Monday, September 21, 2009

God the Creator Liberator and Sustainer of Life


Just got my little care package from Father Peter Kennedy’s true faith church on the Internet. I thought maybe they forgot me and were not sending out anymore care packages into the big ugly world anymore. I thought that this Christian church had failed in the face of opposition and pressure from the big organized RC Institution. Actually, the message ended up in my spam queue and I had not checked there lately.

If this was the early Christian Church and I was someone who could read and write I would be standing on my doorstep reading parts of a letter, a letter from Father Kennedy. Later I just might be giving a synopsis of the letter as a story with the letter itself and with the accumulated stories in general of true Apostles of Jesus such as Fathers Kennedy and Fitzpatrick preaching the Good News in Brisbane, Oz.

Sorry I can’t You Tube a few minutes of the Father Kennedy’s sermon. The text of the sermons are usually a few weeks behind in transcription. Father Kennedy was talking about the Theology of Anxiety as described by some author. The gist of the message was that the Big Organized Church is an Institution of Compromise – one where the fear of the devil exceeds the Love of God. This conforms with my minimalist view that fundamentalism and the big ritual institutions – love the Book – Love the Rule Book – more than they love God or God’s creation man and woman.

St Mary's Catholic Community in EXILE

I invite you if you have ten to fifteen minutes to listen and watch a video of his sermon on their site. Have to confess that I don’t always watch every minute of the service. I am not a member in good standing of that far away community. ((sorry, video no longer available - 24 nov 2011))

Father Kennedy’s sermon led into a baptism of a little girl Jesse conducted by Father Terry. I was most impressed with the casualness and the informality of it all as evidenced by lay participation. I was impressed that the child had three godmothers ( one can never have enough godmothers ) and a godfather who managed to miss the service.

The words of baptism are the Politically Incorrect Words that got Father Kennedy and his parish in trouble. The child of God Jesse Thomas was baptized in the name of God the Creator, Liberator, and Sustainer of Life (for centuries referred to as Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

Along with many healthy shoots taking root in the soil of life everywhere redefining the original and blessed message of Jesus, Saint Mary’s in Exile is still alive, well and thriving six months into a journey full of grace.

A Perception of Things


I am a big person on perceptions. I also analyze a lot. Too much in fact.

If a young girl in some old fashioned setting is walking home with a small market basket of freshly picked apples, what happens next? Everyone who might see the scene and related to the apples assume they will eaten when they arrive at their destination. But how will they be eaten? As fresh fruit, as a pie, as apple sauce or as apple butter etc.? The possibilities are not endless but varied.

So too the human race in general might see apples and all agree that apples are present. But of late most people want to think that their assumption about consumption of the apples is the one and only answer. Why do we sometimes shut ourselves off into only one answer to a thought, problem or way to travel down life’s roads?

Everybody may see things the same way on the surface of the situation. Few really know what is going on beneath or around the surface of the matter.

September 22 is Autumn Equinox. At a certain time of the day, light is equal in night and day along the equator. Ancient cultures recognized the shadows of the sun, measured them and they always came back to zero so to speak and twice a year. From ancient culture’s observation of the sun came calendars. I rather think the Julian calendar with exact markings on a paper was a breakaway point from nature. Although phases of the moon used to be important to some, when Caesar said “march” on a certain date on his calendar, the army marched. Over time the west except for some lunar calculations for Easter has set itself along a certain perception of time in terms of days on a calendar alone.

If it wasn’t for the news casts telling me it was the first day of Autumn I probably would not notice. We no longer to any great extent follow nature or farming cycles anymore.

The Chinese have their calendar, the Muslims theirs etc.

Some crazies say that the world will end in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar. Of course, nobody has really looked to find the place to replace the batteries on the Mayan Calendar so to speak. The Mayans and their defunct time schemes have nothing to do with us.

There are many ways to look at and perceive time. There are almost as many ways to look at time as there are people. Go figure it.

Getting back to an example of perception, I pick a famous visual – a work of art.

Without going too deeply into anything in particular I often put myself in somebody’s shoes or try to see what they might see. One thing I find surprising is how in this visually orientated world how everybody accepts too easily what they see as real or do not question the narration on a news cast that goes along with the pictures.

The image above is of course the famous head of Christ from the DaVinci mural The Last Supper. Funny thing is that I have reversed the image of the traditional snap shot angle.

I have done so to see if you have noticed. Are you really in good memory of a iconic world class image that is five hundred years old?

Leonardo was supposed to be dyslexic, meaning he saw most things backwards for lack of a better way of describing it. So which leads me to one final observation. Which is the better pose for the art – the way the world sees something for five hundred years – or is what the artist saw five hundred years ago just as important?

Each of us perceive and follow through on many things everyday. Do we all see and perceive the same things below the surface image of things? Food for thought.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pas de Label - Pos.la.bell?

Did you ever use the Google Translate “Web and Text” function on the Internet.

I’ve done it a few times trying to translate my blog and see what it would look like in another language. I don’t think that the gaps and flow in meaning translated but it is a start to break out of our American prison so to speak.

I am not trying to be unpatriotic but didn’t America used to lead the world in innovation and new ideas? When did we become afraid of the world? I think we became afraid when we did not feel right with ourselves and we were afraid to interface with Europeans who can speak three or four languages out of necessity to get around Europe and when they are sick they go to a doctor or a hospital and don’t get a bill.

Those nasty “socialist” countries that we seem to be socially afraid of lost the last war in terms of destruction or having to rethink and rebuild the whole of Europe and prevent anymore stupid European wars. Except for Bosnia, the main part of old Europe is still standing and looks like a great place to visit.

I am provincial and I like the United States. Somethings do scare me here. One is Health Care. The other thing is the way politicians and CEOs want to hang onto their jobs like they were the pope – lifetime employment and don’t criticize from the ranks. There was a time when men and women in factories made things, improved things, invented things.

Why are we waiting for people in Japan or India to invent electric cars? Hell, if Henry Ford were alive, they would be on the streets already. Tenure I think of incompetent, unimaginative and greedy politicians and CEOs is holding this country back from the greatness it has enjoyed in the past and the greatness our leadership should continue to nurture and expect. Time for changes in America.

I know that change can be a scary thing for some. Many of us have gone through change, multitasking, downsizing, outsourcing and reduced to ashes lifestyles. I am waiting for the punchline or the prize behind door number three. In a big way!

Speaking of tenure and dull bureaucrats in charge everywhere – the MSM and the talking heads, they inherit their jobs and go on and on and on like the Everready Bunny until they retire or are forced to retire. They are no Walter Cronkite who did retire at 65 which was I think good for him personally. To see the same face for thirty years on TV in so important a job as news delivery – I think the laxative and Pharma commercials on the nighty national news broadcasts are more exiting and more informative than the drival the talking heads get millions of dollars a year to deliver.

