“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.

Discomfort Zone

Does life always have to push people?  Is it just some people?  And if it’s some people, how the fuck do I get off the list before dying?

The church, after advertising the benefits of eternity “after you suffer for a short time,” wants to push its’ good hearted people out to do ministry work, because there’s so much shit out there in the world that needs shoveling.  Pastors can’t do everything or be everywhere so they train us regular church people and hope we get it.  And then get off our asses and do something, anything, to help people who need help.  The problem is one of numbers.  If all the members could figure out how to support the ministry by giving something, it’d go a lot further than a few giving their 10 or 15 % and most giving a dollar or nothing.  If all the members could figure out some ministry to get involved with, physically being, to use a current cliche I’m sick of hearing applied to military things, boots on the ground.  Because ministry isn’t just prayer (and fasting, for you masochists.  Not saying I don’t, but I don’t very often.  It has to be about something or someone VERY important to me).  Ministry is often physical, laborious, and direct.  Manna doesn’t fall from heaven to feed the hungry, just as blankets and winter clothes don’t fall from the sky to clothe and warm up the homeless (or the people whose heat went out and their landlord is a cheap shithead who doesn’t know who to hire who can correctly diagnose and fix it, the reader knows who she is).  I honestly like ministry work.  But who wants to hire a sweary, irritable, irritated, introverted, “complex”-brained, annoying, opinionated, hard-working, needy old crank?  No, seriously, who wants to hire me?

I’ll work in the ministry if God calls and someone pays my bills.  Because money doesn’t normally fall from the sky unless someone let go of a few $20s on a windy day and they blew away, or a drug dealer accidently pushes the wrong button on the airplane, and they’ll come back with guns for that.  I’ve seen probably more than my share of God’s twisted old sense of humor taking care of things, in His twisted way, in His twisted time, but by and large it’s not “normal,” which is why some events are called “miracles.”  A house, and $75K a year is enough.  $100K if you want to help with some things I’ve let wait until God sent the provision.  I’ve got an M.Div. from seminary, finished back in ’95.  I went into a liberal-headed-toward-conservative school, pretty conservative in my beliefs, and I came out of a conservative school with the same basic beliefs, but knowledge of a few other really interesting beliefs to compare.

I still have a certain package of thoughts about the Bible, and honestly I think the unpackaging makes people uncomfortable when they think about employing me in ministry.  But is that a bad thing?

Me in the ministry …would DEFINITELY put me well into my discomfort zone, in several ways. And it would probably put others into a discomfort zone as well.  But in other arenas and for various reasons, I think I’d do well.  I’m not afraid to work.  I like to encourage people.  A friend of mine gave me some counsel about the Bible:  “It’s a sword.  It’s not a club to bash people over the head with JUST truth.  And it’s not a warm fuzzy blanket that covers people in JUST love and tells them they’re OK no matter what they do.  It’s gotta be a careful mixture of truth AND love, or you’re not handling it right.”

Ew.  Truth be told, I find it difficult to love anyone.  I’m not that loveable myself.  But I get we’re supposed to care because someone needs to give a damn or the whole world will just go down the crapper that much faster.  So, when the food pantry asks for food, maybe give some if you have extra.  Or volunteer to work there if you have a couple of hours.  Or, when the neighbor’s heat goes out, invite them over if it’s cold outside, or if it’s not too bad, lend them a space heater or three.  Uncomfortable yet?  Church is supposed to be a little uncomfortable, easier if more people do their fair share of helping.  However, in churches I’ve attended and worked in, the percentage of active members versus the total number of members is something like 13 to 20 out of 100.  I think the number of people who contribute an actual regular offering as a calculated and deliberate amount related to income is probably about the same.

That being said, I can’t judge here, because I’m exactly the same.  For several years, during this economic drought, I’ve given when I could and paid the bills when I couldn’t, not exactly the widow’s mite of the modern era.  Not exactly a pillar of faith, am I?  So it’s been, that lately what we’ve been giving is a smaller percentage than I’d prefer to give, because the bills keep rolling in and life keeps handing me shit that falls apart on the regular, a bit too frequently and quickly to keep up with and have what I’d like to be able to give, which would be more than an actual 10th.  In this income bracket, I find myself on the begging side more than on the giving side, and still I stubbornly give a little here and there when I can, or when I stubbornly decide I’m going to do it, and the creditors can bite me.

