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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Penis Envy and the Hope for Decisive Spiritual Affirmation

The Dynamic Call of Saul

. 3 As he [Saul, later known as Paul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.  (ACTS 9:3-19 NIV)


The Well-Endowed Must Be Proud (Click link below--clip from Evan Almighty):

What is the movie Evan Almighty about?

Newscaster Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves Buffalo behind when he wins a seat in Congress. Moving his wife (Lauren Graham) and family to northern Virginia, he seems to have it made, then God (Morgan Freeman) throws a crisis of biblical proportions at his feet: The Lord wants him to build an ark and line up all the animals two-by-two in preparation for a flood. (Evan Almighty/Film synopsis (returned on initial page following primary search) 

Click link below for selected clips from Evan Almighty movie:

Throughout the years I have known Christians and others with a spiritual bent (including me) to have felt a virtual penis envy of the heart upon regarding St. Paul and his dramatic transcendent encounter on the road to Damascus. Many of us are only too well acquainted with the yeoman sweat involved in our being earnest servants and believers of the Way accompanied too often at times by the nagging sense of tiresome routine and of endless sloughs of the innervating and unremarkable.  But sometimes like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof who yearns for a deeper love than may be suggested by an arranged marriage to Golde (his wife of 25 years), we yearn for what can only be called an endearing personal affirmation so absolute, so striking, and so memorable as to weather any of life’s relentless storms.

Over two decades (1980-1999), like Evan Baxter of the movie, my world was shaken to the core and upon these disconcerting disruptions was tempered an irrevocable faith in which skepticism and doubt came to be silly and absurd and totally beyond belief.  When occasionally emotionally flipped-out by a host of omnipresent matrices, God would say to me (as he did Evan): Let it out son, for this is the beginning of wisdom (see movie clips link above).  And the path to belief did indeed seem to entail recurring algorithms.

For a narrative of my experience click link below: My Bouts with Battiness:

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Institutional Respect--Appropriate and Necessary

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.  Consider for a moment why America so dearly needed him.  One of his last acts was to support a living wage for garbage collection laborers.  Now there was likely nothing illegal about the laborers’ terms of employment.  The workers may well have been told before employment what they would be paid.  There were probably no legal grounds for alleging dishonesty or deceit.  But MLK as a a Baptist minister was well acquainted with the ministry of Jesus.  The operative concern for Jesus was not a strict constructionist view of legality.  If it were, the perfect place for his ministry would have been within the Jewish religious hierarchy.  Rather than being a strict constructionist, he would willingly break laws when they inhumanely stood in the way of loving acts of kindness.  Laws (the “form” of righteousness) could in no way take the place of a loving spirit (the substance of righteousness). To do so would be counterproductive and sometimes even diametrically opposed to kindness (as well as wider views of justice).

Authentic Christianity can never, never thrive as a dogmatic theocratic form of state governance.  It boils down to a simple question of professional appropriateness.  For Christianity to usurp the role of secular governance would be to sabotage spiritual creativity and freedom.  The joy of Christianity would drown in a cesspool of corruption and greed.  The heart of Christianity is not a set of ideological doctrines that can be fashioned into theocratic state rules and regs to which all must bow down in idol worship.  (Theocratic Type A males enshrine themselves in governance, not Christ).  That is, so far as atheist and nonbelievers espy the dangers of theocracy, I do so even more. For as much as they cherish the state, I cherish the integrity of the Christian Way with ultimate regard—a Way, full-stop, not “holier than thou “ (than secular government).  But simply in the nature things, a line that must not be crossed institutionally for the good of all.

 I began acknowledging today’s tribute to MLK.   We are all aware that he heavily influenced public policy.  But to repeat, for Christianity to be effective it must respect the special God-given role of government.  Needless to say, if King had conspired to topple the state in order for it to be run by a cadre of Baptist ministers, I think we can all agree the likelihood is that the state would be worse off, the integrity of the Baptist Christian mission on permanent vacation on a LaLa Pacific island, and MLK honored in puffery but not in fact.  His dream, rather—thank God--was grounded in faith AND “Faith is the key to unlocking barriers” (Vinney Myers). 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pandora Potpourri

A Few Thoughts for Today:

Incarceration of males varies in direct proportion to their certitude that no one gives a damn whether they thrive or perish. Upon an arrest, the necessary documents and court proceedings serve to substantiate the individual' reality and can materialize for a rare moment that larger society may actually seem to seriously care.


I wish to thank those in Congress who in the tax law recently passed demonstrated resolute interest in the financial health of the alcohol beverage industry (business ipso facto is always virtuous and good and always silo in the event of a rare and unlikely untoward consequence). To get real for a moment, may the consequent widespread effects of broken lives and piercing, painful shards of thought--certain to ensue--haunt the legislators' dreams (and consciences?)  and those also of their children--generation upon generation-- until the full perfidy of their proud, victorious, and flaunted political prescience is fully deflated by the dried blood of fact.


For those Republicans with whom I am personally acquainted that have religiously kept fealty to Donald Trump and his never-ending loyalty to Putin and all his ways, I relate that two long-time good and caring friends of mine could not worship in Russia since they are Jehovah Witnesses.  I want you dwell on this fact and all it implies until you are dead-sure you are totally fine with it.

Click Link Below for short related clip from The Sound of Music


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