Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Privacy - Spirituality - Tiger - Oprah

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Here goes my connect the dots sort of thing. With things in the news.

I ran into the following Christian Science Monitor article that was commenting on Tiger Wood’s brief vacation from the shadows to make a public apology of sorts for his public and private life. No specifics and no questions. Tiger is still clinging tight to his privacy. In fact probably only the extreme rich, such as someone as Tiger, can even dream of privacy in that old fashioned sense of it these days.

Beyond Buddhism, Tiger Woods has converted to another religion
It is true that we witnessed the conversion of Tiger Woods last Friday, but it was no voluntary conversion to an old religion. Rather, this was a forced conversion to the new Oprahite religion of emotional openness and making public one’s miseries and failings.
The article implies that Tiger’s short edited appearance on Friday was a conversion of sorts to the new global Oprah Sofa Religion of confessing everything in public for the sake of ratings and the new standards of 24/7 Media demands. Only after public confession in America can someone start all over again. Tiger until this point on Friday was a heretic of sorts to this new Oprah Media Religion. I invite you to read the article in its’ well thought out opinions regarding this matter.

Has Tiger now lost the spirituality of his Buddhism, his privacy of sorts, in embracing the Oprah Corporate Religion or Media Methodology even for a brief time?

Regarding Privacy in America at least, there was the filing of a federal group action law suit against contrived spying against children in the Privacy of their homes – in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania. There it is, that Privacy thing, floating around the air.

Prosecutors, FBI join school laptop spying probe

Seems that a young man using one of the school's laptop computers at home was eating cinnamon Mike & Ikes. The secret webcam/spycam on the computer snapped a picture and the student was accused of “improper behavior” in his own home by school authorities. No doubt the perv watching children at home thought that his “reds” of the sixties and seventies were also being taken by this child. Semantics at this point whether drugs or candy were on board here.

The young man’s sister at the same school realized that she used her school computer in the bathroom to listen to music while taking a shower everyday. The thought creeped her out. She obviously still has an old fashioned sense of the obsolete concept of privacy in this new Global Big Brother Age. Word spread to other children in the school to beware. The sister has not yet been accused of “improper behavior” in her home at school yet.

The school claims, lamely, that the secret webcam was a security device to locate lost or stolen laptops. Haven’t lame brains ever heard of Lojack, global positioning locked into an automobile or laptop to locate a stolen object?

The real bottom line in all this is that these spying on children laptops probably came of one of the last Bush/Cheney budgets.

And lastly to more boring modern scientific stats. An article about how a higher percentage of young people 18 to 29, seek spirituality rather than organized religion.

Spirit Quest
She told me that she had gone from religious to nonbeliever, and then to spiritual...

Many young adults seem to be moving away from organized religion while simultaneously trying desperately to connect with their spirituality.

In fact, two recently released reports seem to buttress this observation.
My point in connecting these dots - centers around the words Privacy and Spirituality.

The corporate state, the new Corporatocracy, since it leaves humanity out of most of its bottom line equations, now directly or indirectly must dismantle privacy, an entitlement of the obsolete human factor.

Spirituality is no doubt a private thing. I have to think of the early Christians who lived in the Roman Fascist State and how only the spirituality within, in search of a divine connection to a divine spark, was something the Fascist Corportocracy of the Roman Empire could not touch or ever conquer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spirituality as a New Drug?

I just encountered a half dozen large screen flat TV sets today. About five of them were on a wall opposite each check out clerk in a supermarket I had not been in before – and playing the same cable program. I then encountered one of the behemoth screens in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.

I had to wonder where people are today on their cell phones or watching TV shows on iPods or the like. The background noise of our civilization is noise and not necessarily communication. I don’t use much of that. I have problems trying to get messages off my cell phone.

Surround yourself in a bubble. Surround your bubble into a larger bubble etc. In terms of technology it seems like we are only a decade or two away from computers like on the Star Trek TV show from the late sixties. Talk to the computer. Ask a question. It talks back. It gives you an answer. My grandparents were born and lived the early parts of their lives in houses without running water. Bizarre.

So too, here is an odd article that I encountered on a forum where it was listed with a thread title as something like “Spirituality is a disease” – not quite in my opinion.

What do you make of this?

Links to Spirituality Found in the Brain
Scientists have identified areas of the brain that, when damaged, lead to greater spirituality. The findings hint at the roots of spiritual and religious attitudes, the researchers say.

The study, published in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Neuron, involves a personality trait called self-transcendence, which is a somewhat vague measure of spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors. Self-transcendence "reflects a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one's self as an integral part of the universe as a whole," the researchers explain. …

Selective damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions of the brain induced a specific increase in self-transcendence, or ST, the surveys showed. …

One study, reported in 2008, suggested that the brain's right parietal lobe defines "Me," and people with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives. …
It’s pop science if it is only Yahoo and the Internet but wow. You see these movies where saints have visions and then they become prayful and “spiritual”. Makes you wonder if they fell on their heads as babies.

Makes you wonder what they could do with drugs to make everyone “spiritual”. Whatever.

And to round off this oddball assortment of pieces of a puzzle about the human condition, I caught what I thought was an odd obit about someone on Staten Island.

Howard Lotsof Dies at 66; Found Drug Treatment in an African Plant
Howard Lotsof was 19, addicted to heroin and searching for a new high in 1962 when he swallowed a bitter-tasting white powder taken from an exotic West African shrub.

“The next thing I knew,” he told The New York Times in 1994, “I was straight.”

The substance was ibogaine, an extract of Tabernanthe iboga, a perennial rain-forest plant found primarily in Gabon. In the Bwiti religion it is used in puberty initiation rites, inducing a powerful altered state for at least 48 hours during which young people are said to come into contact with a universal ancestor.

By Mr. Lotsof’s account, when he and six friends who were also addicted tried ibogaine, five of them immediately quit, saying their desire for heroin had been extinguished.
I have heard this at various times about how primitive societies with secret spiritual rites use chemicals to expand the mind. That once a certain level of understanding outside the “Me” thing, the individuals never touch the drug again. They are not addicted to substances in the Western Cultural sense that would be addictive.

There must be something missing in the equation of the spiritual formula. Western or modern society does not culturally connect the dots. Perhaps some once thought to be harmful drugs and their use as in the case of Marijuana would not be so harmful to society. Not harmful if society teaches its children up front the proper use of it. That doesn’t really work with alcohol though, does it? Some things are do doubt addictive to some and not so addictive to others.

Individuals are just that, unique from that individuality. The mindset toward Spirituality using spirits or drugs or falling on your head is not yet an exact science and probably will never likely be either.

912 Soluion in Texas Airplane Suicide?



Before the dopes in the media start to analyze the recent suicide bomber flyhing into an office building in Austin Texas, let me say a few things.

A person’s suicide is evidence of distress within that individual after the fact. There are many signs that few bother to notice before the fact of death.

I am not going to mention this man’s name. I do not know it nor do I know the names of the innocent victims he decided in his agitated state to take so violently with him.

The suicide note per say is also a manifesto or rants not unlike the US Declaration of Independence against good King George.

The rhetoric of this suicide bomber is something I hear reverberated on the for profit Murdock NEWS network everyday which I do not watch (am only an occasional tourist to that carnie sideshow of humanity and “news”).

So you have a troubled man in mid life crisis, no job, a very bad economy, and a healthcare system that rations aid to the middle aged especially in the mental health aspect. (40% of a decent European style healthcare model is all the thieves and lunatics in Washington can come up with? 40% is better than nothing you damn rubes!)

The only solution has to do with the me, me, me of the Me generation and you take your queues from the insane jihadists gliding into history and into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It is all rather fucked up like the state of the American psyche these days.

The 912 solution of violence against the government as advocated by the likes of Lonesome Rhodes Beck/Murdock and company is manifesting itself. It is not a solution. It is a symptom of a really half-assed mismanagement of government and corporations and individual lives situation.

My sound bite is now over. I turn the mike back over to the media.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harvey Cox and the Age of the Spirit

I ran into an article on the Guardian UK by Mark Vernon talking about Harvey Cox’s latest book The Future of Faith. I had to step back for a moment and say to myself, is Harvey Cox still alive? It has been over forty years since my sophomore religion teacher read and quoted Cox out of The Secular City back in those heady, positive, hopeful post Vatican II days of true, attempted by many in the RC church, Ecumenical Spirit.
Harvey Cox
Cox became widely known with the publication of The Secular City in 1965. It became immensely popular and influential for a book on theology, selling over one million copies. Cox developed the thesis that the church is primarily a people of faith and action, rather than an institution. He argued that "God is just as present in the secular as the religious realms of life". Far from being a protective religious community, the church should be in the forefront of change in society, celebrating the new ways religiosity is finding expression in the world. Phrases such as "intrinsic conservatism prevents the denominational churches from leaving their palaces behind and stepping into God's permanent revolution in history" (p. 206) can be viewed as threatening to the status quo, and for some an embrace of the social revolution of the 1960s.
I guess I must have been listening to Father Calvert. My own secular cultural Christian outlook seems similar with the excerpt quoted above.

