Heroic Misery

We exhault the ending. We don’t like the heroic misery that led to the ending. It would be awesome if we could just have the penultimate moment at the peak of victory all the time. One decapitated dragon bleeding out behind one handsome, sword wielding guy. On the guy’s other arm is a damsel no longer in distress. It’s time for the hero to return home and the dragon’s family to start plotting revenge.

Foolish Imaginings Sans Heroic Misery

We want foolish fantasies as our utopia. To be forever no older than 25, virule, surrounded by docile, willing women who fulfill our every desire, women who are Mary Magdalene in the bedroom and Mother Mary everywhere else. There will be only ecstasy, forever in the exultant moment of victory as the dragon’s head fell to the ground and his blood began searing the grassland. Never mind about the dragon. He needed killing.

We want a complete end to death and disease. No one would ever die, get sick or injured. We would all always be twenty-something invincible. All the foolish things we attempt at that age would never fail. The Earth would be Eden and free of all the signals of first world manufacturing. Our land unsullied by large scale farming that uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Everyone would have their forty acres and an ox. Ox? Yes. An Ox will plough a field. A mule? Not like an ox. Think I am kidding? Ask any Amish farmer whether he’d rather pull a plough with an ox or a mule. Thought so.

No hangovers, no escalating negative consequences from our success at achieving all seven deadly sins. No responsibility for our depravity and all the benefits. It is a toddler’s perfect world.

A Toddler’s Pastoral Paradise

One world government, dedicated to the pleasure of the peeeepul, fighting the rich and protecting us from the insults of the world. No one would hear anything that might be perceived as even slightly aggressive or a potential cause for a trigger. We could pee on the coloring books and eat the crayons and suffer no ill-effects. Our innovative way of expressing our opposition to the oppression perpetrated against us by those who would have us color inside the lines engenders praise.

Akim got into a 100 comment long thread with a few women. At the root of it was Akim’s assertion that pussy should be available on-demand. If a guy wants it women should provide. No, women would not have a say. Guy wants ass, guy gets ass. He built up an elaborate fictional world in which gestation had been offloaded to robots and women were sterilized at birth. Akim framed this as a wise goal of a future Socialist Party government. Free pussy would be a right. Free will for women would be at the whim of men.

Which is . . . stupid. Women shut down insanity like this since forever. Guys don’t have a growing child in their belly and all the resulting misery. Guys initiate gestation with sex. We get a taste of ecstasy and the woman gets a lifelong commitment to a child. Abortion? The memory of that unborn fetus never leaves the woman. Women care about sex because of the consequences to them when it works as intended and pregnancy results.

Teen Male Fantasy and Porn Trope

Akim hungered for his “should be” and refused to acknowledge some inconvenient facts. He sought solace in long-winded fantasies of a better world run by local, communal governing boards. It was a rather Maoist ideology mixed with fantasy about San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

The signals of hope & change? perf. Actual change? Can’t even. There is a political point to this. Trump voters want change. We want the chaos unleashed by attacking the career civil service, sacred cows like Medicaid, Obamacare, TANF and Social Security. A century of bigger federal budgets, greater corruption and increasingly, a government that exists only for itself is enough. We know that every coup d’é·tat means chaos and sometimes, civil war. The struggle is real, tbh.

 wait-a-minute

Now, I need to interrupt myself. I started this full of vim & verve sure that I had an epiphany worth 1500 words. I thought my political point would make it to the end of this piece. It won’t. Why? A word from God.

It was around 3am. I did my nightly wake, pee, flush, back to bed. And . . . God picks this moment to remind me that I still carry resentment from a single kickball game when I was eight. I’ve not been to the gym in three weeks. I have tons of good reasons why. They are all bullshit. This, a bitter root from my youth, this is what God showed me. Shit. Busted.

Epic Fail Heroic Misery

Old Wounds

So, a confession. I am averse to misery of any sort. Yeah, big woop. Not exactly news, that. I have used my heritage and position to belly up to the buffet of pleasures possible in my place and day. Asceticism? Oh the horror. Never.

One more thing to confess: I was teased just enough in grade school when trying to play kickball that I made an oath that I would *never* be caught playing sports. There is a medical reason for this. I have a hand eye coordination problem. Or . . . I did. Sometimes my brain tries to get my body to do something and it doesn’t go as intended. There were enough embarrassing fails as a kid that I’d rather dissolve into shapeless meat inseparable from an easy chair than do anything that requires hand-eye coordination and sweat.

Yes, that 5 years when I did Aiki Jujitsu did happen. The things I learned in that 5 years still help me. Deep down there is still that little boy who is embarrassed and wounded because the kids laughed when I tried to kick the ball and whiffed it. The same little boy who got pranked and ran the football to the opposition’s goal line.

It Needs Killing

So, there it is, the dragon that must be slain. I have to heal that little boy within me that swore off recess and kick-ball because of a couple minutes in my youth. I can’t say I am not an athlete. My rank in Jujitsu belies that. But, as my sixth decade approaches a life-altering choice is before me. I can spend ever increasing amounts on medications and incantations and doctors in an effort to get this glutinous body healthy or I can get myself to the gym and recover my former athletic self.

The easy chair will remain. Every day the choice is there: endure some misery for an hour or so at the gym or let the easy chair eat a bit more of my health. On this last visit to the doctor my A1C score was down a full point and I had lost some weight. I’ve not been to the gym in the last two weeks. When I was going my weight was under 230. It’s over that now. You can’t ask for a more concrete proof of whether exercise works. Work out? Weight and blood sugar scores fall. Collapse in to the easy chair? Things move the other direction and I die a little bit more.

Six miserable, one joyous

None of this is news. There are 7 major phases to an archetypical hero’s tale. The sought after exultant victory is achieved only at the end, after the hero almost dies. For six out of the seven phases there is misery of one sort or another. The story is a tragedy until the very end. You can’t accomplish the penultimate victory over the dragon without going through phases 1 through 6. Training is tortuous. If it isn’t hard you are not putting in enough effort. But . . . enough platitudes. I can spit out tropes and slogans with the best of them. The measure of whether I will win the battle with diabetes is still to be told.

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What Are We?

Fashy Boy asks, “What are we?” and Felina answers, “friends.” This does not sit well with Fashy Boy. Fashy Boy, it seems, pitched the idea of meeting the fam and Felina agreed. Meeting the fam is a “we are a thing” move. He was hoping for more than “friends“.

It is amusing that under all Fashy Boy’s cross dressing and eye shadow is a good Baptist who wants his woman to jump the broom with him. All that energy invested in Felina must mean something. They even said that phrase, “I love you.” Why wouldn’t they be a thing?

Away from the shores of the Mississippi he is androgynous leaning fem and flirts with cis-boys. At home in Raymond the narrow ties and Dockers come out of the closet. They posted a picture on FB that looked like Grant Wood’s, “American Gothic“. Lately, Felina went to the salon for help with her blown out bottle blonde and pink dye job.