They say they have to cut back on news and newspapers. One talking head’s salary or one CEOs salary could fund dozens of young talented bodies in the news rooms of America. They might create something like another Golden Age of Television like in the 1950s – one never knows. Possibilities are endless.

By the way, I ran into one person, I have run into many people who are searching and there is no label for what I am, what they are in terms of beliefs and where they currently are on the road of life in their present lives. We are in our various degrees of search along the road of life, for spirituality in my case, as well as whatever is appropriate in other people’s lives.

As such, I think back to Thomas Jefferson living in the wilderness with all his “servants” and his ideas and their sweat needed to build a magnificent structure like Monticello. Jefferson or Washington or Franklin would have sought French as a language to find a new label or name for things.

As such I put the term “no label” in the Google Translator – English to French – and got “Pas de Label”. Since I ain’t sure on the frencie accent on the words, let me put on a little urban street spin to pronunciation.
Hey. What is that Cultural Christian dude all about?

I don’t know man. I think he is Pos-la-bell. (without label)

The next time somebody asks what I am in terms of my beliefs as in religion, spirituality etc. – I am “Pos-La-Bell” (Pas Label) – without label.

Have a great day. And a future great positive life too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Face of Fear - Fear of Diversity


The Iron Lady of the House Nancy Pelosi got a little misty eyed yesterday recalling how hate rhetoric in the late seventies brought violence to her home town of San Francisco.

The violence was the murder in cold blood of Mayor George Moscone and Member Supervisor Harvey Milk who was America’s first openly gay politician.

The guy who murdered them did so in a fit of rage – was a fellow member of the Board of Supervisors – and did so with a gun in one hand and a bible in the other so to speak.

Opinions can harden into hate. In a diverse society we must recognize and respect the strengths and weaknesses of all members of the community. The community in America is supposed to be open to all.

The High Priest of American Hate Rush Limbaugh will be tried for incitement if his current cesspool rhetoric results directly into violence. The same goes for Harlequin Beck.

Joe Wilson could not stand the fact that Strom Thurmond recognized a black daughter born out of wedlock. Joe Wilson’s greatest fear is that somebody will look very closely at his family tree and discover that great grandmom or the like was really half black not unlike Thomas Jefferson’s second wife, his dead first wife’s half sister.

Relations in the South can get quite confusing and tangled. Having done some genealogy studies of my own family I gave up because everyone and their brothers and cousins –dozens of them - were named Pat, Mike and or Frank in McAdoo Pennsylvania about a hundred years ago and they were all born in the same place. It was not impossible thing to do. I just did not have the time to waste.

So too, South Carolina with the worst infant survival rates and worst health care to the poor in the nation is what Joe Wilson should be concerned with as a politician. Don’t worry about anybody sniffing around your family tree. There is black blood in your veins whether you want it or not. That is one thing I did find in my own genealogy research – it is no big deal – it is the human race.

One of the blessings I think that God has bestowed on this nation at this time with our first African American President is that his black blood did not come directly from the disgrace of American Slavery. His children are the first generation of many generations to come that will recognize their history and move on without a great deal of pain and anger about their American past.

Obama is cool with who he is. He doe not have to carry “ole South” guilt baggage around with him. Joe Wilson should be cool too. Get rid of the baggage, and get on with a real, productive and giving life.

Joe Wilson! Do not fear diversity. It is what we all are as Americans. We are all real – and all members of the same human family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Regressive Poor People's Tax on Soda


I see that our legislatures and even congress is debating a regressive tax on the poor for their consumption of “sugary” soda and soft drinks which presumably is the source of recent poor people diseases like diabetes etc.
A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases. In simple terms, a regressive tax imposes a greater burden (relative to resources) on the poor than on the rich — there is an inverse relationship between the tax rate and the taxpayer's ability to pay as measured by assets, consumption, or income. --- Wikipedia

Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated
The group, which includes the New York City health commissioner, Thomas Farley, and Joseph W. Thompson, Arkansas surgeon general, estimates that a tax of a penny an ounce on sugary beverages would raise $14.9 billion in its first year, which could be spent on health care initiatives. The tax would apply to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages and many juices and iced teas — but not sugar-free diet drinks.
I knew that a lot of hidden European Value Added Taxes (VAT) were likely to surface in the short term to pay the Ten Trillion National Debt. One long term tax that is likely will be a VAT on new cars or on big ticket items like refrigerators, stoves, washing machines etc.

This is how “socialist” Europe pays for social programs like National Health Care – and not paying over there for a Corporate generated national debt.

Leave it to the half-assed, socially backward Americans to try and tackle a problem from the end zone and not have had any real game plan from kickoff.

While in the short term, a VAT on soda pop may generate more cash for local governments, it will never make it into any research and development on Obesity, the national American disease at present.

The “sugar” in soda pop is HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup – some spin dried industrial version of a sweet with no officially released long term studies as to its long term effects on the population. Unless what we are now looking at is that long term effect – selling an addictive substance which some say it is – and taxing it too. The poor have not been this screwed since Jesus’ time with the Temple crowd and the Romans getting their fat cut of everything and the peasants getting the shaft.

The soda pop tax will not apply to “Diet” “Sugar Free” sodas. I don’t know what “aspartame” is but I know that it will be the next regressive tax target against the poor when its side effects become known with an increase in use among the population.

This whole imbalance in the national sugar question - this corporate generated national, foreign sugar policy - this maddness (import quotas, tariffs, subsidies) - started with Castro in 1959 and it has evolved to this industrial waste products in “sugary” sodas and “sugar free” sodas – that and bonuses for food industry CEOs. The American Domesitc/Foreign Sugar Policy is a dinosaur relic straight out of the Eisenhower/Nixon White House.

Good food impossible! Big Bonus = god!

I know that I do not agree with the specifics of the birthers and deathers. They are inarticulate and expressing anger and prejudice. I do not feel their prejudice but I feel their anger toward a government that cannot get around nickel and dime lobbyists and demand wholesome food to be produced and distributed to the American population like the so-called socialists in Europe.

Financial Rape - American Banks - Debtors Revolt


Have we really gotten to the point, almost science fiction and almost real, where some vague biblical reference to the “mark of the beast” – of the so-called antichrist – might be your all important “credit score” issued by the beasts of American Banks?

“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16-17


“evil thieving bastards”… she, referring to Bank of America…

She is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. (below)



"Usury"
The First Council of Nicaea in 325, forbade clergy from engaging in usury (canon 17). At the time "usury" meant simply interest of any kind, and the canon merely forbade the clergy to lend money on interest above one per cent per month. Later ecumenical councils applied this regulation to the laity.

Lateran III decreed that persons who accepted interest on loans could receive neither the sacraments nor Christian burial. Pope Clement V made the belief in the right to usury a heresy in 1311, and abolished all secular legislation which allowed it. Pope Sixtus V condemned the practice of charging interest as "detestable to God and man, damned by the sacred canons and contrary to Christian charity." ---Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Age of Moral Subtraction

When I mention the old town square as a guide or an ideal with which to judge the present, I do so only as an example as in a touchstone. The old American Town Square was a bunch of crackers standing around the cracker barrel at the general store and gossiping about their neighbors looking for those who did not conform.