Volunteering?  I thought I’d get back on the music team, because it’s something I love, so I asked.  I thought there would be a corner spot for me, since I was there every week for about 3 years, until the other volunteer work took me away,  but the new music guy doesn’t have any use for an old guy who plays something other than a guitar or drums or piano/organ.  Maybe I look too old to ask back to the singing team.  Not that I even could do it, now, since they meet on a weeknight to rehearse.  With my schedule shift, I’m not volunteering at church or boy scouts or anywhere, because the volunteer events occur when other people, who have a life, can do them, which means weekends or evenings, and I have weekends and want to be with my family more than just good morning, have a good day, goodbye, and then from the end of the workday until they go to sleep, helping with a little homework or whatever.  I’d volunteer, but the times don’t mesh with my schedule and they don’t want me anyway.  Statement of feeling, not reality, I’m well aware.  Or strongly hope.  Playing music, or singing, was comfortable.  So again, I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my prior job, after woefully underpaying me for years, pretended everyone cared about me when I quit.  And in my new job the people act exactly the same way.  So, like the church wants to push people, so does work.  I thought I was uncomfortable there, but then changes when Mrs M wants to move closer to her family, hooray.  More discomfort.  The jobless, money-less adventure, that sucked more than the current epic season.  Not only am I supposed to be grateful for the every-other-week pittance, which still leaves me at below the poverty line after 10 years at this one, I’m also supposed to cheerfully accept when they shift my schedule and put me on the ass end of the day, removing all possibility of me having any life outside of work, nor being able to do any job searching in the evening while relaxing. The boss said she’d like me to finish a few more tasks every day and increase my average statistics.  Which is great, right?  OK, well, I’d like to be paid a few dollars more than new people fresh off the street.  I’m pushed outside my comfort zone already with the deficient income, and then the push some more demanding more work for the same negligible pay.  Anybody ever read Exodus 5?  Well work becomes more and more like that, but I hate change and I haven’t been able to line up a bunch of interviews while encountering depression that makes me want to shell over and not even want to talk to family when I’m not at work, increasingly more demanding supervision and micromanagement, and now, people who have been fucking with my schedule.

As resistant as I was to working from home, it could have some advantages if I could figure them out.  But instead of finding a comfort zone of not having to drive in to work, I now pick up the slack if the kids miss the bus, forget their homework or lunch or music or instrument.  I also get to transport to morning doctor appointments, do more of the shopping, etc.  Etc.  Etc.  And, being at home in the morning, of course I have time when the kids and Mrs M go away for school and work, to finish the dishes early instead of late, and clean and walk the dog.  And handle trash.  All these things I’ve been trying to encourage everyone else in the family to do, and now it feels like they do even less than they were when I wasn’t working from home.

On the plus side, I’ve been fortunate enough to harness a few manic episodes.  Here and there, I’ve swept and vacuumed floors, done laundry, and done something way outside my comfort zone.  We have hard water.  It’s limestone.  We have a water softener, but the deposits build so fast I could refute the damned old-earth scientists and their theory that cave limestone deposits formed over millions and millions of years.  Bullshit.  If my plumbing caked over with lime this thick WITH a water softener in a few years, those caves could easily have formed in a few hundred years.  Anyway, I took a shot at the plumbing despite my phobia.  After some help getting rid of the limestone deposits, ALL of my sinks are freely flowing and not spraying because of the limestone clogs.  And I also cleaned the shower head in one bath, and removed and replaced the other, because the dog needs a bath that’s cheaper and less out of the bunker than going to the pet food and accessories places.

Oh.  The dog.  He’s another change to throw me out of my comfort zone, but he brings some comfort with him (let the tender, sensitive readers all collectively say, “awwww!”  Got that out of your systems?  Good, we’ll move on.)  Yeah, he’s more work.  The kids cried, “we want a dog!” and I went along for the ride.  I get along with dogs, and figured whichever one they picked would be fine.  But there’s more hair to sweep up because he sheds.  The kids complain he needs a bath because he smells.  So we took him for a bath and he freaked out about the other dogs in the store, and then he crapped in aisle 6 despite being taken for a walk right before going to the place, and then he cringed because he knows what happens in back rooms.  And then we washed him.  And we did our best to dry and brush his fur to a state of clean fluffiness, and then he walked to the front of the store, and rolled on his back on the stores carpet-y mats to restore some of the funk.

So the dog:  He’s losing his hair, he hates other dogs, he doesn’t like to go to new places, his family complains that he stinks, he experiences episodes of panic, he wants to run away but he can’t, he wants to mark his territory, and he wants to be left alone.   He likes treats offered for no particular reason except because we love him.  But to get a treat, he’ll do tricks, sometimes.  In other words, he’s just like me.  So despite my lack of input in the decision except that I agreed the kids could have a dog as long as they promised to take care of it, they picked a dog to rescue who is just like me.  How… the… ever.. loving… fuck…?  And then, of course, they eye roll and say different kinds of things sometimes, make excuses, whatever, when I ask them to take care of the dog, but they wanted a dog.  So I can make them do what I want for the dog, sometimes.  I walk the dog about twice a day usually, sometimes once if I can corral one of the kids to do it, and I feed him once a day out of the two.  And I do give him lots of treats for no particular reason.  Because why shouldn’t the dog find his comfort zone with me?

We found the dog in an animal shelter, and I have no idea what kind of torment he faced except we know he came from Louisiana, and was briefly in Kentucky.  He holds his tail high in the air, and he’s beautiful, but he sheds, so sweeping is a daily adventure in hair.  I thought I was freaking out with just the human hair sticking to my damned floors…  Ladies and gentlemen, another discomfort zone for me to love.  I don’t want it floating in the air and getting in my food any more than my son, who always seems to be the one to find the ONE hair in any given dish.  It happens maybe once in two months, and it’s on his plate, bless his heart.  If it happens to me, I pull it out, set it aside for later disposal, and move on, because, it’s just a hair, for fucks sake, and I just don’t care.  It won’t kill me.