I have not read any other religious works of Cox. I am not a theologian. I have spent much of my life within the context of a secular world where the religion of my youth no longer seems to function in a reality, to me, setting. To quote the sixties – “if it feels good, do it” – and if it does not feel right, ignore it or get rid of it.

No doubt Mr. Cox, retired now from Harvard Divinity School, has been doing a lot of thinking and filling in the gaps for us in the interim, still serving his gift of words in the pursuit of a meaningful understanding and relationship with the Creator.

Harvey Cox’s book The Future of Faith seems to be on the mark to dissect minimally and refresh the religious conversation so long dead in this country at least. I cannot speak for other countries.

Cox divides Christianity in three Ages.

The first is the Age of Faith which is the early Christians in direct and intimate contact with Jesus. The writings of Paul are there not for everyone but custom tailored to each geographic setting of many individual churches and centers of Christian faith.

The second Age is the Age of Belief whereby Constantine and his regimes that followed standardized what you had to believe in order to be a conforming good Christian.

The third and current Age since the Reformation is the Age of the Spirit. Indeed, today.

Anarchy in the age of the spirit
But his snapshot of the contemporary religious scene is unapologetically taken from the mountaintop, and it is also unapologetically optimistic. Cox recognises the risks associated with some of the features of the age of the spirit – its fundamentalism, say, or the prosperity gospel. But he argues they can't last. They are essentially reactions against modern biblical scholarship, which means "a religion based on subscribing to mandatory beliefs is no longer viable". Hence the emphasis on the spirit. Neither does he worry that Christianity today so often feels like a Jesus-centered personality cult. Rather, Pentecostalism is a positive force, part of "an inexorable movement of the human spirit whose hour has come".
I am not too certain about the Pentacostal thing – but it does represent energy – which is the future. Perhaps if a hardcore hold on the book, which is the foundation of the Age of Belief overlapping into the Age of Spirit, becomes secondary to the Spirit as it was in the beginnings of Christianity, the future of Christianity could be quite interesting and exciting.

Perhaps if in this Age of the Spirit, we could all have more user friendly religious situations. Perhaps the old fashioned Town Square will once again appear in America out of a patchwork of city blocks and neighborhoods bonded, cohesive, caring, loving - a home for groupings of individuals and more. The world would then be truly a more wonderful place in which to live.

Eight Haiti "Missionaries" Back on US Soil

Here is an update on the ten Baptist untrained, unprepared, civil disobedient missionaries and their quest to blindly save orphans and or Haitian children in general.

The judge in the case has released the eight least guilty of the lawbreakers and sent them home. They have arrived in Miami via U.S. Military aircraft on their way home to Idaho.

American missionaries jailed in Haiti return to US

The ringleader, Laura Silsby, and her employee, a native Haitian, have been kept behind in Haitian custody to determine what did they do, who did they talk to etc. on a December 2009 scoping out trip to Haiti before the big earthquake.

All things considered, I think the Haitian Justice System, rattled by earthquake damage, has functioned admirably in dealing with this case of child trafficking from invading, law breaking Baptist missionaries on a mission for God and their own egos.

I hope that this inconvenience to pie in the sky religious from Idaho has done some good for the children of Haiti who seem here to be victims of these “well intentioned” Baptist missionaries.

I hope that hundreds and thousands of Haitian children have avoided the sharks and predators in the waters and boundaries of Haiti from the likes of the free alledged pimp, human trafficking, unlicensed “lawyer” who stepped forth to take advantage of the Silsby Rambo missionary expedition and their moral and legal problems.

Bravo Haiti!

While I think Laura Silsby is at the very least an unfocused and confused individual, I do not yet think her a total villain. Only time will tell with the ongoing investigation by Haitian authorities.

Mount Vernon Tea Party with Ed Meese


The who’s who of the crooks from the Ronald Reagan years of government retardation, deregulation and outsourcing for profit only for your crony buddies - a group of fat cat white Republicans - met at George Washington’s old slave plantation as an appropriate setting to unveil their sole claim at being so-called Conservatives and trying desperately to claim lineage from William F. Buckley Jr. They met to sign a symbolic document, symbolic of the setting – The Mount Vernon Statement.

Can a New Conservative Manifesto Woo the Tea Party
...on display Wednesday, Feb. 17, when on the eve of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in Washington, more than 80 conservative leaders gathered on the grounds of George Washington's former Virginia estate to unveil a manifesto reaffirming the movement's beliefs.
Like a bunch of heroin addicts or flies and insects on a corpse, in fact Reagan's corpse, the Regan fat cats can’t get enough of free government funding either by no-bid, no-show government contracts or by tax free “non-Profits” that are conduits for cash from all over the planet to enslave the American Government in special interest only concerns.

The Tea Baggers have started a ground work movement, not unlike the grunt patriots who shed blood in the American Revolution but got Jack Shit afterwards with the Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson fat cat club of that day and age.

First signer on this so-called Mount Vernon Statement is no-show to justice Ed Meese, a one time supposed Attorney General under the emperor god Ronald Wilson “B Film/Hollywood actor” Reagan.

Briefly saw the document on line but it has been pulled. The first two signers online were “Adolph Hitler” and one “Joe Dufus” according to Christian Science Monitor.

Mount Vernon Statement: A fake Hilter outdid conservatives online

I can't make this stuff up better than that. Perhaps they got the part time no benefits temp from Fox News to set up the website? You know, the temp who is always putting film of millions of people on the Mall in D.C. whenever there is gathering of ten or more tea baggers.

I cannot quote exactly, but besides all the usual boilerplate nineteenth century rhetoric about freedom isn’t free or some such similar nonsense, now offline, they were calling for “true Religious liberty” What the hell does that mean?

Tax-free voodoo is one thing. You mean we are going to have to do back to the middle ages and pay taxes to the churches again – that on top of the taxes we already pay to our dysfunctional national joke – our national government - the true Ronald Reagan legacy of the CINO "Conservatives in Name Only" movement???

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Christian Madness Vacation Tour! (sales tax extra)

I only did half a rant on the Kook who was running around Haiti shanghaiing children to populate her soon to be built orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

The other half of the rant had to – has to – do with the weird state of “Christian” people in this second world country (checked our credit ratings lately?) towards the people, mostly of a different color in most cases, and in the third world.

Add to that the bizarre threat or was it a command to “Go teach all nations” the Christian way whatever that flavor of the month philosophy is this month on (Comedy Central) TV evangelism or Capitol Hill (by way of non-profit lobbyists with loads of cash).

Apparently that same article that describes the possible criminal activities of Laura Silsby and her bunch of Baptist do-gooders out on a little adventure in the bush – is how offensive this whole thing plays in the rest of the planet.

Haiti earthquake: In God's name

If I was a Muslim, or a Buddhist or a non-believer, I would look at Haitians, poor as they are, and see that they do have a social network of relatives they can turn to in times of needs. And if not, there are the orphanages. Plenty of them. Trying to get the rest of the planet to adopt children nobody else wants.

And here is this nose up in the air white Baptist American grabbing kids and running for the border to set up shop for her own gain. Americans, to the rest of the world, no longer look like the sane providers and saviours they once did seventy odd years ago when we helped, by force of arms, to directly defeat global Fascism and indirectly Stalinist Communism.

What did Laura Silsby think she was going to do? Did God have a plan for her success? (suddenly I sound like Joel Osteen). Build a Jim and Tammy Baker Amusement Park/Orphanage and rake in the cash as she made commercials showing sad little children and give interviews on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club?

What kind of a bubble world does she live in? Where is her humanity and her old fashioned sense of dignity and self worth? Where is she in this whole freaking Jesus Christ Ponzi scam that Christianity seems to have become in the past forty years or so?

She lives in the modern American E-Van-Gel-ical Christian reality of selling Jesus as a market commodity or product. “Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?” I have heard a thousand times from some nitwit in the streets, in the mall, at a bus stop, at my front door. And my straight man line back is - “Does he come with a guarantee or at least a ten year warranty?” You have no idea how many times I have stopped the Jesus Freaks in their tracks with that line. Amen!

