Oct 21, 2012

Missouri Preacher's Speech Against Gay Rights


At first, this Missouri pastor's anti-gay speech seems akin to those delivered by a number of conservative preachers and other right-wing pundits nationwide over the past year.

. . .

But, as video of his speech reveals, the pastor has a few surprises up his sleeve.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 17, 2012

The Wizard of Wormholes

I've had The Wizard of Oz on my mind a lot lately, for some reason. When my daughter was little, she watched my video of the movie until I really got sick of it -- something I'd never thought possible. But lately I've been yearning to watch it. I'll need to get it on DVD... Anyway. I've been contemplating some of the metaphysical imagery that hadn't occurred to me previously. I should caveat that I've long been taken with some of the mythical themes.

That Dorothy is taking a shamanic journey into non-ordinary reality where she interacts with strange creatures and is assisted by guides seems obvious on its face. But there are some elements to that journey that deserve some analysis. This won't be a deep study. I may do that at some point. It's just some things that have been popping into my head of late.

Years ago, when I first read Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Women Who Run With the Wolves, it occurred to me that, in the movie, Dorothy also wore red shoes. In Estes's analysis of "The Red Shoes," our heroine who dances to her death under the spell of her magic shoes, is an orphan, like our Dorothy Gale. And the girl is raised by a somewhat overbearing and opinionated matriarch, who makes all the decisions for her orphan charge. While she acts out of love and compassion, she crushes the girl's soul, symbolized by the burning of the girl's own handmade, red shoes. The red, magical shoes she obtains later are a poor substitute for her now languishing, authentic wildness. Auntie Em is also loving, but overbearing. She is not terribly patient with Dorothy's emotional needs and drives. And she turns her beloved pet over to the local harridan. Dorothy's authentic self is being crushed, so like Estes's red shod heroine, she becomes reckless and impetuous, risking her own safety. These are interesting parallels that I've pondered when it comes to the underlying mythos of the film version of the story.

There are other mythical themes that have really just occurred to me over the past few days as this movie started ping-ponging around my head, despite the fact that I haven't watched or thought about it in some time.

Earlier today, a Facebook friend posted the above image. My first thought was that I can't seem to get away from this movie. My second thought was, is that a butterfly? I'd simply never noticed before that Glinda is wearing that classic symbol of transformation as a pendent.

I also hadn't noticed that the film contains some greater transformational themes. As discussed with regards to this year's Olympics, the rainbow is a symbol of alchemical transformation. And like the leprechaun whose mysterious gold waits at the end of rainbow, Dorothy finds a yellow brick road.

But the realization that has really captured my imagination of late, is that the Wizard of Oz is full of stargate imagery. Dorothy wishes upon a star and is transported by a vortex (wormhole) to a magical land over the rainbow.

There she traverses another great, spiraling vortex.

And having recovered her sense of personal power, she opens the stargate herself.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 12, 2012

If Thine Eye Be Single

Some synchronicities are ickier than others.

This is the first news story I read this morning.

South Florida beaches are usually places where people find sea shells, tiny crawling creatures and a shark tooth here and there, but a man walking on Pompano Beach Wednesday came across something out of the ordinary.

A giant eyeball.

Later today, a sneaky neighbor left a bucket of these on our doorstep.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 11, 2012

Is Mormonism Racist?

I was reminded again recently of how much insane, socially unacceptable, and terribly, terribly cruel, stuff is in the Bible. The writings that were compiled into that text were products of their time... and it was a fairly brutal chapter in human history. Today most but, rather stunningly, not all Christians would not support the idea of killing rebellious children, as that most recent example makes clear. The rejection of violent, homicidal, and genocidal, Biblical passages only really presents a problem for fundamentalists who still insist that every word in the book is the true and irrefutable word of God. Having been raised Episcopalian, leave say, I learned to look at the Bible through a somewhat different lens.