That tail.  I suspect little brat bastards were pulling his tail, hitting him on the back, yanking his long hair, because as soon as he was able to get over the trauma of his past life and the silent panic of us being so new, he started complaining about the hairbrush, and about us petting him sometimes, like when he’s napping by one of us and we move, he growls to let us know he’s afraid or doesn’t want us to do whatever we’re doing.  He’s nipped at our friends, and two of our extended family members, because he was afraid.  Hey, when you put your hand in my face and startle me, I might bite you too.  Teeth are the dogs last ditch effort to tell you to fuck off. And barking.  Don’t be another dog within earshot or view.  Don’t be a stranger at our door.  Don’t drive a UPS truck.  We’re working on training him not to be so anxious, but maybe he needs some doggie valium or something.

We took him to the veterinarian, and they tortured him.  I held him gently, and he could have easily bitten me, and didn’t.  I’d trust that dog.  He’s got a forever home with me.

I need some human valium or something, but fuck it.  I’ll have a cup of hot tea, because I can’t drink alcohol and be at my job.  That has to wait until 8PM on this new stupid schedule.   So, lovely hot tea, I’ll try to chill, and hopefully the world, the work, the other people, the family, and all the dirt, will leave me alone for a few moments of bliss.

Oh, fuck.  The kids just got home from school.

May all your prayers be answered in ways that make sense and show God’s humor mixed with mercy.  May all your interpretations and application of the Bible be a proper mix of truth and love.  May your stuff, and your budget, not completely fall apart at the seams.  And may the events in your life leave you with a semblance of peace, because someone should have some peace. And if you rescue a dog, may it care for you, and protect and comfort you, and mirror your personality inasmuch as you love it.

Sparks Near Inferno’s Gate

By the time you read this it’ll be Thursday. It’s Wednesday headed toward Thursday fast, and I am trying to exercise a way to write just to write something. For those of you who might anticipate a high level of quality writing here, bless your hearts for still holding out hope…

Because, what’s the sign say over the gate to hell in Dante’s Inferno? Come on, you know this one. … No?

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.” The most popular translation is “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The journey begins and to me it often looks like this:

I heard a preacher on the radio, I know that’s kind of old fashioned but sometimes I’ll hear something that’ll spark my brain in some way. Well, spark it did. I understand that everyone who reads the Bible is going to come away with something different: a specific understanding, a mystery to explore further, an interesting topic, complete confusion, and so on.

It’s Christmas, but I can’t feel it.  Not now.  I feel like Santa left sadness, disappointment, darkness, worry, rage, loneliness, pain, and helplessness behind, along with reindeer shit, in my stocking. Where are you, Christmas? Whoever wrote this song found something they celebrated at the end of the song; I’m stuck between beginning and middle:

If your reaction, to reading or to life, is complete confusion, I’m right there with you, and also I’m sorry to say that my recommendation is to read more. And so it is that with Sunday’s confusing events, and the hated translation, I hoped was butchered, I have checked the Greek. What can I say, I just have weird things that push my buttons. I went to my standard resources, and read and reread. There’s a little word tacked on at the end of Luke 2:14 in the Greek. Doggone it if there is no comma, nothing exact to explain the exact implication. It just says “eudokia.” This is one place where I think King Jim’s translators got it right, though. If there’s a comma implied, it’s SO much better for me.

Curious? Go ahead: http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm ; dive in. Would I steer you wrong? It’s FASCINATING, really. Next stop on the rabbit trail? I went here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g2107.

In my study, I do not see any indication that “eudokia,” “good will” is conditional and implies the requirement of God’s delight in order for Him to bequeath the promise of peace. So, though the language in the translation sometimes used implies it, the original language carries no such baggage. Thank God for that. So say whatever you feel like saying, translators who want to attach boat anchors and 16 ton weights to God’s grace. People seem to delight in doing that. Like this:

You want to get into heaven? OK, work for it. Work hard and maybe you’ll earn God’s favor.

Um… How do I know if I did enough good? And …that doesn’t answer the awkwardness of the bad things still on my conscience, so how can I trust that?

I don’t think it works that way. I believe there are no such boat anchors, because of several internal reference points in the same document. You could go back to John 3:16, which starts on the foundation that God loves the world and wants to save us. You could go to Galatians 2:16 or 3:10, which pretty much close the door on us ever measuring up to any kind of approval from God by our own good work. Or Ephesians 2:9-10, which are even more clear. Or Titus 3:3-8, which interestingly enough, makes the point to call out lazy Christ-followers who say, “OK, I’ve accepted God’s grace on my faith. I believe it, so I’m all good,” and they sit and wait for the end and don’t help anyone. There’s a thread though which says it’s not our works that save us, or restore us, or bring us into any kind of relationship with God.

There’s a point to all of this, and I’ll get back to it. It has to do with this preacher guy on the radio, and he went all the way back to Genesis with something that bugged me a little. I mean, I’ve said (above) that there are as many interpretations or understandings as there are people, so maybe the guy’s entitled to his thought process. He was talking about Christmas, and how God came to Earth “in the flesh,” or “incarnate,” which is a big word that means “in the flesh.” What he was trying to get at was that Jesus, the baby who grew to become a man, came as God’s gift of John 3:16 -“God so loved the world that he gave…” Jesus was protected into adulthood, until everything was ready and he was prepared to pay for all the bad things I ever did. OK, yeah, all the bad things you ever did too. Despite all of the attempts made on his ancestors’ lives and on his own, and if you read the story you’ll see those. If Jesus’ ancestors knew about it, they’d have been scared to death for their own lives. But it happened, and Jesus was born, and lived until he was ready and until the time was right. He had to wait until Israel was under Rome’s thumb, so the message could be shared with the whole world. If it was just Israel, they would have just done this:

Under just Israel’s law, no Roman or anyone else in the world would ever know what happened except Israel. But under Roman rule, the message would be visible to Rome and to Israel, and to the world. Under just Israel’s authority, the stars themselves would make less sense.

