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Archive for August, 2011

"THE WORLD IS MY PARISH": jOHN WESLEY

Somebody will watch the video below, from the United Methodist News Service, and say, “Why is this woman helping people on the far side of the earth when there are so many people that need help in this country?”

Which raises three thoughts in the mind of your favorite blawger:

1. For sure, there are many and very many people needing help in this country, if by “this country” you mean our beloved United States.
But in God’s eyes there’s no such thing as “this country” or “that country,” which is why Jesus, who was very much a Jew till the day he suffered, died and rose again, commanded his disciples to go outside of the very Jewish but heavily occupied nation of Israel and into the world (Matt. 28: 16-20). It’s why Paul and the gang risked life and limb crossing borders and boundaries.

2. Any time someone questions the validity of mission work outside the U.S. because “there’s so many needs here,” they might want to consider doing more to extend help to “people here” with mission and outreach and being the “cheerful giver” of which the Bible speaks. They might want to look within themselves and ask how much they’ve really done to help people here in the home country. There’s always plenty more to do for “people here” in this country, and for more on that, see today’s news about the aftermath of Irene. If you want always to question people doing mission work outside the U.S., you might for once consider taking a mission trip or giving an extra check to help the “people here.”

3. John Wesley said, “The world is my parish.” This 71-year-old Christian is a Wesleyan (i.e., Methodist). Therefore the world, including the U.S. and all nations, is her parish.

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LINDA RONSTADT: ONCE WINKED (I ain't lying!) AT YER JITTERBUGGER

Welcome to another exciting edition of Jitterbuggingforjesus.com, the blawg that, in addition to saving the world with its wit, wisdom, provocations and stimulations while possibly (probably!) alienating whole towns, nations, cities, states and Rick Perry’s crazy base of fundamentalist fanatics (not to mention Michele Bachmann’s), is bringing you soothing music every Tuesday afternoon as a reminder that God is in control and therefore everything is going to be all right.

Today we feature the great sultans of “blue-eyed soul” and especially his greatness the late and the great Bobby Hatfield, he who I once interviewed by phone a hunnerd years ago when I was a scribe for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and he and his singing buddy were coming to Houston for one of those “Lovin’ Feelin'” concerts held in Houston every year in the eighties and into the nineties featuring the Righteous Bros. and other big-named acts from my era.

One of the perks* of being an occasional music writer and reviewer at the aforementioned Texas newspaper was getting to interview so many people like His Greatness Mr. Hatfield, who was so gracious as to give me another 10 minutes for the phone interview even after his ride to the golf course stopped by his house for their afternoon tee time out there in California.

I was a huge fan of the Righteous ones as a young teen and told Mr. Hatfield so and he said, “Thanks a lot, I appreciate that.”

A man of simple graciousness he was. Not to mention such a soulful singer.

*Getting free tickets to concerts in exchange for publicity interviews with every singer and band that came anywhere near Houston or College Station was the even better perk. Interviewing Linda Rondstadt when she was the young queen of rock and who winked at me at the finish of an interview before a show in College Station may still be the highlight of my life. It was even better than meeting and shaking hands with Merle Haggard backstage at in Houston.

Those were the days.

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One of my favorite blawgers (Theology Div.) can get right to the essence of things with few words and not a word wasted. She’s a terrific writer who always has something to say, as in this reflection adapted from one of her prior reflections on Haiti:

The creation that God has set into motion (and sustains every second) means that there will be inexplicable suffering. Fast-moving cars will crash. Tectonic plates will shift. Sea storms will make landfall.

“Our task is not to moralize. (Looking at you, Pat Robertson). Our task is to be present with those who suffer–to pray with our hands and feet, our sweat and tears, our time and money.”

— Debra Dean Murphy
(Click here for the whole theological enchilada)

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Reverend Rick, Preaching the Tea Party Commandment

The video down below is but one reason–and only one of many reasons–that our Governator of Texas doesn’t have a prayer of being elected the leader of the free world. This in spite of the fact that he’s so intimate with God that he knows the mind of God and God is telling him he is The Messiah (That would be the American/Texan Messiah. Just so we’re clear on this–Jesus was the Jewish Messiah).

