PRONOUN TROUBLE

Monday, August 31st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

This still seems to be a thing:

The University of Tennessee has told its staff and students to stop calling each other ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘him’ and ‘her’ – and to start referring to one another with terms like ‘xe’, ‘zir’ and ‘xyr’ instead.

The Knoxville branch of the public university, which has 27,400 students, sent a memo round to its members filled with unusual new parts of speech to avoid referring to anybody’s gender. According to a gay rights official at the university, the new language regime will make the university ‘welcoming and inclusive’ and stop people feeling ‘marginalized’.

The university published the instructions on its website on Wednesday after they were emailed to every member of the university by the institution’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity.

Officials have since insisted the the guidelines are not compulsory and that they do not want to ‘dictate speech’.

[Laughing hard] YES, they do.

Donna Braquet, who runs the university’s Pride Center, wrote the guidelines, which are accompanied with a long table demonstrating how to replace the regular parts of speech.

Surely ze can’t be serious.

Instead of ‘he’ and ‘she’, Braquet suggests four alternatives.

One is the commonplace strategy of using ‘they’, ‘them’ and ‘their’ for individuals rather than groups. 

She also suggests ‘ze’ and ‘xe’ – both pronounced ‘zhee’ – and a variety of secondary conjugations to be used for anybody who rejects the traditional gender binary.

Xe’s entirely serious, h8er.  And don’t call zyr Shirley (you people have no idea how long I’ve wanted to use that line).

INDECENT PROPOSAL II

Saturday, August 29th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Amber Haines wonders how her fellow Christians would react if they found her name in the Ashley Madison database:

Since the release of adulterers’ information, the internet has crucified Ashley Madison and anyone who’s dared to sign up for a profile there, quick to call the site a scourge and quick to exhibit disgust, as well, I believe they should. I wonder as a believer in Christ how our response should be different, if at all. I wonder what your response would be if someone you love is revealed.

What I see in the church at a time like this is very important, not just to me, but to anyone deciding what to do with the idea of grace, repentance or healing, because it’s easy to assume that how you respond to those found in the Ashley Madison database is how you would respond to me if my sins were revealed. I don’t believe shame and disgust are necessarily inappropriate knee-jerk responses to such sickness, because an affair can bring destruction to the individual and to the entire family. But after the knee-jerk, where will we go from there?

Amber knows how she thinks I should react.

Last night at sunset, I drove to Sequoyah Mountain, a place many go to find some peace here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Sometimes it’s covered in Christian college kids sitting in a row along the rock wall beneath a lit-up cross. The sky was gasp-worthy florescent pink, and several young men had gathered there maybe to talk, maybe to think they would sit in silence and awe. Instead every single one of them looked at their phones, as if the intimacy of the quiet might undo them. The silence feels like it might kill us sometimes. I’m no different, and I know it’s especially hard when shame weighs us down, when we haven’t addressed the pain.

If you found my name in the Ashley Madison database, maybe you could call me and let me know you’re not disappearing, but the thing you could do, the real thing that would bring healing to marriages and to the church and maybe even to the world is help me learn how to be quiet. Help me learn how to rest again, how to sit in the silence with all the echoes of my heart and be filled there by God. Help me love my body, to not go hungry and to not flog myself. Remind me of the joy set before me and despise my shame.

Show me the way of peace. Show me that believers don’t have to lash out, and they don’t have to give an expository teaching about sin. If you want to see me come to healing, don’t let me off the hook, but way before that, don’t let yourself off the hook. Show me the way that says it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to let the silence speak my secrets to the light.

Amber?  Lashing out or “an expository teaching about sin” is precisely what you will receive from me unless I receive genuine and convincing evidence of a word you casually tossed in there a few paragraphs back.

Repentance.

Bottom line?  If you and I are married and you convinced me that joining Ashley Madison was the single stupidest and most evil thing that you’ve ever done in your entire life and you’d give anything in the world to take it back, then there wouldn’t be anything in the entire world that I would withhold from you.

But if I thought you were lying, our marriage would be over.

INDECENT PROPOSAL

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Stephen Mackey on the Ashley Madison hack:

Give us all your personal information — name, address, phone number, email, credit card — and we will help you have an affair. We won’t tell a soul. We promise.