As Brian Keith Dalton, aka. Mister Deity, points out, this is much trickier for Mormons. Dalton, who apparently was a Mormon, explains that the Book of Mormon is literally true and "the most correct book on Earth" under Mormon doctrine. That makes it much harder to gaffe off the wackiest bits.

The racism that was so acceptable in the time of Joseph Smith is forever enshrined as unassailable truth in Mormonism. That would seem to leave non-racist Mormons -- let alone black Mormons -- with little to fall back on other than cognitive dissonance.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 9, 2012

How To Kill Your Rebellious Child

It's become quite fashionable to compare the "clobber verses" in the Bible condemning homosexuality to scripture no one in the modern world would endorse. I, myself, have written extensively on the hypocrisy of shrimp munching, polyester blend wearing, homophobes. An increasing number of gay-positive, evangelical Christians have likewise taken to pointing out the socially unacceptable passages that are avoided by the vast majority of fundamentalists. But every so often some Biblical purist calls our bluff.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 is one of those scriptural passages no modern Christian could love.

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

~ Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Yup. If your son is worthless lay-about, have him put to death.

Openly gay megachurch pastor Jim Swilley likes to point that one out as an example of the outrageous scriptural obscurities that no one would endorse today. But the Pastor Swilleys of the world are just not prepared for Charlie Fuqua, GOP candidate for the Arkansas legislature. Fuqua thinks a death penalty for rebellious youth is an idea whose time has come.

Via the Arkansas Times, here is passage from Fuqua's book God's Law.

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21:

This passage does not give parents blanket authority to kill their children. They must follow the proper procedure in order to have the death penalty executed against their children. I cannot think of one instance in the Scripture where parents had their child put to death. Why is this so? Other than the love Christ has for us, there is no greater love then [sic] that of a parent for their child. The last people who would want to see a child put to death would be the parents of the child. Even so, the Scrpture provides a safe guard to protect children from parents who would wrongly exercise the death penalty against them. Parents are required to bring their children to the gate of the city. The gate of the city was the place where the elders of the city met and made judicial pronouncements. In other words, the parents were required to take their children to a court of law and lay out their case before the proper judicial authority, and let the judicial authority determine if the child should be put to death. I know of many cases of rebellious children, however, I cannot think of one case where I believe that a parent had given up on their child to the point that they would have taken their child to a court of law and asked the court to rule that the child be put to death. Even though this procedure would rarely be used, if it were the law of land, it would give parents authority. Children would know that their parents had authority and it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents.

Fuqua has also advocated expelling Muslims from the United States, as a way to cure the "Muslim problem." But I'd be willing to bet that it's not because of extremist Muslim practices like honor killings of adulteresses and rape victims. He seems mystified at the idea that this view might place him outside the mainstream.

Fuqua said Saturday that he hadn't realized he'd become a target within his own party, which he said surprised him.

"I think my views are fairly well-accepted by most people," Fuqua said before hanging up, saying he was busy knocking on voters' doors. The attorney is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. James McLean in House District 63.

I don't know. Maybe there's something in the water in Arkansas. Two Republican pols in that great state have come out swinging for slavery. And at least one of them has turned to the holy scriptures to defend it.

In two letters, [State Rep. Loy] Mauch wrote about the Bible and slavery. The Arkansas Times quotes from a letter Mauch wrote in 2009:
If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?

Goodness knows he could have dug deeper. You just have to flip around the Old Testament a little. The book of Exodus is a particularly rich source of wisdom on how to properly keep, beat (21:20-21), and breed (21:2-6) your slaves. I've long said that I could make a better Biblical argument for slavery than against homosexuality. But maybe I shouldn't risk giving lawmakers like Mauch and Fuqua any more ideas.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 8, 2012

Three Years Ago Today...

In Memory of James Shore, Kirby Brown, and Liz Neuman

Today I find myself contemplating where I was and what I was doing when I first learned of the sweat lodge tragedy that took the lives of James Shore, Kirby Brown, and, ultimately, Liz Neuman. I was enjoying the long weekend with my husband's family when I read about the shocking deaths in the news. I thought, what a horrible, horrible accident. I was only barely aware of James Arthur Ray and thought his crime to be one of the kind of ignorance so typical of The Secret, with its stripped down versions of complex myths and traditions.

