Liberal Christian Ponders Stuff

I haven’t been to church in weeks. Months. This is unusual, because I like going to church, singing, seeing people.

My reasons are very trivial: I am responsible for the church website and it needs to be updated, but to do that I need to sit at my desk rather than recline on the couch or in bed. And I don’t want to dig into my photos, revamp stuff, and create a tutorial for how to update the church website for interested persons who don’t know anything about WordPress. At least, not right now. And I don’t want to be pounced on for not updating the website.

I barely know anything about WordPress, because it’s updated and changed a lot over the years, but lately I’ve been changing things around here, as practice for the changes I need to do over —–> there at the church site. We’re only talking about a few hours’ work, but I just… can’t make myself.

I’m feeling conflicted about the responsibility, and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I need to do just to get ready to revamp things. So instead of working on the church blog on my desktop, I’m dipping a toe in the waters by blogging about things in my particular flavor of mainstream liberal Christianity, the Episcopal Church.

Yes, I’m one of those psalm-singing, Anglican chant-intoning, choral Eucharist types. As a liberal church, we’re barely recognized as Christian by some strains of evangelical Christianity (or we’re seen as a diabolical corruption, but hey, we welcome everybody, so there).

Before diving in I was listening to a podcast on Stitcher (which, annnoyingly, does not provide embed codes).

The first segment really goes into depth on a lot of things, but even if you’re not interested in religion or going to church, you may be interested to know that a specific kind of evangelicals would love to take political power, and think Trump is their nearly-unwitting entree into making America over into their vision of a nation literally under God (meaning, some form of theocracy).

The first segment is about why they embrace Trump as the anointed of God. Unfortunately for them Trump is pretty clueless about religion, because it isn’t about him. Listen here: Stitcher Podcast: With Friends Like These hosted by Anamarie Cox “One God, Under Trump:

After that, the first link is the story of a historic Episcopal congregation with a branding problem: back in the early 1800’s it was called Grace Church, which happens to conform to the “naming convention” of Episcopal churches; they are named after a theological concept, or a saint, or a “feast day.” Episcopal Churches aren’t typically named for people, or places, or everyday concepts.

This particular church’s branding problem is that it’s called Robert E. Lee Memorial Church, because it’s the church where the Southern leader worshipped, confessed himself a sinner, and is buried. Now, it’s a problem for the parishioners in much the same way townspeople have a problem with a Confederate statue – is it merely historic, or does it send a message that people of color had better not cross the threshold? They’re struggling with it, and it’s likely to split the community. The local bishop doesn’t see the problem: just go back to the old name, Grace. Which would imply healing, and forgiveness – but he’s not really local and doesn’t understand the subtleties.

Virginia congregation deeply divided over church’s name honoring Robert E. Lee: [Episcopal News Service] Was Robert E. Lee an American hero or a traitorous defender of slavery? The Confederate general has been called both in the ongoing debate over whether statues, monuments and plaques in his honor should be remain on display in public places, from parks to churches. – by David Paulsen – Tags: episcopal – EDN: Virginia congregation deeply divided over church’s name

The next one is positive – instead of “why I don’t go to church?” It’s “why I go to church.” My reasons for not going will soon be outweighed by the impending start of choir season; I’ll have to update the site, make a start on the tutorial, and show up at choir practice this week. Or next week. 😉 Aside from the music, I like being part of a community. Believing is tempered by reason – science has a place in my faith. The miracles don’t matter as much as the material: be kind, be compassionate, be hopeful.

Reasons to go to church: Marilyn McEntyre writes about why she goes to church: There are lots of stories of why people don’t go to church but she offers some reasons to take another look. Excerpts A healthy church will give you access to a treasury of words and music. – by Ann Fontaine – Tags: episcopal – https://www.episcopalcafe.com/reasons-to-go-to-church/>Episcopal Cafe: Reasons To Go To Church

This last one is interesting to me because I’ve attended a small Episcopal parish (more than one) that’s struggled to do the work with just a few people. Not as few as this one, but something amazing happened to them when they opened their doors to refugees. It’s the tale of what happens AFTER a split – based on the time period, it was probably over the ordination of a gay bishop and the acknowledgment that a LOT of the clergy in the church were (and are) gay. It’s that welcoming thing again. This little church found a way to welcome that completely changed them (which was hard and painful) but transformative in a good way.

