The Deplorable President

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Ho Ho Holy Trumpery

Make America America Again (I guess)

Garrison Keillor’s in good form since retirement.  I hope to retire so eloquently.

“Maybe God did Choose Trump” (Chicago Tribune)

His incisive and acerbic wit brought me back to Clinton’s fine and appropriate term to describe a large slice of the Trump-pie:  “Deplorable”

No one seemed to look the word up.  They just chose to do what they do with words:  ignore them, feign outrage, or throw four-letter ones back (as Keillor found out) and chant “Lock ‘er Up!”–which I thought might be a hidden advertisement for Foot Locker.

So, for those without access to a dictionary. . .

Deplorable: deserving strong condemnation; shockingly bad in quality, as in, “her spelling was deplorable.”  from “deplore”–weep for or regret deeply.

Of course, the best and most descriptive word is still–

Trumpery:   practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth.  from the word “deceive.”

Don’t forget the synonyms for trumpery:  applesauce [slang], balderdash, baloney (also boloney), beans, bilge, blah (also blah-blah), blarney, blather, blatherskite, blither, bosh, bull [slang], bunk, bunkum (or buncombe), claptrap, codswallop [British], crapola [slang], crock, drivel, drool, fiddle, fiddle-faddle, fiddlesticks, flannel [British], flapdoodle, folderol (also falderal), folly, foolishness, fudge, garbage, guff, hogwash, hokeypokey, hokum, hoodoo, hooey, horsefeathers [slang], humbug, humbuggery, jazz, malarkey (also malarky), moonshine, muck, nerts [slang], nuts, piffle, poppycock, punk, rot, rubbish, senselessness, silliness, slush, stupidity, taradiddle (or tarradiddle), tommyrot, tosh, trash, nonsense, twaddle

A lot of us weep for and regret deeply that there are millions of people who Vote Trumpery.

Yet, the Majority Does Not (and we own dictionaries).

Best Thought to Keep Trumpeting:  Hillary is the President of the Majority of Voters, AND, no Grinch can steal America.

Jesus Meets John Muir

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Good Reading for a Wild Season

Not so long ago, in a land not so far away (actually on an island in the Pacific Northwest), I wrote a little novel–call it a novella–that to my knowledge has been read by one person.  He used to work for a publishing company and said he very much liked the book.  So, there’s your one review. . .a five-star review. . .from one person!

Oh, I just remembered that a Catholic nun read it too.  She was nice enough to say, “many passages are pure poetry.”  If that helps you decide to order a copy, Nones Bless the Nuns!

The book has a rather stunning (or perhaps dull) title:

Jesus and John Muir:  A Wilderness Novel  

Imagine a young, rebellious, perhaps atheist Palestinian scruff who runs off into the hills of Judea fed-up with the politics, the religion and the poverty.

Now, imagine this millenial (from a couple of millenia past) bumps into a wild man in those mountains, and the wild man’s name is Johnny, and Johnny is an adventurer who blew in from a misty isle of the Celts and has a little bitta wisdom to pass along to the angry young man.

If this teaser tickles your imagination a wee bit, please consider ordering a copy of this book.  Here’s the thing:  you might not really like the book, but you can put in on your shelf to look at and laugh at from time to time.  A novella novelty, you might say.

And, just remember:  you’ll have the added pleasure of knowing you contributed a few dollars to the Secular Chaplain.

From my perspective, it’s a win-win!

Thank You!

(added bonus:  this book has a few of my black and white photos from my trips to Scotland slipped in to the wild story.  This is self-published, so don’t expect National Geographic)

God’s Birth, and Other Bedtime Stories

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For the holiday season, I’m unwrapping this little piece I wrote a few years ago about “Holy Babies.”  (also posted on Patheos here)

Here’s a teaser:

“What do we do with Baby Religion? When faith gathers around a child, a “special” or “divine” child, what does this mean for us?”

“We can choose to celebrate every birth as “sacred,” every child as a unique gift to the world, or we can continue this age-old silliness of elevating a handful of ancient babes above all others and say the stars shine especially on their little faces. It’s still our choice.”

The image I’m tickling right now:  God in diapers.

Holy S*&T!

God’s Books: Free, while supplies last!

Blank book isolated on white background.
Wait ’til you see what God Says!

Just in time for the Holidays!

God’s Self-Published Books

They make the Perfect Gift for the Non-Reader in your family or congregation.

No need to go up on a mountaintop, into a desert, forest or cave. . .

No need for Mystics, Prophets, Saviors or Saints. . .

Direct to YOU from You Know Who! 

Order Now from your favorite book source (or FREE from this website)

(Available on PageFlame, AngelTrumpet and ThinkAboutIt!)

Selected Reviews:

“Unbelievable!”

“Better than all the so-called scriptures ever written!”