My parents did not grow up in a free country. They had to register as Republican under the old Philadelphia political machine in their youth for fear that your employer would check the voter registration files and fire you if you were a deviant, a Democrat. My father said that you registered Republican and then crossed your fingers that there were no hidden mirrors in the voting booth to see you mark “x” next to FDR on the ballot etc.

My recollection is that my parents in many social and political issues toed the line with the local Republican instrument of consensus and standard of conformity of that local Party Line – The Evening Bulletin - a defunct newspaper in Philly. That was in the old days before the Democratic machine replaced the GOP mechanism of social order.

I do not want to live in that past society of minor concessions to the rights of man. That indefinable essence of things past would seem to be the ideal that the ignorant are ranting and raving about in the present. “I want my America back!”

We all compromise in life, tell little white lies, say things to not offend and or say or do things that are downright stupid and do not many times get challenged in the process.

I do not want to go back to those old days of the American Ideal. It is when the GOP abandoned the morality of fiscal responsibility, when in power or as watchdog on the Dems, is when that party ceased to exist except in name only. In this modern global age the Dems seem to be nothing more than stooges for lobbyist money.

Indeed, in the age of computers, why can’t we all vote on issues of national importance from the comfort of our bubbles and see how that works out. Perhaps it is time to outsource all the jerks in Congress! Save on the Health Care plan, pension plan etc. Somebody had to pay our national debt eventually.

Which brings me to the concept of the great Moral Subtraction of our age. It is an economic as well as social formula.

I am indirectly talking about Constantine when he bought the first bishops and they subtracted the “thou shall not kill” from the moral equation in favor of the military equation. Christians in order to be socially acceptable and part of a new state religion had to kill for the emperor god in the Army. The morality of war passed onto the judgment of the Church which usually agreed with the political thugs in charge. Somehow, one day Christians had an asterisk next to the “thou shall not kill” commandment. You subtract moral from the formula and substitute a consensus conforming opinion to offset the original divine message of the Jesus guy.

It is no different today than it was back then. The morals that once had some precedent in our government, religions and capitalist system got swept away, subtracted, somewhere along the recent timeline. Humanity got turned into a commodity to be sliced, diced, outsourced and made a profit from. Humanity was entitled to FDR type social programs but nobody bothered to tax for or balance a budget to pay for those human services. The same goes for the military pitbull.

The little guy in the little business is being asked to forgo healthcare for employees because somewhere along the timeline health care became a commodity for profit. And following the “new atheists” rule to respect one’s right to religion but to openly criticize the stupidity and superstition of some parts of religion, nobody has criticized the sacred cow, the religion of capitalism for a long time on this side of the Atlantic.

Religions can give money to political parties, Employers can outsource, Wall Street can cheat and charge large fees but nobody, least of all in Congress, dares to criticize the great moral subtraction that has taken root in all our lives in this fast paced secular age.

Don’t blame the secularists. They are more than likely the only humanists left in the decayed land of “everybody does it” (lies, steals, cheats). Maybe it is a good thing that the people work not for dignity and daily bread but solely for the bonuses of CEOs, bishops, and lobbyists’ funds for Congressmen to keep getting reelected and doing nothing useful for the present or future of the nation. It is a grand delusion. Is it not?

I am not here to preach. I merely observe. Some might want to put the golden rule into the center of a secular culture. That secular culture still needs moral backbone and fortitude from the population in general and of every known persuasion, race and ethnic mix.

I can still hear my eighth grade nun’s almost daily platitude which is part of my secular formula for living.
Right is right if nobody is right. Wrong is still wrong even if everybody is wrong.
Humanity needs to be put back into all religious, political and economic equations.

Without humanity being the center of the human race’s moral formula in dealing with all aspects of life on this planet, something is missing from the bottom line – Everything is missing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Death of Civility in America - MSM


The story goes that whenever then Vice President Cheney was traveling, the TV in his hotel suite was to already be tuned to Fox News.

The whole or a great part of the home school movement is to tune out modern 20th century influences and diversity from children in the name of an imperfect religion tuning out the real world for these children. In other words, it is channeling a false image of everyday reality to the young.

Little wonder “Joe” Wilson, Jim DeMint and Mark Sanford have abandoned old fashioned civility in order to score points with the mob. The South Carolina crowd with it Sons of the Confederacy and a few used white bed sheets have long wrapped themselves in a self deluding bubble.

Add the modern age, civil rights, and global real world pressures and the need to add layer upon layer to the bubble they enclose themselves in and you get the death of civility in America. If you only have to play to a similar home town, home state similarly bubble wrapped constituency, you can see where the friction begins when confronting a real other world than the world of their own fantasy making.

In a South Carolina world, or a Dick Cheney world, or a home schooling world, reinforcement from other than balanced sources of a MSM has to be a carefully crafted virtual version of the old fashioned American Town Square that does not exist anymore.

Indeed, the owner of Fox News – Rupert Murdock – has sculpted or authorized a white milky bubble wrap reality in the image of his own native Australia with its past trying to forget Aborigine genocide by the white race – in the Fox News image and likeness of RM (god) and a white man’s virtual partial town square to reinforce the present.

To understand America better from the beginning up until the present one has to look at a roll of bubble wrap used to send objects safely and unbroken through the mail or express mail services.

Everybody down to the individual is encased in a singular bubble of genes, culture, possibilities and probabilities.

America from the beginning has been a haven and a clean starting point free of religious intolerance or economic woes. America at one point in time had the space and resources to keep your neighbor in his bubble from getting too close to your new revamped dreams- your bubble – and the so-called pursuit of happiness.

The local town square and the town itself usually sprung up outside a church or a trading post built in a wilderness.

The old fashioned town square is obsolete in the modern virtual world of today. With so many things constantly happening in our secular world of change, that assurance of a real town square with a real hardcopy newspaper and real town people/neighbors sets off a wave of nostalgia for the past amidst the over 40 crowd.

Think about the old town square of the old west with Gary Cooper or John Wayne about to shoot it out with the bad guys on Main Street and you have the eternal image and myth of what many people carry around in their brain.

The modern age with a thousand streams of information coming at you does not match the old town square of desired image and memory. Your parents’ generation is almost dead, the local town paper is defunct, Walter Cronkite is gone, the local minister is a kid fresh out of school. Who or what do you turn to in the old MSM inventory to reinforce your present beliefs or questions regarding local and global events and new social trends?

Part of the reason for the death of civility in America is the fact that all of us in our singular or multi-wrapped bubble layers have not yet found common ground in a town square like place of common consensus and in an old fashioned, extinct, biased eastern liberal media type establishment. Communications are in flux.

