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Let’s Stay the Course W!
October 24th, 2006 under Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Rant. [ Comments: 1 ]

Doesn’t W understand that we tape his conversations on the TV screens?

My Prayer
October 24th, 2006 under Christianity, Katrina, New Orleans, Politics, poor, Rant, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 4 ]

Loving God,
I’ve prayed this prayer many times:

Eph 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen me with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Well, It’s not working. I’m so full of anger. I’m mad about how many of the folks I see at KAT are suffering and ignored. How can we say we are a “Christian nation” and treat our elderly and poor children so badly? I’m mad at all the trouble my friends are going through because of ALLSTATE, contractors, and employers. I’m mad about my job situation. I’m mad about my gutters! I get mad every morning when I drive by John McDonogh High School. I’m angry at the violence in my city. I’m angry at folks who re-elected Nagin. Don’t get me started about the federal situation!

I’m angry most of all that I can’t seem to acquire the “peace that passes all understanding.” I want to regain the joy and innocence that I had when I first came to New Orleans and started seminary. My spiritual situation is not due to the slippery slope of liberalism! If anything, it’s due to the hypocritical judgmentalism of fundamentalism.

I pray that I’ll become thankful again. Hopeful again. I pray that I can start to care about others rather than focusing on the negative. I pray that I can once again find meaning and joy in my work.

I’m tired of the struggle. Help me to trust again.

Judge Charles Elloie Suspended!
October 13th, 2006 under New Orleans, Rant. [ Comments: 1 ]

You may not recall my previous post on Judge Charles Elloie. He is a New Orleans judge that has come under fire for setting bonds way too low for violent crimes.

The state’s high court said it found probable violations of the state’s constitution and judicial conduct code, and it faulted Judge Charles Elloie for continuing to set low bonds even after “heightened scrutiny and intense media attention.”

“A study commissioned by a New Orleans judicial watchdog group found last year that Elloie was responsible for 56 percent of all defendants who walked out of Orleans Parish Prison because a judge had changed their original magistrate bond.”

Arrogance. I hate it! I’m greatful that he has been suspended.

Kanye West Was Right about Bush
October 9th, 2006 under Hypocrisy, Katrina, New Orleans, Politics, poor, Rant. [ Comments: 6 ]

kanyeI’ve joked about Kanye West’s comment about Bush not caring about black people. In fact, I’ve written a few posts that argue that Bush isn’t a bad guy. However, the latest news about FEMA really makes me wonder. Maybe someone needs to email him the Gomer Pyle “fool me once” quote. He obviously isn’t sure about the quote or what it means.

He appointed someone who was not competent to run FEMA and it resulted in quite a few deaths in my town. Remember Brown’s padded resume? But rather than admitting his mistake, Bush has gone against congress and has decided that he can continue to hire incompetent friends just because he is president.

The big story in the New Orleans newspaper saturday was: Bush rejects minimum experience to lead FEMA

Lawmakers from both parties criticized President Bush on Friday for saying he won’t comply with a homeland security law that sets minimum qualifications for future directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The law requires the president to nominate a FEMA director with “a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management” and “not less than five years of executive leadership.” The qualifications are included in a spending bill the president signed into law Wednesday and aimed at the federal government’s ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina.

That response was initially overseen by FEMA director Michael Brown, who had only limited experience in emergency management before coming to the agency in 2001, initially as the agency’s attorney before being named by Bush as its top official in 2003.

Even those in his own party are outraged.

Here’s what Bush said:

… establishing minimum standards for the director of FEMA could rule out a “large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge” to run the agency. The president, he added, has the constitutional authority to supervise the executive branch and recommendations to Congress should be subject to “appropriate executive branch review and approval before submission.”

Here’s what he meant—

“Establishing minimum standards would both show that I care about what happened to citizens of New Orleans and show that I want to do a good job. I don’t really want to do either. Minimum standards will rule out a lot of friends I want to take care of. Heck, you all know that I really don’t care about doing a good job. Don’t y’all watch the tv screens or the internet? Look at what has happened to the Axis of Evil I talked about a few years ago. 1. North Korea has become a nucular power. 2. Iran is getting close to being a nucular power. 3. The US death toll in Iraq is the highest it’s been in 2 years!

