Friday, January 11, 2013

A Messiah for the Rest of Us

 I like Epiphany.   One reason is obvious, it signals the end of HalloThanksMass....  Also known as the season of seasonal weight gain.  The period between Halloween and Christmas is rough on a body.   Literally... the body.  The other reason is that the appearance of Magi in the Gospels is unusual.  In a story full of Jews and Jewish things, some pagans wander in and claim Jesus for themselves.

They're usually depicted as wealthy foreigners in extravagant clothing.  Gypsies, wise men in the traditional sense, fortune tellers, and in a tradition where everyone seems to magically be European in art, there's always a black guy.  I love it.  I love it because I don't fit in here either.   To put it the way Father Bob did in his sermon this Sunday, this is where we come in.   Jesus' birth is a Jewish event in a Jewish context to Jewish parents in an occupied but Jewish country predicted by Jewish scriptures as being a messiah for the Jews.   These guys are like us.

They're the outsiders in the story.  The flamboyant woman in the room full of ladies in gray suits.  The homeless person who wanders into the back of your church on Sunday morning and actually stays for church.  The elderly gay couple that comes in and finds they think they're embarrassing the pastor.   They don't fit in, but they belong just the same.   These three queens from Orient are, it turns out, a symbol of the circle being drawn ever larger to gather 'all nations to the light of his dawning'.

I feel pretty good about that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Still not funny

I'm not going to pretend I'm not still angry and broken hearted.  I'm going to try and explain myself a little better though.   I was in high school when the Columbine shooting happened.  I remember being a little scared, though, as is my fashion, mostly oblivious, and horrified at what had occurred.  I also remember being upset at the nonsensical banning of trench coats and solid black clothing.  We talked about assault weapons, and gun control, and who was to blame.

I don't remember coming to a decent conclusion on that end.   I do remember when some asshat whose name I do not remember decided to tie a fake pipe bomb to the third floor men's (Teachers) bathroom wall.   The fire alarm went off and we were all told to go outside to the track field.  I didn't take my car keys or  my purse, because usually, it didn't matter. We were back inside in five minutes.  We got out there and instead of our usual stand around and pretend to take roll they tried to get us to line up alphabetically.  That's when I knew something was wrong.  We all kind of meandered around compliantly until some said it:  This is a bomb threat.  Then we realized that if it was more than a bomb threat, if there was a person with guns involved, Butch Lingenfelter had just put the entire student body in a slaughter pen.   The track field was fenced, you see, is fenced, and the annex building would, frankly, make an excellent place to shoot from.   Some boys tried jumping the fence, realizing this, and the more cynical among us starting talking about how we were going to beat the person who had done this (if it was a joke) to a bloody pulp.    Eventually, the principal saw what the rest of us saw and just let us all go home.   We couldn't go back into the building yet, it hadn't been cleared, so Brady gave me a ride back to the house.

It took me about fifteen minutes to wake my mother up and convince her of what had actually happened.    She thought I was messing with her until she turned on the radio.  

A friend of mine told me later that she got sent home from school the next day because she was wearing black when she came in.  She had just attended a funeral, even showed the principal the funeral program, but they still sent her home to change.   It turned out the boy who did it was playing a rather horrible joke, it was a fake pipe bomb, and he was not a goth or a member of any mafia or a wearer of trench coats.  He was a jock. 

I wasn't all that surprised.  I was really pissed though, because it just wasn't funny.  It still isn't funny.   It's been 13 years and I still want to slap him for it.   So let me say about all these stupid memes about how guns don't kill people, and people kill people and talking about God help us they're going to take our guns?  It's not funny.  It wasn't funny before this happened, and it's not funny now.

There's nothing about owning a gun that makes you 'free'.  It's a huge responsibility.  No, that pistol doesn't shoot itself, but it makes murder a whole lot easier.   Tim McVeigh did take down a building with fertilizer.  Yes, he did.  It's called a bomb.  It's called chemistry.  It is not called a mass shooting which is what we are talking about.  McVeigh, by the way, was a bitter gulf war vet gun nut with serious mental issues as well.   It's really sad that he ended up that way, and it's even sadder that he bombed that building and killed all those people.   So tell me how having a stockpile of weapons makes you 'free'?   If someone steals them and kills someone, the cops look at you.   If you have a child, they have to be both trained about what to do and not do with them AND you have to keep them out of sight and out of mind so the kid doesn't hurt themselves.   If someone walks into a place to rob it and they notice you're packing before you notice them, they shoot you first.   If you really think it's going to help you defend yourself from the government, you are a stupid stupid person and should not own a gun anyway. 

So why can't we talk about enacting sane gun laws?   I don't watch tv news, but I'm guessing some of those memes are created in the propaganda machine that is fox news and I'm taking a wilder guess that they're telling everyone that the liberals are out to steal your guns.    Well, folks, we're all adults here.  We need to have an adult conversation about this.  No sarcasm, no snark, no dumb tactless jokes on the internet.  

It isn't funny.  It never has been. 

And the Christmas Douche Bag Award goes to....

James Dobson.    I wasn't going to talk about this again, but a sinus infection has stolen my ability to function in polite society, or at least the office this morning, and I have lost the power of speech.  Since I can't talk, I might as well type.   I don't know what parallel universe I thought I lived in when I didn't think anyone would go there except Fred Phelps.  Maybe I had gained hope from the news reports about the teachers shielding their children during the school shooting.  I under estimated the power of the douche-side...

And then here comes my old 'friend' James Dobson.   Dr. Dobson and I first got into a fight he didn't know about when I was unfortunate enough to come up on his radio program late one night after work.  I listened to him berate some poor teenager for being suicidal and gay and came to the conclusion that he was a false prophet who needed to have his butt kicked. 

Fred Phelps is like the crazy guy who used to stand on the street corner and yell at people as they passed by.  Only he has a law degree, and he's conned his family into doing it with him.   You expect pure, unadulterated religious crazy from him.   He's made a living blaspheming the Holy Spirit.   Dobson is that guy who seems nice until you show up at church in a pair of slacks instead of a skirt and then he proceeds to go all condescending sexist religious crazy on you.   You half expect him to keep it in check until he opens his mouth and the mean comes spewing out. 

I really thought that murdered children would be a line he would not cross until I saw Huffpost this morning.    I was wrong.  From what I'm reading, "Dr" Dobson thinks that God killed 20 children to make a point about the gays Friday.   


Congratulations, you get the Christmas Douche award.