‘All Saints’ movie details how refugees saved struggling Episcopal church: [Episcopal News Service] After a split over theology in the 1990s, there were only 12 members of the congregation left at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, a suburb south of Nashville. The church couldn’t pay its mortgage. By 2007, the church was in danger of closing. – by Amy Sowder – Tags: episcopal – All Saints movie: how refugees saved struggling Episcopal church

That’s it –

Politics – Mon Aug 28 17 17:35:31 2017

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

Black-clad anarchists storm rally, assault at least 5 people: BERKELEY, Calif. — Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful protest here against hate and attacked at least five people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco amid fears of violence. – Tags: politics – https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/black-clad-anarchists-storm-rally-assault-at-least-5-people/2017/08/27/57149418-8b91-11e7-84c0-02cc069f2c37_story.html

Trump to Fully Restore Military Surplus Transfers to Police: WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to reinstate in full a program that provides local police departments with military surplus equipment such as large-caliber weapons and grenade launchers, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. – by ADAM GOLDMAN – Tags: politics – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/27/us/politics/trump-military-equipment-police.html

Clap Back: James Clapper On Why He Felt Compelled To Question President Trump’s Fitness to Serve: After more than 50 years in service of eight White House administrations, James Clapper was one of the least likely figures to publicly question a sitting president’s fitness to serve. – by Become a WGBH – Tags: politics – http://news.wgbh.org/2017/08/25/politics-government/clap-back-james-clapper-why-he-felt-compelled-question-president

Mar-a-Lago cancellations continue after Trump’s toxic tantrums: Charities continue to abandon Mar-a-Lago in favor of locations whose owners are less conflicted about the role of Nazis in our society. As we’ve said after each one of the other cancellations: ’bout time. – by Hunter, {{author}} – Tags: politics – https://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/8/24/1692959/-Mar-a-Lago-cancellations-continue-after-Trump-s-toxic-tantrums

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

4 Pocket Links Wed Aug 23 20 20:06:13 2017

Aside

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

Flickr: Repository of Resistance Memes: A really useful collection of Resistance memes, many were used in a recent “tweetstorm Google doc created by Jhamel. – by Honey DemForce – Tags: politics, theresistance, trump – https://www.flickr.com/photos/151634815@N03/sets/72157685219931514

CaptainsLog2017 on Twitter – by Herr Trump in, CaptainsLog2017 ??, Scarlet Witch 2017 ? – Tags: trump – https://twitter.com/CaptainsLog2017/status/900220349593374720

CaptainsLog2017 on Twitter PHX pics: #PhoenixRally pics thread – by East Coast, Deb, Dani G, Vicki Ringer, Dracula’s Spatula, Eric DeBlackmere, Kenny J #Resist, Cynthia Pease, Mrir, C Barker Congdon, CaptainsLog2017 ??, Scarlet Witch 2017 ? – Tags: trump – https://twitter.com/CaptainsLog2017/status/900219373956341762

The strange story of a ‘Blacks for Trump’ guy standing behind the president at his Phoenix rally: At a number of political rallies over the last two years, a character calling himself “Michael the Black Man” has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted. Almost always, he plugs his wild website, Gods2.com, across his chest. – Tags: trump – http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/The-strange-story-of-a-Blacks-for-Trump-guy-11952070.php

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

4 Pocket Links Mon Aug 21 21 21:56:18 2017

Aside

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

GOP senator unsure if Trump will be 2020 nominee: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told MSNBC that she was unsure whether President Donald Trump would be the party’s presidential nominee in 2020. – Tags: politics – http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/08/21/susan-collins-unsure-trump-2020-msnbc-sot-erin.cnn

