MR. CHRISTIAN’S SUNDAY MORNING by James Merritt

MR. CHRISTIAN’S SUNDAY MORNING by James Merritt

Mr. Christian woke up, thanked God for the air, his wife, and the Republican party. He told his stupid kids to hurry the hell up as they were leaving for church; he told his wife to wash off her make up as she looked like a whore, then told her to put it back on when he realized she was covering her bruises.

On the way to church he stopped by McDonalds to get coffee and tell the sinners they shouldn’t work on the Lord’s day. Then, he told them to get real jobs and stop living off his taxes.

When the Christian family got to church they hugged, shook hands and sat together in the third pew back, left side. They sat rigid unmoving smiles on and sang the required songs. They stood and sat when told to–doing just enough without making a fuss of an amen or a testimony as that took up too much lunch time before the Sunday afternoon game.

They thanked the Pastor and paid their tithe. Mr. Christian signed his wife up to teach Sunday school, teach Vacation Bible School, and lead the bake sales for the next quarter. She worked full time as he did, but he knew she’d figure it out, and if she got stressed, no problem. He’d yell at her, telling her not to sign up for so much stuff.

Mr. Christian got home and sat in his favorite chair while wife and kids fixed dinner. When he got up to move to the table and sit down, everything wasn’t ready, so he yelled at his wife “Why won’t you just sit down already so I can ‘say grace’ and start eating.

Then she had to get back up and finish her work (hopefully before he wanted what she was getting ready) or he would yell, “Oh, I guess we don’t have any…. Honey, why did you let us run out of…. Then, he would shovel a few plates full down his gullet before getting up complaining of being exhausted and sit down to watch TV. Of course, he wouldn’t help clean up lunch. That wasn’t his job. He worked!

The fact that she worked full time as well did not even register with him. If the kids ever followed him into the living room, he would smack them and tell them to go help their mother. Yes, God was good. His team was winning. He was a white man in White America. The new president promised to get rid of non-whites, Muslims and queers. Things were looking up for Mr. Christian.

 

 

[James Merritt is a frequent contributor to Columnist with a View. His satirical and short, macabre vignettes illustrate views that are often overlooked. He lives in Maryland.]

A PASTOR DESCENDED FROM ROBERT E. LEE FORCED TO LEAVE CHURCH AFTER SPEAKING OUT AGAINST RACISM by Ursula Faw

A PASTOR DESCENDED FROM ROBERT E. LEE FORCED TO LEAVE CHURCH AFTER SPEAKING OUT AGAINST RACISM by Ursula Faw

STATUE OF ROBERT E. LEE - This is what started it all in Charlottesville.

A descendant of Robert E. Lee spoke these words at the MTV Video Awards last month in the immediate aftermath of Charlottesville:


“My name is Robert Lee IV, I’m a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.

“Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched int he Women’s March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.”


Long story short, his North Carolina congregants didn’t like what he had to say on national television and they decided to take a vote on whether he should remain as their pastor. Lee took the hint and issued this statement:


“I regret that speaking out has caused concern and pain to my church. For this is [sic] I offer my heartfelt apology. I understand that my views could be considered to be controversial. I never sought this sort of attention. But, I do believe in God’s role in calling out for positive social change for the good of all.

We are all called by God to speak out against hate and evil in all its many forms. There are so many good things going on with this congregation and I do not want my fight to detract from the mission. If the recent media attention causes concern with my church, I reluctantly offer my resignation.”


Lee’s congregants emphatically did not like the world wide media attention. Washington Post:

“Lee did not describe specific responses he received from congregants. But the comments section on an article about his VMA speech in the Winston-Salem Journal gives some sense of the backlash. One commenter wrote that there was “no way” Lee was a Christian and that “it seems anybody that wants to protect our country is a racist, or white supremacist. …It’s a sin to use your position to name-call and judge.” Another commenter wrote that rather than appear on television, Lee should devote his time to ministering: “You have how many faithful members? Maybe if you spent more time around the church that number would increase.”

“In an Aug. 18 interview with BBC News, Lee argued that statues of his ancestor honor white supremacy and endorse a system in which it is acceptable to be racist in America. He pointed to the complete lack of markers to fascists in Europe following World War II as evidence that there is a way to “remember your history and not commemorate it.” Lee talked of how he had spoken with a descendant of a slave owned by the Lee family, describing his heartbreak over hearing the firsthand experiences of those “hurt and oppressed by statues.”

“Lee has spoken openly about how he arrived at his own conclusions about his lineage, saying he has at once felt pride in the fact that Lee family members signed the Declaration of Independence and shame over Robert E. Lee’s leadership over the Confederacy. In one NPR interview, he spoke of how he was often given mixed messages on whether the elder Lee was a proponent of slavery or states’ rights.”

REV. ROB LEE

Rev. Lee is quite courageous. He is in a small, yet gradually increasing group of courageous pastors, notably John Pavlovitz and William Barber, who are unequivocally standing up for what is right in America. They truly are moral leaders in troubled times when churches and congregations are reflecting the divisions and turmoil that exist all over our country. Their moral compass is strong and we are fortunate. When Rev. Lee was asked “was it worth it,” he replied, “Unequivocally yes.”

