And in the Red Corner, Liberty​

It has come to my attention, evidently moving from one side of my brain to the other, that the words freedom and liberty, that are used both often and liberally, have many different perceived meanings; which are then liberally debated, argued and fought over. To a more conservative minded person, freedom and liberty may have very different meanings than to a liberal minded person. Not to mention the fact that there is also significant disagreement inside both conservative and liberal circles over what these words mean. (I hate the term “not to mention” because invariably, directly after saying it one mentions what is allegedly not to be mentioned.)  Not to mention the fact that these terms are constantly used to describe and define essential elements of American democracy. Sad.

When people use these words, freedom and liberty, they assume they are universal concepts universally understood; they feel certain everybody knows what they mean. But in reality, it’s only what that particular person thinks they mean. It’s the “everybody knows” mistake. Everybody does not know. Not everybody sees liberty and freedom just like you do. It is contradictions like this that gets us into loads of trouble from a societal standpoint. Misinterpretations lead to misgivings.

When we talk about freedom or liberty, and we assume we are all talking about the same thing, we go a little crazy when the other guy says something that clearly shows we are not talking about the same thing. We either think they are stupid idiots or they are trying to subvert and undermine what we are saying. Neither of those things is likely to be true and neither do they lead to anything good.

It’s hella frustrating.

So, in discussions about freedom and liberty, I think it wise to start off by explaining our definition of terms. Rather than creating discord and argument on the backside, it’s a good idea to define terms on the front side, as in a formal debate. When you talk about freedom and liberty, tell people upfront what you mean by these words. For example, don’t say:

“I think people need to be free, but when xyz does abc they are preventing 123 from being 456 and that takes away their freedom”

What does being 456 have to do with freedom exactly? Depends on what you think freedom is.

instead, you could say:

“Freedom means 789 to me and when xyz does abc it stops 123 from having 789 and that takes away their freedom to be 456”

Then at least you know they think 789 has something to do with being 456 and to them that has something to do with freedom.

You may want to read that bit over again.

Anyway, starting a conversation about freedom or liberty with what you mean by freedom or liberty gives the other person a reference point to engage in a respectful, meaningful discussion, rather than reacting negatively to something they think they heard that they think they know which may or may not be true or at all relevant. Unfortunately, when definitions aren’t made clear, contested concepts like liberty and freedom can spark the kind of needless arguments that plague civil discourse and turn a legitimate debate into angry violence, emotional and/or physical.

The contested nature of many contested concepts is not always naturally occurring. Entities with agendas actively foment misunderstanding and will intentionally muddy the waters by promoting their opposing definitions of certain terms. If they feel the use of a certain word doesn’t serve their agenda they will work to subvert the meaning of that word by constantly repeating their alternate definition, constantly repeating it in as many ways as they can to as many people as possible. They will constantly repeat it over and over, by constantly repeating it, over and over. When constantly repeated, over and over, over time their definition will come to be accepted by enough people so that in a discussion there will be contention over the meaning of terms. A strong contention that can engender anger and fighting, spiritual, emotional, mental and often physical.

Therefore, it is crucial that we listen closely to how people use words and to hear their words contextually. We can then discover what they really mean when they use a word, especially when it means something different to us.

We need to listen for agendas. We can’t live in a bubble. If we accept and understand conflicting meanings and find where they originate, then knowing why people define their terms as they do we have a much better chance of reconciling our contentious, gridlocked issues.

Words and their meanings are so important.

I can’t emphasize that enough.

OK, I need to get back to freedom and liberty.

I believe in working with these words it can be valuable to recognize the subtle differences in their natures. I would say that a majority of people use them interchangeably. But freedom and liberty are not quite the same things. If you look closely at the concepts these words describe you will see that freedom is about what, and liberty is about who. Freedom is about being, and liberty is about doing. That is, what is being versus who is doing.

