Goblin King

The word is going around: David Bowie had sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Sometimes it’s put more forcefully: Bowie was a child abuser.

Others don’t think so (including the woman in question): It was consensual! “Who wouldn’t want to lose their virginity to David Bowie?” (A direct quote.)

The best piece I’ve seen so far is this one, which boils down to this line: “We want to be inspired be wonderful people, and to condemn the human excrement who do terrible things. We’re not comfortable with how grubby it is, here in the grey areas.”

Always the gray areas. Continue reading

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Microactivism

I have developed some habits of action that I try to follow when I am out in the world — small gestures or practices that I hope make our society a somewhat better place. But after reflecting on them, I’ve realized that some don’t do much good unless shared. So I pass these along to you, in hopes that you may find them useful.

I doubt I invented the term “microactivism,” which I derive from the term “Microaggressions,” referring to the small assaults on human dignity that women, LGBTQ people, ethnic minorities, and (occasionally) straight white men run into on a daily basis in this society.

My “microactivism” may in fact be too small to have any effect, but I still do these things anyway. Better to light a single candle, etc.

Unlike my other posts, I may update this one from time to time as more ideas come to me — and if any of you out in the audience have ideas or practices of your own, put them down in the comments! I’d love to get some talking going.  Continue reading

No Second Coming

A whisper came into my soul and said, “Write!” And I asked, “What shall I write?” And the whisper said, “Write the words that are given to you, write the law that I wrote in your heart.” The whisper said, “Write of the world you live in, not of the next.” The whisper said, “Write of love and justice.”

For a thousand wrongs, and for ten thousand, the One will not withhold the punishment; because for the wealth of one we have beggared a thousand, and for the feast of ten we have let a million starve. The wealth of the great was a gift given that it might be given again, a blessing to be handed on for the blessing of all, but out of greed and pride and luxury it has been held back. Therefore all luxury shall pass away, and its passage will not be peaceful.

For a thousand wrongs, and for ten thousand, the One will not withhold the punishment; for what the One gave open-handed has been taken and consumed, and the fingers and the hand as well, and now we gnaw the wrist! The streams and the trees of the mountains are stripped and fouled, and the mountains themselves are thrown down, and not by faith but greed. The sea has been poisoned, and the air itself, and all the bounty that was once called limitless draws near to its end. Continue reading

Enough

For a long time now we have faced our problems from a certain standpoint. Confronted by grave difficulties, we redouble our efforts. Our resilience of mind is remarkable: we seem to persist in our course no matter what occurs. Our answer is almost always the same: if we are not succeeding, it is because we are not doing enough.

I’m told that one in six (or even one in four) women is sexually abused sometime in her life, as one in ten men is abused in his. Most of these assaults happen early in life. To counteract them we put more efforts into teaching children to beware strangers, to stay in at night, to not drink so much or to not wear “provocative” clothing. If our children are just careful enough and safe enough, we reason, rape will end and we will be safe.

It helps to catch rapists, of course, as with all other criminals, and crime is certainly a major issue in this country. Drug crimes in particular, but violent offenses as well. We have traditionally dealt with crime through adding more police, handing down harsher sentences, imprisoning more people and for longer, in bigger jails. We give our police and law enforcement agents more power, more resources, more weapons, more latitude. If we just lock away enough criminals, we reason, crime will end and we will be safe. Continue reading

Sodom and Gomorrah

As promised: this is the rather punchy piece that’s been simmering for a few weeks. Some of you out there may love it, some may hate it — if you think I’m right or wrong, tell me so. I’d love some feedback.

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Chapter 19. 1. Two angels arrived at Sodom early in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed low before them.

2. “My lords,” he said, “please come this night to your servant’s house. There you may wash, and spend the night, and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the market square.”

3. But he was in such earnest that they did go with him and came to his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast in his haste, and they ate.

4. Before they had gone to bed, however, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house.

5. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

6. Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him,

7 and said, “No, my friends. Do not do this evil.

8. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do with them as you please. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof, and I must be hospitable.”

9. The men said, “That is fair,” and Lot sent his daughters out to them. The men raped them and did what they liked with them, and though his daughters cried out to him all through the night, Lot shut his ears and did not listen.

10. In the morning the angels thanked him and went on their way.

11. And the LORD met them as they came up from the city, and asked them, “Well? What have you seen?”

12. And they told him, “Lord, there is no crime in Sodom, for the men there only rape women.”

13. And the LORD said, “Well, that’s all right then, women don’t count. No harm in that.” And thus Sodom was spared. Continue reading