Thursday, June 27, 2013

En Garde!

How many flame-fruit trees live in your neighbor's yard?
Hark! Hither cometh Sir Lancey-loop, ye olden tyme bard!
The Suicidal King is kind of a creepy card.
Hey I just thought up a new word! Nard!
On birthdays my Grammy-grams always sends a card.
Card does rhyme with card; it's a different kind of card.
See these black and white boxers?  In the picture?  They sparred.
I like frying tortilla chips in lard.  They're really yummy.

Anyway what I really wanted to get to in this poem
is the part where I say that you should all repent
because the end is nigh
and you're all gonna die
so it's time to say good-bye
to your precious mortality
and your sinful sense of sensuality
and tonight you won't have anymore senses 
because it's gonna be like that part in Mortal Kombat 
when the guy with the deep voice says, "Fatality,"
so tonight ready yourself for the bodily removal of your body
from planet Earth and the spiritual removal of your spirit
from planet Earth and now listen here my friend Bernard,
your rotten spirit is one the Eternal Judge of All Creation will discard!

Legality does not equal Morality

Dear Readers,

I was upset to learn yesterday that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and that it dismissed the Proposition 8 case.  It looks gay marriages will resume in California. 

The rulings lead to a few questions.  If California residents can't amend their Constitution to define marriage, then what about all the other states?  What about Arizona's amendment to their Constitution, passed in 2008, which defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman?  Would the courts essentially nullify that amendment too, given the chance?  I don't know.

So, proponents and opponents of gay marriage are going to be fighting this in the courts for the next several years.  And legislators are going to be voting on a bunch of gay rights bills.  It seems to be that the momentum is on the side of gay marriage, and it will be legal in all 50 states in the next decade or so.

Although I suppose public sentiment could change.  Maybe there's an American revival of traditional morality just around the corner.  Who knows?

But perhaps the more important battle for or against gay marriage is happening outside the courtroom.  It's happening in our classrooms and churches and homes.  And it's happening on this blog.

Before you dismiss me as a bigot, please consider the following reasons why I'm opposed to gay marriage:

Traditional marriage has proven to be the best way to raise children.  Children do best when they are nurtured by the influence of both a mother and a father. 

Men and women are inherently different.  God designed us this way.  Maintaining traditional gender roles in our society celebrates the differences between the genders.  Maintaining traditional marriage is one of the best ways to maintain traditional gender roles.

We should enact laws that most closely resemble God's laws.  All the major world religions define marriage as between a man and a woman.  Shouldn't we give more credence to the ideas and traditions of all the religious leaders and thinkers throughout the ages?

If gay marriage is legalized, many will think that it's normal and moral. Unfortunately, many people equate legality with morality.  The legalization of gay marriage will probably cause more people to think that they themselves are gay.  Why is this a bad thing?  Well, homosexuality prevents the formation of traditional families.  And frankly, homosexual behavior is perverse and sinful.  Homosexual activity darkens the mind and wounds the soul.

God designed men and women to complement each other.  The hard truth is that people aren't born gay.  People are tempted to be gay, but they aren't born that way. 

Well, if you consider yourself to be homosexual, I love you.  I tolerate you, and care for you.  And if you disagree with me, I respect your opinion.  I'm not trying to sound judgmental, but I do have strong opinions and I do think I'm right, and I do think that you should adopt my opinions.  I hope I never come across as hateful.  I only wish to limit your freedom to marry for the good of society and, in fact, for your own good. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sonnet for Amber

How comforting it is to stay seated at home,
How sweet the sound of an un-ringing phone
With microwave, couch, spice rack, clock, all nearby,
And in the refrigerator, one lonely slice of pumpkin pie.
In these fall afternoons I recline by the window, 
Drapes drawn back, glass ajar. In the breeze blows.
People walk by, hand in hand, and almost I say "Hi,"
But fix my gaze upon the welcoming, ever-present sky.
How warm are this evening's clouds; how pressing their weight.
They drift, they sag, they fade, they leave. It's getting late.
But ah my dear love Amber, the one who I have lost,
I would have you here beside me, no matter what the cost.
Thoughts of your touch and smile brighten my clouded mind,
Yet such love as you offered I'll never again find.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lunch Break, Eating Bread with Butter

I wish I had a whole day to sit and read a book.  
I wish I had a Rembrandt picture.  I’d get it out and look.  
I wish I had the money to dress up and watch ballet,  
And how I wish somebody would take me to a play.  
A play I’ve never heard about, and one that’s really long.
There'd be a beautiful woman and she’d sing a beautiful song.

