November 17, 2019

February 2019 Open Mic

Open Mic
February 25, 2019

We haven’t had an Open Mic in awhile, so let’s open the lines today and let you folks choose the topics.

I would especially love to hear from those of you who may be new, or who rarely comment.

And, of course, I would appreciate if you would follow guidelines of respectful conversation. If you have any question about the rules around here, you can always access our FAQ/RULES page.

Welcome to the Great Hall. Enjoy your time together today.

Comments

  1. Steve Newell says

    I have come to the conclusion that the “theological left” and the “theological right” define their theology based on their politics first and they use bible to proof-text their positions. Also, they will ignore those parts of Holy Scripture that doesn’t fit their political positions. Both sides excuse those whom they support for actions that are contrary to Christianity since they more interested in protecting their political power than they are in following Christian standards of morality.

    “Theological right” is not same as Christian orthodoxy since “left” and “right” are political terms not theological terms.

    • Ronald Avra says

      Agree.

    • How did we get here?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Ees POLITICAL Matter, Comrade.”

      • Hello ChrisS

        The great mystery for me is how the very poor people in Appalachia constantly vote against their own interests.
        They are in great need of health and dental care. They suffer from generational poverty and all that goes with it and that is tremendous baggage to pass on to their children . . . .

        AND YET . . . . they will not support what would bring them some relief from their misery and I don’t understand this . . .

        has the ‘abortion issue’ been used to victimize these poor people?

        ?
        I have no answers for this phenomenon, no.

    • I might understand your thesis better if EXAMPLES were given. It would help if you or others would like to contribute some specific examples to clarify your conclusion, and thanks to anyone who will help.

      • Steve Newell says

        Let’s look at the issue of sexual assault on women by comparing Donald Trump to Bill Clinton. Both sides were willing to look the other way when it was their person but they condemned the other.

    • Sophia DiNola says

      I see this happening mainly on the right, though. Certainly in more egregious ways.

    • While this is generally true, it is not in all cases. I became a Christian at 19 (some 40 years ago) and was immediately immersed in fundamentalist Southern Baptist culture (living in central Illinois, not exactly the heart of Dixie). At that time I had no strong political affiliations (as a wise old 19-year-old) and my father was a Democrat (strong union member, had been a precinct committeeman and a county board member) and I probably leaned that way. However, I became so wrapped up in that fundamentalist culture that my politics almost immediately became very conservative – due to the hot button issues – abortion, gay rights (or back then the evil ERA), and the budding influence of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority). True Christians were Republicans and everyone else was a Democrat. That was the message, explicit or implied, I heard every Sunday (for about 30 years).

      Later (over 30 years later) I came to more moderate political views, influenced largely by my evolving religious beliefs. Over the years my ‘theology’ (in quotes because I am not a theologian, but was trained as a Bible scholar – and we DO NOT like to be called ‘theologians’ !!!) changed as I understood more about the Bible. It was while doing post-graduate work that I began to really understand the role culture (both ancient and modern) plays in our theological thinking. As I learned more about ancient culture and sociology, the more I came to believe that the faith and practice of the early church didn’t look much like that of modern Evangelicals (and their political views, if you could call them that, would certainly look very different). In fact, it is almost a different religion. If you read the NT understanding the sociology and culture of the ancient world the letters of Paul (and the teachings of Jesus) stand out for how radical they are in challenging the values and social structures of their world, both Jewish and Greco-Roman. Paul’s letters, in particular, are loaded with terms related to sociology and culture (like ‘koinonia’ [fellowship], ‘charis’ [grace], ‘pistis’ [faith] – and many more – Philippians 2 is loaded with them). These are not theological terms in Paul’s day (or in his writings); they describe aspects of common social relationships. Paul’s ‘mission’ is building communities that exemplify the values Jesus taught. One could almost say that early Christianity was a religiously-motivated social movement, rather than a religious movement.

      So, in my case, both the way ‘in’ (to conservative political views) was formed by my religious experience (which is probably common, though one could argue that people who think that way are drawn to that culture) and my way ‘out’ (to more moderate political views) was formed by my religious experience (a new understanding of the Bible).