But seriously folks, since the Reformation, intelligent people have built, put a challenge on themselves to both learn to read and to learn to decipher the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Somewhere along the timeline for the Americans at least, it turned into a consumer product and a “don’t worry about anything else” once you bought the Jesus Gizmo, whatever it really is. That’s why when we started a war on Iraq and Afghanistan, George Bush felt safe to tell us to “forget about it” and go to the mall and shop some more on your grandchildren’s credit.

Getting back to the article about the crazy American missionaries, there is a ending note about how the Baptists, like the rest of all corporations, have outsourced the old fashioned missionaries who tried to get to know the people they were trying to convert. (outsourcing – reduces the benefits and retirement costs of evangelism)

The way I see it on a timeline, John XXIII did more than try to put some fresh air in the Vatican that now has it windows hermetically sealed. He also set a fire under paranoid white people in the South and the Heartland that saw a threat from a word called “Ecumenical”. Scared the shit of these “good” “Christians” enough to build walls and hunker down for the “end times”. What losers some of these evangelicals be. It is truly sad.

Now religion in America is a full corrupt arm of the politics of this country in sore need of unity, love and fairness – but instead we get “NO” or latte liberals who don’t really want to touch the unwashed masses either.

I see a sad person. I feel his sadness two thousand years later. I see the great sadness of Jesus as he lived in a very sad time and place such as our own when everything had a price including one’s immortal soul.

Nowadays, why be a missionary from modern burned out humanity America? Why be a missionary when you can be a tourist missionary two weeks in the third world vacation plan to enrich you spiritually and so you do not to have to touch the rest of humanity outside your tour guided bubble – not really touch global non-Christian reality. (Take a picture of me, won’t ya, with the poor people for me to show the folks back home?)

Best Christian Vacations

The white American gated community mentality and gated on their mind and soul Christianity (madness) is one reason I am shopping around to call myself anything but a Christian, cultural or otherwise, these days.

Child Trafficking for Christ? Alleluia?

The new global equation as it now stands is not so crude to state that people, collectively or individually, are commodities to be bought and sold for profit. But in truth we are all grist for somebody else’s mill these days. Capitalism and its workings are the secret, sacred words of GOD that only a few rich people truly understand (natural law).

Case in point, Laura Silsby, a good Baptist Christian businesswoman with a long trail of stiffing employees out of their wages, civil lawsuits with customers on her online shopping service and even lawsuits with her own lawyers for non-payment of legal bills. They recently foreclosed on her home and official address of her charity for the poor children of Haiti. On her Facebook Page, she is a fan of “Politicians”: Sarah Palin – “Products”: Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.

Last year she gets a vision of starting an orphanage in the Dominican Republic for the children of Haiti before the recent earthquake. She gets this vision not from her God but from her children’s nanny who is from Haiti. Cash flow was a problem in getting the orphanage off the ground. But the competition for bodies, I mean children, went ballistic with the likes of Bill Clinton and W started getting in on the Haiti charity thing etc. Onward and upward for “God’s holy work”.

You get some of your fellow Christians in the local Baptist church in Idaho all stirred up, who volunteer, and you start picking up small bodies in the devastated streets of Haiti. If you are the anointed of God like so many losers lately like, Governor Sanford, Senator Ensign, Sen.“Ricky Ricardo” Coburn and Sen.“Waterloo” DeMint, the laws of mankind and or Haiti do not matter. “We’re on a mission for God” as Joe Belushi said in his great movie “The Blues Brothers”.

Laura calls around, no confidentially is adhered to, gets hold of a couple in Kentucky already in the process of adopting some Haitian kids from a legitimate orphanage there when the Earthquake hit, and they tell her to bugger off – but oh no, she puts that particular orphanage on your hit list. You pose as the friend of a woman you have never met when you get to that orphanage to pick up their kids to save or ransom or whatnot.

The kids are already evacuated and then you ask the orphanage if they have any extras. Then you get parents to accept your spiel about a better life in the white world and they hand over their kids to the rich white lady and off you go - ten very odd “missionaries” and thirty three kids in a school bus - off to the border only to be arrested and rightfully so for “child trafficking”.

The rest of this grisly tale of faith, greed and insanity are illustrated in an excellent article from the Guardian by Ed Pilkington in New York and Inigo Gilmore in Callabasse.

Haiti earthquake: In God's name
What was it about the 10 Baptists that gave them the hubris to believe they would provide better care for Haitian children than those children's parents? The acknowledged leader of the group was Laura Silsby, 40, who since the arrest has maintained the line that "we simply wanted to help these children. We did not understand [Haitian] rules."

Richard and Malinda Pickett, to offer them help in extracting three children they were already in the process of adopting. She phoned three times, and on each occasion was told by the Picketts that on no condition should she try to move the children. Remarkably, she didn't stop then. Once in Haiti, Silsby turned up at the orphanage where the children were and asked to collect them. Richard Pickett told Associated Press that she had claimed to be his wife's friend. The three children had by then already been moved, so Silsby asked the orphanage managers if they had any other children she could have.

So what exactly were the Baptists up to? Were they guilty, as charged, of entering a disaster zone, when people, particularly children, are at their most vulnerable, only to exploit them? Or were they, as they have insisted, simply out to help Haiti's traumatised orphans?...

The first puzzling fact is that of the 20 children who boarded the bus at Callabasse that day, many were not orphans. They had loving, albeit desperately poor and struggling, parents. Maggie Moise, standing outside her home, described the moment she handed over her nine-year-old twin sons, Volmy and Kimley. She had been approached by Adrien, who told her some white people wanted to help her family.

"They said they wanted to go with our children. They put the names of the children on a piece of paper and asked me to sign it. A white woman told me, 'Don't worry, you will be able to access your children.' They showed me a ¬brochure of where the children would be going to live. I signed the paper."
Whether you are a giant hedge fund ponzi scheme or a lunatic entrepreneur, running around, kidnapping children for the purpose of trafficking them for charity cash flow or profit for the glory of yourself and of course for the God thing, you are still exploiting them. There are laws. There are nations. There are limits to what individuals and groups and governments can do to help the people of Haiti during this period of recovery after a disastrous earthquake.

Crazies, stay home!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Secular Saint - William Blake


To see a world in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
I am not certain what to say about William Blake as poet, painter, engraver and printmaker. He was in his own league in his lifetime 1757-1827, with idiosyncratic views, on everything from nature to religion. His lack of formal education did not stop his self-education from reading all his life. From a long line of dissenters, he was for the most part pro-bible and anti-Church of England.

It is perhaps because he did not have a formal educated cookie cutter view of the world, that he was able to expand and populate his own personal universe with things of his own importance – interpretation of the classics, religion, words and art.

I periodically run into him in an arts section of a newspaper announcing this or that exhibit. You are always bound to see a new picture book published of his curious etchings and then there is his poetry for which his fame truly lives on.

He seems to have one foot in the past. His etchings were thought by many to be old fashioned, same as those of his original teacher under whom he was an apprentice. He made a fairly good living for most of the stretch of his life. You would perhaps have to classify him as rising but modest middle class in that aristocratic hierarchy of British Pre-Victorian importance and view of the day.

He does not quite fit in with the Romanticism of the time. Though he lived as a contemporary of the Enlightenment, he no doubt had strong pro views on the American and French Revolutions, his opinions remained in the background of classical themes. His real world, lived most of his life, in a stinking crowded ever-growing London.

As I child he learned to draw from stone and plaster classical statues as subject matter. In fact, looking at some of his later works I see a movement and flow that rises right up out of classical scenes not unlike the friezes of the Parthenon that he would not have been familiar with.

What holds the body of Blake’s work together is his view of the world and no one else’s view. What he saw as a child, aged ten, in light reflecting in a tree were perhaps angels as he claimed or the delusions of a child in full imagination of self within his own small secure turf, a private piece of the universe. The words of his poetry or his religious beliefs are condiments like salt and pepper that flavor all the rest of the world’s basic parts of belief and language.

I see some of his art works as being ultra-modern or even having a strong touch of Art-Deco in them from the early twentieth century. He surely captured the classical theme and also too with his spin of Biblical and Christian myth. The experts are still dissecting and reconstructing their own spin on the spins of this or that decade ever since his demise. They did not give him much recognition in his lifetime. His fame is born of human hindsight. That and the commodity equation of the value of his works.

He left no diaries. His biographers dig through public records and pinpoint him on a historical timeline for a few brief seconds out of every year he lived. The rest is speculation, conjecture and third party gossip. Such is life. He lived grandly of mind within the realm of his life and only shards of that full life of an artist remain alive in the energy and forms of surviving work.

Because he disliked and distrusted religious dogma and stuck with a kind of cultural Christian adherence on the fringes of that once great religion, I dub him as a Secular Saint in the This Cultural Christian’s Hall of Fame.





The words to his poem Jerusalem are part the unofficial national anthem of England sung at many sporting events.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama Overtones on Faith and Religion


Caught this item on CNN last week. Did you catch it too?