As time goes on, and friction peaks and or is sought to be reduced, the new MSM whatever shape and scope it is to be will evolve and settle toward some common middle ground in the American culture.

Until then we will have to put up with rudeness from all sides until that middle ground consensus and marketing tool is achieved. Until then expect incoherent shouting from the mob, from the peanut gallery etc. along with little or no real truth from the official establishment.

As individual bubbles begin to pop, somewhere down the time line a new fabric of communication, hopefully a better user friendly for all form, will emerge on the American and Global landscape.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mobs by Design - Glenn Beck & Co.


I suppose the march on Washington of 9/12ers, birthers, deathers, shiters, pissers, moaners, groaners and what have you deserves some comment. Sixty to Seventy thousand marchers?, protestors? – is worth a comment?

It is a growing mob moment. It is a mob by design with corporate sponsorship. I suppose the GOP needs bodies with a good set of lungs to shout and remind the party that living breathing human beings still cling to the party of Lincoln.

Of course Lincoln’s party was trying to prevent Civil War and not cause it. Whatever.

This 912 concept that Glenn Beck wants to visualize as a defining moment is the day after 911 when America and Americans came together in solidarity and communal love. That didn’t quite match the 80% of the placards of marchers showing President Obama in a negative light. Funny thing, I remember September 12, 2001 and Obama did not exist outside of Chicago and definitely did not own any of the solidarity and love thing except on his own personal level.

Beck also has a bunch of principals and commandments that only a jack rabbit Mormon would feel forced to make up as he goes along. This is where I see the 912 cover for tea bagging and some concern for the economy overshadowed by the many fringe groups participating yesterday in the national capital.

Rhetoric about wishful thinking for another terrorist attack, secession or a much hoped for coup adds to the nostalgia for Sept. 12, 2001 when the GOP in power could have had war, a balanced budget, ice cream and condoms too and still be in power with (white) people in charge if it had managed 911 in a totally professional manner. (Did I mention race? Sorry. The new racism does not mention race. It mentions everything else including the kitchen sink – wink, nod.)

Instead of wishing for the past –woulda, coulda shoulda, GOP nostalgia cannot be saved by Beck’s new rules and values from his little red book just like Newt Gingrich’s many failed fantasies about government mentioned in his Contract on America and are as irrelevant now in time with Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, whatever they were.

This whole mob movement keeps changing its name every other week. It’s corporate backed strategy would seem to be to evolve into organized chaos especially around elections and mention a hundred different items under the umbrella of solidarity and communal love to confuse all debate on all issues. Are we to become a Shout-Down Nation? Beck is harmless until he seizes power, so to speak.

Aside from a government’s spending run amuck starting with the GOP in charge of lower taxes and spend, spend, spend 2001-2006, this mob movement might have some legitimacy if it were organized around debate and passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

As such, a day out with grandmom and granddad like Saturday is perhaps a good thing. Nobody over forty should be alone which is what I think the crowds were – 40+. Nobody should drink their wine from a box or clean their guns while alone.

As for a younger generation who will have to manage and pay for this GRAND BOOMER failure in American Government and American Capitalism, I think they were reaching for a new level yesterday and did not notice a thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memory - Tree of Life - WTC


I am still looking for the title and artist’s name of some lost artwork at the World Trade Center.

The eighth anniversary of 911 is upon us and I want to let go of some memories. A lingering thought of some lost artwork that touched the artist in my soul years ago lives on in my memory. As I have written here and elsewhere I did not directly lose a loved one on September 11, 2001.

Like a lot of us shell shocked New Yorkers from 911, whether we knew someone who died or not, there are memories that take a little longer than others to resurface to the forefront of our attention.

Before I try to put my pen down on this subject of 911, let me share something of the human spirit and expressed in art and lost on that fateful day eight years ago.

I remember walking up West Broadway from Vesey Street behind the Post Office there before 911. I walked there back in the eighties to swing past some large decorative artwork that adorned the east, street level, facade of the former 7 World Trade Center. This red granite facade or bas-relief was a cover for a downward driveway into the building from the rear on Barclay Street. (See above.)

For the longest time I would use the Internet and try to find an accurate listing of all lost artwork in connection with the destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists. There are not many lists and they all seemed to be connected with some other tangent besides the WTC such as corporate ownership, or individual placement within the complex and so on.

I kept looking for the listing and name of the artwork noted above at 7 WTC. I could not remember if the decoration had a name and an artist.

What I had done was give the artwork a name in my head. Since it looked like a abstract Tree of Life, I gave it an exotic name that the tree of life is called by some primitive and possibly extinct tribe in Borneo – they called their Tree of Life by the name of “Aping”.

So into my brain went the reference to a dead work of art called “Aping”.

A tree of life, the WTC, a major artery of life in lower Manhattan got taken out, roots and all, that day eight years ago.

I find it ironic that there is not an easily accessed list of lost artwork at the old WTC. Whereas I am certain there are statistics down to the last square and cubic inch of the present real estate development thing going on now at the site of the old World Trade Center.

Art touches the soul of mankind. I hope some suitable artwork that touches upon the interdependence of all nations in this new global economy and global culture will be represented amid the profit plums and skyscrapers going up at the new WTC - to replace lost works of art from that infamous day.

- Hopefully this universal themed artwork, like the theme of the Tree of Life, will be near the planned memorial to the dead of 911.

The Tree of Life is at the base of legends and mythologies all over our planetary histories, cultures and geographies. The Tree of Life myth symbolizes fertility, growth, endurance and immortality.

The old WTC lives in my memory. Memory is the most important place for any living memorial to the dead and lost on that day eight years ago.

For more of my memories on 911 - Ghosts-of-911

“Joe” Wilson’s War on Illegals w/o Health Care – WWJD?


What struck me about John McCain in 2008 as standard bearer of the GOP was that he has never held a private sector job. Little wonder he panicked when Wall Street’s Ponzi tanked. Nothing wrong with a lifetime of government or military service. But what does one learn or know about of the other people, the people in the real world and about conditional employment and optional health care in the capitalist economy?

U.S. Representative Addison “Joe” Wilson of South Carolina as retired military did a great act of disrespect and insubordination with his outburst during President Obama’s speech during a Joint Session of Congress the other night.

In our republic, when you have the Chief Executive, the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet and members of both Houses of Congress present – you have the whole of Government – the sacred - of the secular – and in this very solemn moment of Democracy, Colonel Wilson of the South Carolina National Guard has a GOP hissy fit.

His “You Lie!” outburst was about his concern that no illegal immigrants could get government paid health care under proposed health care reform legislation.

I know that Rep. Wilson’s sons are on the military dole with free healthcare like the retired colonel.

Joe Wilson's Dirty Health-Care Secret
Except that he's not─at least not when it comes to his, and his family's, government-run health care. As a retired Army National Guard colonel, Wilson gets a lot of benefits (one of which, apparently, was not a full appreciation of the customs, traditions, and courtesies that mandate respect for one's commander in chief). And with four sons in the armed services, the entire Wilson brood has enjoyed multiple generations of free military medical coverage, known as TRICARE.
What I don’t get is a man obsessed with illegal aliens getting any health care.

