Jesus Sought Me: Luke 19

Come down from that tree!

Zacchaeus tree.Palestine_Jericho
Zacchaeus tree in Jericho, Palestine
Now it’s the second day of Triennium, so it’s Tuesday. No, wait, it’s Wednesday. We left on Monday, got here on Tuesday. It WAS Wednesday.

The scripture of the day was Luke 19, specifically the first ten verses, and the theme of the day is Jesus Sought Me. After breakfast, there are discussions with our group of 18. We were joined by a couple of women from Connecticut, who were their entire delegation.

Jerry, the pastor, led the discussion about Zacchaeus, the tax collector. It was a despised profession because they only made a real profit when they overcharged those who owed money. And he was the chief tax collector in the area, so he was particularly loathed

Verse 3: He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. The first “he” was Zacchaeus. But Jerry opined that the second he was NOT Zaccheus but Jesus and that Jesus was short.

Ha! That dovetails with my working theory that Jesus was not only height-challenged but homely as well, which I shared with one of our visitors afterward.

The broader message was that Jesus picked that unlikely guy, deciding he needed to stay at Zacchaeus’ house that night. The crowd grumbled, “Why is Jesus hanging out with THAT dude?” Zacchaeus declared he’d give up half of his possessions to the poor, and if he cheated anybody, he’d pay them back four times the amount.

The message continued later that morning in the small group discussions. I was probably older than the instructor and there was only one other person over 40. The rest appeared to be older teens or in their early twenties. I enjoyed the intergenerational interaction.

I should explain the worship services. It’s in a hall that holds most of the 5000 people attending the conference.

The session started, always, with what they called “The Energizer”, doing various exercises to pop music from a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift and BTS, the latter which thrilled my daughter. I thought it was, in the words of Frank Zappa, “enforced recreation,” but I was clearly in the minority.

Our group showed up closer to the start time of the worship services, but the Energizers started slightly before the scheduled time. The kids in our group would try to get there early.

There was a band who sang and played a folk/gospel/rock amalgam. They were quite good. The lyrics to the songs, all but one of which were unfamiliar to me, were shown on a couple of screens. It’s usually not my cuppa, but most of the songs were pretty good.

The sermons during the week, from five diverse speakers, were good across the board. They spoke of an inclusive, rather than exclusionary God, a God that would welcome even a tax collector.

While no specific political statements were made, it was clear that the speakers were cognizant of a certain rhetorical disconnect out of the District of Columbia.

By the time we got to Woodstock

one of the greatest moments in popular music history

Woodstock posterThe Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place August 15 to August 18, 1969, on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York owned by Max Yasgur. Over 30 acts performed over the sometimes rainy weekend in front of at least 400,000 concertgoers.

I didn’t get to go to “one of the greatest moments in popular music history,” though I surely wanted to. However, my friends and I saw the movie that was released in March 1970, fairly early in its run. And then we watched the three-hour movie AGAIN, back when theater owners didn’t care if you did that.

The second time, I remember looking at the purple of the light projecting onto the screen as Sly and the Family Stone was performing. And I wasn’t even TAKING anything – really!

The soundtrack to the movie was released on May 1970. I surely bought the 3-LP set before the summer was out, and played it incessantly. A second album of two LPs came out the following year, a lesser collection.

Some artists did not appear on either set, because their record label wouldn’t allow it, or because they didn’t think they sounded good enough, or because the artist wanted an album of just their music.

In 1994, Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music a 4-CD set with additional tracks came out. In 2009, Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm, a 6-CD collection was released.

I thought I’d pick some artists not represented in the first two albums. This proved to be more difficult than I thought. I found three “complete” sets of one artist that ran from 30 to 75 minutes.

Day 1

Sweetwater – Look Out or Two Worlds
Bert Sommer – Jennifer
Tim Hardin – If I Were a Carpenter; more Tim
Ravi Shankar – Evening Raga

Day 2

Quill – Waiting For You
The Keef Hartley Band – Spanish Fly/ Think it Over/ Too Much Thinking/ I Believe in You; to my knowledge, the band has never been featured on any Woodstock recording, nor were they featured in the film.
The Incredible String Band – The Letter
Grateful Dead – part 1
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou/ I Put a Spell On You/ Keep on Chooglin’
Janis Joplin – Try/ Ball and Chain

Day 3

The Band – full set
Johnny Winter – full set
Blood, Sweat & Tears – full set

Oh, what the heck: two songs about Woodstock

The song – Joni Mitchell
Who’ll Stop the Rain – CCR; John Fogerty on the musical legacy of the concert

Mexican repatriation of the 1930s

A Decade of Betrayal

1500-Mexicans-Loaded-on-TrainsI was catching up with a month of four-minute vlogbrothers videos when I got up to John Green’s piece on Mexican repatriation. He was researching a famous painting when he came across a bit of terrible US history that wasn’t in any of the textbooks that either of us had read.

It’s not a secret – there’s even a decent Wikipedia page about it. The narrative is that in the early stages of the Great Depression, there was, of course, a scarcity of jobs. The Secretary of Labor William N. Doak suggested that if there were fewer people, there would be fewer unemployed, and, as President Herbert Hoover put it, “real jobs for real Americans.” This did not prove to be the case.

From The Atlantic: “According to former California State Senator Joseph Dunn, who in 2004 began an investigation into the Hoover-era deportations, ‘the Republicans decided the way they were going to create jobs was by getting rid of anyone with a Mexican-sounding name.'”

A Decade of Betrayal

Professor Francisco Balderrama has literally written the book on the actions, A Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. He notes that Mexicans were targeted because of the proximity of the Mexican border and the physical distinctiveness of the people.