[This article first appeared in Daily Kos on September 5, 2017. It was re-blogged by “Support the Dream Defenders,” “Street Prophets,” and “Daily Kos Liberation League.”]

AN APOSTATE YOGI by Judson Jerome

AN APOSTATE YOGI by Judson Jerome

This yogi in his dhoti in Benares

stood on one leg.

One outstretched palm kept ice from melting

while the other fried an egg

Wearing nothing but a turban and a mandala

he dwelt in a Frigidaire

eight months chewing a ginseng root.

They don’t need air.

They are not dependent on the variables

that generally maintain us.

They show the autonomic nervous system who is boss.

A yogi can suck water up his anus.

swallow Kleenex and pull it out his nose.

A woman with a yogi for a lover

said he never came too soon,

yet sitting in his lotus with his thoughts on God

could spurt all afternoon.

I never met a lady yogi, but I hear they menstruate

when they please.

A yogi never laughs without deciding,

nor does he sneeze.

He makes his heart beat fast or slow, depending

on mind, not glands.

his hiccups, sweat and pupil sizes

obey commands.

He farts at will and never apologizes.

 

As a boy I tried to suck my belly under

ribs till I saw my spine.

Though I never tried a rope or cobra, I played

my ocarina for some twine.

I pounded blunt ten penny nails through plywood

and would have lain on it, no doubt,

if I could have got my weight all in one motion 

evenly stretched out.

I wiggled my ears and pursed my sphincters,

crossing my eyes.

In school I sat with a stony gaze, engaged

in internal exercise.

But I surrendered as I aged

to the voluntary and involuntary

as discrete domains,

with uncontrollable regret enduring

riot in my veins,

incontinently wishing I could master

that skill or art

that could predict, if not manipulate,

the weather of my heart.

And yet my effort is no more to strengthen,

but to subdue my will,

to go through ego’s mirror and be whole.

Still you may see me sitting very still,

straining to throw off the mind’s control.

 

[from PUBLIC DOMAIN JUDSON JEROME published by Trunk Press, Hancock, Maryland, 1977.]

 

 

 

SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM by Constance Hilliard

SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM by Constance Hilliard

HUCKABEE SANDERS - POSTER CHILD FOR SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM THAT AROSE FROM ANTEBELLUM SOUTH

What could be worse than the soul-shredding evil of racism during the era of human bondage? My answer would be creating a world of make-believe so fortified by lies that those who lived within it could believe that slaves didn’t mind it in the least when their children were sold from their trembling arms or when their wives were sexually assaulted by the plantation owner.

While the institution of forced labor was dismantled after the Civil War, the peculiar mindset that defined reality as whatever the patriarch said it was, regardless of the evidence of one’s own senses, escaped the confines of the South and spread to other areas of white working class America.

It was a worldview built on an invented moral authority. Southern evangelicals had fought the abolitionism of their northern evangelical counterparts by creating a new hermeneutics–Bible literalism. It proclaimed that anything theologians found in the world of 2,000 years ago as having made its way into the Bible could be declared sacrosanct and God-inspired. Critical thinking skills, even personal observation were disdained for the proclamations of the patriarchal leader. In that context, lies were whatever liberals said, and the truth was the patriarch’s mumblings.

SARAH HUCKEBEE-SANDERS

White House press secretary, Sarah Huckebee Sanders, thinks of herself as a good Christian because she is faithful to the truths of Donald Trump. If this poison isn’t worse than racism, then it certainly runs a close second.

[Constance Hilliard’s article was reblogged by Daily Kos Liberation League on August 2, 2017. It is reprinted here with permission of Daily Kos.]

HYPOCRISY LIKELY TO BLAME FOR DECLINE OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS by L. Milton Hankins

HYPOCRISY LIKELY TO BLAME FOR DECLINE OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS by L. Milton Hankins

Before I intimate the declining state of religion in this country, let me say that it is in dismal disarray.

Thousands of churches in America, on any given Sunday morning, have a telling number of empty pews–most of them more than half-empty. An equal number (thousands) of articles have been written, asking, “Why is church membership declining?” That is not my particular concern either.

MADALYN MURRAY O’HAIR

My interest is in the growing number of agnostics and atheists, in general. I well remember a time in this country when only one atheist’s voice was being heard and who name was well-know–Madalyn Murray O’Hair. O’Hair once opined, “Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea.” The remarkable, but unthinkable truth, is that she was right! Keep this thought in mind.

Before I share statistics, it is important to understand the meaning of the words “atheist” and “agnostic.” According to Dr. Phil Zuckerman, in an October 2015 issue of Psychology Today, “An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of God or gods. And agnostic is someone who isn’t sure if there is a God or not, or who doesn’t feel like he or she (or anyone) can have any valid information on the matter, and thus, thinks that it is impossible to say there is a God, or that there isn’t.”