“I never thought it would be so EASY to read!”

“If you never read another book, this is the ONE to read!”

“I can’t wait for the Author’s Next Book!”

“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*************” (editor:  we apologize–there was not enough space on this blog for the exclamations and stars in this review)

Happy Reading!

 

Recycling Scriptures

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Non-living ancient wisdom on living, green wisdom

“I loved a few books much; but I loved Nature, in all those material examples and subtle expressions, with a love passing all the books of the world.”

~John Burroughs, Notes on Walt Whitman (1867)

I purchased a new shredder a few weeks ago.  

Seeing the pages chewed down into fine little bits is a good reminder of the wood fibers that we print on day after day.  Our paper, our books, represent trees– endless forests of “useful” resources for humans to squeeze the ink of ideas onto.

A few people have been finding my Natural Bible blog where I only post occasional thoughts on world scriptures and the natural alternative: Nature.  There you can find the “Sacred Shredder.”  Here’s how I describe it:

“To an extent, the shredder is obviously figurative fiction. I am not arguing for a full ban and burning of all these books that contain a great deal of historical value (just as I would not argue for the destruction of archives and museums). However, and this is quite serious, I do not think societies, communities and even some governments (let alone families and individuals!) would be at all in a worse state if supernaturally-based books were at least highly discouraged.”

“If it is helpful and useful, let it be a tool that produces a thoughtful exchange of ideas and a healthier, happier community of freethinking individuals rather than a herd blindly following a book.”

This wild idea simply follows the suggestions of people like Thomas Paine, Kierkegaard and others:

“I have now gone through the Bible, as a [person] would go through a wood with an axe on their shoulder and fell trees. Here they lie; and the priests, if they can, may replant them. They may, perhaps, stick them in the ground, but they will never make them grow.” ~Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794

*

“Let us gather in every single copy of the New Testament, let us cart the whole collection out to an open place, or up a mountain top. . .and let someone speak to God, saying: ‘Take it back, this book; we humans, the way we are, should not get involved with such a book; it only makes us unhappy.’” Soren Kierkegaard, Diary, 1854

This is not about “desecrating” “holy” things or disrespecting the respectable in religion.  However, it is about recovering the “sacred and holy” in our natural world which might mean we leave behind some of the old “baggage in the backpack” with the awful practice of killing things in this beautiful, living world (trees, cattle, etc) to create endless books and icons about other worlds. This is the non-respectable part of religion that needs to be challenged and shredded, in my opinion.

So, I’ll be rolling out the shredder from time to time, not for the purpose of destroying, but of building, not for killing, but for bringing life and the light of reason.  I think it’s important to raise the most uncomfortable questions like,

What would happen if we left the human-made scriptures on the shelves, in the libraries and museums, and looked to the living, natural Bibles, Qur’ans, Gitas, Sutras, Analects and the sacred Scientific search, in the world we live in?

The ultimate question may be,

Where is wisdom?

The shredder might just help us here.

 

 

Blessed are the Poor Children. . .Now, Let’s Save Their Little Lost Souls

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Children killed in Aleppo. . .were they “saved”?

A woman named Vicki responded to my last post about Operation Christmas Child, another attempt by Franklin Graham and his evangelistic machine to reach poor kids this season with the gospel of Christ (slipped in with toys and a flashlight).  I essentially said that I find their gift of shoeboxes a disrespectful and dishonest way to save the souls of children who don’t need saving, except from poverty and the manipulations of adults with another agenda.

Here’s what Vicki said, followed by my rather long response:

“I absolutely disagree with you.. and I pray that many children will be saved by the gospel message in these shoeboxes. I made one this year and have done so before, and will do again.. I pray the Lord will open your eyes, and save your soul.”

 

“Thank you, Vicki, but my eyes are already open (and my mind) and, while I don’t have a “soul” to save, I do have compassion and thoughtfulness. I understand why you would not appreciate my post, but respecting others and telling the truth are important values for me–I’m a little surprised these are not apparently as important to you, or Samaritan’s Purse.

Do you not remember the words of the one you believe in: “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God,” or, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”? These words do not have footnotes with qualifications. Does it say the poor or the children need to be “saved” before they can be included in their kingdom? Where does it say they must become Christians or Evangelical Christians or read the Bible or go to Church before the poor or the children are accepted by your God? Where does Jesus say to them, “pray the prayer of repentance” and then you will be blessed or inherit the kingdom that already belongs to you?

I understand evangelism, I used to do that. All I cared about was saving the lost souls, quoting bible verses to everyone, praying for the world to believe in Jesus the way I did. Then, my eyes were indeed opened. . .by learning to respect others enough to listen to them, by working for others rather than merely praying for them, by reading more and finding wisdom in more than just one book, and by appreciating the wonderful gift of a child’s smile, and supporting their health and happiness here and now, without thinking only of their eternal salvation.

