Saturday, March 16, 2019

Today's Massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand

My photo from 2012 of a folio from a Quran made by Ahmad ibn al-Subrawardi in 1307

I woke up to the shocking news this morning of the murder of 49 people in two mosques in Christchurch by a white supremacist from Australia.  The massacre was especially cold blooded since the congregants of at least one mosque offered the killer their hospitality before he took out his gun and shot them.
It never ceases to strike me that people who fear and hate obsessively always turn into monsters themselves.  Now we have the white racist mirror image of Islamist terrorism, the new "White ISIS."  As for white supremacy, it's a big bamboozle to get poor people to fight and die for rich men's causes.

My deepest sympathies and solidarity with the Muslim community of Christchurch for so terrible a calamity, and for so many losses.
Solidarity with Muslim neighbors that they may feel safe and at home.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Even Taller Manhattan

A photo that I took today from the platform of the Burnside Avenue train station in the Bronx.
Left to right:  432 Park Avenue that currently holds the title for world's tallest residential building, though not for long; The Empire State Building in the center; next to it is the distant World Trade Center and Rockefeller Center; 53 West 53rd Street, a luxury condo attached to expanded gallery space for the Museum of Modern Art;  111 West 57th street, the thinnest of the slender towers and still going up; then One57, the first of the tall slender luxury condo towers; 255 West 57th also known as the Central Park Tower or the Nordstrom Tower, this will soon overtake 432 Park Avenue as the tallest residential building in the world, it will be officially the second tallest building in the city, just a foot short of 1 World Trade Center, unofficially it will be the tallest since it sits on land 15 feet higher than the WTC; next to that looking like a foot hill is 220 Central Park South designed by Robert AM Stern, its top floor is now the most expensive residence in the USA sold for $283 million as one more trophy property to a very wealthy hedge fund manager.

The size, opulence, and arrogance of these monumental vertical gated neighborhoods makes the Palace of Versailles look like an out house.

Another photo that I took today.  These vertical palaces stand about 10 miles away from where I was standing in the Bronx. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Methodist Woes

Looking at Tony de Carlo's painting of Saints Serge and Bacchus and remembering the recent decisions by the church of my childhood, the Methodist Church, I think that there are few people more truly isolated in the world these days than gay Christians. We are shunned by church institutions and most other Christians as heretics, or even as demons. We are perhaps more justly reviled by other LGBTQs as deluded fools at best and traitors to a mortal enemy at worst. And indeed the most murderous hatred of our kind clothes itself in purple piety.

And yet we persist and we persevere.

We cannot let go of a God who loved us enough to live and die as one of us, a God we can call "friend" and even "lover." Few other Christians lived out the Way of the Cross more literally -- and all the way to its fatal end -- than we have. We've died on thousands of Calvaries from executioner's fires to mob lynchings to murders in darkened streets and violated homes, to lazarettos filled with isolated plague victims. We know fully what it is like to be "despised and rejected of men, a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief." We know in our beings and experience that the Crucified stands as a living rebuke to all ambitions to power, to all designs to conquer and dominate other people (especially Christian ambitions). We know more than most that "God has chosen what the world counts folly, and to shame the strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness. He has chosen things low and contemptible, mere nothings, to overthrow the existing order. And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God. You are in Christ Jesus by God's own act, for God has made him our wisdom; he is our righteousness; in him we are consecrated and set free."

Our enemies tell us we are freaks, perversions of nature, though we and scientists know that nature is full of same-sexuality and that we are as natural as the rainbow. After creating the world, God blessed it and called it good, and we claim that blessing since we are part of that world and created in God's image.

We must stand up and fight for love in a way that no one else has to do. We and our loves will always be illegitimate in domineering eyes that hate us. Those who claim to love us in God's name try to destroy us or torture us into conformity to religious law that always tries to limit and define love. But it is love that always tests law for its justice. Our love that is hard won is deathless and indestructible guaranteed by Truth that is not a written text, but a Living Person, the Word made Flesh. Our Friend and Brother was born with a price on his head, lived most of his life in poverty in a remote province of a global empire, was despised and rejected as we are, condemned by religious authorities and civil powers as we are, and executed like a common criminal. He will welcome us into His risen life as among his most faithful and determined servants.

Where I was confirmed into the Methodist Church in 1972, University Park Methodist in Dallas, Texas.

My Methodist confirmation class in 1972.  I am on the left in front right next to Dr. Trice, the head pastor at University Park Methodist.  I actually enjoyed confirmation class.  It was the first time in my life where adults were actually interested in what I thought about anything.