Thursday, June 19, 2014

Benghazi, Texas

We've asked."

"We've done all we could."

"We're relying on the Administration to save us."

With absolutely no disrespect to the victims of the Benghazi attacks in 2012, we are hearing the same thing from Texas Governor Rick Perry. They have been given a bucket with which to catch a torrent. Is anybody listening?

One thousand illegal aliens are streaming into the US from Central America -- daily. Texas has no place to put these people. Where are all the folks who cried about the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay? Where is Al Sharpton? Where is PETA, for Pete's sake?

And where -- oh, where -- is our Administration? Thousands of people streaming in across the border -- a United States border -- I mean, I assume they're not coming from Louisiana. And the state of Texas is on its own?

Governor Perry has gone so far as to suggest he is so at his wit's end, he sees no other explanation for this debacle but to think the Obama Administration is in on it. Have you ever been there? Ever been so stressed, spread thin, without answers, you start thinking people are against you? That all of this just might be intentional on the part of the folks who are supposed to be protecting you? Crazy talk!

Though I'm not so sure those caught in a tiny, dilapidated outpost in Libya would have agreed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Kimye Moment

I'm sorry, I don't usually do this, but this has got to be the most ridiculous collective of statements ever given to the press. I don't give a rat's tail about Kim and Kanye's latest adventures, and I really don't think Kim is nearly as important to the internet as, say, keyboards and fiber optics. However, anyone would have to admit the photos are stunning. That being said, "Who cares?"

If you are looking for a little comic relief,  it's all here for you in this StyleWatch article, "Kanye West Edited Wedding Kiss Photo for Four Days Because of 'How Important Kim Is to the Internet'"


So Much More Than This

My family and I recently left the United Methodist Church. So recently, in fact, that if most of my former Methodist Church family were to read this, it would be news to them. It had never occurred to me to "go public," until I saw this article in a blog by Trevin Wax of The Gospel Coalition, "Is There 'A Way Forward' for the United Methodist Church."

To sum things up, Adam Hamilton, a pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, is offering "A Way Forward" in an effort to hold the UMC together in the midst of the current controversy over same-sex relationships within the church. It is basically, an acknowledgment of the UMC's official stance, which restricts the right of members of the LGBT community to marry or be ordained within the church, but allows for local churches to disagree with and disobey that view. I encourage you to read both Pastor Hamilton's views and Trevin's post.

Trevin Wax sites blog posts of Timothy Tennent, a Wesleyan theologian and the president of Asbury Seminary. Tennent is of the opinion this goes far beyond the homosexuality issue and says, "...if the 'crisis' over homosexuality were to disappear tomorrow, it would not fundamentally change the nature or gravity of the crisis which is engulfing the UMC." Trevin goes on to quote Tennent as saying there are three underlying problems in this division between progressives and traditionalists:

    1. 'We have experienced a slow decline in our confidence in the authority of Scripture.'
    2. 'A “muddled” understanding of the gospel message.'
    3. 'A narrow denominational parochialism which seems to blind leaders to the grand faith of the church of Jesus Christ through the ages and around the world.'
Allow me to share with you a portion of an email I wrote regarding our departure:

"[With regard to our Denomination], I CANNOT in good conscience welcome another baptized infant or toddler into the family of God. They are not heirs or part of God's royal priesthood because they were dunked, poured or sprinkled. I think it is eternally wrong to send such a message. I've never been comfortable with the denomination's endorsement of female elders and pastors, and their soft-line with regard to homosexuality. I think the Wesleyan quadrilateral has become grossly misshapen; reason and experience are becoming foundational over Scripture."
I attended a non-denominational, but largely Baptist, Christian school all throughout high school, all the while attending a United Methodist Church. I remember questioning my father as to why we had a female pastors but I was being taught in school that the Bible said we should not. I even asked a female pastor recently, how she reconciled one with the other. "Well, I felt called," she said with a tone that indicated she was prepared for people like me. She wasn't. I know God doesn't call us to do things contrary to what He says in His Word. So I heard her answer very clearly, "I don't and I can't."

I questioned my father why other churches voted and hired pastors while we were appointed pastors. I questioned who this body of people was making the decisions for me and my fellow congregants. I questioned why we had female Bishops, and "what was a bishop anyway?" I questioned why we baptized infants. "Dedicate," my father would correct. "But the bulletin says, 'Infant Baptism.'" My poor father. And in all fairness to him, they were dedicated and welcomed into "the family of God," a term that has become so benign, like "child of God," which has come to mean to some, anyone created by God. I let it slide.

