Archive for April, 2012

No Outbreak Of Shame Nor Response To The Spirit Here, Folks. Move On . . .

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

I had truly hoped that, because neither I nor a couple of other friends who looked again on his blog and couldn’t find Doug Wilson’s odious blather about how to tell if your church’s worship service is “effeminate,” he might have either suffered a pang of remorse, received some sort of rebuke from one of his cohorts, or even felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and had thus removed it. But, alas — it’s still there, just dated earlier than I had written (my error), and still proudly nestled in between shameless self- and family-promotion and other musings about the very many things on which he is an expert whose opinion ought, thinketh he, to be considered the final word on all matter of issues. These range, if you’ll recall, from architecture to Latin, nutrition to land development, music to sex, home decor to beer, racist theologians to pre-millennialists, and virtually anything else in between, including young-earth creationism, pedophile rehabilitation, soteriology and Lynrd Skynrd. He’s a virtual pea-and-lentil country Renaissance Man, Wilson is, an Oxford Donwannabe with a staggering command of . . . well, ummmm . . . well, of the things in his own mind. Yeah, that’s it. Don’t underestimate what a big deal it would’ve been if, whether motivated by second thoughts of his own, a knuckle-rapping by a colleague, or the conviction of the Spirit, he had removed his Blog and Mablog post. The “Ten Reasons Why” your congregational worship service may not be sufficiently reeking of manliness, while imprudent, immature, and impotent in the strength of its argument, wasn’t anywhere close to the most reprehensible things he’s said or written in the decade I’ve studied him, and it’s safe to say that Wilson doesn’t countenance, much less consider, anyone else’s criticism. Indeed, with an elder board largely made up of men financially dependent on his business enterprises (I’m unable to use “ministries” here), he operates with precious little accountability, and the unfortunate legitimacy he’s gained in the larger Reformed and Evangelical establishment is not sufficient to make him accountable to those who’ve in recent years discovered the puckish witticisms and penetrating socio-religious analysis offered by the Patriarchal Pundit of the Palouse. In short, I can’t think of any mortal whose “Hey, Doug, better roll this one back” would mean a thing to him, and I feel on solid ground in saying, with great sadness, that the counsel and conviction of the Spirit appears to land on a heart hardened and a soul calloused. I wish I’d been right — because then he really would’ve taken the post down, and we could’ve clung to the hope that there were the faintest stirrings of conscience at work. But he didn’t remove the post, and I was wrong. It’s been a very long time since I’ve hoped to be right on something as much as I had my heart set on this. And because my hopes for Doug Wilson rely on the character of the God I worship and not on my “goodness” or his, I will always have hope. Still, the disappointment I feel is nothing, I fear, compared to what I am confident is the continued grieving of the Holy Spirit, whose list of sins against the institution of arrogant, sneering malice Wilson represents numbers far more than ten.

Not Liking The New Format. Nope, Not At All.

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Blogger, the forum on which I create Prevailing Winds, has changed its formatting, and it seems averse to paragraphing — no indents, no breaks, no double spacing. Nothing. So the last few posts have been written with proper paragraphs and formatted by Blogger into big ol’ long blocks of text. Sorry about that. I’ll try to figure out how to get it formatted so your eyes don’t fry out before my point’s been made. I love my readers, and feminist-fried eyeballs aren’t good.

Might We Have The Beginnings Of A Conscience?

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I notice that Wilson’s blog no longer, as of 8 p.m., has his list of ways you can tell that your church’s worship service is “effeminate.” I’d love to think that perhaps he has a conscience, and that it bothered him — that his words, quoted in the post below, were so outrageously juvenile that even he decided it was too much. No one can challenge Wilson; any change of heart undoubtedly came from the Holy Spirit, not from the elders’ board, as most of them are financially dependent on Wilson’s world and dare not risk upsetting him. Either way, it was an obnoxious post and I truly hope he repents of it — publicly, specifically, and immediately. Until then, I still hold him responsible for continuing to do damage to the Church and the men and women in it.

