Comment, Response & Bending the Arc

This week I re-posted a couple of posts from my archives seeing as I thought they were relevant to current events. One of these posts was one I wrote back in March of 2013 called The Bible trumps the law of the United States?  You might want to go read it right now so you know what Melissa and I are talking about. Go ahead, I’ll wait….

Back? Alrighty then. Now that we are all on the same page, this morning I woke up to find the following comment in my inbox:

Melissa commented on The Bible trumps the law of the United States?

I enjoyed reading much of what you had to say here. I used to believe a lot of what you are referring to: i.e. the OT law. Until I educated myself, properly, on it. Many misunderstand OT law, so this is not finger pointing…

Remember when Jesus said things like, “You have heard it said”… Those ‘rules’ were put there TO protect women. Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think? I could happily explain all these, but I’ll only do one more: The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… 😦 It’s even in the text.

Remember, a lot of the Bible is what happened Historically. Much of it was not, “The Bible says so, so let’s all have 20 spouses…”

Lastly, you stated that you believe homosexuality to not be sin. You also claim to be Christian. Unfortunately, the Christ that you say you follow does not agree with you. You must therefore not be following the Jesus of the Bible, or you must study it and repent. You are teaching others to denounce the very Word of God.

Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft… We all sin, but one who chooses to do so in the face of God, boasts and is habitual to it – Let’s sum it up with a great quote from 1 John 1:5-10
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

None of us are made right with God by being perfect. None of us are or can be. Let’s praise Him for being gracious, and loving us at the place we are. And let’s not condone sin to make the sinner feel better about himself. God can take care of that. He’s big enough. 🙂

This was my response:

First, as far as OT laws being there to “protect women”, You state,

“Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think?”

Oh joy! Men were not allowed to rape and leave. Yay! Now I get to marry my rapist. I feel so protected and valued! Do you actually believe this would lead to less rape? I hardly think so. Under this system, if a man saw a woman he wanted he would just rape her and then she would have to marry him. Lovely. How about this solution. Keep your effing hands to yourself, no means no, yes means yes, and you do not get to rape anyone for any reason even if you plan to stick around and marry them. UGH.

Last in this section, you state:

“The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… 😦 It’s even in the text.”

Why were women married to the family? Because they were property and not considered free moral agents. Indeed they were not considered equal in any way.

Okay, next topic…

On the subject of simultaneously being a follower of Jesus as well as an ally you say that Jesus does not agree with me. Hmmm. Really? Can you provide the chapter and verse where Jesus says ANYTHING at all about homosexuality? You cannot. Why? Because he never discusses the topic even one time. For more on this point I recommend checking out my series on the subject which addresses every passage in the Bible that “Christians” use to condemn gay people or at the very least “gay behavior”. You can find links to all the posts in the series on the conclusion post found here:https://wordofawoman.com/2012/04/16/homosexuality-and-god-conclusion/ I will not go into all of them on this thread one by one as it would take waaaay to long and I have already written on this subject extensively.

Second, the phrase “disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle”… I would like to challenge you on that. The “gay lifestyle” is as varied and individual as the “straight lifestyle”. When you refer to this “lifestyle” are you referring to my sister-in-law and her wife who both go to work every day, pay their taxes, enjoy eating out and doting on their two cats and one dog? I am thinking no. Hugh Hefner and Pope Francis are both heterosexual. Does that mean they live the same lifestyle? It is time we retired that phrase as the “nice”, “Christian” way to say, “Ewwwwwwww.” For more on this I suggest the tremendous post by Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network called, No I am Not in the “Gay Lifestyle”. and Neither is Anyone Else. You can find it here:
http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/post/27909731175/no-im-not-in-the-gay-lifestyle-neither-is-anyone

Next, you say, “Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft…” Really, do you seriously not believe that statement to be hateful? I am guessing it sounds pretty freaking hateful to almost any gay person you ask. Why? Because equating who someone loves to beastiality, lying and witchcraft is not only inherently hateful is is also just plain mean. To push that off on God by saying, if God said it in the Bible it is the loving thing is not only a cop out it is a slander against Jesus.

