Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

When I was nine years old, while watching a Billy Graham crusade on television, I had a “born again” experience. I don’t remember whose house I was at, but it was on Oak Street, between Winding Way and Dickinson Street, across the street and half a block from my church in Binghamton, NY.

It was a specific theology that wasn’t so different, I suppose, from what I learned from Trinity AME Zion, but it resonated so much that, somehow, I got recruited by the secretary at my school, Pat, for Friday Night Bible Club. My sister Leslie soon went as well, and we attended for several years.

I’m fairly sure it was Pat who gave me a copy of Peace with God, Graham’s 1952 classic book about salvation. This codified my budding theology so that I thought, as did others, that I would grow up to be a preacher.

I could quote Scripture pretty darn well in those days. Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Didn’t have to look it up, even after all these years.

By 9th grade, I started carrying around my Bible to school. By 10th grade, my friend Bobby and I would walk over two miles to the Primitive Methodist Church in Johnson City every Sunday afternoon for more fundamentalist training, and then usually walk back.

I really became “holier than thou.” Even when some of my friends drank and smoked pot, in my presence, I remained resolute. Until I wasn’t.

When I understood that all those people in India and China who never accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, who perhaps never really even heard of him, were supposedly going to go to a literally fiery pit called Hell – which is why why we “needed” so many missionaries – I simply couldn’t accept that.

Fairly soon thereafter, I fell away from this belief system, which I had initially learned from Billy Graham, and it took a long time to find my way back to a theology that made sense to me.

I started re-examining the preacher. His close ties with Presidents, when I had been younger, I saw as a good thing in spreading the Word.

His friendship with Richard Nixon, in particular, became problematic for me, as I believed even by my freshman year in college that Graham was co-opted by the power elite, rather than speaking truth to that power.

To his credit, Graham eventually came to that same conclusion himself. He actively discouraged Jerry Falwell, a founder of the Moral Majority, from mixing religion and politics.

“Evangelicals can’t be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left,” Graham said in 1981, according to Time magazine. “I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future.”

I have a soft spot in my heart for Billy Graham, despite his significant shortcomings, as accurately laid out by Arthur. Not so for his dreadful son Franklin, whose appearance in Albany in 2016, I protested.

Doomsday Clock Now ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’

Amy Biancolli: life is huge

John Green: On emergencies

The Women’s Marches Could Have Lasting Consequences

How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine

Water run out: Days are numbered in Cape Town

Evangelical toadies are destroying the Christian brand and The death of Christianity in the U.S.

I Was a Successful Journalist When a Doctor First Handed Me Opioids

Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

How he convinced America that character doesn’t matter

His Racism: The Definitive List

How democracies die

Why Don’t Norwegians Immigrate to the United States?

More than 160 women say Larry Nassar sexually abused them; here are his accusers in their own words and It’s Time For Every Last Coward Who Enabled Nassar To Pay For Their Sins

When convictions are clearly wrong, these prosecutors don’t just hinder justice—they actively work against it

N.Y. gun violence costs state economy over $5.6B a year

An experiment involving monkeys watching cartoons shows how far Volkswagen went to manipulate research on the harmful effects of diesel fuel

FACEBOOK begins its downward spiral

“Keep going today. Keep moving amid every obstacle. Keep moving amid every mountain of opposition” – MLK, Jr.

The Reasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics

A Tiny New York Town With Not One, But 5 Indie Bookstores

10 Letters We Dropped From The Alphabet

Ursula K. Le Guin, acclaimed science fiction writer, is dead at 88; Le Guin on Tolkien

RIP Hugh Wilson (WKRP)

Connie Sawyer, World’s Oldest Working Actress, dies at 105

Comic strip creator Mort Walker, R.I.P. Beetle Bailey was the brother of Lois in Hi and Lois

Jeopardy! Contestants Present: “Get Well Soon, Alex!” and Alex Trebek returned to taping Jeopardy!

From Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr’s collection of vintage ephemera, circa 1912

How STAR WARS was saved in the edit and Star Wars’ infamous Holiday Special, explained

Some nice Albany photography


Now I Know: How Fire and Fury Fueled a World War II Revival and Now I Know: How Some Places are Beeting the Snow and When A Penny Saved is Ten-Thousand Pennies Earned and The A-Maze-Ing Solution to a Bar’s Legal Problems and Why Nike Makes Glowing Sneakers

Aristocrat, friend of royalty and cad and card cheat Sir William Gordon-Cumming


Holly Holy- Neil Diamond (live 1971)

Sunny Afternoon – the Rodford Files

Cry Like A Rainstorm – Bonnie Raitt

Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes

John Knowles Paine Symphony No. 2: In Spring

Coverville 1201: Cover Stories for Pat Benatar and Shawn Colvin and 1202: Cover Stories for the Kaiser Chiefs and the Thompson Twins and 1203: Journey and Cheap Trick Cover Stories

The River Cam – Eric Whitacre

H.P. Lovecraft’s “Nemesis” has the same meter as Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”

Nights at White Castle

5 Songs You’ve Never Heard That You’ve Heard 1000 Times

Two Catskill HS Students to Perform at Carnegie Hall, one of whom I know well

Hugh Masekela, great South African jazz trumpeter, died at 78

Edwin Hawkins, Known for the Hit ‘Oh Happy Day,’ Is Dead at 74

Mark Edward Smith (1957-2018) of The Fall

Denise LaSalle, singer and writer of earthy songs dies at 78

Hormones appear to affect our musical preferences

There’s a delineation in my mind about how one should do Christianity – and I think the faith is action, not just being – versus how certain elements of the faith have manifest themselves.

The theological divide is clear in these two titles: Advancing faith as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good versus Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic?

It causes one to wonder Is Your God Dead? “Building walls, banning refugees and ignoring the poor are the social expressions of bankrupt theologies…” ‘Any god who is mine but not yours, any god concerned with me but not with you, is an idol,’ Heschel writes.”

On a secular basis, I believe those same values of “justice, compassion and the common good” should be pursued by the state. I’ve become really fascinated that Finnish citizens were given universal basic income, without any reporting on how it would be spent. Not surprisingly, the recipients reported lower stress levels. Perhaps not intuitively, it provided them greater incentive to work.

In this TEDx talk, historian Rutger Bregman long believed, as many people do, that poverty was the result of a lack of character. But now he’s come to believe “Poverty is a matter of cash, not character.” In fact, he recommends that those folks doling out checks to the poor could be eliminated, with the money going to those in need.

To that end, I oppose drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients. “Such laws demonize the poor, violate constitutional rights, and are a waste of government money.” Fiscal conservatives should be drawn to that third point, the clear cost-ineffectiveness of these actions.

However, “maybe there is a difference between ‘handouts’ and subsidies designed to induce specific behavior. OK, I’ll bite, but that means that all of Wall Street — and shareholders too — should have been subjected to drug testing after receiving bailouts in 2008 and 2009.”

The Uninhabitable Earth

An Iceberg the Size of Delaware Just Broke Off a Major Antarctic Ice Shelf

Senator Al Franken and David Letterman in Boiling the Frog

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Sends You Letters about Your Medical Condition

The End of the American Experiment

Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’

Enraged by 18th-Century Custard Recipe: Orange Fool

Simply The Worst Human Being We Can Imagine?

Natalia Veselnitskaya was no stranger to Trump business; the timeline so far

Donald Jr. Reviews Famous Works Of Literature (satire)

Ivanka Inc

Crackdown on immigrants shakes upstate New York economy

He Became a Hate Crime Victim. She Became a Widow

So this one time at a journalism conference…

Emmanuel Carrère’s “The Kingdom” explores how a tiny sect became a global religion

Three Misunderstood Things, including Christianity and abortion

How to Talk With Religious Conservatives About LGBT Rights

The Religious Left is getting under right-wing media’s skin

The invention of heterosexuality

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

The Origin of ‘Husky,’ the Word That’s Traumatized Generations of Fat Boys

The Librarian Who Took On Al Qaida

Higher education and budget cuts

How One Leader Set a Toxic Tone, Spurning Allies She Needed Most (Shirley Jackson of RPI)

How Andrew Cuomo Keeps the Left in Check

Join in this first-of-its-kind citizen science project, gathering scientifically valuable data from the total solar eclipse that will traverse North America on August 21, 2017; here’s the eclipse simulator; ALB will only get 70%

The Rise and Fall of Toronto’s Classiest Con Man

Why Popularity Matters So Much—Even After High School

Leonard Maltin (Critic): If you’ve never seen silent films, or foreign language films, if your education with film begins with Star Wars then you’re handicapped

Oscar-winner Martin Landau, who starred in ‘Ed Wood,’ ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘Mission: Impossible,’ dies at 89 – before that, he was a cartoonist

Kermit voice actor Steve Whitmire devastated to lose job after 27 years and Jim Henson’s daughter and son respond; replacements?

