Lap of Luxury

Blow through my soul to rekindle an unquenchable fire

That burns higher than the flames of shame and blame

Because I belong to you in a sweet surrender so tender

Which the very angels long to remember in the heavens

Leavened with grace and love from above that descends

Into your tender heart in which I take my forever-part

As I lay my weary head to bed in your valley to be fed

So graciously by your tree of life to be so young and free

Advertisements

You Found Me, Bound Me

Held in captivity by the creativity of your love

In utter passivity as you wrap your arms around me

And hold me spellbound by the sound of your beating heart

For the better part of the night with delight from the stars above

With love untold in this world from heaven’s trove in the grove of gods

And you sing to me such a sweet melody incredibly pleasant

For such a peasant as I have been till finding you

And binding myself to your smooth chest

Like amulet freely worn now to adorn

Crisis, Constitution, and Bible Classes

It is an attempted power grab, no two ways about it, and no one should really be surprised that President Trump actually went ahead by declaring a national emergency at our southern border. What should, perhaps, surprise us is that the Republican Party is almost completely silent, if not complicit, with this unconstitutional move. And, no, the 1976 National Emergencies Act does not give the President the authority to do what he is attempting. As the Brennan Center for Justice pointed out recently, nearly all cases of declared emergencies have involved foreign governments, outside terroristic threats, and gross human rights violations, never the President of the United States circumventing funds already appropriated by Congress and signed into law by the Executive Branch.

Of course, one could argue the finer points of the law, and sooner than later the Courts will decide the proper interpretation and possible application of the National Emergencies Act, which will in all likelihood make its way to the Supreme Court where we can only hope and pray a majority of Justices are faithful enough to the Constitution, not to mention frightened enough by the prospect of giving the President so much power, that they will rule Trump’s attempted move illegal. In the meantime, we might ask some simple but very sensible questions about all this … questions that, really, any good Republican should be asking him/herself right now, such as:

  1. Why did President Trump fail to get his billions of dollars in border wall funding during his first two years of office when the GOP controlled both chambers of Congress, especially if it was so imperative?
  2. When Trump did not receive adequate funding for the Wall, why did he not declare a national emergency in 2017 or 2018? Did this “national emergency” just suddenly arise in 2019, after the Democrats took back control of the House? Hmmm …. suspicious at best.
  3. If there really is a national emergence at the southern border, where’s the proof? No, we mean good, solid evidence rooted in reality, which begs the question: Why is illegal immigration at a nearly 50-year low if there really is a crisis along the Mexican border?
  4. Does this crisis primarily have to do with narcotics and other contraband? But studies and reports have consistently shown that most illegal drugs come into the United States through legal ports of entry… So how does this allow President Trump to declare a national emergence along our southern border?

The most important question I have for Republicans ~ and I’m really kind of frightened I even have to ask this ~ is, “Why in the world would you stand idly by and allow, if not support, any President so obviously circumventing the Constitution? Why would you … how could you support someone striking at the very balance of power we have enjoyed in our country since its foundation? Do you not realize that this sort of action threatens to erode the very foundation of our nation?”

We can only hope and pray the challengers to Trump’s power grab are successful, that they prevail. Even back in the 1930s, good ole FDR had to be challenged for his own attempted power grab, and he was … and his challengers were, thankfully, successful. However, bear in mind that many of his challengers were, as a matter of fact, from his own party. Sadly, this is seemingly not the case today!

Bible in the Classrooms?

Some states evidently have proposals on the table to offer Bible classes in public schools. Proponents offer all kinds of arguments for doing this, such as: Judeo-Christian Scriptures contain good teaching to which children need to be exposed, especially in character development. Also, the Bible constitutes some of the great literature of the world, and it has also been an integral part of the history and heritage of the United States.

Besides all this, the Bible class would only be offered as an elective, not as a requirement, so parents should not be offended because their children would not be forced into religious instruction. So there should presumably be no problem, and President Trump is evidently all for it … and at this point we might make the salient observation that he himself could use a good class or two in biblical competency! At any rate, the real question is: Would this be a good idea assuming it is not ultimately deemed unconstitutional. (And, of course, if state legislatures pass bills for Bible classes, even as electives, there will be court challenges.)

