There are many Christian denominations whose devotees practice abstinence: Mormons, Amish, Methodists, Quakers, 7th-day Adventists, Mennonites, Salvation Army members, and there are probably more that I can’t think of. But not all preach abstinence, including Roman Catholics. Jesus himself turned water into over a hundred gallons of wine (John 2:1-11), seemingly to encourage its use at a wedding.
St. John The Baptist was big on fasting, and abstaining from wine. In fact, the angel Gabriel prophesied that he was to never drink alcohol his whole life. He seemed to have spent much of his adult life in wilderness, subsisting on a diet of locusts and honey. I would suppose he was a bit of a wild-man.
Reverend Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), as you might remember, was a fundamentalist preacher who led an organization called the Moral Majority in the States during the Regan era. A bit of a prankster, had a life with more than enough strange twists and turns. The fact that he was teetotal was influenced by his alcoholic father dying of liver disease. Strangely he was friends with Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine. Flynt published a rather racy parody about Falwell, to which Falwell objected and sued him all the way to the Supreme Court. The court rejected the lawsuit, and upheld Flynt’s free speech rights. While Falwell and Flynt didn’t agree on anything relating to the lawsuit, they nevertheless became friends. Larry was lending him his jet in case Jerry’s broke down; they traded photos of their grandchildren; diet tips, … You never know how things turn out, do you?
Etobicoke. People in hard times. Yeah, there are good parts of this Toronto borough, but huge parts of it are run-down and filling up with down-and-outers looking to make a buck any way they can. People in hard times, closed shops and factories, low rates of literacy, and not much money to spend.
After decades of seeing their jobs moving to Mexico and the Asia-Pacific region, or having their job security thrown into torpor with the prospect of having them competing with jobs in these places, the members of Ford Nation are weary, and have lost hope in any prospect of a secure job. It is not like in times past anymore, where we lived in a work environment where the employer would take care of them. The differences in wealth have never been greater since the 1920s. The new employment strategy among the employers in Etobicoke seems to be to blame the unemployed for their unemployment.
There was, once upon a time, a way around this: Organize. Share thoughts and concerns, make demands. The ability to organize takes a certain level of self-efficacy, and not many seem to feel that they have it. It is a feeling, after all, since if illiterate workers in Argentina can do it, I am sure workers in Etobicoke can do it too. But there is a certain element of this that is emotional. If you don’t feel that you can organize successfully, you probably aren’t going to be successful.
But that’s another thing. Today’s employee is probably just glad they have a job at all, let alone one that would grant any job security. Unstable incomes lead to unstable families, marriages, and lives. Who do you turn to?
God. And possibly Oprah.
I believe in God. But I think that the number of churches where the answer to poverty is that “if you pray to God with love in your heart, you will get what you need” is on a worrisone rise, and the one-of-a-kind churches seem to specialize in this. While apparently everyone has seemed to given up on organizing, and working as a group of concerned people in a community, I sense that some denominations tend to mimic the effects of the major media, in exacerbating feelings of aloneness and atomization, the opposite of community.
But in comes Rob Ford. Like “us”, he drinks, says anything that is on his mind, and tells off-color jokes. People in Etobicoke identify with him, almost forgetting that his father was a factory owner (he was born into money), and he too is also rich, owns a bungalow and drives an Escalade. Also, unlike most of the working class, he can afford to smoke crack. But instead, the self-appointed denizens of Ford Nation choose to see that “he has his problems” like “us”. He admits his imperfection so that it may help heal his wounds. Even Jesus had wounds, and suffered greatly, so that he may heal others.
Does anyone remember the billboard that was up for one day long the Gardiner Expressway/Highway 427 basket weave (you can’t call it a cloverleaf) that mentioned Rob Ford and ended with a quote from John 8:7? The “cast the first stone” verse is a bad choice of quote, since, well, what is the context? If I recall my Bible correctly, a woman who committed adultery faced a public death by stoning. Jesus intervened and made his famous order that any man who was there (they were all men doing the stoning) who was “without sin” cast the first stone. I take this, and I believe not altogether incorrectly, that any man present who had also not been adulterous cast the first stone. “Sin” in this context usually always means having sex when you are not supposed to. They had, by how I interpret that parable, all been sinful, and likely sinful in the same way. I can say how this is a commentary on how we as humans tend to be the most passionate accusers of other people’s sins which we have ourselves committed, but you’ll be spared. Instead, I draw your attention to the fact that the “sins” are equivalent. All people Jesus faces are guilty of the same or similar sins.
We are given the impression through this sign that I, a sinner have no right to call out a mayor who smokes crack or acts in a highly unprofessional manner in many ways. This only works if my “sins” are equivalent to Ford’s (in this case, vices of many descriptions including drugs and sex). Not all of us smoke crack or consort with prostitutes and drug dealers. I think that makes the majority of our population free of such “sins”.
Rob Ford is not Jesus. Jesus did not smoke crack, nor did Jesus find himself in the company of crack dealers. If it were, it would only to be to get them to repent their crack-dealing ways forever. Jesus was never in “a drunken stupor”. Also, unlike Jesus, most of Ford’s wounds are self-inflicted, if we are to carry the “wound” analogy. Ford has a bigger problem that can’t just be confessed away, and it goes beyond any problems “us common folk” have. These are problems involving criminals, and the police. This is a larger set of personal problems that would dwarf most of ours by orders of magnitude. And they are all problems that Rob Ford made for himself.