That’s the premise of Ashley Madison, because hey, “Life is short. Have an affair.” And this made total sense to millions of people. Until one day, it didn’t.

That day was the day hackers known has the Impact Team posted the personal information of some 30+ million users. When that happened, it made sense to no one. Including lots of people who had no idea what Ashley Madison was 24 hours before, but were quick to have an opinion when news of the data hack broke on their Facebook feed. Those opinions fell into one of two camps:

Steve’s got major problems with how some of us (Christians) reacted to it.

[The "How can you be so stupid?  Serves you right] school boasts alumni who can’t fathom adultery (or at least won’t admit it publicly). They are proud to tell you how they would never do anything so stupid. They confidently and categorically condemn those who have been caught and celebrate the consequences that will come their way.

Those who graduated from this elitist school of thought will go on to defend their view with black-and-white statements like, “That’s the problem with America” or “That’s what happens when people don’t understand marriage.” They will talk of the “good ol’ days” when marriage was a commitment that meant something and God was still at its center.

While this school isn’t wrong, I don’t know that it is right, either. Even though I would agree with some of its sentiments, its ethos lacks a certain sense of empathy. It lacks any sense of the grey that is so common in life. It lacks any sense of compassion. It lacks any sense of curiosity as to why one would want to sign up for this service to begin with.

Empathy, Steve?  Compassion?  Curiosity?  You really want to play those cards, bitch?

Because I spent my entire life waiting for someone to marry me and, God willing, start a family of my own with.  She never came, Steve.  Granted, she may have come and I didn’t recognize her.  I’m REALLY good that way, I’ve driven off lots of great women in my time.  Of course, Steve ends with Luke 6:4

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

Okay, Steve.  Here one for you.  Luke 8:17:

For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

Welcome to human existence, dude.

#BOYCOTTDENVER

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

As most of you know, I don’t have all that much money coming in these days. It is what it is but my traveling days are probably over.  Not that it matters a heck of a whole lot since, apart from Israel, there are very few places in the world that I really want to see and the number of cities into which I will no longer set foot just increased by one:

Chick-fil-A’s reputation as an opponent of same-sex marriage has imperiled the fast-food chain’s potential return to Denver International Airport, with several City Council members this week passionately questioning a proposed concession agreement.

Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at DIA “really, truly a moral issue on the city.”

His position comes despite ardent assurances from the concessionaires — who have operated other DIA restaurants — that strict nondiscrimination policies will include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” She was first to raise Chick-fil-A leaders’ politics during a Tuesday committee hearing.

The normally routine process of approving an airport concession deal has taken a rare political turn. The Business Development Committee on Tuesday stalled the seven-year deal with a new franchisee of the popular chain for two weeks.

Should the committee reject the lease, an individual member — if one is willing — could introduce the concession deal in the full council. Ten of the 13 members attended Tuesday’s meeting, and none rose to defend Chick-fil-A, although some didn’t weigh in.

“We can do better than this brand in Denver at our airport, in my estimation,” new member Jolon Clark said.

If any of you refer to this post on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you use that hashtag.  Let the bastards think that there’s something serious going on here.

HEAD CASE?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

What’s going on with Michael Sam these days?

Michael Sam is stepping away from pro football.

Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, has told the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes that he is leaving the team.

“The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” Sam tweeted Friday. “Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time.”

The Alouettes confirmed in a release that Sam has left the club for “personal reasons” and that he has been added to the team’s suspended list.

He did not play in Montreal’s home loss to Edmonton on Thursday night, with the team citing a sore back. He made his CFL debut the previous week.

The 25-year-old defensive end, the 2013 Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year at Missouri, failed to record a tackle in Montreal’s loss to Ottawa.

Sam agreed to a two-year deal with the Alouettes this summer. He left training camp June 12, citing personal reasons, and sat out the team’s first five games.

Maybe there’s something personal or familial that’s occupying Mike’s mind, in which case I get it since I’ve been there.  But there are two other possibilities, both interrelated.  Vicki Hall of the Ottawa Sun thinks Mike’s stress might have come from his teammates.

The Canadian Football League chapter of the Michael Sam story is sad on so many levels.

Sad in that the Montreal Alouettes held a lavish news conference for a guy with so-so game film and little chance, on paper, of making a difference in the three-down game.