Rabbit trail #2: The sign for Israel is Pisces, the 2 fishes. (See also Mark 6:41?) The sign for Gentiles (the rest of us), is Taurus, the bull. Right between the two, hard to see hanging up there, is Aries, a ram. (See also Genesis 3:21, Genesis 22, very importantly John 1:29, and also, like a button on the end of a great piece of music, Revelation 5, and there are more, I’ll get to one or two if you can stay with me.) The Bible is a tightly woven tapestry.

This preacher on his radio show, though, said that when Jesus came to earth as a baby, it was the first time He had been in human likeness, or “in the flesh.” But the more I read it the more I wonder if God was showing us how He was going to try to save us, all along. This preacher said that when God walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8) he was not in human form. You remember Genesis 3, it’s where Adam and Eve screwed up, disobeyed God and fell, along with all their descendents including me, and took all of creation on a ripping rollercoaster ride, a twisting, screaming journey to hell in a handbasket. Try to deny it all you want, and then turn on the news. For some, the journey seems short, but on a cosmic scale it’s taking longer than 8,000 years, presuming a young earth, but that’s another can of worms and I am NOT touching it. I won’t go back. But this message, this implication, it bugged me, because the guy has no way of knowing that, and no way to back the statement up. This preacher wasn’t in the Garden with God back in Genesis 3. My Genesis 1:26 isn’t at all unclear: “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness…”

What I’m saying is not that this preacher was necessarily wrong, or intentionally saying something to mislead. What I’m saying is we all have to dig in to the Bible for ourselves to find our own treasures. It’s important that each of us do that. My assertion is that if we ARE in the likeness of God, “in [His] image, then He must be, in highest form, the pre-image of humans.

To the point, here’s one treasure I take from my digging:

What if God was enabling the restoration of the relationship broken by Adam and Eve as the slain lamb in Genesis 3:21?

What if God was restoring the relationship broken by Abraham, as the slain lamb in Genesis 22?

What if God was enabling the restoration of His relationship with Israel through the symbols of Exodus 12?

What if God promised the possibility of restoration in Isaiah 53 (see the Lamb there in verse 7?), written 2716 or so years ago? And finally,

What if God was offering, if we believe, to restore the whole world, as the Lamb of John 1:29, sacrificed at Passover in John 19, and raised in John 20?

You don’t have to ask yourselves these questions, but I raise them for your consideration.

John wrote in maybe A.D. 90 or so, which puts it at 1926 years or less ago, and the events of John would have taken place maybe 800 years AFTER the prophecy of Isaiah 53. If you’ve followed me down the rabbit trails this far, just read the last few verses of John 20 (verses   29-31). 31 is important. How did Isaiah know 800 years early?

Because if God did that, who am I to say whether He pushed my sorry ass into this pit of despair for some restorative reason? I HATE the pit, but if there’s some value in my being here, then eventually it’ll be fine. I’d really rather not. But I get to hang out with some of you, here in the dark, and you’re pretty cool. Maybe we can walk together a while. Or just sit here, it’s better with your company.  I’m not anything like the Lamb. I just talk about Him, just like John did. I complain WAY too much to compare myself to Him. He is, if you don’t already know, “…One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:26-27) He can restore, or establish, a relationship with us, if I’ve read this right. I wish there were, but there’s no promise of any circumstantial changes. Only eternal changes. All it takes is our faith. I still have to walk through this shit for now, but eternally, I’ll be eternally better off than now. I feel abandoned, not that I’m nearly important enough to matter. But Jesus himself felt the same: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabachthani?” (Psalm 22:1, see also Matthew 27:46; and, how did David know a thousand years early how that scene would play out?) It wasn’t just words to Jesus. It was agony far worse than I may ever know.

What if God pushed me into this pit of despair, or let the universe fucker push me, or let me fall all by myself, to encourage JUST ONE of my readers, to let me meet you, to reassure you of your beauty and incredible worth, to assert that God loves you in ways far more pure and complete and unimaginable than I am capable? To encourage you to have courage, and faith? Although I hate the test, although I hate the universe fucker for the whole journey, if you get it, you’re worth it to me. There are times when I hurt not because it sucks to be me, but because I know what you are going through and I wish I could do something that would effectively reduce your pain or just thoroughly and completely rescue you, but there isn’t anything. I pray for you, and can’t not weep.

Christmas is coming and I haven’t got anything tangibly helpful for you. I have a prayer for me, and may it be answered a thousand billion times, yes. And I have a prayer for you, and may it be answered the same, a loud resounding FUCK, YES!!