Lastly you assume that I am condoning “sin to make the sinner feel better about himself”. I am doing nothing of the sort. I already stated I do not believe homosexuality to be a sin. How then can I be condoning something I do not believe to be sinful to make someone feel better? Ironically it seems more like you are condoning your own prejudices by justifying them with scriptures never meant to condemn the LGBT follower of Christ.

I do sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and comment and I do hope that you will read the links I suggested. I wish you well and pray that your eyes would be opened, that you would be filled with empathy for your fellow human beings and that you would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”.

I am so tired of well meaning Christians slandering Jesus by saying he condemned LGBT folks and that he views their loving relationships as exactly the same as beastiality, lying and witchcraft. I cannot stand by without speaking up and attempting to help bend my little part of the invisible arc of human history toward justice. To quote Dr. Larry Brilliant (great name, right?) in his commencement address to the graduates of the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013:

Whether it was Dr. King or someone else who first imagined the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice, you can be damn sure they did not mean that history bends toward justice all on its own. Look around you. It is far from automatic. It is a battle for the poor, a battle for justice, a battle to lift the health of the public.

Here is what I ask of you: Imagine that arc of history that Reverend King inspired us with. It’s right here. The arc of the universe needs your help to bend towards justice. It will not happen on its own. The arc of history will not bend towards justice without you bending it… I want you to leap up, to jump up and grab that arc of history with both hands, and yank it down, twist it, and bend it. Bend it towards fairness… bend it towards justice!

The electorate has spoken and they are old -or- We must wake the sleeping giant.

Last night Kent and I sat at our local watering hole with three of our friends who are in their 20s and 30s. One of them voted, two of them did not. My friend Josh, who did vote, explained that he totally understands the people of his generation who stay home even if he feels compelled to vote himself. Honestly what Josh had to say reminded me a lot of the lyrics from John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change:

Now we see everything that’s going wrong

With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
I do understand that feeling of apathy and helplessness and part of me occasionally wants to give in to the fatalistic voice that whispers that we are powerless to change the status quo. However, as I pointed out last night, we must fight the urge to remain uninformed and uninvolved. Young people most of all must fight the urge to let the older generations take the wheel while remaining content to sit in the back seat. I tried to explain that when young people, in this case millennials, stay home from the polls they allow the older people to make the choices for them about how the society is governed.
This year is a shining (and very current) example. Today Dylan Scott posted an article on talkingpointsmemo.com in which he stated that,
The disparity between the under-30 and over-60 was the widest it’s been in a decade…The seniors comprised 37 percent of the electorate; young people made up 12 percent.
You guys that is a 25% difference. 
Wake up people under 30. Once upon a time you wanted to get out on your own so that no one could tell you how to live your life. Now that you are out on your own you seem content to allow others to decide what kind of country you should live in without even so much as a peep at the voting booth. How does that make any sense? How will things ever change? Why do you insist on withholding the wisdom and passion of youth from the rest of us. Make no mistake, the world (and the country) need to hear from you.
Interestingly, in Presidential election years the percentages of young and old voters are much closer together. For example, in the 2008 election there were 23% over 60 and 18% under 30. In 2012 those numbers were 25 & 19. I think this is because people perceive the presidential election to be more important even though local, state, and congressional elections often have a much bigger impact on day to day life.
I have news for you under 30s, you have way more power to affect change than you know and the establishment wants to keep it that way. When you, the younger generation realize the power you have you will shake the political world. And the world and dare I say it the United States is in desperate need of a shake up. Personally, I love the millennial generation. They are full of passion; however, they, like the rest of us, want to be inspired~want to feel there is hope. After all, without hope it is easy to despair. Despair soon turns to apathy and apathy to inaction. And inaction? Well that is what the people in power want most of all from those under 30. Why? Because those in power have it pretty good under the current system and there is no reason for them to want things to change. It is up to us, no, it is up to you to make it happen. You are our best hope.
Sadly, I think many in my generation (I’m 45), and even those older than me have given up on the dream of change. We, like you, have begun to allow the idea that we cannot affect significant change to take hold. But here is the secret. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THINGS. You can change things. I know this because I have seen it. I know this because I have experienced it. I know this because I have lived it. The problem is it will take all of us. As we discussed in the pub last night, it will take the whole generation banding together and saying, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”.
I will leave you with this, lovelies. I honestly believe the Democratic Party best aligns with the values of inclusiveness, liberty, justice and equality that this generation cares about. But if they want to have any hope of mobilizing the untapped passion and brilliance of this generation, they need to stop marginalizing, patronizing and underestimating them. They will also need to stop preaching to the over 60 choir and start speaking directly to the heart of the millennials. Honestly, I believe that if you truly get what matters to millennials and can articulate it you will be reignite the passion of the progressively minded of every generation. We want to believe change is possible too. We want to hope too. We once had the advantage of being young. George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I like to think that isn’t true. To me youth is only wasted when we fail to see its value: passion, energy, and a fresh perspective.
And now a note to the politicians, I feel I must warn you. The bullshit meters on this generation are really strong, they can spot a con job a mile away. And, when you do wake this sleeping giant you better be ready for the ground to shake under their feet.

