Preaching to the Terrorized — An Allegory

[Seeing that Reverend Wright has emerged for more media time, I'd like to run this post again. The Good Lord spoke in parables, and so does Ninjanurse, when she manages not to forget the point halfway through]

It was a lovely day for a wedding at the Full Word of God Church, the church that takes the Bible literally. The bride and groom were both pure and uncompromised. Both home-schooled, and graduated with honors from Bible College. He was already making a good living selling Amway, and she looked forward to being a full-time Christian mother.

A guy with a guitar played that Paul Stookey wedding song, and then the guest preacher got up to say a few words to the happy couple. The Pastor, sadly, was in the hospital with a kidney stone. At the last minute they were able to get Reverend Ezekiel Bright.

Rev. Bright said a few words about the importance of faithfulness, and then launched with a thundering voice into these verses from the Bible…

“Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

… And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” Ezekiel 23

The Reverend was winding up to share some more of the Holy Word, and elaborate on the ‘issue of horses’ but he never got the chance. Someone tripped over the microphone cord, and in that moment the choir director signaled the start of the Alleluia Chorus while the Ladies Guild surrounded Rev. Bright and hustled him to the back of the church.

The wedding went on with great festivity, and the Ladies plied him with cake until he fell asleep from sugar overload. He woke up in an empty church with a headache and a raging thirst, and a conviction that he had been greatly disrespected. ‘Tripped over the mike’ indeed. That was no accident.

“Lord!” he cried, “Why have they forsaken me?”

“What have I done, but tried to share your sacred word?”

“Have you not told us to be urgent in season and out of season, as St. Paul said?”

Tears filmed his eyes as he stared into the darkness of the empty church, and lo– the Lord appeared to him. Jesus walked up close to Rev. Bright and whupped him on the side of the head.

“Haven’t you ever heard of ‘context'”, asked the Lord. “How can you expect to reach people’s hearts and minds when you’re throwing a holy hand grenade at them?”

“But St. Paul said…”, Rev. Bright stuttered…

“Don’t start with me!”, growled St. Paul, materializing at Jesus’ right hand. “I was a Jew to the Jews and a Roman to the Romans. Give me credit for knowing a few things about politics.”

Jesus and St. Paul then stood on each side of Rev. Bright. St. Paul whupped him on the other side of his head and then they rose in a celestial cloud and vanished.

Rev. Bright pondered long and hard after that, but he never figured out what the Lord meant by ‘context’. It sounded too much like ‘compromise’. He ended up in a church that shared his vision, with a small congregation in a compound in Idaho.

He still feels hurt that the Full Word of God church would not hear his message about marital faithfulness, so biblical and appropriate to a wedding.

But sometimes it’s not what you say — it’s how you say it.

Simple Decency

John Mc Ginley on Huffington Post says what should have been the first word, but in the political mudfight we call our national debate, simple decency got lost.

Don’t open this at work, because he lists some of the names we should stop calling people. I’ll just quote this excerpt…

People with Special Needs — and their families — do not need any help to make their lives “a little more challenging.” They already have plenty on their plate, thank you very much. And the last thing that any Special Needs family wants is to be assaulted with the R-word. It is already an uphill battle!

Dignity is inherent to the human condition. An individual’s dignity is not only an entitlement. It is a fundamental quality that distinguishes each of us and lends an informed significance to everything that we do. And any time a person’s dignity is stomped on, it is wrong! The R-word robs people with Special Needs of their dignity. And it is time to stop.

I think he might be a Unitarian, or at least might have been hanging out at coffee hour.

And here I want to thank Trig Palin, who though still in his infancy has served his country well. During the presidential campaign, when his mother was taking him out to huge noisy gatherings, exposing him to people who might have had colds, keeping irregular hours and traveling constantly– I feared he might get sick. We usually try to keep newborns away from those conditions.

After the first few weeks, Sarah Palin was emerging as more of a liability than an asset to John McCain. It’s a commonplace for politicians to use ‘time with the family’ as a way of getting out of untenable situations. I really worried for Trig. I thought the October Surprise might be a switch from Sarah Palin to Condoleeza Rice. I think it might have worked.

