Leviticus 18:22 has long been used to justify hatred of men who use a tush for receiving, in addition to shipping. In the King Jimmy edition, the text reads “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Recently unearthed documents suggest that this verse may be more about honesty than fornication.
The story, according to the Bible University of Los Lobos (BULL,) is that the “word” with should be translated as “to”. In this revised edition, the verse would read “Thou shalt not lie to mankind, as to womankind: it is abomination.” It is well known that men lie to women whenever they feel the need. If the lips are moving, what comes out is suspect. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
PG was researching a previous post, and decided to check up on little Ralphie Reed. His group’s website has a headline video, Franklin Graham: America Has Turned Its Back on God. It does not mention why anyone should care.
Franklin Graham’s claim to fame is his father. Billy Graham is a TV preacher superstar. The elder Graham is still alive, so it is fair to make negative comments. PG walked through the living room countless nights, and saw parents glued to the tube. The Billy Graham crusade was a staple of television. The blow dried superpreacher stood in front of a football stadium full of admirers, telling people how not to go to hell. Sin, salvation, send money. Is that all there is?
If Franklin Graham did not have a superstar father, he would be nobody. Life is not fair, and the opinions of Franklin Graham, and his sister, Anne Graham Lotz, are treated with the reverence Catholics give to the thoughts of the Pope. Franklin Graham has gotten a lot of attention with some rude comments about Muslims. Islam and Christianity use the same G-d.
It was some comments about G-d in the video that annoyed PG. “We’ve turned out back on G-d. We’ve taken G-d out of our schools. We’ve taken G-d out of our government.” Apparently, Franklin Graham and PG have different thoughts about G-d.
G-d is in everything and everybody. If you turn your back on G-d, she will still be looking you in the eye. If you have a room full of children, then G-d is present in that room. This idea of a puny G-d, that you can turn your back on, may be the most offensive thing ever said by the Graham family, Inc.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.
Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.
TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.
Pete Seeger is still alive, at the age of 94. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.
“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost, edited for inclusion in the trifecta writing challenge. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
It was a cold wednesday morning. The snow did not arrive, and a working day loomed. PG was beginning work on a breakdown of “The Dharma Bums”. There is a youtube of Mr. Kerouac, in his inebriated glory, on a tv show. There is a link on the side to William S. Burroughs. He holds a cane, and talks about Mr. Kerouac.
Towards the end of the video, WSB says that Mr. Kerouac was apolitical, but the movement spawned by his novels was highly political. Somehow, this is the fault of Mr. Kerouac. WSB quotes Jesus, of all people. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Quoting Jesus is a dangerous business. The most popular source is the Bible. Some say, very loudly, that this is the inerrant word of G-d. Others say that is preposterous. There almost certainly is not a verbatim record of the words of Jesus. Even that would not settle the controversy. It is like a Rorschach test. What you see in these quotes says more about you than it does Jesus.
The thesis quote for this discussion is Matthew 7:20. It is part of the sermon on the mount. This is probably the standard stump speech, given many times in many places. Many of the most popular sayings of Jesus here. Several might seem to criticize the religious people of today.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
The person who taught PG the most about Jesus was a coworker at Redo Blue. A turning point was when PG asked the Bully for Jesus to turn down his radio. PG asked for quiet. BFG gave him seven years of hateful noise.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
It had been a week since PG drove past the church sign at Briarcliff United Methodist Church. The church sent a thoughtful email, in response to the complaining message. The traffic on Briarcliff Road was just as rude as ever. PG took a look when he drove past the church. The new message this week: “In what missions did U last serve?“
Maybe they didn’t have a YO to spare. Maybe they are trying to appeal to the text message crowd. Maybe the comment was directed at nearby Mercer University. Maybe a Synagogue borrowed an OY.
When the Jesus worship church talks about missions, they usually mean an effort to convert people to their brand of religion. This is a part of Christianism that many find tasteless. This product promotion frequently turns into a violation of the third commandment… the injunction against improper use of a sacred name. When you create ill will, you are speaking in vain.
When PG got home, he decided to create a meme poem. He also did not feel moved to write fresh text. A decision was made to use already created material, out of the public domain. A search of the book of Psalms located a short chapter, with a number that is popular at this blog. Hence, the current presentation of Psalm 54.
While this effort was in production, PG thought about the mission he was on. The idea was to rescue this text from the improper way in which it is used. It should be a source of beauty, not a weapon to bludgeon people into agreement. Psalm 54 is a poem, written by a human being, not a message from G-d. When you make a G-d out of a book, you do no favor to either the G-d, or the book.