Here’s my prayer for me:

OK, I confess, that was a joke. Well, halfway. Because I really do want that for Christmas too. But here’s my real Christmas wish for me:

Here’s my prayer for you, and maybe selfishly I want a little of that for myself too. If it gets answered, the way I want, there will be enough for you to share.

I’m going to go to work when I wake up today, because if I don’t, I’ll think about it and start crying again. This time it’s not just for me. It’s for you too.

It took me a long time, but I think I know why I cried for me on Sunday: It’s because I’m broken. It hurts. And try as I may, I can’t fix it.

And I know why I’m crying for you too: I’m broken that we’re all broken, we live in a world that is killing us, slowly and painfully, and we can’t do anything much about it, except to be there as an encouragement to one another. I hate that you hurt, and I wish life treated us all SO much better.  But while we’re alive, I want us all to share an eternal hope, even if we can’t have peace for now.

Please share that hope with me.

~Deon

The Hardest Part

The hardest part isn’t letting go.  It’s the wanting to hold on.

Sweeney Todd is on Netflix.  From the organ introduction through the noteable cast, Johnny Depp and the late Alan Rickman, to the very end , fantastic. While I like Criminal Minds and Dexter because they catch the bad guys, I think Sweeney Todd is magnificently dark and awful.  I love hearing an actor who can sing.  I’ve read the music critics reviews of Johnny and Alan and I don’t care.  They’re brilliant.  Since some may not have seen it, I’ll try not to plot spoil.  It’s enough to say that Sweeney Todd is a story of death and love and revenge and remorse and lots of ick factor.

It’s The Princess Bride, with true love and everything, but there’s no miracle.

In an interview with my favorite singing actor, Mandy Patinkin talks with a sage’s wisdom about his current feelings about revenge, but  this is my favorite scene from The Princess Bride:

I heard another interiew in which Patinkin says that when his character finally got his revenge, in his mind he was killing the cancer that killed his own father.

I want revenge, too.

I want revenge against bipolar, against depression, against suicide. In the movie we aren’t told what happens to Patinkin’s character after his revenge. For that, read the book, but be prepared for anything. I won’t plot spoil any more on the book A Princess Bride. But I’ll recommend that you buy it. Oh look, Amazon and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich:  A free endorsement!

It’s true that revenge can go wrong.  Dexter spent his whole life getting revenge against killers  who got away, because his mother was killed and the killer got away.  If you don’t know how that turned out, there’s another free endorsement- Dexter, from beginning to end, is on Netflix too.  And his revenge didn’t always turn out the way he wanted.  I’m sure no one who takes revenge really cares about the collateral damage they may do on the journey of vengeance.  But I’d guess there would always be collateral damage, because we don’t get what we really want.  We can sometimes get close.  But a lot of the time we just lose after we lose and that doesn’t seem right.  It’s not a happy ending, nor even the happiest possible ending.

Believe it or not, God says He is in the revenge business.

Here’s Romans 12:19, quoting Deuteronomy 32:35:

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I suspect, sadly, that the verses are truth and that’s why our human efforts at  revenge never turn out the way we want except in certain movies.   What we want is, people and things that hurt us get their comeuppance, their karma.  What we want is the satisfaction of knowing that those who hurt us and ours have gotten what’s coming to them and won’t ever be able to hurt anyone else, and we ultimately learn to live on and accept our personal losses.  What we get doesn’t ever seem that good.

When I started writing I said this:  The hardest part isn’t letting go.  It’s the wanting to hold on.  We don’t really have a choice about loss.  We have to realize that losing is inevitable, and we have to learn how to let go in the right way.  I don’t want to let go.  I want to hold on.  I break things, things fall apart, (hey, another free endorsement, this time for Heinemann!) and I grieve a little if they were special, unique, expensive, or held memories.  A coffee cup from a place I won’t be able to go back to.  A T-shirt that wears out and gets holes.  A shirt that gets a coffee stain, a pair of pants with an oil stain, an accidental bleach spot.  The day the car needs a few hundred dollars of mechanic time and spends the money I’m trying to save for fixing my teeth.  My two teeth that need either pulling or implanting or preferably both.

We’re going to lose.  Things fall apart.  And inevitably, we’ll suffer the worst kind of loss- when a dear friend or a family member dies.  The hardest part isn’t letting go.  It’s that I wanted to hold on longer than was possible.  It’s that I still wanted more of our friendship.

In the context of our recent loss, it seems trivial to mention that my dad’s dog died.  But she was a part of his life, a part of his family, and it’s thrown him into a pretty long-term depression, as if my cyclothymia wasn’t hereditary.  How the fuck did he hide it from me, and why the fuck didn’t he talk to me about what I might expect?

My kids have some times when they are depressed already, and I have that talk with them when I feel it’s relevant.  I’ve already advised my son and daughter that they may have inherited my cyclothymia or something close to it, and that the wave of sadness will pass, and they have to learn how to push through until it does.  I’ve advised that any voices in their heads, or bullies at school, or crises in life that lead to negative self-talk, should not be heeded, especially when they call for self harm or self destruction.  I asked them to please come to me so we can talk it through, pray it through, and fight it together.

