jazzoLOG - Category: Opinions    
 When Christians Torture30 comments
picture25 Jun 2007 @ 11:12
O to be delivered
from the rational
into the realm of
pure song...

---Theodore Roethke

Remember these teachings, remember the clear light, the pure bright shining white light of your own nature. It is deathless.

---The Tibetan Book Of The Dead

The healthy person doesn't torture others. Generally, it's the tortured who turn into torturers.

---C.G. Jung

The Torture Of St. Victor was created by an unknown painter in 1490.

I've never been comfortable with the notion of the United States as a Christian nation. Even as a child, I wondered what trusting in God was doing printed on all our money. Was it supposed to be a reminder not to get too involved in the things of this earth? If so, I'm not sure that strategy has worked.

I knew no Pagans, Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus in the 1940s, but Jews were among our neighbors and family friends. A classroom assignment in the second grade in which we were supposed to write a paragraph about our family's Christmas celebration and then read it aloud reduced a Jewish friend to tears when it was his turn. He read, "In my family we have no Christmas. We have no Christmas tree. There is no Santa Claus or presents." And he put his head down on his desk and cried. That's a long time for me to remember that essay. Obviously it changed me forever.

In the 1950s during the "Red Scare" and McCarthy's era, I remember distinctly when "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. We said the pledge in school everyday, and at first nobody could get it right. The teachers finally said we didn't have to say the new thing if we didn't want to, but just be silent during the time others might say it. I still don't say it.

So it's been quite a stretch for someone as old as me and so often described as a kid who always was thinking about things to get my head around the policies my government has evolved the last quarter century. Bush described his foreign policy at first as a Crusade. He quickly was shut up, not so much because it didn't describe the spiritual nature of Globalization, as his family saw it, but because the term obviously brought back some memories for followers of Islam...and after all, some of those guys are clients.

When the first photographs from Abu Ghraib came out, I thought sure the White House game was up...and I said so. I remembered a couple of photos from Viet Nam that lost us that war, or whatever it was. But the years and months and deaths have dragged on since then. Aren't Americans affected anymore? And what of the Republican "Christian base?" How do they theologize treatment of "detainees?" Do they think about it? Do they pray for them? Do they forgive? Do they love?

As I've written before, we have a new priest at The Church of the Good Shepherd. Bill Carroll and his family have been with us a year now, and so I'm glad to let him know he's not "new" to me anymore but instead a wonderful leader and accepted easily as my personal priest. His wife Tracey is a priest too, although understandably she ministers as Mother more to their 2 children than to us right now.

Both share strong academic backgrounds and Bill clearly is a biblical scholar and Anglican historian. Sometimes his sermons reflect a prior career of lecturing to theology students...which is fine with me. Perhaps there's some of that in the message he delivered yesterday. He used as his text a line from Psalm 63, which we had chanted earlier in the service, and spent most of the sermon differentiating between an idol and an ikon. That's an important distinction to make in one's worship, in whatever religion, but why am I writing to you about it this morning?

It's because at the end, he suddenly made a connection between idolatry and the frame of mind it must take to torture someone that I find stunning. And of course it's because Christians worship Christ who was tortured to death.  More >

 The Only Answer To Organized Money Is Organized People51 comments
picture25 Mar 2007 @ 10:15
Painting of Bill Moyers by Robert Shetterly

Thomas Jefferson said the only justification for mandatory public education is to teach children their rights, and how to defend those rights. We need lots and lots of us addressing students of all ages, to let them know their rights, and that we’re sorry we’re handing over the mess the country and the world is in.

---christie svane

You can’t lay bricks on top of a crumbling system. It must be torn down first. If the system had been healthy to begin with, we would never have come to where we find ourselves now. I strongly disagree with most American’s premise of what they think America stands for. It never was all it was cracked up to be. It must be made better if it is to rise from the ashes of tyranny. I doubt Americans have the grit for the work that must be done to re-invent America in the image of truth.


like so many others i have wanted more than anything to make a real and true picture of our beautiful world
and for its own sake but not its own sake alone

i confess right here that ive wanted to correct or possibly infect the mind of whoever crossed paths with my poem
i mean i look around these days - all days really

its easy to see the cars on the freeway and the shopping malls spread under the rise of the moon and feel doomed.
anything else is a sucker punch.

anything else is a refusal to see, ive said, and more than once, and meant it, and do - even right now - do you see?


The sayings that introduce this post are comments at CommonDreams.org in reply to a talk given at Occidental College last month by Bill Moyers. At the moment there are 35 such comments since Thursday when CommonDreams put up the speech. Rarely have I seen Internet folk so thoughtful and inspired. Mr. Moyers has given a lot of addresses around the country since he retired from his weekly program on Public Broadcasting, and they all are worth seeking out urgently. Many people are so moved they call upon him to run for President...but he won't. He believes in his work as fearless spokesperson for a Free Press, and it is as journalist that he delivers A Time For Anger, A Call To Action. As in the time of Tom Paine, here are words to be published and posted at every site, to be handed from person to person. It is time again for Americans to shake off our lethargy, our complacency, our hopelessness. Here Bill Moyers helps us with that work.  More >

 The Gas Pump President23 comments
picture11 Jan 2007 @ 10:42
The mountain grows darker,
taking the scarlet
from the autumn leaves.


