had it, before my bad habits had grown

I have no more time for patience.  Quick, my time is running out
The answers to life’s questions can’t all be brokenness and doubt
I want what every other broken person wants to find:
Some love, a little comfort, and a stack of peace of mind,
A few more answers to my prayers, some rest while I’m exhaust-
ed, while living in a world where all my innocence is lost.

“Fuck You” Songs

Today I found a jackpot.  No, not the lottery, not yet at least.  I know many of you know these songs are out there.  So why didn’t you tell ME?  I had to find them on my own!!

As if this list wasn’t enough, it wasn’t complete or exhaustive, and I have to say that because several of the songs weren’t a match to my specific angers tonight.  Call it a mood swing, call it temporary, call it whatever you want, I don’t give a shit.  But wait, there’s more:

Well, to be completely honest, I knew SOME of them were out there, I just didn’t know they were all so neatly cataloged in play lists so I could listen back to back and vent the frustration and rage and everything petty about myself over an extended period of time.  And I didn’t know there were this many awesome “fuck you” songs.

When I got done “crying like a bitch,” over “One of My Turns,” I reached the point of “fuck you.”  I confess, it wasn’t when my wife ignored my polite and pleasant request to please read the email I sent (with the link to the prior blog entry).  That just made me mad.  What tipped the scale to real angry was when my 18 year old “adult” daughter was upset about something she wanted to buy but didn’t know what she really NEEDED, I made a suggestion of someone she should ask for help, and in her stress, she yelled at me. “SHUT UP, DAD!!”  So I shut up.  Didn’t talk before they went to bed,  because it’s better to shut the hell up and not say something I’d regret later.  The Bible says it’s a bad idea to let the sun set while one is raging.

Instead I poured a triple-shot and drank it a little faster than I think I should have, over a piece of leftover cold chicken.  And listened to great music.  I did hear an apology for the fucking “shut up” comment, but it still  kind of pisses me off.  And I was still mad about Mrs. M. not reading my fucking blog that explained my feelings and why I’ve been acting all stand-off-ish for a while, not to mention the event that precipitated me having those feelings, not to mention the events that happened before Mrs. M. was Mrs. M., when she proved she loved some other guy in ways she doesn’t want to prove herself to me.

I have a problem with trust.  I trust people too easily.  I take people’s word for their bond, which proves to be my insanity, because I expect, when I’m promised raises, and a career path, and help finding a well-fitting job in my field of training, and the bullshit that has gone on and on in my life, until with this last job, the last one to be infested with liars and cheaters, I realized it, and now want everything in writing so no one will fucking hire me, so I can’t quit the shitty one to even try to find a better one.  Well, to go back to the present rage and my stupid habit of trusting, she said she loved me, so I believed her.  Well, shit happens, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.  She hasn’t read the email I sent to explain it, but I shouldn’t have expected that either, from my wife who doesn’t read.  How the fuck does a writer hook up with a woman who doesn’t fucking READ?

But wait, there’s more, just not on a playlist yet:
Through with You, Maroon 5
Misery, Maroon 5
Wake Up Call, Maroon 5
Maps, Maroon 5
This Love, Maroon 5
Makes Me Wonder, Maroon 5
Payphone, Maroon 5

I think there are several more creepy sounding songs by the group.  There’s one in particular I can’t remember right now.  I wish I could, it was brilliant and very dark.

I think Adam Levine’s voice is great, and his music is soothing, and his lyrics are creepy as fuck.  If I were writing a collection of “Fuck You” songs I would want someone like him to sing them.  He sings stuff about how much he hates the person he’s singing about and wants to do them bodily harm, or murder them, and it sounds loving and sweet.  He’s one of few singers who could sing them like “I’m singing a love song to you, baby,” set to a light, fun-sounding tune, and the lyrics would be …

I— just want to say— I love you today–
But I— know that it’s true— you’ve got work to do–
To earn my trust, to win my love, to hold my heart, baby.
I want to say that I love you, but I doubt the reverse is true

You— inspire me— Your beauty’s all I can see
But you— always act dissatisfied—I know that you’ve lied
And all that I want is to be loved like I loved you, see?
I found out you’ve loved me less than you used to love somebody else.

I—always wanted you to be—the happiest that you could be
But I— can’t compete with the past—If you love me prove it fast
I’m done with working my ass off trying, just to end up crying
You don’t give a shit what I do, it’s never quite enough for you.

You–you think I’m being a bitch—and how come we aren’t very rich?
You–act like you don’t have a clue–pretend you don’t know what to do
I’m sick just thinking of how long I’ve been wasting my time, baby
Doing anything you wanted, insane, when you won’t do the same.

We—can’t dream we will be— forever after happy
We—don’t talk much any more— not to mention you snore
And pushed me away so often, I wonder if you ever loved me.

I– I don’t even want to know why.   Sometimes I wish one of us would die.
Who—who even cares any more? I’m hurt so much more than sore.
30 years wouldn’t even the score, fix my heart, if you could be bothered to start.
I need someone who loves me a whole lot more than you do.

Fuck!!!!!!!!!

DM (Dead Man) 8/9/18

Christmas is Supposed to Inspire…

We interrupt this advertisement of indignantly joyous strength, self-reliance, and independence, supposedly available to humanity, for an awkward reality check.

Yeah, this is going to probably become an annual thing because as much as I wish life made me a stronger better human being, the harder I try the more I see the truth, that I suck at the self-reliance, self-determination, grab-life-by-the-balls-and-make-it-give-me-what-I-want lifestyle.  Or, maybe there are those exceptional few who seem to be fortunate and get what they want, and the rest of us have dreams in our souls and shit in our hands.  And while one reader worries about my compulsivity, all I can say is, thank God for soap.

I could detour here and comment about how gender-insensitive the above was toward life, because who’s to say life is a guy, but if it was and if you were that guy, how would you feel about it?