Sad in that his teammates – the majority making significantly less than the $100,000 Sam reportedly signed for – watched helplessly as the roster spot of a worthy player went to a guy with a bigger name and a splashier back story.

If I was an Alouette, the team signed a gay guy for three or four times what I was making and that gay guy turned out to be not as talented as I am, I’d be pissed off too, maybe even enough to drop an F-bomb or two in practice.  Because I’d know that that’s the only reason the gay guy got signed in the first place.

Because he was gay and the club wanted free publicity.

And there’s something else.  Mike had this to say at his Montreal presser.

“I don’t think I need to have anything to prove. I’ve already proved enough. I mean the film doesn’t lie. So I don’t think I need to keep proving to people that I know how to play football.”

Which means that Mike believed the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year hype.  He believed that he was All That only to find that he was barely Some of That.

You’re right, Mike.  The film doesn’t lie. And if you go back over 2013 MU game video, you’ll find that Mike’s best games came against some of the SEC’s worst teams.

That season, I saw three MU games wire-to-wire.  Against Florida, Mike was a felon; it should be illegal to do what he did that afternoon at Faurot Field in Columbia.  Not only could the Gators not stop him, they couldn’t even hope to contain him.  If I remember correctly, they ended up running away from Mike every chance they got.

But here’s the deal.  Florida was particularly banged up for that game and had a substandard (for Florida) team anyway.  In the SEC title game against Auburn, one of the best teams in the country, Mike didn’t show up.

And Mike was barely there in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State, managing only one strip fumble that somebody else ran in for a touchdown in a game that MU eventually won.

What Mike doesn’t seem to understand is that, in the pros, you play “Auburn” every single week.  He’s got the ability to catch on with an Arena-league or minor-league team somewhere but don’t expect to see Michael Sam in the NFL, well, ever.

Because Mike’s obviously no Warren Moon.

Prior to the 1978 NFL Draft, some NFL scouts suggested that since University of Washington quarterback Warren Moon had played in a rollout rather than a drop-back passing offense, he would be a mid-round pick. Others speculated that since only one African American quarterback, James Harris, had achieved any measurable success in the NFL, Moon would have to play some other position. Regardless of which misguided reason motivated NFL scouts, Moon remained confident of his abilities and opted to sign with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He went on to lead the Eskimos to an unprecedented five consecutive Grey Cup victories.

Eventually, Moon returned to the United States to play for the Houston Oilers in 1984. He racked up nearly 50,000 passing yards in 17 NFL seasons. Moon set a new club record with 3,338 yards passing in his first year with the Houston, a mark he would break four more times. In 1986, when the Oilers installed the run-and-shoot offense, Moon’s quarterback skills finally became apparent to all. The wide-open offense showcased Moon’s strong arm, running skills, and big-play ability.

Despite spending his first six professional seasons in the CFL, Moon ranked third all-time in NFL passing yardage and fourth in touchdown passes thrown at the time of his retirement.

Warren Moon is in the NFL Hall of Fame, Mike.  Just sayin’.

THREE-CARD MONTE

Monday, August 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments

I’ve got three words of advice for St. James the Great Episcopal Church, Newport Beach, California.  Assume the position.  Because you’re about to take one up the narthex:

Charges of misconduct leveled against the Bishop of Los Angeles should be resolved through a negotiated settlement between the parties, the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops has recommended.

Insofar as Fatso essentially gets to pick his own judge, I’d also start scouting alternative worship locations if I were you.

Where a matter is referred for conciliation, the Bishop Diocesan shall appoint a Conciliator to assist the Complainant, Respondent, other affected persons and the Church in reconciling. The Bishop Diocesan or a representative appointed by the Bishop Diocesan may participate in the conciliation.

This thing could still go the distance.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreed settlement, the matter returns to the Reference Board, which may dismiss the charges, investigate them further or pass the matter onto the Presiding Bishop’s office.

But I don’t like your chances.  And I don’t know what you’re going to do about a denominational hook-up, assuming you still want one.

SCHADENFREUDE

Saturday, August 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

LA’s Episcopalian pointy-hat J. Jon Bruno can’t seem to buy a break these days.  He just got done suing a bunch of Anglican reactionaries out of St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach and thought he had a sweet church real estate deal lined up with a private developer that would make the Diocese some mad jack.