So . . . Men are necessary evils to Felina. She’d like kids some day so that means a guy. She’s tasted clams and lost her appetite for them. Too much drama for one. She keeps men around like dusty dildos and Dollar Store tool kits. Not needed, mostly, but sometimes a girl has needs and a guy can help. Until Fashy Boy.

Felina doesn’t have beau’s the way some would wish her to. That would mean dealing with expectations and dirty toothbrushes. He can wash his own damned clothes. She breaks dirty plates left in the sink and throws them away. Never at the bae, just close enough to make the point. Fashy boy accused her of being crazy abusive when he left a plate in the sink and it went flying across the kitchen to shatter and fall behind the stove. That happened early on one of their newish overnights before the whole meet the fam thing happened.

✤ ✤ ✤

It was Fashy Boy that moved the stove and swept up the broken plate. This was before I picked them up this morning at 3:00am at a gas station just off I-95 at the north end of the capital of the South. The bus ride was an epic mess. They missed their first bus on Thursday and could not get another one until this morning. Fashy Boy had made noises about taking care of her, which to Felina means he had money for this pilgrimage. Not. Felina was out of pocket for the whole thing. Felina may be full of the ways in which men have burned her but the flame still flickers. She still hopes that a guy will be able to take care of her.

Fashy Boy’s status with her was not in a good place. Felina did the needful and got them back to Richmond on one of those generic white buses that always seem to have Cantonese speaking staff. A1 Auspicious Travel or whatever. I expected Felina to be cold to Fashy Boy. I expected her to be on the bus by herself. Neither happened. They were repacking their stuff after the driver had tossed it. Felina had wrapped herself with a blanket as a skirt because it was 25°F and when they left Mississippi it had been short skirt weather. They moved together like a couple who were past the ‘spose to phase.

They loaded themselves into my car and we headed off to the Fan where they had friends who were going to put them up. The ride to their crash-pad was short and filled with the business of making Raymond home. Felina was nervous because this is the biggest commitment to a boy yet. I didn’t think Fashy Boy would be the one but these ten minutes with them in my cab were telling.

✤ ✤ ✤

You know a woman picks a man when she starts talking about babies and plans and a purpose and a cause. She can rest in his life knowing that beyond the usual strom and drang of married with children he’ll be fine. There are enough women who are down for the cause and claim to not need men. Then 28 happens and as annoying as it is, the social pressure to settle down gets loud. Felina is a long way off from that. Still, her old soul tag comes from dirty feet while walking through hell to the other side. Fashy boy under the makeup feels like red peas. She found a purpose in him and that feels really good.

She also found rest in the small act of kindness by Fashy Boy when the plate smashed and fell behind the stove. In her family that would have been the opening salvo. It would have been on and after the cops left they’d have to go to the dollar store for paper plates. Fashy Boy just stared at her, shook his head and got out the broom. After a stony silence while he started cleaning up all he said was, “are you done?” No, she wasn’t.  He’d not done what she expected. This melted her. She got the dust pan and helped him throw out the shards.

Trust is Felina’s kryptonite. Hers is a world absent of mercy and grace. In her world every slight, every hurt, resentment or past sin is another round to be fired at the one causing duress. Grace, forgiveness, mercy are impossible and desperate hungers for her. Fashy Boy’s small act of kindness fixed it for her. That was what sealed the deal. She was his.

They unloaded in front of a house on Monument Ave that is on the annual Junior League decorator tour. I figured a different sort of place. It must be nice to have friends who offer crash pads that have appeared in Architectural Digest. As I drove off I made my own bets as to when I’d hear that they’d been to the Hinds County Courthouse and made it legit. In the meantime, I’d say these two are a thing. Not what I expected or wanted. Probably better, though.

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Cutting Deep

My buddy is soothing himself by trying to arm himself and his friends. He doesn’t want to die nor be invited to a memorial service for those dear to him. I get it. I don’t want to die either. But beyond a pistol and maybe a shotgun more weapons are just more weapons. They do not increase your ability to fight.

Our military makes our infantry hump 80-90 pounds of gear. There is so much wearable tech on them that they can’t really fight and use the tech they were asked to wear. The answer? Load on more tech. Our enemies walk on to the battlefield with a knife, an AK-47 and a pistol. They don’t wear visible body armor or helmets or any of the crap our guys suffer with. They can’t call in air support or cruise missiles. They kick our ass, repeatedly.

How do you fight an MRAP? Build an IED and get out of dodge. How do you fight a platoon of US Soldiers? Lay down overwhelming small arms fire for 15 minutes and then get the hell out of there. Why 15 minutes? It takes that long for air support to arrive. Simple analog scanner radios will give you enough chatter to piece together what we are saying to each other. Command and communications can be done with smart phones using Viber. Osama Bin-Laden communicated by courier who memorized the messages and drove on a scooter to different sites daily to transact messages. That simple tactic kept him alive for a while.

Musashi famously won duels with a wooden practice sword against steel wearing only a cotton kimono, a hakama and rice straw slippers. The other guys were dressed out in full Samurai kit. If more better kit were a difference maker why are the families of Musashi’s enemies the ones that lost kin?

But . . . us first worldies love our Hollywood ideas of war, of Star Wars Storm Troopers with 3D VR helmets and RoboCop sexy weapons. We want bad guys to be 100 foot tall transformers. Dusty sheep farmers in the poppy fields of Afghanistan are just the wrong trope. It can’t be that the guy getting drunk on local hooch in a hut beside a poppy field is a war-lord. That’s just not right. Worse, that he could be winning against our guys with just a bolt-action rifle and some stunning marksmanship, that’s wrong, plain wrong.

So, my buddy, seduced by Hollywood, is filling his life with tacticool. Worse, he is mailing tacticool to friends like me and pestering us because we haven’t been to the dollar store to by the latest AirSoft automagic pepper-ball gun with laser sights and robotic ammo maker included. That I haven’t bought a Maverick 88 shotgun yet is a problem for him. Sucks to be him.

❤ ❤ ❤

That’s one thing rattling about my heart. The next two happened together. I have made it to Boston to see my son for the last three years. I was there from Thursday night until last night. Before that on Wednesday while I was at work my pastor called. The middle-aged son of one of our elders was in jeopardy. His wife had thrown him out in a bipolar tantrum. He had gone the full-monty. Married her and worked for her Dad and lived in an income property owned by the Dad’s brother. Without the woman he had no job, without a job he couldn’t pay rent. Without paying rent he was ass-out. Everything he was and he had was with that woman. She put him out.

I planned on driving a cab on Thursday then getting on a plane after my shift. I didn’t have time to deal with a church member who had spent the night in a Sunday School classroom on a cot and had no place to go. But . . . I am that guy who has loudly boasted that if you need something, ask and I’ll do my best to help out. Plus, this was my pastor on the phone asking. Shit.

So, with trepidation I offered him a night staying with me but he had to be out before I left for Boston. He agreed. I proceeded with my plan, made the money I needed and realized I was out of time. I did not have time to get home, get packed, get myself to the airport and deal with an unexpected guest who had no place to stay. What to do?