Yep. Now I’m ticked at W. He’s more concerned with patronage and power than he is ensuring the safety of his citizens. Fool me once…

Christians VS Americans
October 9th, 2006 under Christianity, Politics, Rant, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

Jesus-FlagTwo stories from two blogs I read regularly and then my thoughts:

From a Baptist Minister:

Amish mourn gunman who killed 5 girls

Dozens of Amish neighbors gathered Saturday to mourn the quiet milkman who killed five of their young girls and wounded five more in a brief, unfathomable rampage.
Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, was buried in his wife’s family plot behind a small Methodist church, a few miles from the one-room schoolhouse he stormed Monday.
His wife, Marie, and their three small children looked on as Roberts was buried beside the pink, heart-shaped grave of the infant daughter whose death nine years ago apparently haunted him, said Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain from Colorado who attended the service.

About half of perhaps 75 mourners on hand were Amish.
“It’s the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed,” said Porter, who had come to Pennsylvania to offer what help he could. He said Marie Roberts was also touched.
“She was absolutely deeply moved, by just the love shown,” Porter said.

From Bruce Prescott:

Garrison Keeler’s Congress’ shameful retreat from American values

I would not send my college kid off for a semester abroad if I were you. Last week, we suspended human rights in America, and what goes around comes around. Ixnay habeas corpus.

The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty, decided that an “enemy combatant” is any non-citizen whom the president says is an enemy combatant, including your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to a court of law to examine the matter. If your college kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected of “crimes against the state” and held in prison, you’d assume that an American foreign service officer would be able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer, but this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned.

The Senate also decided it’s up to the president to decide whether it’s OK to make these enemies stand naked in cold rooms for a couple of days in blinding light and be beaten by interrogators. This is now purely a bureaucratic matter: The plenipotentiary stamps the file “enemy combatants” and throws the poor schnooks into prison and at his leisure he tries them by any sort of kangaroo court he wishes to assemble and they have no right to see the evidence against them, and there is no appeal. This was passed by 65 senators and will now be signed by President Bush, put into effect, and in due course be thrown out by the courts.

Real Christians respond to violence with love. (Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.)

The response of the Amish community to a person who tied up their little girls and shot them in the head is as shocking as the event itself. But, that’s what the “merciful” do in response to violence. These “peacemakers” are demonstrating the love and grace of God in the midst of a world that understands neither.

What do non-Christians do in the face of violence? They resort to violence. They decide that it’s better to do unto others before they do unto us. They throw out all rules of decency because they don’t care about that. They only care about themselves which is the hallmark of sin. They reject the laws of the land and don’t give a second thought about the law of love and God’s commands.

Christians love. Enemies of God hate. Christians show mercy. Enemies of God torture.

My prayer:
Lord give me the strength to act as Christ commands me to act if I ever hear the term “Christian nation” again. I pray that you will open our eyes to grace and love. I pray that you will open our eyes to hypocrisy. I pray that you will strengthen us to stand against the forces of evil (I ain’t talking about terrorists here.).

Katrina Rollercoaster
September 22nd, 2006 under Friends, Katrina, New Orleans, Rant. [ Comments: 4 ]

Plumbing RepairsLiving in a post-Katrina New Orleans is both challenging and exciting. It’s a real rollercoaster ride. Monday I spoke to about 300 people about Katrina and it was a great thrill. Tuesday, back home and the water leak hasn’t been fixed. The water leak was a result of the Sewerage (Yes sewerage!) and Water Board blowing out the lines in my neighborhood. They fixed the fire hydrant on the corner, but caused a leak in my line. I spent one full day trying to locate a plumber to fix it. Some said no, some said two to three weeks, and others said they’d put me on their list.

Before Katrina, I didn’t really struggle with issues related to my value as a human being. Since Katrina…it’s an every week occurrence. Before Katrina I wouldn’t have thought to “color” my white beard, but lately I’ve felt a bit old and useless. I wrote a huge grant, but it hasn’t been approved. I’ve been turned down for many jobs. I see the performance (in some cases) of those who got jobs I applied for and KNOW I would have been better. I wasn’t asked to apply for a job that I would have been great in. I didn’t want the job, but it would have been nice to have been asked. I even had someone call me last week and ask for a resume. “We’re hiring right now. Send it ASAP.” Haven’t heard a thing from them! I also struggle with my feelings about teaching part-time at my former job. Jerry has assured me he is trying to get me back into the fold. That means a lot.

