Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bright Portals

Bright portals of the sky,
Emboss'd with sparkling stars,
Doors of eternity,
With diamantine bars,
Your arras rich uphold,
Loose all your bolts and springs,
Ope wide your leaves of gold,
That in your roofs may come the King of Kings.
O well-spring of this All!
Thy Father's image vive;
Word, that from nought did call
What is, doth reason, live;
The soul's eternal food,
Earth's joy, delight of heaven;
All truth, love, beauty, good:
To thee, to thee be praises ever given!
O glory of the heaven!
O sole delight of earth!
To thee all power be given,
God's uncreated birth!
Of mankind lover true,
Indearer of his wrong,
Who doth the world renew,
Still be thou our salvation and our song!

--William Drummond

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Forewarned is Foreskinned

As you may have heard in the news recently, Seattle Tacoma Airport pitched a hissy by taking down their Christmas Tree decorations because a local Rabbi wanted them to put up and plug in an 8-foot tall menorah.  The news rapidly burgeoned onto the national consciousness when conservative pundits siezed on the events as yet another example of secular liberal America's "war on Christmas." 

Well, the decorations have now gone up at the state capitol in Olympia.  They include BOTH Christmas Trees and a Menorah.  Plans for a creche were pointedly scrapped.  Scrapping the nativity scene has people howling now and the press is eating it up.

There is no solution to this shite.  But what is clear, is that all parties want it their way, and so everyone is going to end up disappointed and annoyed--which is exactly in the spirit of the season--so I guess that's something.

But what I really wanted to blog about was circumcision.  I'm offended by being forced to fund circumcisions through my tax dollars to military hospitals and Medicaid.  Circumcision is a religious practice, and the government should not be in the business of endorsing one religious practice over another!

Oh, wait.  There's a medical benefit.  Well--I still don't think that there should be special preference.  So, circumcisions for everyone except Jews and Muslims.  There--that should do it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Political Correctness I

I first heard the term "politically correct" in 1985 in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a conversation with Auntie Carl, an old-school activist from San Francisco.  Carl used the term ironically, almost derisively.  I knew exactly what it meant the instant I heard it.  I knew it to be an attempt by leftist revolutionaries to present a united front.  The price was conformity to that thought.  If we are to be united, dissent cannot be tolerated-it broadcasts as weakness.

Marginalized groups who wished to show strength through unity, used PC as a tool.  Nowadays its meaning has subtly changed and implies conformity and the imposition of taboo for political purposes.  It divides rather than unifies.  I'm struck by this quote from Peter Hitchens in The Spectator:

    SILLY people, the sort who take nothing seriously except themselves, think that political correctness is a joke. In fact it is about as funny as an abattoir. Those of us who have faced it head on - publishers refusing a book on unashamedly political grounds, microphones switched off in midspeech to please a baying mob, that sort of thing - know better. Political correctness, more accurately termed 'modern liberal orthodoxy', is the fulfilment of George Orwell's most accurate and least noted prophecy, in the Newspeak chapter of Nineteen Eighty-Four, that the best way to stamp out thought is to make it impossible to say or write certain things. Then it becomes impossible to think them and conformity is guaranteed for ever and ever.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Luke, I AM your father. . .

Today I had the fantastic opportunity to join my coworker Rox Ann at the Zion Preparatory Academy's annual fundraiser breakfast.  The speaker was the one and only legendary James Earl Jones, who spoke on the topic of culture.  He was erudite, funny and absolutely riveting.  When he quoted the 23rd Psalm, the air in the room suddenly congealed and we were all transported to another place in our brains, where there is only image and desire and simplicity.  He was extraordinary.

Zion is a Christian school with an urban, Afro centric history founded by Bishop Eugene Drayton of the Zion United House of Prayer in Seattle.  I have participated in several Zion Prep events, and have always felt extremely comfortable and welcome.  In fact, I feel more comfortable at the Zion teacher appreciation dinner than at my own office's Christmas party.

What is notable about the people of Zion is their Christian message.  They smile, they're warm, they embrace.  They don't judge, condemn and strike out.  When Pastor Drayton leads in prayer, I can feel the holy spirit, an element missing in many of the so-called religious discussions I read or hear.  It is a good feeling, encompassing; good and right and loving.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Mary Cheney and Mel Gibson

Gads.  It's been almost a month since my last post.  If anyone is still reading this blog, you have my undying gratitude. 

Mary Cheney is expecting!  Congratulations to her and her partner Heather and to happy grandparents Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne.  All of the news reports on the story mentioned in their headlines "Vice President's gay daughter pregnant" or some variation but always the "gay" before the daughter. 

I for one have grown to respect and admire Mary Cheney, who has managed to piss off both Gay Activists and Evangelical Christianists by simply living her life as she sees fit and not answering or apologizing to anyone.  The good fun for gays, however, is that this story will enrage evangelical Christianists which is always enjoyable to observe.  Principally, that their precious family values party does not tow the line when it comes to gay sons and gay daughters.  For Republicans, being anti-Gay means disliking those leather clad bikers and drag queens that ride on floats in the San Francisco Pride Parade.  It doesn't include their own sons and daughters.  It is a disconnect from reality, but people like Mary Cheney are helping their conservative loved ones see the light, and all they have to do is live--but live openly and fearlessly.

Mel Gibson is back with Apocalypto.  It remains to be seen whether this all-Mayan language film will reinvent Mel's famous pathology for victimhood.  Let me explain it for you if you just don't quite get it: Mel is an unrecovered drunk.  As everyone who's had a brush with AA can tell you, unrecovered drunks see the world as largely against them--if only the world would accede to their wishes, wants, and plans, then the universe would be good and lovely place.  Whatever pain they feel is a result of being misunderstood and put-upon.  Recovered drunks, on the other hand, understand full well that they bear the responsibility for their own pain.  They are the authors of their own misery.  Dr. M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, describes it this way.  A "character disordered" person is one who sees the world set against them.  A "neurotic" person sees himself as wrong in the world.  Moving from character disorder to neuroses for the alcoholic, is a step toward wellness and reality. 

Mel, seeing himself as pilloried, victimized, crucified, drawn and quartered, remains unrecovered, unhealthy, and unwilling to accept responsibility.