A lot of us would never have let him stay to begin with. We have our own shit to deal with. We are busy, struggling, trying to make our way and keep our heads above water. Making a difference is a bonus. We would have ended the cab shift early and told the house-guest to git or there would be a cop-calling argument. I feared losing a few hours to an argument which would cause me to miss my flight and screw up a half-year of planning.

I don’t know about the God you worship but mine can be a pain in the ass. He took me at my word when I said I wanted to help. So . . . I’m still headed to my last fare for the day 15 minutes from where I was realizing I was out of time. I couldn’t deal with my houseguest. I let him in, though–for just one night, kind of. This sucked.

I made a choice. I had to. My flight was too soon and I valued my effort to put my trip to Boston together more than I valued tossing a new friend on to the street. I called my guest and explained that I didn’t have time for him so he was welcome to stay until I got back. So . . . he stayed and I went to Boston. A running narrative in my head all weekend was a worry as to what I’d find when I got back. If it was RayRoberta Bob I’d come home to alien puke and an epic post beer-bash mess. This guy, my guest, was awesome. He cleaned my house for me. He left me a note letting me know he’d update me when he could. Awesome.

❤ ❤ ❤

Boston. This was a bucket list thing for me. Some years ago I attempted to take the Empress and my son to Disneyland. It was awful. We fought the whole weekend. I had set up everything through a web site using a debit card. On arrival in LAX I found that I could not rent a car using my debit card and had no credit cards. We were stuck at the airport. It didn’t get better. We did go to Disneyland but it was a miserable weekend with the Empress plucking last nerves I didn’t know existed. Deep within me was an unspoken oath that I’d pull off a fly/hotel/car rental weekend some day.

Done. I flew JetBlue, stayed at Extended Stay America, a hotel chain the Empress and I stayed at when we first arrived in Virginia, and rented a Fiat 500x. This isn’t blog post worthy for a lot of my upper-middle class peers. It is what we do. For me it was a victory. Planning for this started two months ago with zero money saved for it. So, as I am capable of doing and kind of dislike doing, I used my talent for making things work out to git-er-done. Tim and I squeezed in some quality time, were able to talk about stuff he’s been stuffing, and eat Pho in Boston’s Chinatown among other things. Bedford’s H-Market is awesome. It’s food court is good. Worth a trip.

It’s Monday. The trip was draining. I’ve enjoyed having today to blog, eat, sleep and do chores before heading back to my cube-rat life whacking computers. I know those stories too. The ones where the family black sheep dies a John Doe in a public hospital leaving a legacy of empties and regrets. Some would say that’s what always happens. The paternal, “get it together or you’ll end up like that guy.” I am that guy. I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.

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Felina Novella

#felinaramos. Felina Ramos is my own personal, IRL soap opera. She is my guilty pleasure. I unfollow her on Facebook and then lurk. Everything about she and I is trouble. Yet I still vacillate  between following her, ignoring her, lurking her and going back to following her.

Yeah, what now? Right. She puts a message out on her wall that after she has had some sleep she wants a ride to a fast food place. Her offer is to buy from the dollar menu and also pay for a meal for her driver. I said I could do better than that. All normal and not blog post worthy. This is Felina, though. I get there and unlike previous excursions she comes out the door shaking. There is a tempest alive in her house between her cousin, her auntie, and her. Cops have been called. Contraband hidden. 3 latina women in full battle mode doing their level best to tempt the other into a fight. Entertaining for me and sad to see.

The cousin is learning a hard lesson. Once you escalate to fists there isn’t much else you can escalate to and have the same effect. The next level up is bloodshed and either a combination of jail and hospital or the morgue. The cousin’s attempts at psychological warfare are falling flat. She’s already used the nuclear option so another nuclear option is greeted with, “meh.”

I spent a few minutes with Felina on the front lawn teaching her some basics of sword fighting that enable a warrior to be cold in the middle of a fight. Hollywood has orgasms telling pornographic depictions of war as passionate. Actors get to display great emotion, to *ACTING* on camera. It’s all bullshit. A good soldier is no more excited by battle than he is by his morning shit, shower and shave. This is achieved through training and some simple techniques. I showed Felina some of those techniques so she could sooth herself and be effective.

A little more about the technique. You have seen Bruce Lee and others go through dramatic motions and vocalizations to focus their energy. That’s for camera. The real technique isn’t obvious to those uninitiated. It also doesn’t stand out because a swordsman should live this way so that there is no shift between battle mode and life mode. It is the way he is. He is never not practicing bushido.

Back to Felina. After the cops came, after the cousin lost the momentum, we went to the bodega to make groceries. Felina is a hot mess. She is also a good catholic girl who can’t escape her confession of faith nor her anger at the church. Felina, when she begins to be attracted to a guy or a girl, has expectations of the prospective partner. One of them is that when she complains of being hungry said partner should offer to feed her. Whelp . . . the current bae is a very fashy boy. He is tall & skinny, olive toned, of non-obvious lineage, with sharp green eyes and fiercely blond, nappy hair. He favors androgenous fashion, mixing thick cowboy belts with leggings, ripped jeans and wildfang sweaters. He is also a rather fine snowflake, expert at the approved fashy signals.

So, we’ve all been there. You go to the kitchen, hung over, dreaming of a favorite cure, and upon a search of the cupboards, find that the cunt cousin has scarfed down what you had hoped to eat. Through the fog of the hangover you remember that you ended last night having to get the bae to pay for your Uber home because this week’s check got smoked on a bar tab. There was a fight with the bae because he was not being very copacetic and you were drunk. So, the refuge of a millennial, social media, becomes a place to shout out your annoyance and desperation. What’s the reply of all those fashy friends to your plight? “Wow, that sucks. Wish I could help but . . .” Bae isn’t returning your texts or replying to voice mail. A quick trod around the tubes turns up a thread on gab.ai where the bae is flirting with some yup bitch. Asshole.

Yeah, so . . . all that virtue signalling about the plight of the downtrodden and when one of ours is ass-out the sincerity is smoke on the water. This isn’t just a thing with the fashy protest crowd. My brethren, confessed Christians, do this. Actuality is scary. It threatens our bubble and we react by trying to push it away. Guys like my Uncle Gary and people like Felina, who are an affront to a few orthodoxies, at first generate an itch to shun.

My Jesus was a badass. He was a carpenter who ate with thieves. He did scandalous things that insulted the establishment of his day. I don’t hear him saying to me, “Wow, Felina is a handful, stay away from that mess.” No, he says to me, “learn to love her as I would love her. Serve her as I would serve her.” Ruh roh. That’s not inside my comfort zone. Watching three women go at it is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Listening to Felina hope that her cousin is arrested isn’t the sort of Gauloise fueled conversation I imagine I could have with a girl like Felina. Yet, here I am, leaning on the fender of my Impala, waiting for the storm to subside.

She had me on her front lawn and bae on the phone. Fashy boy was begging off. He had to work overnight at Denny’s and didn’t have any clean uniforms. The circle of friends she engaged with on social media evaporated as she posted about the fire fight under way between cousin and auntie. Everybody was broke, out of town, had to work, car trouble . . .

