Warped Tour and a lack of Women

Apparently, Warped Tour 2014 – and previous warped tours – has a women problem.  That is in a women problem in terms of the amount of women involved in the bands who make up Warped Tour.

Now right away, this observation should be made:  This one of the the usual “divide and conquer” approaches that people employ when talking about this subject wreaks of to motivate women and/or men to endorse a particular ideology to create ” specific issues” and win them votes.   As my friend Katie has said, and I’m paraphrasing, they are trying to divided us and get us at each others throats the day we are born, and she is right.  Think for yourself.
Ms. Megan Seling over at WonderingSound has put out a rather thoughtful piece on the lack of female “involved” bands at the Warped Tour.  When “female” bands is mentioned in this post it includes both bands with female members in their ranks and female fronted ones as well.   Instead of deliberately misrepresenting what she has to say, I’ll quote this lovely piece:

“As a woman and a fan of punk rock, I’m angry and disheartened. I grew up listening to hardcore and pop-punk and I know what a boys’ club it can be. I’m used to being in the minority at shows, having to deal with guys who think they need to protect me in the mosh pit. But that was 15 years ago, and still the culture has not evolved. Part of that could be because Kevin Lyman, founder and producer of the Warped Tour, doesn’t think there’s a problem.”

Quick, but important poin a.k.a rant: Has Seling been in a “hardcore” pit in the last 10 years? You know, where the wild things dwell and the Boston hardcore scene gives no f*cks at the shows. You aren’t moving! Windmill to the face, stage dive to your head, ect.  There is a REAL reason  – part of it being physical – that some girls don’t go to actual hardcore shows. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t bring my 13 year old cousin to one if I was actually thinking of her safety.  Hold on, I’m taking my sip of patriarchal kool-aide right now.

Well, how many “female” bands are their actually on the warped tour this year? A commentor on www.absolutepunk.net by the name of TylerDrumming compiled what appears to be a list of women – I’m assuming they are women!

Dangerkids

Echosmith
K.Flay
Sleeper Agent
The Summer Set
Allison Weiss
American Pinup
Beebs And Her Money Makers
Courage My Love
Emilie Autumn
Icon For Hire
Marmozets
Pvris
Shot in the Dark
Tess Dunn
We Are The In Crowd
—————————–
Aim Your Arrows (Playing 7/8)
Amber Stowell (Playing 7/8)
Blackbird (Playing 7/6-7/10 and 7/12)
Blair La Rose (Playing 6/26)
Blameshift (Playing 7/9-7/12)
Candy Hearts (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Death of Paris (Playing 7/9)
Go Betty Go (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Go Big (Playing 7/6)
Hunter Valentine (Playing 7/6-7/12)
Jackknife Stiletto (Playing 7/9)
Jenni Spiro (Playing 7/11)
June Divided (Playing 7/11)
Justina (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Kaleido (Playing 7/11)
Kiirstin Marilyn (Playing 7/12)
Light Up the Eyes (Playing 6/20 and 6/25)
Melanie Lynx (Playing 7/10)
Miracle Dolls (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Mourning Lilith (Playing 6/21)
Queen Caveat (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Romance Mechanics (Playing 6/21-6/25)
Romantic Rock Fashion Show (Playing 6/25)
Sara Laketa (Playing 7/10)
Sharkmuffin (Playing 7/6 and 7/11-7/12)
Shiragirl (Playing 6/20-6/26 and 7/6-7/12)
Stop the Presses (Playing 6/25-6/26)
Survival Guide (Playing 6/21 and 6/26)
The Swank Masters (Playing 6/26)
The Turbulent Hearts (Playing 6/20-6/22 and 6/26)
Varna (Playing 6/21-6/22)
Wasi (Playing 6/21 and 6/25)
You Only Live Once (Playing 6/20 and 6/25-6/26)

Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, points out that it’s okay for one out of the six bands on average on the tour tend to be “female” involved and/or fronted and he said it was “absolutely okay” for there to be “such a one-sided ratio”, but Seling yet again disagrees:

“But it’s not. It’s not OK for Warped or the Fest, and it’s not OK that Alternative Press, a monthly music magazine that sponsors the Warped Tour, has only put a woman on its cover five times in the last three years — and twice it was Hayley Williams from Paramore.”

