20 June 2010

A Canadian right-wing news channel? Please God... No.

My first thought? "Oh Good Christ! Let's not give my father-in-law more idiotic talking points, please!"


I agree with the gist of this post. This is NOT a good thing. I know some people think that if we expose the right for what they are, that it'll sink them. I don't think so. I think there are a lot of turbo-douches out there who are simply too Canadian to say, "Send those towelheads home! In a box!" Give them this sort of medium, and it's going to legitimize their bigotry to the point where they're not afraid to say it. I like the Canadian ideal of civility. Even if underneath the person is a conservatard. I'd rather they have to stay closeted to some extent. I mean, sure, they have the RIGHT to say what they want. But I want the rest of the country to look at them with horror when they say it. If this crap is broadcast into our homes 24/7, we'll be desensitized to it.

I mean, remember when "bitch" was a swearword? When they couldn't use it on TV? All of a sudden, it was okay, and was used regularly. My mother nearly keeled over when she heard it on TV. Now? Not that bad a word anymore. Mom uses it fairly regularly now. It's not that I want that word to crawl into a hole and die (though, I wouldn't complain), it's just an example of desensitization by media.

So no. I don't want that crap broadcast into my home. I'll seriously consider dropping my cable subscription if it is. And I intend to let Shaw Cable know that. And the CRTC. And that'd be huge in my house, because I have 3 kids (PBS is on a fair bit around here), and an insomnia problem - I watch a LOT of tv after 10pm. It's all shit, but hey, it helps me go to sleep.

I know, it smacks of censorship, but the issue is the must-carry license. If they cable company and satellite companies have to carry that crap, people will buy it, because it'll be bundled in with other shit. And it'll get a low channel, probably, too. NO. Simply no. If they want to broadcast their garbage, make it something that people have to demand to get. When there's no demand, it'll go away. If it gets a must-carry license, we'll be stuck with it. Because there are a lot of conservatard assholes out there who want their base fears legitimized.

I say No. Simply no. That shit is not news, not fact, not useful; it is harmful to our society. Keep it the hell out. We already have right wing news. It's called "the news". All of it, even the CBC panders to the right (they're scared of Harper's retaliation if they don't, and with good reason).

12 June 2010

Me? Preaching? Apparently... :)

Tomorrow, I have the honour and privilege of leading the worship service at my church. So, I have written a sermon, and I am posting it here. Please feel free to comment on it. I'd love some constructive criticism. I've redacted anything that would identify the church I go to (I hope! As Fern of Dammit Janet! has just discovered, I suck at keeping my secrets!)

The first reading is from the inaugural service and contains the motto of the United Church: "That all may be one". It expresses the desire for unite that was the dream of the architects of the United Church - the hope that the church might become unified so the world might know Jesus as Christ through our unity.

John 17:1, 2, 6, 17-23
I am a geek. Seriously, a geek of epic proportions. I'm sure this brings to mind someone sitting at a computer, bending it to her will, but in this case, I am a language geek. I love language and languages. When I was little, I used to drive my Mom crazy by making up my own languages and insisting she try to learn them. She compromised by teaching me Pig Latin. I'd pour over dictionaries. I'd watch Sesame Street, primarily to learn the French! Now it's my favourite kids' show, because I can watch it for the Spanish. When I got into University, I studied linguistics. I went so far as to get a Master's Degree in it. I loved looking at the way that different languages put sentences together, the way they put words together, how languages changed over time, and how some words didn't have direct translations in other languages. Like how in English, there's no word for the look that two people pass between each other that means, "No, I'm not going to say it, you say it!" There is a word for that in some languages. That is, in my geeky opinion, the pinnacle of cool.

A few weeks ago, we read the story about the Tower of Babel. How all the people spoke the same language, and then for trying to build a tower high enough to get to Heaven, God confused them and made them speak new languages. I used to both love and hate that story. I hated it because I thought it was just plain mean of God to do that to the people. Especially considering how much pain and death has been caused simply by mistranslations, and misunderstandings between languages. And I loved it because I totally loved the idea of a universal language. A language everyone could understand. A language innate to humanity.

Now, I'm pretty sure that that story is metaphorical, and that we are to learn from the lesson rather than take the story as literal truth, but at least one linguist of pretty high standing disagrees. His name is Mark Baker, and he has been working on the fundamentals of Universal Language for years and years, trying to get some insight into the nature of God's plan, much like Isaac Newton was trying to find God in science. And that's pretty impressive.

But for me, it misses the point. There is no universal language, much as we'd like English to be, here in the western world. Sometimes I hear geeks of other stripes say that Math is a universal language, that they even send strings of prime numbers into space when they look for extraterrestrial life. And I have definitely heard that music is a universal language. Haven't you?
But is it? Take teenagers' music for a second. Does that speak to you? No, me neither. But neither do some of the old hymns that many of you love. Sorry! So I don't think we can call music a universal language in that sense. But I do think it's a universal medium for the true universal language. God's love. The one thing that can truly unite us.

In all genres of music, we can listen for God's love. In the old hymns, the new hymns, country music, folk music, tribal music, even the dreaded hip hop music. Think I'm kidding? Take a listen to this song by the Black Eyed Peas that was very popular a few years ago. It went to #8 in the US and #1 in the Canada, the UK and Australia.