Jeh Johnson: Confederate Statues Are ‘Neo-Nazi Rallying Points’: Martha Raddatz filled in on ABC’s “This Week” charged with the arduous task of eliciting some semblance of logic from Jerry Falwell Junior’s rationalizing of Trump’s deplorable defense of White Nationalists, KKK members and Neo-Nazis. – by Leftofcenter – Tags: politics – http://crooksandliars.com/2017/08/jeh-johnson-confederate-statues-are-neo

Angry Trump Grilled His Generals About Troop Increase, Then Gave In: WASHINGTON — President Trump’s skepticism about America’s involvement in Afghanistan was no secret to his staff. But his top national security officials were still taken aback at a meeting in the Situation Room on July 19, when an angry Mr. – by Maggie Haberman, MARK LANDLER – Tags: politics – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/world/asia/trump-afghanistan.html

Michael Snyder Wants To Take Over The GOP And Fill Congress With ‘InfoWars Candidates’: Michael Snyder, a radical Religious Right prepper pundit who is among the Republicans candidates running for Congress in Idaho for the seat being vacated by Rep. Raul Labrador, is a kindred spirit of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and a regular guest on his radio program. – by Kyle Mantyla – Tags: politics – http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/michael-snyder-wants-to-take-over-the-gop-and-fill-congress-with-infowars-candidates/

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

6 Pocket Links Sun Aug 20 2017

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

The most pernicious racism is the stuff we don’t even think about : ***Dave Does the Blog: Literally don’t think about, as in the stuff that passes below our consciousness, that we don’t detect, let alone ponder. The stuff where we don’t even think about it as racism because it’s just How Things Are in our minds, axiomatic assumptions about people based on their race. – by Dave Hill – Tags: Racism, Blogs – http://hill-kleerup.org/blog/2017/08/18/pernicious-racism-stuff-dont-even-think.html

From airline cancellations to that ropey hotel, what to do about botched holidays: The Guardian and Observer consumer champions have joined forces to bring you a guide to your rights … from lost luggage to flight delays and bad hotels It’s that season again. The sleepless nights, the stressful confrontations and the hours spent on phone and email seeking resolutions. – by Miles Brignall and Anna Tims – Tags: travel – https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/airline-cancellations-ropey-hotel-what-do-botched-holidays

Fit in my 40s: ‘I’m lazy: cycling in a pack changed that’: We did this for what felt like hours, but was actually 40 minutes – did I mention the vicious headwind? A role model is like a lemon zester: it’s only once you’ve got one that you realise you wanted one. – by Zoe Williams – Tags: cycling – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/19/fit-in-my-40s-bella-velo-cycle-club-richmond-park

Trumps to skip Kennedy Center Honors; organizers are ‘grateful’: The White House has announced that President Donald Trump and the first lady have decided not to participate in events honoring recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors arts awards. – by Associated Press – http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-trumps-to-skip-kennedy-center-awards-20170819-story.html

Could Donald Trump lose in the GOP primaries?: President Donald Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer vacation has sent the administration reeling. – by Peter Feaver, (c) 2017, Foreign Policy – Tags: politics – http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-gop-fp-comment-1efbba6a-8426-11e7-b359-15a3617c767b-20170818-story.html

A letter to my American friends: when did the dream die?: It is difficult for Americans to watch the presidential parody that is Donald Trump with anything approaching equanimity. But it is also hard for non-Americans – long-time friends and admirers of the United States – who look on helplessly from afar. – by Simon Tisdall – Tags: politics – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/19/a-letter-to-my-american-friends-when-did-the-dream-die

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

Links Sat, 19 Aug 2017 tagged Politics

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

Steve Bannon vows to ‘go to war’ for Trump agenda after sacking: Donald Trump’s former chief strategist has vowed to go to war against the president’s opponents, after being fired from his job at the White House. Steve Bannon, who has returned as head of ultra-conservative website Breitbart News, said he would fight for the agenda that won Mr Trump the election. – by Anthony Zurcher – Tags: politics – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40985180