The ordeal of progressive Christianity in America

Yesterday I got to sit down for an interview with my friend Marc all the way from France! I hope you all enjoy it.

lotharlorraine

I recently had the immense privilege to interview the fantastic progressive Christian blogger Michelle Morr Krabill, author of the blog WordOfaWoman.

She confessed me she also has a chaotic mind so that our mutual dialog won’t necessarily be always well structured 🙂

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Hi Michelle, thank you so much for having joined me! Could you please tell us more about your background?
Good afternoon! Thanks for inviting me. I have a long and interesting background but I will try to give you the shortened version. When I was a very young girl my family was involved in the Methodist church. However when I was about 5 my parents became involved with The Way International. After I got married, my husband and I left the Way and kind of were on our own, occasionally meeting with other people who had left that ministry. After a few years we began…

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How Many? Updated

I updated this post today to reflect the additional shootings that have happened in the days since I first wrote it.

word of a woman

Yesterday I posted a shocking statistic as my Facebook status. Since the Sandy Hook shooting there have been 74 87 school shootings. 74 87. Seventy-four.  Eighty-seven. That averages out to about one a week. And those are just the school shootings.We are currently on target for gun deaths to overtake automobile accidents as the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 in 2015. WTF people? Seriously? How are we not outraged as a society? Why do we continue to elect people who show no signs of doing anything about it As President Obama said yesterday, “We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it—it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this,” and, “Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up…

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Some of my Favorite Bits from Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God.

Whi I High Res Front CoverThis morning I would like to share with you some more of my favorite lines and excerpts from this week’s featured guest, Frank Schaeffer. I have really enjoyed sharing with you about this book this week. I hope you will pick up a copy and give it a read. You will be richer for it.

Our relationship is founded on me saying “I am so very sorry for being an asshole” and then working to change.


With the acceptance of paradox came a new and blessed uncertainty that began to heal the mental illness called certainty…


These days I hold two ideas about God simultaneously: he, she or it exists and he she or it doesn’t exist.


These days I hold two ideas about God simultaneously: he, she or it exists and he she or it doesn’t exist. I don’t seesaw between these opposites; I embrace them. I don’t view this embrace as requiring a choice between mere emotion and fact, or between evolutionary biology and spirituality. Reality can’t be so neatly parsed. Neuroscientists who analyze our chemistry-based brains still fall in love. Preachers declaiming a literal view of the Bible and a so-called young earth still use petroleum products only found because geologists operate on the premise that the earth is 4.54 billion years old.


I don’t view my embrace of opposites as a kind of agnosticism. I view it as the way things actually are. An agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in God. I’m not that person. I believe and don’t believe at the same time.


Lucy and Jack seem to accept that something may never have happened but can still be true.


We’re all of at least two minds.


I can’t objectively describe reality because I’m trapped in the moving target we call time.


Jesus liked hanging out with women and kids too! So fuck you!


Jesus undermined the inerrancy of the scriptures in favor of his version of pragmatic empathy!