For example, looking at slavery in America, emancipation made slaves FREE to no longer BE slaves, but as things turned out they did not always have the LIBERTY to DO what they wanted. This was the essence of issues faced by freed slaves in the Jim Crow era. They were freed by law from being owned, but the dominant white power structure took away their liberty to do as they desired. Freedom gives us the opportunity to BE a banker if we so choose. But it is in the choice to DO so where the liberty lives. When people talk about freedom, look for WHAT they want to BE FREE from. And when they talk about liberty, look for WHO claims they have the LIBERTY to DO something.

We should remember that freedom is a more concrete word than liberty. Not having a freedom is a clearer concept than not having liberty. It could be why freedom normally trumps liberty in contested situations. And why there is nearly always indignation arising out of those victories.

Looking at it from the standpoint of rights, freedom relates more to a constitutional right and liberty to an inalienable right. Freedom is an earned right and liberty is a birthright. We have freedom from something but have the liberty to do something. Freedom is granted by government and liberty is granted by God. Frankly, although the words mean nearly the same exact thing, the difference is substantial enough that there will always be a battle between that which is given by Caesar and that which is given by God.

A good example of this esoteric struggle is the clash between Cliven Bundy and the Federal Bureau of Land Management. Essentially Bundy claimed that he had the God-given right, the liberty, to graze his cattle on federal land, simply because he could. And the BLM said no, that’s the government’s land and your cattle aren’t free to graze there.  The disagreement originated in a clash between claims of  liberty and assignments of freedom. And in the end government and its bestowed freedom triumphed over Bundy and his claimed liberty. And much indignation arose out of the government’s victory.

As an aside, but relevant, I also see the irony inherent in this relationship of freedom juxtaposed with liberty as the basis for a meaningful contradiction of spirit. It is a contradiction displayed by people who want to supplant civil law with biblical laws, all the while fearing that sharia law will supplant civil law.

As we see, the differences between the concepts of freedom and liberty are subtle and do nothing to help us avoid contention. In this time, sadly, the words are used interchangeably but are understood to mean many and often vastly different things. Yet in a disagreement, yea an argument, understanding those differences just might give you the subtle edge that allows you to establish your definitions, create some movement of hearts, and perhaps change a mind or two. At the very least, understanding that freedom and liberty are contested concepts and the guy on the next barstool over might not hear them the same way you do gives us all a better understanding of how difficult it will be to bridge the gulf of partisanship we now so sadly live with.

Words make a difference.

A big difference.

 

 

Pinching me won’t help

I haven’t been commenting much about politics lately. I haven’t been writing much about anything. I have been collecting my thoughts, listening to what everybody else has said and is saying, and frankly have been somewhat in denial about the future of our executive branch and our way of life. But today I must say something. The events of the last several days have sent reality crashing down on me like the famous 1,000 plus-year-old Giant Sequoia we lost just days ago.

We are in an unparalleled existential crisis, not only for American democracy but for the human species and the entire planet. Dark days are ahead and it has already become dangerously difficult to avoid a catastrophic fate.

The confirmation hearings for cabinet and other important administration appointees are like Dad siding with your sister when she says you did it. We can protest with the truth all we want but the outcome is preordained. The gaslighting surrounding the claims and counterclaims of potentially treasonous personal and political behavior by POTUS has left us unsure and questioning everything about his relationship with foreign governments and their possible influence on our most intimate internal politics. Did he do this? Did they do that?

It’s hard to know what to believe, which to my mind is exactly the intention of Trump and his minions. The more mud in the water the less anyone can see clearly the truth. The doubt sewn here will mask the reality of future revelations of impropriety, whether true or false, a security blanket thrown over the chance any future indiscretions might harm his presidency.

Perhaps the least obvious but most damaging result of this telling series of events is that the Trump brain trust was not only able to deny the disturbing, disgusting allegations but was able to use that denial to fire the first volley in an attack on the free press, which, if I am correct, will be a battle that continues to be waged into the future. This is the truly scary result of this whole sick scenario. One of the first things to happen in the establishment of an authoritarian government is the destruction and/or capitulation of the press through lies and intimidation. Be afraid, be very afraid.