But, there are good days too. My friend Michael and I are going to the Saints game Monday. Cowboy Mouth and U2! Back in the dome for the first time! Michael even asked if I could give him a ride on my scooter!

I recently heard that someone who didn’t hire me expressed regret about that decision. I also heard that the big grant is almost a “given.” You’ll hear when I hear and there will be a huge party. I have been affirmed at Katrina Aid Today and am searching for grant money for another non-profit that I really believe in. Someone even used the term “savior” when referring to my skills the other day. My buddy Bart asked for my help and was sensitive enough to acknowledge that I am very busy right now and that he’d “love to include me but doesn’t want to overburden” me. What a guy!

So…the good side of my front yard is now destroyed but the water leak is fixed. I got canned from my pre-Katrina job, but looks like it might be available soon, thanks Jerry!
I feel rejected by a lot of folks, but somebody thinks I am a blessing and a savior. Life is crazy and complicated and stressful, but someone understands that. I thought I’d lost my best friend because of Katrina, but we’re going to see the greatest rock band and the greatest live band and Reggie Bush together on Monday. I’m feeling better now.

Landrieu: America Is Tired of Bone-Headed Republicans
September 15th, 2006 under Politics, Rant. [ Comments: 4 ]

Mary-LandrieuI’m hoping that Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana runs for president in 2008. She seems to be the only Democrat with the b@lls to speak out against Republican bullsh!t.

Here’s an example (of bullsh!t):

House Republican leader John Boehner, just a day after the Sept. 11 anniversary, thrust his party’s election-year emphasis on national security back into the spotlight Tuesday when he said he “wondered” if Democrats were more interested in safeguarding the rights of accused terrorists than protecting Americans.
Speaking of Democrats, Boehner told reporters, “I wonder if they’re more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people.”
They certainly don’t want to take the terrorists on to defeat them,” he added in the context of answering questions about proposed legislation to legalize Bush administration plans for military tribunals to try some terrorism suspects under special rules.

There are only three possibilities here—

1. Republicans think that asinine statements like this will sway conservative voters to their side because they know how stupid they are.
2. Republican politicians are morons themselves.
3. Conservative voters are morons that can be easily manipulated.
If any of these aren’t true, then why do Republicans continue to use these tactics?

Landrieu’s response to these sorts of insane accusations:

“In light of the rantings that went on for 30 minutes by two colleagues from the other side, I’d like to state for the record that America is not tired of fighting terrorism; America is tired of the wrongheaded and boneheaded leadership of the Republican party that has sent six and a half billion a month to Iraq while the front line was Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. That led this country to attack Saddam Hussein, when we were attacked by Osama bin Laden. Who captured a man who did not attack the country and let loose a man that did. Americans are tired of boneheaded Republican leadership that alienates our allies when we need them the most. Americans are most certainly tired of leadership that despite documenting mistake after mistake after mistake, even of their own party admitting mistakes, never admit they do anything wrong. That’s the kind of leadership Americans are tired of.”
She concluded,
“I’m not going to sit here as a Democrat and let the Republican leadership come to the floor and talk about Democrats not making us safe. They’re the ones in charge and Osama bin Laden is still at loose.”

Please watch the video here!

You go girl! You’re right. Bone-headed Republicans are in charge and Bin Laden is still loose! Who’s weak on defense?

Update: I guess some Bush supporters are morons (go figure). I saw the Bush interview by Matt Lauer at Little Green Footballs. There was no explanation as to how Bush’s responses to Lauer’s questions could be described as a “serious verbal beat-down” or a “bitch-slap.”

Probably because it wasn’t. Lauer asked Bush about Secret Prisons and torture. Bush quickly resorted to the tired old rhetoric that we are in danger and he’s there to help us. He doesn’t answer the questions! He never explains why it’s not illegal and he can’t justify torture so he quickly changes the subject. Lauer can be applauded for raising questions, but as usual–he doesn’t force the issue enough.

