I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Politics’

Dear Christians, I’m lobbying for a new hobby.

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First, I’d like to let you know who is writing you. I count myself among Christ’s followers. I was raised and baptized in a Southern Baptist church. I regularly tithe, read the Bible daily and do not view it as merely good ideas. I am saved by Grace and work (and fall short) every day to show that I am thankful Christ gave his life for me. Theologically speaking, I am no liberal.

I count myself blessed to have been born in the United States, where I get to put on my church hat, grab my iPad, and choose which translation of the Bible I’m going to read without fear. I’m not talking about the kind of fear of losing a couple of friends or people thinking I must not be too bright if I think the Bible is God’s inspired word. I mean fear of the government. Fear for my life. I can worship freely and I love that the framers, whatever their flaws may have been, set us up that way.

I’ll speak to one of our favorite hobbies now – the pro-life movement. As to where I stand, I think abortion is tragic. I wish they didn’t have to happen. I wish no woman suffered the pain of a miscarriage. I wish no woman would ever go to the doctor to learn that her child would be born with an unimaginable defect. I hesitate to call myself pro-life because of all the mess it’s associated with. At the same time, I am not comfortable calling myself pro-choice for the same reason. I find it disturbing that people would picket and shout at complete strangers with whose situation they are completely unfamiliar. I also find it flippant and disrespectful to say “don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.” Everyone has a right to a voice. Christians, we have a responsibility to make that a Christ-like voice. A loving voice. The stuff that happens outside those clinics ain’t it. In a perfect world, abortions would not have to happen. Many things are not under our control. You know what we SHOULD do if we hate abortion so much? 1. Work to improve circumstances of mommies and 2. Work to educate children so children are not having children. Nothing unbiblical about that. Summary: put me in Clinton’s camp. It should be safe, legal, and rare. I think there are lots of things related to 1 and 2 mentioned above that the church can be doing to make it rare.

You know what will definitely NOT make it rare? Not covering birth control in an insurance policy. The recent decision of the Supreme Court disturbed me on several levels. I could only imagine if my mother worked for Hobby Lobby when I was a teen and needed birth control for hormonal issues that had nothing to do with the pill’s intended purpose. Our God made us free to follow Him. Jesus did not grab Peter by the throat and say “joker you better put that net down or else.” We cannot expect for everyone to believe what we do, and certainly not in this context. Aside from that, regarding the purpose of birth control – I am positive that many of the women who work for Hobby Lobby are in happy, heterosexual marriages. If the beef is that everyone should be procreating, why is Hobby Lobby covering vasectomies? Certainly Viagra promoting procreation is a joke too, right? Most in the market for an erectile dysfunction drug are not in the market for children. It just makes me suspect that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a non-issue. “Shoot, I’ve got season tickets. I can’t have this baby.” Just. Like. That.

Christ died and rose to save people. John 3:16 does not say “For whatever corporation believeth in me shall not perish but have eternal life.” If a corporation were a person, it would be a two year old. Selfish, having no interest except in the here and now for its own sake, regardless of how it impacts others. What do we do with two year olds? We don’t let them out of our sight for a moment. We appreciate two year olds and love them, but we – some more than others – are all too aware of the damage they can cause.

Christians, a decision like SCOTUS made is damaging to us. Don’t think for one second that it’s out of the realm of possibility that people will say they have a right to deny anyone, including us, a right to anything. Christ is bigger than this. We should be bigger than this.

I used to think that the thing I feared most about following Christ was that I wasn’t doing a good enough job with the rules to be known as a Christian. Now it scares me that because I am not shoving my theological beliefs in people’s faces like a jerk I will not be known as a Christian. We should be known by our love (with truth, of course) and not by trying to keep women from having access to birth control. Not even abortion. The thing that prevents women from having them!

I know my walk is imperfect. I share that with all of you. Let’s all walk more humbly, keep our eyes on Him, and leave the judgment to the Perfect One.

Love,
Lady J

Least of These or Lying Heffa?

At the gas station:

“Ma’am! My car ran out of gas. It’s parked over there (a significant distance away from any pump). I need to get from here (Fort Lauderdale) to Jupiter. Can you help me?”

Why, yes. I maintain a blog. I look forward to reminding everyone what a fantastic woman I am because I helped you.

Of course, my real response was nothing like that, though clearly, the situation has moved me to write. I thought to myself, I have means, this woman is in a jam, why wouldn’t I help? I had already decided I was going to assist before I looked down and noticed she was pregnant as hell. She looked tired and thirsty. I gave her a bottle of water I happened to have and assured her I would help her reach her destination.