I wish I had million things I know I’ll never get.  
But that’s ok.  I’m not sad, not even a little bit.  
I’ll just work and work and stay right here until I end up dead,  
And my ghost will get no smiles from plays or buttered bread.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Maybe they really were witches

Dear Readers,

You know how in high school, in history class or in English class, when you learned about the pilgrims and the Puritans, you always learned about the Salem Witch Trials?  And remember you learned about how those crazy ultra-Christian Puritans were always looking for witches?  And remember how you learned that the "witches" were really just misunderstood girls who didn't quite fit in?  And that today in our enlightened age, we understand that witches are the stuff of fiction, like Bigfoot and elves and fairies?

Well... you were lied to.  Your teachers lied to you and your textbooks lied to you.  Or rather, at least, the facts were exaggerated.  The witch trials are given more prominence in history than they are due.  The witch trials are not put in their proper context. 

And not that many witches were executed, really.  Seven people died in Chicago this weekend.  And what did they die for?  Drug stuff and gang stuff, probably. The number of people killed in Chicago in the last decade is greater than the number of people killed for witchcraft in the entire history of colonial America.  I'd argue that it's better to die as part of an attempt to cast Satan out of your society than it is to be killed in gang-related violence, where unchristian tough guys are fighting over money and status and territory.

Why is it that when our American youth learn about colonial America, they always get a picture of the Puritans that is superstitious and bigoted?  And why is it that if they only read one Puritan sermon, they read the one that gives the worst impression of Christianity, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?"  Why can't our nation's youth get an idea of the Puritans that is closer to what is actually the case? 

And what is actually the case?  I'll tell you.  The Puritans were a godly people who took Christianity seriously, and we owe our current freedom and prosperity to the cultural heritage they left us. Did they burn (and hang and press) a few witches?  Sure.  But what else did they do?  They worked really hard.  They went to church.  They built universities.  They built homes.  They cared for their children and their poor and their widowed.  They had high rates of literacy, relatively speaking.  By and large, they were upright, moral people.  They built a legal system which administered justice probably more fairly than most other countries at the time.  Yes, they executed a few people convicted of witchcraft.  But you can't build a God-fearing nation without burning a few witches.  

And, this is one of the most important points of all- maybe they really were witches!  Maybe some of those killed for witchcraft really were in cahoots with Satan!  Maybe they really were practicing the dark arts and casting spells on people, in which case, they ought to have been punished!  Who knows?  Maybe instead of poo-pooing the pilgrims, we should be patting them on the back!  They went after Satan!  They were following a scriptural injunction (Exodus 22:18) and ridding their society of people who wouldn't give up their witchcraft and their strange gods. 

Now, I think the Puritans could have been a little nicer about exterminating witchcraft from their towns. For example, if someone was convicted of being a witch, they could have put her or him in jail for a while.  (Although they could probably still cast spells in jail, so that might not work.) Or they could have put the witches on a boat bound for Australia, or maybe sentenced them to a few years of Bible study.  I don't know.

But public execution does the trick, too.  It certainly scares other people away from getting close to anything resembling the dark arts, and that's a good thing.

The main point here is that Satan is real, and demons are real, and unless we team up with God and angels (who are also real) to fight them, the darkness of the Spirit World will overtake us! 


P.S.  Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Walking Around in Arizona, Looking at Cactus

This cactus is beautiful, slumped over,drooping, gigantic, full of sorrow, yet content,
passing on its wisdom of the earth and sun
to children and grandchildren
scattered around this southwestern landscape
before it falls, sleeps, and rots.  
The desert really is lovely.

Cactus only poke us if provoked.
They are the ethical ninjas of the desert.
We, the humans, do the poking.

And look at the new ones, too,
these thorny sprouts, these blobs of green 
emerging from the hot brown desert ground
that fight for the right to grow another inch.
They struggle to increase their mass,
they yearn for signifigance, for the view
afforded by a slighty higher altitude.
"Taller!" is their cry,
"Let me grow taller!"  
 (Of course really the new ones say
nothing, but when I imagine them talking
all they talk about is growing.)
And the medium-sized cactus.
Gradually they assert themselves
with a new arm, a thirsty root burrowing deeper,
and when finally the chosen day dawns, 
behold, a flower.  Yellow, and perfect.