How Obama's favorite theologian shaped his first year in office
In the summer of 1943, when Adolf Hitler's armies marched unchecked across Europe, a pastor in a remote New England village decided to write a prayer.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," he began, "the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

It is now known as the Serenity Prayer.
In grade school this prayer was on back of a holy card of St. Francis of Assisi. I think the nuns even told me that St. Francis wrote it. Well perhaps not, if documentable current history can be depended upon.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obama’s minimalism in politics, if it is such, matches something to his approach to faith and religion. Faith and religion can be two separate things. Perhaps too his seeming minimalism in the hard art of politics might also extend into the realm of agnostic in that of his religious beliefs.

He apparently is impressed by the history and words of:
His name is Reinhold Niebuhr, and he was a Protestant pastor in the mid-20th century whose words tended to unsettle people, not offer comfort.

Niebuhr is getting attention again because he has a fan in the Oval Office.
I never heard of him before I read this article of a man that many including Martin Luther King Jr. were fond of quoting.

Obama is said to attend church services at Camp David in a military chapel and out of the eye of the media. His motorcade of thirty something vehicles is somewhat embarrassing if he shows up at a formal church setting in Washington D.C.. He has done the church thing very little. He has been to St. John’s Episcopal Church, the “Presidents’ Church”, across the street on Lafayette Square before the Inaugural and on I believe at Easter. The man’s faith and the public display of it he has been kept largely private.

In the fishbowl world of the presidency and with the Pharisee Media Hypocrites ready to equate any religious overtones as within the legitimate forum of politics, I believe he has backed off in that sense since the Reverend Wright thing and Rev. Wright’s old fashioned and perhaps divisive rhetoric that does on occasion mix politics with religion.

So there we have it, our CEO in chief is fond of a New England preacher and some of his writings including the “serenity prayer”.
Niebuhr was a blunt critic of morally complacent Christians. He thought the church was full of idealists who believed that progress was inevitable and that love alone would ultimately conquer injustice, some Niebuhr scholars say.

"He said there was a difference between being a 'fool for Christ' and a plain damn fool," says Richard Crouter, author of the upcoming book "Reinhold Niebuhr: On Politics, Religion and Christian Faith."
It sounds like a book worth reading. I invite you to read the full article above.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Gay Was Jesus?

The important thing about Jesus is his message. The other things, like his sexuality, have been greatly ignored mostly by religious types. The religious types for whatever reason think that suppressing their own sexuality and your sexuality as well is a good and wholesome thing, which I think it is not.

So the question remains. How gay was Jesus? I personally thought that the best seller of Dan Brown and Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene or at least her having Jesus’ love child was secretly applauded in the Vatican. Anything that redirects attention from flimsy birth control theology or the exact nature of the vague sexuality of supposedly celibate/chaste priests was a godsend in the midst of a worldwide catholic child abuse epidemic in that church.

On the other side of the street, other side of town is the carnie, big tent christianity where you cure people in wheelchairs, make them walk and then charge an arm and a leg in donations. Maybe they could walk to begin with, but you supply the older ones with wheelchairs while waiting in line to get into the tent like the way A.A. Allen used to do it. And when you pull them up out of a wheelchair and they can stand and walk it’s a miracle - right?

Tricks, whistles, bells, smoke and mirrors were present in the ancient Greek and Roman Pagan Religion world. It continues to this day with the official successor chrisitian religion of these ancient state religions.

The dark carnie side of the christian church, the evangelical fundamentalists who worship the periods on the pages of the NT as much as they worship and study a lifetime the words of Constantine’s approved bible – they don’t have a clue about humanity.

If you cannot get a death sentence for gays in the Uganda/Africa experiment, it is time to bring back some sort of legislation to ban or punish gays in the U.S.. Biggest myth in the kool-aid crowd now is that homosexuality is curable. Did not know it was a disease. The way these tax free carnies think and their take on this – that it is a disease. Pharmas are no doubt ready to sell pills to cure it as well if I am a good judge as to the bent of the American plastic non-culture lately.

The Hate Non-Profit groups with the word “Family” in their bought for opinions and PR titles are out in force on the news talk shows to bang the drum for open hate and discrimination against gays in the military. The so called “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell” (Don’t get Caught) U.S. military policy is up for debate. The policy like the rest of a changing society and its secular changing attitude toward homosexuality is a half-assed situation whereby gays have to lie about who they are as people while defending their nation.

Gays are not lesser people. They are people who are thought of as lesser in the closed minds of people who live in a closeted dysfunctional religious world with half-assed ideas about human sexuality, birth control and real life in general.

How Gay was Jesus? Living at home with mom at aged thirty? I don’t know. I was not there. But I am willing to bet he was a real flamer!

No need to execute Jesus for blasphemy. Just execute him under white western Christian inspired Uganda Hate legislation being modeled over in Africa.

You know all this love for black gays in Uganda is upsetting the timeline for the taking, stealing of all natural resources in Africa by the rest of the world. Out there a hedge fund manager is suffering, not getting his bonus with all this fuss of killing off gays first in Africa and anywhere else.

People, gay or not, are not on anybody’s profit spreadsheet these days. The land and resources they stand on are on those profit spreadsheets – that is what is really important these days in an Atheist, for profit only, Global Culture.

Christianity on all levels and sides of the street had better get its act together, after two thousand years of confusion, as to what Jesus’ message was about and who it was for. Everybody or nobody is my take on the last part of that. Too much silence on the subject.

The Rick Warren’s of the carnie christian world better get the pie out of their mouths and start shouting something like humanist real life Christianity!

For Everybody!

Anti-Christ Burger in Italy – GOLDEN Satanic Arches – Rapture Burger???


This is a story totally F#cked up for weeks now coming out of Italy.

I keep seeing this BS PR McDonald’s – FOR DAYS, perhaps WEEKS - thing on many, many news sources and cannot determine as to what they are talking about???

Italy minister defends boost for McDonald's burger

I can only assume at this point out of the chaos and confusion of so called ROMQN PR firms making money on a totally confused burger –“ THE ANTI-Christ burger in ROME” as I call it. Cannot figure out yet if the Italian Agriculture Minister is taking a hefty bribe from Ronald McDonald or he just hates Italian Historic eating habits. That or he is addicted to heart artery clogging fast food crap!

I have taken a private pledge not to mention anything connected with the present (german)-anti/christ in roman digs. But I do not understand why McDonalds is trying to launch a new burger just before Lent in Rome unless this is it –

THE RAPTURE is upon us and if so why is some spam concoction with oregano so important to a burger franchise that can push anything down the throats of a captive Iraq and Afghanistan audience wasting their time with the Italians? Like – what is the real give on this????

Latte Liberals vs. Tea Bag Conservatives – 2010, 2012

The lines are drawn in the sand. Latte (coffee) Liberals vs. Tea Bag (lemon, no sugar) ultra conservatives in 2010 and 2012. Short of illness or natural death, Obama is Prez through January 20, 2017 C.E..

Humorist Joe Queenan over in an article in the Guardian UK has challenged the limousine latte liberals in their bubble liberal world in Georgetown, 72nd Street and Broadway and Rodeo Drive to start coffee claques. Liberal coffee claques to offset the minor jock itch irritation that the ADD child of Alaska, Half-Governor Sarah Palin has adopted as media toll-ed (troll) irritaion and will continue to the bitter last dollar of Sarah Palin PAC money = Tea Bag, Tea Party, ultra conservativism.

They started the Tea Bag movement, mailing teabags to members of congress under the delusion of imitating the real men of iron that started the American Republic in Boston. If Tea bagging is now some Urban Dictionary sexual definition- tuff – fight for primary usage!

Whatever Liberalism, Progressive, Conservative, and or Tea Bagger translates into modern in terms of modern reality, Liberals and conservatives are dealing with concepts only little more than a century old.

Democrats better reply with a coffee claque, and soon
The Tea Partyers are mostly pasty-faced middle-Americans, holding the sorts of smallish, grassroots, inbred gatherings that could easily be ignored in the pre-viral era before cable television and the internet. No more. Now 212 angry white people shouting down a rattled congressman in rural Idaho can command as much media attention as a roadside bombing in Iraq.
Anyway, back to Starbuck’s and Queenan with his supposed wry wit. Well I don’t know about wry – but he can buy me a rye anytime.

With similar roots in Philly blue collar origins and links to the infamous Jesuit St. Joseph’s college (now University) of my father and brother (OMG), I think I know of what he speaks or have a idea from where he speaks on matters of a one time Democratic concept called Liberalism and now Progressive.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Minimalist View - Cultural Christian

I know I can be a grumpy judgmental reactionary son of a gun from time to time. But I cannot but help feel hurt and betrayed by what I have expressed in the term “the God business”.

