damn this is funny

Posted by Bushel Basket in

Hey, sometimes I blog post stuff just so I don't lose track of it. This is one of those times.

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The dangers of hate speech

Posted by Bushel Basket in , , , ,

With the recent attack on the Holocaust museum and the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, I've been thinking and worrying about a possible upswing of domestic terrorism, possibly prompted by the poor economy, having an African American president, a change in how we pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more. I've been less connected to my political and national news feeds since I started my new job, but today I found a number of articles that are reflecting similar thoughts.

Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security released a Bush-administration-commissioned report in April detailing Right Wing Extremism which was thoroughly thrashed by conservative pundits. However, that report is looking to be more and more prescient.

One article I read from the Huffington Post touched on a question I have often wondered about, has the shift in news reporting and the increased exposure of on-air pundits contributed to this climate?

Seeds of Hatred---Reaping the Harvest by Larry Gellman

I think it's well worth the read. One excerpt reads:

" I'm certain that O'Reilly will insist, as Beck did, that it would be both wrong and unfair to link the inflammatory rhetoric and the vicious language of his repeated attacks against Dr. Tiller to the fact that a passionate true believer may have taken him seriously and decided to rid the world of this murderous Nazi abortionist.

But the venom spewers can't have it both ways. In their zeal to make headlines and establish themselves as true leaders of a movement and a party that has become consumed by anger and hate, these "celebrities" have chosen to abandon their civility, reason, and sense of responsibility. They either mean what they say -- in which case those who rid the world of murderers, Nazis, and other liberal villains should be hailed as heroes -- or they don't in which case they are simply cowardly liars committing libel in the name of the First Amendment as they discredit their once-proud movement and/or party."

For more background about the conservative response to the DHS report, read this Daily Kos article.

What bothers me the most is how this low level of discourse is becoming more accepted. As a Christian, I am amazed that so many others who also claim to be a Christian can overlook Jesus' commandment to "love one another as you love yourself." In my reading of the Bible, that seems to be central to the Jesus movement.

My hope is that this type of discourse will consume itself without injuring or killing any bystanders or objects of their rage in the process. My fear is that these death throes may be quite violent, or worse, they might not be death throes at all.

I try to remember to be not afraid.

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Delivering God's Letters

Posted by Bushel Basket in , , ,

One of the special responsibilities I have at the camp is to tend to God's Mailbox, a mailbox that is in the south woods. It is always stocked with paper and writing utensils, so anyone at any time can write to God.

The letters had accumulated in God's mailbox in the interim between the departure of the previous site manager and my arrival. Tonight I mailed the letters to God by using the pentecostal power of fire. I began by praying a decade's worth of Our Father's, and offering incense. I used a bit of sage at the beginning for cleansing, then frankincense, both for the Biblical connotation and to honor the frankness that I hoped was contained in these letters.

I offered a few words of prayer, then I added cedar and pine to the fire. I would add the letters one by one. Occasionally, I would pray while adding them, or express my well wishes for the author, especially if they signed their name. I was leaving space for the spirit, wondering what prayers and thoughts would come through.

I continued to add more cedar and pine during the course of the burning. The cedar I offered in hope that the faith of those who wrote the letters would become as strong as the cedars of Lebanon. The pine I offered as a reminder of place. These were pine needles from Tower Hill and had been blown down in a recent rain. I was reminded of Ezekiel (?) looking for God and sheltering from a storm in a cave. It wasn't in the storm that he heard God, but in the silence, just as these letters were written and delivered in silence.

It was moving adding the letters one by one to the fire. They were written on all kinds of paper and in all kinds of writing. Some of the letters were sealed in envelopes, others were folded tightly, and others were left exposed for all to read. Some were written on construction paper, others on pages ripped from a spiral notebook. Some were cards, some were sealed in heavy weight legal envelopes. Some were on index cards, and one was written on a used dryer sheet.

Though I resisted the urge to read the letters, there were some phrases that were revealed. Those that I recall covered a broad range of topics, including wishing to have God more present in their day to day lives, and one wishing for cotton candy. Some of the pages would appear blank until I added them to the fire, then the ink would become clear. One paper simply said "Dear Go," as if the writer had been distracted and hadn't come back to finish talking to God, something we've all had happen to us. I found some of the cards most interesting, as the envelope would burn away before the cards did, almost as if God was opening them like a gift. Some of the letters were drawings made for God. At the end, I offered more cedar, pine and frankincense, then extinguished the fire with water, washing the remains of the letters back into the soil.

All in all, I was reminded again and again that we are to all be like children to enter into the kin-dom of God.

I think next time I'll need to write my own letter too.

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