Then she kept talking.

“Yeah, my mom is on her way to come bring me a gas container.”

Game changer.

Now, I am fully aware that by most standards, I have never had a bad day in my 29 years. When I have a problem, it’s like, “measures 9-14 of that sonata are a beast” or “my massage therapist is out of town for a month!” Woe is me. I also know that this could change at any moment, so I make a conscious effort to walk humbly and live graciously. Of course I could help this woman. This new information, however, brought in a should.

I asked her when her mother would be arriving. She said she wasn’t quite sure. The woman appeared to be about my age. I just found it strange that a mother who could bring a container of gas couldn’t also bring a bit of cash to fill up the container. Or otherwise help her daughter reach her destination. I told the lady I would return in a minute with some assistance. I got in my car, where my two young cousins were waiting for me. They had heard what was going on.

“Joanie. What are you going to do?”

So like, not only is God watching, but here I am, off the clock and needing to set an example for the youth. I’m just a sista tryna fill up and get home and now I’m presented with a dilemma. Fie.

I thought to myself, there’s this:

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NKJV)

But then there’s this:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16 NKJV)

I don’t think the two contradict one another at all. Jesus wants us to care for those who have less than we do. That doesn’t mean He wants us to be dumbasses about it. In fact, I would venture to say that it’s morally wrong to be irresponsible with the resources with which He’s blessed us. As a good steward, it’s my job to ensure that I’m sharing both as lovingly and wisely as possible.

For some, this situation might be clearer than it was for me. “Lady J, how could you even think about not giving this woman help?” Alternatively, “Wow. I can’t believe that chick is using her baby to hustle people. Don’t let her getcha!” I thought about what would bother me more – knowing that I could help her and chose not to OR being tricked out of some cash. Yes, I’m blessed, but I work pretty bloody hard to make it rain all this teacher’s salary. In the end, I gave her what I thought would be helpful. She thanked me as I left.

I chose to do so because I could NEVER know if she was trying to get free gas, but I would most definitely know that I had means to help and didn’t. I figured that erring on the side of fool rather than jerk was better in this case.

I strongly believe that the way in which we’re moved in situations like these is reflected in our political philosophies.
Whether we find it more disturbing that an innocent person is punished or a guilty person does not get what’s coming to him. Personally, if I have to be wrong – and I’m human, so it’s going to happen every now and again – I’d prefer that a couple pregnant hustlers treat themselves to a beer than even one woman not be able to care for herself and her child as she should.

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The Perils of Privilege: Why holidays are a BFD

I’ve always found the response of “first world problems” to any seemingly trivial complaint to be problematic. While its intent may be to remind the complainant of his/her blessings, the implication is that once you reach a certain level of privilege that you don’t have real problems any longer. Moreover, I think the response gives an excuse to the respondent to be dismissive. Why, especially if a friend is telling you s(he) is struggling with something, would you essentially say “Hey. You’re stupid for even thinking you have a problem.”? The issue is either legitimate OR if the complainant truly has a problem with seeing how blessed s(he) is, perhaps you could restore them in a way that is less abrasive.

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If The Lord knows something that appears as inconsequential as the number of hairs on our head, surely we can do a better job of listening to each other’s struggles.

I say this to say I believe that first world problems are very serious ones. Not the problems themselves, necessarily, but what having them means. As I am teaching the babies patriotic songs, we discuss the reason we sing them and the sacrifices that those who have served have made so that we can freely discuss anything. The first day we sing them, everyone is generally well-behaved and respectful.
The babies get it – people have done things for them so that they could be there. They appreciate being able to sing and play and learn. The next time I see them, someone is invariably distracted or goofing off. I’ve got to remind them again – don’t forget why you are able to be here! They tighten up quickly.

Without exception – the older the students get, the more reminders I have to give.

I don’t think this is a coincidence. The more experience that we have with privilege, the more we tend to take for granted. That is a big ass problem. It has to do with more than honoring our amazing military. Upon their shoulders stand parents, teachers, and who knows who else that enable all of us to live lives that most people in the world could not even imagine. In a strange twist, too often we are caught up in creating and living that life we forget why it is that we’re able to do anything.

I wish we didn’t need holidays for those reminders. We really should live every day remembering the sacrifices of others. It is because increase in privilege does not mean decrease in fragility and fallibility that we must make special effort to honor our heroes.

Happy Memorial Day!

