Can You Pray for Me?

I just wanted to clarify my position on the cruelty of prayer.

I don’t think it’s the praying itself that bothers me.  If you genuinely care about me and you consider prayer your means of asking your god to watch out for me and to let some good things come my way, go for it.  If you see me struggling and you don’t know what else to do and you want to put some good vibes out there in the Universe for me, honestly, I appreciate it.

I regularly ask my ancestors to send good things to folks, like Kleinheider, who I’m sure wish sometimes that I didn’t exist and could give two shits about whether my ancestors existed, but I do that not only for his benefit in some woo-woo way, but also to remind myself that, if I’m going to criticise someone as often as I criticise Carter, I need to be doing it from a position that is open to his criticism in return, that, if I want him to take what I’m saying seriously, I need to seriously consider his perspective.

I think the problem comes, like I said, in the way that folks use prayer to bully people, to march through the world so sure of your rightness and your righteousness that, from the outside, it seems like you almost feel duty bound to impose your religion on the rest of us.

Listen, it’s fine if you believe that your religion is right and true.  I would hope that you’d be firmly convinced of that if you’re going to devote your life to a worldview.  But it is vile to run around imposing your worldview on others.  And that goes for everything from saying things like “All religions are the same and they all point to there being just one god” (as if Christianity is the pinnacle and inevitable conclusion of history) to saying “I think you’re a bad person, therefore I’m going to pray for you” to people you disagree with.

It’s good that you feel like your god is always with you and always on your side, but, and I think I speak for a lot of people here, when you whip your god out like some kind of immutable eternal trump card that lets you be right in every situation?

You come across like a bully, an incredibly cruel bully.

Listen, you have my sympathy.  Christianity is hard to do well.  It requires checking your impulses and, in almost every case, doing the harder thing.  When someone hurts you, it’s easy enough to lash back.  It’s harder to turn the other cheek.  When your enemies have plotted against you, give yourself over to them.  The temptation to believe that you’ve done everything you can and now you’re right enough with the Lord that you can turn your attention to smugly passing judgment on others has got to be great.

And yet, where in the Bible is that allowed?  Instead it’s always, always, it’s about giving yourself over to the transformative power of Christ.  

Running around the world with your fingers pointed at others–“You’re wrong; you need to change; I’ll pray for you to stop being so evil”–completely misses the point of who Christ was talking to. 

So, not only is that kind of behavior completely offensive to non-Christians, it ought to be offensive to Christians as well.  Where in the Bible does Jesus say, “Hey, let’s ignore your behavior and instead go push those guys around?” 

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Strange Things Are Happening Every Day

–Kleinheider and I are in agreement on Marcotte.

–Kleinheider and I are in agreement about Abramson

–I have a deep bruise on my foot and I don’t know where it came from.

–I have dark brown hair.  In there used to be these strands of almost translucent red.  You could almost see through them.  I think, and I could be wrong, but I think I’m right, that it’s those red strands that are now going silver.  I’m really at the point where I need to decide if I’m going to just go gray or start dying.  If I could guarantee a brightly silver head of hair, I’d stick with just letting it go naturally, but if it’s going to be gray and dingy, I’d rather stick with brown.

–If we had smell-o-net, I’d totally take a picture/smell stamp of my hair for y’all.  It’ just smells so good and clean and feels so soft and curly.

–Can I tell you something and you promise not to get grossed out?  I haven’t brushed my hair with any regularity since before I met Exador.  I run my fingers through it and condition the shit out of it and take a brush to it on very rare occasions, but otherwise, I just let it alone and it seems to treat me much better than it used to.

Isn’t that weird?  I’ve had curly hair all my life and I’ve yet to understand it. 

I Do Need that Genius Grant

Last night, a couple of the Butcher’s friends were over, one of whom works at a bank and was all, "Oh, you should totally buy a house; all the cool kids are doing it."

I’m in no position to buy a house for reasons we need not rehash again.

But we decided that, if we were going to buy a house, it would be awesome to have a house on Phillips Street.  And so we looked on Realtracs and lo and behold there’s a house on Phillips Street.

I think the Butcher was convinced that it was a sign.

Considering our circumstances, I’m convinced it was just the universe mocking us.

Why Amanda Marcotte Matters

Amanda matters because she’s nobody. She’s some smart-mouthed girl from Austin who you and I will never meet. She has a couple of cats. She says snarky things on the internet.

And today, she resigned from her job with the Edwards campaign.

Can you believe that?

Is there a word for when you want to cry and cheer at the same time?

A lot of people have expressed how sad they are for her and how fucked up the whole situation is, but I feel proud, too.

Which is corny to say: that you’re proud of a woman you’ve never met who wouldn’t know you from Eve if you bumped into her on the street. But I am proud.

I’m proud because what happened to Amanda, no matter how shitty–and don’t get me wrong, it was shitty–proves that what we’re doing here scares the shit out of a lot of people.

It’s so scary to them, in fact, that the second Amanda found herself on ground familiar to them, they set out to destroy her.

And it’s not just her.

Others have already commented on how this works to silence us all. "Go with the program, step out of line, stick your head up, stand out, and we will come down on you as hard as we can–everyone from CNN to the New York Times (those "liberal" bastions)–and don’t you forget it."

But I take from this a different lesson, that, if we scare them this much, we must be doing something right, even if all we’re doing is articulating what we think and having just one other person say, "Yeah, I get that" or "No, you’ve got it wrong and here’s why."

The world, as it works now, works because folks who are not you and me control the messages that get disseminated into the larger culture. What we do scares the shit out of a lot of folks because they can’t control what goes on out here and every day, more and more people get access to it.

Amanda is nobody, just one lone woman with a computer in Austin, Texas.

She didn’t give anybody’s husband a blowjob; she didn’t molest any interns; she didn’t lie about weapons of mass destruction; she didn’t out a CIA agent.

And she almost derailed a presidential campaign. Ha, sorry, I guess that sucks for Edwards, but for the rest of us?

Shit, if I had a beer, I’d drink a toast to Marcotte right now.

I feel inspired.