But a serious complication put that deal on hold.  Come to find out that the remaining Episcopalians at St. James the Great aren’t that crazy about the idea of having their meeting house sold out from under them:

This past Friday marked 40 days and 40 nights that the St. James the Great, Newport Beach, CA, congregation has been locked out of our unsold church building. Parishioners from 4-year-olds to 90-year-olds, along with three pregnant women, and visitors now gather in a nearby park in the summer heat to worship and continue our mission and outreach in the community.

Apparently, Fatso is being kind of a douche about the whole thing.

Yet, in the midst of this exceptional congregation, the utter callousness the diocesan leadership has shown has left me profoundly sad and nearly speechless. The congregation continues to be stonewalled by the bishop and his staff and is now being threatened with more litigation instead of pastoral care or communication. This is not the Episcopal Church we know and love. We pride ourselves on intellectual dialog, protest of injustice for the other, and speaking up for the marginalized. But St. James the Great, one of their own, has itself now been marginalized.

StJtG?

St. James the Great is not a disposable church. We are living breathing souls who have suffered an egregious injustice from our leadership by being sold out like slaves without a place at the table. I have grieved for the many testimonials I have heard from others who have been treated in the same manner or worse by this diocesan leadership. And, although we have received amazing support from numerous clergy and churches, many more support us but fear retaliation by the bishop if they voice their support.

Could I interject something here?

We are also not just a property on a balance sheet. We are real people who care so much for the greater church we are willing to take a stand and say, no, you cannot displace a viable, growing church for profit. We are called to serve the Newport Beach community that has overwhelmingly told us they need and want the church and its facilities that have been serving them for the past 70 years to continue for another 70 years and beyond.

No?  Okay.

St. James the Great has become a lens through which one can see past an old, opaque institution into a new, transparent model of inclusiveness. Where old structures based on absolute power and hierarchy give way to the new church. Where relationships, teamwork, and collaboration thrive. We pray Bishop Bruno stops the sale of our church while he can. We pray for reconciliation. We pray the rest of the church stands with us and says what has happened to St. James the Great can never happen again.

You done, StJtG?  Here’s why I’m having a REAL tough time caring all that much about your plight.  Were you not paying attention over the last several years when Double J and LA’s diocesan leadership spent Lord knows how many millions of dollars kicking traditionalists out of their buildings?  You have no excuse not to have been since you were one of the parishes which were sued.

So you know, and you have no excuse not to know, what kind of a man J. Jon Bruno is.  And it didn’t seem to have bothered any of you much when StJtG’s traditionalists were finally driven out.  Well guess what?  Now you’re in Bruno’s crosshairs.

You can count on receiving helpful suggestions about where to rent worship space (me, I’d stay in that park and have everyone bring umbrellas; worshipping in what Charles Spurgeon called, “the heavenly Father’s vast audience chamber” is a great witness) but you’re not going to get much in the way of sympathy from anybody.

Big ups, though, for bringing charges against the Fat Boy.  It’s hard to tell how that one will turn out.  If Schori was still Peeb, Bruno would skate.  But now that Mike Curry wears the Big Miter, you may just get your building back.

Not that you’d deserve to.

BLESS HER HEART

Friday, August 14th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Back when it was associated with The Washington Post, On Faith was one of the most interesting religion sites on the Internet.  It skewed hard-left, of course (Spong published there a lot), but traditionalist voices did turn up there now and then.

Now that it’s essentially gone out on its own, OF has lost something.  These days, the folks in charge there RALLY love them some lists (“Ten Things You Think You Know About The Bible But That Are Actually So Stupid That You’re A Klan Nazi Bigot If You Believe Them And I Don’t Give A Crap What The Text Actually Says”).

One such list is a bunch of stuff that the Rev. Laurie Brock wants you to know about the Episcopal Organization.  I’ll just give you a few of them; in American church softball, that’s known as the mercy rule:

2. We are people of the Book.

The Bible is a foundational part of our church. Our outline of faith states, “We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.” The Bible is the epic, challenging, and life-changing story of God’s relationship with humanity.

A typical Sunday service includes four different readings from Holy Scripture following the lectionary, a guide of biblical readings for Sundays and Holy Days. We take very seriously the role of Holy Scripture in our spiritual life and our worship.