The politics in the USA is such that church and state are wrapped around one party more so than another and in terms of simple discussions, simple discussions are not possible in some cases, most cases. The mythical town square of my youth is not practical in a virtual age. I am perhaps obsolete with my memories and ideals of that once in many ways real American Town Square.

While I never directly experienced the tent revival kind of religion that many in the heartland experienced in their youth, I am suspicious of all things not from the middle of the road or with a traditional church community mindset. Very WASPish and very snobbish of me, would you not say?

I have seen the media big top business go from people like A.A. Allen to the Bakers and Swaggart who blatantly betrayed humanity for the sake of mere power and greed. And yet people are gullible and keep funding what I consider a lunatic fringe which is the backbone of the almost extinct GOP – the party of Pat Robertson.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why old men with feeble minds are in charge of our national morals – our religions. Truth is, they are not and never have been. It is more like the myth of the town square, while still in the past a real physical town square, that kept the glue and adhesion of our society pasted together. It was also the myth of our religions that somehow we had more control over our lives and our destinies beyond this life.

It is strange how politics has worked in this country for two centuries. A two party system may have worked for a while, but of late, I do not see two distinct points of view. Everyone at the top of politics would seem to want to conform to a poll or a paid sponsor/patron. And if anybody is spouting wool coat fiscal responsibility or middle class stability, they sure as hell do not vote that way once they achieve office.

From the lowliest elected civil servants to the fat cats in the U.S. Senate, American seems not to be represented by any one sane, civil or moral voice. America, though diverse from the beginning of time, always seemed to have some abstract ideal standard that everybody tried to conform to. That standard used to have its base in religion for most people.

The secular world which sprang up out of our consumerism buried religion a long time ago. Religion as it used to be in terms of the age of computers was never user friendly. That fear of death and God and more importantly fear of life is what keeps the old institutions grinding on to the bitter end. No doubt there might be a revival but religion, monotheism across the board, Judaism, Christianity, Islam are all operating in other centuries – in other mindsets.

If you conform to the words written many centuries ago and do not question them in a modern world, then you must stagnate with the old words and not see a new revelation in the modern potential of text or in original intent. While I would be minimal in my beliefs as a Cultural Christian, most people just seem to sit or stand there in a fog of time and kill time here until death.

We are an age at many crossroads. The Internet helps to inform and it also adds fuel to any fire, religious or civil. “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.” What we hold onto in terms of beliefs, becomes more private and specialized into a custom fit – to suit ourselves. That may be good in one sense. But to use one more cliché – “no man (or woman) is an island”. I do not know if we are blending into together better than the media implies or reports. But somehow, the human mess, the human race survives one more day.

No point in trying to analyze it. It just is. In many ways I think God just is as well. What we make out of the abstract of creation is either good or bad. It should be good for one and all – win win – or the cork may blow out of the bottle of our man made civilization. Whatever.

New Mindsets are needed. New ways of thinking must replace obsoleteness of thought. And that so long as humanity does not get factored out of the new equations of the present and into the future.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fascism vs. Secularism – Joe the Pope vs. Freedom

There is quite a row going on in the British Press regarding Joe the Pope’s upcoming visit in September.

British protest Pope's swipe at U.K. equality laws

Joe the Pope, fresh from victories and a surprise blitzkrieg on Rowan Williams’ Church of England, arrogantly wants it to be known that he thinks that existing and proposed Equality laws in the United Kingdom are “against natural law”. In other words it is okay to discriminate against women and homosexuals in hiring and the use of public services.

Joe was really hitting out at British Freedoms I think, because of his church being cut out of the cash action when five “catholic” adoption agencies could no longer discriminate against gays wanting to adopt children under recent laws guaranteeing rights of all including gays to be treated equally.

These adoption agencies by the way did not close shop. They merely had to break official ties to the RC church and continue in operation. People in the UK are sensitive to the needs of its workers to keep their jobs no matter what a bigoted reactionary medieval church thinks is “natural law”. This is of course ludicrous. The Roman Empire hated all things natural. The pope’s morality based on nature is really only based on Constantine’s Army Manual of do’s and don’t in the conquest and suppression of all captives and slaves.

Getting back to the present. Britain is more European in a sense that church and state are loosely connected. It is kind of like their Monarchy – totally archaic and irrelevant but sometimes good for the tourist dollars. There are some Anglican Bishops in the upper house of their Parliament or House of Lords. The Church of England is the official faith of the country but in a secular world – that blows – in the face of reality.

There is pending legislation to lift exemptions specifically on priests and clergy from their Medieval rights to discriminate against gays and women in the workplace etc.

Which brings us back to the reactionary Anglicans, the British version of Episcopalians on this side of the Atlantic. Talk about being all F*cked up. You have these Anglican priests and bishops who can marry who do not want women to be priests and bishops. An extension of the hate thing against women goes to their homophobia against gays. So rather than be human and Jesus-like, these Anglican pricks want to take their parishes, churches and wives over to the RC church, which is waiting with buggering arms to greet them.

Joe the Pope, in typical German arrogance, is ready to enter Britain, not as a visiting head of state, but as a conquering hero – a salvation to all the women hating and gay hating Anglican clergy.

Throughout all this, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, religious head of the Church of England, has turned his cheek so to speak. He was dissed by Joe the Pope when Joe recently ordered a fast track cutting of red tape to welcome any dissenting Anglican clergy into the ranks of the RC church. In a way, I think Rowan is glad to get rid of all the “white trash clergy” so to speak, and to gladly send them over to hell so to speak.

In the meanwhile the British public and the British Press are in a stink about Joe the Pope and his entering Britain in triumph. This former German Army private who once swore an army oath to Adolph Hitler, is not really putting out the right vibes to the Brits.

There is a petition going around the Internet to forbid the government from paying for any expenses of this dissing, Freedom hating potentate. I think that by September Joe the Pope will not be able to piss on Henry VIII’s grave as planned for in the hoped for wish list papal itinerary.

I think that maybe Joe the Pope will understand what fellow catholic Newt Gingrich felt when he became the most hated man in America when he was Speaker of the House and stopped printing social security and welfare checks.

Joe the Pope by September may be the most hated man not only in Britain but also in Europe as well.

So it goes.

First Sunday in Lent - Matt 4 1-11 - Feb 21, 2010


I first heard the story of Jesus and his fasting for forty days from the nuns in my grade school. It is a hard idea to teach. I never went to bed hungry. But the concept of not eating on purpose and called it fasting is something as a child I accepted without question.

As I grew older the idea of fasting for forty days seems to defy logic or credibility. If you look at a lot of biblical stories, they are presented to reinforce other stories in the bible. The number forty has to do with forty years the Israelites under Moses wandered in the desert. It rained for forty days and nights on Noah's immense boat.

It took me some years to realize that the season of Lent talks about forty days of fasting and sacrifice but the season discounts and does not count Sundays. Does that mean I can have a banana split on Sunday in between the fasting thing?

Many things in the Bible may or may not have happened exactly as they say. But no doubt and assuredly they really did happen.

I have to look at a dedicated man named Jesus who is trying to purge himself of all the things of this world, to purge them out of his mind. We do not know what went on in his mind in the middle of a very long and lonely separation from the world in the desert.

There is a modern popular horoscope guy in the newspapers and Internet who does a weekly column. He advocates that we take an occasional fast from the media. He is in essence saying, one day a week turn off the television, turn off the radio. Turn off the computer and Internet and the iPod. He says to tune into yourself. Is this so original or novel as idea? No.

Moses when he wanted to change his family, the blood of Abraham, turn them away from the very sophisticated culture of the Egyptians, he had them wander around the desert for forty years to get reacquainted with living in harsh desert conditions, surviving and prospering and becoming once again what they lost while living for centuries in Egypt. They lost the ability to be of themselves and dependent on themselves. It was a return to nature so to speak. It was a return to simpler less complicated days. It was a way of life where the individual on an individual level focused one on one with God and nature.

To do that, Moses ordered or created the Sabbath as a holy day in compliance for a holy day in the Ten Commandments. This is a day to shut out the outside world and to focus only on yourself and your immediate family and on reflection of God and his word. This is a day when you can or should turn off and turn away from the secular world. That one day a week is supposed to be for our spiritual side and in recognition of the Creator. This is a day to recharge our spiritual batteries.

That day of rest is to imitate the day of rest God took after he created everything in six days, is sadly not afforded to many of us in this mad 24/7 modern world. When do you fit in time for yourself or your family? Is a workout at the gym a good withdraw from the world? Is going to the PTA meeting or transporting the kids to soccer practice or ballet a plus or a negative? I cannot answer that. Only you can. The expression goes something like having " quality time" with your loved ones. Think about it.