“The federal government imposed restrictions for immigrant labor as well, requiring firms that supply the government with goods and services refrain from hiring immigrants and, as a result, most larger corporations followed suit, and as a result, many employers fired their Mexican employees and few hired new Mexican workers causing unemployment to increase among the Mexican population.”

The term “repatriation: was actually inaccurate, since up to 60% of those sent to Mexico were U.S. citizens: American-born children of Mexican-descent who had never been to Mexico and often did not speak Spanish.

It wasn’t a unified plan. “In Los Angeles,” explained Balderrama, “they had orderlies who gathered people [in the hospitals] and put them in stretchers on trucks and left them at the border.” Others would round up people up in parks and scanning public employee rolls for Mexican-sounding names and send them on special trains out of the country.

From Timeline: In downtown LA “during the 1930s, La Placita Catholic church was a social hub for Mexican Americans and immigrants…

“On February 26th, 1931, they sealed off the area around the church before anyone could realize what was happening and began arresting suspected undocumented immigrants en masse. Families watched in horror as their spouses, friends, and colleagues — 400 people in total — were loaded into vans, and eventually shipped back to Mexico. Many of those detained had been in the country so long they didn’t speak Spanish.”

Read more at this NPR or Teen Vogue. I believe that knowing our history makes us better citizens.

August rambling: No room for fear

Fall Springs, a New Musical

at the drop of a hatCondolences to fillyjonk on the death of her father.

The Rise and Fall of ‘Mentally Retarded’.

How vaccines cause autism.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane.

Dr Dicky Doyle.

Jeff Lasky on JEOPARDY! Part 1 and Part 2 and Questions answered.

The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket.

When New Yorkers Were Menaced By Banana Peels.

Now I Know: Nothing Motivates Like Free Pizza and Why You Shouldn’t Discount Discounts and Why Those Two Little Black Bumps Are In The Road.

TONI MORRISON, R.I.P.

The Los Angesles time obituary.

Her Black Art Spoke in a Nation That Would Silence Us

No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear; In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.

Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez Pay Tribute

In her own words.

We feel like she’s a piece of us: her time in Albany (I am briefly quoted)

AMERICAN ROULETTE

The U.S. Culture of Violence is Killing Us All.

The Second Amendment doesn’t give you the right to own a gun; Federalist Papers #29.

‘A Guarantee of Not Being Shot Is Impossible’: Amnesty Issues Global Travel Warning to All People in the United States.

Americans are saving too little for retirement.

Why Didn’t America Become Part of the Modern World?

:Republican Whataboutism Gets More Desperate.

Foreign Policy magazine cataloged the U.S. Democratic presidential primary candidates’ stances on foreign-policy issues.

djt

Desperate Fear.

The regime’s trade threats, tariffs, and bullying both allies and rivals into submission was based on an ambitious theory. It turned out to be a fallacy. and More tariffs ahead as he admits agriculture deal with China never really existed and Wall Street Fears He Is Too Dumb to End Trade War Before 2020.

Republicans Now Are More Open to the Idea of Expanding Presidential Power.

MUSIC

Nasty Man – Joan Baez.

C’mon Science — Fall Springs, a New Musical.

THE 8 WEIRDEST VIDEOS MTV PLAYED ON ITS FIRST DAY Yes, it includes Lifeguard.

Heartbeats Accelerating – Linda Ronstadt.

Harry Belafonte: Turn Around and Jump in the Line.

All Over the Place – HYLLS

Coverville: 1272: The 35th Anniversary Track by Track Cover of Purple Rain and 1273: Cover Stories for Counting Crows and Dire Straits.

Inspirit – Lola Astanova.

K-Chuck: the funkiest tracks buried deep in his record collection.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG DANCES WITH SUSIE Q DOLLS?

Rhiannon Giddens: Defiant in the Face of “Othering” and What Folk Music Means.

The woman who saved Paul McCartney | 60 Minutes Australia.

Movie review: Yesterday (2019)

Of course, the music was great

Yesterday_(2019_poster)The Saturday before the trip to Indiana, the family was in Binghamton for a family reunion. Since we started early enough, we decided to stop at the AMC Theater near Binghamton to see the new movie Yesterday.

I’d been seeing the trailer for months. The premise is high concept. “Struggling UK musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) decides to give up his career, despite the support of his manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James). But in a bizarre twist, he suddenly realizes that he remembers the music of The Beatles, but apparently no one else does.

“Realizing this improbable opportunity, Jack begins playing the music of the greatest of the rock bands, claiming it as his own. It pays off quickly and Jack becomes a worldwide musical sensation.” But how long can you pass off someone else’s art as your own?

I know this will come as a big surprise to y’all, but I’ve been a huge fan of the Beatles for over a half century. I accepted the premise, and laughed out loud few times. The performances were enjoyable, including those by Kate McKinnon as a hard-edged music producer, and Ed Sheeran as a character named Ed Sheeran.

The critics were only so-so about Yesterday (63% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, though 89% of the audiences liked it). It’s not without its flaws, but I found it a lovely, escapist tale. Hey, Paul and Ringo liked it.

I was particularly struck by Lily James as the friend taken for granted. She is SO much different than the her performance as the titular character in All About Eve.

Of course, the music was great. There’s always speculation how the Beatles would be received now, but the band is so much a part of the cultural DNA, it is really unanswerable.

A little about the AMC theater. We went there as a result of a retirement gift card from one of my sisters The venue on the Vestal Parkway has great, cushy leatheresque seats that recline. It was quite possibly the most comfortable cinematic setting I’ve been to.

On the other hand, it had fully 30 minutes of previews. I don’t mind seeing three or four coming attractions, but I lost count after eight. The nice thing is that they indicated when the film was opening, presumably so you could buy your ticket TODAY.