Tag Archives: the soapbox

How is this, in ANY way, Making America Great?

We are creating a nation of “us” vs. “them”; of leftist elites and conservative Bible-thumpers; of West Coast liberals and the common man of the “fly over” states; of those who “resist” and those who hold to the “clenched fist of truth”.
Whoever the “they” is… (Look no further than this latest NRA ad.)

We are creating a nation whose government is telling its citizens to distrust the media, ALL media (except one), those entrusted to being the watchdogs of our society, the 4th estate.

And the touchstone of it all this is this man. THIS man. Our president. A man who thinks tweets like this are okay, funny and, I suppose, necessary, all while simultaneously holding the highest position of our nation.

Continue reading How is this, in ANY way, Making America Great?

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A Christian Without a Religion

Broken Cross photo by Cantabrigian (deviantart.com)
Broken Cross photo by Cantabrigian (deviantart.com)

“For the last few years, Christians— particularly white evangelicals — continue to sing the words: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …” but fail to realize the shameful irony that they’re largely responsible for refusing shelter and opportunity to some of the world’s most helpless and oppressed people.” –Thus begins a recent article by Stephen Mattson on Sojourner.com entitled “American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed”.

Thus is also a large part of the reason why I have no words. Why I can’t even…
The irony. The hypocrisy. The pride. The fear. The anger.

This is why we can’t have nice things. This is why I’ve recently deleted my Facebook account. This is why I said I’d written my last Spiritual Drift post.

But then again there’s nothing like a vow of finality to get the creative juices flowing.

My Own Hypocrisy

It’s becoming harder and harder these days to sit in the pews of church and stew in my own hypocrisy. When I hear offhand ‘jokes’ coming from the pulpit about a certain U.S. state being “the land of fruits and nuts”. When I hear fellow ‘Christians’ sitting around a men’s breakfast gathering, swapping stories about particularly touchy neighborhoods they used to patrol as former cops, including the homosexual community, spitting the word between clenched teeth then clarifying, “fags, we used to call ‘em” to nods of understanding and chuckles of solidarity.

I say “stew in my own hypocrisy” because the hypocrisy of the church has been on display for years now. Centuries even.

It’s not them, it’s me.  My own hypocrisy is in continuing to sit there. Numb. Dumb. Mute. Confused and angered. Unable or unwilling (fearful actually) to speak out.  Because apparently I’m the weird one. I’m the ‘no rules’ progressive. I’m the bleeding heart liberal. I’m the one practicing ‘hypergrace’. All accusations I’ve heard over the past months and years. Most all given in contempt with a dismissive wave of the hand if not all-out red-faced anger.

I guess those are supposed to be a bad thing. Continue reading A Christian Without a Religion

The Kind of Christian I Am Today (with an addendum on Orlando)

Broken Cross photo by Cantabrigian (deviantart.com)
Broken Cross photo by Cantabrigian (deviantart.com)

I remember reading somewhere that the people you surround yourself with are the ones who ultimately shape who you are, and who you will become. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and here I am, wide awake at one o’clock in the morning, and I’ve decided that I agree with that statement. Not only have the people in my life shaped the man that I have become, they have shaped the type of Christian that I have become as well… Continue reading The Kind of Christian I Am Today (with an addendum on Orlando)

To An Anonymous Parent…

The retail store where I work recently received several photocopies of a letter placed over the front of several magazines in various displays throughout the store. These letters covered over such diverse titles as Shape, Women’s Health, Vanity Fair (yes, that one), and others. Oddly though, not Cosmo or Maxim, but maybe these were just missed (or they ran out of flyers).

The letter said this:

PLEASE consider carefully how your placing these sexually alluring photographs affects the lives of those coming into your buisness. They plant seeds of curiousity in children and in spouses, altering families. Your leadership in our community should be used to better the lives of others, not steep them into a life of bondage with promiscuous and sexually explicit pictures. As a parent it deeply concerns me about the lack of responsibility for our future generations and their sexual purity. PLEASE DO NOT place these images in full view of my childern. You are encouraging the idea that a woman is a sex object. She is much more than that…she is VALUABLE!”

(bold, underlining, and misspellings are all the author’s.)

Seeing as how these photocopied letters were left in stealth and anonymously, neither I nor the retail store have any means to contact this parent regarding their concerns. Therefore, I have chosen to respond here:

To the anonymous parent who left photocopied notes over our retail store’s magazine section:

First off, let me say that I personally agree with everything you have written. I, too, am a parent who is very concerned with the pervasive culture of sexuality within our society today. May I add that I am a recovering addict and victim of this culture as well, having spent many years under the bondage of pornography and the very images you are rightly concerned about.

In other words…I get it. I truly do.

In that vein, I have a couple of thoughts for you:

First–planting “seeds of curiosity in children…” is not a bad thing. Yes, the slippery slope of material which you are addressing is questionable. But, prevalence of this material also provides many opportunities to engage your children in an age-appropriate dialog over what is being shown, why it is appropriate/inappropriate, and better alternatives to express the same intent this material is wishing to provide. If you do not think this material is appropriate, tell your children why—in a constructive, non-judgmental fashion. Or, simply tell them about what is being shown, eg: “That woman’s name is Jillian Michaels. She is a fitness expert, and she is showing that through exercise and a good diet, you can be an awesome athlete, like she is.”

Do you know what your children will probably say?

“Oh!” followed by, “…hey look, pool toys!”

Second, turning this material around in its placeholder, or putting photocopied condemnations over the covers, only serves to heighten a child’s curiosity. They think that now they’re missing out on something. That Mom’s hiding something. Something controversial. Something shocking. Something “adult”. As a result, of course they’re going to want to see it! Only now, you’ve added the additional stigma that it is “bad”, lurid, and taboo, which somebody probably told you it was, once upon a time.

Is it? Possibly.
But no more or no less than that same child can see during any given day at any given public beach, or in any afternoon at a local fitness center (or, occasionally, standing in line at your local retail store).

I also agree regarding the “lack of responsibility for our future generations, and their sexual purity.” However, your target of blame on exactly WHO is responsible is somewhat misplaced.

Would it help if our nationwide retail establishments did not carry such material? Undoubtedly. But, we live in ‘Murica, where capitalism reigns supreme and the almighty dollar is the language of choice. God Bless the U.S.A. If you want to protect the future generations, how about we start by raising up that generation of future consumers NOT to be driven by such provocative sexual imagery?

That all sounds well and good, right? But, do you know where all of that starts? In the home. Not in the retail store, not in the publishing business, not with the clothing manufacturers, et. al.

Do you want to discourage the idea that a woman is nothing more than a sex object? Do you want to teach your daughter or son that a woman is more valuable than that? Well then….

It starts (and ends) with YOU.

It starts with education.

It starts in conversation.

It starts with engagement, not by turning a cover around. Not by chastising a retail establishment via anonymity. All you’re accomplishing by doing this is promoting fear and cowardice within yourself, and curiosity and temptation within your children. The most effective thing that can be done, the bravest thing that can be done, is that which is going to have to be done by you.

Talk. To. Your. Kids.

Thank you for reading. Have a great day.

~ Kent