One More Reason I Love Texas. . . . . . . ."Great, Speckled Bird"

It’s 1975, in a small West Texas town. The Band Director of the high school announces to the band and the baton twirlers that he has arranged and choreographed the 1936 Roy Acuff gospel song “Great Speckled Bird” for them to perform. I’ve got to believe that no similar announcement was ever made by another Band Director, anywhere.

Don’t read any further, though, without listening to the song first. Then try to imagine the embarrassed horror of being a 15 or 16 year old member of the band or twirling squad and having to perform this song, with appropriate choreography, on the football fields of other towns, in front of other 15 and 16 year olds, at halftime. As I’ve heard the story, the performers marched, twirled, and cringed, all at the same time.

ssc band may65a

The song was written by a Rev. Guy Smith. It is based on Jeremiah 12:9, “Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.” Right off the bat, we have a 2500 year old metaphor that is being absurdly used in a mid-20th century context, and the attempts to make it work fail, I think, miserably. Look at some of the verses:

1. What a beautiful thought I am thinking
Concerning a great speckled bird
Remember her name is recorded
On the pages of God’s Holy Word.
2. All the other birds are flocking ’round her
And she is despised by the squad
But the great speckled bird in the Bible
Is one with the great church of God.
3. All the other churches are against her
They envy her glory and fame
They hate her because she is chosen
And has not denied Jesus’ name.

From Baptist Singing Conventions in the 30s, to the Grand Old Opry in the 50s, to football fields in Petrolia, Chico, and Alvord in the 70s, the Great Speckled Bird was both a testimony to Jesus and a psychological trauma for many Texas teens. Where else could a song achieve such a legacy?

Oh Texas, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways..

Star Wars Trumpet

Again, in the interest of public awareness and community safety, I am bound by my personal code of ethics to make you aware of this video.

Should you choose to accept this assignment and watch said video, your hard drive will begin to fry at about 0:10, and destruction will be complete shortly before the video’s completion at 2:53. There will, thereafter, be no evidence anywhere that you deleted almost three minutes of your life watching Ms. Stacy Hedger ("Miss Douglas!") and waiting- and praying in vain- for her to do something well.

Thanks and a tip o’ the hat goes to Ms. ChaosKitty at Stumbleupon !

Credo- part of it, anyway..

This is a comment I made to another blog, Whitticisms. I include it here, because it describes some of my underlying motivations for doing this blog..

When I was a child, I believed food came from my parents, I didn’t care or need to know how. As long as they were alive and able, there might have been no need for me know otherwise.

But I was curious. Grocery stores were the next answer. More curiosity led to farms and ranches, and elaborate transportation systems. Further curiosity took me into plant and animal sciences, and now- at 57, and not a scientist- I see the sources of that food, and all things, in the exploding stars and formations of new galaxies. I am also sure there is more and more to be discovered.

I have heard so many people, and have even collected some recordings from the Creation Institute in Glen Rose, saying they believe in Creationism because “it is easier to believe than evolution.” Indeed it is; in exactly the same way it was easier intellectually to believe that food came from my parents. The frontal lobes of human brains, however, will not allow humans to stop wondering and asking questions. So I kept looking for the origins of food, just as specialists look for other things and, thank God, in the case of the polio virus and other maladies, find them.

Intellectual pursuits can be stopped by religionists who make the imagination and the asking of too many and too deep questions, into sins, in an attempt to “protect” their territories. The Dark Ages of the Church are historical proof of that! They told others that it was vital to believe only what they could see- a flat earth, an earthcentric universe- because that is all the ancients who spoke Creation stories could see. Well, again thank God, not all of their ’subjects’ bought into that nonsense.

I cannot make God fit into my limited abilities to speak of God. Neither could Moses. If I think I can define God by what I know today, let alone what the Hebrews of 1500 BCE knew, then I will either be terribly surprised by new information coming in tomorrow, or I will have to disregard- play dumb- about that information, and take the “easier” route through it.

