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http://xkcd.com/385/

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My Asymmetrical Fantasy

I would like to date a supermodel. Dating a supermodel would be really neat! She would have long blonde hair, sultry blue eyes, and a perfectly tanned body. She would be very physically affectionate (I like that). She would laugh at my jokes! Also, if I were really lucky, she would do all this without internal organs, which would allow her to be shaped like this “woman.”

Rose Blog

BFF Joseph has started a blog here. You should check it out for insightful socio-political and religious commentary from someone who is a faithful Christian engaged in many facets of social justice both locally and nationally.

 

 

Let that be enough…

So this is yet another blog I wrote a few years ago, that I think may be encouraging to some of us now. It’s amazing to read it and remember what I was struggling with at the time, and to be conscious of how much Jesus has brought me through since then. Still today, I come back to the fact that my greatest vulnerability is to believe that there is anything I need that Jesus hasn’t promised to give me. And still, my greatest need is to be reminded, again and again, of His commitment to me, and His passion to work on my behalf and for my good. So here it is, friends, a journal entry from a struggling kid written almost 4 years ago. I hope it makes you leek more deeply at Jesus, and His love for you.

 

November 04 2007

 

…be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

 

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?”

-Hebrews 13:5-6

 

So it hit me today what’s been wrong with me. I’ve been buying into some deep-seated, subtle, and deadly lies.

 

I’ve believed the lie that there is anything I need other than Jesus. I’ve felt that if I could just have this, or that, or her, I’d be happy. Sometimes that isn’t Christ’s way. Sometimes the “right” thing isn’t supposed to happen, isn’t really right. Sometimes the road we are given to walk is broken. Sometimes all you get out of following Jesus is…Jesus. God has been teaching me this, and I’ve been slowly letting it become a part of me. I’ve been grudgingly dealing with it-sort of accepting that Jesus is, in some theoretical sense, enough, while stubbornly refusing to be happy unless I get what I want.

 

Today I’m trying to take it a step further. Today I’m walking away from the lie that Jesus is only enough for me to limp through life, die, and let everything get better. I am walking towards the truth that Jesus is also enough for me to be whole. For me to be fulfilled. For life to be satisfying. I want to move past acknowledging that Christ is all I need, and then refusing to be happy unless I have more. I want to run screaming into the truth that Christ is happiness. Don’t get me wrong; this world is not my home, I don’t belong here, and I will never be completely at peace until I am with Christ in Heaven. Still, I’m embracing the idea that even now, Christ is with me on earth. And that changes everything.

 

Those of you who have walked through life with me over the past year or so know that these lessons were not easy, and those of you who are still walking beside me know that I continue to struggle with them. I haven’t mastered them yet, but today, I am acknowledging that they are true, and I am choosing to walk forward in them. This world has torn my heart out, and sometimes I wish it would stay out, and I could just be numb. But we were not made for anesthesia; we were made for life-joy, pain, and all. So I am going to trust Jesus, who paid for my joy with His pain. I am going to trust Him with my heart, with my friends, and with my family. And one day, I will look back on this twisted road, and realize that it was straight. I will realize that it was exactly what God wanted for me. And one day I will realize that what God wanted was best. I love ya’ll, and I pray this for you as well. God bless you,

 

Doug

 

Let me know that you hear me/Let me know your touch/Let me know that you love me/And let that be enough

-J. Foreman

 

GOP: Dislikes Violence, Liberals. Ok just liberals.

An Experiment in Irresponsible Language

So another deranged madman allegedly murdered 6 people, one of them a nine-year-old girl, while wounding 14 others. At the time of this writing, several of those 14 are not out of the woods yet. No one yet knows why he did it, or if he acted alone or with help. This has happened before, and given the sad condition of our species, it will likely happen again.

Crazy people have gained access to weapons and killed before. However, with the careful qualification that we don’t know what (if anything) was going through his head, we do know this: this shooting didn’t happen in a vacuum. The intended target was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. Below is a map Sarah Palin sent to her supporters during the election which Ms. Giffords ultimately won:

Keep in mind, that members of the Tea Party (a movement she is very popular in) are known for carrying guns to public political rallies. So to recap: Sarah Palin knows that a large and vocal segment of her base carry guns in public. Sarah Palin publishes a map with bulls-eyes over Rep. Giffords. After Giffords and a few others win the races in question, Palin Tweets: “Don’t retreat, reload!” Giffords is shot at a political rally. Sarah Palin denies responsibility, and releases a statement saying she is praying for “peace and justice.”

Was everyone who brought a gun to a rally planning on using it? Don’t know, though statements that begin with “Look at my big scary gun, government!” and end with “Just kidding” are confusing at best. Still, she knew what kind of a world she was speaking into when she used those gun metaphors, and she did it anyways. She had to know that at least a few of her AZ Tea Partiers were capable of violence. Even if no one had been shot, and even if Loughner was found to never have heard of Ms. Palin, she needs to be held responsible for advocating violence as a means of political discourse. Honestly, I remember thinking a long time ago after her map originally came out: “Someone in Arizona is going to get shot.” Representative Giffords herself indicated similar concern. That’s worth discussing, even if this shooting isn’t directly related.