I did my small act of kindness with some love. I dunno about great love. Felina is on my list of folk who are a challenge to love. She is this big storm of hot mess that seems untamable. At the bodega she lit up buying Haitian items. I had a whole different list in my head when I offered to make groceries. No matter. Part of my task is to do these acts of kindness agenda free. It was illuminating to see what she bought.

On the way back she was negotiating a night away from the house. Bae wasn’t pleased. He didn’t get that a standard piece of advice is to stay away for a bit until things calm down. She was just going to drop the groceries and get a ride to the friend’s house. Cousin’s parting shot was a post on social media that Felina was trading nekkid favors for what I spent at the bodega. As if. But, in the hour since we left the cops had calmed things down and the auntie had started some red rice and stewed chicken. So, from my passenger window she said her goodbyes and went back inside.

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We Elected the Wrong Guy

It’s an itch we keep wanting to scratch. Dig Caesar out of his tomb and venerate his bones. It doesn’t matter whether you choose one of the two proffered candidates. Both of them are either greater or lesser minions of Rome.

This was our choice: a woman who is deeply connected to the establishment and operates an NGO which launders money or a billionaire pitching himself as an outsider because he’s never been a politician. We elected the billionaire. I voted for Dumpf. Why would I vote for the evilist of evil, evil, evil people, a rich capitalist pig whose ill gotten wealth comes from going bankrupt on other people’s money? I am supposed to understand that Dumpf is devil incarnate. Billary is a lovable fuzzball grandmother who just wants to make sure everyone gets their fair share. What’s crazy about that?

Dumpf won. There have been a string of narratives pitched regarding our new fearless leader since the election. The first was that he was a fascist bastard who was going to inter all the illegal aliens, make our gardeners and pool boys even poorer, steal food from the mouths of Appalachian babies and make Grandma survive on powdered milk and USDA bologna. Dumpf hates brown people so all brown people are even more deeply fucked than they were before the election. Brown people can help out by self-interring at the old camps from WWII. He is a real estate barron so obviously he hates the environment and we’ll all be dead from toxic waste before his term is up. Another one was that the Russians, those evil bastards, stole the election from Grandma Clinton. They hacked the voting system, they stole e-mails from her server and spread craptastic stories about influence peddling, an overly cozy relationship with Wall Street, and was secretly sex-trafficking in children sought by pedophile Oil Sheikhs.

This election taught me a couple things. First, we are nuts when it comes to choosing our leaders. We want childish, impossible things in our leaders. He has to be a man of the peeeeepul comfortable in a dive bar drinking light beer, plain spoken, wiser than Solomon, pious as St. Paul, mighty as Caesar Augustus, generous with free Cadillac’s and cell phones. He should be deeply steeped in the secular orthodoxies of the puritan left but not so wonky or stiff that he will enforce said ethics for everyone, just the enemies of the state. We want our leader to provide for us like a good pimp Daddy but not interfere when we decide to behave in transgressive ways. We want s/him to protect us from those who would perpetrate aggression, micro and otherwise, from those who behave in triggering ways while comforting us when our behavior has undesired consequences.

Second, we got played. It was a masterful checkmate. We could have voted for RayRoberta Bob. The establishment had a plan to co-opt s/him and stay firmly in control. It did not matter who we voted for. They had us at P-Q4. The massive civil service bureaucracy housed in the Executive Branch was going to ensure continuity of power regardless of whether Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Cruz, Dumpf, Sanders, Billary or my favorite drunk alien, RayRoberta Bob won. Us who voted for Dumpf did so because we hoped it would communicate to congress and the bureaucracy that we were tired of the last century of rinse repeat.

I’ve been shut up. My usual narratives that align to some degree with the orthodoxy of conservative talk radio have been shook up. It’s a depressing thought, that hope & change by way of Washington D.C. is a non-starter. I hate the idea that we are not so different from Russia. You can elect anyone you want to be Prime Minister of Russia. He or she will still be a dictatorial bitch unsympathetic to your anxieties about the fate of Monarch Butterflies and Appalachian children. Dumpf turns out to be a kinder, gentler grandpa who wants to fiddle with the edges of our government but otherwise leave it be. Checkmate.

There is such a love-fest afoot with the press and the Obummers. It’s the sort of adoration I associate with socialist dictators in places like Asia or South & Central America. The fear and loathing seems to be a reaction to Grandma Billary’s failure to continue the dynasty attempted by the Obummers. The populist grandma telling us that she is the reasonable one who will fight for the little guy, protect the snowflakes from their own bad behavior and make those evil capitalist pigs pay their damned fair share.

It feels to me like a freed slave who stands in the middle of the road across from his former home on the plantation and realizes freedom is disruptive. He wasn’t free a moment ago before he was handed his papers. A moment ago his life was clear. He knew his fate, knew how he’d get his needs met. It was a familiar devil. Now, papers in hand, nothing is assured. He has to fend for himself. He has no income, nothing to assure his reason for existence or a purpose to pursue. Rick Warren’s book was 140 years in the future.

For some, this was exciting. It was a victory. For others it was disaster. Say what you want about the oppression contained in tenant farming in the south. Not everyone alive in the 19th century antebellum south was happy to be free. Ditto the Obummers. We have folk who are getting attention because what they wanted was a coronation of Obummer and if they couldn’t have that, an election victory that continued the Clinton Dynasty.

We have had authoritarian and socialist government since at least 1913. My ancestors were subjects of the British Empire. They were not all fervent supporters of throwing over King George. The argument over liberty vs. safety is as old as our republic. We started out hating any hint of imperialism. Our distaste for kings has diminished in the centuries since . The trend has been toward increasingly large, ineffective and authoritarian government for at least a century. Caesar is going to rise out of his tomb and be restored to the new empire soon enough. It seems to be what we want.

I voted to prevent what I didn’t want. The Supreme Court is short one justice. The choice of replacement was going to go to either Grandma Billary or Dumpf. Dumpf won. Obamacare is a growing nightmare being exploited to increase the intrusion of government into our lives. The snowflakes are winning the propaganda war and so the expectation is that we will comply. We want energy independence but it can’t come at the price of harming the butterflies or Native Americans. All perfectly reasonable and fair.

Jesus was not reasonable or fair. His message threatened the status quo within the Middle East and Jewish people. Authority came from God directly to the disciples of Christ. We didn’t need intercessors or interpreters of the Torah to facilitate our relationship to God. Caesar was cut out of the picture. The Levites were superfluous. Our rights, our laws, came directly from God the Father through his son, Jesus of Nazareth. These are troublesome words for the establishment of Christ’s day. Troublesome enough that he was crucified.

Empires fall. All of them. Ours is an empire made of a revolution 227 years old. We are fabulously successful. There is no empire in history with greater wealth and military might than ours.

Empires fall and tomorrow happens. Empires fall and there are survivors. Those that remain have to do the needful because their count of sunrises has not run out.

