The dumbest and most dishonest meme currently on the Internet

Some conservative Facebook friends posted the above meme last week.  This is the dumbest and most dishonest meme currently on the internet.  Sorry, it just is.

President Reagan may have bombed “their leader’s house” in 1986, but President Obama actually helped end the gruesome dictatorship of Libyan Muammar Gaddafi last year.   The meme is trying to take a shot at President Obama, but the facts just don’t line up.  Libya wasn’t quiet for 25 years nor did Obama apologize last week in the wake of the deaths suffered at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

After 1986, when the meme states that Libya went quiet, the country actually  continued to commit  acts of terrorism against the United States and the United Kingdom, supported horrific civil wars in West Africa, and  imprisoned, tortured, and kill its own people.  During the Bush Administartion, Republicans actually saw Libya as a partner in torture and used the country for its extraordinary rendition program.   Turns out both Bush and Gaddafi were big fans of water-boarding.

Here is a quick timeline of events after 1986 in Libya.

1988, Libyan agents blew up Pan Am Flight 193 in mid-flight above Lockerbie, Scotland. All 243 people on the plane died, along with an additional 11 peopleon the ground.

1996, Gaddafi forces murdered over 1270 prisoners in what is now called the Abu Salim Prison Massacre. This prison was infamous for its human rights abuses before the massacre. Overall, torture and disappearances were common practice in Gaddafi’s Libya, and it was also common for Libyan dissidents living abroad to be targets of assassination

1999-2003, Libya funds and backs Liberian warlord Charles Taylor.  Over 200,000 people in Liberia and Sierre Leone are killed in these wars instigated by Taylor.  This is how horrible things got: Thousands of victims, whose arms and limbs were chopped off by rebels, were reduced to paupers, roaming the streets as beggars in Freetown and other cities. Children as young as a day old were also among those whose arms and limbs were hacked off by Gaddafi’s rebels. Pregnant women, too, were disemboweled with delight in their display of ghastly brutality.

By the 2000s, things started to get really weird. A report released  THIS WEEK by Human Rights Watch has this headline “…United States  government under George W. Bush tortured opponents of former Libyan dictator  Muammar Gaddafi before transferring the prisoners to Libya for further torture.” It turns out Libya was a useful site for the extraordinary rendition/torture by proxy program and the Bush-Cheney people took advantage of this. (Plus, Libya has a lot of oil and natural gas.)

While it appears that George W. Bush colluded with the brutal Gaddafi regime, President Obama’s administration helped end the Gaddafi’s reign of terror last year when his administration made the politically risky decision to intervene on the side of the Libyan Arab-Spring protestors turned revolutionaries.  Unlike the last bunch of Republicans, President Obama never cozied up to the Libyan dictator and didn’t allow him to continue to torture and kill his own people.

President Obama has nothing to apologize for but the writer (and the re-posters) of this meme does.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer does not approve this message!

The above picture was posted on Facebook by something called Alliance Defending Freedom. Turns out it is just another right-wing Christian group that hates on Planned Parenthood, American CivilLliberties Union, etc.  Funny how a group called Alliance Defending Freedom thinks the ACLU is an enemy.

As I suspected, it turns out the ADF is a big fan of Eric Metaxes, who wrote a recent revisionary biography of Bonhoeffer recast as a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Somebody who would fit in perfectly with the nuttiest of American’s right-wing mega churches.  You can even watch a long-winded interview with the “biographer’ where he does his best to talk about Bonhoeffer out of context.

It also turns out that the good people at ADF pretty much equate Obama to Hitler and themselves to Bonhoeffer.

Anyways, this is how I felt when I saw this posted graphic today on Facebook.

The Gospel According to Billy Joe Shaver

I first heard about Billy Joe Shaver on XM radio a few years ago when their alternative country station played “If You Don’t Love Jesus, Go To Hell.”

…If you think you can kick my ass

Better move your foot mighty fast

I got Holy Ghost power and Ill really ring your bell

If you don’t love Jesus go to hell…

I have wanted to see Billy Joe ever since and I finally got to on Saturday night in Lafayette, IN. Thanks Mom and Pop productions!

Here’s a quick bio. 73 years old. Writer of over 500 songs, including songs made hits by Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, and the Allman Brothers. Abandoned by his parents as an infant. Didn’t make it past the 8th grade and worked on his uncle’s farm instead of going to high school. In 2007 was  found not guilty of aggravated assault after shooting a man in the face.   Joked the night of the acquittal that he wanted his bullet back.

The show Saturday night felt like a low-key revival, full of Jesus talk, outlaw country music, and micro-brews.  There were stories, like about the time he played russian roulette with an automatic handgun and survived. Good advice, especially about not giving money to addicts and how hard that might be. His own son and writing partner died of a heroin overdose in 2004. And he talked about being-born again.

“I am born again, but I’m worried about backsliding.  I just had to shoot that man.”

You can have your Billy Graham, I’ll take Billy Joe Shaver.