Jesus who decided he had a destiny to fulfill, a destiny perhaps thrust upon him by the living God. He had to made an adjustment. He had to decide if he wanted to willingly choose that destiny, if he was worthy, if he was ready, and strong enough. He had to start somewhere. He had to fast and pray for a very long time, perhaps even forty days or longer.

In all that pain and suffering and withdraw from the world, he as a human no doubt played those video tapes of things in his life, played those tapes over and over again, things that he was giving up for his ministry to the poor and the ignorant of this world. He went into the desert one sort of man and came out another. He accepted his destiny, harsh as living that destiny would have to be. He, as the Muslims would say, submitted totally to the will of God. God's plan for the world was now his plan as well. No going back. Only forward.

And no doubt, because sometimes fasting gives you a chemical high off your body chemistry kicking in to offset starvation, no doubt he was temped to believe that he was great and powerful and that he could use his vision and his powers solely for himself. But no, this he did not do. If there is one thing that rings true in the gospels is the love and commitment that Jesus had to humanity - the other children of God. Us.

The modern world of Goldman Sachs, Wall Street bankers and Ivy League Harvard educated men and women do not add up in their tens of thousands to the one real man, the mensch, the one and only Jesus of Nazareth!

When they put the gospels together, there may have been some lost passages. What they perhaps left out of some of the gospels, these gospel writers, are the letters, numbers or words of the equation of man, of men as equal to one another and fully worthy of sharing in the those fruits of labor and wealth of this planet equally. The spirit of the message of Jesus comes through by recognizing man and humanity as a critical part of any political, economic or religious equations - then and now.

The world that Jesus envisioned may not be here in this world. It most surely is in the next where the things of this world are totally discounted. A rich man cannot get through the eye of a needle and it is that difficult for any greedy fools to try to carry their gold and cash off this spec of dust of this planet into a vast universe created by the living God.

Jesus sits at the right hand of that living God because he served others first and foremost and because he saw in every individual the potential and treasure of their individual soul.

In the season of Lent that Christians try to use to push off the things of this world in favor of more spiritual things, let us remember why we make sacrifices, make them gladly and remember that others too like Jesus have done them willingly in the past.

We are the present. We as Christians look to the future of mankind as envisioned by God. It is a vision we share with God through Jesus and his examples of love, honor, commitment, sacrifice and personal endurance.

Let us be glad to fast and abstain from the temporary things of this world during this season of sacrifice, this season of Lent. Let us attempt to reset out buttons away from the world of the secular and retread a path to the world of the sacred and spiritual.

Let us be glad to pray. Let us be glad to be there also in spirit with Jesus in that desert of fasting and prayer.

"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." (Psalm 32:7)

Amen.


http://ezinearticles.com/?Matt-4-1-11,-First-Sunday-in-Lent&id=3689775

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Candlemas - Groundhog Day


Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW'-nee) Phil, a groundhog of Punxsutawney Pa. saw his shadow today and there will be six weeks more of winter. It is a quaint custom brought to Pennsylvania by the Germans from their European back woods. It blends in with centuries of paganism and this date February 2, which is one of eight important days on a solar Celtic calendar. In Pagan myth, the animal coming above ground to seek a shadow and searching for Spring is either a badger or a snake.

The snake of course gets the raw deal in the Adam and Eve myth. Adam, a man, blames Eve, a woman, who blames the snake, a snake. In any case the Romans, who hated all pagan beliefs except their own, stamped out this paganism or these nature based religions, well passed the reality of a Roman Empire and continuing with its official offshoot of the Roman Church. The RC church made this date Candle Mass day, a day to bless all the candles to be used in the church in the coming year.

The blessing thing springs from a passage in Luke 2:22-40 where Jesus’ parents take him up to the Temple and pay for animal sacrifice for the newborn forty day old child. It was also a day of purification for the mother because birth somehow was thought to be some nasty unclean thing and you had to purify yourself, more cash and more animal sacrifices, to make things right with the Temple. The Roman church did not celebrate this holy day as vigorously as the eastern orthodox Christians. It is all a matter of choice and preference and regional clinging to ancient pagan customs.

I remember as an altar boy there was a tradition that a woman would meet the priest in the sacristy, pass him a few bucks and ask to be “Churched”. It was nothing more than meeting her at the altar rail with an altar boy holding the holy water container as he blessed this woman who had recently given birth. I don’t know if that is or was an official ritual or something traditional and lingering on from the temple days of Mary and Joseph and Jesus.

What strikes me is how the Roman church plays down the Jewish rituals in favor of blessing candles to both forget the Jews and cover up the pagan animal shadow thing in the back woods of Europe. If you can divorce yourself from your Jewish source you can also reinforce your Roman Empire traditions against nature too.

Another bizarre ritual took place on February 3, Saint Blaise day. Patron saint of wool and throats. We school children would enter the church and be lined up alone the altar rail and the priest would take two candle joined with a red ribbon in the form of an “X”, put the candles right on your neck and mumble a quick prayer. I did not like this blessing of your throat with the newly blessed candles from February 2nd as the priests usually were in a rush and usually ended up not being gentle with the quick movement of a cold wax candle against your throat.

Rituals, superstitions, so called holy masking the so called secular and pagan – does not matter anymore. As the world rushes to the future everybody is forming their own personal belief systems independent of any institutional church.

Ran into this article about how the Air Force academy in a priority to meet the religious needs of its cadets was making room on top of a hill for the Druids and Wiccans – yes Druids and Wiccans at the Air Force Academy.

Earth religions get worship area at AF Academy
The Air Force Academy has set aside an outdoor worship area for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other Earth-centered believers, school officials said Monday.

A double circle of stones atop a hill on the campus near Colorado Springs has been designated for the group, which previously met indoors…

"It's about our commitment as airmen to protect freedom and defend freedom. To me this is a freedom thing," he said.

The school also has worship facilities for Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
There is something for everyone these days. The world has changed and then again it has not. Ask Punxsutawney Phil.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tim Tebow - Politics of Vagina

I never heard of Tim Tebow before a few days ago. (Professional and college sports is not one of my fortes). He is a big football jock, Heisman Trophy winner, and wears biblical passages on the black grease under his eyes. Nothing wrong with that. Athletes are notoriously superstitious, not washing their socks, supporters, wearing rosary beads etc.

Tim now is the national poster boy against planned parenthood and or Abortion. Seems they want to put the Tim Tebow against Abortion story on the Super Bowl in a $2.8 million dollar thirty second commercial. People starving in Haiti. People starving in the United States too. “Brother can you spare a dime?”

That’s three plus million dollars, if you include Madison Avenue production costs. That is what the message on TV in the middle of cheer leaders, chips and beer will cost. Of course the Focus on the Family – a “non profit” religious group CEO-ed by James Dobson sees the investment of three millions dollars as a sound business venture considering it may bring in ten to fifteen million dollars in donations in these cash strapped times. It is good business.

Seems his mom, Tim’s mom, has a recollection that when she was pregnant with Tim and the prognosis for a normal healthy delivery was very negative, she fought off the doctors who told her to ABORT Tim.

Sounds like a heroic story and totally PC (far right politically correct) and RC (far right religiously correct). Seems though, that when all this took place in the Philippines twenty odd years ago where she was missionary at the time, a doctor could be imprisoned for up to six years to advocate or perform such a thing.

Memory is a poor supporter of the truth sometimes. If the truth be told, maybe Mom is riddled with guilt about considering her right to use her body as a means to save herself in a very dangerous medical situation. I don’t know. I was not there. These decisions are tough to make. They are personal decisions and should remain private.

I don’t know why politics and religion are getting mixed up in what used to be the pure entertainment of the Super Bowl – the gayest game in town. I guess politics and religion are entertainment these days for many folks, though not all.

There is a shark of a lawyer Gloria Allred who is going to watch this “pro life” commercial in the middle of chips, dip and beer. She is going to decide if it is honest – truth in advertising involved here. If it is not, then there are going to be lawsuits against CBS, depositions, publicity etc.

That is the real Politics of Vagina. These redneck preachers do these half-brained publicity stunts – that is one half of the equation. The other half is people, women, feminists having to step up to bat and defend privacy and rights of reproduction without the hand of Jesus up the you know what. Blasphemous? NO!

What is Blasphemous is that I can do a search on Google under James Dobson and Wall Street and Ethics or Morality and I cannot find anything. Nobody on the so called religious side of the God Business Equation has stood on a soap box and condemned the immorality of Bankers and Wall Street, or the immorality of killing people in Asia with Drone Robots or the Catholics which are officially against the Death Penalty, notoriuosly absent, and not protesting outside prisons on execution days.