So . . . what? Anarchy? Anarchy is a foolish lie. Anarchy as currently promulgated means the anarchist can dictate the rules on his or her whims while being insulated from the consequences. It is how we self-governed before we had to deal with other kids and out of the purview of our parents. Though we are losing our distaste for imperialism it isn’t gone. Some of us hunger for god and express our appetite through electing authoritarian figures like Grandma Billary and Dumpf. Socialism? Hitler was a socialist before he took a hard turn into genocidal dictatorship, remember? Still, the reflexive answer remains, “certainly not! We don’t want a god-king, king or anything like that. We are a democracy!

Might I suggest something? When our desires for a leader are crazy/absurd an absurd leader becomes the reasonable choice. Who do I think an absurd leader is? Dumpf, perhaps. We shall see. Grandma lost, so that’s not going anywhere. What about that guy, the Nazarene Carpenter of two thousand years ago, who was martyred by the Romans? What about him? I mean, he’s been dead for a while so there is no danger of him getting caught diddling kids or accepting bribes from Wall Street Bankers. He and his followers are pretty crazy, so perhaps hungering after a resurrected dead guy as a leader isn’t any less crazy than having a hard on for Grandma.

Hope and change cannot be found in the temples worshiping our secular gods of democracy. Hope and change is where it has been for a couple thousand years. The Nazarene carpenter’s disciples still follow him. They named themselves Christians. You know them. They are your neighbors. Rather than pray to the false god kings of Washington D.C. go visit one of those churches in your town. Don’t pray. Not yet. Talk to the people at the church. Share your story. Volunteer a bit–something small that can be completed in an hour or two. This is a long game that won’t pay off right away. It does pay off. The anecdotal proofs of how it pays off are numerous and reach back millennia. Ask one of those Cheezus Freak people you see at that church.

King Jesus is an absurd and wonderful monarch. The beauty of naming Jesus as king is that he is dead. It ends up at not having a king or queen, a good thing. Ditto saying that the resurrected kingdom and temple lives in our hearts. I’m counting down my remaining 12,000 sunrises. Hopefully this house of cards we have will stand. Merry Christmas!

 

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What’s the Point?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope . . . Jeremiah 29:11, ESV

I am not sure there is a point, or a purpose to this shit-show we are born in to. I’m over late night tossing & turning wondering why I was born. I’m here and it ain’t over yet. I’ve still got time to do and while the sun still traverses the sky I need shit and have ambitions. There is world peas to attend to and those kids on TV who look so hungry. Oh and those deplorable white folk who treat black folk like range targets. I mean, somebody needs to do something, seriously.

Dumpf got elected. They are going to build a pipeline across Indian land and ruin it. I saw that kid on TV and this time the voice-over is asking me to donate to UNESCO. I don’t have a job, my girlfriend kicked me out, and breakfast this morning happened at the Grace Cathedral on California street. I tried begging and got arrested. I had to pawn my guitar to get a room for the night. I’m out of meds and the voices lately are really hard to ignore. Maybe I should just eat worms and die.

The depths of my angst never got that deep. My troubles are trifling compared to those of many. There was an afternoon at my paternal grandmother’s house where the huge problem was a lack of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. There is a kid in my life who is twenty-something and followed a familiar narrative arc for an African American youth living in the inner city. He achieved early success as a drug dealer, gained tremendous wealth and notoriety and now, is living in public housing. The devil gaveth and the devil took it all away.

After two twelve-hour shifts driving a cab recently I arrived at Monday morning, back at my desk, with a feeling of futility. All that work and what I had to show for it was a couple Jacksons. I had magnanimous dreams. I was going to make beaucoup benjamins. I had plans for my hard earned cash. What a waste.

Wikipedia’s article on the meaning of life. You have the Dalai Lama saying that we should seek to be happy. I suspect that the full weight of his words isn’t getting through in English. Tibetan Buddhist happiness is a deep conversation. It’s one of many things that seems simple at the surface but can consume a lifetime trying to know it deeply. So, there is that. Wikipedia tries to provide a broad survey of answers. I need to warn you. This space isn’t good for you if you were looking for comfort and safety. The answers I have here are troubling.

On with it. I’d say that life does not have a purpose. Your reason to be doesn’t exist. All this angst over why you were born is neurotic, narcissistic wind and water. You are alive. ’nuff said. So, average life-span being 70-80 years, or 4 generations or so, you have time on your hands. The first couple decades happen because of your parents. After that, with some exceptions, it’s on you. A reason to be and a purpose to pursue. Well, you are here. There really isn’t a reason why you are here. So, that leaves the next 40 years or so and a purpose to pursue.

Why not 60 years?. Our lives are bookended by childhood and old age. As children we have no choice but to rely on the adults in our lives to care for us. Without them, without their support, we are fucked. Argue all you want about the oppressive tradition of a nuclear family, how it traps women into the oppression of patriarchy. I’ll grant you that embedding that oppression in law and policy is a bad idea. Women should have a voice, have agency and the freedom to pursue their chosen purpose. Please, though, if you are pregnant, or you are a Mom, it’s really important that you put your kids first, even though that limits you. Kids need parents that love and care for them.

Moving on. At the other end, at the phase of my life I am growing in to, is increasing loss. We become more dependent on the people around us for basic needs. Starting at around age 60 things escalate. We become more and more feeble until our time comes and we become epitaph. So, our purpose becomes merely breathing until death kindly stops for us. We come full circle and need to be taken care of.

That leaves the years between 20 or so and age 60 where life happens. That’s the window in which our purpose will be fulfilled. That’s the years in which your story is told. Maybe there isn’t a reason why you were born. I’ll leave the answer to that, to why you were born, to better minds than mine. It is enough that you are alive and beyond the first four levels of Maslow’s hierarchy what you do has an impact, though perhaps small. Your impact matters, thus, you matter.

This space is the house of the odd ones, the trolls, the people who generate regrets. It’d be nice if my readership had a comfortable spot on the fat part of the curve. But . . . I’d have to write about something else if that became the case. From what I know of history I’ll never run out of odd stuff to write about. So, yeah, causes to pursue . . . all that Maslow hierarchy stuff helps a lot. Unfulfilled essential needs can become a consuming purpose leaving you without much bandwidth for anything else.

There is also Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities . . . all is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Yeah, that’s all warm & fuzzy. Thank you for sharing, Solomon.

Without God, without some sense of identity outside ourselves, life has no meaning. The nihilists are right. Solipsism is epiphany. Death after a meal of earthworms would be mercy. Without God we are supper for Satan and his minions. Things get increasingly morose. Suicide begins to feel like a plan.

God is weird. There is this book that is full of nonsense and ancient myth that some promulgate as the word of God. He leaves behind the words of St. Paul, Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” That’s not crazy, right? Who writes stuff like, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” As if we are twigs. This god that these people believe in is whom I am to find a purpose to my life? I may be crazy but that’s epic.

Does Life Have a Purpose?” Maybe not. But, I am here and the clock has not run down to zero for me yet. If I live to age 90 there are still over 12,000 sunrises to get through. Might as well do something to pass the time. Of suicide, I believe you freeze yourself in the angst that drove you to take your own life. Because you are then frozen in your misery, death offers no relief. In life there is hope. As long as there are more sunrises there are more chances to break out of a solipsistic mood and leave a legacy of light and salt.

