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 –

A Couple Of Wrong Uns 

Holy shit. Meanwhile, the gumflapper in the White House remains useless.

Kim Jong Un – wrong and bad
Donald J Trump – wrong, bad, and completely out of his depth. They’re both “wrong ‘uns.”

TOKYO — North Korea launched a ballistic missile Tuesday morning that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, public broadcaster NHK reported. The government issued an alert for residents in some prefectures to take cover.

Source: North Korean missile flies over Japan, escalating tensions and prompting an angry response from Tokyo  – The Washington Post

Priest who left KKK still hasn’t made restitution for cross-burnings

Remember the family victimized when the local KKK burned a cross on their lawn, but they won a lawsuit? President Reagan dropped by to visit them.

Funny thing, they never did collect on the settlement. The leader of the local KKK disappeared.

Many years later, he turned up as a Catholic priest, and NO ONE wants to talk about him. Not his diocese, not his former diocese, not current and former parishioners, no one. The Washington Post did find a few people willing to talk about him, like old schoolmates who were shocked by his transformation from racist skinhead to priest.

He still had some anger issues, though. He seemed to work through them by protesting at abortion clinics, and by “teaching history.”

But hey, forgiveness is freely offered, right?

Last week, some parishioners were struggling to reconcile the priest they knew with his violent past and failure over decades to make amends to his victims, actions the diocese has now offered to broker and says Aitcheson is willing to do.

Maybe the Church needs to stop protecting racists. It looks a little too much like when they move pedohiles around and protect them, too.

Source: Priest who left KKK is testing parishioners’ ideas about redemption – The Washington Post

Trump Org Was Negotiating For Moscow Tower During Candidacy – Sater

If this had gone through last summer, would it have been a deal breaker for the Trumpist base?

Probably not. Make Moscow Great Again!

Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations. The new details from the emails, which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon, also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid.

White House officials declined to comment for this report.

Source: Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president – The Washington Post

How To President, Part 2 – Visit A Vandalized Golf Course? Not Unless He Owns It

Resident Drumpf may see this item in the Washington Post, but it’s unlikely as his news reading is “curated” for him so that he sees stories that are positive (and mostly about him).

However, since it’s on a golf course, he may feel moved, but it’s not as if it happened at one of his own golf properties, is it?

Source: Swastika found carved into green at Minnesota golf course – The Washington Post

How To President, Part 1 – Comfort A Black Family That Endured KKK Cross Burned On Lawn

This may be instructive (though it probably won’t be) to a certain cheddar-hued gesticulator.

President and Nancy Reagan visit the Butlers of College ParkThe Day President Reagan comforted a black family

In 1982, President Reagan read about a black family in College Park, MD that had just won a civil suit against a local KKK member who had burned a cross on the lawn of their home. He was moved, and insisted on meeting the Butler family. He asked staff to arrange it, and they were contacted at their work to give advance notice (both husband and wife worked for the government printing office). After completing some work and taking some meetings, he helicoptered over after 4pm to visit their home with his wife Nancy.

It was a cordial visit, that ended with hugs and good wishes. It was symbolic, but also warmly personal. The College Park family not only won their suit (it’s unclear if they ever got the money awarded), but the President of the United States dropped by to personally offer his support. It was a remarkable moment.

I never cared for Reagan, but I never doubted that he was President, though in his later years I had my doubts about his mental capacity. He was “the photo opportunity President,” and I remember thinking that he never missed a chance to be part of a “feel good” story.

But he made this happen, and he reached out to the Butlers in a way that seems, in hindsight, heartfelt.

Source: The day President Reagan comforted a black family who had a KKK cross burned on their lawn – The Washington Post

Charlottesville was lucky it wasn’t much, much worse.

They’re so lucky it wasn’t much, much worse in Charlottesville. It had the potential to be a bloodbath. The lines of communication were poor between the various protest groups and the Charlottesville authorities tasked with keeping people safe.

But it nearly came unstuck. At the moment this man aimed his gun at a counter-protester using an improvised flamethrower, the C’vill police were up the street to the left and behind barricades. They were out of position for keeping the two groups of protestors separate.

This man has been identified and arrested. Fortunately, his safety was on the first time he aimed; his re-aimed shot went into the bushes.

The authorities had some challenges, as some of the militia-style rightwing protestors showed up in very credible-looking body armor, including some unit patches (but no visible name patches). One official mistook them briefly for reinforcements, there to help maintain public safety. He was startled to realize they were not “the good guys.”

Arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a rally planned by white nationalists earlier this month, Virginia’s top homeland security official nodded to a nearby group of men clad in camouflage and armed with semiautomatic rifles, believing they were soldiers in the state’s National Guard.

Then he did a double take.

“They’re not ours, are they?” said the official, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, who described the exchange in an interview. “No, sir,” came a reply from his deputy in the passenger seat. “I don’t think they’re with us.”

Source: How Charlottesville lost control amid deadly protest – Chicago Tribune

Charlottesville: Gunman Arrested, Police Faulted For Slow Response

Charlottesville: Gunman Arrested, Police Faulted For Slow Response



As White Nationalist in Charlottesville Fired, Police ‘Never Moved’ – The New York Times
Pleas for help and a safety plan were ignored at a rally that turned deadly on Aug. 12, participants said. Both sides feel betrayed by law enforcement.

Read at Google+

Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio

This is outrageous. The President of the United States does not simply “let a case go to trial” as if he (or she) has any say in the process.

As Joseph Arpaio’s federal case headed toward trial this past spring, President Trump wanted to act to help the former Arizona county sheriff who had become a campaign-trail companion and a partner in their crusade against illegal immigration.

The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation.

After talking with Sessions, Trump decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency.

This is infuriating. Trump ignores the Constitution with every dollar he rakes in at one of his properties, and he treats the Judiciary as a nuisance. No wonder he was angry at Sessions recently, he was getting static over pardoning his birther buddy.

How far will Congress let this go? Pretty far. The Republicans are starting to get restless and so far only a few ex-members are willing to speak out (with the exception of Arizona’s senators, McCain and Flake).

Can we expect more pardons for much more serious crimes? Yes, especially if they’re closer to the President and bring him into focus in the ongoing Mueller investigations.

I am so disgusted with this… hairball.

Source: Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio, an ally since ‘birtherism’