Well, there are probably many objections. For instance: Why offer an elective in the Bible and not, say, the Qur’an? Or the Upanishads? Or the Bhagavad Gita? Or the Analects of Confucius? One can easily argue that these religious writings also comprise part of the world’s great literature, and that they offer good teachings conducive to character development. Of course, they have not, perhaps, played a major role in the history and heritage of America, yet it is also true that many of these important spiritual/religious works were studied by educated Americans as part of a classical education, including many (if not most) of the Founding Fathers. (Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, for example, had personal copies of the Qur’an.)

But one additional concern, fairly simple and straightforward, is the question of just who would write the curriculum, and who would actually teach the class. Imagine offering a Bible class in southeast Alabama created by, say, Paulist Press and taught by the local, Roman Catholic priest! This would not go over at all, of course, even if the class were an elective and even if the priest received no monetary compensation. Most folks in this area of the country just would not put up with it, their attitude being: “How dare you when the overwhelming majority of us are Southern Baptists, and we don’t believe in prayers to Mary and the saints, the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion, etc. etc.!” So you see, this could be a problem: Who would end up teaching these classes?

Personally, I would not really object to a comparative world religions class offered as an elective to, maybe, juniors and seniors with curriculum produced by, say, MacMillan or Oxford and taught by an astute PhD in Religion (with said PhD eared from a fully-accredited institution of higher learning.) Such a course would possibly further expose students to the various cultures and belief systems of the Earth, which could be very helpful, indeed … especially since we live here in the “melting pot of the world.”

To Finally Be Free

One day, some day, I will fly away and be free,

But for now show me mercy and just let me be,

For if I shed a tear for every sin that I’ve sinned

There would be no hope for me to begin again

Ah, but you pretend but you’re not perfect either,

Your values change with the changing weather,

So when the wind blows south you’re quite nasty

And when this wind blows north, you’re feisty,

And it’s all a glorious game that everyone plays,

Even me, while looking forward to being free,

But for now, would you please just let me be!

Another Silly Meme on Socialism

MonopolyWhat an excellent example for Capitalists to use to try to prove some point against socialism: The infamous Monopoly game! Read this meme and then think about it for a minute. Digest the contents of this and try not to regurgitate. Now… 

Ever wonder how Monopoly got its name? Because the objective was to buy up all properties, brutally running everyone else out of business, which meant out of their livelihoods, too, so no competition was left… It was literally the game to establish monopoly, i.e. winner literally takes all, leaving everyone else with nothing. Now that’s Unbridled Capitalism in a nutshell! (Of course, it is just a game … and one I’ve always personally enjoyed!)

But there more to this meme that strikes me as humorous. For example: In the game as it is, every player gets exactly $200 when passing Go, no more, no less. That’s equality of income, my friends. And anyone who lands on Income Tax must pay 10% or $200. Anyone who lands on Luxury Tax must pay $75, whether they have luxuries or not! LOL Anyone landing on Go To Jail must go to jail, and anyone landing on Free Parking … well, they get free parking! Imagine that: parking that’s free, income equality, justice for everyone across the board, equitability in taxation, not to mention equal distribution of wealth at the onset of the game… Wow! Even the game of Monopoly has built-in socialistic elements! Who’d have thought???

Perpetuating Another Myth: Government Funding of Abortion

I am and always have been pro-life; however, I have always tried to be careful in the information I share on this oh-so controversial topic … and I’ve encouraged others to please do the same, but I kind of got in trouble the other day when I replied to a misinformation meme that said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the government funded adoptions instead of abortions?” I simply pointed out to my fellow pro-lifer that the government does not fund abortions per the 1977 Hyde Amendment. Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million per year as of 2016, none of which may be used for abortion procedures. It’s very important to keep our fact straight! He was not very happy with me.