FWIW, I thought all this before Saturday; I’m just disgusted by the way Palin is acting as if her careless words could not possibly have had anything to do with this. That disgust will be there until Palin apologizes and renounces such language, no matter what Loughner’s motives are revealed to be.

And honestly, let’s say we could somehow prove beyond a doubt that Loughner wasn’t influenced by Palin, or Bachman, or Angle, or anything other than undead Nazi space aliens talking to him through various stuffed animals and cats (it’s always cats, isn’t it?). Are we really comfortable with this kind of rhetoric? Is it really good? Would we really lose so much by abandoning it? What might we gain?

Ms. Palin has been experimenting with inflammatory, irresponsible, and yes, violent language for quite a long time, presumably in the hopes of determining how best to get elected. These shootings may end up having nothing to do with that experiment (I believe they call that ” a freebie”). But we the voting public need to make sure that her experiment ultimately fails in winning our vote, and instead brings our consternation.

Doug Life Rerun: Advent and Angst

So this is a post I originally wrote on a MySpace blog on Christmas Day 2006. (Sidebar: Remember MySpace? Me either) It’s becoming a tradition to repost it on Christmas Day every year. Each year as I reread it, I’m amazed at how little I knew at the time regarding how much life could hurt, especially compared with how much I thought I knew (and how dramatic I could be about it-too much My Chemical Romance on the iPod at the time, I guess). Still, I’m heartened by the reminder in it, from a heart that was less cynical then than it is now: that Jesus’s entrance into our little world has something profound to say about the human condition. Namely, that God understands it-understands us-and has not left us to fend for ourselves, no matter how much it may feel like it. That is what Christmas is primarily about-that God is with us. Here it is, with a heartfelt wish that God’s presence with us would get under our skin and sink into our bones-we need it that much. We have it that much.

Our world is really wrong. We all know it. It’s the polluted air we breathe. It’s wars, and false peaces. It’s hate and the pitiful counterfeits of love we accept. It’s Amish school shootings. It’s child molestation. It’s shootings in a mall the day before Christmas. It’s AIDS. It’s cancer taking the lives of so many, and so indiscriminately. It’s the depression that strikes so many of us, and the ways the rest of us mishandle that particular disease. It’s death. It’s life that isn’t life. And it’s me. It’s the fumbling way I love people. It’s the way I feel, at my deepest and darkest, that I have the right NOT to love certain people. It’s the way I allow myself to look at ANY other person, and look down on them, as if I have anything that wasn’t given to me. It’s that homeless guy I didn’t feed. It’s the way I don’t have time for certain people. It’s the way that, as much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, I sit at the center of my own little universe as I look out at the world. It’s the way I shake my fist at heaven when things go wrong. The way I blame God, my upbringing, my circumstances, anything but me for my problems.

And now it’s Christmas time. Woot. I think if some sappy moron in a Santa hat came up and hugged me right now I might beat him. These past three months have been the most difficult of my life. I’ve gone through a good deal of pain. People I love have died; people I love have moved far away, people I love have decided they are through with me. I’ve been mad at God. I deserve better, I tell Him. He seems far away, unconcerned, and cruel. The world should not be so unfair. I should not be so broken. He keeps doing things that I wouldn’t do if I were Him.

This, oddly enough, is why I’m celebrating Christmas this year. Because my world is really wrong. Because God keeps doing things I don’t like. And because Christmas means He didn’t leave me here alone. He’s been here. He has worn our skin and walked our streets and breathed our air. He has felt the curse that tears at us, turns us into sad parodies of what we were made for. He has fought to fix things, to make them, to make us, whole again. He has chosen to take the brunt of this world’s brokenness on Himself. I am reminded that I would not have done this were I God. I would have left us alone with our depravity. But God keeps doing things I wouldn’t were I Him. He keeps giving me better than what I deserve. This isn’t sappy Christmas drivel. This is God proving once and for all that he understands me. He knows. And He’s there. Jesus revealed God to us by being God amongst us. And God is good.

“and while we yet were sinners, christ died for us. he did not leave us alone. he stepped into our condition to bring us back to god. to bring us back to what was intended. the divine, bearing all depravity. the most horrific of collisions. the most tragic and beautiful. the breaking is glorious and loud. we have won. it might not feel like it. you might not can see it just yet. but the reality of our situation is that rescue is present. every second of life is spent in the very presence of god. there is not a second of human history that he has not been present. majesty is here. and it is coming. finally. just be quiet. and wait.”

-David Crowder

One final thought, from “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Longfellow:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

And there is hope. May you and yours have a merry Christmas in the knowledge that though things are wrong, God has come, is coming back, and they will be right again.

God bless you,

Doug