However, one day I heard that these children were heirs and servants in the royal priesthood. No ambiguity there. I heard that we should not give up on those who have died because, though the judgment follows death, we have no way of knowing when, and that we should continue to pray for those people. Whoa! I think there's some muddling of the gospel message there. I listened as my daughter left for boot camp and member after member wished her "good luck."

Please don't misunderstand, I am not passing judgment, but this is where the Church (capital "C") is at, in United Methodism. Trust me, many other local UMC congregations have teetered into progressivism long ago; I considered this one of the better local churches. Reason, tradition, experience, but where is the Scriptural activity in all of this? I agree with Trevin Wax when he says:

"...we should grieve whenever churches and denominations are divided. Jesus claimed that one of the ways the world will know the Father’s glory is through His people’s unity. Too often, we give lip service to unity while justifying schism.
 "At the same time, true and lasting unity must be based in the truth of God’s Word. Unity is impossible when the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture is denied.
 "The United Methodist Church is divided today over a number of issues, many of which go to the heart of our faith. We have Wesleyan brothers and sisters seeking to be faithful to the gospel in an increasingly difficult situation. Let’s pray that Wesley’s passionate love for Jesus and devotion to God’s Word would once again flood the churches of his theological descendants."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Open Letter to Those In Manic Relationships

Dear Whomever,

     You cannot change other people. You have some serious control issues if you are trying. The irony you don't see is that this situation is controlling you.

     Sometimes people do not love you. This does not mean it is your fault. This does not mean you are ugly, bad, smelly, less than, without talent, a failure. This is just the way it is. Move on.

     Sometimes people do not love you. This does not mean it is their fault. This does not mean they are cheating, mean, without character, better than you, indifferent. Sometimes it does. Move on.

     You will regret this later. Your inability to let it go. Your setting fire to his underwear -- all of it. Your nights, and nights, and days, and days of crying, and worrying, and stalking, and plotting, and showing up at the same places as he, looking your best while he doesn't even notice -- are a waste of your precious life. And you will regret it.

     Some parents should have never been. Manic relationships aren't defined by romantic affairs. If you are chasing a parent who simply doesn't want to be chased, or a parent, stop. The affection or attention of others does not define you, and you shouldn't let it.

     If you've ever said, "But I just want to know why?" Make that your last time. Chances are, you never will. Chances are, you won't accept it if you do.

     Listen to people who love you, the ones who've never failed you before. They will be recognized by their ability to listen to you perpetually whine about the same things. They will be the ones who beg the police to release you to their custody, and make you promise you will never smash another windshield. And they will take you home and listen to you perpetually whine about the same things.

 Lastly, feel sorry for those who reject you, because they don't have you. Feel happy for yourself, because hopefully, you still do.

                                                                                        Sincerely,
                                                                                        Been There    

Be a Parent Or Get Rid Of the Dog

"He's hot!" says our eleven-year old.

"He's hot!" says my cousin's daughter. She wanted me to be her wingman and fall out in the halls of ICU.

"He is smokin'!" says my neighbor's six-year old.

"At your age, aren't they supposed to be cute?" I ask.

Our culture's preoccupation with sex and bodies has permeated the minds of our youth. Do little girls even dream of white picket fences anymore? Or do they think just as crudely and temporarily about boys as boys tend to think about girls? Is this what the Women's Rights Movement was supposed to accomplish?

Or is it some twisted sense of empowerment that says, "However base your thoughts about me, it gives me power to think the same way about you"? After all, we are supposed to empower our daughters, right? Is empowerment being just as wrong as "the other guys?" Why is it wrong for men to treat women like sexual objects, but it supposed to make our girls stronger to do the same to men? If children who grow up with abuse, abuse younger siblings, is that empowerment? What if they abuse that parent when he/ she ages, refusing to feed them or provide proper care? Is that what we want?

And what about "hook-ups"? I was sexually abused. As I reached adulthood, my attitudes about sex were warped and my actions casual. In my mind, "Do unto others before they can do unto you," was the safest and truest aphorism by which to live. But I was broken! I had been hurt and was self-medicating -- breaking myself even more! And yet, children today are growing up with the same set of ideas without the catalyst. Or maybe it's just not the same kind. Maybe it's not abuse. Maybe it's indifference.

