Archive | April, 2013

Therefore but by the Grace of the Holy, Go I, Again (Part II)

28 Apr

In Part I, I wrote about how former NBA star Allen Iverson’s battle with alcoholism really hit home with me. I ended Part I just as I stopped drinking because I checked myself into a psychiatric ward for 10 days.

Even though I volunteered for the 10 day stay, I fought most of the programs and activities. I thought things like art and music therapy were the biggest waste of my time, and group therapy was torturous. Being there, though, gave me the opportunity to look (literally) into what we, the patients who had free reign to walk about, called the “koo-koo ward.” Peering through the glass door, we could see several glass enclosed bays with patients who were wearing strait jackets or sitting screaming or God knows what else. You couldn’t help but feel you weren’t that bad off because you weren’t like them, but it began as a sort of smugness with no concept of thankfulness or grace at all. Continue reading

There, but for the Grace of the Holy, Go I, Again (Part I)

23 Apr

Ephesians 5:18 – “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.”

A recent story in the Washington Post about how former NBA great Allen Iverson has fallen on hard times really got to me. I could write a dozen blogs on different topics after reading this article – the scandal that is the National Collegiate Athletic Association, friends who are not really friends, there’s always room for redemption, etc. But this story really hit my heart when it comes to alcoholism and alcoholics.

Unbeknownst to my parents, I started drinking when I was about 12. The father of my best friend at the time made homemade wine. We’d drink that occasionally, but most often we’d get our booze by giving a few bucks to someone outside the town liquor store to get it for us. The liquor store was conveniently located within walking distance of our junior high school, and we favored the types of sweet, syrupy drinks you might imagine pre-teens and teens would go for – cherry brandy, crème de menthe. We did it because a) it was wrong and b) that stuff tasted good.

Before you judge my parents too harshly, it is important to note that during this time my mom was in effect a single parent of four, including a newborn. Due to changes in base structures, my dad was forced to work at JFK airport in NY for several years instead of in Albany; he commuted home on the weekends. What better time for a rebellious oldest child to get into trouble? (I am grateful that considering this was the early 1970s, I never dappled in other drugs that were plentiful.) Continue reading

The Bible as a Source of Wisdom

15 Apr

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What if God was one of us

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make his way home

— from “One of Us, written by Eric Bazilian

This month’s syncroblog is “what if” – what if some or all of the Bible narrative is not really history, but more of a myth.  How would this affect you or the larger church? Would it change you and how you view the world? (See the end of this post for other authors on this subject.)

The answer to the last question is a resounding “No” because I already believe some of the Bible narrative is not history, but creative story telling.

Before I thought of myself as a follower of Jesus, I did not know much about the Bible. I was brought up Roman Catholic, and we did not study the Bible. When I tried a class at seminary in the New Testament as a “special student” (i.e., non-degree seeking), I found myself way over my head at the very first class. The professor said something about someone going to heaven in a chariot, and two-thirds of the class yelled out this person’s name. The only chariot I could think of was the one in “Ben Hur,” and the only person I could think of was Charlton Heston. I may have not known much about the Bible, but I knew the answer was not Charlton Heston! Continue reading

The REAL Gay Agenda

13 Apr

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I am “guilty as charged” for some of what I accuse others of in this blog. I am trying to learn, to be more compassionate, and to be a better person. I think my first word as a baby was “Why” and I haven’t stopped asking yet. I would like to be given room to grow on these issues and not be ridiculed as I was recently by a famous GLBTQ activist, whose name I will not mention, wrote to me, “Way to argue, Phyllis Schlafly.” 

I have to laugh when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (GLBTQ) people and supporters claim that contrary to what some on the “far right” claim, there is NO gay agenda. It is not a “ha-ha” that’s a funny laugh, but a sad chuckle. There IS a gay agenda; I know, because I’ve been a victim of it. It has nothing to do with the “gay agenda” put forth by the “far right,” however.

Part of the gay agenda is to ridicule those that you as a GLBTQ person think are also a GLBTQ person, but the latter person has not acknowledged it. Why, that person is OBVIOUSLY in denial! That person is taking advantage of his/her “straight” privilege, blah, blah, blah. I read this nonsense in gay publications all the time, and on the websites of people who, if asked, would claim they are all about advancing GLBTQ causes (it must be true because they are collecting money to do so). Continue reading

Don’t Blame Mike Rice

3 Apr

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has had its share of unwanted national attention in the past few years. First, the Don Imus scandal in 2007, where the radio personality labeled the women’s basketball team with racist language. (I am not going to repeat his inexcusable phrase here; if you do not know this history, use your favorite search engine.)

Next, in 2010, the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student cyber bullied by his homophobic roommate. Now, 2 months after Rutgers and the Tyler Clementi Foundation announced the creation of the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers, we learn of another case of homophobic behavior, this time by the Rutgers men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice.

What may surprise you is that in all 3 instances, while not approving of the behaviors, I do not really blame the perpetrators. The racism, sexism, and homophobia that is institutionalized and permitted to continue in this country are to blame. Every one of us who remains silent when hearing a slur, a supposed joke, an outright case of discrimination, is to blame. If silence is approval, many of us are, in effect, Mike Rice. Continue reading

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