[Laughing hard] NO, you don’t, kitten!!  Not since 2003, anyway, when TEO dropped a deuce all over 2,000 years of church teaching just for the high of giving Robbie a pointy hat and a hooked stick.  But thanks for an OUTSTANDING chuckle.  That one will keep me going all week.

3. We are people of the Book of Common Prayer.

The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) contains our prayers and services for our life as a church. We call these our liturgies. Our liturgies for Holy Eucharist, for Baptism, for marriages and burials, for daily prayers, and for prayers and worship over almost any human experience live deep within the words of the BCP.

These liturgies span thousands of years of Christian faith and human experiences of celebration, sin, grief, and joy. What ties us together as Episcopalians is not a particular confession, a hierarchy of religious authority, or a particular dogma, but our common prayers. Our prayers shape our beliefs.

Not so much, no, since TEO’S “BCP” has absolutely no relationship to the glorious 1662 BCP or the slightly less glorious 1928 BCP.  Hell, TEO’s insipid BCP doesn’t deserve to bear the glorious name Book of Common Prayer.

5. We believe in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

As professional jargon and nothing more.

We believe in traditional tenets of the apostolic faith and we value them.

[Laughing much harder] NO, we don’t.

We believe there are many ways to understand and experience the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

See?

And we believe God continues to dwell in the church, guiding us. We realize some traditions, when placed under the lens of love, need to change. This is our balance of Scripture, tradition, and reason.

When we make all three say whatever we want them to say.  Told you.

We made national and worldwide headlines a decade ago for consecrating the first openly gay bishop. Yes, we talk about sex and how God is present in sexual relationships. We recognize that sexuality is part of our created humanity. We also spend time in deep prayer and action for peace, for equality for all people, for dignity for those on the margins of society, for welcome to the outcast , and for justice for the poor.

Prof?  Please go easy on the kid.  Fish in a barrel and all that.

While the official Church of England came to fruition in the sixteenth century, Christianity existed in the British Isles since the second century and likely earlier. For more than 500 years, residents of the British Isles practiced a particular expression of Christian worship, broadly called Celtic Christianity (which isn’t an exact term).

When the Roman practice of the faith became official in the seventh century, the deep roots of centuries of faith were not abandoned or eradicated. So eventually, when the particular blend of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism became official under Elizabeth I, Anglicanism’s ancient middle way finally had room to bloom and grow.

Because some rhetorical kills are worth bragging about and some aren’t, know what I mean?  This one’s WAY too easy.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Thursday, August 13th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Most people figured out a long time ago that the ultimate goal of the secular and Christian left in general and the Catholic left in particular is the Episcopalianization of the Roman Catholic Church.  Hence the wild leftist enthusiasm for anything Pope Francis says that sounds like a signal that Rome might be backing away from some of its more objectionable (to the left) doctrines.

Toward that end, the National Catholic [HAW, HAW, HAW, HEE, HEE, HEE, OH MY GOD, STOP IT, MAN, I'M BEGGING YOU, YOU'RE KILLING ME HERE, HAW, HAW, HAW, HEE, HEE, HEE!!] Reporter lets a retired Episcopal minister named Warner White write a bunch of really stupid crap:

It was a slippery slope. Once I began to refer to the Holy Spirit in the feminine in my sermons and in the creed, certain results followed — slowly at first, but inevitably.

Why in the world did you start doing that, Warner?  Because PATRIARCHY!!

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.” I didn’t notice right away, but after a while, it sunk in. I was calling the Holy Spirit “Lord.” The Holy Spirit, I was saying, not only gives life and proceeds from the Father and the Son, she is “the Lord.” I was co-opting the word “Lord.” In my vocabulary — and that of anyone else who called her “Lord” — this previously masculine word was now including the feminine.

Okey-dokey.

Not too long after I began this new practice, I also retired as an Episcopal parish priest.

Warner, my man, and please pardon the use of the masculine there, you “retired” as a priest LONG before that.

I became a parishioner. I sat in pews. And I noticed how little difference in the patriarchal nature of our worship this change was making, even when we had a woman priest at the altar. The language and imagery remained overwhelmingly masculine.

Told you it was the PATRIARCHY!!  Those bastards.

I also noticed that the priest and a lot of people around me were making “inclusive” language substitutions. When we gave thanks to the Lord our God we didn’t give “him” thanks anymore, we gave “our” thanks. Many people were now substituting “God’s kingdom” for “his kingdom,” and “God’s holy name” for “his holy name.”