My sex talk consisted of me, sitting on the floor in front of the TV on a Saturday afternoon (most likely watching Dr. Shock), my mother handing me the Childcraft Encyclopedia open to  "Reproduction," and telling me, "If you have any questions, just ask." She then walked upstairs. Well, I'd already had The Talk -- twice, at two different schools. I'm sure my mother held her breath for, like, the next twenty years -- "Please don't ask; please don't ask." But all of that was basically the physiology. Until parenthood, I'd never realized how much everyone had left out.

When school's began lobbying for the right to teach sex education -- "So they won't be learning it on the streets, you know" -- that DID NOT absolve parents. Physiology. Morality. See, two different things. They're not even spelled the same way. Instead, we have a bunch of sexually informed, but morally deprived children running around. Listen, I'm not real keen on schools handing out condoms or birth control, but that aside, I DO NOT want my local public school teaching morality without me at least, getting a say in it at home. These schools were never established to substitute for parenting, but the more we expect them to, the more they will!

Turn that garbage off when you're driving along. Forget DVRing that crap! Pay attention to what she's wearing when she goes out. Meet his friends. Ask questions. And if you don't like the answers, do something about it. We prioritize being "politically correct" and curbing our dogs, but shouldn't we be giving some thought to intentionally raising our kids? If you can't do all three, forget being popular, and leave the dog with a friend! An entire generation+ is running around with some very twisted and flat out wrong ideas about their bodies, relationships, strength, protection, adulthood. Good kids with bright futures are out there floundering in a sea of trial and error.

The next time your child says, "He's hot!" ask her exactly what that means. I'd love to hear.

Monday, June 16, 2014

BOOTS ON THE GROUND!

I want to apologize right off the bat. Just this afternoon, I posted "Do You Like Iranian Cuisine," and here I am again, ranting about this abhorrent Iraq thing. As the mother and mother-in-law of American troops, I am irate. As an American citizen, I am irate. As a rational human being, I am irate. And you should be, too!

A mere 48 hours or so ago, my husband and I watched as President Barack Obama vowed NOT to put troops on the ground in Iraq. This evening in the middle of my perfectly good "this is how much we're paying for crappy service" demonstration, complete with online articles and emails -- my husband is a bit of a saint, yes. Why do you ask? Anyway, mid-tirade I see this:

More US troops to Iraq; special forces considered. I read the headline, and my unbelievably captive husband says, "I thought we weren't putting any troops on the ground." OK, so it's not just me. I Google it. Yup, he said that.

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS SO WONDERFUL ABOUT THIS ADMINISTRATION?? During Obama's first campaign I was virtually (maybe completely) accused of being a racist -- "Why do you have a problem with a black President?"

"I'm not talking about a black President, I'm talking about an incompetent President!"

Others wanted to cheer me into agreement, "There's history being made here," and then shame me into participation, "Don't you want to be a part of history?"

"Seriously? Even BAD history?"

I had always been taught to pray for our leadership, even those with whom you do not agree. So, when President Obama took office I continued to pray for our country and its Administration. I even began to think he might just turn out to be as competent a POTUS as he is an orator. Yeah, I admit it was not during my most lucid moments, but one can always hope, right?

Well, here we are, and Joe Isuzu is at it again. Remember him? He'd tell outrageous lies, and beneath him on the screen, "(He's lying)". Yeah, no kidding.

I know this is linked above, but I just have to show you this:

"President Barack Obama notified Congress Monday that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the American Embassy in Baghdad. About 170 of those forces have already arrived and another 100 soldiers be on standby in a nearby country until they are needed, a U.S. official said.
While Obama has vowed to keep U.S. forces out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region are equipped for direct fighting.
And separately, three U.S. officials said the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces soldiers to Iraq. Their limited mission - which has not yet been approved - would focus on training and advising beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts across the nation's north and west as the al-Qaida-inspired insurgency has advanced in the worst threat to the country since American troops left in 2011."
Some on the way, some on standby, and possibly even a second wave. Folks, we are here days after he said we would not be! And still he assures we "will not be dragged into another war." The things he promised, the criticisms he made regarding previous Administrations, all the bait that Americans swallowed with each campaign -- it's biting us in the tin can. WAKE UP!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have had enough of these political popularity contests every four years. I have had enough of folks being so wrapped up in Kimye they can't tell a crap from a cream puff -- granted there haven't been many "creams" lately -- but if state and local elections weren't just as bad, we would have weeded these jerks out a long time ago.

