Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Religion, God, Bible Knowlege and Being a Good Person

This post on my personal Facebook timeline was inspired by the many comments I was seeing and actually receiving after the presidential election. Part of that "Get over it, Trump won" crowd saying that it was God's will that this happened. I call foul on that. Here is the post in it's entirety, and, at the end, a link to the original post with the comments:

I am not a religious person. Organized religion failed me by constantly treating me as if I were a 2nd class citizen because my parents had the audacity to divorce when I was 7. I left the Southern Baptist church at 16 when I was told by my youth minister (someone who actually graduated from Southwest Theological Seminary, at that!) that Catholics were not Christian and that the nice Methodist family who were trying to join the church had to be re-baptized because their original church baptism, which supposedly proclaimed that Jesus was their savior, wasn't good enough for the Baptists. That family did not join the church.

Do I believe in God? Most of the time (definitely believe there is a higher power out there, but the name "God" might not be it), but I question those who use the name of God as a way to demean others because they have a different world view than they do. I don't think those people are coming anywhere close to doing what Jesus would do. Yes. I judge them with the opposite eyes they are judging me with. I have a very low opinion of people who profess to be "Godly" or "Christian" but do or say things that are decidedly not. I'd say I shouldn't do that. Neither should they.

 Don't quote the Bible to me. I've studied it from front matter to back matter multiple times (all the way through, not just cherry picking verses to suit my needs). Due to my religious education in college (Texas Wesleyan University required it to get a diploma), I've actually taken classes in religious studies and Bible history with religion scholars. I look at the Bible as an interesting collection of parables that many can learn from, but that its entirely possible any given verse has the stamp of the beliefs of some random 7th century monk with an agenda.
I believe in being good. In doing good. In not looking at things, people, other beliefs at face value, but digging deeper. I believe in science, in actual research, and in love. I try my best not to live in fear, but I do fear sometimes. It's human nature. 

 If you've made it this far, just know that I love you, despite everything. Remember, we fight with those we love because we want their lives to be better. I just hope that someday there can be a mutual agreement as to what that "better" is. I'm not going to pretend that I know what's best for the world. I don't. I will fight for an injustice when I see it, though. We all should.

Here is the original post.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Day: Don't Be Enraged. Be Engaged.

I was one of those who wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t possibly believe that our country would really let someone like Donald Trump become president. I was wrong. I realized this entirely too late. By 11pm on November 8th, I knew we were in major trouble. I had to go to bed. I awoke at 2:45am in a panic. I had to check the results to see if they turned around. They hadn’t. We had a new president and it wasn’t the most qualified person. It wasn’t the first woman. It wasn’t Hillary Clinton. It was Donald Trump.

From 2:45am until about 7am, I think I went through most of the stages of grief. Disbelief, despair, sadness, then pure anger. It helped me process. It then made me realize that I was part of this problem festering in our society. I was also complacent. Sure, I voted. I felt like I did my part. It is obvious that wasn’t enough.
I will not make the same mistake for 2020, or even earlier- 2018. I will be part of the revolution. I will organize. I will volunteer my talents to change this. Living in Tarrant County, the only large city in Texas to be so, so Republican, the challenge is there. I will talk with my friends. I will make sure they understand what has happened. I hope, especially for those who voted for Trump, they’ll end up having buyer’s remorse. So many said it was the emails, the lack of integrity on Clinton’s part that caused them to vote Trump or not vote at all. I don’t know how they could look at Trump and not think much, much worse than Clinton, but they did.
I will also do my part to petition for a change in the Electoral College. “Winner Takes All” is getting to the point that it totally disenfranchises a large segment of the population if the vote is only 1-2% difference. We need to be able to split that up a bit. As it turns out, the Electoral College petitions have to happen on the State level. Each state has control as to if the Electoral College is a “Winner Takes All” or decided by Congressional Districts by popular vote in each district. So, to change this, the state house and senate must vote on it to happen. This is where who you have representing you locally really comes into play. Remember- All politics is local. I don’t know what or how, but I am going do my best to petition our state representatives in Texas to change our Electoral College system. I will work to empower other districts to do the same. For more information, see http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx
I’m not enraged. I’m moved to be engaged.