I’ll go with Zuckerman’s definitions, but simplify them by saying that both atheists and agnostics (nonbelievers) simply have no belief in a deity, period. They are neither theists nor polytheists. They are about as willing to talk about God or gods as they are to enter into a passionate, intense discussion of unicorns or leprechauns!

Atheism and agnosticism is growing at breathtaking rates through the world. Just to share some statistics, according to the Oxford Handbook, 41 percent of the people of France (or nearly 20 million) are nonbelievers. Almost one-third of the people of the United Kingdom are nonbelievers. But, wait…

While we may not be surprised that 17 percent of the people of Russia are nonbelievers, it startles us to learn there are a little less than half that number (8 percent) in the United States. The actual number of unbelievers in the United States is 18,625,556. Compare to the population of the State of New York - 19,795,791 (2014)

 

SYMBOL OF ATHEISM

The rise in numbers of unbelievers in the U.S. is, unquestionably, not due to the efforts of Madalyn Murray O’Hair!

I suspect this statistic is buoyed and burgeoning because the church continues to be unrealistic in its teachings, along with its unrelenting promotion of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. It is growing because of the unremitting hypocrisy between what Christians “say” and what Christians “do.”

The results of the recent election evince the latter. I cannot, in my lifetime, remember so profane and un-Christ-like a candidate as Donald Trump; yet, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported and voted for him. Go figure!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins

LIFETIME YIELDS OBSERVATIONS ON RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY by L. Milton Hankins

LIFETIME YIELDS OBSERVATIONS ON RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY by L. Milton Hankins

[Editor’s Note:  Following are personal observations and conclusions I have reached. You may not agree with some or all of them and that’s okay. Think about some of the important observations and conclusions you have come to during your lifetime. Hey, I might not agree with some or all of yours either, but, it’s an informative and fun reflection on your life experiences.]

From infancy I attended Sunday school and church. I went on to college and seminary and was, somewhat simultaneously, a pastor/teacher for 50-plus years. Living life observantly has taught me more about religion, the church and the spiritual life that I could’ve ever absorbed from books. Here are a few serious (and silly) lessons I’ve learned:

♦ Most church signs display either bad spelling, poor grammar or faulty theology. Some, all three!

 

♦ Churches say they want to grow, but they don’t want to bring in new people with new ideas. They say “We’ve never done it that way before.”

♦ Christians preach generosity and practice frugality.

♦ Faith comes not from knowing; faith comes from not knowing. Faith does not arrive at what we’ll know, but journeys toward what we’ll never know.

♦ In spite of what some Christians believe, not everything in the Bible is demonstrably true.

♦ Atheists spend too much time talking about God.  Think about it. Unicorns and trolls don’t exist, so we don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about them.

♦ Don’t count on tomorrow. It might not come.

♦ Everyone knows the “Golden Rule”; almost no one follows it.

♦ If Jesus returns on a Saturday evening, he won’t be in church on Sunday morning.

♦ There’s absolutely no saving grace in years of faithful church attendance.

♦ Love your neighbor, but erect a sturdy fence.

♦ Treat animals like you believe in reincarnation.

 

♦ In the long run, it IS true that “what goes ’round comes round.’

♦ It is not true that you can’t worship on the golf course or at the seashore as well as you can in church.

♦ Never make change out of the offering plate.

♦ Preachers who cannot properly interpret Shakespeare (17th Century English) shouldn’t be interpreting the King James Version of the Bible.

♦ Christians say heaven is a wonderful place, but they don’t seem overly anxious to go there.

♦ We humans are just discovering what the Creator has known all along.

♦ Just because a creed is old and oft-repeated does not make it true.

♦ The Ten Commandments do NOT need to be displayed; they need to be obeyed.

 

 

♦ According to physics, for every action there is an equal, opposite reaction; for every good there is an equal, opposite evil.

♦ The most abhorrent sin is bigotry. Bigotry thrives on a false sense of superiority. Bigotry is a disgusting form of hypocrisy.

♦ If parishioners cannot remember what the morning sermon was about, then the homily was either poorly constructed, feebly delivered or simply not worth remembering!

♦ Humans believe (and live) too many half-truths.

♦ It is better to be wrong and stand corrected than to be corrected and then take a wrong stand.

♦ If you fall for everything, you won’t believe in anything.

♦ The ways we are alike have a difficult time surfacing through the ways we are different.

Sometime, set aside some time to jot down the general, personal, religious/spiritual lessons you have learned in your lifetime, so far. I suspect it will be a longer list than you imagined. According to phrases.org.UK, Julius Caesar recorded the earliest known version of this proverb: “Experience is the best teacher.”

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins (all rights reserved)

[L. Milton Hankins is a theologian, former pastor, author and columnist and the publisher of Columnist with a View (columnistwithaview.com). He lives with his wife Deborah and Jose, their three year old chihuahua, in Ashland, Kentucky. This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch. Milt’s e-mail address is amsmilt@windstream.net]