Saturday, November 29, 2014

Um... what Jena Malone?

I follow photography. It's my thing. It's a lifelong hobby that brings me joy and happiness. I also follow religion and belief too. It brings me less joy and happiness, but it tends to make me think and that is okay. Sometimes photography and religion mix. Like this story about actress Jena Malone.

On Friday, Jena Malone turned 30, debuted her first solo photography show and celebrated the release of her latest film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1), which went on to have the biggest opening weekend of any movie this year (though she only appears for a few seconds). All three pivotal events make up what she calls a "crazy triangle" influenced by Saturn Return, or the life-changing astrological transition that she says she's been in the thick of for the past two years.

(via LAWeekly)

"crazy triangle" influenced by Saturn Return, or the life-changing astrological transition... Wait, what? Everything was moving along well until we took a turn towards astrology, and then the story went south.

I was originally attracted to the story because of the images. I was curious. What would the young photographer Jena Malone produce? I hoped for interesting and got what looks like photos that my mom would take while on vacation. Her show is a vanity showcase of little substance, but her life looks worse. Astrology, triangls seeds… It all feeds my thinking that successful actors are just people with access to more of everything than the rest of us. They are people with all the same kookie hangups, shallow thinking and limitations as the rest of us. Why do we treat them special? Why do we idolize them? Why do we treat a woman whose experience in photography is limited to studying photography at a Jr. college as if her snapshots of Burma are special?

My gospel is like chemotherapy

I find myself asking a lot of questions these day. One that comes to mind often is, what is the real role of a pastor? With all the negative media coverage  these days, I have ample evidence of what a pastor’s role should not be. I have precious little exposure to what a pastor's role should be. I need to fix that. If I am to highlight problems in religion, I think balance is required.

I can find nothing redeeming in the words of Pastor Earl Carter.

“I don’t hate gays, I’m just like the doctor who hates disease, I fight the disease,” Carter added. “My gospel is like chemotherapy. We try to get to the disease. And the police fighting crime, what are we fighting? Or are we making concessions for these sins?”

(via RawStory)

The words, “My gospel is like Chemotherapy” stand out. Chemotherapy is a horrible analogy and brings to mind suffering and pain. Pastor Earl Carter is saying that it is his job to bring suffering and pain to LGBT people. Does that sound anything like the message of Jesus? 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The silly notion that god does stuff for us

I read and despair… I know lots of people who think like this. 

“Even if I’m going to drop my kids off, or I need to park somewhere, I’m like, ‘OK God, you know I’m in this parking lot, you know any place you can open up for me would be great!’ I just have this relationship- I’m not dumbing down prayer. What I’m doing- it’s just part of my life.”

Victoria Osteen

The Christian notion that god listens to our silly prayers and then intervenes in the lives of people to make our desires come true makes no sense at all when one considers the concept of free will. Why do people think this way? In Victoria Osteen’s scenario, god would stop running the universe to make Mr. Nobody stop his shopping and open a place close to mall for the princess of Christian bullshit to park. I mean, wtf?

(Via Progressive Secular Humanist.)

A Poem about Bums by Hollie Mcnish

I woke up feeling stressed out this morning. My wife tells me to read a poem. I do. It helps.

People talking every day about
The topic of the year
Is it fun to shake about or just a thing for us to jeer at
Have I seen the videos?
Do I think that they’re ok?
People asking me about bums Everyday"
A Poem about Bums by Hollie Mcnish at Hollie Poetry:

I read a poem this morning. I feel better for it. Thanks Hollie. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Outing the KKK is something I can get behind.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry - Rented Room by Xu Lizhi

The haunting poetry of a Chinese factory worker who committed suicide:

Every time I open the window or the wicker gate
I seem like a dead man
Slowly pushing open the lid of a coffin.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christian radio host admits abuse

The freak show continues with Christians in positions of authority abuse kids. It’s a disease. 

Christian radio host admits to sexually abusing 11-year-old boy while another man watched:

"t least 25 years in prison for the rape of an 11-year-old boy.
According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, 35-year-old John Balyo plead guilty to the sexual assault, which Balyo arranged with the help of another man, Ronald L. Moser, 42, of Battle Creek, who has admitted to procuring boys for Balyo to have sex with."

The story is horrifying. Balyo is completely corrupt. 

Robert Reich (The Choice of the Century)

Robert Reich thinks he knows why Democrats lost the 2014 midterm elections. 

Robert Reich (The Choice of the Century):

"The President blames himself for the Democrat’s big losses Election Day. ‘We have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction,’ he said Sunday.
In other words, he didn’t sufficiently tout the Administration’s accomplishments.
I respectfully disagree.
If you want a single reason for why Democrats lost big on Election Day 2014 it’s this: Median household income continues to drop. This is the first “recovery” in memory when this has happened.

It’s worth a read. 

Somebody's lying

Rep. Charlie Rangel - I Thought Cracker Was A 'Term Of Endearment':

“Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has no problem using dramatic language to make a point. In fact, the congressman, who received some heat for comparing Tea Party members to the segregationist, ‘white crackers’ of the Jim Crow era, is surprised that his word choice caused any controversy at all."

Seriously now… does anybody think he thought it was a term of endearment?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Taliban and pigeons

I live in a small part of a big world. Where I live, if someone want to raise pigeons, they do, if doing so is permissible by local zoning ordinances. Religion, or politicized religion cannot forbid us the joy of pigeons. I enjoy watching the birds race around and around. Pigeons bring a small measure of joy to our lives. When I read that the Taliban banned raising pigeons while ruling Afghanistan, I was baffled. Why would the Taliban do something so pointless? What possible reason could be offered to justify banning raising pigeons? Does it offend Allah?

I got here today via a photo and it's small blurb.