This acknowledgment and “defense” obviously leads to the logical and sane conclusion that,  “… as long as Warped Tour continues to boast such an insulting male-to-female artist ratio, those 500,000 fans are learning that loud music is played by dudes, and women belong in the crowd (which, according to Lyman, is 53 percent female).”  Yes. That is ABSOLUTELY what these fans are learning who can’t obviously f*ucking think for themselves. No faith in humanity right?   Apparently, neither can any of the female fans and artists there either, according to Ms. Seling, They are in fact so incapable of excelling by themselves and against the current, that they need divine male intervention in the form of Lyman rectifying the gender music gap in punk.

Seriously, I had no idea these female bands needed so much help from men!  No, don’t give me the, “There is sexism in the music industry creating significant barriers for women so they need special help!”   That’s not equality and if you are trying to balance things out by creating such a concept of “equality” by using unequal specific preferential treatment, your logic is seriously flawed.  Just like affirmative action, the ends don’t justify the means. (No, “white privilege” wont work here. Genocide bitches – I win in the oppression Olympics.)


Lyman goes on to “defend” himself and points out that the Warped Tour has an “all girls” stage for 11 of the tour dates this year…  HOLD ON for a second. Can you imagine if there was an “all male” celebration day and special privileges for said males to rectify the gender gap in teaching at the local elementary school to make the bare 5% on average of male teachers in public school? People would flip shit and you can bet your ass the NFL wouldn’t come up with a masculine color for the month to commemorate the male struggle in the school system.

Unfortunately, Lyman has been turned into an object for wrath for a problem he didn’t cause.  I as well as every other person who has the slightest idea of Kevin’s character know he has never passed on a band just because they had a “female” in the band.  Simple supply and demand is the problem here, if you want to call it an actual problem.   Bands that play, especially the main stage, are brought onto the tour because of their fans and following.  Kevin, the opportunist closet misogynist that he is, has already tried an all girls spin off tour which FAILED.    But apparently this is because women have an uninviting environment created for them in punk music and are held up to unrealistic standards.

Newsflash: There is a reason Katie Perry and Paramore draw than every punk, metal, hardcore band in general – much to my disdain – let alone if there is a woman in their ranks or not.  The demand and audience has to BE there.   There is a reason there is a higher demand for One Direction then Selena Gomez – simple demographics.

It’s not Kevins fault or his lack of promotion for “female” bands that teenage boys want to mosh to metal-core breakdowns or screaming teenage girls want to drool over Sleep With Sirens’s lead male singer whose high pitched tenor voice disturbs me.  On that note, how many girls on the Warped Tour this year would rather see Kellen Quinn from SWS singing than Emily Whitehurst, Warped tour veteran and former frontwoman of Tsunami Bomb and Action Design that Seling quotes alot in her article? Cool, now I sound like a Kevin Lyman fanboy. Negative downvotes for that.

This had me scratching my head:

“Now that I’m not really involved in punk rock as much, I’m finding that most shows I play have other women on the bill,” says Whitehurst. “It’s possible that there truly are less women playing in heavier bands, but it’s also possible that people who like heavier bands assume that women aren’t very good at it. I never hear it anymore, but being in Tsunami Bomb, I can’t even count how many times a dude would come up to me after a show and say ‘You guys were really good! I don’t usually like girls in bands!’

Really, can you make that assumption?  Ask almost any metal head and you would find it pretty rare that they would just assume a girl couldn’t play well in a metal band specifically because of their gender – even on Metalsucks.  I personally love specific kinds of female vocalists, but can it really be blamed on Kevin Lyman that a huge percentage of Warped’s Audience – emphasis on girls here – would rather see Sleeping With Sirens because of Kellen Quinn then see some female fronted local punk band?