In the YouTube interview with the editor of Texas Monthly, you’ll see that the Guv gets a softball question that breaks the Guv out in the jim-jams.

Seriously, good for Perry for being, by his own admission, so high minded and old fashioned that he wants abstinence taught in Texas schools. Myself, I’d much prefer that parents be urged at every turn to remember to teach it to their children at home at every turn. I’d also prefer that it be taught in churches and houses of worship in a way that doesn’t make kids roll their eyes, which will never happen –not in most churches. People of faith break out in the jim-jams if anybody at church speaks seriously and frankly and theologically (emphasis on the “logically” in theologically) about anything whatsoever sex related. That said, I have to say that I know Jewish rabbis and Jewish people of serious faith who seemingly know how to teach kids about sex and the potential dangers of teen sex much better than most preachers or Christians.

But that’s another posting for another day and let’s get back to back to our Governator, he who was the original Terminator, who once terminated the life of an unsuspecting coyote while he, the Guv, was jogging. You’ll see that his painful attempt to answer the question in the video–which he tries to answer with his opinion on abstinence when he finds any words– keeps missing the point of the question. He simply can’t answer to this question about the waste of money on abstinence, nor will he be able to answer to the nation to the unique ways he has found to waste Texas money and abuse his powers of appointment, among other abuses of power.

Remember that you read it here first: Americans are going to see through Perry’s many political flaws soon enough–his duplicity, his cronyism that puts his old Aggie buddies into powerful positions and rewards them financially and excessively with our tax dollars, his countless “flip flops” that his fellow Republicans and Tea Party types already are blasting away at, and his John Wayne complex. I mean, it’s a wonder the man hasn’t pushed legislation requiring every Texan to own a gun.

I’m sure he wanted to shoot the editor of Texas Monthly for not letting this viewer’s question go.

You’re in the Big League now, Rick. Hold on to your hat.

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(For all the Steely Dan Fan Land cultists and night owls from your Steely Dan Fan Club chaplain. You people are total whacks. Hilarious whacks but total whacks nonetheless. Go to bed.)

The Freedom of the Moon
by Robert Frost
I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I’ve tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I’ve pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

HIS GREATNESS ROBERT FROST AT WORK

And His Greatness the Cat Man, circa 1971 . . .

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"VAPOR IS EVER RISING'

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

—-John Muir, naturalist,
explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

Our research assistant and sometimes contributor here at the blawg that is saving the world–the mystic and mysterious L.K., she who is a deeply contemplative Christian and sixties flaming librul (Joan Baez Div.; you know the type)–sent the following reflection on John Muir:

I came upon this quote today, and thought that its poetry would be enhanced if it were written like this:

This grand show is eternal.

It is always sunrise somewhere;

the dew is never all dried at once;

a shower is forever falling;

vapor is ever rising.

Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset,

eternal dawn and gloaming,

on sea and continents and islands,

each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

——————
Or, perhaps like this . . .

This grand show

is eternal.

It is always

sunrise somewhere;

the dew is never

all dried at once;

a shower is

forever falling;

vapor is

ever rising.

Eternal sunrise,

eternal sunset,

eternal dawn

and gloaming,

on sea

and continents

and islands,

each in its turn,

as the round earth rolls.

-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

—————

The quote gave me a thrill up my spine.

It made me feel a deep and holy connection and communion with all places and all people in this world.

What makes my friend and sometimes contributor L.K. a genuine Christian mystic is that she’s so much in love with life and the world. And that’s another way of saying that L.K.–in the great and ancient tradition of Christian mysticism–is very much in love with God. Himself/Herself.

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HER GREATNESS BESSIE SMITH

Love this greatest of blues standards that Jimmy Cox wrote and Bessie Smith popularized a hunnerd years ago.

It’s been covered by everybody from Janis Joplin–who idolized Bessie Smith–to the Allman Brothers and so many more. But here’s two of my favorite covers from two of my all-time favorite music makers . . . and Her Greatness Miss Smith too.

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