My answer to the troubles is a little more village and a little less delicate snowflake. If we allow a more collectivist view of our identity then it’s harder to point a quivering, accusing finger at some boogeyman who has called us a poopy-head. This is a bottom-up thing, not some dictate handed down by a bloated bureaucracy. This is you making a choice to locate your identity in something greater than yourself. When it comes in the form of a dictate from Caesar it’s not the same. With this more collectivist view our purpose isn’t good self-esteem or the markers of success envied by some. It is the well being of our kin and village.

My pastor says in his sermon on this that we need a reason to be and a cause to pursue. There is no reason for me. I exist. For the next 12,000 days or so I am going to rise each morning needing things and wanting to have some purpose to this shit-show I was born into. Now that I am off the ridge and walking into the Valley of the River Styx my legacy, the story I leave behind, is what worries me.

I hope I have served, have touched some and been a point of light that illuminates hope for the hopeless. I am saved. I was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see. It’s been 4,380 days since I last confessed my faith to my Christian brethren at St. Giles Church. The trans-formative moment for me was a phone call from Darlene. I was to go to work for God with no hope of return or desired outcome. It’s my cause to pursue.

While your sun’s rise and fall to greet the moon I have a request. While you cower in your safe spaces at us the grownups who want you to do annoying self-care things like clean your room and wash some dishes, do a little more than that. Rather than litter the South Dakota desert with your detritus from protesting capitalist oil pigs, volunteer locally. There is something you can do, some place that would love your angst and youthful energy. Use your phone, google stuff, an NGO out there is looking for some help. Go help.

Of worm eating . . . it’s a metaphor. Just saying.

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New Democratic National Socialist Party

So, a little Aristotle with your morning coffee. Perfectly logical. Wikipedia says that fascism is Authoritarian Nationalism, defined as an authoritarian government exploiting patriotism as a means of controlling the populace. Nazi is a portmanteau of the first word of the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische. NSDAP is an abbreviation of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party).  American Nazis are far-right extremists, the furthest thing from reasonable folk, right? The reasonable folk understand that governing this land requires big government. Besides, there are all these upsides to having a Pimp Daddy US. Obvi, no? I’ll make you wait for me to conclude the syllogism. You have to read to the end, sorry.

I saw a YouTube video where the guy was man ‘splaining to us dolts that national socialism isn’t, ipso facto, evil. It’s just socialism implemented at a national level. No problem. Reasonable people agree that by itself, national socialism isn’t bad. Adolf Hitler, though, yeah, that wasn’t good.

So . . . Authoritarian Nationalist Socialism, or socialism that exploits patriotism (or demonizes a titular enemy) to control the populace and perpetuate the continued rule of the current regime. Sound like anything you have heard of in this country?

When Billary lost, what was the response of some? It was that this was racist, it was unfair. Billary won the popular vote. Dumpf is a Nazi extremist, bigoted, alt-right asshole who was going to send home our gardeners and pool boys, take food from babies and kill our old people. What we were supposed to do is elect Billary and continue the current regime, protecting our great country from scary boogeymen like Dumpf. That’s reasonable, right?

Let’s review. Wikipedia says fascism is authoritarian and nationalist. It’s two successful political leaders in recent memory were Mussolini and Hitler. Both were socialists that abandoned any pretense of democracy in the name of doing the needful for the people. Both were loved because they got things done. Italy’s trains ran on time. Hitler bribed his way into popularity by implementing social justice programs for the proletariat. Sorry about that, “kill all the Jews” thing. That was a bit unfortunate. Hey, look, check out the People’s Car made by Porsche and the leader of the Third Reich. Great car, right?

A couple things creep me out when I hear them. One I’ve quoted a bunch in this space, that I should be reasonable. If I was reasonable I’d understand. If I understood I’d agree. If I agreed then I’d come along and raise my flag to our dear leader, like a good little plebeian. The other is shiny toothed politicians who give stump speeches claiming that they can bring me free goodies. Housing, food, medical care, education for the needy. I mean, we don’t really want Appalachian children to starve, do we? And reasonable people would not want grandma to be homeless and hungry, would they?

s-l1000How do we get to Hitler? He was elected into office. His evil ways revealed themselves later. He was a populist politician promising hope and change for the German people. At the start there was no hint of what was to come. It started out great then it got really weird. Hitler happened when the good people were herded into my house, the absurd house where cool is hot, where being bad is good, genocide is necessary for the common good, where the usual rules don’t help. It was a “frog in a pot” thing. By the time the German people understood the depth of the evils being perpetuated it was too late. They were cooked.

Socialism–community control of resources so as to make things fair, so no one has too much nor too little, has this little issue. In order to assure fairness free will has to be contained. There you are, authoritarian control. Somebody has to arbitrate disputes, administer resources so the goal of the enterprise is fulfilled. This authority will either be controlled by a committee or by a barony of some kind. Either way, you and I lose our voice in this. We don’t get a vote.

But . . . that hillbilly kid talked about by the Children’s Defense Fund won’t go hungry because Pimp Daddy Uncle Sam will feed him. Much better. And grandma will be fine because again, the community through one of Pimp Daddy US’s agency’s will take care of her. Warm fuzzies abound. That’s worth losing a little freedom, right?

A tangent. Western First World Vacationaries who arrive in nominally Third World countries are not a blessing. They arrive expecting a high degree of hospitality that costs the local community more than whatever boons will be bestowed. They ignore any indigenous flavor of Christianity as apostate and proselytize Post Great Awakening American Evangelism as the only true religion. The products they bring replace what could be gotten locally and require resources easily available in the First World but impossible to obtain in a hillside village in Central America. The preaching denigrates those within earshot as heathens needing to be saved. Our trillions in foreign aid over a half-century have spawned a massive money laundering operation that has made organized crime and corrupt governments fabulously wealthy. The answer? We have to try harder to evangelize modernist, Utopian socialist, secular democracy so the heathens will behave as we want them to with our money. Not all help is help.

One more. Last year I got a temp job that paid double what I usually make. I was set. I could save half of what I made and bank some cash. So, where is the money from that job? Gone. I spent it in epic FUB style. Wealth redistribution ignores the character flaws which make some of us bad candidates for windfalls. I had a blast for the months I lived in a company paid hotel and got to see a ton of this land behind the wheel of a camera car. I still arrived home broke and needed the help of my church to get through the year.

Our inner cities are populated by people who are trapped by Pimp Daddy US’s benevolence. They are subject to socialism that is authoritarian and implemented by a national government. This is the price they pay for the help promised them, the hope and change they desire. We do this in the name of compassion and the unintended consequence is a life they can’t escape. Socialism that is authoritarian and comes from a national government. Sound like something we’ve seen before?

hillary-clinton-2016All the way through this campaign to elect a president the Democrats pitched themselves as the party of the reasonable folk. Billary was the reasonable candidate who would continue the hope and change promised by Obama in 2008. The battle cry was, “we are stronger together.” The people’s will would get its due through Billary’s leadership. Mussolini made the trains run on time.