Nobody in the expensive suits and expensive tax free executive suites want to rock their own boat. Morality is a commodity, bought and sold, like everything else on this planet.

This on top of a President that does Not put morals or ethics into any of his decisions in leading the nation forward for it’s corporate sponsors.

It would seem that these days, sad to say - The only morality left in America begins and ends with a woman’s Vagina.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gayest Game in Town - the Super Bowl?

The American game of baseball is the game of the masses. One of the reasons it matches the European and worldwide appeal in a sporting event category like soccer, is it’s simplicity and minimal amount of equipment – a ball, a glove, a baseball bat, a simple uniform.

American football is a game that needs a lot of expensive protective gear – crash helmet, shoulder pads, breakaway shirts and padded pants. Football in my father’s day was just a pigskin and a thin leather helmet. A distant relative in the 1920’s used to play professional major league football for the Frankford Yellow Jackets in Philly and made a whopping $25 a game. No steroids needed back then – just real old fashioned testosterone!

The modern American Gladiator sport needs sponsorship. $$$. $$$, whether from a public supported institution, high school, college, university or in the case of professional league - a hand in the taxpayers’ pockets. Special tax set ups, tax breaks, stadiums built with taxpayer’s hard earned tax dollars and for who – a bunch of upper middle class types who can afford the expensive season tickets -that you can only literally inherit like an aristocratic title. Then from the game, spectators drive immediately out of the city where the poor have paid for and built the stadium – and drive as quickly as possible back to the safety of gated white burbs. It is the American Way. (bow your heads)

As for who is the best in terms of teams, they have playoffs after playoffs until somebody is lucky enough to get to challenge one other in the biggest Pagan game of them all – the Super Bowl. I say pagan to be nice. Because if the truth be told, the Super Bowl is like the gayest thing around (but you didn’t hear that from me.) The game reminds me of the Pentagon with its cost overruns and a bunch of generals with a thousand medals on their chests telling the world the best way to mistreat humanity on the other side of the globe. (a game plan?)

I don’t watch the Super Bowl in general. It’s a young thing, a party thing, a neighborhood, pub atmosphere thing where gluttony and drunkenness while shouting for your favorite team is a proactive copy of a New Year’s Eve party. Not in my league anymore for entertainment or ability to drink a third rate swill posing as beer from BUD – now a foreign owned company.

As for rooting for millionaires in modified male drag costumes, it just doesn’t make sense. The cost overruns at the Pentagon are kinda like what they now pay show biz performers – so called athletes for performance these days. It is an anachronism out of the real old days of real American prosperity. Hell, these days, even Obama is stuck with a used Oval Office rug from W because things are so bad economically for some. (a tattered rug, by the way, with a few holes from someone chewing on it)

They have got the reality shows on TV these days. Why do we need sports? It used to be the only excuse guys had to touch one another in our very homophobic past.

Of course, there is the camaraderie and the slapping of the butts and the hugging but the more I look at American football as a spectacle, it is like one big game of frottage, French for, Urban Dictionary for – dry humping. (the new rage for kids who have no access to sane birth control)

So the TV networks pay billions of dollars to put on this annual circus created in the middle of the cold war, sell thirty second commercials for millions of dollars and most of the commercials are for the traditional male only things of cars, beer and products delivered by bikini clad teenagers.

The commercial advertising end is something out of a thirty year ago fantasy male magazine called Playboy. Of course it is now an American tradition. I should get with the message and pretend I is a good loyal A-merican. Nothing more apple pie than the Super Bowl dude! Yeah right. And or apples treated with DDT?

So in the mood of American myth about what is right, wholesome, kosher about the American myth in the middle of an economic depression - they want to use the beers commercials as a setup and prelude to send a subtle PC message to women that abortion is not pro-life. A women’s right to choose the use of her own body is a sin. A “pro-life” commericial – how wholesome. How PC (far right) to present it, fully incensed, in the High Holy ceremony of the American Sports Pagan Temple of American Myth!

This far right Christian religionist/political message is an acceptable message to sell along with the alcohol, corn ships, and Pizza Hut? Get with the Far Right Christian fundamentalist program girls. It is the only Christianity allowed by liberal CBS these days? Taking $ide$ boys?

No, but seriously folks, the Super Bowl is like the gayest game in town. Queer eye for jocks - max. It is a bubble fantasy, a Halloween for adults with costumes, gluttony and drunkenness, the adult orgy version of that children’s fantasy holiday.

On one level, a game is just a game dude. On another level, the guys and gals with season tickets are sitting at home using the Super Bowl as some sort of High Latin Mass of White approval, a reaffirmation of themselves in the universe. Sitting there and along with a 1955 illusion of white cold war America with Dwight Eisenhower’s, all male, all white heterosexual pro-nuclear war cabinet in charge, Mormons and all. (the G.O.P. – Gay Ole Party?)

Pass the chips and dip please.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cathedral Spaces - St. John Divine NYC













In walking distance, it is maybe eight or nine blocks from the extreme northern end of Central Park. It is the crown on top of the so-called fashionable upper west end of Manhattan. It is the southern boundary of the Columbia University campus. I am of course talking about the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine - 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.

All sorts of adjectives and descriptions for this unfinished mish mash of styles, Romanesque and Gothic. The Nave is 600 feet long, the size of two American football fields laid end to end. It is second only in size to St. Peter’s in Rome. I am not certain where that big church in the Ivory Coast fits in, in terms of size, volumes etc.

This perhaps quiet, unforgotten gem of New York City architecture has been in building mode in spurts and stops since 1892. Many say that this seat of the Episcopal Bishop of New York is a dodo bird of sorts. It defies description but its internal space is why I am writing about it. One brief building period in the middle eighties to middle ninties added fifty feet (one third) of the Southwest bell tower in first photo above. It will not be finished in my lifetime.

I first encountered this behemoth structure in the middle of an May rain storm over thirty years ago. Getting out of the rain was indeed a pleasure but I have not stepped into any other such a magnificent space since. I have been in Notre Dame in Paris and only have a vague memory of it except that I thought it rather plain for all the hype. The average tourist never makes it here unless on a tour bus or religious bus tour package. It is as hidden a treasure to native New Yorkers as it is to the accidental tourist who, like me, literally stumbles upon its sheer space and audacity of being.

I have not been there since the fire and the smoke damage that required extensive and expensive cleanup. Less smoke damage would have occured if they has broken the stained glass to vent the fire. The officials at the Cathedral asked the fire marshall not to touch the windows which led to seven years of clean up that now has put the building on par with anything of Medieval European religious gothic architecture in official tourist guide books.

My first impression there had to do with that of the sheer size. The darkness of its soot covered interior walls was a result of having been submitted to fifty years of old New York City coal burning for heat and cooking in the air and reaching inside an open and unfinished church.

That dark space I feel to this day and a sense of what an astronaut must feel floating in outerspace, as I looked up into a seeming infinite darkness. When they finally opened the church in 1941, they put a temporary plywood dome over the unfinished transept expecting to finish the work after WWII. Funny how that temporary roof painted black made for such magic inside with a few electric lights, votive candles and gloomy exterior rain filled light making a faint register through blue colbalt colored stained glass.

Now over a hundred years of coal soot and fire smoke damage and general grime are cleaned up. The building was rededicated in late 2008.

The cathedral, not so crowded as with the huge number of midtown tourists that frequent the likes of St. Patrick's, makes this place a very quiet and meditative sort of place.

There is plenty of artwork, tapestries, icons, statues and it has a Holocaust memorial sculpture. It is an all purpose building that fits into the secular needs of the nearby Columbia University community. It is host to concerts, plays and even the annual blessings for animals small and big as elephants if need be.

It is a place where famous people, well loved people, have their post mortal memorials because of the thousands of people who can crowd into the space. I recall the author James Baldwin's memorial service took place there. It seemed appropriate since the rear of the cathedral sits on a slight hill and overlooks most of Harlem.

A very interesting place.

Here is a dated review of the place from the Ship of Fools website that reviews services and architecture of houses of worship worldwide.

1164: Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York City

And of course the annual Francis of Assisi Animal blessing.



I close in quote from the first video above.
"It moves me intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. It illustrates what architecture can do to the human animal. What an expression that architecture can be to the human spirit” --Alfred Blanco, Cathedral docent

Highlights of a Cathedral’s Rehabilitation
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Avatar or Symbol for Compassion


I had written something recently about coming up with a symbol for Compassion. Symbols are also called avatars these days.

I had suggested using the so-called Quaker Star, which is little more if you analyze it, little more than a common design on a quilt patch. The colors on that particular design were black, red and a cream white background.