Jesus rejects tribalism, literalism, group identity, specific religions, and gatekeepers as well as his Jewish identity.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news to anyone hooked on apocalyptic fantasies, but things are getting better. Jesus did in fact change everything.


What Jesus triggered was an inexorable shift to a higher level of ethics that eventually changed the trajectory of human history. Love, fairness, opportunity, freedom and goodness eventually begin to trump mere survival and brute power.


We have Jesus and his Enlightenment prophets to thank for the humanistic ideas on which America was founded. If you’re one of the people Jesus is said to have favored—a child, a woman, someone ill, a sex worker, someone regarded as untouchable, old, ugly, abandoned or “the other” in some other way—and you are being cared for by unbelievers, is Jesus’ example being followed? Or does Jesus only live in correct theology regardless of how little a Christian may care about your wellbeing?


We’re all stuck in the same rudderless boat. It is about the spirit we share or about nothing. It is about how we treat others or about nothing. How we treat others is the only proof of truth we have. That proof is not found in any book. It is only found in the expression of unconditional trust we may sometimes see in the eyes of the people who know us best.


Jesus either said God “is kind to the unthankful and to the evil” or he said that God will burn his, her or its enemies in hell. You can’t have it both ways.


The idea of atonement—Jesus “dying for our sins” as if to satisfy God—is the opposite of evolutionary truth. Evolution doesn’t demand justice; it demands life. In evolution the result of suffering, killing, extinctions, death and chaos is the learning curve undertaken by genes that pass on knowledge in an effort to survive. No one from the first primitive microorganism to Jesus has died to “satisfy” an angry God.


Following Girard’s argument, death—including Jesus’ death—occurs so that all may live, learn and eventually reach an end point of perfection when the entire cycle of creation from the beginning to end will be vindicated, perhaps even understood. A great milestone has already been passed on our evolutionary journey: consciousness has achieved empathy.


A spiritual non-material-based way of life turns out to be the actual way we live no matter what we say we believe. We live by ethics not found in nature and we enrich our lives with art. That says something to me. Maybe a purely material view of the universe and of ourselves is not in fact a fact.


Our longing for spiritual joy and our ability to appreciate beauty in a way that turns the physical world into a spiritual fact unnerves people who believe that spirituality is an illusion. They tend to demote notions of beauty along with demoting us. Like restaurant critics who hate food, some adamantly secular art critics have promoted art that denies the very idea of art.


The Internet and its innovators are doing more to facilitate the reemergence of content-laden, craft-rich, hands-on art, individuality and perhaps even spirituality, than all the galleries, agents, critics, churches and publishers combined.


Those of us raised in the Christian tradition need to choose to either see God in Jesus or to continue to let the Bible define God. Our tradition says that Jesus is God. Maybe we should act as if we think he is instead of worshipping a book. Maybe we should be brave enough to admit that we are compelled to either become blinded ideologues or we need to forthrightly pick and choose what we follow in the Bible. Most Christians do that anyway, many just don’t admit it.


I say the words “I love you.” I know I mean them though because I take half a day to clean, to shop for flowers, to think about taking Genie to bed, to experience a flutter of anticipation as she walks out of the airport concourse and I see her again. Yet while waiting for her there I’ve been casually watching a flight attendant’s ass. I’ve been a saint and sinner, a jerk and a better man than I once was, loved by my wife, children and grandchildren, yet sometimes still a tyrant.


The words of the Creed and my words of love are metaphors for something that is ultimately indescribable but ever present and never perfect. What I know is that whatever the Creed means, I have been overwhelmed by love. I have seen “Light of Light” in action, felt its power while not understanding from whence the light pours into me.


Our best hope is not found in correct theology, the Bible or any other book, but in the love we express through action rather than words. Our best hope is that love predates creation and thus that the Creator sees us as ever young. Our hope is that when we look at God through the eyes of the loving Christ we will see who God really is. Our ultimate hope is that God will be looking back at us as we’d like to be seen.

An excerpt in honor of Genie Schaeffer.

Whi I High Res Front Coverf&gOn the eve of the arrival of the Schaeffer’s to DFW I would like to share with you this excerpt from Why I Am An Atheist Who Believes In God. I thought it was appropriate given that both Frank and Genie will be here with us. Enjoy.