In this photograph taken on October 22, 2014, Afghan pigeon fancier Habibullah looks on as his birds take flight at his home on the outskirts of Jalalabad. Habibullah has a flock of fifty-five pigeons which he releases daily from the roof of his home for recreation, a practice which was banned during Taliban rule.

Politics and religion are an evil combination. Why is this so hard to see? I’ve always felt that we can detect intent by looking at the small things like hat does religion attempts to control or ban, or how religion trys to control our behavior. I ask a lot of questions as I read the news.  Why is it wrong for me to buy alcohol on a Sunday morning? Why can’t our children learn the facts about birth control? Why must we pray before city council meetings? Why must we accommodate religions traditions? These questions weigh on my mind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top Scientology leaders caught on video harassing an ex member at L.A. airport

Scientology’s true believers are nuts.

Top Scientology leaders caught on video harassing an ex member at L.A. airport:

"A former executive of the Church of Scientology has posted video footage showing high-ranking members of the church yelling obscenities and harassing him in a Los Angeles airport.
The video is the first public glimpse of the secretive church’s top management in four years. The footage, posted by Mark Rathbun this Sunday, shows Marc Yager, Dave Bloomberg and Jennifer Linson Devocht — three executives who report to church president David Miscavige. The church members can be seen yelling at Rathbun, telling him to ‘get a life,’ that his criticism of the church has had ‘no effect,’ and ‘nobody gives a f*ck about you.’"

I’ve met a few in my time, they all scare me. Crazy always scares me. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This is why I don't trust Texas

If Texans willingly elect nutball Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor, well, the diverse what they get.

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through "Duck Dynasty" Is About to Be Texas' Second-in-Command:

"A former sportscaster who once defended a football player who'd thrown a reporter through a door (Patrick believed it wasn't the journalist's job to do 'negative reporting'), Patrick became a conservative talk radio host in the early 1990s—Houston's answer to Rush Limbaugh. In 2006, he parlayed his radio fame into a state Senate seat—and kept the talk show going. In office, he proposed paying women $500 to turn over newborn babies to the state (to reduce abortions), led the charge against creeping liberalism in state textbooks, and pushed wave after wave of new abortion restrictions. For his efforts, Texas Monthly named Patrick one of the worst legislators of 2013."

I’ve come to the point in my life where I think that our democracy has failed. This hater should not be on the ballet, yet he’s about to win. I am not proud or our process. It needs to be fixed. We elect the worst possible candidates as if we are proud of it. Any one of the things listed below should disqualify this nutball extremest, but he wears them like a badge and people still vote for him. 

  • He’s an intolerant Christian.
  • He’s xenophobic. 
  • He’s an egotist.
  • He’s a racist. 
  • He’s a fervent right to lifer. 
  • He does not support the separation of church and state
  • He believes creationism should be taught in school as science. 
  • He thinks God talks to him. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Got to love them nutballs

Religious nutters are always entertaining.

Woman arrested claiming Jesus Christ will pay her restaurant tab…  with cash!

"When asked about her husband, she told them she was legally married to Jesus Christ, but had no marriage license. She also told management that Jesus would be able to walk in and produce U.S. currency to pay for her bill. "


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remember when a pastor's arrest was a good thing?

I remember when I used to look up to pastors like James H. Bryant. It was not that long ago. I miss those days. Religion can be a force for good.

Bryant was arrested in Ferguson protesting against police brutality and misconduct.

Bryant was on the front lines of a crowd of hundreds of protesters and faith leaders marching from a church to the Police Department in Ferguson, the town where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by police two months ago.
In a tweet posted Monday afternoon, Bryant said he had been released.
"Just released from St Louis county!" the message read. "We are being charged with assaulting police & disturbing the peace #NoJusticeNoPeace"
Baltimore pastor arrested at Ferguson protest by Justin George & Justin Fenton. The Baltimore Sun. 

It is a rare thing for me to promote the arrest of a pastor as a good thing, but I do so willingly. Go pastor James H. Bryant!

Mark Driscoll's resignation and institutional hypocrisy

Mark Driscoll, the former head pastor of the Seattle-based Mars Hill mega church, has resigned. But in doing so, his former church lost an opportunity to hold a stinky turd of a christian pastor accountable for his misdeeds. 

"The investigation by a group of elders at the church, Mars Hill, found that Mr. Driscoll ‘has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner.’ But the board also declared that some unspecified accusations against Mr. Driscoll were ‘altogether unfair or untrue’ and said that ‘Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy.’"
Mark Driscoll Resigns as Pastor of Mars Hill Megachurch - Michael Paulson. N.Y. Times. 10/16/2014

Driscoll admitted to pride, anger and a domineering spirit. He left out the well-documented sexist pig and imperialist bully parts of his tenure. So did Mars Hill. In fact, it would seem that Driscoll and Mars Hill can only agree that he may have done a few things that he had already apologies for… so lets just forget the whole mess. Great job Mars Hill! Way to lead! I’m sure Jesus would be proud. 

How about a real investigation run be independent investigators unaffiliated with Mars Hill? How about offering protection to the alleged victims so that they can speak freely about allegations of abuse without fear of retaliation. It’s hard to speak freely in front of your peers, but I think Mars Hills knows this because exactly ZERO victims testified during their investigation and this does not seem to bother them at all. 

This is institutional hypocrisy. Mars Hills has a reputation to protect. They have skin in the game. They are at least partially responsible for the alleged abuses of Mark Driscoll. How can we expect anything honest in this scenario? At best, we can be thankful that with power-mad pastor is out of a job, but it will only last until his next posting. Mars Hill should have put a stake in Driscoll’s empty heart. Now, some other wannabe mega church will hire him and the cycle will start anew.