This frightening circumstance is accompanied by a thing I have been in complete denial about, the appointment of a murderers row of Cabinet heads and Federal Agency officials that in every case are well known to desire the abject destruction of the very department they will be overseeing. It is not folly to think that over time the federal government will be systematically dismantled. Once a SCOTUS justice is named and confirmed the social justice advances of a century or more will be in danger of being unceremoniously overturned. Draconian laws will be conceived, passed, and upheld.

We, in America, have been insulated from the coups, silent or violent, that have haunted so many other nations. We just don’t think it can happen here. We are the great democracy. We are free. We will never accept a dictator’s rule. Think again. This is the 21st century. The dictatorships of the 20th century no longer are valid save for what they have taught the tyrants of today. The modern totalitarian is an invisible puppeteer who allows the people the illusion of self-government. They sow the same seeds of death as their predecessors, but from behind an OZ-like screen of prosperity promised.

The election of President Obama was hailed in many circles as the hammer that brought down the wall of ignorant racism in America. A new coalition would change the face of American politics forever. But his election only precipitated the fear always present in the hearts of the oligarchs. They had allowed democracy to run its course, save for a little tough prodding when it got off track and their dominance was the slightest bit in doubt. But Obama’s election set off all the alarm bells. The rich white males who run things were truly threatened and now deathly afraid. So they brought down their own hammer, the hammer of ugly hatred, of racial, gender and ageist superiority, the hammer of I have wealth and you don’t.

Perhaps they had hoped to hold off for a while, let things slide as long as they were in control and raking in the dough. But as soon as their existence was truly threatened they knew they could only continue to rule by truly threatening our existence. Aren’t they aware that their gargantuan hubris threatens everyone’s existence? Have they no spiritual compass that tells them the truth about the finite nature of our natural resources, about the arrogant denial of their complicity in hastening the changes to our climate? Do they think they can defy death and take their ill-gotten gold with them when we all fry from splitting atoms, or poison atoms or burning atoms?

I’m at a loss as to what to do to reverse this, save to continue to do what I can, to love my neighbor and give of myself to those in need, to follow the God who speaks to me, who tells me there is a place for me and for all in an eternal kingdom. Perhaps I can start writing songs again. Maybe lighten a heart or two. But like the one percent of the one percent I have my unacceptable fears. I fear my children will feel pain and suffering, the torture of bearing the yoke of injustice. I fear for all the children of the world that they may never be able to become who they are. I fear that the human race will be snuffed out, unceremoniously, stabbed by a thief in the night, strangled from behind by a coward.

I am incensed. I will not accept. I will fight and resist incessantly in my own way. I will seek those real and good human values, values we all share and cast them as far and near as I can. I will become a fisher of men.

This may do nothing to change things. It may only assuage my guilt for allowing this to happen. Humanity can very well be in its death throes.

Damn, I hope I’m wrong

To Bern or Not to Bern!

I am growing weary of the superfluous yet at the same time deeply important clash between the #neverhillary Bernie supporters and the #nevertrump Bernie supporters. I’m not certain the split aligns perfectly with a millennial demographic or not, but somebody is either being somewhat politically naive or is incredibly ideologically pure about something. One puddle of wisdom (from my small reservoir of wisdom) that I have imparted to my millennial daughter on occasion, is that one of the things about life that sucks the most is you will have to sometimes do things you really don’t want to do. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times.

Here’s the thing. There’s a big difference between issues politics and electoral politics. The difference is that in issues politics it is necessary to demand 100% of what you want because that is the only way to get any of what you want. It’s you and your issue versus everybody else and their issue. There are multiple contestants in multiple battles so where you win you stay and where you don’t you move on. In modern electoral politics there are only two contestants (as far as is today’s reality) and the point comes (and it always comes) where you need other people’s supporters on your side to win, because your goal and reward is not a small victory in isolation but a majority victory in a contest decided by everyone. It is not a contest of you versus everyone else but of your coalition versus their coalition.