It doesn’t mean I’ll give up praying for miraculous intervention, but rather it means that in my recent experience I haven’t seen my prayer requests answered with a resounding “yes.”  A soft one, sure, I have to say:  there’s a roof over our heads, it’s just that the lease payment hasn’t been made yet and they’ve already called to gently remind us.  Yeah, thanks, bankers.  And we have utilities, like trash pickup, but they’re calling and gently threatening to leave us to rot in our own trash pile.  Yeah, thanks for letting us know. You’ll get your money after we get paid Friday.  And we have food on the table, for which I am extremely grateful, it’s just that a large percentage of that is coming from a local ministry’s pantry.  Thanks very much.

It’s like getting underwear for Christmas.  It’s what I need, and it’s enough, barely, and I am grateful because there are a lot of people who have a lot less, and need a lot more, and probably live in a lot more anxiety.  I almost have what I need, but I’d really rather have a sense of security, the ability to pay for what I need for myself, the ability to pay our realistic living expenses with what I earn, and the ability to buy my own underwear, so maybe for Christmas I’d like to open a box with a new laptop computer someone got me because I didn’t need underwear (because I need a new laptop this year, but I don’t have much faith in that event.  It could happen and I hold out a little hope still because I haven’t opened all the boxes that aren’t under the Christmas tree yet).  I was going to say “pants,” but I don’t want God to tease me by having someone actually give me pants.  He has a sense of humor and if I said it and He provided pants the joke would be on me.

What if I really needed underwear and begrudged when it came?  How would that make the gift-giver feel?  I can hear me now.  “Oh.  Underwear.  Thanks, it’s just what I wanted.”  I think that’s a 5 to 7 year-old’s thought about getting clothes.  They take it for granted that they will have clothes to wear, so a gift of clothes isn’t maybe their idea of a good gift.

My idea of a good gift is a million dollars a year for the next hundred years, transferrable to my kids after I’m dead.  I have so many first world things, that I have a matching number of first world problems.  My laptop battery isn’t holding a charge, so I’m tethered to the wall.  Not that I don’t prefer it, but that the lurking lack of mobility and waiting for the next thing to fail are hanging over my head adding to my insecurity.  I’m saying, the gift (and it IS a gift) of connectivity is not something I can take for granted.  My car is rusty, prone to leaks in the rain, the check engine light is on and I’m in need of new tires to feel safe if I have to drive in rain or snow. But I have a car and it runs.  As mentioned before, the bank called to remind us not to forget them this Christmas, and so did the trash truck driver and his support staff.  But it’s Christmas, so I’d like to go get something nice for my wife and kids to open on Christmas morning (NOT underwear!)  And it’d be nice to be able to give gifts to family and friends.  But after bills are paid, a little later than I’d like, there’s not a whole lot left to spread around.

I’m thankful for underwear, literally and proverbially.  It’s warming, protecting, and supporting, which is what I need in life.  I’m thankful for people in my life who have provided that warmth, protection and support.  And I’m not going to offend these kind souls.

I do have a gift to share, so I’m going to share it.  I have the gift of Christmas itself.  Say what you want about the origins and history of Christmas as a dated holiday, about the commercialization of the date, about when Jesus’ actual birth date might have been, but Christmas as a religious holiday is a celebration of God’s gift to us.

I’ve been reading in Romans, and the earlier chapters are all about how and why we need a savior.  Our heritage won’t save us, our culture can’t save us, our race won’t save us, our family tree won’t save us.  Obeying the law won’t save us.  Being “a good person” won’t save us.  Paul was talking about eternal salvation, not temporal.  At the very end of Romans, Paul talks about his travel plans- he wants to visit with the Christ-followers in Rome, on his way to Spain.  But then Paul was arrested on trumped up charges and ends up going to Rome under arrest, and later, being executed.  Some travel plan.  It proved my point that the salvation Paul was talking about is not necessarily going to lead, in this life, to a life of ease and comfort.  He was in prison, falsely accused, and headed for beheading.  And I’m worried about a car breakdown?

In the middle of Romans, Paul reaches a point where he’s established that we can’t save ourselves.  And then he lets it out, after teasing us a bit with hints.  It’s only 16 chapters.  I recommend reading it all.  He finally says it- Those who are in Christ are not under condemnation.  By “condemnation,” he means, under a sentence of punishment to come in eternity.  And then in later chapters he talks about how Christ-followers can live in ways that prove their faith, and show the world without all the preaching, that it’s real.  I think many professing Christ-followers would do well to read it through, because there are even two chapters about how we Christ followers should get along with each other!

I LOVE that he acknowledges that even after we become Christ-followers, we still are human and need to remember we have to work to get along with each other.  There are still problems and conflicts.  But it’s not completely hopeless.

The gift I’m sharing is a gift lots of people  have heard about already, and you can say what you want about proverbial underwear.  You can say you’ve got your own already, and you can believe you’ll be fine in eternity.  I have to ask you to give some thought to the origins of that belief.  Were you taught it by a parent, a teacher?  Did you think it up for yourself?  Are you trusting that someone else was right?  Are you trusting that you are right?  Are you sure about all that?  Have you ever READ the book of Romans?  If you aren’t sure, the box of Romans, in lovely gift wrap, has those eternal underwear inside waiting for you.

It’s the Little Things

Yeah, I’ve got things to be thankful for even as I had to prepare to work today.  Yippee.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, I should be sleeping off Triptophan and whiskey while Mrs M spends money I don’t have on things I don’t want for Christmas “because they’re on sale.”  I’ve got a garage full of things and I can’t fit my car in there, but yesterday I ran across bath toys my kids haven’t used in …10 years?  Does that make them “vintage,” so I can sell them on e-bay and make my millions?  I fear not.