Nagin In New York Telling the Truth About New Orleans
September 11th, 2006 under New Orleans, Politics, Rant. [ Comments: 1 ]

c-rayChris Rose nails C Ray Nagin for his comments on a trip to New York during the Labor Day Weekend. C Ray said, “It’s Labor Day weekend. There’s not a lot going on in New Orleans.”

Rose disagreed with Nagin’s comment offering this perspective:

“not a lot going on” seems to imply that there were no good national R&B acts playing in town and no large gathering of the national press corps and, hell, even Al Sharpton was going to be somewhere else that weekend, so what’s the point?

And that’s true for anyone who wasn’t gutting their house or re-seeding their lawn or looking for a job or moving into their FEMA trailer or trying to get a FEMA trailer or filling out SBA loan forms that are more daunting than Fortune 500 corporate tax returns.

There was nothing going on if you weren’t tallying gunshot victims or praying for customers to come shop at your small business or if you were struggling with child-care issues because it turns out the school where your child was supposed to start classes on Tuesday wasn’t going to open because it wasn’t ready.

And, supposing that none of your friends or relatives needed help with any of these problems, then, in fact, there wasn’t a damn thing going on around here.

Here’s my response (You’ll see why the Poet Society of America hasn’t given me an award):

Labor Day came and Nagin gave more of the same by going to NYC.
Nothing going on down at home so here I roam to apologize for just being me.

Chocolate City is hurtin’ that’s for certain and you’re no where to be found.
Schools still ain’t open we’re losing hope and violence in the streets abound.

Grass ass high, we’re still surrounded by debris and traffic lights that don’t work.
“Not a lot going on” if I call you on the phone I’ll at least be callin’ you a jerk!

You’re right C Ray, nothing going on down here!

Hypocricy? Or Intentional Deceit?
September 8th, 2006 under Christianity, Hypocrisy, Politics, poor, Rant, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 2 ]

superHypocrisy? No problem with right-wingers. Take for instance, Bill Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues (get yours for $0.39 here) and The Death of Outrage. He reportedly has lost millions of dollars gambling. I haven’t read his book on “virtues” but the first three chapters are “self-discipline” “compassion” and “responsibility.” I’m wondering which of these chapters can be taken seriously when the author of them lost millions of dollars gambling. Doesn’t look like Bill’s exercising self-discipline. Wouldn’t it also be both responsible and compassionate for the man who has this much discretionary income to put it to use helping those less fortunate?

I could point out other instances where the holier-than-thou religious right condemns sinners while engaging in some pretty awful activities themselves. However, my aim is not to engage in the same sort of rhetoric that folks like Bennett, Ralph Reed, and others engage in.

My point is that my biggest fear is that Americans have become so ignorant and uncritical that we really might experience the judgment of God for our atrocities! For instance, the Republicans have done nothing about immigration reform. Do you know why? They have held off on it so that they can use it as a campaign “issue.” They believe that it’s such a hot-button issue that they need to wait and use it later, not act on it now! It’s bad enough that conservative Christians are not concerned about the welfare of undocumented immigrants. It’s worse that they can’t see that they are being played by politicians again!

ABC is about to air a miniseries on 9/10 and 9/11 entitled “The Path to 9/11” that blames Bill Clinton for the tragedy of 9/11. Clinton is vilified for not killing Bin Laden, but Bush gets away with saying, “I don’t really think about him [Bin Laden] very much. I’m not that concerned.” I don’t get it!

BTW my son told me this morning that McDonald’s was taking a little heat for giving away little Hummers in its Happy Meals. What a country! In God we trust! Make your own McDonald’s sign!

My serious prayer for all of us is that we may allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth.

The above post was my first post to the Mainstream Baptists Blog on Wednesday. I received these comments:

So you judge Bill Bennett, put yourself on a pedestal by calling the rest of us ignorant. Then defend Clinton’s role in the lead up to 9/11 and criticize McDonalds for giving away toy trucks. Its like listening to a radio stuck on scan.

Bill Bennett is an extremely rich man. Him losing millions over the last how many years is the same as me losing five hundred dollars last month at Vegas. Yet I still believe in virtues.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say God could care less about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and toy trucks from McDonalds Since it is the Lord who will bring the earth to an end I doubt it is possible for us to beat Him to it, even with our toy trucks.