Bottom line, we are discovering our God to be bigger than it is possible for humans to imagine or write about God. That should not threaten us at all. It should be making us feel the awe that most people are now able to discover and feel only through the work of scientists. Science and spirituality are not separate pursuits; they are both part of the same human consciousness that wonders, “Why?” and “How?”

Bob Larson: Demon Chaser, Demon User

Religionists and politicians share this basic operating maxim:

Tell a Lie often enough, and it will become the Truth.

Both religionists and politicians also depend on this subset of that truth: When caught in a lie, deny it often enough and your slave-like followers won’t care.

When politicians lie, we end up with higher taxes, fewer freedoms, or at war. But they’re not my nemesis here; they’re everybody’s nemesis, all the time. My object d’scorn are the religious charlatans, those foul manipulators of spiritual seekers and blasphemous betrayers of the divine. And among the many scoundrels fighting to lead that pack of dogs is one-time radio star, now mere shadow of former sleazy self (but I don’t think he knows that!), Bob Larson.

Bob Larson Ministries’ web page, in all of it’s 1995-era glory, may be found here. The whole front page is, of course, a hustle, for Larson’s books which will tell you all about the dangers of Islam and feng shui, and for his Spiritual Freedom Conferences. No surprise there; every time Larson opens his mouth it’s a hustle. For which, amazingly, large numbers of devotees continue to fall.

What is fascinating to me is the disclaimer found at the bottom of the front page:

“SPECIAL NOTICE… In your effort to locate our web site, you may have encountered other sites devoted to attacking our ministry. Be aware that these sites contain misinformation, disinformation, twisted facts and outright lies. Many of these accusations are sinister distortions of reality and fabrications designed to look truthful. Our response is that of Nehemiah: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you (Nehemiah 6:3)?” To those who maliciously malign our efforts to reach the lost for Christ and see those in demonic bondage set free, we respond as our Savior commanded us. We “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).”

Go ahead, try it and see what he is talking about. Google “Bob Larson” and you’ll find site after site of former employees, legitimate news organizations, and Christian organizations of all stripes who have experienced or investigated Larson, and found him (caught him!) lying about his background, his affairs, his finances, and his claims, again and again and again and again. Here are two, of many:

Inside Edition

CanadianChristianity.com

So what is the niche within the overcrowded Christian ministry industry that Larson has developed into a feed trough for both his ego and his finances?

Demons

You know, those “spiritual entities” that can’t be seen but can only be discerned by those specially trained to do so; those “angels of Satan” which provide a ready excuse for anyone caught in abysmal human behaviors; those modern day versions of State Fair midway geeks who bit the heads off chickens to the delight of countrified adolescent boys and their hardy-har-harring daddies who’d drunk way too many beers under the hot summer sun.

Those demons. The ones that some Christians believe they’re able to identify in everyone around them the day after the night they walked that center aisle and gave their lives to Jesus. The ones that reappear in the same persons at Spiritual Freedom Conference after Spiritual Freedom Conference. The ones that Bob Larson can talk about with an air of believable authority that rivals any presidential candidate’s claim that “If I’m elected, things are gonna change!”

Those demons. Those human conjured spirits that fueled the Inquisition as the Church lusted after and found a way to legitimately grab the property of countless Spanish, French, Italian, and German land-owners, accused and convicted of cavorting with Satan. Those demons, grabbed from preacher’s arsenals of fear, when words about God’s love will not suffice. Those demons, still being used as ushers when the collection plate is passed.

The pleasure I take is writing about Larson is, I discover, a perverse pleasure. He is too easy to make fun of. The sarcasm he inspires from me is masking the real sadness I feel for those whom he has brow beat and lied to in his quest for their money and adulation. So here, let these video clips do the talking. Then pass them on to anyone you may know whose pockets and hearts are being ransacked by spiritual parasites like Larson.

Case in point: The national media has followed him and found him wanting. Pretend otherwise, often and loudly. The lemmings will continue to come.

The Spirit of Jezebel, always the Spirit of Jezebel..the evil, conniving, seducing Woman Spirit..Oh, Please..!

 

 

Snakes in Church 2

I found a video on another blog about snake handling in church. Add this to my previous comments on this strange practice, found here:

Snakes in Church I

I love these people’s passion and faith..but there are some gimmicks apparent here.