The little things, I’m thankful for them and despite being depressed in general about life events and being barely afloat unless I decide to fix my teeth and set myself back a few thousand, or until one of the cars breaks again (and sets me back a few thousand more).  I say “more,” because we really got drive-shafted last time I tried to keep my old car running relatively safely.  It was a “classic,” a vintage model POS.  You know the type, they cost a ton and the check engine light pops on right after you get it home from the mechanic, or “the razzafrazz chiklitzerings need replacing or it won’t be safe to drive.  It’s pretty urgent.  Those things could break any time, and you could be stranded on the side of the road, and you don’t want that.”  Or the tires spin on 1/16″ of water so God forbid it should snow.  The car shop “fixed” the car once, and it broke down almost immediately and we paid them to “fix” it again, whereupon it broke down a third time, and we declined their services and traded for another used POS.  And we get what you get when you trade one POS for another:  another person’s problems became our problems.  I’m currently driving a newer model POS, so I’m thankful for it, despite the need for two new tires, and the damned check engine light being on, and the back doors randomly locking, and the window motor being broken so unless I keep vigilantly pulling the damned window up MANUALLY it leaks.  I put one palm on the outside, the other palm on the inside, and give the thing an upward jerk (fml, I’m an upward jerk!).  Anyway, the car before the other old car was a REAL POS, and we wasted going into serious debt before realizing the auto repair people were racketeers and we were never going to get the thing working well enough, so we cut our losses a few thousand too late.

We try to be trusting.  But we learned, I hope.  It’s just, we’re STILL trying to dig our way out, and actual cost of living has nothing to do with income, and merit raises have nothing to do with actual merit at my company.  There’s a list of repairs on the cars to be made, my wife drives a POS brand Minivan that has rusted to the point a jack won’t raise it from the side to change a tire.  It broke through the rust last time I tried, in a few places.  It’s possible a board on top of the jack would distribute the weight better among the rusted spots, but I’m not holding my breath.  If she gets a flat out on the road, I fear we’re screwed and it has to be towed somewhere.  Plus, the jack is too tall to accommodate a board and still fit under when the tire is flat and the car is lower.  Yay, car fun.

If I weren’t so blessed I wouldn’t have these first world problems to deal with.  God provides a minimum.  We can afford a little less than the rest of what I believe we need, which I chafe at thinking that I don’t need what I think I need.  There was a generous shot of whiskey, sufficient to make yesterday’s celebration that much more festive for me, and I am grateful.  The good people at a local church have provided us with some food, I am grateful.  Insurance has been granted for another year for our daughter, so I am grateful, as she uses a number of medications and is hopefully learning from a counselor that provides.  Our cars are running, in the style of Penny’s from Big Bang Theory, that is to say, with the check engine lights on.  And we were provided a car for our daughter somewhat miraculously, when it was time for that.  So I am grateful.

But what I want, and what I think I need, is to be enabled to move on to something greater.  (See also John 14:12, from a guy who’s not very good at John 14:15)

I hear some people say there’s a “calling” for their lives.  Am I missing it, or am I here?  And if I’m here, what am I supposed to do?  Maybe I’m here to encourage.  And I’m grateful for people online who care, we are a great community.  I try to be encouraging.  Even when I am feeling none of it.  I spend time when you come to mind, praying for you individually and as a group.  I know Christ-followers say they do, and I’ve been guilty of saying and not doing, but I really do pray for our circle.

I know, even when we have to grin and bear it, or cry and hate it, or vent because no one else will listen, I can.  And I know, even when my heart wants to deny the realities and benefits of my faith, at my core I do believe in a God Who cares.  Life is more than food and clothing (and cars and other shit that falls apart Matthew 6:19, 31-34).  There’s a spiritual component, an eternal component, and we need to be aware of this and handle that business too.

I’m encouraged and grateful for the confidence I have in eternal and spiritual things that goes deeper than I can believe.  Even if the world is completely wrong (and it often is) God still cares and helps me through the lost feelings I often have because the world is completely wrong. (To minimize the reading requirement above, verses 18-24 are really enough to understand, confusing as they can be when life is upside down or sideways.)

I know verses 16 to 18 are there, and I could let that upset me.  Oh, sure, sometimes I let it, but I know I shouldn’t.  It could be a communication issue, because my Christ-following “brothers and sisters” don’t seem to understand well enough (or perhaps are less innocent than just not understanding, but who am I to accuse?) to help.  They don’t know what I really need, because I don’t know what I really need.  And when I have tried to communicate it, I’ve had empty promises or confusion or less than I thought I needed.  I’m grateful for the help I received at that particularly low period in my life.  I have one friend at church who seemed to understand, when I hit that very humiliating and crushing low and reached out.  Actually, Mrs M reached out, because I didn’t think I should, I thought that God should answer my cry for help.  But after that, when another low came, I found out I have a group of “friends” who are in authority who told me they already helped us once, and I should “just” get a better job to cure my esteem problem and my depression problem and my poverty problem all in one fell swoop.  Which would be great, but the “funny” (not very funny) part is, I gave the friend (a deacon) who seemed to understand a resume, WITH my educational credentials and history of volunteer service, but I’m not considered a good candidate when a (paid) pastoral staff position opens.  So, is that really a “friend,” or just a good actor?

And I also know verse 22 is there, and I could let that upset me because I don’t have “whatever I ask,” but I know I shouldn’t.  There are those annoying conditions I’m supposed to meet before we receive whatever we ask, and I know I don’t because I’m not that good at “keep[ing] His commands and do[ing] what pleases Him.”  I’m well-intentioned, but sometimes I’m better at the opposite, or at doing little to nothing, depending on my energy level.

But if I can care about people here online, and sometimes succeed at encouraging others, and sometimes succeed at actually helping others in some tiny ways, in spite of feeling like I’m basically useless, worthless, and helpless at my own life, why can’t I do that in real life, and only here online?

Welcome to The Bipolar Online Church!  I’m pastor Deon Mumple, and I’m here to care about you, and pray for you, and if I can, help you, in the name of Jesus.  Let me know.  I will absolutely do what I can, and will absolutely pray for the rest.  I’ve seen some unexpectedly oddly twisted answers in response to some prayers, and marvelled, despite the lack of very many resoundingly complete answers that I wanted toward any prayers I’ve made for myself.  And thank you for caring about me too- I’ll just presume you do if you’ve bothered to read this far in, whether you are a Christ-follower or not.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I hope you have enough of the little things to be grateful for, in spite of any First (or second, or third) world problems we may face.

With those little things, I hope it was enough for you to have had a good Thanksgiving holiday celebration.  And I hope the weekend is restful enough for us to be on track for a good week to follow.