If a Mexican is in a car accident and arrives at the Hospital ER room – what should the admitting doctors do when they a) find out he has no health care coverage and or b) that he has no birth certificate proving U.S. citizenship – should they dump the bleeding mangled Mexican on the sidewalk and walk away. Such a vision does not seem to occur within or bother the military mind of Rep. Addison “Joe” Wilson Sr.. (Just some more collateral damage perhaps? Hire a no bid contractor to clean IT up?)

Let’s just hope that the world stays unsafe and Rep. Wilson’s four sons in the military have lifetime employment, pension entitlement and free healthcare while the rest of the other people in the economy continue to struggle for their daily bread.

WWJD? Have the Wilson boys get real jobs or stop fake wars overseas?

I don’t have any answers to this dilemma.

I ask you all to examine your own hearts in these trying days of bitter partisanship and the lack of civility and respect in public life and service – in this so-called Christian nation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Wilson - House Trash - South Carolina


Are there any sane people in South Carolina?

Representative Joe Wilson’s uncivil shouting of “You Lie!” outburst to President Barack Obama in his address to a joint session of Congress is without precedent.

Where was your “You Lie!” when George Bush lied about WMD and sent us into a war in Iraq?

Is Rep. Joe Wilson another one of these friendly fascist “prayer breakfast” Christians of the Doug Coe cult like Senator DeMint and Governor Sanford also of South Carolina.

It is easy to see why idiots with slippery trigger fingers in South Carolina started the Civil War that never seems to end.

The death of civility in America applies to all sides in this country, white and black, left and right alike. If the government pork for South Carolina is not enough, then kindly leave your bullshit parked at a Capital bar and grill or religiously sanctioned whore house. Don’t embarrass yourself and your constituency with your vulgar street rudeness!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Drone Wars - Afganistan


In the Star Wars set of movies you see the fascist helmeted troops of the Emperor running around decks of floating space platforms or doing the grunt work of harassing the local planetary populations. In reality most of those working stiff soldiers should be androids from a Pentagon cost basis analysis.

Our eternal war in Afganistan goes on if only to protect the drug crops and support the local economy. This is how the last days of Rome perhaps were with sticking your nose in somebody else’s business and having them pay for your military hardware and troops. Where is the bloody oil money from Iraq to pay for that war?

We went into Afganistan to wipe out a bunch of thugs who masterminded the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center. The Bin Laden guy has been living in luxury ever since and we “can’t find him”. What bullshit!.

The Russians could not conquer Afganistan and they were brutes. The Brits could not conquer Afganistan and they could be brutes. Hey, history tells us that Alexanger the Great made it to India. No. He stopped at Afganistan, his troops rebelled and he turned back to Greece.

The military heads at the Pentagon have these drone things to fly into, spy on, target and or blow up the “enemy” - its mix and match, old toy weapons or new in the evolving handbook of war.

Our NATO ally, the Germans, the other day got caught in a tight spot, did not want to do the dirty hand to hand combat thing, and pushed the “easy” button on one of the shiny new Pentagon toys, in that instance ordering a strike by jet, and dozens of the “enemy” mixed with innocent civilians got vaporized.

As technology takes us further and further away from the human factor, our military princes delude themselves that they are fighting a winnable war with “droids”.

Aside from it being impossible to fight a land war and win on foreign mountainous terrain, we have to prop up a corrupt dictator who can’t even steal a “democratic” election with finesse.

The real horror of all this is the questionable morality of using technology on the stone age. It is not much different than the Cowboy and Indian days of our far west in the nineteenth century. That was technology against a stone age culture. Technology won.

Now it is technology against a stone culture – a stone culture of mountains, and mountain valleys and caves and an eternal number of hiding places all over the map and overlapping with the geographic boundaries of Pakistan etc. The stone culture wins.

Nobody puts morality or value on the killing of civilians as collateral damage in the Pentagon spreadsheets. American wars used to be fought by American boys knowing why they were fighting. Now we wait for the press releases to give us the lastest on body counts of us and “them”. That’s what Vietnam turned into – a body count, real and imagined – a quarterly spreadsheet report. Now our wars are fought by contractors and drones. Which bodies do you count?

It goes way beyond a so called Christian nation against a so called Muslim nation. If it is a religious Crusade, we will lose. We lose all crusades in the end especially when we become only temporary occupiers of a foreign land far from home

In the end, Rome had to withdraw its soldiers from the far ends of its empire to defend the city of Rome itself. Washington is the modern day Rome – Roma Nova – and America desperately needs its resources back home.

Obama may be a popular, slick Harvard educated, corporate lawyer and savvy politician. But in the end, along with the gold wasted and body counts mounting, he ain’t no Alexander the Great.

Bring our boys and girls home!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prayer to (for) Collateral Damage


In my strive to offset middle age aches and pains and a guilty conscience, I thought of a prayer I might say to thank the Afgan people for doing their bit for democracy, Wall Street and Jesus. For taking it on the chin in the collateral damage department thing – testing out our drone stuff and new technology – doing their part – ya know.

But as sometimes happens I dose off, thoughts and dreams merge, and I am stuck talking to these hippie/beatnik like losers on a street corner. They are painted blue, and turn out to be real honest to goodness Martians.

Why are you blue?

It’s cold up there dude!

And why are you here?

Tourists man, the dollar ain’t worth shit and the Martian Gubla is now being traded on a few exchanges, (Mongolia etc.).

Any attraction in particular you interested in here in New York.

Glenn Beck man – he is the Dude! Yeah he can see through stone man! He’s got our number.

Number?

Yeah. Like he wants to interview us and put us on his entertainment show. Talk about Obamo or somebody.

I thought he was a newscaster.

Dude. What ain’t you smoking dude? The man is like a real Martian man. We Martians want entertainment, stories, first class B.S. and Glenn is like the man!

The man?

Well we really came to see Tom Delay do his dance thing but we find out that they film that stuff out of New York. Bummer. We are like reading some old tourist stuff from the fifties. Jive! Ya dig?

Okay.

And we read minds sometimes too. That’s how we got tuned into Glenn baby. We like tuned in on the Tom dude and we get the vibe that he would like Glenn to dance in a competition with him – not one on one – but with couples. Dancing is very popular on Mars.

I see.

The scene fades and I remember something.

Well the thoughts and dreams change. I know I cannot muster a prayer fitting for the slaughter in Afganistan and take comfort in the fact that entertainment can do more for the human soul than news – and it goes the same at least for some Martians. So it goes. Just like on Tralfamadore. That’s in Ohio? Right?

Live and learn. Or just pretend.

Amen?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Did Bernie Madoff Burn the Vatican Too?


Did Bernie Madoff burn the Vatican like a lot of other fat cats last year?