In the end, the effort had mixed results. The text has an air of vengeance. G-d was supposed to get even with your enemies. The idea that your enemies might be the children of G-d is forgotten.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union soldiers from the War Between the States. They served on a tough mission.
Religion is very personal. When you have a miserable experience with Jesus, it will not go away because of glib expressions of someone else’s beliefs. When you put a sign by the road, you don’t know who is going to see it. You don’t know how they are going to be feeling.
I was driving to dinner one night, when I drove by Briarcliff United Methodist Church. This facility is on a busy road. They have a sign in front, with a message that changes from time to time. This night, I was in a bad mood. I was thinking about people who have humiliated me for Jesus. The sign in front of BUMC said “When was the last time you prayed?”
The concept of prayer is collateral damage in my struggle with Jesus. As I became alienated from Jesus, the idea of a person talking to G-d seems selfish and self aggrandizing. There is something about having an angry bully for Jesus snarling “I’m going to pray for you brother” that makes the concept of prayer repulsive. Prayer should not be a weapon in an argument.
There is another thing to consider here. Pushy Jesus worshipers assume that they have the right to grill you about a sensitive personal issue. The idea of saying this to passing motorists is incredibly disrespectful. It is none of your business if I pray.
I looked up BUMC on the internet when I got home. They have a modern website. The top tab on the menu said “Prayer Requests.” This is probably for people who are facing a crisis, and want someone to pray for them. Maybe you can leave a prayer non-request. Ask them to respect discomfort with their religion, and don’t put offensive messages by the roadside.
Further down on the website is an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org.) While not expecting a miracle, I decided to send them an email. Here is the text of that message.
You have a message board in front of your church. The message when I went by was “When was the last time you prayed?” I was offended by this message.
I have had a tough time with religion. I have been humiliated many, many times because of Jesus. I have heard about your scheme for life after death thousands of times, and simply do not agree with it. An intrusive roadway sign is not going to change my mind.
My belief is that my opinions about G-d, the bible, Jesus, and life after death, are none of your business. If I trust you enough to discuss these matters, then we can have a discussion. Having a rude sign by the road side is not going to enable me to trust you.
Even though it is none of your business, I am going to answer your question. Even though I was talking to G-d, and not to you, I am going to repeat what I said. “G-d please help these people to have respect for their neighbor, and take that awful sign down”.
Yesterday, this facility published the text of Luke 15, also known as The Prodigal Son. The titular phrase does not appear in the King Jimmy text. The story is a parable, that is, a made up story to teach a lesson. Those who say every word of the Bible is true somehow miss this.
The Prodigal Son is a popular story. It is well known, and speaks of forgiveness. Some unkind people say that Jesus worshipers like to be forgiven, and do not like to forgive. There is plenty of evidence for this observation. Lets just say that lots of people don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. If you can get your pie in the sky hero to forgive you, then you can have a slightly cleaner conscience.
PG was at a memorial service once. The guest of honor was a leather wearing pagan. The minister, who had met the deceased one time, told the story of the Prodigal Son. It made PG feel better.
The forgotten character in this story is the older brother. He was faithful to his father, stayed at home and helped out, only to see his wayward brother welcomed back with joy. The father never killed a fatted calf for the elder brother. Maybe the elder brother deserved it more. Sometimes, life is not fair. Some say this is more than a parable. Maybe it is three units of bull.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men were Union soldiers during the War Between the States. After the guns stopped firing, it was a long time before the two sides forgave one another.
When PG was a kid in sunday school, he heard about the the golden calf. It turns out that, splendid allegory aside, he didn’t really know much about the story. With the help of google and Bible Gateway, the text of Exodus 32 showed up. G-d bless public domain, and copy paste. The Bible is the main source for this tale. It doesn’t really matter if it is the inerrant word of G-d, it is a pretty good story. And much of the message rings true today.
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
This is a modern story. The church is begging the people for gold. The sons are wearing golden earrings. The church takes these ill gotten gains, and forge a make believe G-d. This time, it looks like a cow. Billy Graham will come much later.
7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Moving down a few verses, the story gets good. 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. 25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies) : 26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord G-d of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: there fell that day about three thousand men.
Lets get this story right. Moses comes back from somewhere, and sees a naked party by the golden calf. He has a hissy fit, threw the golden calf into the fire, and tells people to start killing each other. Over three thousand men are killed. Presumably, the women and children are spared. This is serious stuff. Pictures tonight are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. If you saw it last year, it has not changed. Feel free to skip the text and look at the pictures.
I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
I focused on my job most of the day. There was always a lot of melodrama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.
One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.
I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.