Anyway, the most recent photo I saw shows the little guy looking very healthy and rosy-cheeked. I hope he has a good, long and happy life. And I’d extend that wish to all America’s children, because how we treat our children is a measure of our worth as a nation.

And John Mc Ginley’s post about the ‘worth and dignity of every human being’ is a discussion we should continue.

Valuing Himself

If the name ‘Levi Johnston’ rings a bell with you, you might be guilty of reading the ‘tabs’ when you’re stuck in line at the supermarket.

Unlike the women in the ‘spas’, he is not risking arrest for selling sex, because it’s ‘Playgirl’ magazine. Rumors are it’s the Full Monty. It’s art. Or literature. Or gender-studies research. Or a political manifesto. Or a triumph of marketing. God bless America. Enjoy your fifteen minutes Levi, eventually you are going to have to get a job.

Inauguration

I just got back from the State House, where a couple of hundred citizens assembled for a viewing of the inauguration of President Obama. There were tears, cheers, everyone stood when our new president took the oath of office. Lt. Gov Elizabeth Roberts hosted, and partially fixed a weather related crisis — the bright sun bleached out the video screen.

We saw recorded addresses from Sens. Reed and Whitehouse, and Cong. Langevin. I never expected that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, would sing, ‘My Country Tis of Thee’.

Back to work now, to take care of all the business I missed this morning. Yes We Can.

This Land Is Your Land

The musical performances of this inauguration are mind-blowing. What fortune for those who are there experiencing all of this live. I just watched Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and a bunch of other great musicians perform a new composition for the inauguration, with sections of “Simple Gifts,” the beautiful Quaker song. I will upload a video of this once it becomes available.

A Valuable Family

Politician’s children are in the public eye whether they want to be or not. It’s not fair, of course, that a teenage mother and father can’t work out their lives in privacy. On the other hand, Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson are likely to start their new lives with at least $100,000 from whichever magazine wins the bidding war for the baby pictures.

They’re going to need it — neither one has completed high school. This would normally be an obstacle to any kind of decent job. Kids in that situation are usually lucky to be serving french fries or washing floors. Along Branch Avenue you may see people walking with young children and their groceries–no car and the public transportation doesn’t run often enough.

So yes, I’m hard on Sarah Palin, the candidate of family values, self-sufficiency, religion and tax cuts. Especially when it looks like her family gets special privileges while others in the same situation struggle to survive and are disparaged for being poor. This is from Alaska’s newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News…

Have you noticed how our governor seems to have convinced herself only some of the rules apply to her?

This attitude was really at the heart of Troopergate. It also allows her to do things like take cash from the state for spending more than 300 nights in her own home in Wasilla.

Now it appears the governor may have found a new way to skirt the rules. How is it possible that the governor’s soon-to-be son-in-law, Levi Johnston, is working as an apprentice on the North Slope?

The governor, in trying to dispel rumors the father of her grandchild is a high school dropout, released this statement this past week,

“Levi is continuing his online high school work in addition to working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope.”

But federal regulations require all members of apprentice programs, union or otherwise, to first obtain a high school diploma, something the governor’s soon-to-be son-in- law does not have.

The article goes on to say that a similar apprenticeship program has a waiting list of 100 applicants. None of them, I’m guessing, have the right connections to jump the line.

There’s nothing unusual about teenage parents, and being pro-choice I respect Bristol’s decision to have and raise her baby. It’s natural that her mother would do anything possible to help her. But ordinary teenagers are living in a completely different world than the Palins. Sarah Palin is cutting the safety net from under the ordinary people, who have to take the consequences of their decisions, and play by the rules.

Moveon.org Advocacy Training in Cranston

A friend and fellow mental health professional, Susan Wright, will be facilitating a training for all of us interested in learning how to advocate for the causes we believe in. Here are the details:

When: Sunday, January 11, 2009, 2:00 to 3:30 pm

Where: Church of the Ascension, 390 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston

What: MoveOn.org is providing the training materials and we will all learn to effectively advocate with our legislators for causes that we are passionate about.

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook by clicking here.

This will be a great opportunity to meet neighbors and members of the community who want to move our state and country in a healthier direction. I am planning to attend and hope to see you there.