Compromise of ideologies is necessary in the electoral world and an anathema in the issues world. Many Bernie supporters come from the world of issues politics. They did not previously involve in electoral politics because they had no use for elections unless it directly affected their funding. Other than that they would only pursue an electoral victory if they had a champion for their issue(s). There have been single issues champions throughout the but rarely have there been any special leaders who could coalesce the numerous issues silo activists into a cohesive power bloc.

Issues activists are used to either getting what they want or leaving defeat behind and moving on to the next battle. They make black and white decisions. The concept of joining together in a coalition with the people who just caused you lose, who made you not get what you want, is utterly alien to them and feels dirty and immoral. So it’s not difficult to understand why they have trouble putting together movements. It’s just sad.

This phenomenon works in reverse as well, although people involved in electoral politics usually only drop in to work on issues when they feel burned out and made filthy by the deceits of electoral politics, and want to recharge and cleanse. Someone coming to issues politics from electoral politics will seek coalitions with what they consider to be like minded issues advocates, with similar issues. They don’t quite understand why the other issues groups leave the coalition once they get what they want. Then they remember why they were frustrated with issues activism to begin with and go back to electoral politics. To work in both electoral politics and issues politics concurrently takes some highly skilled compartmentalising, of which not everyone is capable.

This whole broken process has been a bane of the progressive movement for years, because it hasn’t really been a movement at all. It has been a bunch of separate progressive issues oriented advocacy groups all in competition with each other for grants and status and recognition. There is always a lot of rhetoric about coming together as one coherent progressive movement but it always dissolves into jealousy and competition for scarce resources. The scarcity of resources is intentional and part of a greater strategic initiative by right wing tricksters, but that’s another story.

These progressives have only come together in agreement when they have had a messiah figure to rally them. Gene McCarthy, George Mc Govern, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, all to widely varying degrees, were able to bring a number of progressives together into some semblance of a movement, enough to have some modest influence on the Democratic Party. Bernie has been the latest, most successful and probably least likely of these standard bearers. The rub is these movements died off with the relevance of their leaders. Without the focus of the strong leader the coalition descends once again into the relative chaos of egotism and economically manipulated competition.

Bernie is, and always has been, aware of this. Warnings about life after Bernie have been clear parts of his speeches from the get go. He has spent most of his time and energy since it became apparent he would not win the nomination imploring that his followers continue on and forge a game changing movement. This is true, and necessary. He has implored them to remember that this is not about him but about us. This is true, and necessary. He has implored us to defeat Donald Trump by any and all means. This is true, and necessary. He is showing and/or reminding us that 30% of 100% is much more than 100% of nothing. This is true, necessary and perhaps his greatest lesson taught.

What I don’t understand is why so many of Bernie’s followers, who have followed him through the crucible of mainstream efforts to get in his way, have now stopped listening to him. Actually I do understand. The messiah has betrayed them. He has not delivered on their issue(s) so they are expressing their rage. They will try another tack later after they get over feeling suckered by promises of glory in a progressive paradise. To be clear though, this type of betrayal is not an unusual occurrence. It is seen, commonly, in the affairs of both parties and is not fixable from the top down. Let me repeat, it is not fixable from the top down but only from the bottom up. This is why Bernie is so adamant that his supporters not run away licking their wounds but stay and fight and elect Clinton despite themselves.

In order to have a bottom up re-evolutionary movement that succeeds the Sanders coalition must stay together and organize. To accomplish this it is critical that the activated millennials not get jaded and cynical and go back to their X-boxes. Bernie is trying his damnedest to impart the knowledge that this whole thing is bigger than him and must survive his primary loss. And the first step towards that accomplishment is to prevent the uniquely American fascism of Trump and his minions from ever getting enough control to do irreparable harm to our nation and thus the globe. That would take generations to recover from.