A WICKED interview with Winnie Holzman, librettist

Chuck Miller gets a postcard from the 2017 Iowa State Fair Photo Competition

NOT ME: THE STAR spoke with Roger Green, who has been driving hearses for more than a decade. “He said nobody wants their dead in a ‘dead’ hearse.”

Mary Anderson, inventor of the practical car windscreen wiper

There’s No Crying in Professional Wiffle Ball

Now I Know: The New York Police Officer Whose Job is a Buzz and Who Was the Fifth Dentist — That Didn’t Recommend Trident? and A Profitable Way to Stop Telemarketers and The Internet’s Hidden Teapot and The Best Checkers Player in History


Sgt. Pepper – Big Daddy. The whole thing, live

The Strawberry Alarm Clock Celebrate 50 Years of “Incense and Peppermints”

K-Chuck Radio: Awesome and rare 70’s dance classics and Father’s Day Funk

Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly And Bryce Dessner Play ‘Planetarium’ Track ‘Mercury’

Beating the spread

Amat Te Mehercle: The 1960s Classics Teacher Who Translated Beatles Songs Into Latin

Rapp on This: The Slants’ SCOTUS victory

Deliver us from Scripture-citers

Pastorized for your protection

What’s Our Story? How do we defend Western values if we no longer believe the story that used to justify them?

‘They Starve You. They Shock You’: Inside the Anti-Gay Pogrom in Chechnya

Racism, Hot and Cold

Women Don’t Need to Apologize Less — Men Need to Learn How to Apologize

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Catcalling Someone

Why Traveling is More Important Now than Ever

Gisele Lagace, Canadian comic book artist, refused entrance at the US border

Rapp On This: Raging scum (bull v girl)

For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity – Until I found her

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has Fairbanks Disease, which causes stunted bone growth. He’s 4’11”. So he was bullied mercilessly in school until somebody stood up for him. An older kid who he didn’t even know began to beat the crap out of anybody who bothered him. It was the foundational experience of his life.
The older kid was Mickey Schwerner. A few years later, Schwerner joined Andrew Goodman and James Chaney and went door-to-door in Mississippi, trying to register Black voters. You know what happened.

This Lawsuit Goes to 11

Harry Potter and The Problem With The Pensieve Memories

Now I Know: The Rise and Fall of the Flivverboobs and An Astronaut’s Most Important Fan and The Time Travel Trap

Weed can play a significant role in your romantic relationships

The 8 Personalities You’ll Meet When Dating in the U.S.

Space Sex is Serious Business

The picture on the top of the page is of actress Gloria DeHaven. Yet it shows up often on the Internet as being a young Frances Bavier, the woman who would eventually play Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s.

Illustrated Guide To Playing Sports As An Adult!

Five Questions for Rick Geary by Alan David Doane

I did not realize this until recently, but I think I’m becoming a devotee of the British way of punctuation. “British usage omits the apostrophe in the plural form of dates (e.g., 1980s)”. Also, “British style (more sensibly) places unquoted periods and commas outside the quotation marks.”

100 days

New York Times: White House Reporters Recall Their Most Vivid Moments

Fourteen per cent of US Christians left their churches after the election

Here Are The National Monuments At Risk

Massive Corporate Tax Cut Literally Cannot Pass Congress

Seth Meyers: ‘For every action, there’s an equal and opposite clip’

Anti-immigrant hotline bombarded with reports of space aliens

‘I thought it would be easier’

Ivanka & Jared: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver


UNABASHED PLUG for the niece’s new album: Planet Cole Porter. This is a collection sung by Rebecca Jade, with Peter Sprague’s amazing arrangements.

Cuba Gooding, Sr., RIP

Pentatonix’s Acapella Spin of Queen’s All-Time Classic

Simon, Garfunkel, Sound of Silence, live

Kermit sings Once In a Lifetime (featuring The Electric Mayhem)

Flapper pie

K-Chuck Radio: The Arthur Baker Groove System and Saturday morning rock and roll!

Not me: Dinner with Roger Green (Formerly of The Czars), Sun, May 28, 2017, 6:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm) in Denver
No Cover!

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