      • sounds more like ‘grace’ had something to do with the change in your life 🙂

        • Yes. I have also noticed that I am more gracious towards others (including family 🙂 ) than I used to be. For many years I proudly wore (and constantly denied) the badge of Pharisee. I’m sure I still do but I give it a little more thought now than I did then.

          • My A-ha moment came when I realized that my “religion” and portrayal of God/Jesus was building walls and keeping people from entering His Kingdom rather than building bridges and inviting them in. Definitely “grace uber alles”…

      • This mirrors my experience so much that it’s truly strange.

    • Steve, I see it the other way around. My beliefs, shaped by scripture, tradition, and reason inform my political stances. Also, I don’t see political or religious beliefs as a binary left or right.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > I have come to the conclusion that the “theological left” and
      > the “theological right” define their theology based on their
      > politics first and they use bible to proof-text their positions.

      I no longer believe there is a Theological Right or Left. There certainly is not anything resembling a coherent Left.

      There is a Fundamentalist Old Gaurd – which we frequently refer to as Right.

      There is a Middle Of The Road group we frequently refer to as Left. It is **VERY** telling that we also refer to this group as the “Mainline”; as that is what they are – an extremely diverse middling group.

      > they will ignore parts Scripture that doesn’t fit their
      > political positions

      In their ‘defense’ this has always been true. It feels particularly extreme now as we as a society have conflated “Political” and “Partisan” when neither of those things is inherently the other – – – it is a deeply profoundly incorrect conflation. These are two distinct things we seem to mixup every century or so.

      Attempting to disentangle Politics and Religion is entirely wrong-headed. People’s live are thier politics: their profession and/or job, how they get to work, where they shop, where their children go to school, if they have children, where they live, who is and is not invited into their community [residential, professional, academic, etc…]. Religion is always shaped by, always has been shaped by, and always will be shaped by Political concerns. That is not wrong; that is HEALTHY. It is toxic when Partisanship replace Political concerns.

      ((Religion == Politics == Economics) != Partisanship) : true

      • Since the beginning, people have picked and chosen what they would believe and practice, and what they wouldn’t, in the Bible, and used theology to justify their choices. Politics, of one kind or another, has always had an integral part in this picking and choosing. That is not going to change. Human beings are political animals from top to bottom, and, as you point out, attempting to disentangle politics and religion is “striving after wind.”

  2. Shout-out to SUSAN DUMBRELL in Australia. Let us know how you are doing. Sending hug.

    • Susan Dumbrell says

      Hi Christiane,
      All OK ish.
      I am seeing my GP today re my husband and his current needs.
      I have a list.
      Susan

  3. senecagriggs says

    Who’s going to get the Democratic nomination for 2020?

    1) Despite the fact I like Joe Biden well enough for a Democrat, I think he and Bernie are toast – they are old white guys and will have big problems attracting the millenial vote.

    2) I don’t think Cory Booker has a chase; he’s no Barack Obama by any stretch of the imagination.

    3) I don’t know how to handicap Elizabeth Warren. She has big name recognition but the “Liawatha” nickname is going to be very hard to escape.

    4) Beto, young white male; appears to be avoiding taking any serious positions; running as a centrist? A little baggage but not a lot.

    5) Amy Klobucher – limited name recognition – mature, experienced politician

    6) Kamala Harris; good name recognition, youngish black female – Californian – probably the leading contender in Feb. 2019, a long ways to go.

    7] Total unknowns: Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro [ little known ], John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard [ young and beautiful – may be running for V.P. ], Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson,

    8) Kirstin Gillibrand – decent name recognition, attractive white female.
    ,
    MORE WILL ENTER THE RACE but as of this post; these are the contenders.

    MY PICKS FOR THE TOP SPOT – Kamala Harris and Kristen Gillibrand
    ________

    FYI – this list reflects ONLY who I think are the real contenders; does NOT express my feelings about their politics. It’s simply the betting line as I currently see it.