I do not always believe let alone know if God exists. I do not always know he, she or it does not exist either, though there are long patches in my life when it seems God never did exist, What I know is that I see the Creator in Jesus or nowhere. What I know is that I see Jesus in my children and grandchildren’s love. What I know is that I rediscover hope again and again through Genie’s love…What I know is that sometimes something too good to be true, is true.

I have seen Genie forgive me. She has been my co-sufferer rather than my judge. My heart beats faster when we’re making love and I look into Genie’s face that’s ever young to me, even as the calendar tells me my wife is sixty-two. How can both facts be true? What does the actual historical Genie Schaeffer really look like at any one point?

The way I see Genie is as true as any scientific measurements a dermatologist might take while preparing to do fractional resurfacing to lessen the effects of sun damage. Both truths–the dermatologists and mine–are equally genuine. Both ways of seeing are valid, even empirically true, notwithstanding they contradict each other. Genie is actually ever young to me. She’s also actually sixty-two. The dermatologist has his science to prove a point about the condition of Genie’s skin. I have the truth of a forty-four-year love affair to offer her as an equally valid fact. That truth is “only in my head.” So is everything else.

Frank flyer

An Artist, a Writer and a Visionary sit down for a Chat: A talk with Frank Schaeffer. (I’ll let you decide which is which)

Sooooo, I had a chat with Frank Schaeffer and the Whiskey Preacher yesterday and it was magnificent. Sometimes the pieces of my personal universe come together and things just make sense. Ahh, thin spaces how I love you.

I hope you will enjoy this interview. I know I did.

There was a weird technical glitch and you could only see half my face in the skype recording so we decided to edit it to where you will only see Frank. It is still awesome!

Whi I High Res Front Cover

You can find Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God on Amazon, or at your local Barnes & Noble.

You can find Frank Schaeffer at:
FrankSchaeffer.com
Twitter: @Frank_Schaeffer
Facebook: Frank Schaeffer
Patheos
Huffington Post 


   

You can find Phil Shepherd at:
Facebook: Whiskey Preacher
Twitter: @PhilShepherd
Patheos
Huffington Post

You can find Novitas at:
novitaschurch.com
Twitter: @novitaschurch
Facbook: Novitas Church

Frank flyer

The Schaeffers are coming! The Schaeffers are coming!

Frank flyerHello lovelies! I am sorry it has been so long since we talked. Life in the Krabill house has been filled with life and activity which has meant less time and creativity spent on blogging. It sure is good to be back. I missed you all.

Anyway, this week something extra exciting is happening and I am thrilled to be sharing it with you! What is that you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you…

FRANK & GENIE SCHAEFFER ARE COMING TO VISIT!!!

Sorry for yelling y’all. I am just really excited.

Anyway, in light of the quickly approaching arrival of the Schaeffer’s, I thought I would share a series of excerpts from Frank’s latest book, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace. Tomorrow I will be recording a live interview with Frank and I am super excited to be sharing that with you this week as well. Fun times!

Without further ado, here is the first excerpt. It can be found on page 47:

Jesus certainly was not a “Bible believer,” as we use that term in the post Billy Graham era of American fundamentalist religiosity that’s used as a trade-marked product to sell religion. Jesus didn’t take the Jewish scriptures at face value. In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,” according to evangelical standards. Evangelicals insist that you have to believe very specific interpretations of the Bible to be saved. Jesus didn’t. He undercut the scriptures.

The stories about Jesus that survived the bigots, opportunists and delusional fanatics who wrote the New Testament contain powerful and enlightened truths that would someday prove the undoing of the Church built in his name. Like a futurist vindicated by events as yet undreamed, Jesus’ message of love was far more powerful that the magical thinking of the writers of the book he is trapped in. In Jesus’ day the institutions of religion, state, misogyny and myth were so deeply ingrained that the ultimate dangerousness of his life example could not be imagined. For example his feminism, probably viewed as an eccentricity in his day, would prove transformational.