Finland killings: Stabbings in Turku a ‘terror attack’: Police in Finland say they believe the killing of two people in the south-western city of Turku on Friday was a terrorist attack. They said the attacker, who was shot in the leg by police and taken into custody, was an 18-year-old Moroccan. – Tags: politics – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40985528

How the Republican party quietly does the bidding of white supremacists: Let us finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda. It isn’t It takes approximately 30 seconds to send a tweet. A half hour to draft and release a statement. And the shelf life of both is only marginally longer. – by Russ Feingold – Tags: politics – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/19/republican-party-white-supremacists-charlottesville

What Trump’s Increasing Isolation Could Mean For His Presidency: There’s a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media following Steve Bannon’s exit as President Trump’s chief strategist. (You can see it above.) – by Domenico Montanaro – Tags: politics – http://www.npr.org/2017/08/19/544580016/what-trumps-increasing-isolation-could-mean-for-his-presidency

The crazy summer of Trump controversies that you’ve already forgotten: The end of summer is around the corner, with students soon returning to school and people across the country planning their fantasy football rosters. But with the daily intrigue and drama from the White House, the summer also feels as if it stretched across years. – by Alex Horton – Tags: feedly, ifttt, politics – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/19/the-crazy-summer-of-trump-controversies-that-youve-already-forgotten/

Trump, first lady to skip Kennedy Center Honors over concerns of ‘political distraction’: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event. – by David Nakamura – Tags: politics – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/19/trump-first-lady-to-skip-kennedy-center-honors-over-concerns-of-political-distraction/

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

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Moving On From Picasa? WTH, Google?

Goddamit, Google, not again. You’re retiring yet another essential productivity tool!!

Since the launch of Google Photos, we’ve had a lot of questions around what this means for the future of Picasa. After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.

Via Googleblog:
Moving On From Picasa”

I grumble at the way Picasa indexes things, but have based my entire blogging and online creative workflow around how Picasa organizes my images. I use plugins to make batch uploading to Flickr and Facebook easy.

Goddamit, goddamit. Whatever happened to “Don’t Be Evil?”

Global air ticket fraud sweep nets 118 arrests | Reuters

This is just one kind of airline ticket fraud – where someone intends to travel on the ticket purchased with a stolen credit card.

(Reuters) – More than 100 people were arrested worldwide this week after an investigation spanning 45 countries into the use of stolen credit cards to buy plane tickets, European police agency Europol said on Friday.

Source: Global air ticket fraud sweep nets 118 arrests | Reuters

Set Dressing: Coal Miners Lose Pay, Dirtiest Ones Used As Props At Mandatory Romney Rally

Take a look at these two pictures. One is from the Plain Dealer article on this story, one is a screencap from Raw Story’s followup.

As the miners and their families arrived, they looked like this (some may have been office workers and executives):

Coal miners, other workers and families arrive for Romney rally

Very few miners in working clothes – most are in clean street clothes

A phalanx of coal miners with sooty faces and dirty work clothes stands with Mitt.

Only hard-working, dirty, sooty-faced miners shown standing with Mitt

Amercian coal miners stands with Mitt! Look at how hard they work, in their dirty work clothes and sooty faces! They are obviously real working Amercians!

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.

The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

A group of employees who feared they’d be fired if they didn’t attend the campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, complained about it to WWVA radio station talk show host David Blomquist. Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air Monday with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.

via Coal miners lost pay when Mitt Romney visited their mine to promote coal jobs

Heh. Kismet or Karma?

Floyd Corkins, the 28-year-old Virginia man who allegedly shot a security guard in the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday because of the group’s opposition to gay marriage, could be prosecuted under a hate crimes statute. The FRC would rather he wasn’t.

While the FRC has specifically opposed expanding hate crimes protections to individuals targeted for violent attacks because of their sexual orientation or gender identity because they believe it “sends the false message that deviant sexual behaviors are somehow equivalent to other categories of protection such as race or sex,” the group also opposes any hate crimes law on principle.

Via Family Research Council Opposes Hate Crimes Law That Could Nab Shooter | TPMMuckraker