‘Murka – Land of the Free, Home of the Ig’nant

Welp. It happened. I saw something politically related on Facebook that moved me to the blog. It was a post that appealed to me as musician, athlete, and citizen. Juicy.

 

National Anthem Question

I’ll go ahead and share my own opinion – yes, of course. Few things unite people in the way that music and sports do. We may be playing/cheering for different interests, but we’re doing it in a country that we all support in one way or another. I have to quiet the music teacher in me whenever I see or hear someone not showing respect for both country AND performer. Our anthem is quite difficult to sing well and the effort should be appreciated and applauded with exemplary performance etiquette. Each time I hear it performed at a sporting event, I feel proud of both my country and my self-control for not punching some rude jackass in the face.

So I made a poor decision. I clicked on the comments.

I was not surprised to see people say that if you don’t want it performed at sporting events, you should leave America. Love it or leave it, blah blah blah. However, this particular comment offended me because of its implications and attempt to connect things that are unrelated:

Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land. America accepts all who come and want to be free. If our laws and ways are not what you want then leave. America was good enough for you to leave where you came from so stop asking us to change what our country was founded on. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.”

Sigh. I’m going to hit the parts that bother me in ascending level of personal offense.

1. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country.

Any other country? So if you went to the United Kingdom, France, Russia – and you said you didn’t like that the national anthem was performed before a sporting event, they would revoke your citizenship/visa. That’s how that works. Okay. Sure, you might get some looks,  but you can get those same looks here. Hell, I might give that look to someone who said that to me. When you or I expresses an opinion, it does not infringe upon the rights of others. You can safely express your opinion in several other countries aside from the United States without fear of deportation.

2.  Stop asking us to change what our country was founded on.

Let me make sure that I understand you, ma’am – our country was founded on the right to listen to the National Anthem at Sunday’s game? Is that what you’re saying? I hope you will allow me to assume that what you are actually talking about is what you see as the erosion of open displays of patriotism. This is the same line of thinking that if you say anything is wrong with America that you hate it. You threw in a line about religious freedom (which I will address in just a moment), so I am sure you will appreciate this:

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. (Hebrews 12:6 NKJV)

That’s right. If someone who claims to love you is not calling you out when you’re screwing up, s(he) doesn’t love you. Full stop. If you are in the type of relationship with your country where you love it blindly, you don’t know your country. There are many fantastic things about America, and there is nowhere I would rather be. That doesn’t mean I can’t see what needs improvement and I hope to be able to work with others to do so. Indeed, those who founded our country had many an argument about what was best for America. Does that mean they didn’t love it? I doubt you would say so.

 3. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.

You know what’s great about the National Anthem? Well – real talk – at least the first verse of it, anyhow. It unites people who love America and different sports teams and different gods or maybe no god at all. I have my babies dissect the lyrics of the song as soon as we start learning how to sing it – no mention of God, religion, or faith. Just pretty lights and bravery. Did you only want to be united in the United States with people who believe the same things as you do? I have to wonder what you see the point of singing the anthem is. I am a practicing Christian and if someone told me he thought singing the National Anthem before sporting events was inappropriate, I would just think he was stupid. I feel my right to practice Christianity is perfectly safe from an idiot like that. Come on, people. Not every discussion is DEFCON 1. I would guess that the bottom line for you would be tradition, and there is nothing wrong with tradition unless it is unquestioned tradition for tradition’s sake.

Tradition.

Tradition.

4. Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land.

Jesus take the wheel keyboard. Please.

The implication here is hardly subtle, folks. If you don’t want the National Anthem sung, it’s because you’re not a real American. You know what fake Americans tend to have a lot of? Melanin. I am a daughter of an immigrant whom I got to watch happily stand among others, equally elated, to sing the National Anthem and wave the American flag as a naturalized citizen. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing many naturalization ceremonies and I have not seen ONE person who wasn’t amped to embrace his/her new country and its traditions. Not. One. In fact, you know the only people I know of that don’t want to sing the National Anthem? People whose faith prevents them from doing so. They come in many colors, and I haven’ t even heard of an instance where they’ve advocated for no one singing the anthem simply because they don’t do it. They simply choose not to participate and respectfully sit out. Sounds like a well-functioning country to me.

I’m going to go ahead and call it how I see it. This isn’t REALLY a problem about the right to enjoy/perform the National Anthem. This is a problem about people having different opinions/beliefs. If you want to be a racist xenophobe, you’re free to do so. You can even wrap it up in patriotism and pretend you “just love America.” Please, enjoy your right to be a jackass with little consequence.

 

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