That Quaker Star pattern had been used in the past for humanitarian workers in the Franco-Prussian War 1870 and conscientious objectors who worked in battlefields as medics in WWI. The small cloth patch had been sewn onto clothing or used as an armband to signify the unarmed nature of the person helping others in distress.

As such I think the design has some history associated with it with the idea of compassion. I think the Quakers might object if their exclusive design and color scheme were wholly lifted out of their place of meaning. I use the suggestion of the design as tribute to charity done to humanity in the past and present under their quilt pattern star.

I came up with a simple black and gray color scheme on a blue background. The circle is of course the planet, the world and beyond. The black at the center is darkness and uncertainty. The gray is certainly a movement into light, black mixed with white, not seen, moving into gray.

The only thing I might change in the symbol above but cannot technically do so at this time would be to make the outside dark ring to be one of white on the blue background.

The white or the light is a metaphor in religion. God as an abstract concept is sometimes called the Beatific Light – or “joyful” light – also beatific vision. If you think about it, pure white light is the exact opposite end of the total darkness of the void of space and the whole of the universe as we presently understand it from a scientific point of view.

Life as we know it exists in the light of a star, our sun, and shining on this one known living planet.

Compassion as described by the Dalai Lama means not wanting other people to be harmed, or causing no harm to others. In many ways that definition coincides with the idea of empathy or putting one in another’s situation or shoes and seeing the world from another point of view.

There is also the Charter for Compassion that tries to integrate globally the ancient Golden Rule to treat others as you would be treated yourself.

So many times, I have explained that to people and so many times I seem to get a blank stare in response. I have to wonder sometimes if the revolutionary soul of Jesus of Nazareth came from an evolutionary place in time and space where all humanity in all worlds and all galaxies find a home together – and he returned there. Perhaps that world is a real place that already exists in the Heaven and Paradise of myth.

I have to look at Jesus who wanted to change the world and the world promptly put him in his place. I have to wonder if like Luther, he could "do no other" than what he had to do while he was a presence here on this planet.

I also have to wonder too. If the compassion of the Creator to his creation - Us and Nature on Earth, whether the revolutionary message, or magic place of recognition of the divine spark within, continues to be hidden to so many of the human race – hidden because of ignorance – hidden out the fear of reaching for that light within?

Perhaps the human race is not ready to take a giant leap of faith toward the evolution of self and soul to live in peace and compassion together here on this mere spec of dust in space.

Until that day, when ever that is, those of us with the divine spark must keep the fire of light, even as a mere ember alive, waiting for that glory day of “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

As such, I welcome all to adopt your own sign of compassion, and put it within your reach in your mind, in your thoughts, on a flag. Or in the window to your own soul and not unlike a lit candle of peace, love and compassion that it hopefully symbolizes but acts too, from you living examples, as a beacon to others to one day find.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Avatar - Christianity At War With Nature?


Pantheism or the respect of Nature and not the worship of nature is the default belief system of the human race. Long before we had popes and bishops wearing 20 yards of silk each in the name of the homeless guy – what’s his name? – Jesus, we had nature. And let’s not forget the Creator of nature.

No doubt, James Cameron, native of Canada, having lived through a few Canadian winters has a healthy respect for nature.

His film Avatar is opening a panadora’s box of meaningless tangents. These tangents are mostly of religious symbolism more so than dogma. It never the less scares the Bejesus out of the institutional Christian church because the respect for nature is something that can fall through the cracks and before you know it Druidism and Wicca will reemerge to compound the dying stake share of paying customers in church on Sunday.

Basic fact is that Christianity as a religion is at war with Nature. Avatar only in some ways in a symbolic manner rubs up against and causes friction with the established order of perception where religion is concerned.

Being a good OLD TIME Christian means you are at war with nature. Being at war with nature makes you a “GOOD” Christian. Or so it has gone since Constantine's time.

When you see the typical southern cracker Senator like Jim DeMint against Nature and or climate change, his spiel is part of the hidden dogma of Christianity and has been so since the beginning of that religion.

Which leads us back to an old question. Which came first, the teachings of Jesus or the teachings of the church?

There are two Christianities. Not the east and west thing with orthodox versus roman.

The two Christianities has to do with the teachings of the radical revolutionary Jesus and his message of balanced economics and LOVE as opposed to the totalitarian reformed Roman Army religion of Constantine, founder of the Roman church. Ancient Rome was always at war with nature. Christianity as an official vehicle of Rome is at war too with nature to this day.

The Book of Revelation as a book of Propaganda for the Roman Army/Church is a propaganda message of pacification to the natives. You are with us or against us. If you are against us – expect only Roman Hell to come your way.

Also, the western, Roman and or default calendar I have to say is the universal calendar now on the planet. Every major mcountry in the world including Muslim countries had secular 2010 New Year celebrations or at least in their major cities.

I say universal in a sense of commerce in terms of dating e-mails, letters of credit, date of trades etc. Every regional culture and Islam still has its own regional or exclusive calendar system co-existing next to the Roman Gregorian Calendar – default calendar of global convenience.

The Romans, starting with Julius Caesar, used this same or standardized calendar based solely on numbers. No more of the “move your army between the new and full moon" stuff. Move your army in ten days, period. Move it from Point A to Point B, period.

No more feminine lunar calculatons. No more farmer’s calendars. Armies take what farmers grow. Armies do no grow food anymore. No need for a nature or natural calendar. Sounds like parts of this echoes to this day with the present American/corporate global Empire.

The Romans and their armies crashed their roads through forests and waterways the locals considered sacred in any Pantheist sense. The quickest way to any place on a map is on a straight line. Those old nature religions got obliterated by the Roman Army. Nobody really knows what these old religions really believed. Only bits and pieces or historical rumors of these old beliefs come to us to this day.

Which brings us back to Avatar. Avatar as a word is Hindu Symbolism for the god Vishnu coming to earth. I guess when the Vatican criticizes this Cameron movie they are trying to deflect other religions and their symbolism and commonality as in Jesus as an Avatar and or human form of Nature and or God.

Also the tree of souls in the movie harkens back to the tree of Life theme common in every native culture on the planet.

From the comments in the article below:
The real "Nav'vi"--"Nav'vi" is Hebrew for "prophet"--railed against the nature worshipers of Canaan, because they "fertilized" the ground with human blood (including children of up to 4 years old).
Geez! Now even the Jewish angle is being played into the interpretation of a fantasy movie as a vehicle to promote religion.

If you sit down and analyze Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, you could write volumes on hidden religious and Pantheistic meanings. Why go there ?

Sometimes a movie is just a movie to paraphrase Freud.

The science fiction movie ''Avatar'' borrows themes from many religions.
The big religious question the movie raises can be put this way: Will we see creation hierarchically or ecologically -- governed from above or through mutual interdependence?

The movie preaches the latter, that a network of energy flows through all things, that disturbing natural balance leads to disaster.

Christianity has sometimes been called a religion of colonizers, despoilers and decimators of native peoples.
Also, I always thought that an avatar was something like the image I use on my Internet profile. But what do I know?

You really are giving too much credit to James Cameron who made Titanic. Cameron’s Titanic was a typical Hollywood formula movie with too much success as hype and a thin script thrown in. The gimmick in that Cameron film, which I waited to see on cable TV, was a hidden treasure, the necklace, and the sets and costumes, some extraordinary character actors like Kathy Bates and a puckish Leo. Kate of course is one in a million

We are talking James Cameron here. James "Terminator" Cameron. What religious symbolism did Arnold secretly tell us about? Let’s stop Americanizing the process and mistaking financial success for intelligence, fine film making, good literature or deep religious symbolism.

The religion of money and greed taints everything these days to the point where it is poison like Midas’ gold.

I fear that the new emerging GREEN(secular)RELIGION wants to makes Avatar more than it really is by playing to the Pantheism tune spun off from the Vatican recently.

Americans are dumb enough these days. Don’t make a cottage industry of trying to explain to them the common sense symbols or religious symbols in front of them. They either understand or they don’t. Do we have to FOX NEWS spoon feed them and explain PC and RC (religiously correct) reality to them? So long as they have the price of a movie ticket, let them and their herd in. Green in the form of money and is all they have to worry about.

I have avoided Avatar. My college age son assured me that he enjoyed it. Good. I perceived this new gimmick to be another Hollywood Video Game version of reality thingy with dancing blue monkeys.

I will probably end up seeing it on cable, sans 3-D glasses, when I have insomnia and hopefully the tired Hollywood formula of John Smith and Pocahontas will put me to sleep. Shamans always bore me too.

And at its very confused fused roots of origin, Christianity IMHO is in eternal war with nature (hostility to all things non-Roman) to mention one of several possible Intervention issues.