Repetitive, bass-heavy music, is always, anywhere in the world and in whoever’s name it is being played, conducive to a achieving a minor “high.” And spinning in circles is every four year old’s first taste of altered consciousness. This is part of that whole strain of Christianity that says one’s faith in Jesus must be evidenced by signs and wonders, of one sort or another. And if they’re not forthcoming, go get them.

I guess.

Thriller..Sometimes, Things Just Make No Sense

And this is one of them.

A group of prisoners in the Philippines practice for a production..of some sort. I laughed all the way through it- it may be the Most Ludicrous Video, ever..

There may well be some ontological, existential, surrealistic, neo-realistic, Jungian, Freudian, or post-Christian meaning to all of this. If there is..well, frankly, my dear, I don’t care.

If it rains or freezes..My Plastic Jesus

My Pink Plastic Jesus !

IMG_4441

This was in my mailbox this morning- put there by a friend who knows me well enough to know that I would have fun with this all day..and I did.

It’s about 12″ high, and was constructed with appropriate reverence and awe in China of very durable plastic. I don’t know what area retail establishment Pink Jesus (known already and lovingly as PJ) manifested in, but I’m glad he did- and honored that he now has a hallowed home in Texas.

PJ has a secret, too. He is no mere ornament for the backyard garden sanctuary, no! He answers questions! Turn him upside down and he becomes this generation’s Magic 8-Ball ! Same setup: there’s a clear glass window at the base, and bobbing around in some blue liquid within, there is a polyhedron, each face of which is a different answer to whatever one’s questions might be!

Today at lunchtime I asked PJ if I should eat watermelon at home or go to Subway for a sandwich. The answer was “Have a nice afterlife!” I took that to mean I should go to Sonic, instead, and have a cheese dog.

Later, I queried, “PJ, so that I don’t have to go look, do I have clean socks for tomorrow?” Prophetically, he answered “No chance in hell.” Really! And, glory be, he was correct!

A little while ago, we took some pictures together around the house and yard. I’ll share those later. Right now, PJ and I have to discuss tomorrow’s sermon.

My life has suddenly become so uncomplicated ! From now on, I’ll always know WWPJD?

(Thank you!)

Killing for Jesus..

I’m not a hunter, just so you know. But I occasionally fish and willingly accept the packages of meat hunter friends give to me. If you’re going to eat it, and it’s not endangered, or it runs across the kitchen floor on six legs, have at it. That’s not what this little rant is about.

Here’s what it is about:

Pattersonkillinganimal

This is Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth. He likes to kill animals- lots of them, the kind you can’t eat, but which you can call “trophies.” His Southwestern profile page used to contain many pictures of the tons of formerly live, free, usually African animals which have now had their hides stretched over styrofoam forms with glass eyes replacing their real ones. Apparently, others were as aghast as I was over the slaughter of God’s other creatures, because those pictures are long gone from the site.

Patterson’s not alone in his desire to see elephants, giraffes, lions, and cheetahs dead so he can lean in against them while they are still warm and bleeding. There are any number of Christian and non-Christian organizations dedicated to the extermination of exotic animals. I just happen to find the ones doing it in the name of Jesus particularly repugnant.

patterson_game

(What is that little animal toward the front there? A lion cub? The family dog gotten old and useless? A lamb?)

Patterson sponsors special gatherings around the United States for fathers and sons called Sportsman Safaris. Here’s what he stated at a recent safari in Arkansas as being the Numero Uno problem in America today:

“That problem, is a war against boys and the establishment of laws to prevent men from hunting and owning guns..it has produced a generation of fathers disconnected from their sons,” he said. The article, posted at Southwestern’s website, goes on:

“But Patterson said he believes dads can still give boys what they need, and that when fathers provide for their sons the nation is strengthened. Little boys, he said, need three things: a dog, a gun and a dad.

“Every little boy needs a dog,” Patterson said, “and not a little yip dog, but a big dog that he can be proud of.”

This is the stuff of Christianity in America, 2007. Read it and weep, or laugh, or join me in feeling like I need to vomit.