Blessings.

Deon (the not very reverend) Mumple

I Think You’re Beautiful (A song for my whole tribe)

I think you’re beautiful, you, with that soul,
Sharing life’s hardships, each taking its’ toll,
Heart marked by darkness, stirring to light,
We learn to love but sometimes love’s a fight,
Dreaming those beautiful dreams like you do,
I think you’re beautiful.  You.  Yes, YOU.

I think I love you.  No, it’s not a crush.
Sometimes we laugh, we flirt, I love your blush,
When life is challenging, encouragement
When I’m too quiet, that caring comment
We have each other, in good times and blue,
I think…no, I love you.  You.  Yes, YOU.

I think you’re beautiful, pain, scars, and all
Facing all of life’s fears, crushed, standing tall
Though others may not say, you make me proud,
So glad to call you “friend,” always, I’ve vowed.
We lift each other’s hearts, our hopes, renew,
I think you’re beautiful.  You.  Yes, YOU.

I’m Sorry for Eclipsing Truth and Love

I don’t think it’s the depression talking yet.  It could be, or it could be I had an epiphany today.  The pastor didn’t even suggest this, so if it was epiphanous, I’ll take it even though I didn’t really like it.  I thought about myself, my blog, my character, and people in my life and social (and web) circles, and about God.  I thought about who I want to be, compared to how God wants me to be, and who I currently am.  There’s a wide gap between those last two.

For that, in a way I owe everyone an apology, if they’ve read my blog, or my life, for signs of something different I should be showing.  In a way, maybe not.  In the “not” way, I’m who I am, being shaped by the wrestling match between my hopes and dreams and the life I actually have, and the continual frustration of trying to find a path to get from here to reaching those dreams.  I feel helpless and when I do try to do things toward success, so far it hasn’t worked.

But in the way I owe the apology, it’s for this:  I’m a Christ-follower, but I don’t follow very well.  Sometimes (OK, a LOT of the time) the selfishness and anger and frustration, etc., are too much and I don’t communicate very clearly.  I’m supposed to be a reflection of God.  I’m supposed to show His character- His love, His truth, His holiness (that’s a weird word, it’s attributed to God and it means His “different-ness.”)

The moon is supposed to reflect the sunlight and shine it on the earth at night.  But occasionally, the moon gets between the earth and the sun, and instead of reflecting the sun’s light, it blocks it and casts a shadow.  It’s all very science-y and math-y, but ratios of mass and distance work out so that during those events, the light is blocked, and in some places at some times, it’s completely blocked.  Where I live, there will be an eclipse today, and the moon is going to block out something like 90% of the sun’s light.

My epiphany yesterday was, maybe I’m blocking out God’s glory, His truth, His love, and the validity of His promises, because I’m not reflecting them.  I’m in the way.  So yesterday, in the middle of a sermon about something completely different

(no, the pastor did NOT teach anything from Monty Python’s Flying Circus), I wept and prayed.

You all THINK I’m a guy full of words- angry, bitter words about how people have been disappointing and how I’m trying to be supportive in spite of their lack of reciprocity.  Occasionally, I have a lot of words about how I care about people and try to support and encourage others, guide my kids and family, and train my slow-to learn, sometimes frightened, all the time stubborn, and occasionally openly angry dog (who is still a lot like his master in many ways).  I still have those hopes and dreams, despite the crushing nature of my emotional swings, and the events in my life.  I rant on about a lot of things and I use a lot of words.  But my prayer, unbelievably, all fit in two words.  I prayed for God’s forgiveness for being that very poor reflection of Jesus.  And I prayed for God to make me into a better one.

All the moon needs to do to stop blocking the sun is get out of the way.   For a Christ-follower to be a better reflection of Jesus, it takes a little more.  To reflect His character, we have to study it, a bit like a son idolizes his dad, or if his dad is like me, maybe his grandpa or one of his uncles makes a better role model.  Or, like an idiot studies a celebrity and tries to be just like that.  It takes a long time to do it right.  Those really good comedians you might watch who do the impressions spend about 5000 hours, to start, to learn and mimic the vocal, facial, and bodily mannerisms of the person they’re modeling themselves after.  But in a cosmic kind of way, I realized I’m not important, so it doesn’t matter if the reflection of God’s character comes from me, although I would like to be the person in your life who shows you that God is good, in spite of how hard life is.  So my prayer was simplified because I realized that maybe I matter, maybe I don’t, but it’s not up to me.  It’s up to God to use who He wants to use, to shine on whomever he chooses to shine.  If I’m back behind a better Christ-follower, eclipsed like the moon when the earth blocks the sun’s light, it’s fine.  I don’t want anyone to watch me as the great example of Jesus’ love, because I suck at it sometimes (OK, most of the time).

I want people to be attracted to Jesus, like they were when He was doing his life and ministry on earth.  I want people to see better examples, as clearly as possible.  I don’t want to block them, or God Himself, from shining on others. I don’t want to be the reason someone decides, “if this guy is a Christ-follower and his life still sucks, I want no part in following his God.”

I want people to consider following Jesus, enough to look in a Bible and check into it.  I want people to read about Jesus, and the Christian way, straight from their Bible, enough to actually give Jesus a shot, rather than just ignoring the possibility that Christ could offer more than what they hope for right now.  I want people to know that God IS good, and he DOES make a positive difference in a lot of ways.  The trials and natural consequences of life and scars and hardships don’t go away, but He gives a better strength to endure, a better patience, a far-better and eternal hope, and a desire to reach out and show others that He cares.  That’s why I keep trying; that’s how I’m so (so-called) “high functioning.”   I want everyone in my life to see Him, not my poor example of trying and failing I don’t want to eclipse Him.  So I prayed this:

Move me.

“There is no fear in love.”

