Things I’m For

My Ideal World

things I'm for - lincoln determine a thing shall be done

I’m for equality, for justice for all, for caring about other people above asserting our own rights, for defending what’s good for most people rather than for 1% of us, for an end to bigotry, for kindness, for compassion, for courage, for an absolute commitment to, and unwillingness to shirk from, intelligence, for the idea that formal education by no means makes our ideas better than anyone else’s but it’s a good start, for all of us banding together to give no quarter to anyone who hates or fears people different from them, or who in any way believes other people to be less worthy of love and compassion than themselves.

I’m for the truth, however it presents itself, whether or not it agrees with my politics. I’m for being willing to change our minds. If you’re not interested in and open to the truth over your own political ideology, there are other pastors/writers who can deal well with you, but you’re not in my wheelhouse.

I’m for caring about the things Jesus cared about more than the things Ronald Reagan cared about, and for understanding the difference.

I’m for a world where everyone knows that another person living the way they want to live doesn’t in any way keep anyone else from living how they want to.

I’m for people pursuing God out of curiosity, courage, love, or interest, but not out of fear. I’m for a world where the only theology we care about is the theology that springs from compassion and loving others, so theological statements and doctrines are only useful when they help us to do that. I’m for a church and a world where love is the law, and it’s enough.

I’m for an end to violence of every single possible imaginable kind — emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical, social, verbal, economic, and I’m for searching myself to see where I might be perpetrating some of this violence unconsciously, and then doing what I have to do to address it.

I’m for a world where no one, ever again, says, “I love you, but…”

I’m for not towing the party line, whether that means me not towing it for the church when the church is wrong, cops not towing it for cops, teachers not towing it for teachers, whites not towing it for whites, gays not towing it for gays, blacks not towing it for blacks, for everybody being willing to learn to identify and root out the sickness in our own houses. I’m for seeing problems, naming them, and working to fix them.

I’m for religion that opens up questions and mystery, rather than making us certain and self-satisfied.

I’m for reading both the Bible and the Constitution openly, not in letter but in spirit, trying to discern what general point was intended and how that applies to us today, for wrestling with old documents and using them as guides, not as templates.

I’m for people taking personal responsibility, so saying things like “I am responsible for the world being the shitty place it often is,” and “I’m responsible for traces of racism, greed, and lack of empathy in my own heart.”

I’m for all people being considered worthy of basic love, respect, and humanness, even including bigots, as long as they don’t spew their bile onto other people.

I’m for the idea that America, in fact the world, isn’t a good place until it’s good for all of us.

Most of all, I’m for taking another step — today — to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Feeling Judged

my proof of disability

Yesterday I went to the Secretary of State’s office and picked up a handicapped parking placard. It’s incredible how difficult the process can be. Not in terms of complexity, just that both times I have had to get one of these I’ve had to endure lectures from doctors (and others) about not abusing it, only using when I really need it, that just having MS isn’t good enough reason, etc.

As if I would have any interest in parking in a handicapped spot when I’m healthy enough to walk.

Hell, when I can make the walk easily, or even passably, not parking in one of those spots is one of the most exciting parts of my day. Just try to get me to use that pass on days I don’t need it.

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My Rant Fulla Everything!

man holding his own face -- my rant fulla everything

From my Facebook account, posted there today:

What the heck, I’m deleting my account soon anyway, I might as well really say what’s on my mind. I’m struggling lately with the loose way we’re using language and how it has us in such a mess.

1. Not everything is beautiful. What’s with the tendency we have today to want to call everything beautiful? (Actually, I think that’s a liberal-hipster thing.) When a person loses 500 lbs., the sagging skin on her (or his) tummy is not beautiful. While it is admirable, even beautiful, that he/she worked so hard, while they are probably more disciplined than most people, while their accomplishment cannot be celebrated highly enough, the sagging skin itself is pretty ugly IMO, and I think most would agree. We don’t have to say everything is “beautiful.” If everything is beautiful, nothing is. I realize that in certain spiritual and metaphysical ways of thinking, everything truly IS beautiful, and I totally subscribe to that, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

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Why are liberals so flighty, and unwilling to take a clear stand on anything?

Why are conservatives so fearful, and seemingly need clarity on everything?

It’s so frustrating.

If you just got rid of one or the other (certainly the opposite of whatever group you’re in!), things would be so much easier and so much better. Right?

You could get all the fantastic projects done that you want to get done, right liberals?

You could bring all the stability and safety we need to this world, right conservatives?

Wouldn’t that be amazing, if you could get everyone who disagrees with you politically to agree with you?

It would fix all our problems, wouldn’t it?

Turns out it wouldn’t. Liberals and conservatives, you’re both wrong.

Or you’re both right.

Or whatever.

This video is one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains the true underlying differences between liberals and conservatives, based on his own research, and the research of others. It is almost disarmingly fair. Whether you consider yourself liberal, conservative, or something else, you will likely hear yourself represented here, and you will learn so much about yourself.

This video left me with the question, “Great, now what do I do with this?”

Maybe that’s exactly what Haidt intended.

Who Are the Real Feminists?

woman cleaning house - who are the real feminists

I read an article this morning called Don’t Call Beyonce’s Sexual Empowerment Feminism. I’d recommend you read the article, but the gist of it is that Beyonce (and, by extension, all female artists who are using sex to sell records) is not a feminist, regardless of her claims to the contrary.

I agree with the article. And I don’t think this issue needs to be all that complex.

There is a clear way forward for women who wish to be sexy, intelligent, creative, and feminist. All we have to do is look at Pink.

Pink is sexy without being a sex object, she’s a fantastic singer, she writes powerful songs about life and female exploitation (without participating in it) — she’s the whole package. And she’s wildly famous to boot.

There are others, of course.

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