But dad should have fucking told me too.  He’s doing little, minor, self destructive things, through his medical issues, deliberately mistreating his body but not per se suicidally.  It sucks to watch and not be able to intervene.  He makes his own choices and mum their kids have to live with it.  And maybe, raised in his generation, he was not aware of what he was feeling and coped in the best way he could, and kept it to himself fearing it would be more destructive to talk about it.  Back then the medical community didn’t really know how to treat bipolar.  They still don’t, but at least it’s recognized now along with autism spectrum, learning disabilities, etc.

I wish vengeance were mine to repay.  Sometimes.  But in more lucid moments, I see clearly through the rage I feel about life and loss, that it can’t be my job.  I can’t handle it, and there would be extra consequences if I tried to get revenge on anything or anybody who wronged me.  But I still grieve for things, for my hurting friends, for my friends who have left me behind.  In grade school one of my friends died and no one told me.  I found a news clipping, too late to go to the funeral.  I didn’t even get to grieve normally, or say goodbye.

To death, to bipolar, to cyclothymia, to depression, even to rage, to whatever kind of hell engineers these events, to God if He really does handle vengeance, about loss of friends, recent and past, about my dad’s slow loss of quality of life, about my own shit-happens grieving, never-normal emotions that should and could be a lot more pleasant, about my kids’ possible future if they ride the mood waves, about all that we have lost, and about all that we will lose inevitably, I want to stab that fucking destruction in the heart and tell it,

“I want [it all] back, you son of a bitch.”

War Lies

War Lies, 07/22/2016, Deon Mumple

I’m better than you, I deserve the best,
I’ll take what I want, and fuck the rest,
Against their wishes, it’s better that way,
Everyone else giveth, and I taketh away,

My name will go down in history,
No one will ever surpass the greatness that is me,

We’re only taking what we need,
Who could possibly think it’s greed?
Those people are evil, our people are good,
We need to keep them out of our neighborhood,

Look what’s happening where they live, over there,
We certainly don’t have enough to share.

They look, think and  believe different things than us
Why do they, or don’t they, believe in Jesus?
They’re strange, and they don’t even try to fit in,
If you don’t believe what we do, we’ll kill you for your sin,

It’s their fault, they hurt us first,
Comparing evil to evil, they’re the worst!

Adjusting

Our eyes adjust to light and dark, we learn to move and see
In almost any circumstance, functional, relatively.
In darkness our eyes dilate to maximize the light,
So we don’t hurt ourselves, and it’s the opposite when bright-
In light we’re not as blinded when pupils contract.
When life changes, as with light, why’s it so hard to adapt?
I do so poorly with surprises, some days I panic.
Some days I want to just stay home in bed, I feel so sick.
It would be nice to find we support each other through it.
When we can’t cope, when life hands us a bucket full of shit.
Every day the crises come, change cannot be avoided.
Too few love and give real support. I’m always disappointed.
We’re selfish, we burn each other, it’s so hard to be trusting
Is it such a difficult thing, to care?  Why’s that “adjusting?”
Our lives are full of stress and change we can’t anticipate
Why can’t we all love each other instead of trading hate?

Prayer for Perfect Love

“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”

Prayer for Perfect Love, 5/18/2016, Deon Mumple

Awash in the evil tides I drown
The blind look concerned at me as I frown
My scowl reflecting the darkness

I used to have faith to walk fearless
But now the waves surround, the thorns distress
I’ve failed, no strength for the harsh test

My prayers seem to die against the wind
The echoes remind me of how I’ve sinned
After once having been so blessed,

If only my love could be perfect
Casting out my fear, shielding to protect
Shining light, pouring hope and rest

Please hear my prayer in spite of the source
And replace my broken love with Yours

Chaos

Chaos, 5/9/2016, Deon Mumple

I need to care a little less about every detail of the chaos surrounding, swirling
around my brain, a tornado, debris is shredding too many pieces of me away
while I spend time caring, I can’t keep trying so hard to hold on to everything,
praying About too many details of other people’s existence, while mine
derails. I wish and hope and pray for you that you figure out your details
But I can’t care this much while watching the clutter shred my sails
I have to be free to help myself; I realize I’m a hoarder of hearts
And I want to keep your heart-plate spinning merrily but parts
Of my own heart are gushing from a thousand stabbing darts
Tatters, ripped through and through; I need to stitch them up
I feel lost, alone in a swarming crowd, lifting my beggar’s cup
And no one notices I’m full of death myself, messed up, Can’t
find me for all the confusion inside, you can’t help If God
won’t intervene; I need to escape, I want to cut away, run
Would it help if I had a day free from the grey and won
time in the sun?  Speaking through fused helium
might make me laugh, before heat stunned
What can I cut away? How can I escape the
day? I can’t see through the tempest; Can’t
see anything because the shredded bits of
my attempts To help you are failing, and
leaving me feeling alone and empty-You
can’t stop yours and save me; Don’t
throw yourself bravely Into my black
swirling wind.  If you die I’ll die.
I’ll try to find the eye and see
If there’s a way to seize control,
before I’m gone completely.
Meanwhile, if I care a little
less about your messy de-
tails, chaos around your
head I hope you’ll
understand if I try
to fix mine a
while, and
Then go
back to
bed.

Too Average?

Today I am overwhelmed by the normal feelings I’m having. No, not normal-normal.  Just an anticlimactic average-ness.  I don’t feel the dangling over the cliff feeling, or the falling feeling,  I don’t feel the trudging through the pits feeling, or the climbing out by fang and claw feeling.  I’m just here.