This Just In: Wilson Brays In On "Effeminate Worship"

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Moscow’s arbiter of all that’s masculine and, presumably, therefore holy has topped himself — and for a man with a history of buffoonery and general adolescent misbehavior, that’s something. But Doug Wilson has determined what, indeed, is truly masculine, and therefore has been obsessively searching for, rooting out, condemning and making fun of “effeminate” Christians and the “Evangellyfish” it promotes that he risks not having enough time to persist in offending on the many other fronts for which he’s also famous for acting like an ass. Strong words, those. But this is a man whose punkery (doing for “punk” what Amy Winehouse did for the F-word with “f—ery”) extends to titty humor and the illegal misrepresentation, on purloined letterhead, of a purported University of Idaho lecture on toplessness; titty humor and Credenda/Agenda magazine covers with a studly guy with battery cables attached to his nipples; and titty humor, during Moscow’s lamentable, brief time of legalized female toplessness in the early 2000s, in chortling over the hanging of a “Welcome to Hooters” sign at the western entrance of the city. This is a guy whose every conference seems to have to do with Father Hunger and manliness and male headship in the home. This is a man who regularly admonishes — titty obsession, again — the men in his congregation to enjoy, really enjoy, and then enjoy some more the lusciousness of their wives’ breasts . . . while the wives and other women are in attendance, no doubt wondering if their nipples are up to the task. Wilson is a hirsute guy, as are most of his elders, and the fact that he drives a green F-150 — the least manly of all pick-up trucks — is macho-ly mitigated by the fact that it was a gift from his lusty, grateful congregation. Perhaps more to the point, and much more revealing of a man who doth, indeed, protesteth too much, Wilson is the guy who last year married off, after the briefest of courtships he witnessed with satisfaction, a silly young woman to a man convicted of only one of the seventy-something instances of toddler-aged pedophilia he’d confessed to. That man, as you’ll remember if you’ve read Prevailing Winds for awhile, is legally barred from being around any children, ever, including his own, unless he’s supervised by a “mature” adult. If he takes care, alone, of any children he might have with his head-spinningly immature bride while she runs off, say, to Rosauer’s for a loaf of bread, he’ll end up in prison. For the rest of his life. But so fervent and so deeply ingrained is Wilson’s fascination with maleness, maleness-through-marriage (a young man who’s still single at New St. Andrews or Christ Church after his mid-20s is a young man whose life is made increasingly difficult by his loving, paternal pastoral elders), and males as masculinist privilege-bearers who never ease up on the presentation of their unfettered, unabated, unalterable damned maleness, that he risks being seen as . . . oh, I don’t know . . . maybe a little too focused. Maybe a tad . . . unbalanced. Perhaps even a bit too concerned with things of the groin than things of the heart. To show vulnerability of the heart, you know, is less than fully manly when engaged in worship, and the heart itself is worthy of disdain, perhaps, by being an organ whose primary function in his essay is as a metaphor for emotion — with no erective, penetrative, or conquering characteristic to it all. This post, from his execrable blog, Blog and Mablog, and posted today, takes up the subject of “manliness in worship,” even though fully half of his congregation is, well, you know . . . penis-deprived. Women, that is. Who, His Hirsuteness assures his readers, will be “reached” when their menfolk are reached, and souls can only be reached by the sounds of masculine battle hymns emanating from the stout, the stoic, and the studly in worship. It’s utterly un-Biblical, terrifically