So God Told Nehemiah to Rebuild the Wall

Evidently, somewhere along the way in the debate over Trump’s proposed Wall along the Mexican border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must have asked, “What would Jesus do?” I personally don’t remember her asking this, but many evangelicals started circulating a meme claiming that God told the Old Testament character, Nehemiah, to reconstruct the Wall around ancient Jerusalem; therefore, Jesus would presumably tell us to build our President’s “big, beautiful” Wall! The meme ends by saying to Pelosi something like, “So stop asking what Jesus would do and just read the Bible”

Huh? God told Nehemiah to rebuild the Wall around Jerusalem sometime in the fifth century B. C. (or BCE, if you prefer), so Jesus of Nazareth would instruct the 21st century United States to build a wall of protection along the Mexican border. Right? Yeah, right! This is so convoluted it’s not even funny, but folks shooting this meme around are actually quite serious, and will even add the fact that there is (supposedly) a wall around heaven, or the New Jerusalem, as it’s described in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, perhaps the most symbolic and esoteric book in the Bible.

Of course, Nehemiah was also a eunuch, so maybe we should think about something similar for our POTUS??? 

Ah, but the lengths some will go to in order to prove a point… Ridiculous but often times funny, really! More later, and till then blessings to one and all!

 

Crazy Life: Doing What’s Best, Saying Farewell

For about 24 hours now the conversations with invisible others and the maniacal laughter has been almost incessant. My housemate seems to be going off the deep-end and there’s nothing I can do about it. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea for her to leave the group home after all, something at least one mental health technician (MHT) told me at the time. How was I to know, though? She seemed so … well, okay.

Having lived with Mary in close quarters for 14 months in the Samson Group Home, I figured I knew her well enough. Yes, I knew she talked to her “boyfriend” every day. I even knew she believed he somehow lived inside her, but it never seemed to make that much difference. I mean, all in all, she was not only functional, but she became a good friend. So I guess I allowed myself to believe I could “handle” her “eccentricities.”

More recently, however, she has been talking to “people” about dark rings in the bathtub, someone being “blind as a bat,” ladybugs, whether to drink beer or Coke cola… She’s even been talking about me while I’m present, as if I’m no where around! And with all of this ongoing, convoluted conversation has been the constant, maniacal laughter … very loud, very insane, like something out of a dark movie.

Well, this has caused me to take a step back, and take a good hard look at Mary’s situation here, and I’ve had to conclude that it’s not been healthy for her for quite awhile now. Since leaving the group home, she’s devolved into basically sleeping irradicably, drinking mass quantities of coffee, and smoking up towards two pack of cigarettes a day. No real exercise, no reading, and the only good meals being the ones I prepare for her.

All in all, I simply am not able to provide the kind of stability and structure she evidently needs. I hate it, too, because I feel like a failure … and, in some sense, I feel like a traitor. I spoke with her this morning and encouraged her to please call her case worker to see if there was an opening at one of the four group homes in the area. I did my dead-level best to be kind and loving, to explain why … but, of course, she was hurt.

More than this, though, our landlord, who also happens to be a lifelong friend of mine, has really been strained by some troubling tendencies anyway, such as: Throwing hot ashes in the kitchen waste-can, urinating in the bed without cleaning the mattress (at least without being told), and not doing laundry on a regular basis, which leaves an odor in her part of the house. He is a kind soul, who wants what is best for her, but…

At any rate, my friend certainly agrees with me that dear Mary will, in all likelihood, be much better off in the more stable and secure environment of a group home. This still does nothing to alleviate my sadness. Hopefully one day, maybe sooner than later, she will be able to see that this was best. I pray so … but even if she never can, even if she never forgives me, this is for the best. Period.

Right now she’s out on the back porch holding a multi-person conversation, and frequently laughing maniacally. And this comes after being up all through the night last night… Now I believe I know better than ever why good, healthy group homes with dedicated MHTs, nurses, counsellors, psychiatrists, etc. are so very necessary. And just to think, we’ve been gutting mental health funding in this country for decades! (Perhaps another article for another time…) 

Magic Burning: A Marianne Poem

Always learning

Running free with the wind

To be possessed by your burning

Laced with magic

Churning

 


Note: The Marianne is a verse form that is written with a combination rhyme and syllable count. It was created by Viola Berg . The lines should be centered on the page. The Marianne is:

  • a poem in 5 lines
  • syllabic, 4/6/8/4/2 syllables per line
  • rhymed, a x a x a, with x being unrhymed