Someone sent the first article to me. I have waited to see if the MSM would like make comment or something professional like that on the unchallenged press release.

Why the net loss of somethings like $32 million dollars in one year? That’s a lot of solar panels on the Pope’s Rockstar Audience Hall – don’t you think?

Vatican City State reports $22M deficit, cites global crisis
The Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008…

The Vatican's annual profit and loss statements showed that the 108-acre sovereign territory, which includes St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, fared much worse last year than in 2007, when it reported a profit of $10 million.

A Vatican statement attributed the shortfall to spending on telecommunications, Internet, and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the papal audience hall, as well as conservation and restoration work on the Vatican's art collections. The statement did not give a breakdown of expenses.
Council of cardinals blames Vatican budget deficit on economic crisis
The figures released by the Vatican were far less detailed than those provided each year since Pope John Paul II began publishing the figures in 1981. For example, the specific performance of Vatican investments was not mentioned.
Perhaps good old Bernie Madoff, through one of his many European partners, managed to lose his Vatican account too ??? Join the crowd guys.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joseph Martino - Scranton - Failed CEO

This is by no means scientific. But when I was younger and when the American RC church was in its prime, I considered that if 15% of baptized catholics had fallen away through divorce or indifference, then the established church went on in its prime. This is in no way an exclusively catholic thing but for the sake of argument, I am quoting from memory and my own observation which is, dare I say it, “culturally catholic”.

These are lean days of RC church attendance even with the emergence of the medieval revivalists, extreme right. In the ranks of those left who give a crap about the RC church, I think that in this survival mode status of the RC church in America, that getting and keeping 15% of baptized catholics still in the church is the desired goal. What happened to 85% of the church now in the dark?

Well, I will not talk about female issues here, though it is a significant factor in the scheme of things. I think that what destroys the RC church a little bit, decade per decade, percentage point per percentage point is the fact that certain people, besides women, were factored out of the salvation equation centuries ago. The one body of people that comes to mind is the gay community.

I knew a relatively famous actress some decades ago, a friend of a distant relative. Myself being a very na├»ve person, it took some time for me to realize that she was a lesbian. Putting that aside, she went on a trip to Rome with her entourage and upon her return I asked questions about her trip. I was surprised that she did not visit the Vatican or the Vatican Museum. She replied rather disdainfully – something like why should she. She was boycotting an institution that not only discounted her humanity based on her sexual preferences but totally ignored the question of salvation for anybody of her persuasion.

After the retirement, good riddance, of Bishop Joseph Martino, of Scranton, I look back over many press items and one thing stands out in my perception of his failed administration and the destruction through mismanagement of the faith of many deserving souls in the RC community there.

Putting aside Bishop Martino’s rantings and ravings, almost exclusively through distant abstract press releases, the turning point in his inability to rule over a sixteenth century social model framed by the Council of Trent was the very liberal Misericordia University and its Diversity Institute. The old cracker went absolutely ballistic over a minor item dealt with by a diversity program. One invited speaker to that Institute, Keith Boykin, was smeared in the catholic blogosphere as a Gay Marriage Advocate. This was also framed as a reason to shut down the diversity program at that university.

While that may be one of pet advocacies of that guest speaker, other things got ignored. My personal opinion is that Bishop Martino hated Boykin, first as an African American, and second as a faggot. Pius IX supported the Confederacy and was therefore pro-slavery and anti-African. Since Pius IX was infallible in spiritual matters, his personal petty likes and dislikes, like that of Bishop Martino, gets thrown into the human mix of things. Is it sacred tradition or good old fashioned human hate?

There is a great deal of pain now as the once sacred world bleeds into the growing real global world of secularism. The French are currently starting a twelfth generation since their revolution and their ease and comfort and treating religion and the church with total ambivalence, almost like just another cheese course after dinner, you like this stinky cheese religion or you don’t.

The institutions in the Christian mainstream, COE, RC, etc. that have ignored the relevance of Women, Gays and other minorities are in their death throes.

Individuals who seek faith and spirituality must do so in private and without influence from these dying institutions that centuries ago lopped off this percentage or that of humanity. The tree of their Christ is a grafted contrivance.

The message of God to all people and all time will survive. The institutions we see today as religion will not all survive into a future age unless they search their hearts and seek and love all humanity and not just a small part of it.

Matthew 39 1/2 - Regarding Health Care

I get a bit tired of hearing the FYIGM (F U I got mine) party, the Hypocrites Party for short, as opposed to the spineless jellyfish party “in Power”, and their slow down “NO” rhetoric on Health Care Reform.

It is not good and or wise to put words in Jesus’ mouth but I somehow hear that mench not being silent while millions in the so called land of the free are screwed out of access to health care. Not silent and not forgetful of those who use power to abuse it.


37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

39-1/2(When did we see to it that all were covered by Health Care like every other civilized industrial nation on earth?)

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

NIV

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Confusing Texas Christian Conformity Act

That is what I call it. I have heard it labeled several times as a Bible Literacy Course forcing school districts to teach the old and new testament as some sort of cultural class to students.

Like most Texas state law from a 19th century style part time legislature and passed after the likely six pack of Pearl Beer on the back of the pickup truck in the Capital Building’s parking lot - a very confusing, state mandated, non-funded law on Bible Literacy is getting off to a slow start in this beginning of a new school year.

New Bible requirement hits Texas schools this fall
The Texas Education Agency told school districts that it would not provide the training and materials because the Legislature did not budget the $750,000 to do so.

And the curriculum standards approved by the State Board of Education, though constitutional, were vague and provided districts little direction for crafting a course on such a legally and culturally touchy topic.
Some school districts are dragging their feet, knowing that this forced quasi-religion in public schools law will likely be struck down in the Supreme Court.

It is perhaps to establish the Christian Faith as the one and only legitimate faith in the Republic of Texas before it secedes from the Union.

My guess is that many school districts are treating this required class like Music in its individual budgets and watering it down in order to avoid being the sample case the ACLU will likely target going to the Supreme Court. (Texas is not likely to fund legal fees for any targeted school district case – God, the Right is so cheap!!!)

Public high schools required to offer Bible course
A new state law requires public schools this year to teach the Bible. Under the new law, every Texas high school must offer an elective course covering the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

However, Northside Independent School District schools will be doing it without bringing the Bible into the classroom. The district designed its own curriculum, focusing on multiple religions and on tolerance.

"You are not going to hear anything from the religious texts, said Clark High School teacher Heather Jones. “You are just going to hear what the religious texts are because this is not a class of religion but of the history of religion."
A city like EL Paso with a likely 80% Catholic population is dragging its feet in terms of teaching the Bible in school. Funny thing it was the Prots who forced the KJV of the bible to be used in public schools in the 1840s that caused the “know nothing” riots in east coast cities that led to the Catholic church building a separate and superior education system. But that was then and now is now.