Warner has two words of advice for people who do that.  Sack up.

Ugh. I see this as timidity, evasion, a minuscule half-measure. Why evade the issue? Why not just use the feminine? I have been saying, “give her thanks,” “her kingdom,” “her holy name,” and the like. Whenever a reference is being made to God and it is not clearly a reference to the Father or the Son, I am using the feminine.

If Warner gets his way, that Father/Son stuff is on the way out.

I have slipped a long way down the slope. A feminine God is not only Lord, she is also King. And not only do I speak of the Spirit in the feminine, I now speak of God in the feminine about as often as in the masculine.

I have never read a better illustration of Episcopalian air-headedness than Warner provides here.

But as a priest, the daily office immerses me in the PATRIARCHY!! of the psalms. We can’t change the PATRIARCHY!! of our heritage. That’s how God has revealed herself to us over the centuries.

So God’s kind of a screw-up then?

So in reading Scripture, in seeking its meaning, I do not feel free to make changes in the text. But in my worship, I do feel free to do so. When I pray the psalms, it seems to me that I am free to make changes that express my heart.

Son of a…aw, skip it.  You have to give Double W this much.  Dude’s all-in.

So I have gone through the Prayer Book psalms and substituted feminine pronouns for masculine wherever the reference is not clearly to a specific male, such as David and Moses and Joseph.

Any male human being reading this can sit Christianity out since any manifestation of masculinity whatsoever gives Warner the vapors.

I call these committed psalms.

Because anybody stupid enough to read them ought to be?

They go the path of commission rather than the path of omission. Further, they require a commitment on the part of those who use them. We commit ourselves to a path of reparation, of repairing the relation of female and male in our life and worship. Similarly, this is committed language in contrast to inclusive language. This language is not inclusive; it overdoes the feminine on purpose. It is matriarchal language instead of patriarchal.

So basically, it’s totally dishonest.  An absolute frickin’ lie.  Yeah, great Christian witness there, Warner.

Catholics?  Never EVER let down your guard.

AMISH CONVERTS?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments

Well…yeah, actually:

The names appearing on mailboxes in this Amish settlement are ones common to other Plain communities: Yoder, Kinsinger, Zook and Schrock.

But there’s at least one name that stands out: Cortez.

Christina Cortez, 21, has experienced her share of culture shock during her short life.

First, there was her family’s move from Bakersfield, California, to the bucolic mountains of western Maryland when she was only eight. While Bakersfield isn’t exactly Los Angeles, it’s still a different pace compared to Garrett County, a lush locale of ski lodges and pristine lakes in the shadow of Backbone Mountain, the state’s highest peak.

It is also home to Maryland’s oldest Amish settlement. The Amish are a German speaking Protestant sect with historical roots in the Reformation. Church members dress plainly and avoid technology to varying degrees.

Soon after moving to Oakland, Cortez would notice the plain-dressed people riding horse-drawn buggies or tractors as they headed into town or to church. She was intrigued.

“There weren’t any Amish in California. The closest thing we had were nuns who sort of dressed similarly,” Cortez laughed, realizing the analogy of Catholic nuns and Amish didn’t quite equate.

But it wasn’t until her older sister did a school project about the Amish in sixth grade that she really became interested. “But I kind of kept my interest on the side for awhile,” Cortez said.

LOST (AND FOUND) CAUSE

Sunday, August 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

It never ceases to amaze me how many modern leftists would, were it not for the racism issue, be entirely in favor of tearing down the Lincoln Memorial and erecting a memorial honoring Jefferson Davis in its place:

The Senate report examined 1.5 million pages of emails from the IRS, including many from [Lois] Lerner in which she discusses her sometimes unconventional political views.

“Look my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best,” she told a friend in 2014, after she left the IRS. “He should (have) let the south go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.”

FISH OUT OF WATER

Sunday, August 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party’s pedal-to-the-metal socialist wing, has an interesting speaking engagement coming up:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Democratic presidential candidate and a self-professed non-religious person, plans to speak next month at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell. 

Liberty is a popular stop for many Republicans seeking to bolster their appeal among evangelicals, but Sanders’ convocation address will likely be a sharp contrast to that of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who kicked off his presidential campaign at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school. 