Tamara Faye LaValley (1942-2007), known to us adoring admirers as The Zealot Formerly Known As Tammy Faye Baaker (and later the zealot known as Tammy Faye Messner) had no hope growing up. She was the eldest of eight kids in a family where both parents were Pentacostal preachers, so adherence to Christianity was de rigeur. Becoming a Christian tele-evangelist was her fate. In a strange twist for the Christian Right, Tammy Faye was actually popular with the LGBT community.
I can’t explain the cover, any more than I can explain which of the two subjects in the photo is more scared.
She died of lung cancer in Kansas City, Missouri in July of 2007, and is survived by her second husband Joe Messner.
Well, I couldn’t find much on these folks, consisting of what appears to be four clean-looking Texans (five if you count the judge).
Here, they will talk about Texas justice through the magic of song …
“I stood at Calvary in a business suit, but no one told me that they were gonna have a toga party” is how I paraphrase one MSN blogger who discussed this album. But this could also be one of the earliest depictions of Supply-Side Jesus in a business suit.
No one would crucify Supply-side Jesus, according to his biographer and publicist, Al Franken, as when the choice was given to the multitudes as to whether to release Supply-side Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth from the sentence of death by crucifixion, the people chose Supply-side Jesus, since he offered the public 20 sheckels to anyone who voted for him. This historic act is depicted here for all to see.
I don’t care if it rains or freezes, s’long as I have my 8-bit Jesus playing on my iPod in my car. Our Lord and Saviour meets Mario Brothers.
These ditties by Doctor Octoroc may be downloaded again from a web page that touts it as the “second coming of 8-bit Jesus”.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the amateur hour, as our guest Manfred, presumably Manfred Voss sings you the love songs of song meister, Arthur E. Werlang.
We have to be fair here. These albums are definitely as low-budget as you can get, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the photo of “Manfred” was scotch-taped on the cover, and the lettering was hand drawn directly on to the cover.
As is true of all of the albums in today’s entry, this album is very likely from back in the days when cutting and pasting was an act that involved xacto blades and glue, rather than a computer and Photoshop.
I just worry that our hero Manfred is singing these love songs “with a new accent”. His old accent was too obvious, so he had to make up a new one? Is that how that works?
“Gongs: An Audio-Mystical Trip to the Orient”, by Nesta Kerin Crain claims to be “an excellent aid for meditation”. I know of few meditation aids involving gongs that I would call excellent.
This is another scissors and glue effort with more pen work than “Love Songs”.
What’s the swastika doing there in the lower right-hand corner? Creepy.
I now wonder what this album will instill in you as you are meditating while the album is playing.
I also have a certain paranoia about playing records and meditating, outside of all talk about swastikas and other nonsense: what if the record skips?
This is by a fellow named Gary Baker, who in 1982, penned an album entitled “Why?” This time, there is no cutting and pasting, just pen and pencil.
Too much is made of this existential question. Much ink has been spilled trying to pursue the meaning of the question, and then trying to formulate an answer.
One essay writer in a university-level Philosophy exam answered it best: “Why not?”
The album is supposedly Christian, but the question and the artwork seems to convey a mood of Elton John’s “If There’s a God In Heaven (then what’s he waiting for?)”, a 1976 song from his Blue Moves album. So, maybe that’s healthy.
Whenever a title is misspelled, such as “psychodelic”, (should be “psychedelic”) you get the impression that the mistake is intentional, and that Jr. and His Soulettes are merely taking artistic license.
All fine and dandy, and if that is the case then that really changes the meaning of the word. Perhaps the album is more “psycho” and less “delic”. Hard to say.
At a Tim Horton’s, we ordered coffee, I ordered a doughnut. Denise wouldn’t have doughnuts. She seemed a little upset. I later found it was because she had visited her mother and became victim of her latest insensitive remarks.
“Why do you bother visiting your mom if all she does is hurt your feelings,” I ask. This always seems to happen, almost like a weekly routine.
“Well, she is my mother, and I am the only daughter, so I am seen as the only one who can do certain things for her once in a while. But when she says something hurtful, what I normally do is go home, think about it, write my feelings down somewhere, and then try to go about my life again.”
She went on, mostly elaborating. I was silent as she was explaining this to me. I could say that writing is only a temporary measure. It helps you to figure things out, but it doesn’t solve your problems. It might be a way of licking your wounds, but it alone doesn’t fix things in the outer world. As I saw it, the only way she could heal was to not visit her mother, and to try to steer clear from any other source of hurt.
I don’t think she wanted to hear that. There was a sense of security she seemed to feel about the rut she was in. She was, in her mind, coping splendidly. She would be hurt by people in the world around her, she’d retreat home, lick her wounds, then do the same thing again. With all that hurting and healing, there was no room left for anything positive. Certainly no room to make a positive contribution to society in general.
Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that’s within us. It is not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I had to think about that one for a minute. I found it at an AA site (mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela). I hope that people see there is much in these words that go way beyond therapy for alcoholism. It is a quote for all humanity, for all time.