"Where is the love?", they ask. It's there. We just have to look for it. Feel it. Listen for it. The love is why we are the United Church. We joined together, despite the differences, despite diversity of opinions because we wanted to be together as God's people. In fact, that diversity is one of the things that makes us so great, I think. We can have unity without consensus. We have have rousing arguments over important issues, and come out of it stronger.

Now, I'm going to play for you a song that speaks to me. Then we'll hear another scripture and I'll talk a bit more.

This passage was used at the Arnprior Assembly in 2005 as the basis for the discussion about the ministry of the United Church in its 3rd generation. The passage shows us a group of disciples on the move, going out to where the people are - not searching for ways "to get the young people to come to church". The disciples were sent out to share hospitality with people, to bless them and health them and to proclaim the nearness of the Realm of God. Jesus seems to have had little concern for the success of the message, and little patience with disciples who want to sit tight and wait for people to come to them.

Luke 10:1-12

What Speaks to You - sermon
It was Trinity Sunday a couple of weeks ago, and I was thinking about how different parts of the trinity speak to some of us differently. Some people are drawn to God the Father or Mother. The God who says, "No dear... you're doing it wrong. Try again." Some are drawn to Jesus, the man who was fully human and yet still fully God. Some of the fundamentalist churches really draw these people in. I know people who can't have a conversation without mentioning Jesus a few times. And some of us are drawn to the Holy Spirit. I think sometimes that those people who say that they're spiritual, but not religious, are the most extreme of those drawn to the Spirit. They're the ones that find church too "churchy".

I like the Holy Spirit. I find it to be the part of God I can relate to on a day to day basis. God the Father is too much "up there", and Jesus the Christ is too much "back then" sometimes. Though don't get me wrong, it's just sometimes. But, God the Spirit is what speaks to me now. God the Spirit guides me every day. God the Spirit is who I ask for strength and patience - the latter being my greatest weakness, I think! God the Spirit is the niggling little voice in the back of my head saying, "Do the right thing! You know what it is".

The United Church is a church proud to listen to the Spirit. We're not afraid of change if the Spirit is guiding us. Look at our past! We admitted we'd been wrong about the way things used to be, and fixed it as best as we could. We apologised to the First Nations for the irreparable damage we did to them, their culture and their languages. We said, "Yes! Women are as valuable as men." and recognised their place as elders and at the pulpit. We said, "Yes! God loves gay people" and recognised their right to the same rights and privileges as straight people. We listen to the Voice of Truth.

And so, we're heading into another generation of the church. And we're going to have to listen again to the Spirit as it guides us. We cannot stay the same. To stay the same is to stagnate. And that is NOT the United Church. That is not REDACTED United Church.

So where are we going? What speaks to you? Are we going to change radically and become a family church? Are we going to become a church that works for seniors? For the poor? I don't know. I just know the Spirit will guide us if we listen.

I think we have to look at the community and say, "How can we serve you?" That's what Jesus told us to do in that reading. To go out and be a disciple of Jesus. We cannot sit here behind our comfortable walls and wait for them to come to us. We can be ready if they do, but we can't count on it. Our job is to be hospitable, to bless, to heal, to seek justice. That's what Jesus tells us. And I don't think the Spirit would disagree. I hope we listen, because I love this church. And you love this church. And if we listen, we can make it even better. And how awesome would that be?!
  So, wish me luck tomorrow. I've never lead a church service before. Here's hoping I do well enough to be asked to do it again!

07 June 2010

Rape treated lightly, yet again.

The Kelowna rapist got 5 years. Convicted of raping (pardon me, "sexually assaulting") 9 women, and got 5 lousy years. No dangerous offender designation. 6 months each. For random attacks that will haunt those women for the rest of their lives.

This is NUTS! What in hell is wrong with our justice system?! Oh, that's right, they don't give a shit about women or children. Crimes against us are treated like property crimes.

The crown should have charged him with break and enter too, and maybe gave him a few years for that shit too.

But of course, this is the same judge who gave Tom Ellison, the asshole who raped teenager after teenager, house arrest.

When in hell are we going to start demanding that they lock up rapists?! I do not believe in revenge justice. I do believe in protecting people. Rapists will continue to rape. They need to be kept locked up. Hell, release them after a few years, and put shock collars on them like mean people put on dogs. Leave the house, get a shock that'll knock you out.

And don't give me any shit about how he's going to get raped in prison. I don't want to hear it. I am not a fan of that kind of "justice". Not by a long shot. All that does is make another rape victim and another rapist.

Rape is NEVER okay.

01 June 2010

Evil is as evil does... or something like that.

Stack estimates his law firm has represented more than 100 people who claim they were sexually abused by Catholic priests — many cases resulted in criminal convictions and compensation settlements.
"Our experience with the Catholic Church is that they give no quarter. They admit nothing. They fight everything. They put victims through extensive and excruciating discovery hearings, and the like, and we have no indication that this will be any different," said Stack
This is the single biggest reason why I believe the Catholic church is actively evil. That's not to say that every member is, but... "part of the problem or part of the solution". If the good people continue to do nothing, evil will continue to flourish (insofar as there actually is evil, which I don't buy. It's just humans doing what's right for them. I really am praying for a mass exodus from that church.

I'm working on a sermon for my own church's 85th anniversary. I'll share it with you all when I finish. My problem is that I have entirely too many ideas. :)