    • I see it playing out a lot like it played out for the Republicans in 2016. A large field of mixed candidates–some good, some bad–being winnowed down to a limited choice between charismatic nutjob who appeals to the folks who are all for “change status quo” and an uncharismatic, more sane choice who fails to be viewed as someone who can defeat the Foe.

      So the Dems will move forward with a nutjob who they view as most likely to defeat Trump, leaving us again with two horrible choices in 2020.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I see it at Trump’s election to loose; he probably wins a second term.

        If the Democrats effectively challenge him comes down more to do with the cumulative impact of what happens in state politics then on who the candidate is.

        It is an unpopular opinion; however, the mercilessness of math wins out in the end, IMO. It is Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – those are the only states that matter. And there are internal machinations in at least Wisconsin and Michigan which could move the outcome one way or the other.

        • senecagriggs says

          The math is interesting: 4 or 5 states make all the difference; California and New York, with their large populations probably see almost no national political advertisements.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            We don’t. At least not at the Presidential level.
            Like the black vote since 1968, CA ALWAYS goes Blue.
            So the GOP doesn’t bother and the Dems don’t need to.
            That’s what happens when a constituency (whether State or Ethnic) is in one Party’s pocket.

          • Gerrymandering comes into play with a low voter turnout, like in 2016. With a high voter turnout like in the second Obama election the Dems can’t lose. This is the basis of Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout.

            A recent poll indicated that over 50% of the electorate says it will not vote for Trump under any circumstances.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              > A recent poll indicated that over 50% of the electorate

              Meh. It is too early for those polls to mean much.

              And it may very well mean, in the end, that they do not vote for anyone; which given the math-of-the-map is a vote for Mr. Trump.

              • The questions are:

                -How many who voted for Trump last time will change their mind and vote against him this time? (I’d be curious if that number is large or small. I have no idea, to be honest. Most Trump-supporters are die-hard Trump supporters, but I know a few who have felt his antics are not worthy of a second term.)

                -How many who did not vote for Trump last time will change their mind and vote for him this time? (It doesn’t seem like he’s likely to draw people who didn’t vote for him the first time; I know of no one who voted against him who’ve said, “Wow, he surprised me. I’ll vote for him in 2020.”)

                -Will the Dems prop up a candidate that attracts enough fence-sitters? (This is the biggest question of them all. If the Dems prop up a person too far left, I don’t see them gaining many fence-sitters.)

                • Adam Tauno Williams says

                  You are correct; it is so uncommon for someone to switch there vote – – – – it is much more about who does and who does not vote. That is very hard to predict.

        • One of the things Democrats are not taking into account is that far more Hispanics voted for Trump in the last election than had been anticipated by a long shot, and even more could vote for him in 2020. The idea that Hispanic voters will automatically or predictably skew left is nonsense; remember that many have roots in countries that have had rightist leaders, and that at least some of these American Hispanics are okay with that; remember that they track right on religious/moral/social issues; remember that many of them consider themselves to be White, as White as Donald Trump’s base, no matter what demographers consider them. In the key electoral vote swing states, it is possible that Hispanic voters could make a decisive difference in favor of a Trump victory, however much such a possibility is unthinkable to liberal Democrats.

          • Robert F. If your analysis of the Hispanic vote is true then why is California so solid blue. What happened to the demographics there? I grew up in Miami, the first arrived Cubans were conservative, now the Hialeah/Little Cuba area is blue. The influx of Puerto Rican voters into Florida is turning Fl. blue, same with Tx.

            That the “Hispanic ” voter is naturally conservative is a Koch Brothers/Bush talking point to fool the Republicans who trust the establishment. Why do you think there was an effort to relocate illegals and refugees to red states?

            Again, Trump is the last battle won by the “conservatives” the war has been won by the new wave of open border, America is just another country and leave the great country that brought us to the dance crowd..

            Trump might pick up some third generation Hispanic vote but with chain migration it is not going to be enough.