“When I was a kid, I spoke like a kid, I comprehended like a kid, I thought like a kid.  But when I grew up, I learned to think like a grown up, and had to set aside my childish thinking and actions.”  (I Corinthians 13:11)

I’ve been digesting the news, as slowly as possible despite the fully-open fire hose of information the media wants to feed us.  Honestly, it makes me sick.  My initial reaction to our national situation was frustration.  I’m frustrated because I think I can’t do anything to help anyone.  I am not a behavioral scientist but I know a thing or two about feeling helpless, just from my personal experience.  Yep.  I’ve analyzed it.  The feelings of helplessness give way to something else, and it goes any of three directions for me.   Sometimes I have to work through all of these.  I should have just listed the 4 feelings, but normally I start at a rage baseline or a hopelessness baseline and hope I’ll eventually get to peace.  Maybe you’re wired the same way.

1) Fear
2) Rage
3) Peace

I’ve been anticipating the new civil war since I was in college, back in the 80s.  Seriously. And I should have anticipated it when I was in High School and became aware of race in America.  Kudos to mum and dad, because until I was 13 I had no idea people thought the way they did about race.  All I knew was people are people, and we needed to be friends with everyone because deep down we’re all the same.  I used to read my Bible more when I was a kid, and if all the verses about how we’re supposed to “love one another” didn’t give me insight, then one other reference reinforced and nailed home the message that we’re supposed to get along.  Revelation 5 says that in heaven they will sing a song to Jesus:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation…”

I get, as an adult, that not everyone believes the stuff in my Bible, much less agrees.  We can’t even agree as Christ-followers on interpretations, so I can imagine how many different perspectives there are among people who aren’t Christ-followers.  But if I’m right, and even if I’m not right, we have to share the planet so I think we should try to get along with each other.  I still believe from my childhood that people are different, superficially, but deep down we’re the same and we should be friends and help each other since everyone has their share (and some have more than their share) of struggles.  That concept is reinforced too, in the Bible.  Matthew 5:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

I’ve got a friend who bothers to go on Fakebook, and he told me he posted this text as a status update.  The saying goes, “Great minds think alike…  So do crazy ones.”  And so, I’m not saying which of us is great and which of us is crazy, but in processing the crappy news, I’ve been thinking about the same text, among others.

Day before yesterday I was still feeling pretty raged up.  I’m not at peace yet.  It’s a lot to take in, on primal, emotional, and spiritual levels.  We have the strong potential for a new civil war on our hands, and the events in Charlottesville, VA show just the tiniest edge of the darkness peeking out.  The hatred is there, the fear is there, and people barely hide it under a veneer of practiced civility.  One of my fellow bloggers tells stories about various dystopian futures or civilizations, but I think I’m living in one right now.  I don’t like it, but I feel powerless to fix it by myself.  And I don’t think anyone would disagree, that America is broken and divided, along so many lines, and at so many different levels.  The world is broken and divided, even though we call ourselves civilized, progressive, modern, or whatever.

I didn’t want to comment on this unless I had something constructive to offer.  Some resort to fear or apathy, some resort to activism whether peaceful or violent, and I’ve heard the commentary from both sides.  What I’m hearing is this:  Everybody wants to think they are, or they are part of a group that is, somehow more special than some other group.  They want exclusivity, and they want to be able to exert power over someone else, or some other group.  And everybody is afraid of either their own sense of powerlessness, or afraid the other group is, or might become, more powerful, and take their sense of power away.   And some people call it “power,” and some call it “privilege.”  I want to use a different label.  At the risk of exposing the social trend, and the weakness of the label when pointing fingers and accusing (another way to try to exert undue leverage over the other social group), I’m going to call it “entitlement.”  Both sides of the combatives are expressing their fear as anger.  I think the history of our country gives justification to the fear on both sides.  But not the criminal violence.

Privilege is either a myth or something I haven’t been able to tap into.  Power is also a myth or something I haven’t been able to tap into.  All I can seem to do is be a servant.  It’s not a terrible arrangement all of the time.  I help people, they either like it or like it and take me for granted, or they pretend not to like how I did it and complain about how I should have done it.  I think the country, and the world, would be a far better place if everyone looked for ways to help and serve others instead of all of the me-first attitudes. And if I may confess any open hatred, it’s of people’s senses of self-entitlement, or group entitlement.

I don’t believe in self-entitlement.  Self entitlement shows up in the very existence of exclusive groups, whether they’re labelled correctly as “hate groups,” or whether they’re labelled incorrectly as anything else.  Self entitlement shows up in individuals who commit crimes whether they are in positions of authority or desperation.  All criminals should be fairly tried and repay their debts to society.  That includes the business tycoons and bankers who willfully cheated (and continue to cheat) ordinary people out of their savings and investments.  That includes any cop who shoots anyone in the back with anything other than a taser, or any cop who shoots wildly not understanding whether his target is an unarmed innocent or a criminal.  That includes anyone who steals or vandalizes property that doesn’t belong to them.  That includes anyone who terrorizes or willfully and intentionally injures another person.  Driving a car at a high rate of speed into a person or a crowd of people, unless you’re having a seizure or some other legitimate, medically verifiable cause for lack of control, is willful and intentional.  If there’s room for error on that point, I would say that if someone is blocking an intersection or public street deliberately, they should move or get arrested.  There are some who believe, having asked them to move out of the way, if they refuse and the driver gently leans on the horn, they can allow their car to gently roll forward.  In the absence of law enforcement and when I have to get somewhere on time, I respect your right to protest, call that your civil liberty, but I would appreciate it if my right of way, call that my civil liberty, would be equally respected.  The other option is to either take a different route if there is one, or call 911 and wait for the authorities to arrive and disperse the crowd for you, which will obviously take a lot longer.

These are broad brush strokes, but you know self entitlement and if you have more patience than I do, you probably just accept the misbehaviors.  Self entitled people act out individually in lesser ways:  The guy who cuts you off in traffic, the lady at the supermarket who takes the parking space you waited for, the boss who pays himself a hundred or more times what he pays his lowest-paid employee.  The vandal who destroys something culturally significant that belongs to everyone as students of history or art; the one who puts graffiti that isn’t art on property that doesn’t belong to them, or the one who smashes windows in someone else’s home, or a store, because they’re bored, or street lights because it’s easier to get away with other crimes in the dark.