stupid, unutterably offensive and as puerile, knee-jerk and poorly-reasoned as I’ve come to expect from Wilson. Read for yourself, and then remember why I spend so many hours writing about and immersing myself in the subjects I devote myself to: There’s filth out there in the name of Christian faith, and even though I’m just a gal, I’m a gal who refuses to let my silence allow it to continue unchallenged. Hold your nose — here’s Wilson on “Effeminate Worship”: (From Blog and Mablog, April 20, 2012) For a number of interesting reasons, Christian worship in the West has become increasingly effeminate. Leon Podles outlines some of these historical reasons in his fine book, The Church Impotent. (Note from Keely: I’ve read Podles’ book, and it’s a bizarre paean to the bloody masculine wound and the need to run away form mother. Not recommended). Ann Douglas makes a fine addition to the discussion in her book, The Feminization of American Culture. To emphasize masculinity in worship is not a practice that excludes women. Rather, it includes them, brings them along, and makes them feel safe. If you reach the men, you will reach the women. Moreover, you will find yourself reaching the worthiest of women, the true mothers in Israel. Think tent pegs and mallets. This being the case, and in the spirit of those lists you see from time to time — “you might be this or that if . . .” — I would like to offer a small checklist for pastors and elders, in no particular order. Your worship service and church community might be effeminate if . . . 1. Your music and sermons almost never contain references to judgment, wrath, battles, enemies, Hell, the devil, or apostasy; 2. Your music minister is more concerned that the choir trills their r’s correctly than that they fill the sanctuary with loud sounds of battle; 3. One of the ministerial staff has taken to wearing a clerical collar and a powder pink shirt, and no one on the session has the courage to tell him that he looks like a thirteen-year-old boy with rosy cheeks, as painted by Norman Rockwell; 4. The worship team gravitates toward “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs, and their facial expressions while up front are those of guys in the backseats of their cars, having just gotten to second base with their actual girlfriends; 5. The sermons rarely deal with sin or, if they do, they deal with sins found outside the sanctuary, preferably those of secularists in Hollywood somewhere; 6. The worship music rides particular chord changes hard, with special mention being given to the shift from E Minor to C Major; 7. The minister wears a robe, but the effect is not that of being robed for battle. If that same minister were to wear a kilt, everybody would think it was a skirt from a nearby all-girls private school. But, contrariwise, if the minister were able to wear a kilt in such a way as to terrify sinners with the imagined sound of skirling bagpipes, and the sounds of a small version of Armageddon across the misty moors, and the sermon text were a claymore whistling over their heads, then that kind of man could think about a robe if he wanted; 8. The church does not practice church discipline, and not because everybody in the church is behaving. They won’t practice it because the elders are misbehaving; 9. A body of elder wives, or deacon wives, or assorted volunteer women have formed a functional shadow government for the church. A vote is taken at the elders’ meeting, and about a half an hour after said elders arrive at home, the phones start to ring, the emails start to get sent, and the vote starts to unravel; 10. A robust emphasis on truth, goodness, and beauty has gradually turned into a festival for posers and effete aesthetes. The beauty emphasized is not that of Bach, Rembrandt, Wren, or Lewis, but rather with the kind of pretension found at the Woodlawn Hills Literary Society; 11. This list is printed out and handed around at your church, and at least three people are mortally offended.