Cooking, eating, sleeping, every deed of everyday life is nothing else than the Great Matter. Realize this! So we extend tender care with a worshipping heart even to such beings as beasts and birds---but not only to beasts, not only to birds, but to insects too, ok? Even to grass, to one blade of grass, even to dust, to one speck of dust. Sometimes I bow to the dust...

---Soen Nakagawa

The fundamental delusion of reality is to suppose that I am HERE and you are out there.


Wow, how about those gas prices yesterday!
Maybe Bush should give a TV speech every night.

Hopefully you're showing up at a rally somewhere this evening to question the use of American troops, at taxpayer expense, to secure the private reserves, profits and markets of all these oilmen. Check the balance sheets of corporations "cleaning up" (in) Iraq:
their continuing bid free, tax-exempt megaprofits tell the real story of what Victory means to this Executive.
The Enron philosophy lives on!  More >

 A Little Reflection22 comments
picture14 Oct 2006 @ 12:42
Year after year, year after year.
And yet I like to fly above the clouds
I am only skin and bones, like an old crane.


As far as Buddha Nature is concerned, there is no difference between a sinner and a sage....One enlightened thought and one is a Buddha, one foolish thought and one is again an ordinary person.


The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

---Tennessee Williams

The sculpture, made of lead, is called Book With Wings (1992-1994) by Anselm Kiefer.

I've been relatively quiet everywhere the past few weeks. All my formal education was accomplished in New York and New England prior to the mid-1960s. I believe it was a good time and place to learn. It was quiet and there was peace. We looked at films from Italy, France, Sweden, and were amazed. We read books and tracts from all sorts of writers who found themselves categorized Existentialists---which apparently was some sort of philosophy...but Philosophy Departments refused to acknowledge them. There were demonstrations about Civil Rights and nuclear bomb testing---and sometimes things got very rough, but essentially they were peaceful, singing movements. Indochina, now called Viet Nam, only was beginning, but the Cold War had a showdown about Cuban missiles. Mostly I was comfortable remaining in 1-A draft status the whole time. During the part of my military physical in Maine when I got asked about possible unAmerican activities, I confessed to joining the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The sergeant examined his list of groups (that now would be categorized as "terrorist"), found only Black Shirts, Brown Shirts, Silver Shirts and said he'd never heard of my group. I never was called for Service, so got a job and started a family.

What I learned in school about a government seemed solid and I still believe it today. We were taught a ship of state sails most smoothly if there is a system of checks and balances. We may proceed slowly with all that stuff, but our progress will be sound and sure. Any branch of that government can become corrupt and falter. We can elect some palooka as our Executive. Congress can be infiltrated by robber barons and party bosses. The Supreme Court could bring the whole nation to a skidding stop with an interpretation of some obscure clause. But it would be next to impossible for all 3 branches to fail at the same time, leaving us at the mercy of the desperate mob. If that were to happen, the education I received provides no remedy. These past weeks, anticipating our election here in 3 more weeks, I've been thinking about that.  More >

 So You Think There's A Right To Vote?9 comments
picture26 Jun 2006 @ 11:14
In this way and that I tried to save the old pail
Since the bamboo strip was weakening, about to break
Until at last the bottom fell out.
No more water in the pail!
No more moon in the water!


I want to go soon and live away by the pond, where I shall hear only the wind whispering among the reeds. It will be a success if I shall have left myself behind.

---Henry David Thoreau

Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.

---Italian proverb

When I read Greg Palast's column in the UK Guardian from Friday, and featured yesterday by TruthOut, I hesitated to get excited about it. Palast's stuff invariably is upsetting, but I sense a lot of resentment fueling him and also somehow his opinions just don't seem to catch fire. Maybe it's the "conspiracy" of the mainstream media that keeps other reporters and editorial writers from going near his theories. At any rate this time his article is titled "Democracy In Chains" and begins~~~

"Don't kid yourself: the Republican party's decision yesterday to 'delay' [link] the renewal of the Voting Rights Act has not a darn thing to do with objections of the Republican's white sheets caucus.
Complaints by a couple of good ol' boys to legislation have never stopped the GOP leadership from rolling over dissenters.
This is a strategic stall that is meant to decriminalise the Republican party's new game of challenging voters of colour by the hundreds of thousands."

The first comment in the massive thread that erupted from the essay is by someone known as MisterD~~~

"This article conflates about five different issues in order to make the false claim that the Republicans are trying to deny citizens the right to vote. They are not. They are just trying to stop the massive vote fraud and ballot box stuffing the Democrats attempt at every election.
This is a poorly researched and poorly reasoned efort to smear Republicans as bigots. Like all of Palast's writing, it is designed to enflame the already feverish minds of the ignorant."  More >

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