I believe in the opposite of self-entitlement.  I believe, if we steal or kill or destroy, we’re showing one kind of spiritual origin (see also John 10:10, John 8:41-47), and if we demonstrate the opposite of the above traits that are from self-entitlement, we show the other kind of spiritual heritage.

One (of probably several) news guys gave a TV editorial in which he condemned the violence, called the white supremacists “idiots” and their cause “a joke,” (though, IMHO, if it’s a joke it’s in very poor taste), and wondered out loud that if the news media allowed them to have their little protest and ignored them, and the fearful opposition stayed home and ignored them, it might become a non-issue.  If he’s right, the facts that they’re getting news print and TV and social media face time and that people bothered to come out and counter protest makes a big thing out of something that should be laughed at publicly, and shut down firmly and resoundingly in courthouses whenever anyone escalates to criminal behavior.

I wish we could look to South Africa for an example.  They’ve had their history, and it was bad, and now the laws have been changed and Apartheid was never socially acceptable, and now it is no longer legally acceptable for citizens of South Africa.  There’s fear, on both sides, but they’re in a slow recovery, learning humans are humans regardless of race, and some are even building friendships.  But here we are in the United States, on the brink of a civil war based solely on racism, sitting on a powder keg of mutual and opposing fears based on lies, and an intertwined fuse of mutual disrespect based on selfishness.  I think the vast majority of us don’t want any part in that war.  The President may not have a gift for soothing speech, and he may very well be providing some of the lighter fluid.  I’ve never thought of him as a political or social genius.  But he’s not the flint or the steel needed for the spark.  Friction requires continual motion, one side against the other, one gang hits another and the other gang feels obligated to strike back, and so on, until the big “rumble.”

The idiot who ran over Heather Heyer and murdered her in cold blood is indefensible.  I’ll say it in plain terms:  He is a murderer and an idiot.  He shall be as nameless to me as he is worthless, a footnote lost in history.  I hope that Heather Heyer gets whatever justice her survivors need.  Not whatever her fellow counter-protesters want.  What seems fair to me would be to put him to work, and allow him to support at least her parents, in comfort, although with their words, they probably don’t want it.  He should write a weekly card to them.  And after they are comfortably provided for, maybe the rest of the money can provide for his mother, and then if there’s any left, a small percentage to meet his basic needs.  TP, food, clothing, water, a cot and a six by six cell.  And every day, added to his ordinary labor, he should have to clean a wall on which has been ink stamped, by a robot, “You killed Heather Heyer.”  And if he doesn’t work hard enough, there won’t be any money left for him to buy food, so he can go without.

This said, the group of passive-aggressives would like to think that an angry aggressive movement will die out if it’s ignored by the media.  But as much as I want that to be true, I don’t think it is.  As long as there is an evil one, and his minions, there will be children of the evil one.  If Jesus said there is an evil one, there is an evil one.  The writer of I John said that Cain in Genesis who killed his brother was a child of the evil one.  If true, he’s been around influencing people to do evil things since the beginning.  And, if true, the passives who argue it’ll go away are wrong:  The angry aggressives will just escalate their behavior until they get attention.  I wonder what Cain had in his heart, and in his attitude, and in his behavior, before he became a murderer.  We already know what’s in the hearts of the self-entitled.  If we ignore them and treat them like children, they’ll have a tantrum and kill someone.  There has to be a point at which their destructive behavior must be stopped, their ignorance must be met with education.

I am the LAST person who wants to get involved in a fight, but I’ll speak.  My flesh, my humanity, wants criminals to face angry justice and receive fair punishment, and for people to be decent with each other.  I watched the commentary, where the guy got maced for getting in people’s faces and yelling his opinion.  Hurt me, corner me, and see what comes your way.  I get it; it’s a natural, human response.  But my spirit asks a different set of questions.  I don’t really want to “overcome.”  I don’t need to “win.”  I need everyone to be treated fairly and respectfully, and I want to help in a way that helps everyone win, not just “my” team, and I want everyone to treat me the same way, and help me the same way.

I don’t wonder what the hate groups would do if counter-protesters never assembled to have a shouting and shoving match, separated by a thin blue line, or thinking they’re safe while standing on a public roadway that’s only barely blockaded off for their assembly.  I don’t wonder what would happen if the news media failed to cover the event.

No.  I wonder something much more revolutionary.

I wonder what would happen if angry hateful protesters were met with smiling, loving people who didn’t shout angry hateful slogans back at the protesters’ angry hateful slogans.  What would happen if the smiling loving people brought cookies and cakes and drinks to give away?  What would happen if the smiling loving people asked the angry protesters, “Would it be OK if I prayed for you, right here and now?  How can I pray for you?  Is there anything special you need, or any trial of life you’re going through that I can pray about?  Or should I just ask for God to bless you and show you His love?”

What would happen if the protesters were met with people, praying boldly, lovingly, and kindly FOR their “enemies” to be blessed by God?  Just kneel right there in the grass before God, or stand, reach a hand out onto a cold shoulder, and pray hard, and mean it?

I think THAT is what Matthew 5:43-46 is speaking, in our country’s potentially dire situation:  It’s hard to hate someone who obviously, truly loves you.  It’s even harder to hate someone who’s praying for you, and it may be impossible to hate someone who comes to your angry, bitter rally and brings brownies, cookies, cakes and snacks, hot coffee with optional cream and sugar, ice cold water, and old-fashioned southern style ice cold sweet tea.   You’ve gotta have sweet tea.

It may sound stupid to some, but I don’t think so.

Love is more powerful than anything.