You’re At A Wedding, So You’re Going To Hear About Ephesians

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Pity the Christian pastor. He — and for the purposes of this essay, it’ll always be a he — has a bright, eager young couple before him and, behind them, a church full of family and friends happy to share in the joy of their wedding. The ceremony he’s performed many times before is nonetheless unique for this woman and this man. If he knows the couple, he can add a few anecdotes and a couple of personal references that enhance the atmosphere in which they’ll take their vows, and he’ll always be sure to send them on their marital way with the admonition to love, honor, respect and be faithful to one another ’til death do them part. Thankfully, most of them will by now have recognized that asking the woman to obey her husband is unScriptural, but if the couple is married in Moscow, it’s likely that she’ll have to agree to that. Our good evangelical pastor will know, of course, that half of the marriages he and his brethren perform will end in divorce, just like the marriages begun by non-Christian pastors, justices of the peace, and the ordained fringe, but he’ll hope this couple makes it. So to be sure, he will usually quote from Ephesians 5, which assures women that they must submit to their husbands and admonishes men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. He may, if he’s brave, go into the verses that follow, which are a heady and difficult metaphor that, if taken literally, charges the husband with his wife’s spiritual well-being and purity and, if taken reasonably and in context, still leave everyone wondering just where the husband’s role ends and Christ’s takes over. He’ll be sure the woman knows that submission to her guy is God’s plan, although nowadays he’ll offer a tepid warning that she must never be subject to violence or abuse — only subject, by virtue of her sex, to her husband. And he’ll tell the man to show “true Biblical manhood” by loving his wife as an equal, never lording — at least not too much — his authority over her. He’ll have the Bible on his side, and most of the audience will know that they’ve attended a truly Christian wedding. They’ll never really notice that he doesn’t mention the verse that precedes the ones about wives submitting and husbands loving: Ephesians 5:21, which, in introducing the sometimes-difficult metaphorical nature of the twelve verses that follow, says unequivocally: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submit. To one another. Even for the Biblical literalist, this is clear — the husbands and wives addressed in the next section are charged initially with submitting to EACH OTHER, and to do so as a sign of their love for Christ Jesus. Hermeneutically and logically, this is the foundational statement through which subsequent verses must be interpreted. It’s Bible Study 101 — unless the practice of it undermines the masculinist view of marriage today that insists that the purpose of the passage is not mutual submission, but unilateral submission; hierarchy, not an egalitarian, symbiotic living out of the Christian life in the family. Alas, it’s the masculinist view of marriage that prevails, and the winds of the hierarchy it promotes are blowing through the church with perhaps even greater gusto than in decades past. The New Reformers and the Christian Patriarchs have ramped up their insistence that marriage is founded on the literal words of Ephesians 5:22-28, wherein the wife is indeed told to submit to her husband and the husband is — it’s right there on the page — told to just love his wife, regardless of the metaphorical confusion of the verses that continue through v. 33 that quizzically seems to make them way more accountable for their wife’s spiritual condition than the rest of Scripture would allow. This is the sort of confusion that makes it possible for Doug Wilson’s son-in-law, Ben Merkle, to a write an odious and silly piece suggesting that if a woman cries out and acts up during what he unfortunately calls “child labor” but what grownups call “childbirth,” it’s the fault of the husband for not adequately preparing her spiritually, as — say it with me now! — Ephesians 5 insists. That hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Wilson accolytes have read this and taken it to heart is grievous, but a Church captured by willful ignorance and willing conformity to culture tends to have that happen. But the Biblical literalist, the one who looks at “the plain words on the paper” and who eschews any idea of context — the truth that the recipients of Paul’s letter were steeped in a culture that promoted the kind of pagan goddess worship that had women running roughshod over men in an attempt to work out their “religion” — has a problem. First, it’s undeniable, right there in the text, that marital submission is to be mutual (v. 21). That sets the hermeneutical and practical understanding of the verses that follow. Second, if the text following is to be “taken literally,” then women don’t have to love their husbands, just submit to them, and ONLY husbands have to demonstrate love in the marriage, while never submitting. If the submission in v. 22 is unequivocally unilateral, then the love in v. 25 is as well. Interestingly, it often works out that way in patriarchal marriage — the woman submits but finds herself unable to love the man in authority over her, and the man loves his compliant wife while failing to develop any particular, real respect for her. The third problem is that this understanding of Ephesians 5:21-33 is that what is clearly, in. vv. 29-33, a metaphor — which, by definition, cannot be taken literally without doing grave violence to the idea it hopes to represent — is taken literally (although the idea in v. 31 that a man move to his wife’s people and not the reverse, as initially stated in Genesis, is rarely considered), which results in a very odd, and alien to the doctrine of soteriology and sanctification, determination that the husband be the mediator between the wife and Christ. Paul echoes what the rest of the New Testament teaches: There is only one mediator between God and humankind, and that’s the human One, Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). The husband cannot save or sanctify his wife, and a wooden,lifeless, literal and lacking-in-context insistence on the hierarchical and unbalanced submission and love of a “just the words on the page” of Ephesians 5:22-33 does damage to the text’s intention, purposely ignores v.21, violates the testimony of the Gospel of salvation, and, not incidentally, results in marriages that reflect not Christ’s love for and union with the Body, but a weird, sometimes oppressive, always inaccurate coupling that looks a whole lot more like the culture around it than the Body from which it sprung. It’s what people expect, though, and it’s what our beleaguered pastor feels he must offer in marriage ceremonies — a bland, literal complementarianism that satisfies the couple — it’s a “Christian” wedding after all! — and reassures the congregation. That he and others like him fail to see the redemptive, wholistic, glorious mutuality of Ephesians 5 is not just tragic, not just unfortunate, and not just the predictable result of decades of insistence on “the woman’s place in the home.” It’s also too often a recipe for abuse, alienation, anger and anxiety — the very things that Holy Spirit of Christ has promised to deliver us from. Ephesians 5 is a beautiful passage — when understood properly. In the hands of the inept, the unwilling, the weary and the comfortable, though, this part of God’s Word has begun many a Christian marriage on a rocky, unwavering path to failure. Marriage can only flourish when both people love, both people submit, both people trust, and both people nourish each other. That’s the theme of the Gospel and the testimony of the New Testament, but it seems hidden from, or perhaps by, today’s pastoral body — to their shame and to our disgrace.

