Showing posts from March, 2012

Social Media Activism is Powerful.

Like tornadoes in Oklahoma, the social media storms keep blowing in and blowing out, one after another. 

There was the Susan G. Komen attempted cutoff of funds for Planned Parenthood. 

There was the Rush Limbaugh smear of Sandra Fluke.

There was the outcry over the mandated transvaginal ultrasounds requirement for abortion.

There is the case of shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Many others, as well.

It can seem flighty and trivial, but it is not.

Social Media activism is an exercise of considerable social power and it changes things. 

It changes the public discourse; it drives new agendas. Social Media activism can make something that was hidden and quiet and obscure to be the lead story on the nightly news, and above the fold in the major newspapers. 

Each of the four cases above (Susan G. Komen, Rush Limbaugh, ultrasounds and Trayvon Martin) were not intended to be big news.

Susan G. Komen intended to cut off Planned Parenthood quietly.  The only people who would notice would be the anti-…

A shocking argument for or against Obamacare

I received this from a friend of mine, (the same one who suggested that the nation draft young people into a nationalized porn industry to pay for college costs.  He describes himself as a pragmatic conservative who is unencumbered by political correctness and do-gooderism.  
This is what he suggested.  (I using the abbreviation for his standard opening with which he starts all discussions of political or policy matters "Its really very simple; all you have to do is...."  That's the way they do it on the blogs he reads.
IRVS:AYHTDI stop coddling the freeloaders.  There are a bunch of people (and you know who they are, don't you?) you think that they don't have to pay for health care like everybody else.  While the rest of us are getting up and driving our trucks down the freeway to get to the job so we can take care of our family, these folks are still in bed, waiting for their breakfast of skittles and iced tea to be brought to them.  They don't have health…

Tribe over Tribe; Community Against Community

The picture that emerges from Sanford, FL, where Trayvon Martin was killed by a self-appointed neighborhood cop in a gated community is a picture of a society moving toward de-facto apartheid.

Gated communities patrolled by non-governmental civilian forces, on the lookout for people "who don't belong here."

It is a continuation of patterns of power and violence from the past.

There are parts of this country where, for a long time, the social structure was one racial community controlling another racially defined people.  White people over the slaves and the former slaves.  The settlers over the natives.  These social systems were not maintained and enforced only by police and troops, but also by community mobilization.   Every white was seen as having the duty to help control every black.  Any white over any black.

Lynching were demonstrations of the collective power of the white community to control the African American  community.   Individuals who were thought to ha…

Neither Young, Nor Old -- Sermon 3/18/2012

Rev. Tom Schade There is a joke going around:   “The Past, the Present and the Future walked into a bar.  It was tense.” Wendell Berry writes:  “Time is neither young, nor old, but simply new, always counting.”  Each moment is its own, newly created, here for a moment and then gone, replaced by another. The late Nobel Prize Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska, in her last book of poems included a poem called the “three oddest words” “When I pronounce the word Future, the first syllable already belongs to the past.” Annie Dillard, in an essay called “The Present” talks about time as a creek, and we, as rocks in that creek, as time washes over us .  We stand facing upstream, into the future, and time flows down toward us, washing up against us and flows around us, and passes behind us in a rapidly vanishing past.   I am in love with such insights.  There is something in them that pulls me back. Much of the spiritual life is bringing our attention back to the present moment; we call that making ou…

Just Two Little Fingers (sermon text 3/11/12)

As you can probably tell, just by looking, I go to the gym.  I have a personal trainer, and under her guidance, I am sculpting my body into muscled dynamo of sinew and steel.  Sleek strength, coiled bands like a spring, power at rest.  I am making these heroic efforts under the watchful eye of my strict and demanding personal trainer.  She pushes me to the limits of my endurance.  For a dancer, she is really brutal.   One of the exercises she makes me do are bench presses.  I lay down on a bench and lift a weighted barbell up from my chest, 8 times, 10 times, 12 times.  And near the end of repetitions, my arms turn to spaghetti, and the barbell wobbles  and I don’t think that I can lift it.  In fact, I have fears that my arms will give out and the weights will fall on my chest, pinning me there for the rest of the day.  Coach as I call her, sees that I am having trouble completing the last lift.  She steps in, saying “here I’ll help” and I can see her reach out to grab the barbell and h…

Sermon March 4, 2012 What is Real? The Transgender Experience

The theological significance of the Transgender experience. Of course, the arguments about the transgender experience is rooted in deeper theological and philosophical disagreements.  Arguments that are still current and show up in many public issues.  Moral decision making has to make reference to the real world: what we are supposed to do is some subset of what we are realistically capable of doing.  It is not a moral act to breath, since we have no choice.  It is not a moral requirement to fly since we have no chance.  In order to be moral, it must first be a real possibility. So figuring out what is moral is first figuring out what is real.   The Western Christian tradition has worked with the presumption that there is a natural moral law that everyone, no matter their religion, should be able to see and follow.  It’s a morality written into nature itself.  If you follow it, health and happiness result.  If you don’t, then you will cause bad things to happen.  Which leads to the quest…

The Fluke Affair is No Fluke

People are rarely as bright as you hope; nor as stupid as they seem.

Re: Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke.

Mark Kleiman checked into attitudes toward premarital sex by age and party.  The significant results are that while 71% of those 18-34 think pre-marital sex is acceptable, only 47% think so.  This coincidentally (really!) matches the 47% of Republicans who find it acceptable.

Given what we know about Limbaugh's audience, he is talking to people who agree with him.  He is giving voice to what they are thinking.

I am of that age.  I remember the intensive training that I in the public schools for abstaining from sex until  marriage.  Many admonitions on that subject entered one ear and quickly sped to the other.  My sterling record of teen sexual abstinence does not prove that the propaganda was effective.

The opinions of those over 55 about pre-marital sex are irrelevant.  It is not a choice that they face.  For many, their opinions are just what they decided at that time of …

What if it is true? Sermon from 2/26/12

What it it were true?   What if that one accusation against yourself that you most fear is true? What Joan Rivers realized that it was true -- she did not look young anymore?  She has spent all this time and money in an effort to not look like an old lady, but she does; she looks like an old lady who has had a lot of work done.  What if it were true that she was getting visibly older? What if it were true?  What if Mitt Romney came to understand that he persuades no one when he tries to convince people that he is a regular guy, that he does not see the world through the eyes of a wealthy man? What if it were true that he is wealthy, and it affects the ways he looks at the world? What if it were true?  I would bet that each one of you faces an accusation that you are defending yourself against every day.  Everyday is another day in court, where you are the accused, and the prosecutor making the case against yourself, and the defense attorney arguing for you, and where you are also the judge …