P.S. Check out this Rolling Stone interview from earlier this summer. 

Quilting Indianas

These Indianas were created by Heather Givans of Crimson Tate :: Modern Quilter.

I have been thinking a lot about Indiana and these Indianas this week.  It even prompted me to end my 1 year break from blogging.

This primary election was downright depressing.  The hate speech coming from the campaign ads created a sense of dread for me every time I would dare turn on the TV or radio.  It was truly sad that Richard Lugar was left for dead on the side of  a rural Indiana highway (or in a suburban cul-de-sac, by his own political party–a party that he made relevant by saving it from its worst instincts.

These Indianas also made me think of the Indiana United Methodist Church.   It just seems that the church paralyzed by the same forces that took down Lugar, who by the way is United Methodist.

Back to the quilted Indianas. The Crimson Tate website describes Givans art as “creating non-traditional patterned quilts with contemporary and vintage repurposed fabrics creating a modern twist. I think this describes where Indiana needs to go.

There is so much good from our past  and so much promising about the future and our current day possibilities.  Lets take what was great and beautiful from Indiana’s history and weave quilt it together with what is promising about the future and make something.

Make something happen.

The Zen Master and Bin Laden

I was sitting on my couch on Sunday night after getting home from a tough day at church.   I was looking for sports highlights when it was announced that Bin Laden had been killed. 

It was a weird feeling.  I wanted to both cry and jump for joy.  It was mostly a feeling of relief.  Hopefully we learned some lessons.  

The day before I met someone who had graduated from college in 2010.  I graduated in 2000 and told her about  my first decade of post college life. 

Well, George W. Bush stole an election and then 9-11 happened.  It will be eleven years since I left  Earlham and nearly that entire time has been shaped by 9/11.  There are kids who are leaving elementary schools who have known nothing except  for this endless war. 

So how do I feel about Bin Laden’s death?  We’ll see.

Love Wins, even in Brownsburg

I am a big Rob Bell fan.

For those who don’t know him, here is a  write-up from the New York Times:

 ” Mr. Bell, 40, whose Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., has 10,000 members, is a Christian celebrity and something of a hipster in the pulpit, with engaging videos that sell by the hundreds of thousands and appearances to rapt, youthful crowds in rock-music arenas.”

To  sum up the controversy around Bel that broke out last weekl, here is a summary from the same  New York Times story:

  A new book by one of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors, challenging traditional Christian views of heaven, hell and eternal damnation, has created an uproar among evangelical leaders, with the most ancient of questions being argued in a biblical hailstorm of Twitter messages and blog posts.

The new book is called Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”   


Lets  time travel back to 1991 when I was a seventh grader and somewhat involved  at Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, Indiana.    It is a place where the pastors respect  people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer  and worry about being gender neutral when describing God but where much of the congregation itself is fixated on Reaganism and some of the people leading the youth program think satanic rock music is a big problem.   (Thank God for Petra!)  

One of the youth group adult leaders  had an overnight retreat at his house.  We watched a very scary “documentary” about Hell, Satan, and rock music. 

I wasn’t too hip to the ways of the world or church back then.  The “documentary” was scary.  Was I going to go to hell because my mom bought me a copy of REM’s Out of Time album?

Much had changed since I watched that scary movie.  Those people eventually left and  by the time I entered high school a new youngish associate pastor got the youth program focused on mission, theological study,  social justice, and having fun (without worrying so much about the (bogus) satanic rock music.    It was a perfect youth group in many ways and it would forever change my life. 

This summer when my family and i  moved back to Brownsburg, I went to Sunday school at Calvary for the first time since I left for college. 

 And what was the Sunday school class watching?  A video produced by Rob Bell called Matthew from the Nooma series.  The short film/seron is  about Matthew, a friend of Bell’s who died at age twenty-seven. Here is how one blogger describes it:

 [Bell] talks about the Jewish practice of sitting Shiva, which refers to sitting with the bereaved, just sitting, and not talking unless the bereaved want to discuss the matter. This would be a very different approach to the one taken by Job’s comforters. Rob draws an analogy with how Jesus in Jn. 11 wept at the grave of a friend and entered fully into his friends grieving process. Honestly, I did not expect either the emotional genuineness of this video or the wisdom beyond his years he serves up in this video. I suspect it may well help as a gift to the bereaved. 

This adult Sunday school was moved by “Matthew”.   How do you grieve?  How do you respond to untimely death or family tragedy?  How do you support someone going through the grieving process?  What does the deepest part of our faith tradition say about this? If Jesus weeps at the grave of a friend, are there any simple answers to these questions? 

It also turned out that the  Calvary youth group or Sunday School class  had been watching the NOOMA video earlier in the year.

And this is why I will  always love Rob Bell.   Instead of watching evangelical, conservative Christian fantasies about fake satanic rock music, or going to crappy Christian rock concerts with easy, shallow answers, youth (and adults) are  more likely today, even in the unhip suburbs,  to watch the theological art of preacher/prophet/poet Rob Bell.