I should feel something.

I don’t feel anything.

I  was watching “Bones” on Netflix with my daughter while dinner was on the table.  On taco night.  Salsa and blood and ground beef and whatever the fuck those flesh eating beetles are.  I’m too lazy to google that, but they sound really icky in real life, but very cool on TV.  I’m taking a bite of taco and they pull a chunk of something out of the corpse…  mmmmmm. Tacos!  I had to laugh.

I fell asleep sometime late last night or early this morning and didn’t wake up until 6.  I didn’t even fall asleep watching my Netflix friend “Dexter.”  “It’s time to make the doughnuts.” said the Dunkin’ guy.  (I wish I had a doughnut!)  I only had to do yesterday’s dishes.  I got them done and then had to immediately leave the house to drive to work.  I watched the bad news until my son turned it down when they got to the hijacking in Egypt.  It’s almost as hypnotic as those stupid reality tv shows, only the reality TV shows aren’t allowed to actually murder anyone.  On the news they glorify that gore all the time.

It was incredibly boring.  Because I don’t care about the murder, bloodshed, mayhem, bombings, war, hijacking, or even the national interest piece they did about the volcano in Alaska, or the fluff piece they did about honoring a great teacher.  I am horrified that a year-old baby girl was stolen in the middle of the night, assaulted and killed, but I can’t feel it.  That’s probably a good thing because I’d be really enraged by it.  If I were enraged, I might suggest the guards at the prison let the guy in the general population and have an unscheduled lights out.  3 minutes ought to be enough time.

I am horrified that some jackass shot a cop, just as horrified as I was when some jackass cops shot at unarmed guys for walking, or running, away.  I’m working up a little rage just thinking about it.   I am horrified that some ass hole decided to start shooting at Washington DC.  I am horrified that ass hole bombers blew up other people in Belgium, and several other countries recently, as well as power hungry rapist torturers and killers spread around the world, ass holes who just do mean shit to prove they are badasses.  I mean, what planet do we live on?  These people are acting like animals and they need to be put down.  But I don’t feel the horror.  I’m just mad.

I am horrified that not enough people have enough heart and enough $5 bills to take care of my blogger friend who needs help with her worthless relatives, her worthless third-hand car, her worthless donor who couldn’t be arsed to pay the legal child support required of him, her priceless child, and her priceless kitties.  Why?  Why don’t people care?  (Go on, click it.  Please.)  If I had the money I’d relieve him of duty.  And if I had the extra money I might hire some kind of “surgeon” to relieve him of donor capacity.  He doesn’t need to go spreading the indifference and selfishness around more; there’s enough right here.

I’ll check and see if it’s any better tomorrow.  I wish I could just go home and go back to bed.  Except there are more damned dishes to be washed upon my arrival  not to mention a whole damned house that needs a good cleaning and a bunch of clutter thrown out.  It’s as chronic as the news and the daily junk mail.  I just know it.

There’s half a v/t in the fridge because I fell asleep before I finished it and I only had one.  Half.  I must just be exhausted.  Or maybe I’m falling into my regularly scheduled depression and I don’t feel it any more.

And this is why I wish the world revolved around me.  If it did, I’d be able to fix it, and I would.  Free will is great except people are abusing the privilege, not to mention abusing other people.  I’m sick of other people doing mean shit to other people.  The law, even when “justice” is served, doesn’t fix shit.  The mean shit still got done, which means the mean people get away with doing whatever mean shit they wanted to.  And if I gave a fuck, I’d give it now.

I was seeing if I could work up a good solid “FUCK,” with maybe a few exclamation points, but it’s worthless to be mad at the world because I can’t fix it and it doesn’t want to be fixed.  It wants to be broken. If I tried, they’d level all their shotguns at me to make me stop.

So there it is.  Only instead of a good solid “FUCK,” all I have is

Fuck it.

PS.  I heard a song on the radio today on the way to work.  I’ll include it here.  If I were feeling anything my heart might break just listening.  I need some peace.  Maybe it would re-start my heart, because I feel nothing.  Heartless.  Peace-less.  I’ll check for a pulse tomorrow.  And today, my wish for you is that you can find peace.

/\____________________________________…

“Don’t Do Anything Drastic.”

I watched the Oscars last night just to see how the whole #OscarsSoWhite would pan out, hosted by Chris Rock.  He did a brilliant job, to a point.  A joke is funny a couple of times, but after I reached saturation, which happened too quick, (about 5 jokes was all I could take)  I was done.  So I already had a chip on my shoulder when the comedians did their little stupid bits inserting themselves into nominated movies.  It went on, and on, and on.  I’m sure the Academy got the message.

I’ve been told not to do anything drastic, unless I’ve thought it through.  So I haven’t deleted this blog or all my emails all at once or other drastic things with potential negative consequences.  But I’ve thought this one through and I did something drastic because I felt I was right.

