Archive | December, 2014

Talking to a Seven-Year-Old about Dealings with the Police . . .

23 Dec

While I may not agree with every conclusion this professor makes, I do understand how hard it must be to have this conversation with his seven-year-old son right now.

Don’t Play One Sufferer Against Another . . .

19 Dec

Truer words . . .

The Gospel in Ancient Words . . .

19 Dec

A truly lovely ancient hymn!

Why I Gave Up Sports Talk Radio

19 Dec

This is very well put!

Don’t Make Jesus a Stand-in for Santa Claus

17 Dec

Love this!

Getting to that Cantata . . .

13 Dec

Someone asked me today what a cantata is–this made me smile. Among certain groups of Baptists, we assume *everyone knows the answer to that. Most of our society today does not.

A cantata is a sung play. Or a play with spoken dialogue but a lot of songs in the background, moving the drama along. It usually has a religious/Christian theme.

Our cantata this year, to be performed tomorrow, is called “Born to Die.” Without being a spoiler for folks who are coming to see it, let me say it seems to be best summed up as the Prodigal Son meets “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In the spirit of cantata week and everyone’s nervousness and hectic schedules/practices, here is a tongue-in-cheek top ten list. The Top Ten People Who Mess with the Flow During Cantata Week. This is based on the various choirs I have been in since age 20 (six of them, five at churches, with ten different directors). So . . . let no one claim that I am outing him or her in any category–truth is that there are numerous people in each category, including (often) me!!!

The Top Ten People Who Mess with the Flow During Cantata Week:

1) The Prima Donna. This person does not like a particular cantata being performed and believes that she must not be forced into singing anything that does not line up with her particular preferences. So she spends cantata practices trying to short circuit the cantata!

2) The Prima Donna Director. This director is the counterpart of the prima donna member. If a member accidentally lets it slip that he does not like a particular cantata, this director will immediately treat that member as an enemy trying to short circuit the cantata, even if the member attends all the practices and gives his all to the group effort. See, the prima donna director, like the prima donna member, believes that *everyone who does not subscribe to his particular musical tastes must somehow be an enemy at heart!

3) The Resignation. Quits the choir, without previous notice, just as cantata practice is gearing up for the year, never thinking that the director chose the cantata counting on having a certain number of choirmembers around to sing it!

4) The Parachutist. Is not usually in choir the rest of the year, but parachutes in for the cantata (often with the attitude that she should have all of the soloes). This is *not directed at college students who are not present most of the year nor at choirmembers who have taken leaves of absence to help ailing family members. This is the person who is at church, but not in the choir, except *just at cantata time.

5) The Girlies. These come in matched sets of at least two members who spend the entire practice talking to each other and then asking the director the same questions he answered for everyone else 20 minutes ago. Oh, and they can never find their place in the music, either.

6) The Chronologically Challenged. These are the folks who walk in 10-20 minutes after practice has started, then want everyone to drop everything and find them the music that is missing from their folder (because it was given out at the beginning of practice).

7) The Subject Matter Expert. This is the person who tries to rephrase every piece of instruction the director gives. Like an echo in the room.

8) The Consultant. This is the person who waits till the middle of practice to suggest to the director a way he thinks something could be improved in the cantata. Often four consultants are talking at once during a practice, with and over the director!

9) The Interrupter. This is also often a four-person tag team event. Try to raise your hand to ask a question and see how many people refuse to yield you the floor, even after the director acknowledges you!

10) The Bundle of Nerves. This is my personal favorite, as my friends will acknowledge! This is the person who finally speaks up in exasperation and says she can’t hear a thing the director is saying so would the rest of y’all please shut it! LOL!

Yes, these are pointed but meant in fun. So enjoy them and . . . I hope you are relaxed and ready for the cantata tomorrow or whenever your church is doing it this year.

Torture vs. Systematic Killing

12 Dec

When I was living in England, I developed a thick skin over time with Australians and New Zealanders there. It had to do with a line of questioning they often had about our treatment of native Americans during U.S. history.

When they would ask about why we were so cruel to native Americans, I eventually learned to say that it was a mistake in our history. “However,” I would add, “your countrymen are hardly the folks to ask me about that. The reason we know about our mistreatment of the native American population is because we didn’t exterminate them. Our native population was still alive after they encountered us–alive to complain about the treatment.”

I am with John McCain. I think torture, when we truly cross a line from “not being your enemy’s BFF” to “torturing your enemy,” is untenable for many, many reasons. I am not arguing for torture in any way.

What I *am saying is that, just as I would not let Australians and New Zealanders who wiped out their own native populations act all righteous in accusing us of bad behavior to our native peoples, so I will not accept hearing people who condone targeted killing by drones lecture others about torture.

Think about it. Why have we decided that it is morally preferable to be dead than to live under less than optimal circumstances? Why have we started treating people like animals that need to be put down when their quality of life is gone? When have we crossed over philosophically to believe that it is less cruel and morally more righteous to kill members of Al Qaeda and ISIS by way of targeted drone attacks than to torture them? Hmmmmmmm?

Remember, drone attacks are executions without a trial. Just saying.

Maybe you can make a case for execution by drone. We can probably both make a case against torture. Just don’t make your case for drone attacks, then get all righteous and in-your-face with advocates of extreme measures in Guantanamo Bay.

If you do that, you are a hypocrite. So say I!

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