            However , it is good that the Democrats at least acknowledge their id politics and the defined voters that are automatically going to vote for Dems. When Fl., TX or Ga. turn blue then we will surely be a one party country.

            • California is a separate case, almost a separate county. Check the stats from the 2016; Trump got far more of the Hispanic vote than projected. At first the polling data was disputed as early and therefore inconclusive, but in fact it was correct and has been borne out by subsequent data. A significant minority of Hispanic/Latino voters went with Trump in 2016.

              • Correction: ….almost a separate country.

                • The demographics will lead to a balkanized USA and the Dems are leading the way. It will really turn ugly this election. Also,, better example of the “conservative:” Hispanic voter is New Jersey largest Cuban population outside of Florida but solid blue voting electing the lady loving corrupt Dem.

            • Although I hope you’re right and that Trump loses with a resounding majority of Hispanics/Latinos having voted against him in 2020.

    • Terry McAuliffe is invisible right now and for a reason, he’ll be the anti-Trump and the nominee.

      The political left just voted yes to infanticide…crickets again from you lefties. No surprise.

  4. senecagriggs says

    MY PERSONAL BETTING LINE ON THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE [ THIS IS UNRELATED TO THEIR POLITICS ]

    1) Kamala Harris – good name recognition, youngish black/white female from Calif.
    2) Elizabeth Warren – excellent name recognition but not an attractive personality, can she live down “Liawatha?”
    3) Kirsten Gillibrand – decent name recognition – attractive Caucasian female.
    4) Beto O’Rourke – made middle age Caucasian male – made a good showing against Ted Cruz in Texas senatorial race. Gives off a centrist vibe.
    5) Joe Biden – everybody knows him, old white male, a little creepy about women, may not attract the millenials
    6) Bernie Sanders – everybody knows him, old white socialist male – attracts only hyper liberal
    7) Amy Klobucher – experienced, mature Caucasian female – limited name recognition.
    8) Cory Booker – good name recognition – no Barack Obama
    9) Juan Castro – relatively unknown,
    10) Relatively unknown but pretty Tulsi Gabbard
    11) Totally unknown; Pete Buttigieg, JohnDelaney, Marianne Williamson

    • My money is on JOE all the way.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Slow Joe” Biden DOES have a lot going for him in traditional politics, but in the age of Social Media CELEBRITIES(TM) Gone Viral? That sea change just supercharged the CELEBRITY Reality Show angle.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Actually in 2016 Sanders DID attract a lot of 18-to-early 20s base. My nephew for one, who couldn’t see beyond FREE College, FREE Health Care, FREE! FREE! FREE! MAKE THE RICH(TM) PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE(TM)!

      :”The reason you turn Conservative as you age is because as you age and build your nest egg you have something to Conserve.”

      • senecagriggs says

        I also thought Bernie had a great run because of Hilary’s negatives. He was the only other option. We’ll see how he does in the coming months.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Bernie also had another factor going for him.
          Like Trump (though not as crudely), he spoke Direct.
          In an election where every other candidate sounded like every word out of their mouth was penned by Attorneys and Spinmeisters, vetted through Focus Groups, and read word-for-word off the Teleprompter, ANYONE talking plain & direct would stand out.

          • I believe you will see the same with Joe Biden… another “very direct” personality that resonates with blue dog democrats.

      • senecagriggs says

        Headless, who do you think currently holds the lead?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Two YEARS early?
          Remember 2012 with the GOP Great White Hope challenging the Obamanation of Desolation?
          What was the predicted Great White Hope circa 2010 vs what actually shook down in the Primaries?

    • Sophia DiNola says

      Why would your “betting line” leave out their politics? The base of the Democratic Party cares more about progressive policies than age, race or sex. Those may be a factor to some people, but not to anyone who really cares about the environment or about healthcare or poverty or even equality. If you factor in their politics you would get an accurate list. Sanders would clearly and unequivocally be at the top of the list. He has name recognition, consistency, and integrity. Don’t underestimate the popularity of Medicare for all. Very few people in this country have decent healthcare. And that’s just one issue. Democrats both young and old are moving toward Democratic Socialism. Age, sex, race, and sexual orientation do not matter to us as much as character, ability and policies. Sure I would like to see a woman president, but I’m not going to vote against my own interests, and those of our society just to get one. Let’s give Democrats much more credit than that.