Jesus believed in God rather than in a book about God. The message of Jesus’ life is an intervention in and an acceleration of the evolution of empathy.

If you are anywhere close to the DFW area you can come see Frank and Genie speak at Eddie Deen’s Crossroads in Arlington (near Cowboy’s Stadium) Saturday, October 25th from 5-9. Tickets are $20 at the door ($15 with a student ID) and include All-you-can-eat BBQ, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages. There will be a cash bar available. There will be no childcare available. 

Bearable Lightness of Being

I sometimes wonder how I walked around in darkness so long thinking it was the light?

I mean, how is that possible?

How can one’s eyes be so accustomed to the dim room that they believe that is all the light that is available?

How it is that we can settle for guarding our little candle like Gollum’s Precious instead of flinging our light into the sky like fireworks over the water on a balmy summer night?
Why do we let the black holes dictate to us where our light can shine? Why do we insist that the light only be shone on those we deem worthy or at least worthy by means of admitting their unworthiness?

Why should we use a flashlight to bring a small beam to a dark house rather than ripping the roof off, breaking down the walls and allowing the light of the sun to invade every room and the flowers to bloom underfoot?
Why do we insist on making our circle so tight? Why do we light it on fire and like circus animals that have been beaten, force others to jump though it’s flames before we consider them? When we could be cutting off the chains of the prisoners, why do we instead point out the bars of their cage?

What about us? What about us? How about let’s make our circle ever expanding like the universe? Let’s cast our hopes up over our heads as we laugh with abandon and run through the grass yelling to the kids sitting in the dark, staring at the screens to “Come out! Come out and play!” The chains you thought were holding you? They are gone. The night you thought was eternal is being pierced by the dawn. The tiny stars that were the pinpoints of light on your moonless night are being drowned out by the loud, burning all encompassing sunshine of a new day. The air is bright and fresh. Breathe it deep. Fill your lungs. Life is beckoning. Love is calling. Peace is begging to be released.
When I was young I used to lie in bed when I had a bad dream and repeat over and over,
“God is peace. God is love. God is light.”
“God is peace. God is love. God is light.”
“God is peace. God is love. God is light.”
I would say until the night didn’t seem so dark. Until my nightmares didn’t seem so real. Until my heartbeat would slow and I could face my dreams again head on.”
At a certain point we have to lay down the thoughts we thrust upward to block out the light.
We have to choose to lay down the sticks that we use to draw our lines in the sand.
We desperately need to stop treating life like a school yard pick that divides into us and them and instead all play on the same team.
Don’t you want to push off the sleep mask that covers your eyes and dream all the dreams with your eyes wide open and your heart ablaze with light? We can do that you know. I can. You can. And together we can.

We can choose to be like God who is peace, who is love, who is light.

We can choose peace.
You are a peacemaker.
Bring peace.
We can choose love.
You are a lover.
Love with no unless.
We can choose to be light.
You are the light.
Be the light.

Women’s Equality Day: Texas Voting Edition

Tswift feministThat’s right T-Swift, being a feminist isn’t about hating men at all. Being a feminist is about days like today where we stand up and say that the voice of a woman and the vote of a woman are equal. Today is a very important day. Today is Women’s Equality Day in the United States which commemorates the day that the 19th Amendment was certified as law, giving women the vote. Shockingly (or not so shockingly) women (and their male allies) fought for the right to vote in the US for 70+ years before it became a reality in 1920. 70+ years.

In light of this fight, and the ongoing fight to secure the full equality of women in the United States and around the world I call on the women of Texas and the men who support our right to full equality to vote in the upcoming election this November. Yesterday someone sent me an article about the 2014 Best And Worst States for Women’s Equality conducted by the personal finance website Wallethub. Any guesses where Texas ranks on the list? 47th. The researchers looked at the following factors in determining ranking:

image

  • Workplace Environment

    • Pay (Median Weekly Earnings)
    • Number of Executives
    • Average Work Hours (for Full-Time Workers)
    • Number of Minimum-Wage Workers
    • Unemployment Rate

    Education and Health

    • Number of Residents Aged 25+ with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
    • Life Expectancy at Age 65

    Political Empowerment

    • Number of Lawmakers in U.S. Senate
    • Number of Lawmakers in U.S. House of Representatives
    • Number of Lawmakers in State Legislature

47th? Really people of Texas, we can do better. After reading the study and the articles about it I was left to wonder, “Why in the world would any woman would vote for Greg Abbott or Dan Patrick in the upcoming election?” Why would we as citizens of the great state of Texas settle for anything less than the equal treatment of all our citizens; Not just male and female but gay or straight or black or white or latino or asian or christian or muslim or jew or rich or poor or any other distinction you want to make?

