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Archive for September, 2015


Because we can never get enough music therapy in this crazy world:

Here’s “The Sunshine Superman’s” tribute song to his Honey, back in the day.

A blast from the past with Emmylou and Rodney Crowell and the boys–and if this doesn’t get your Jitterbug toes tapping I don’t know what to tell you.

And finally, the greatest of all “Dark Bar Songs”:

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An atheist friend and longtime cultist here at the blog that is the Cult of the Jitterbugger emailed this to me:

    “I was very impressed that the Pope [in his speech to Congress] name-checked Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, two people that I would have never known about if not for you. I was also SHOCKED and PLEASED that he actually acknowledged non-believers (that has to be a first).”

I wrote back to him, with tongue pressed firmly against cheek:

    “I know. I’m pretty sure the Pope must be a longtime reader of my blawg!”

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Longtime readers here at the Jitterbug Cult know that Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton have always been high on my list of faith heroes.

The Pope, who landed on my list of heroes his first week on the job, not only named and honored Merton and Day in his eloquent speech to Congress, but also name-checked my faith hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Francis also connected them to Lincoln, who is every American’s hero.)

The one thing that my faith heroes all had in common that appeals so strongly to me is this: They, like this living Pope, were all about the radical love of Christ.

They all were committed peacemakers who incarnated a radical love for the poor and oppressed. (Mother Theresa is obviously another high-ranking faith hero.) They pleaded for mercy and fought for justice for the very people that the radical, rabble-rousing Christ–he who was born homeless in the muck and mire of a barn a long way from any royal palace–anointed with most-favored status.

Pope Francis, of course, took on the very name of another hero, St. Francis, largely because of the great saint’s radical love of the poor (and his love of nature and the earth and all of God’s good, green Creation).

If you’ve not read or heard the Pope’s eloquent speech to Congress, here are excerpts about the aforementioned peacemakers and social justice warriors who are my heroes:

    ON THOMAS MERTON:
    A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

ON DOROTHY DAY:
In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

      ON DR. KING
      A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

    Here at the blog I frequently lift up my famous faith heroes to you who read it, mindful that this country and the world are full of heroic Christians who slug away every day in obscurity, incarnating the radical love and tender mercies of my Lord and savior.

    I read an article the other day about a guy called “the Sandwich Man,” whose name is Alan Law, who has fed 700,000 sandwiches to the homeless in Minneapolis. I try to recognize the unsung heroics of Christians like him every chance I get. His kind keep me inspired to do more for the poor and I hope the stories I share of his kind inspire you.
    Click here for Law’s story.

    Here are links to just four of my faith heroes, they who rank the highest:

    John Wesley: Being a cradle Methodist and ordained United Methodist deacon, I was inspired by Wesley from the time I was given a big dose of him in my Confirmation classes. He loved and served the poor, hated slavery and fought for social justice his whole, long life. He’s the theological “hero” of every devout Methodist Christian who ever was or ever will be.

    Dorothy Day: I once spent Christmas week at the Houston Catholic Worker, founded by Mark and Louise Zwick–two Catholics who have been doing heroic work for the poor, especially migrants and refugees, for decades. If you want to know more about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker faith tradition, explore the Houston Catholic Worker link here.

    Merton: That the Pope highlighted the lives and work of the American Catholics Day and Merton says a lot about their influence on so many Christians of all tribes, including me. More on My Main Man the Mystic Mr. Merton, as I fondly refer to him, here.

    The Pope, of course, had much more to say about Dr. King in his visit to a Harlem school. More on that here.

    And just a word to Pope Francis, who man after my own heart, since he obviously reads this blog:

    Bless you, good man.

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Ouch.

Stinging satire gives us much-needed relief from absurdity.

And what could be more absurd than the United States Congress.

BEST. MEME. EVER.

BEST. MEME. EVER.

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“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

— Micah 6: 8

Your thought for the day is: Is homelessness in a nation that purports to be one nation under God acceptable to God?

Your thought for the day is: Is homelessness in a nation that purports to be one nation under God acceptable to God?

Since 2006, America has seen a 67 percent increase in the number of homeless children. We’ve reached a point where 2.5 million children under age 18 are without a permanent roof over their heads–far more than ever before.

Such unacceptable social ills have somehow become acceptable in a country where there is no shortage of citizens who identify as Christians.

We are good at deluding ourselves into thinking that we as Christians are Christian enough if we believe in God and if we do good for needy folks come Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(Isn’t it strange how our good American hearts feel so strangely warmed during the holidays, when we’re suddenly motivated to love the poor and homeless and do something for them in that brief season.)

Whatever we are doing in terms of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those who are sick and in prison–whatever we are doing to call out social injustice and build a more just society–we are clearly not doing what God requires of us, either as individual Christians or as a nation.

The statistics on homeless children alone are evidence enough of how short we’ve fallen in the God’s all-seeing eyes.

Lord,

Open our eyes to the plight that you see as unacceptable.

Open our ears to the cries of those suffering the endless pressures and indignities of homelessness.

Help us to be mindful of your requirements to do justice as well as to love kindness and walk humbly.

Help us to be cheerful givers and doers as well as speakers of your word.

Amen

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Speaking of needing a friend in Jesus (see today’s prior post):

Assuming that Auburn’s famous football Super Fan Tammy isn’t just playing us all for laughs, she’s got issues that aren’t even funny.

And I do hope she’s a well-adjusted woman who is in fact putting us on for grins.

But I, in my brief and failed career as a sports writer, saw just how manic-depressive fans can get.