And While We’re On The Subject . . .

Friday, April 20th, 2012

I do tend to have strong feelings about prostitution. To be certain, I have strong feelings about pretty much everything — Jell-o, New Age flute music, and Frye boots, for example. But my time in Odessa, Texas, back in the early 1980s, when, just out of college, I worked as a police reporter, just as Odessa was enjoying the distinction of having the highest murder rate in the nation for cities its size, opened my eyes. At 22, I began a year during which I saw a number of dead bodies, reported from way too many shootings, rushed to more car wrecks, plane crashes, and gas-line explosions than I ever thought statistically possible in a 14-month period. Mine was the crime/vice/disaster beat, and while I grew up in a fairly violent area of Tucson and had seen a lot of tragedy — by 16, I had had some half a dozen friends who’d been shot — it was a life-altering experience, and one for the better. While doing a feature on prostitution in Odessa, I befriended two women I’ve written about before, T.J. and Casey, who were lovers, sex workers, heroin addicts and dear friends of mine. I knew I’d marry Jeff when, on a visit to Odessa, he asked to meet some of my friends. I gulped, and then told him about Casey and T.J.; when he responded with, “OK, where do you think they’d want to go eat? Western Sizzlin’ or Denny’s?,” I knew I had a keeper. Casey and I lost touch, but T.J. and I corresponded well into the early years of my marriage, and it was only after her release from prison on drug charges that she dropped off the radar. I’ve spent hours trying to find her online, but I’m not even sure she’s alive. The early ’80s were a bad time to be sharing needles in a drug hangout motel, and my guess is that she didn’t make it. I hope I’m wrong. The life that T.J. and Casey lived was fraught with danger, and most of us wonder how anyone could decide not only to sell their bodies for the sexual pleasures and perversities of men, much less do so in an environment of poverty, violence, degradation, and drugs. I’ve argued that women who choose to be prostitutes don’t so much “choose” their situation as much as they’re conditioned to believe that they have no other value other than as sexual repositories, no other options other than to be used in the way women have been used for centuries, and no other options but to believe that poverty is their lot — because they’re poor, because they’re alone, because they’re abusing and being abused, and because they’re women. Men will pay for pussy; that “sure thing” sometimes looks like a lifeline. We can thank patriarchy for most of this; like a “touch of cancer” or a “little bit of AIDS,” patriarchy even in its mildest form usually results in something far more pernicious than it promises. We Christians, and those who think that the U.S. is a Christian nation, recognize that the using of another for sex, and doing so for money, is a sin. We see that offering oneself up for paid sex is a sin. We’re clear, then, that prostitutes are engaged in sin, although precious little outrage is expressed over the sinful conditions that might have forced them into prostitution, the violence and abuse they usually suffer in pursuing it, and the role of men — often good, respectable Christian men — in enabling and participating in it. So we demand that prostitution be made illegal — we have criminal penalties for the sex worker and for the solicitor, and we believe that we’ve found an appropriate answer to our problem and a “Christian” response to the sin it represents. We acknowledge the existence of high-class, high-paid call girls who work in relative safety — safety that corresponds to the safety they’ve experienced before deciding to become escorts to the rich and powerful — and yet we find their behavior to be something different. Illegal, immoral, but not, somehow, as offensive. The “high-class call girls” of the movies, or on K Street in D.C., aren’t dirty, ugly, unkept and desperate, with the facial scarring that hails meth usage and the diseases that accompany work on the streets, or publicly plying their wares in hideous costumes that enhance their role as Easy Sex Commodities. These women are visible, and they make us uncomfortable. And so we aim our law enforcement at the women, and the few young boys, on the street. But, as is the case with most attempts to legislate volitional moral behaviors that, in their purest, textbook form are seen as victimless, the law doesn’t work. Many prostitute-john encounters go well, at least as far as the participants are concerned; one pays for a service, the other performs it, and they part ways. It’s no less sinful, but at least these instances leave both parties satisfied that services were, in fact, rendered for services paid. Unfortunately, there are numerous times that it doesn’t “go well” for the prostitute — encounters during which she’s raped, beaten, not paid, stolen from, or, as those of us who follow crime reports know, abducted, killed, and dumped. The “mutually beneficial” encounter, which isn’t beneficial to anyone and which reinforces the woman’s status as paid-for pussy, might possibly be the majority of prostitution encounters — that is, before the woman has to fork over her day’s wages to a pimp who may or may not beat the hell out of her, rape her, or send her out for more perverse and therefore more lucrative outings. I’ve seen Casey after a john beat her, and I’ve seen T.J. mainline heroin in an angry, destructive response to having a john rip her off. But the laws we’ve enacted in our moral outrage make it hard for them to do what you or I would do if someone beat us up or stole from us. Sex workers can’t go to the police because in doing so, they reveal their status as prostitutes and risk being arrested, or, if not, dismissed in their pain and also focused on in their crime. They lack the protections, legal and moral, that we enjoy, and lack them precisely because, in our misguided attempt to “get it right” by making sure that sinful behavior is legally punished, we’ve left them more vulnerable. We’ve decided, in effect, that our legitimate concern over sin is more important than the lives of those engaged in the sin, and while our conviction that prostitution is a sin is a cheap, easily-won point, the losers are those condemned women who most need societal protection. Legalizing prostitution would help keep these women safe. It wouldn’t require that we all sign off on the moral legitimacy of prostitution, it wouldn’t result in the downfall of society, it doesn’t pollute the witness of the Gospel, and it wouldn’t make us complicit in their sin. It would, however, keep thousands of women and boys safer by offering them the same access to police help that we enjoy. The problem is, we don’t care. We don’t like these people, and the masculinist, power-legitimizing climate of the day — the climate nurtured and embraced by the powerful and hypocritical elements of what passes for “conservatism” these days and is adopted by the Religious Right as its entry into halls of power and towers of moral righteousness — ensures a victim pool of poor, desperate women who don’t need or benefit from our moral outrage. These are Jesus’ “least of these,” and if our offense were directed toward their suffering and victimization instead of our making sure society knows we disapprove, they could be kept safer — and they could be won for the Kingdom. Further, if we directed our wrath toward the structures that enslave them, society and the Church that claims to influence it could actually demonstrate a Gospel vision that focuses on the needs of people rather than the need to be counted among those who throw stones at them.