For me, a vote for Abbott and Patrick is a vote for the status quo in Texas. And not only the status quo but a move even further into Ted Cruz Tea Party territory. When I looked on the Wendy Davis Campaign’s web site to learn her stance on women’s issues this is what I found:

Working for Women

  • Fighting Against Closure of Women’s Health Centers

Wendy Davis stood for nearly 13 hours to fight against Austin insiders trying to close 60 health centers across Texas that once provided hundreds of thousands of women with care they can’t get elsewhere.

  • Empowering Rape Survivors, Cracking Down on Rapists

Wendy Davis authored the second law in U.S. history to focus on eradicating the state’s backlog of thousands of untested rape kits to ensure sexual predators are brought to justice.

  • Ending Sexual Violence

Wendy Davis has also passed laws to make certain that survivors of sexual assault can be treated and have their evidence collected at almost any hospital with an ER and be kept up to date on the status of their case.

  • Fighting for Equal Pay

Wendy Davis passed a bipartisan equal pay for equal work bill in 2013, which would have conformed Texas law with federal law and allowed victims of wage discrimination to pursue their case in state court. Governor Perry vetoed the bill. Texas is one of only four states that does not have equal pay for equal work protections.

In Texas, the median pay for a woman working full time, year-round is $33,689 per year, while the median yearly pay for a man is $42,044. When broken down, full-time, year-round Texas women are paid about 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $7,859 between men and women.

When I went to Greg Abbott’s website, I could find nothing on any of these issues. NOTHING.

In Texas the Lieutenant Governor is in some ways a more powerful position than Governor. This is because in the Lt. Governor is not only part of the executive branch but also part of the legislative branch as he or she:

…controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the Legislative Budget Board.

Under the provisions of the Texas Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Texas Senate. By the rules of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor establishes all special and standing committees, appoints all chairpersons and members, and assigns all Senate legislation to the committee of his choice. The Lieutenant Governor decides all questions of parliamentary procedure in the Senate. He or she also has broad discretion in following Senate procedural rules.

The Lieutenant Governor is an ex officio member of several statutory bodies. These include the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislative Council, the Legislative Audit Committee, the Legislative Board and Legislative Council, which have considerable sway over state programs, the budget and policy. The Lieutenant Governor is also a member of the Legislative Redistricting Board (together with the Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Land Commissioner), which is charged with adopting a redistricting plan for the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives after the decennial census if the Legislature fails to do so.

This November you have a choice between Leticia Van de Putte and Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor. If you go to Dan Patrick’s site, again you will find NOTHING on these issues. The statement on the Van de Putte site says:

WOMEN: TRUSTING WOMEN

As a proud Latina, Leticia believes Texans trust women to make their own health care choices. She knows respecting women means passing equal pay for equal work and that trusting women means letting them make their own family decisions.

As Lieutenant Governor, Leticia will listen to women and make sure that women’s voices are heard.

Listen up Texas, we actually have a real choice to make about the direction our state will take this November. Please, on this day set aside to celebrate the day women were given a say in their own governance, let us pledge to educate ourselves on the issues, register and vote. Too many women and men sacrificed for too long to give us this privilege for us to squander it on the altar of apathy or inconvenience.

Side note: There are so many more issues on the line in this year’s gubernatorial election. I hope you will take the time to read about what the candidates and the party platforms actually say about the issues and then vote your conscience. 

More Resources:

Pathways to Equality 

Texas League of Women Voters

North Texas Tea Party Voter Guide

Vote Texas

Texas GOP Platform

Texas Democrat Platform