To Give, or Not to Give (a Fuck)

There are days when I care, days when I’d like to think I don’t care, and days, like today, when I wish I could stop caring.  I don’t want to give a fuck about anyone or anything, but instead,

I care too much about stupid politicians and politics.  I care too much that idiots are the faces of the politics of the World, of the United States, and of the individual states of the United States.  If idiots weren’t in charge, I firmly believe that basic, needed things would be affordable to anyone who works a full time job, or anyone who is retired and has paid into Social Security, or anyone retired or disabled from our military service, or anyone legitimately disabled and unable to work.  We, and our children, need basic things:  food, clothing, shelter.  We need medical, dental, and optical care, and medicine.  If selfish idiots weren’t in charge, taxes would pay for services the government is needed for, and infrastructure maintenance, and we wouldn’t need special extra gas taxes, cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, and toll roads.  A flat tax paid for consumption or use would be fine, but that should eliminate income tax.  Instead, we pay twice for what we should pay once, and someone or some ones in the middle of it are raking in the bucks.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m paying about five times what I borrowed for the house, instead of just paying it back with a reasonable interest rate.  And thank God I know about loan types, or we might have gone with an adjustable rate mortgage (A.R.M.- that’s what it costs when the rates are “adjusted.”), or worse, a loan with a balloon payment at the end.  It’s bad enough the part of the monthly payment that goes toward reducing the principle is less than 20% of the total payment demanded.  My trouble (first world fucking problems!) is that an assessor went through our crap neighborhood last year and decided my house is worth more than I’m paying (translation, tax assessors and other middle-men can get more money out of me), so they raised the taxes on my house to match the value they say it’s now worth.  Except I signed an agreement to pay a specified amount for 30 years and now the government and the bank and the tax assessors are in collusion with one another, dicking around with it and saying now I have to pay more than I agreed to pay when we signed the papers, FUCKERS!

If I get a raise, the damned government figures out a way to suck that away before I get to touch it.  Raise taxes, reduce benefits, arbitrarily design a “fuck-you, taxpayer” fee I didn’t know I had to pay.  Meanwhile certain people who know how to work the system eat better food than I can afford from my job’s wages, and if I make literally a single $1 too much over a six month period, they are going to pull what benefits I DO benefit from out from under me and make me pay full market price for them (insurance), even though that $1 more doesn’t do shit to relieve the burdens that make me grovel and beg for that assistance, because now my house is allegedly worth more.  It’s only worth more if I try to sell it, but since I’m still paying for it, it seems to me that it’s worth the same as what it was worth when I started paying for it.  The insurance company and the bank and the government want me homeless and helpless and bankrupt, or (actually, “and,”) they don’t want to help.  Why the fuck is that?

Buy a tire and you pay for tires, then mounting and balancing, then valve stems, then tire disposal, then alignment, and then, if you’re wise, for a protection plan because roads have potholes and nails and screws and abandoned disintegrated tire “gators,” and other shit left by litterers and road construction crews and whoever else, not to mention the local fauna.  Valve stems, really?  Like, if you bought a tire it wouldn’t come with fucking valve stems from how they’re manufactured.  Disposal, really?  Like if I don’t want to take the old tire home with me and throw it in my own trash, I have to pay an extra fee for the tire shop to have a guy throw it in the dumpster out back.  I get the other fees, someone has to do mounting, balancing and alignment so the tires will work, and so they’ll last.  But there should be a better way to structure that or to bill for that.

A home loan payment shouldn’t be five-plus times the amount of the principle of the loan.  That tells me several ass holes are lining their pockets with way too damn much (go ahead, insert meme) of my money and probably a few million other wishful would-be homeowners’ money.  Buying feels right though, to finally own something rather than being a renter forever and never having any kind of personal security, or building equity.  If you rent, I’m fine with it and I don’t think any less of you.  I know good reasons to rent, not the least of which is if you don’t own it you shouldn’t have to shell out cash to fix it under conditions of normal use.  Like renting a car, if you just drive it a few days you should only have to put gas in it, not pay to change the oil and pay to rotate and balance new tires for it.

I want a King Solomon for President.  Someone who is wise enough to design systems that actually work, that help people, and who is politically savvy enough to not put us on the brink of World War III every time he opens his mouth, and to not try to just hand over the keys of the country to other countries every time she opens her mouth.  I want a King Solomon for state governor, who will help people beyond basic needs.  We need employment from employers who will pay a fair and decent living wage, and reward loyalty by paying higher-than-entry-fucking-level wages to people who stay with a company.  The governor should hire reputable companies to build and maintain the infrastructure of his state, and oversee the other important concerns of his or her constituency.  The governor, or his trusted appointees, should be able to step in when a constituent is being treated unfairly.

I want a King Solomon for an employer, who trains and promotes and pays higher wages to those from within, rather than hiring from the outside and paying them the same as what I earn after 10 years and calling that an entry level wage.  When I found out that basically unless I made a lot of noise about it they were happy to keep me under  everyone’s thumbs, if I were prone to uncontrollable rage, instead of festering, I’d have driven down to corporate with guns, killed a few select people and gotten myself either killed, or earned 3 square meals and a bed, workout facilities, a legal library to study and earn a law degree, and total dependence on the government and my cellmates.

I care too much about my family.  If I were a selfish ass hole of a man, I could have earned a divorce years ago, instead of 25 years of marriage.  I could tell the courts I’m helpless, find a “sugar momma” to bed, and live off of her excesses and indulgences and leave my ex wife and kids to sink or swim on their own and not pay any child support.  Instead I’m home helping with housework and home repair and improvements if I can afford them and school homework and gas money and car maintenance if I know how to do it myself (MUCH cheaper) and working my ass off and praying for college scholarships because I don’t want to work until I’m 150 years old to pay off the debt and usury, adding the extra penalties and fees for not dying soon enough.  Because the working poor are supposed to work two and three and more jobs just to survive, and die of heart attacks when they turn 42.  I’ve outlived that shit, thankfully, at least so far.  But caring is stressful.

I care too much about my neighborhood and local things.  Instead of hearing about the latest murder victims, kidnapping victims, rape victims, robbery victims, I want the news to lead with the story they try to close with on a slow day.  And I want more news stories like that every day.  I want my neighborhood and my city to be shown what can happen when visionary people who aren’t completely heartless ass holes decide to keep trying.  But instead I get the other shit, for 28 minutes every morning if I only watch for 30, and then 2 minutes of a veteran who gets to be in a parade and go for a short ride in a nice fancy car because he’s 90-something and someone wanted to do something nice for him before he died.