Sanders will join religious figures, comedians, athletes and lawmakers at the ceremony, billed as “North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students.” 

“Liberty University was kind enough to invite me to address a convocation and I decided to accept,” Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday night. “It goes without saying that my views on many issues — women’s rights, gay rights, education and many other issues — are very different from the opinions of some in the Liberty University community. I think it is important, however, to see if we can reach consensus regarding the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country, about the collapse of the middle class, about the high level of childhood poverty, about climate change and other issues.”

This wouldn’t be without precedent.  I recall that when Jerry Falwell was still on this side of eternity, he once invited Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy to speak at Liberty and Kennedy accepted.  The Senator’s views got an entirely respectful hearing at Liberty and he and Falwell emerged from that speech with a kind of tentative friendship.

FIRE IN THE HOLE!!

Saturday, August 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Charge of “dual loyalty” coming up in 3, 2, 1…

Liberals are livid at Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to oppose the White House’s nuclear deal with Iran, and have threatened to launch a full-scale war as retribution. 

Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader — which he is primed to do — and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber. 

It’s unclear whether Schumer’s announcement will have a devastating effect on the White House’s efforts to prevent Democrats from killing the deal when it comes up for a vote in Congress next month. 

But it’s clear that he will be Public Enemy No. 1 for liberal activists throughout the August recess, as they aim to rally support from Democrats on the agreement.           

“This is a real and serious backlash, one that comes from deep within the Democratic Party’s base, and I think we’re only going to see it grow,” said Becky Bond, the political director for Credo Action. 

Liberal groups including Credo, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America are rallying supporters to flood congressional mailboxes and town halls over the course of the next month to demand lawmakers support the agreement. On Friday, they launched a new website, 60DaysToStopAWar.com, to list upcoming town halls and aid in the push. 

Late on Thursday evening, Schumer upended the congressional debate over the Iran agreement by announcing in a lengthy statement that he “must oppose the agreement” and “will vote yes on a motion of disapproval” when it comes up for a vote in September. 

He also will vote to override President Obama’s veto of legislation to kill the deal, Schumer’s office confirmed. 

The move puts Schumer at odds on the most significant foreign policy issue of the year with both Obama and Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

That left many liberals furious, and stunned at how the presumptive next Senate Democratic leader could break with virtually every other leader of their party.

Much more anti-Semitism to follow.

BUH-BYE

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 32 Comments

When I was more mobile, I used to love to regularly patronize Starbucks.  I basically had a standing order for every Starbucks I drove into.  One regular coffee, light cream and a chocolate chip cookie (not for me those frou-frou coffee drinks that everybody else regularly orders).

The coffee was great.  But I’m giving it up, Starbucks.

DEAR SOUTHRONS

Friday, July 31st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 50 Comments

Why “Heritage Not Hate” doesn’t work any more:

Confederate battle flags were stealthily placed on the grounds of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church, and authorities said Thursday they were looking for two white males who were recorded on surveillance camera leaving the banners behind. 

Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his agency was working with federal authorities and they have not determined what charges might be levied. Turner said they have not ruled out a hate crime. 

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at King’s home church Ebenezer Baptist, called it a “terroristic threat.” 

“It is a hateful act,” he said. “I view it as an effort to intimidate us in some way, and we will not be intimidated.” 

It was the latest volley in the fight over the Confederate flag and Civil War-era monuments ever since a white gunman was accused of killing nine black church members in South Carolina. Statues of the Confederacy have been vandalized around the South, and state governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed battle flags entirely from Capitol grounds.

I’m a Southerner and immensely proud of that fact.  My paternal relations all came from Tennessee or thereabouts.  And I live in Missouri, the last Confederate state to surrender (when Frank James walked into the Missouri governor’s office in 1882 following Jesse’s murder).

But let’s be brutally honest, HnotH8ers.  For about a century now, since the rise of the Second Klan, far too many people have waved the Confederate Battle Flag (actually, the Confederate Naval Jack, to be accurate) to celebrate, well, racism.  And none of you have ever done anything meaningful to stop it.

Face facts.  That symbol’s dead.  And you allowed it to die.

Want to display Confederate pride?  You’ve got dozens of other banners to choose from starting with the Stars and Bars.  Hell, Georgia’s current state flag is about the most “Confederate” flag there is including Mississippi’s.

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