Path to 9/11 is a movie based on the 9/11 commission findings. I think Democrats are afraid of it because in book form they never had any fear of democrat reading it.

from Rusty Shakelford (a fan of Ann Coulter)—Draw your own conclusions!

One question I have is what has led you to make the following statement:

“It’s bad enough that conservative Christians are not concerned about the welfare of undocumented immigrants.”

I am not aware of any conserted effort by conservative Christians to take any stand on illegal immigration. Heck, neither political party can come to a consensus within their own ranks on what should be done about this issue. One SBC pastor wrote an article not long ago on his blog discussing his own dilemna in ministering to those in his congregation who are illegals. This issue is probably one of the grayest areas of politics to come down the pipe in a long time. I don’t think silence by the Christian community equals a lack of concern, but more likely a lack of clear discernment. If anything I think Christians are slow to take a stand because they certainly don’t want to be persuaded by power politics, but rather informed by the Bible and reason. This is not an issue that one can jump to conclusions quickly on, for the implications of any new or binding legislation will no doubt be of great consequence.

-from D.R. (a friend of mine)—Draw your own conclusions!

“It’s bad enough that conservative Christians are not concerned about the welfare of undocumented immigrants.”

That seems to me to be an unsubstantiated claim. My guess would be that these same conservative Christians are the first in line to help these people with their basic needs.

-from Keith

I’m answering the comments here because I don’t want to look like I’m trying to dominate the Mainstream Blog. So here goes…..

Rusty–a radio stuck on scan. Pretty good. I am a little ADD I guess. Sorry to address three issues in one post. I thought the first two tied together and threw the last one in for kicks.

Dude. Millions of dollars is still a whole lot of cash. I don’t care who you are. Blowing that kind of money just doesn’t seem virtuous to me. If I sound like I need to get the plank out of my own eye I admit that. However, I don’t go around making huge amounts of money “preaching” about virtue and then blow millions of those hard-earned bucks. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Just like FOX NEWS’s Bill O’Reilly trying to save Christmas and making sleazy calls to female employees and screaming at people to “SHUT UP!”

To all my readers that didn’t believe that there are Christians out there saying “to hell with the earth, Jesus is coming back,” SEE I TOLD YOU THEY WERE THERE!

The Exploitation of 9/11. OOOPS! The Path to 9/11 is not totally accurate! Here’s what Disney said:

“The two-part miniseries, scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday and Monday, is drawn from interviews and documents including the report of the September 11 commission. ABC has described it as a “dramatization” as opposed to a documentary.

“For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression,” ABC said in its statement. “We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it.”

Translation: We made crap up just to make Clinton look bad.

I didn’t say there was a concerted effort. I’m just saying that the conservative christians I talk to get ticked when the conversation turns to Immigration. (Did you see that Spurlock show? It was very interesting) I get tired of hearing “send them home” “they’re getting better medical care than me” “I shouldn’t have to pay to educate their kids” etc.

Yeah D.R. and Keith—there are a lot of christians demonstrating the love of Christ to immigrants. But I get tired of hearing and seeing hatred when the discussion starts with many conservative Christians I encounter.

As usual, D.R. has raised an interesting point about the complexity of the issue. The reason I bring these things up is to stimulate discussion and thought. I agree that the politicized sound-bites from any side are shallow and not helpful for those seeking to hear the voice of God in this issue. Again, my prayer is that Christians will do that rather than forming their opinion based on folks like O’Reilly, Bennett, and of course Rush.

Thanks for adding to the discussion guys!

My First Post
September 6th, 2006 under Baptists, Hypocrisy, Politics, Rant. [ Comments: 2 ]

superHere’s a link to my first post over at the Mainstream Baptists Blog.

I must admit that I’m a bit uneasy being identified as “mainstream!” Don’t call me moderate either! I hate those terms. I think Jesus was a radical and He definitely wasn’t mainstream!

However, the folks over at Mainstream raise some important questions. They make me think and inform me. Thanks for letting me in. I’ve been excluded and kicked out of so many groups it’s good to be invited! Oh yeah…I’m not as close to Jesus’ radical views as I’d like, but I’m working on it.

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