I want people to be celebrated and be on the news for doing the nice things.  Why the fuck do we have 28 out of 30 minutes on the weather, the traffic, the mayhem, and only 2 for the people doing something nice?  I can understand 13 on weather and traffic.  But do the other 15 have to be wasted on how horrible some people are?  Flip that shit and do the opposite.  If it’s in the interest of public safety, fine, tell us to lock up our daughters and wives, or tell us the infrastructure is crumbling and we need a new bridge built over the overpass so there will be diverted traffic, fine, report that.  But otherwise,

Why can’t we hear about Girl Scout Gold Award winners, Boy Scout Eagle Scout Award Winners, and their service projects?  Why don’t we hear about foundations making grants and setting up programs to help retirees make it on their fixed social security and medicare, or churches feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless, and sending out a small army of people to help seniors and disabled citizens with their house- and yard- work and gutters, washed dishes and laundry, vacuuming, companionship, trips to the local community center or to a nice restaurant for a meal?

Why can’t we hear about the people who got the full-ride scholarship to a local college (, and can those recipient be my daughter and son when they graduate)? Why can’t we hear about how Mrs Mumple has managed to not murder or kick Mr. M to the curb, through 25 years and two children?  Why can’t we hear about the mystery generous guy (or lady, I’m not going to give it back because of a gender issue) who just out of the blue decided to hand Deon Mumple a check for a few million dollars with enough extra to pay the tax on that?  That hasn’t happened yet, I’m just putting it out there for that person, whomever they are, so they know there’s room over here for their anonymous donation.
I’m quite certain there’s at least 13 minutes of those kinds of stories that could be told, every day, instead of all the guns and evil.  Maybe if we celebrated the good, instead, there would be more of that, and less of the shit we glorify on TV EVERY fucking day.  Kids looking for role models won’t find them on TV or in the news or media.  All they’ll find are idiots, idiot politicians, cheap-ass business tycoons, and criminals, including murderers and robbers and rapists and vandals and other thugs, not that those genres are never cross-populated.  And the worst thing about putting those role-models on the television and media is, that THE AIMLESS KIDS ARE FOLLOWING THEIR LEAD.

The way it’s run right now I wish I could just not give a fuck.  But alas, I do in fact care, and try to do small things to make it better.  I volunteer a little time out of my life whenever I can, or whenever I can figure out how to schedule it even though I don’t think I can, because I can make a tiny difference by showing up to sweat for someone who needs help.  Because I care, I wish other people gave a fuck too, instead of the standard issue what’s-in-it-for-me and how-can-I-profit-and-screw-the-other-person’s-welfare that I see in the world, in American politics, and in modern corporate America.  I either need enough money so I don’t have to care and then I need to learn the lessons from the above assholes, OR, I need a LOT more people to start giving a fuck about someone other than themselves.

I understand.  We’re all under the same shitty management.  The old managerial ass holes were all taught the same thing, doesn’t matter which hoity-toity school their dads bought their business or law degrees from.  Which means, nobody reading this has shit, unless a bored billionaire is looking for people to condescend to.  I’m willing, in exchange for a few million dollars, to be treated with condescension.  Go ahead.  But if you’re not a bored billionaire looking for a charity case you might only have a few bucks extra here and there.  That’s most of the readers out there that I know about.  I know you need your not-coffee, but how about buying one less cup of not-coffee from Starbucks, and giving that money to a cause I care way too much about.  Click here:

https://www.gofundme.com/single-mom-being-bugged

Please.  Really.  She and her daughter ARE a worthy cause.  I may care too much, but until her tiny goal is far surpassed, I feel that not enough support is being shown to these two deserving young ladies.  What the hell, if you ARE a bored billionaire, how about giving a few million to Ms. N., instead of me.  I’ll be fine, probably.  Or, we’re both willing to accept donations if you’ve got it like that.  But we both need enough for it to be an actual blessing, not just enough to cut their benefits off, or cut my kids’ health insurance benefits off at the knees and make me work 3 jobs to pay the extra costs.  If you’re gonna give and you can give big, give big, and may God bless you back for being a blessing from your abundance.  If you’re gonna give and you can only afford little, give and may my God bless you back for being a blessing out of your own need.

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen (& Country-women!)” Let’s not make it a loan; gifts are needed.

https://www.gofundme.com/single-mom-being-bugged

Please find it somewhere in your heart and your wallet/checkbook to visit the above link and make a small (or large) contribution to help my friend.  Her situation sucks, but I haven’t won the lottery and my job sucks enough I can’t help enough, to help enough (all my regular readers know, but she’s one of the two of you 🙂 I kid, a bit.)

If you can’t find it in your checkbook or wallet, I think debit or credit cards work.  If she raises enough more than she says she needs, maybe she can finally go house shopping to live somewhere decent.  This landlord sucks ass, and his poor tenants are only half-to-blame for the rat-hole…sorry, roach-hole, they all live in because they’re broke and can’t afford a better place, or because they haven’t found a better place they can afford yet.

She needs to get the hell out of there, but feels trapped by insufficient funds, from all her available sources, including a nearly-completely-useless DNA donor whose best contribution was toward the creation of her beautiful daughter, though I suspect all the good came from the maternal side.  After that, his child support contributions have been either nonexistent or lacking, and everything else he has, has been shrinking, if you know what I mean, at least if my voodoo-ish verse has had the correct, and deserved, impact, and I don’t know first-hand, if you know what I mean, like I’m sure he does, but I don’t think he started out with much to begin with, if you know what I mean.  I mean, I prayed for him to be a real man and start giving what he had agreed to give, in court, for his daughter, but he’s years in arrears and apparently has no intention of helping, so I’ve prayed for him to live under divine retribution until his heart is changed.  And I’ve prayed for her and her daughter to live under divine protection and provision, because they shouldn’t have to suffer under his obvious paternal inadequacy

All I’m saying is, she and her dear daughter deserve better and if you can do anything at all to help, I’m asking if you would, please.

Thank you in advance for your part in rescuing these two fair maidens-in-distress.  And I don’t believe in chain letters, but I believe that if you take part in imparting a blessing, you receive what I like to think of as splash-back from it.  And I’ll pray to that, too.

<3,
DM