So listen up kiddos and ex hippies. You think you need an unconditional Bernie electoral victory, when what you really need is for the many wonderful progressive issues activists out there to drop their ego facades, overcome their economic jealousies, and form the powerful progressive movement that has always been there, dormant, and ready to flip the entire political landscape. I can help, but I’m old, as are my beautiful tye dyed peers. The mantel is now being passed from Bernie’s hippie contemporaries to Bernie’s hipster acolytes. We’ll all help actually, if you let us, we’re experienced protesters. And we still know how to roll an English joint.

Here’s a parable for us to end todays sermon. When Mom broke out the Ben and Jerry’s  you told her you wanted 3 scoops of Cherry Garcia. She said no but you can each have a half scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough, because that’s all we have. Do you say no, I know you have some Cherry Garcia in there and it’s either the whole 3 scoops or nothing at all. Or, do you take the cookie dough and get at least a bit of a sweet taste in your mouth. If you all keep bugging mom maybe you’ll get some of that Cherry Garcia next time.

You weren’t that stuck up in school, were you?

Weekly Reader

Due to the high volume of imaginary requests I have decided to start a weekly event. Evidently doing this will increase the volume of clicks on my blog, which of course we all know is the real reason for blogging. This I have discovered after several years of randomly putting symbols to my thoughts. The true goal of the 21st century, tech savvy blogger is to have their existence justified through the measure of how many people listen to them. I may be jaded but sometimes it seems to me that this is more important than whether or not one writes something meaningful. Naturally, jaded as I am, my definition of meaningful is most likely more narrow than average.

I’m certain this flaw in my modern day bonafides is due to my advancing years and ossifying brain. Anyhow, I am taking the advice of the good people at WordPress, who are professionals and should know best, and creating a weekly event here at TAICBR. After several minutes of deliberation I found what I feel is the obvious choice for a successful foray into the world of consistent blogging (My God, what have I done).

The name of my new venture is to be called “Weekly Reader” and will appear weekly on Saturday. This event will occur once a week on Saturdays, which will be weekly. I feel the best day to write it would be on Saturday because today is Saturday and that way I could consult my blog were I forget to remember which day of the week my Saturday weekly column would be written. I chose to write weekly because if I hadn’t chosen to write weekly I would have had to change the name of the weekly event to something other than “Weekly Reader” which would have been quite a lot more work than I had imagined when I first hatched the idea of a weekly event I could blog every Saturday. So weekly and Saturday it is.

“Weekly Reader” will be centered around the concept that every Saturday, I will write a weekly blog post examining any number of a variety of topics I could potentially write about for my weekly Saturday event. No stone will be left unturned as I scour the universe for titillating and excruciatingly quasi-viral subjects to consider. Every week I will examine a new and more interesting than last week’s list of scintillating issues that I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time on, determining whether or not I should continue to peruse them for consideration. My eventual goal is to eventually have a list of wonderful things I might eventually try out so that I might eventually hold more and more wonderful events, undoubtedly weekly and on Saturday.

I’m certain I will be able to generate a tremendous amount of traffic for the blog, as I know how much people like to be kept in constant suspense but also be able to be instantly gratified in the same moment. I feel I am up to this arduous task, as I have been known to be fully capable of speaking out of both sides of my mouth, successfully, for many years. Over the last several decades we have become more and more used to people saying more and more while saying less and less. This is not easy. One has to be able to discern what exactly is more and more and then determine just exactly how to turn that over into less and less, seamlessly, like those knit monkeys people make out of work socks.