El Paso ISD Looks Into Texas Law Calling For Bible Class
"I don't think that would be a good idea because everybody has different beliefs," said Rosalind Flores, of west El Paso. "And there would be issues about what they're being taught."

However, some instruction on religion is now required and can be incorporated in the current curriculum, but it will not be monitored by the Texas Education Agency…

El Paso ISD is not offering a Bible literacy class at this time. A district representative said their instruction and curriculum department is looking into it, but they would have to hire a teacher certified in theology. She said it's not in the budget.
Strange thing in this modern secular age. The monolithic plans of the WCP (white Christian party)/GOP don’t exactly goose-step to the front office dreams of a Christian nation. The back office education bureaucrats don’t want to do the required nitty-gritty dirty work of instituting, actualizing, making real, vague religious fanatic laws.

Fantasy and the lack of grip on reality that the GOP holds onto in these last dog days of summer are perhaps symbolic of the last days of that Party nationally and in Texas as well.

Red state turning into Blue state anytime soon???

Friday, August 28, 2009

Martino Out? Barres In?

Rumors of rumors about Bishop Martino of Scranton. Below the local newspaper quotes a highly placed Catholic blog article as source of the rumor for the impending retirement or semi-retirement of Bishop Martino.

Rumors suggest Martino may leave diocese
…published reports that Bishop Joseph Martino was planning to relocate from the Scranton rectory to the former St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, a bucolic retreat outside of Scranton that boasts expanses of lawn, a large pond, and clusters of trees…

No longer a training ground for priests, the location serves as the Fatima Renewal Center for religious retreats. Its seclusion is reminiscent of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in suburban Philadelphia, where Martino was stationed prior to his appointment as bishop here, and where he has long been rumored to spend some weekends…

…the Vatican could handle the transition in several ways. A bishop from another diocese could add the Diocese of Scranton to his responsibilities until further action was taken, or an apostolic administrator could be appointed to run the diocese until a new bishop was named. A third alternative would be the appointment of a “coadjutor bishop,” who would share diocesan responsibility and authority with Martino.
I find it ironic that so many parishes have closed. Now are we seeing the possibility of consolidation of whole dioceses into one another? My article on July 29, 2009 "New Temporary Bishop - Allentown - John Barres" speculated that the diocese of Allentown might be absorbed into Scranton. Now I see the possibility of Bishop Barres possibly being in charge of the two dioceses but without any official consolidation until a lot of details are worked out. Rather convenient that John Barres and his NYU MBA training might come in handy in any organizational reshuffling.

I see this more as a semi-retirement thing for Martino. He has toed the party line. His fate was decided in some money changing office in the Vatican without regard to his absolute faith in the perfect faith. Now he must submit to the political, economic reality of things and obey.

I see this closed seminary in Scranton being reopened to coordinate with a greater Archdiocese of NE PENN (Northeast Pennsylvania). Perhaps Bishop Barres will be an archbishop much sooner than I would have guessed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mohammed's Sleep Apnea and Dreams


I caught an article in the Guardian UK website in which the religion reporter is toeing the Muslim party line and criticizing a non-Muslim because he doesn’t understand the Quran etc. Of course translations of the Quran into English cannot be trusted. Only if you read the book in God’s Arabic can you be close to the Muslim God etc.

Sorry Sebastian Faulks, you just don't understand the Qur'an
Author Sebastian Faulks has been bemoaning the literary and creative deficiencies of the Qur'an. He reportedly called the holy book of Islam "one-dimensional" and drew unfavourable comparisons with the "incredible stories" of the Old Testament.

The Qur'an was not written in English, nor is it normally read in English, so of course the scriptures lose something in translation.

One example is the tale of Isra and Mi'raj – a nocturnal journey referred to in the Qur'an. It sees Mohammed travelling on a flying horse from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then tours the heavens, speaking with prophets who preceded him, before the angel Gabriel takes him to Allah. Allah tells Mohammed that Muslims must pray 50 times a day. On the advice of Moses, Mohammed returns to Allah, saying the figure is high and asks for a reduction. Eventually Allah whittles down the number of prayers to five a day.
The usual religious B.S.. I can remember when Jesus (God) only spoke Latin. Whatever.

I am distressed. As I usually do, I research some things further. Also be forewarned, I once tried to read parts of the Quran in English and I agree with author Sebastian Faulks, attacked in the Guardian article, that calling it “one dimentional” is an apt description.

The story that Guardian reporter Riazat Butt tells, in her own interpretation (?) of Mohammed’s “trip” to Heaven, seems rather flat in comparison to another interpretation in English below.

Isra wal Miraj – the Night Journey
Gabriel then did a curious thing. He cut open the Prophet’s chest from throat to navel, removed his heart and cleansed it with Zamzam water, and poured into it a substance that fortified Muhammad’s wisdom and faith. Gabriel next asked Muhammad to mount Burak, and they began what is known in the Islamic faith as “the Night Journey”.

… Only this time they arrived at a much more distant location. The Masjid-al-Aqsa, meaning “the farthest mosque” in all of Islam. The city of Jerusalem. Along the way he saw many sights, including the birthplace of the Prophet Jesus in Bethlehem. Gathered together in one place at the mosque in Jerusalem were the prophets from Adam to Jesus, and Muhammad led them all in prayer.

From there Muhammad and Gabriel began the final leg of their journey, up to the heavens. This is know as the Ascension of the Prophet.
Mohammed then gets to Paradise and does not meet God but rather the word of God – Kalam – which he uses to haggle prayer down from fifty times a day to five???

Forgive my ignorance. I like the above interpretation in English. It seems multi- dimentional. It also seems troubling.

For one thing the interpretation reminds me of the quality of the Book of Revelations, the least Christian and least cohesive book of the New Testament.

This whole dream sequence of Mohammed starts with Gabriel ripping open Mohammed’s chest and cleaning the heart in Zamzam, a legendary tonic water.

To be quite frank, I think Mohammed’s trip to heaven was the result of sleep apnea, possible congestive heart problems and a possible near death experience.

That World War Three over the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount real estate deal in Israel/Palestine and based on Mohammad’s possible sleep apnea does not sound religious but clinical as in medicine, science etc.

The Muslims better get on the stick with the way they look at God, the World and the Human Race. I have no doubt Mohammed had his dream. I just question how much weight should be put on such medieval “visions” not properly translated in the light of today and our modern secular age.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kennedy Patriarch Dead - E.M.K. - Teddy


My first letter to Congress was a group effort of my seventh grade class in Philadelphia. The nun in charge of the seventh grade was a freaking Kennedyphile. We wrote individual letters of a few lines and they were addressed with a teacher’s cover letter to Senator Edward Kennedy in the hospital after his plane crash in 1964. Photo above related to his physical therapy thereafter. Tells you how old I am.

The reply came in a franked enveloped showing Kennedy’s signature and his privilege of free mail to the public on public business. The letter inside was a few lines thanking my class for its thoughts and well wishes and was signed in a signature that looked real.