Prostitutes Deserve Better

Friday, April 20th, 2012

I’ve written a few times about the whorish nature of the GOP and particularly the disgraceful catering to the rich and powerful demonstrated by the Religious Right, which has abandoned all fidelity to the Gospel of Christ by feverishly embracing a different gospel that entitles greedy, wealthy, powerful white men already engulfed in the kind of social privilege that Christians ought to fight against. But I’ve begun to rethink my use of the word “whore” to describe those individuals who benefit from, encourage, and defend the immoral avarice of the super-rich political and corporate robber barons who influence the GOP — and who do so because it benefits them politically, enriches them financially, or nourishes their pathetic grasping for power. It seems like a dirty “lie back and spread ‘em,” and so “whore” seemed appropriate. I got to thinking, though, of the prostitutes I’ve known, a couple of whom were dear friends, and what I know of the economic and social conditions that are usually precursors to their behavior. The masculinist privilege embraced by the Religious Right, as well as the oppressive, unjust socio-economic policies that guarantee the continuing marginalization of the already hurting, contribute enormously to a climate that makes young women, desperate for that which only love can bring, turn to sex work as a desperate solution and a cheap substitute. The prostitutes I’ve known were kind, noble women who felt forced by the unimaginable deprivation they felt to do what most of us would consider incomprehensible, and they were in those circumstances largely because of the toxic nature of sexism — the masculinist patriarchy embraced by nearly every figure in the Religious Right — and the grinding economic oppression championed by those same “protectors of womanhood,” whose protection seems to extend only to their virgin daughters and non-working wives. The policies these men and the women who cater to them enact hurt women; hurt women, then, sometimes feel that sex work is the answer, and even if that “decision” is made through a haze of drugs and alcohol, it’s no less a desperate response prompted by circumstances of true desperation. I prefer to call women who sell their bodies “sex workers,” even “prostitutes,” and I find that “whore,” while certainly accurate, to be unnecessarily inflammatory. Now, however, as I see others use the word “whore” to describe the slathering masses who, in their bid for power and legitimacy, enable the plutocratic takeover of America’s political system, I’ve decided to not continue calling them whores. And that’s for a single, simple reason: The prostitutes I’ve known and loved deserve better than to share an ugly word with men whose behavior is infinitely more sinful and destructive than theirs.