 

When I finally started a Twitter account, I was following someone for a while, having been a fan of her work for lo these 30 years.  And then the Oscars happened and then her heart was revealed.  Maybe it was the chip already residing on my shoulder when I was done with hearing, ad infinitum, ad absurdum, that the Academy didn’t care about any actors unless they were white.  I think even the presenters were done with the angry jabs and the laughter and the tension, by the time the nomination for Best Original Song came up.  And then there was this:

Even in sexual assault performance art – damn

This tweet of course followed the piece the lovely Lady Gaga did in support of victims of rape, “Til it Happens to You.”  It upset me a lot, so today, after I considered it, I stopped following Jody.  Jody is showing me a lack of positive focus despite her morning tweet today,
2h2 hours ago

Wishing everyone a positive and great start to the week✨

For those without the interest to stay awake until after midnight to find out if Leo finally won, you can check them out for yourselves here:
http://patch.com/california/hollywood/who-are-2016-oscar-nominees-winners-0

I’m upset and I stopped following Jody on twitter, although I still like her music.

I’m upset.  Because all we as a society are doing is perpetuating the hatred.  And we just had another cop shooting another unarmed couple.  Fucking stop the hatred already.  Fucking stop the violence.  Fucking stop killing innocent people.  While we’re at it, can we stop the outright war, too?  Fucking IDIOTS.  These idiots, by and large, presume they have the right to do whatever the fuck they feel like doing, and they need to be stopped.  By any means necessary.

It’s true, you can quote me, I’ve said it before, “I hate everybody,” but it’s a literary device.  It’s called a fucking “joke” (usually).  So if you hate me for that, fuck you and fuck the people who taught you to hate people.  Racism, elitism, sexism, all the -isms have to be taught.  Most of the time, I hate everybody because I want to be left alone.  But hating people just for the sake of hating them, treating people like shit just because you want to and you can, or maybe even because you like to treat people like shit, is not civilized.  It’s barbaric, and that kind of person (sorry, maybe it’s a logical stretch for you but not for me) needs to be slaughtered like an animal, because they’re no better if they claim to not know better.  And it’s probably too late for their younglings, too.

We’ve known since  at least 1947, but probably a thousand or 5 earlier than that, that hatred has to be taught.  Well, 1949 if you count the opening on Broadway and 1958 (which is still almost sixty fucking years ago) if you count the movie based on the book and the musical:

Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener was sanitized for Broadway and for the movie “South Pacific,” by Rogers and Hammerstein.  James, Rogers and Hammerstein tried very hard to teach what should be an easy lesson.  When you plop kids into a daycare and they play, they understand the rules and they basically get along until someone wants to be selfish, and then all hell breaks loose.  There’s biting, hitting, kicking, crying, and yelling until an adult intervenes and reminds the two they have to behave like friends.  But until and unless the selfish child acts the ass, everybody gets along nicely.  I’ve seen it.  They learn hatred unless they are taught how to love first.

Sorry if you’re offended that my choice of music features white vocalists, not sorry, I love Mandy Patinkin so fuck you if you don’t like him because he’s white.  While you’re hating me, since I so love music, why don’t you suggest a song with a similar message by a singer of another color.  I bet I like the alternative.

It’s really a tragedy that in the modern era we have to live in fear of people who hate us for who we are, who want all our stuff, or want us dead or poor, or who just like to ruin our stuff, if we have any, or who hoard all the stuff and make life impossible for us unless we enslave ourselves to them.  It’s a real tragedy that while love covers a multitude of sins, very few people know how to do that.  It’s easier to just hate, isn’t it?  I don’t mind reading what you have to say if you’re logical and you’ve turned the other cheek and only gotten stung twice, or more, but without logic or reason, I can’t hack it.

It’s not too late Jody.  I still love your music.  I still care that your soul can be lost or saved.  It’s up to you to decide whether to perpetuate the hate, or to decide to love, and then to teach those who will follow you.  I won’t be taught to hate because I’m fucking stubborn, and I’m on a mission.

To the Academy, I sure hope you got the message.  We want inclusivity, we want you to show the love we have for brilliant actors like Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, brilliant movies like Straight Outta Compton, and the unknown brilliant actors and movies we should have seen and might have missed because movies cost so much to attend, and the popcorn costs the same as gold, per ounce.  We shouldn’t need a “blacktors” category just to tell them.  Share the wealth.  Don’t hate.  Hate is bad.  We normal people like actors of any and all races if they’re talented, and there are a number of talented actors and actresses out there who should have at least been given a nomination and a shot at an award, and didn’t get that shot.

To the still-beautiful Ms. Watley, not that she gives half a shit whether one out of 91,600 followers doesn’t follow her tweets any more, I understand the anger– not saying I understand your experience, but I get the anger.  It’s justified, to a point.  But I hope you can find the grace to say something appropriate and perhaps even apologize to Stefani (Lady Gaga).  Your comment was rude to her and dismissive and disrespectful of her message.  You took out your anger on an innocent victim, who was only trying to share a message of hope and strength and love after trauma.  I’m sorry I reacted to your remarks with a chip on my shoulder, set up after multiple jabs and inappropriate remarks already made by other people, stacked up on each other to only further the message of hatred.  If there’s something to be hated, it’s hatred.  Not each other.  Everything else is a lie from the Devil.

Please make it right.  And when you do, I’ll delight to follow and admire you again.  But I can’t follow you if your heart is full of misdirected hate that splashes out like acid and hurts people who don’t deserve that treatment.  Like Lady Gaga. I wonder how she felt if she read the little snip, especially if she’s a fan.

~Deon