The nun scotch taped the letter onto the chalkboard and it stayed there for several weeks until retired to the teacher's large archive and collection of Kennedy memorabilia. That was my first real civics lesson of memory.

When I saw that Ted Kennedy had died last night on the Internet News Summary, I did not feel anything. I suppose that is a good thing. He was there in the public eye for so long and involved in so many projects and political stands and well - he was just a bigger than life American Icon – bona fide.

There are those stages of grief depending on circumstances. If death is sudden, then grief is abundant out of shock more than anything else. If death is anticipated, then grief is short lived. People and the dying have time to reconcile feelings, emotions etc – to put life and its final days in proper perspective.

My next memory of Teddy was in 1972, at a George McGovern Rally on Broad Street in Philly in front of the Bellevue Stratford Hotel. I don’t remember the date but it was hot and summer. I don’t remember the words of the Ted's speech but it was a good one. The crowd loved it. George McGovern was there too I should mention.

I have lived all my life in the shadow of the Kennedys. I remember shoveling snow in front of our humble row house and going inside to catch the “Ask not what your country can do for you” line live on black and white TV on Inauguration Day 1960 with JFK.

President Kennedy was killed on my birthday. How can you forget that?

The Bobby thing was all too much like a nightmare following two months after Martin Luther King being gunned down. This in the midst of an insane Vietnam War – the sixties were indeed a violent time in American history – no doubt about it.

I felt nothing for Teddy today. I knew he was going away to eternity. It was better than bang, bang – you’re dead – like his brothers. Forgive my license or metaphor here – I lived through those terrible darks days of our country (flashbacks).

Teddy in many ways was the survivor of much family grief and history. He had his human faults. Don’t we all? In a way the Chappaquiddick incident, whereby a young woman was killed in car crash at night off an unsafe wooden bridge, was a blessing in disguise for Edward Moore Kennedy. If that incident had not happened, perhaps a President Ted Kennedy would have joined his brothers in tragic death.

As the fates and or karma worked out, Teddy the youngest became the Patriarch of an immense family legacy – of service to Massachusetts, the Democratic party and the nation in general for close to half a century.

I did not feel anything or cry at hearing of Teddy’s death. In my heart, far too many tears have been shed for that family. No more tears are necessarily.

The end of an era, a dynasty, dies with Teddy. When they bury him in a few days in Arlington, a big chuck of the granite of the Kennedy history is laid to rest in eternity.

The Lion of the United States Senate, Edward Moore Kennedy, is dead. With his passing, his legacy and the legacy of the whole Kennedy clan of his generation – means that “now (they) belong to the ages”.

No need to cry.

Sam Harris - Non-Belief - Bill Maher

Here is something a little different if not original. A Non-Believer who prefers not to use the word atheist. Sam Harris is the author of two books that address his beliefs which I have not read. He was not raised in any particular family faith and God was never talked about in his house as a child.

Harris addresses many things but what I find fascinating is his approach in a calm way to talk about his beliefs. He states in the video ‘that "atheism" is not a worldview or a philosophy, but the "destruction of bad ideas." ‘ (WikiP.).

He is not the bedraggled, sawtoothed Madalyn Murray O’Hair athiest stereotype that mothers used to scare their children with.

His approach to the idea of non-belief sounds balanced. Many other atheists seem to me to be anti-religion for the sake of being anti-religion and many try to make it a separate viable philosophy and or new religion.

His other statement in the video below talks about how at the core of most religions there is a “transformative” element but that centuries old “religious mumble jumble” and or “bullshit” hides that basic root of many faiths. That it is “taboo” to question the useless, irrelevant multi-layers of religious dogma added to the base root of faith. That inability to question elements of religious insanity is a factor in our present age where fundamentalism is potentially a major destructive force to the people and survival of the planet.

He is talking perhaps at the other end of a spectrum from me in terms of my wanting a minimalism in my religious beliefs in pursuit of a greater path to spirituality.

A sane voice, even one of a non-believer, towards a more tolerant understanding world is welcome in the discussion of the human condition that touches upon basic aspects of faith.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ELCA Okays Gays for Clergy

Are they dominoes or are they bricks falling from walls of century’s old misunderstanding about human sexuality?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has decided that gays in long term monogamous relationships can be ordained as clergy in their church.

The ELCA has permitted the ordination of women for decades. Now the other shoe has fallen so to speak. The restrictive interpretation of ancient sacred scripture has a few asterisks in its text today to deal with the reality of the modern age and in regards to the nature of the religion thing that so many want and need in their lives.

The ELCA is the largest and most liberal of several other Lutheran bodies in America. Talk about some congregations walking away or joining other more conservative sects is in the air.

Similar talk is in the air with the Episcopalians who recently approved a similar decision in Los Angeles last month.

'Monogamous' Gays Can Serve in ELCA
Previously, only celibate gays were permitted to serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination of 4.8 million members. But delegates to a church assembly voted 559-451 to allow gays in "life-long, monogamous" relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church…

"We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus' time and culture," Tim Mumm, a lay delegate from Wisconsin and supporter of Lutherans Concerned, an gay-rights organization, said during the debate. "We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood."

..."As Luther taught us, Scripture does not have a wax nose," said the Rev. Ryan Mills, a delegate representing Texas and Louisana. "It cannot be twisted into anything we want it to say. But that's just what we're doing with these following recommendations."
Homosexuality, as defined and thought of in the past few centuries, is breaking some new grounds in terms of understanding, tolerance and acceptance in some church circles.

It has been sixty years since the first Kinsey Report in America on male sexuality, followed by another report on female sexuality, that has perhaps paved part of the way for the present understanding of homosexuality. Some of the methodology of that original scientific research is questioned but the strange thing is that it established a mark in the sand. Before Kinsey was the dark ages. After Kinsey, humanity could focus on itself and define and or even rediscover what it means to be human in a sexual context.

America and its independence and “can do” attitude toward church structuring seems to be a little bit more free and fragrant than it has been in the recent past.

I think that locally controlled religious bodies here in America see the empty pews on Sunday and rather than eliminate whole portions of the population through gender or sexual orientation, the right thing to do is to be inclusive to all humanity. It is something we can visualize Jesus doing if he were with us in the flesh today instead of in spirit. The church of Jesus and the people of God move forward.

Europe seems forever trapped in the past. Too many palaces and rococo churches and not enough farmer’s horse sense in the day to day living of the human race adds measure to that thought. Rigidity in the old ways of religion seem to turn into stone like so many gargoyles adorning old buildings over there.

It is refreshing to see America at the forethought on matters progressive in religious thinking. Even if we have become something of an evil empire with our illegal immoral corporate war in Iraq, some of us still have moral fiber and religious conviction. We also have our humanity which is inclusive and projected toward all humanity and not just some of it.

There is a long way to go in terms of the human condition to change and understand itself as a whole and in perspective from many angles of history, culture and human nature. Another small step forward in that process just took place in Minneapolis.