Giving to children is wonderful. I’m sure many of the gifts in the shoeboxes are useful. But wouldn’t it be a great “blessing” for you and all those who pack the boxes to learn about the lives of children who live in poverty (even in our own communities), and work to end that poverty, rather than focus on them as “poor souls” to be saved? How could all the time, money and good intentions be used to make a difference in the daily lives of those kids and their future this side of the grave?

I wish you well in this season of sharing. I too think of all the children and their need for food, clothing, adequate shelter, health, education and security. I trust we can agree that we can never neatly package kindness and the goodness of humanity in a shoebox. As you might say, no box is big enough for God. Or, as I would say, no box is big enough for Good!

For all the children.
Chris”

Christmas is for (Saving) Children

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Smiles, School Supplies and Salvation

I think it’s wonderful when a holiday season brings out the best in us, when we feel good giving to those nearby or far away.  Seeing the joy of children is a gift in itself.  And we hope the smiles of joy are not the result of adults using them for their own agenda.

Even before I left Christianity (and faith) I was disturbed by the deception of some believers who use holidays and ancient stories to save souls around the world.  It’s especially troubling when children receive “fake love” in the name of faith.

Christmas is probably the best (worst) time of year for this kind of Bait-and-Switch sales.

Franklin Graham is a leader in this dishonest endeavor to make more little Christians by sneaking the gospel into their cute and colorful shoeboxes:  Operation Christmas Child

Here’s what I wrote to a local newspaper that reported on this gift drive for children without mentioning the true intent of the boxes:

“As worthy as a program like this can seem on the surface, people should remember this is organized by an evangelistic organization (Samaritan’s Purse, CEO-Franklin Graham).
We might note that the article does not mention what else is included in these boxes. Here is what one child says about the box he received (from the Samaritan’s Purse website):
“He boasted about a flashlight, a teddy bear, a scarf, and gloves. He also got The Greatest Gift Gospel booklet and prayed the prayer of repentance he found inside. He really enjoyed the Operation Christmas Child event, especially the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, coming to this world.”
The ultimate goal is not to help children with school–it is to lead them to Christ.
“Good news” is fine to share, but so is honesty.”

As the National Secular Society (UK) reports, the American Humanist Association has filed a lawsuit since some public schools have been involved in these salvation shoeboxes.

“David Niose, the legal director of the American Humanist Association (AHA) said: “As taxpaying citizens with children in the school district, these families object to their schools supporting the efforts of Christian missions to convert children in developing countries.
“Pressuring students to participate in religious programs in their public schools flies in the face of the separation of church and state that the Establishment Clause demands.”

It’s easy to be duped by these deceptive programs.  And even when there isn’t conscious deception, using the story of a poor, palestinian jewish family to “sneak preach” to children is unethical to say the least.

In this consumer-crazed season, let’s not buy this cheap God Toy, and find better ways to help children to live healthier lives.

Let’s save children in this world from those who are out to save them for another world.

Make God Great Again

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Did Moses see a “burning bush” like this in the fall? Was the “voice” he heard the wind or a bird, or his own breathless heartbeat before the beauty?

When God was great, it (before gender pronouns) was the sun, the moon or the wind.  It was the mountain or the river, the tree, the ocean or the sky.  It was the elephant, the lion, the wolf, the eagle, the spider, the turtle or the whale.

When God was great, it was not human, not a person, had no face or voice.

When God was great, there was no church or synagogue, no mosque or temple or “sacred place.”

When God was great, there was no scripture, no book to divide this world, or invent another.

When God was great, no one could say it (he or she) was on their side whispering in their ear and speaking through their mouth.

When God was great, no one disrespected another or killed in The Name.

When God was great, no one even knew the name “God.”

How to make God great again?

Try taking away All Human Attributes–anything that resembles Humanity. . .

and see what’s left.

Now, that

might be called

“God.”

Or. . .we might find we don’t need that name, that image, that voice, any longer?

Free Weddings!

Humanist Celebrants like me are offering to perform free wedding celebrations for those most affected by the election of Pres. Trumpery (please look up the word).  Here is the statement from the American Humanist Association:

“[Celebrants offer] free weddings to LGBTQ individuals, immigrants and other marginalized communities that fear they will be negatively affected by a Trump presidency.”

Read the story on Friendly Atheist.

Love really does trump hate. . .

Religion, Politics and Fake News

I was alerted to this interview of fake news master, Paul Horner, in the WA POST.  What a weirdness of a world we live in that this bit of truth-telling nails the truthiness so perfectly. . .  A virtual call-to-arms for more effective, rational, skeptical education.

“Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

And read what this professor at Merrimack College says about her Fake News List.

Whether in Politics or Religion, it is the wise thing to do to check the facts and never stop asking, What is True?