Such A Sweet Young Thing, I Was!

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Scroll down and see that I’ve changed my profile picture — gone is beloved puppy Perry, or at least his picture, and I now introduce you to myself in 1978, when I posed for my high school graduation photo in a turtleneck that made me look as though I had a Frankensteinian bolt jutting out of my neck.

But I was cute.

And my hair is not naturally curly.

The Klan, Trying For A Toehold In Moscow

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Tom Trail, a longtime State Representative who’s a friend of mine, received the following invitation to join the Ku Klux Klan:

http://www.notonthepalouse.com/Klan_Flyer_033112.htm

He shared it on the online Moscow community forum Vision 2020, from which I’ve occasionally taken my posts and repeated them on Prevailing Winds. This is another example; I wrote this today, and while it makes sense without the context of the execrable “invitation” Tom received, I encourage you to read what he found in his mailbox.

It’s unsettling, no matter where you live. But if you take into consideration that Moscow’s most famous, most influential pastor is a self-proclaimed “paleo-Confederate” who collaborates with League of the South members and has written much on the “harmonious relationship” enjoyed by Black slaves and their “Christian” white masters, defending Antebellum slavery from the Bible using a hermeneutical approach that butchers the Scriptures and bloodies the Church, it’s a little more sobering.

Check the link above, and my comments are below.

(From Vision 2020, April 2, 2012)

This is chilling — not that Tom Trail, a decent man if ever there was one, received it (as opposed to, say, my hairdresser receiving it), but that such filth continues to propagate beyond the sewer from which it emerged.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, and I’ll probably say it ’til the day I die: The Christian Church, the Body of Christ in the United States, is largely responsible for the birth, growth, and continued presence of the Klan and other white supremacy groups. Virtually every manifestation of the Klan, from its inception in the 1920s as an anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish “fraternity,” was begun by white, male “Christians” who trumpeted their Baptist or Methodist or Holy Temple of Perpetual Glory membership — and went unchallenged by the Gospel-loving disciples among them.

This cancer could have been excised early on if the Church had been committed to the truth of the Gospel and cast its lot with Christ rather than wallowing in waters of privilege, hate, ignorance, violence, and bigotry. But it wasn’t; in fact, it was “Christians” who helped in its spread, and its the Church now that is left with the uncomfortable reality that its silence then and its largely impotent reaction to hate now has left a stain on the Body of Christ that will last ’til the end.

This happened on our watch. Versions of it that pop up here and there, particularly in the area we all live in, continue and flourish. The growth of racial, sexual, classist bigotry is undeniable — and where it’s found in the “Church” that claims the name of Christ, it must be confronted by others who claim the Name.

My Church — not my individual congregation, but the Christian Church in the U.S. — has been guilty of allowing what our Savior never would. How odd it is that breaking from the silence and acquiescence to evil too often found in the institutional Church might well, for some of us, be a significant step in moving closer to Christ. It’s my duty and my privilege, then, as a Christ-disciple, to fight this ’til the very end.

I don’t want to have to explain to Jesus on judgment day why I felt that “tolerance” or silence or rationalizing it all away was the path I chose.