Well folks, my main goal for 2016 is to make my blog more succinct and shorter to boot, and, not to mention, precise as well, although I did mention it. So I’ll sign off by begging you all to check out my blog right here on this page, except you should come next Saturday because it’s only here weekly on Saturdays, for another edition of “Weekly Reader” which will now appear right here weekly on Saturdays. I would have been sued by the original “Weekly Reader” but I’m not sure they are in business anymore and if they are don’t go telling, okay?

Love you guys!!!

 

Frightened by the Freedom of Friday Fictioneers

There once was a lad who played on the floor with a deck of cards and a bag of marbles. Oh the games he would play. He liked playing with things outside their purpose. In High School he wrote a 152 word prepositional phrase. It was longer than this post. Imagination exists at all ages. In the sixties he imagined being able to record music, all by himself, with a computer. Imagine that! The boy’s parents let him play with the cards and marbles. They said let him be himself. Later, he let his daughter be herself. My how she thrived.

Prompted to Promptly Respond to the Daily Prompt

Now we are getting into areas I have yet to explore with this blog. Today’s Blogging101 assignment is for us to respond to a blogging prompt. I was unaware that WordPress posts daily prompts. Evidently prompts are a type of jump starter for bloggers suffering from a bit of bloggers block, or perhaps they are simply an information nugget to chew on over a busy day’s stuff.

I like the idea of responding to a prompt, and understand why WordPress provides this type of service for would be Pulitzer winners to prime the pump. What is mystifying to this semi-luddite is the concept of a “ping back”. Evidently a ping back is a kind of feedback loop where you like somebody’s post so much that you write a post that links to that post, which word then gets back to the originator of the post that you liked their post so much that you wrote a post that links to their post. Ostensibly this is done to get them to like one of your posts and write a post linking to your post, which word then gets back to you that somebody liked your post so much that they wrote a post that linked to your post.

At least I think so.

I understand the whole networking, blogging community, promotional aspect of blogging, yet this is where I falter as a blogger. I shouldn’t admit this but I could care less about anyone else’s blog. This does not come from a place of ego (yes it does) or lack of empathy (this part is true). It comes from the place of I barely have time to brush my teeth daily, given all the busy work I have given myself to do each day. I tend to load myself up just to prevent me from acting out. Frankly it’s dangerous for me to have idle time on my hands, which having the time to blog sort of implies.

Aye, there’s the rub.

So as is often the case, the value of taking this course is turning out to be that, by participating, I am answering my own questions. My primary question entering this exercise was why can’t I publish posts with more regularity. Now I know why. If I have enough time to write a blog post I have enough time to get myself into trouble. Ergo, if I don’t write in my blog I am using my time judiciously. However, if I do, I am inviting danger.

Oh, BTW, here is the link I am supposed to include in my post to do a ping back to the original prompt of the day, which of course has nothing to do with what I am writing about. Or does it?

Reason to Believe

What is my reason to believe? I don’t have a reason to believe. I don’t need one and neither do you. Belief in something, God, the constitution, yourself, whatever, is a cornerstone of existence and TBH if you need a reason to believe in something then perhaps you think you need to believe in it rather than know you need to. You’ll know when you need to believe in something. and it will just happen smoothly in the course of you being you. Thinking you need a reason to believe in something seems to me to be a function of someone telling you you should believe in that something. Then you need a reason to believe, because the believing is not natural to you. You need to be convinced.

Mind you this is Will talking and not anyone in authority. It’s just me trying to do the assignment. I don’t need a reason to do the assignment either. I just want to.

Frankly, Springsteen’s lyric is like so many other song lyrics, something that sounds like it means something important, but when you take a closer look at it isn’t nearly as profound as it might seem.

Obviously, when you come home from a hard day’s work you need a reason to believe, a reason to keep going day to day, perhaps in joy perhaps in drudgery. But that reason need not and should not be conscious. It should be clear and apparent, so apparent that it is not subject to conscious thought. If “The Boss” hadn’t made you aware of that need for a reason through his song, you’d probably never think of it by yourself, unless you were a philosopher, which few of us are. But, in the knowing, it certainly is meaningful to us, and that’s the beauty of artistry.