And it was a trifle disturbing.

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My friend at The Cotton Boll Conspiracy has committed a grave heresy with this post at that blog of his this morning.

The Gospel of Mark was writ by the Apostle Mark Zuckerberg, one of the forefathers of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

And Facebook is the repository of God and all things concerning God.

If you agree give me big “Amen” on my Facebook page.

And you will be richly blessed.

The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

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As anyone involved with Facebook for any amount of time knows, the social media site has become increasingly polarized on topics of politics and religion in recent years.

Early on, Facebook seemed to be particularly proficient at allowing users to portray unrealistically rosy views of their lives – wonderful spouses/significant others, above-average children, superior pets, etc.

But beginning with the 2008 presidential campaign, things seemed to take a rather vitriolic turn. Of course, it’s relatively easy to ignore those who still want to debate whether the current president of the United States was born in a foreign nation or is a non-Christian.

What’s become increasingly prevalent, at least from what I’ve seen, are inane postings related to religion. I’m not referring to all religious posts, because I’m of the belief that the Bible or various other holy books are filled with words that can prove helpful during difficult times, even…

View original post 321 more words

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Here’s the kind of story that makes you go “Wow!” in a good way.

North Carolina police officer J.D. Boyd faced every cop’s worst nightmare when a bad guy tried to stab him in the head in an altercation.

A year later, Officer Boyd came upon the “bad” guy, whom he had almost shot in self defense–and ended up posing happily for this picture with him.

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Boyd then shared the photo on his Facebook page with this post:

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That post was followed by this:

A big amen to THAT!

A big amen to THAT!

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I’m declaring today National Jitterbug Dance Day so get up and put some boogie in your boogie for today’s music therapy.

And I'm declaring tomorrow National Skinny Dipping Day so get yourself psyched up!

Guess what I’ve declared for an observance tomorrow?

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Memes that make you go, “Wow.”

Regardless of what you think about abortion or Planned Parenthood, this counter-punch by P.P. against its attackers rings of certain truths about America’s idol worship of Israel.

The truth is that Israel is a “socialist” country, if your idea of a socialist country is a country that provides 100 percent, government-funded health insurance to its citizens.

But American conservatives so adamantly opposed to universal health care have no problem with that because–it’s ISRAEL. And Israel can do no wrong.

But then there’s Israel’s liberal abortion laws. You would think that American conservatives, who give billions in aid to Israel without a single string attached, would be vocal in opposing Israel’s pro-abortion law.

Yet you’ll never hear an American accusing Israel’s leaders and doctors of being “murderers” because of abortion.

That’s because it’s ISRAEL, a country that America holds up as the perfect state.

Neither conservatives nor liberals will ever call out Israel for the heavily documented atrocities it routinely commits against Palestinian men, women and children.

Well, Jimmy Carter excepted.

He seems to think that no person or country is above criticism, that only the Trinitarian God is perfect.

But no, Jimmy is the one who is so misguided. He never seemed to understand that Israel is ISRAEL.

The unspoken law of the land in America is that you don’t rag on Israel no matter what. It’s not kosher and that’s that.

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Joan Baez never said soldiers were baby killers, but some still take her anti-war stance as a personal affront.

Joan Baez never said soldiers were baby killers, but some still take her anti-war stance as a personal affront.

From Joan Baez’s biography:

Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York. Her father, Albert V. Baez, was a physicist who came to the United States from Mexico at a very early age, and her mother was of western European descent. Joan inherited her father’s dark complexion, and the occasional racial prejudice (hatred of a race) she suffered as a child probably led to her later involvement in the civil rights movement, a movement that called for equal rights for all races. Although as an adult she claimed not to share her parents’ strict religious faith, it undoubtedly contributed to what some called her keen “social conscience.”

Baez was exposed to an intellectual atmosphere with classical music during her childhood, but rejected piano lessons in favor of the guitar and rock and roll. Her father’s research and teaching positions took the family to various American and foreign cities. When Joan was ten, she spent a year in Iraq with her family. There she was exposed to the harsh and intensely poor conditions of the Iraqi people, something that undoubtedly had an affect on her later career as a singer and activist. Baez went on to attend high school in Palo Alto, California, where she excelled in music more than in academic subjects. Shortly after her high school graduation in 1958, her family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Baez’s interest in folk music surfaced after visiting a coffee shop where amateur folk singers performed.

This story about Vietnam vets confronting Joan Baez says everything you need to know about that tireless, ageless, talented and great American peacemaker Joan Baez, kids.

Rather than ignoring or angrily confronting a small group of Vietnam vets protesting the anti-war stance she took back in the day, Joan Baez took the peacemaker's approach and went out to listen to what they had to say to her.

Rather than ignoring or angrily confronting a small group of Vietnam vets protesting the anti-war stance she took back in the day, Joan Baez took the peacemaker’s approach and went out to listen to what they had to say to her.

To their credit, the veterans did treat her with a degree of respectful deference, telling her they appreciated her leadership in advancing civil rights and such.

To their credit, the veterans did treat her with a degree of respectful deference, telling her they appreciated her leadership in advancing civil rights and such.

The situation did get a little tense, especially when another vet who works for Joan came to her defense. But she managed to diffuse the situation in such a peaceful way that the protesters ended up getting her to autograph their protest posters. That’s the sort of story–and the sort of woman–that makes you go “Wow!”

Click here to read the story of the entire episode.

Click here to read the story of the American icon’s life and times.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” — From Proverbs 15: 1

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