  5. Is there broad-based Christian support for the issues that teachers in this country are facing? I’m a believer and have many colleagues who are leaving the profession in droves. I hear a lot of evangelical support or opposition for various things and wonder also if there should be more said by Christian leaders about public school teacher support.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Is there broad-based Christian support for the issues ______

      No.

    • As a public school teacher, I thank you for your consideration. Society often depicts us as whiners, but it’s hard for people to truly understand what happens on a day to day basis in the classrooms across our country.

    • Too many of the “religious right” want to blow up/end public education. But they have no idea what the end game is of doing that 20 years later.

  6. Randy Thompson says

    Last Friday, my wife and I went to see Peter Jackson’s superb WWI film, “They Shall Never Grow Old.” It is a deeply moving film and makes a long-ago war and those who fought in it come alive. What they have done with 100 year old film is truly remarkable. I highly recommend this film whether you’re interested in WWI or not as it makes the lives of those who fought and died in it come to life. And, if you do go see it, wait through the credits at the end for Peter Jackson’s explanation of how the film was made. If you wondered how they did the “dialogue” for sections of it, you’ll see that what was said really was said!

  7. New Mark Knopfler, Pretty much like old Mark Knopfler. In other words, 16 tracks and 76 minutes of finely crafted and understated elegance.

    Album: Down the Road Wherever.

    My favorite song: “One Song at a Time.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMd5cEf6HQo

    “There but for the grace, etcetera”

    (I think only Mark Knopfler could put “etcetera” in a song and make it work.)

    • senecagriggs says

      Did you know Mark Knopfler composed “Private Dancer?”

      • He’s a master story-teller, crafting stories from very interesting perspectives. It’s interesting to read about that particular song, as Knopfler pretty much he admits he wrote a song that he couldn’t sing because it wasn’t necessarily a song/story meant for a “male” voice.

    • Hope to see him here in Indy in August.

  8. This may sound like buttering up the host, but here goes:

    I finally got around to reading “Walking Home Together”, in preparation for a visit to a hospice that I helped to design.
    I must say, it was excellent and very practical. I thought I had purchased a new copy, but it had been underlined by a previous owner, which in some ways made it more poignant. The book really helped me get over my discomfort in entering difficult conversations with people that I met there. (I also listened to the audiobook “Being Mortal” which was quoted in WHT.)

    I look forward to reading the companion books!

    • I’m honored, Steve. Thanks.

      • Also need to read this as I am regularly visiting with an older friend who is facing death full on…. we joke a lot but his concern for making amends with those he wronged is in process as he has the energy. We do joke a lot (especially about death and his role in heaven – he’s a retired Irish city police officer) and it is a blessing. Weaker and closer each time I see him….

  9. The “traditionalists” have won the first round…

    https://www.umnews.org/en/news/effort-to-delay-traditional-plan-debate-defeated

  10. The pope dropped the ball at the Catholic sexual abuse summit. He produced a lot of sound and fury, but offered no plan to change the clerical culture that produced the problem. Fortunately, the American Catholic Church has implemented diocese and parish- based measures to neutralize the possibility of widespread systemic abuse occurring here again, including training for clergy and lay leaders alike, background checks, and a zero-tolerance policy for even suspected abuse; but this is an international ongoing problem of the Catholic Church, and nothing like adequate redress has been made to past victims. Not much of substance came out of the summit.

    • Immense frustration from this Catholic…. Pope needs to cleanup his folks in the Vatican who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing…. clean house….

    • These conferences are deigned to get to an end point with almost unanimous consent. So they rarely get past statements of intent. What happens over the next year is what will be telling.

  11. Klasie Kraalogies says

    My youngest got his university acceptance today. So in the Fall I will have 3 attending…

    Sending the hat around.