And of course, the people’s will was greater government involvement in our lives through a guaranteed $15.00/hour minimum wage, mandated paid time off, mandated compensation for childcare, more funding for Planned Parenthood, a greater expansion of Medicare with a eye toward achieving the goal of single payer (nationalized) health insurance, demonizing states with Right to Work laws, and more, this is what was on offer as the reasonable thing to do. Less choice and more fairness. How is it not reasonable that society should be just? Why wouldn’t you agree to this?

We didn’t agree. We don’t agree. We have seen what a century of social progressive and increasingly authoritarian government has gotten us. We know. That’s what made us vote for an evil man like Dumpf. We understand. We have been voting in Republican majorities to local and state governments for a decade. We are not, will not behave in an amenable way.

Many villages, in the weeks following the departure of the Vacationaries, have to tear down what was built because it can’t be maintained. These villages also have to recoup their losses after putting on an expensive week of hospitality. They are worse off than before the Vacationaries arrived. This is progress. This is Christian benevolence in action. The only difference between this and the mercy programs conducted by governments are the people doing the work. Instead of well-meaning vacation missionaries it is civil servants on taxpayer funded salaries. There is a reason some homeless people decline an offer of public housing.

Our government is socialist and nominally democratic. It is increasingly authoritarian with those in charge proselytizing an ideology that worships science and Marxist thought. The answer pitched by reasonable politicians to most every problem is to let Pimp Daddy US handle it. Some of our yungins cower in safe spaces wanting to be protected from triggers and aggression. Their reasonable desire is for an even more authoritarian government who would ensure their safety. The Constitution challenges their right to be protected from people who cherish their guns and religion. If we had Caesar, he’d fix it. What we really need is a good old god-king like Jim Jones. We have then, a society that is increasingly authoritarian, increasingly nationalist, and demonstrably socialist. So, what is a name for this brave new world? Fascist America.

It’s not a future nightmare. We are already the adjectives that characterize German Nazism. We just haven’t done the concentration camps or genocide, have we? (Anybody remember Manzanar? How about the Native Americans, that wasn’t genocide, was it?) We are just afraid to say the word. Not saying it doesn’t diminish our itch to be what we claim to hate. Nor does it change the conclusion I set up at the start of this. We are already a Nazi country and were headed with due speed toward a more authoritarian, nationalist, and socialist, nee fascist society. Dumpf just slows down the pace of it.

Welcome to the New Democratic National Socialist Federation of North American States! We are stronger together, most of us. If you’ll all just queue up in this line remove all of your clothing and put all your belongings on this table we’ll get started making you comfortable in your new home. We will provide you with a towel as you exit the shower.. At the next station you will find uniforms with your name tag and process id number. We are sorry we can’t provide a more respectful changing room. It’s been such a challenge providing a great experience to those of you joining us at Manzanar. I hope you understand. Life in Manzanar is going to be great, you are going to be great, isn’t American so great again!

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Satan Ain’t Got Nothin on God

First Posted 25-Sep-2014

Satan has it going on. He’s got a nice thing working. No prob with repenting. No need to tithe. All his desires, worldly or otherwise fulfilled. No food deserts. You are what he eats. Christians are especially tender and taste good with bbq sauce. Christians are harder to get, though, so when those are not possible he’ll eat whomever he can get.

lighthouse at nightHe uses whatever will work to make us/you the entrée on his dinner menu. Whatever you want, whatever will get you to hang yourself in the smoker to be slow roasted until succulent and tender, is in play. Women? Wine? Food? Misery? Ecstasy? Material Gain? Asceticism? Faith in Christ? Love of God? Resentment? Hostility? Love? It’s all just tactics to him. The goal remains to enjoy your slow smoked, mop sauced soul with a light beer.

Lucifer is the prince of death. He is the dark to God’s light (Why does it have to be dark? Why are you using that word? Are you racist?)–be quiet. He is salt that has lost its taste. He cannot create, only consume and destroy. He is not entirely without beauty or his own brand of love. He has been and can be generous if it brings you closer to the dinner plate . Everything he gives you is a marinade preparing you for his smoker. You taste good with Carolina BBQ sauce. A woman sent by Satan can give you sex, even love you, but she will never be as good as what God can bring you in a wife. His wine is the best there is but pales to that which you’ll find in the communion cup.

The dinner menu at Satan’s restaurant is vast and wonderful. It’s all there. Whatever you want, as picky as you like, and his chefs will prepare it and the wait staff will serve it and it will be the best meal you ever had. It can never be the eucharist, though. It’ll never be as good as that. As good as Satan may be able to make things, he can only work with what has already been created by God. He can transform what exists or destroy things but he can’t create anything He can’t create life, can’t resurrect life, can’t restore the temple in his followers or bring about the resurrection kingdom. Satan can only eat you and do what is necessary to get you to agree to be eaten. Maybe enough, but what God can do is so much more. I spent some time at Satan’s Place washing dishes. It was what I desperately wanted at the time. Satan let me eat the shrimp & grits on my break (super, super good!). I could have walked off my station, stepped around the corner, been provided with dinner clothes, a date, and been celebrated as the restaurant’s best customer. I don’t like being eaten, though. Hurts. I turned to God, to a cot in a church social hall as a start, down the trail less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. I’m so happy I did.

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This is the End

First Posted 19-Sep-2015

Maybe you too have friends like this. They are in love with the apocalypse. Each time you meet then you have to grind through another rant about how we are all screwed, our tinfoil hats will just melt into our skulls making our scalps shiny and us easy targets. It is the end they say.

It is the end and it isn’t the end. Rome burned in 64AD. Rome was sacked several times before the collapse of the Empire in 1453. There are still people living in the capital of the Empire. Now, the nation is called Italy and the old capital is called Rome. Constantinople is now Istanbul, Turkey. It is a vibrant city with the ruins of the old empire still on display. There was/is a tomorrow for Rome.


Glen Beck and Donald Trump are in a dystopian mood. Kim Davis, the Rowan County Court Clerk in the news because she won’t issue marriage licenses in defiance of the Supreme Court, said that these are then end times. This is the end. These are the last days. The devil is in charge, God is somewhere off recovering from a hangover after an extended period of debauchery. Guys like me, WASP, middle aged, Christian, are prey. If you believe this, there is no tomorrow.

The death of the Roman Empire was brutal. A lot of people died in wars, from the usual depravities of urban life, as players in the games at the circus. For those folk, their day came and they met their maker. There are no more tomorrow’s for them. I’m not them.
There have been apocalyptic events through history. Each time there is tremendous destruction and death. You all can name the ones that come to mind. I’ve posted a video here of the Tsunami that hit Japan after their earthquake in 2011.


My point is this, each time something horrible happened there are survivors. People eventually moved back to the places that were destroyed and built lives. There was a tomorrow. The Chicken Little bunch like Glen Beck and others, wants you to believe that the moment has come to pucker up and kiss yourself goodbye. For some in 2011 it was. For many more it was time to grieve, clean up the mess, and figure out how to build a life in the aftermath. Humans are incredibly resilient.