Look, I realize, some dictators and factions are a threat to all of society and must be stopped at all costs. I even know all about "They came for the Socialists, and I did not speak up..." I get it. But didn't someone also say that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, is insanity? I wonder what a group rate would cost at a place like McLean Hospital?

Rules Are Rules Are Rules

Way back when, there was this group of guys who got all caught up in rules. They were so concerned what others were doing they didn't see how wrong they really were. This was so characteristic of their behavior that their name became an adjective -- "Pharisaical."

Enter the teachers at Central Davidson High School. Last week, senior Violet Burkhart wore a dress for her last day of school. With two hours left in the day, she was removed from classes and told she was being sent home because her dress was too short.

In this week's story, Mom wore the actual dress to Violet's graduation. I hadn't seen last week's story, but I was intrigued now. "This, I gotta see!"

Here are mom, Amy Redwine, and Violet in "the dress."


I went to a Christian school. And they measured! Our dress code stated skirts and dresses could be "no more than 3 inches above the knee." It was the '70s. You couldn't buy much that wasn't, but there it was. Standards seem much different now, but Violet's public high school is in Lexington, NC., assumption being, you're not in Philly anymore. I thought it was refreshing to see schools with more to their dress codes than "No Colors" and "Bras must be worn -- but with shirts over them."

That being said, allow me to remind you, 1) there were two hours left in the day, her last day, forever 2) this kid is all legs -- kudos to Mom for even finding a dress long enough, 3) she was sent home -- not corrected, explained the concern behind the rule, or the school's responsibility to encourage modesty in young ladies; not even furnished something out of the school store or asked to have other clothes brought for her.

In an interview Violet said she was told her skirt was half an inch too short. Now, I realize school officials could not allow that kind of anarchy. A half-inch today, and tomorrow they'll be showing up looking like Li'l Kim. I know what everyone knows about supervising large groups of people, especially teen people: If you let it go for one, you have to let it go for them all. The first time you make an exception, only makes it easier to do a second time, and a third, and so on.

NO! NO! And NO! Is this dress code about responsibility, self-respect, modesty, order, or what? Is this about the students or the staff? In their Civics classes (Do they still have them?) do they teach anything about the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law? Are they teaching and training individuals or practicing mind-melding? You guys deal with students every minute of the day, and you can't handle one 17(?)YO whose dress is half an inch out of compliance, on her last day ever??

Sarcasm and outrage aside, here was a great opportunity to teach this young adult about rules -- not just that we have them, they're necessary, they can't be broken, blah, blah, blah. What difference would it have made if a female teacher talked about her concern for Violet? Not, "I'm concerned you're going to grow up to be a tramp," but that these types of decisions are now going to be hers, that bad choices can stick with you. What if the teacher had shared an example from her life, or talked about self-respect? And, graciously allowed Violet to stay for the last 120 minutes of her high school life.

I don't know Violet. Maybe she's hell on wheels. Maybe she would have laughed in the teacher's face. But, now, thanks to this incident, I do know Central Davidson High School. Lucky for them, that's kind of tough to turn into an adjective.

Do You Like Iranian Cuisine?

Meet my friend, Hassan. Hassan is the President of Iran. (I know some pretty important people, huh?) Hassan and I are thinking about getting together to kick this other guy's butt. Well, it's really lots of guys, but we'll call this guy ISIL. ISIL is currently the school yard bully in the neighboring town. I say currently, because Hassan and his friends used to be the bullies. As a matter of fact, I've bullied a few people here and there, but never mind that. The important thing is Hassan and I are joining forces to fight for truth, justice and the American way! Or the Iranian way. I'm not sure who's leading this operation. I guess I'll find out, though.

Hassan and I have agreed, this is not about us. This is about the security of the entire world, and any other motive for butting in some one's business would be wrong, and pointless, and fatal -- well, not to us directly, but... Well, I think Hassan's an OK guy to do this. He truly wants to see Middle School East under control.

Some people say I shouldn't trust Hassan because of our history together. But we haven't had History together for months!

Well, G2G! Hassan is asking me for some passwords he's going to need -- oh, and some money. And, what?! Hey, wait. Hassan!

P.S. I've included a picture of John Kerry when he realized he had ordered the Lamb and Asparagus Stew without checking the SPECIALS board!

 
 
And this is my friend, Hassan, ordering me all three volumes of his book, Islamic Political Thought, so I can study up!
 
  
We'll be the best of friends!