One of the great skills of writers is that they are able to bring to the surface realities that lie in our subconscious, just underneath the surface of consciousness. They seem so familiar. They endear us to the artist because “it’s like she knows what I am thinking”, “she understands me”. That is because they connect us with feelings we truly have but aren’t consciously aware of. So naturally they seem familiar and they seem to originate there, in the artists words. But they do not. They originate in you, in your feelings, in your heart, mind, and soul. You just don’t associate them with yourself.

Pretty good trick eh? Actually, when an artist surrenders to truth telling, and stirs up those thoughts and feelings of beauty lying just underneath the surface of our consciousness, it is a good thing, a very good thing. It awakens us to a reality we live with every day but think we have never met. This is the value of artistry to society. It helps us to see inside ourselves to find truths about ourselves and life, and love, and the world around us, which we have always known, but have misplaced or forgotten.

So when we say that this song or that painting or this magazine article caused us to look at this or that thing in a new way, what we are really saying is that they reminded us of something we had forgotten, something deep inside that reminds us of our unique and powerful humanity.

Artists reconnect us with ourselves. That is why it is so satisfying when we find one we connect with, one that speaks to us. It’s just one way the universe deceives us into thinking that fulfillment lives outside of us. It doesn’t. Fulfillment always comes from within. Sometimes, though, it’s best if we maintain the illusion. Being responsible for our own joy can be too much for some of us to deal with.

Next time you find an artist who speaks to you, look for how you are really speaking to yourself. What you find may “ping back” to your own happiness.

Playing From Behind Again

Yesterday’s assignment was to write a blog post saying exactly what we want, to the person or persons we really want to talk to. We were also to include a new element in our post, one that we have never worked with before. I have never embedded a photo into my blog posts so I will attempt to do that a bit later in the post. Here is what I really want, without filter, to say.

There are lots of people I really want to speak to directly, under the illusory protective umbrella of this blog. To choose one group out of many is a somewhat daunting task, but today I’m feeling like speaking to those who proclaim themselves Christians, and miraculously, devout Christians.

Not all, but many of them, by my humble moral standards and mandatory incomplete understanding of scripture and the Christ, love to slavishly quote the Bible without having the foggiest notion of what it really tells us.

Thank God for Martin Luther. These people will still have a chance to gain heaven through their faith alone. For their works are not only not good works but are often cruel and damaging works, and can also include disdain for and the absence of good works. Yes, they are charitable, but just as they cherry pick Bible verses to support their profound misunderstanding of their role as Christians, they cherry pick whom to be generous with. Like the Pharisee in the parable of the Good Samaritan they judge who is and who is not deserving of their charity.

Somehow they believe that because they are more pious and devout and “Better Christians” than others they somehow deserve most favored VIP status here on earth and extra compensations from the divine coffers. They demand that absolutely everyone accept certain of their doctrine, while personally ignoring other of their religion’s precepts. They malign those religions whom they accuse of violently forcing everyone to convert, while expecting everyone to accept that theirs is the only true religion and thus the only moral arbiter.

They advocate for an American theocracy, claiming Biblical law supersedes Constitutional law, while condemning other theocracies across the world as authoritarian fanatics.

I could go on.

Before I go let me illuminate just one hypocrisy I see in the western, predominately racially white, Christian Church. Jesus was undoubtedly a Palestinian. Had he been tall, white and blue eyed he would have been suspect and likely would have had a difficult time convincing his Jewish followers that he was the messiah.

So, did Jesus look like Barry Gibb?

picture-jesus-greg-olson

Or like a common era Jew?

gallery-1450102902-screen-shot-2015-12-14-at-91810-am

I’m not sure this second guy would be real popular with the TSA. Not to mention he would be persona non grata to certain other currently newsworthy persons.

I thought we were created in God’s image, not the other way around.