I was wrong. Ray's actions and inactions were so much worse than I could have ever imagined. The James Ray I came to know through watching every broadcast moment of a very long trial was a power thief who exploited the vulnerabilities of wonderful, beautiful people -- those who died and those who courageously testified about what they had experienced under his tutelage. Ray's was a very long trail of wreckage leading up to that stunning tragedy in the Arizona desert.

A year ago, I found myself waiting seemingly endlessly for the sentencing of James Arthur Ray, found guilty by a jury of his peers for causing these three deaths. Then as now my heart goes out to the family and friends of three very bright lights, snuffed out because of James Ray's recklessness. It goes out the family and friends of Colleen Conaway who also came to a tragic end at a James Ray seminar. And it goes out to the many people who were injured physically or emotionally by Ray's myriad abuses. Blessings and peace to you all.

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.

Oct 7, 2012

Gabriele Convicted for Blowing the Whistle

Am I alone in seeing something almost poetic in the fact that the first whistleblower convicted in the Vatileaks scandal, Paolo Gabriele, bears the name of the Archangel Gabriel? Gabriel, the messenger of God who announced the pending births of Jesus and John the Baptist? Gabriel, depicted in art and literature as the angel who will blow his horn come judgment day? If I were Pope Benedict, I'd be more concerned than ever about that Fatima prophecy.

Be that as it may, the verdict is in and the Vatican court is satisfied that the butler did it. Gabriele, manservant to the pontiff, was sentenced to eighteen months for hanging the Church's dirty laundry out to dry. It seems he believed sunlight to be the best disinfectant.

Gabriele slipped internal documents, including some of Pope Benedict's private papers, to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Nuzzi's book, "His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI's Secret Papers" convulsed the Vatican for months and prompted an unprecedented response, with the pope naming a commission of cardinals to investigate the origin of the leaks alongside Vatican magistrates.

Gabriele insists he was only trying to save the Church from itself.

Gabriele has said he leaked the documents because he felt the pope wasn't being informed of the "evil and corruption" in the Vatican, and that exposing the problems publicly would put the church back on the right track.

. . .

"The thing I feel strongly in me is the conviction that I acted out of exclusive love, I would say visceral love, for the church of Christ and its visible head," Gabriele told the court in a steady voice. "I do not feel like a thief."

During the trial Gabriele claimed to have acted alone. But on other occasions he claimed that he was anything but. He alleged that there were at least twenty whistleblowers who, like himself, "want to help bring some transparency."

There's a fierce irony in the Vatican's aggressive investigation into Vatileakers like Gabriele. After decades of equivocating over whether or not child molesting priests should be turned over to the authorities, they brought the hammer down over some letters. The Church takes its secrecy very seriously.

Gabriele will serve out his sentence in his apartment, under house arrest. That is, unless the Pope decides to pardon him. Sources say this is likely and it might make His Holiness look like something other than a complete hypocrite. A wise leader, might also want to heed the message, rather than kill the messenger.

Well, it's Gabriel, Gabriel playin'!
Gabriel, Gabriel sayin'
"Will you be ready to go
When I blow my horn?"

Oh, blow, Gabriel, blow,
Go on and blow, Gabriel, blow!
I've been a sinner, I've been a scamp,
But now I'm willin' to trim my lamp,
So blow, Gabriel, blow!

Oh, I was low, Gabriel, low,
Mighty low, Gabriel, low.
But now since I have seen the light,
I'm good by day and I'm good by night,
So blow, Gabriel, blow!

~ From "Blow, Gabriel Blow" in Anything Goes

Comments on this entry are closed, on this blog. If you wish to comment, please find this and all newer blog entries crossposted on Celestial Reflections.