For all my hardships, I’m still here. Lately, I am doing better. Every time I hear about another dystopian Christian, who is sure that we’d better pucker up, I remember that the city of Rome is still there and where there was once an Empire there are still people living lives under different rule. The common constants of most lives, the need to earn a living, maintain a household, maybe raise a family, these continue. The latest idiot to wear the crown changes, has changed, will change. Government’s fall to be replaced by yet another clown who wants to be in charge. The world can end. Some will survive and in the meantime, do what needs doing. My constants are the need to maintain that small town, do for each other care that is part of our culture. To maintain relationships with our neighbors so we can thrive in hard times. Alone we are weak. Together we may still be weak but our odds of thriving improve. I’ve quit worrying about what our politicians do or whether it’s the end times. I plan on being around through it all, thriving as I have in good times and in bad. In the meantime . . .

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Remain True, Serve All

First Posted 12-23-2015

I was asked by someone I met through Tinder if I am “gay friendly”. Her daughter is going to marry her longtime girlfriend. I am not “gay friendly”. Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is something between a hetero-cis-female and a hetero-cis-male. This puts me at odds with the majority mood of the country. It also gets me shunned by some. Outlier that I am, I’m good with that.

I wasn’t asked by God to go on annual mission trips to a nominally third-world country and put in a well or build a church or give a cinder-block home to a family that previously lived in a mud hut or be a prayer warrior against James P. Sullivan. I was asked to serve right here, in Richmond, VA, to people who live around me.

To serve those I am asked to serve it is almost assured that I’ll encounter someone doing something I think is taboo. To serve as I am asked to serve it is almost assured that I’ll be in places where the shiny teeth bunch believes I’ll be prey. I would be in good company if I reacted with horror and tried to make the folk in the scary places stop being so predatory and transgressive. Plenty do. My crowd isn’t the bunch that will quickly agree that they are doing something so macro-aggressive. More likely, we’ll punch you in the face and tell you to get the hell away from us. We don’t take kindly to being told what we already know–we are a hot mess and some of what we do causes problems for others. I’m not the one who feels fulfilled if I close another deal at the altar with another soul saved. I was asked to serve us, the problem children, the brats, the monsters under the bed. Thus, to do my job, to fulfill my call, I am going to be uncomfortable and perhaps afraid.

I also know from those I have served that my service is diminished if I bend my principles in order to be more palatable to those I serve. That’s the second part of my call. I am to remain true to Christ. He is my model. He is how I live. This means I’ll make some I serve uncomfortable because my faith conflicts with their values. So be it. If the tension created by my truth is strong enough to tempt you away from your lifestyle then maybe change is in the wind for you. It’s not what God asked me to do. I’m not the one who will hit you upside the head with a bible. I’m more subtle, more difficult. I’ll just do what I’m asked to do knowing that my service, my authenticity as a Christian may mess with you.

This too. In the places where everybody is chasing their tail trying to please everybody, offend no one, and increase freedom from distasteful rules, the strictures against what you can’t say or do are far more burdensome than places where people pretty much don’t care. These phrases are not new to those who live in these cultures: micro-aggressions, trigger warnings and cultural appropriation. These come from a crowd so wired for perceived threats that they self-incarcerate in safe-spaces that exclude everyone except those who fit a superficial profile of African-American traits–kinky hair, broad nose, thick lips, brown to dark-chocolate skin, fluent in Ebonics as a way to protect them from the dangers of those different from them. BOO!

For this crowd I am evil incarnate: WASP, from a bloodline that traces its origins to both Plymouth and Jamestown, over 30, hetero cis-male, conservative, Christian, convicted abuser and deemed racist. This is the crowd that by their choices creates the very oppression they claim to protest. The difference is the target of their discrimination, oppression and the unintended consequence of incarcerating themselves in their hate. This is why this space is the way it is. I am pugnacious because I am authentic. I am pugnacious because my values, my principles are at odds with those who claim to be for the peepul. And . . . if you can set aside all the crud you load on me without actually knowing me, you may find that my authenticity, my speaking truth to insanity, is more compassionate than locking oneself in a room to be only with those who don’t generate triggers.

My Christian brethren who obsess over darkness, who worry that it is Lucifer himself under their bed every night, and hide in the safe confines of a sanctuary doing the rosary and startling at every odd noise, these too need to calm down. They are a bit full of themselves. Too much of their prayer life is devoted to asking God for protection from him, from James P. Sullivan and his buddies. I have disappointing news for them. You are not that interesting. You taste bad to Lucifer. There are plenty of souls in his pantry far tastier. If these brethren really believe in Christ then Lucifer can’t really touch them. I’m wasting my breath, though. This paranoia over Lucifer and Sully is as pernicious a psychosis as believing that I, hot mess that I am, have an evil control over that hapless college student who happens to feel black and has yellow-brown skin and blue eyes. It takes more than a blog post for them to release their attachment to the monsters under their bed.

I’m not like that crowd huddled in a college library study room carefully allowing in only those who feel safe. I’m a lot more tolerant, patient, willing to work than that bunch. You don’t have to preface a joke with a trigger warning. You don’t have to go home and change to meet me if you are currently dressed in a pastiche of men’s & women’s clothing. Nor do you have to schedule your same-sex partner’s time around my schedule so that I don’t figure out that you mix nuts & bolts. Probably clean up the needles, pipes, bongs, roach clips & empties for me, though. Addiction is one on my naughty list. Otherwise, do you. Be you. We’ll be fine.

My core tasks are to serve all and be true. My service would be less meaningful if I back-peddled on my emulation of Christ. I can still serve you as you are. You can do the same. Here is the cool thing about this. It’s not something that requires you to be a member of my church or any church for that matter. You can come out of your safe space. You can be with us and learn that we are not micro-aggressive (more probably macro-aggressive and trigger-rich). You can drop the chains & shackles of your effort to avoid triggers. If you want to follow me, do as I do, just look around you for someone who needs a small act of kindness done with great love. Do that. Do the small act of kindness with great love. Having done it, be done with it. Don’t look over your shoulder, call the recipient, text them, poke them on FB, or Instagram or whatever. Do it and walk away with no hope of any return or influence on the outcome. Anybody can do this. Everybody should do it at least once and hopefully more than once, hopefully a lot.

I’m good with being uncomfortable. I’m in this for the long game. I don’t have to win today or even at all. I know that I am on the right side of God and eventually some I serve will turn in my direction. I know that there are plenty of my Christian brethren armed with bibles who are really good at that whack upside the head and cajole for the desired answer to the altar call. I don’t have to be comfortable. Our opposition is has no lack of brethren walking about with messenger bags holding copies of the Communist Manifesto or Mao’s Little Red Book at the ready for a similar whack upside the head and a cajole to come to a seminar on redistribution of wealth. I’ll leave the snake oil sales to those who feel that their service is through closing deals on heathens. I don’t have to sell Mao, Lenin or Cheezus to serve God. I’m no less of a Christian if you flip me off. I don’t have to be right. In the end, if it is meant to be, I’ll win anyway. If not, in the meantime.I’ve got plenty to do.

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