Two “female” friends – using that word makes me feel like some sort of analytical researcher lacking humanity – however had some points to make about a facebook post/objection to the above quote of Whitehurst. My friend Katie – a very smart homeschooled girl, so you know shes good – had this to point out:

“In the article she used personal examples of men making thus exact assumption. There’s really no reason for a poll when the evidence is everywhere. For every guy who enjoys female vocalists there is one who considers a strong female group a to be as rare and mystical as a unicorn, and another who flat out refuses female vocals”

I still however wonder, can one really make those assumptions? I’m not so sure I see evidence for it everywhere or its just that certain activists have told us there is evidence for it EVERYWHERE.   My friend Mary make’s this point – and note she was in a metal band and yes, it was genuine with plenty of screaming.

 In my opinion it’s a little of both. Or perhaps that in media women are so stereotyped that people’s initial reaction is that bands with females wont be as heavy or as intense. In a lot of cases this turn out to be true, but I don’t think its because of a lack of ability, I think females lack confidence to get out there and realize what they can do.

I still think its bullshit to call Lyman out for something he has actually tried and for getting angry that he points out that the bands on the tour are determined by fans, support, and following.  If we want to get more women into bands on the tour – specifically heavier ones – its going to take a hell of alot more than just giving them a stage or promoting the hell out of female bands to attract an actual fan base and following. Don’t people realize how hard it is for almost any music that isn’t pop, hip-hop-, or country to compete with drawing a female fan base – specifically from a younger demographic – when punk, hardcore, metal, ect is the music in question?  That right there is one of the reasons why there is so few female “involved” bands, let alone good ones that attract alot of worthy attention.

Just my rants and thoughts, but feel free to leave me any death-threats.

 

 

Tumblr: Where the Really Wild Things of Privilege Dwell

Tumblr is essentially a very entertaining cesspool of anger and vitriol where people “discuss” privilege.  Either the trolls on Tumblr are the best that the internet has ever produced – far surpassing the 4chan glory days- or there are some people who are truly filled with enough hatred, blame, and anger to make Emperor Palatine quite jealous.

The internet is obviously a place for everything including some major venting.  What bugs me is that I can’t tell when people are actually serious or they are trolling.  Extremism is usually a word we toss around when we don’t agree with people – yea it’s that simple.   In this case, extremism is in the eye of the infamous beholder.

One of my main punching bags as of late has been the whole “privilege” movement.  It’s a bit more scholarly, cushioned, and articulated on more of the formal Slate, Jezebel, ect new site then it obviously is on Tumblr where people don’t worry about their future reputations- both online and offline.    According to Tumblr, “Privilege” doesn’t only just extend specifically to male white folks, – this makes me glad I’m only half-white – but actually includes “thin privilege”.  Looks like, I can’t escape that one.   Oh, and this one too: Cis privilege.

There’s a rather interesting site which lists the growing amount of … accepted ideas of what can be considered privilege.  Considering its three years old, the list probably is much larger now, so remember to “check your privilege”.

privilege list

Well, I need to update this list with a new category of privilege that everyone else has that I don’t to make sure I have someone to shift blame too as well: Genocide privilege.    If your ancestors haven’t endured/survived genocide(s), you have a generational and familial privileged of resources, education, time, ect that I simply can never have.  Feel bad for me damn it and check your privilege! Damn, that feels good.

Observation:   We seriously have a gigantic confused mess of judging other people for judging, blaming other people for supposedly blaming, ect. and “privilege” is no exception.  Question: Is this just an example of the Communications Dialectic Contradiction Theory that permeates so much of our thoughts on the “issues” of our day?  It’s incredible that when you view much of today’s arguments on any subject matter, contradiction theory is all around. Whether its being intolerant of intolerance or discriminating against people to alleviate past discrimination, you have to wonder why this logic is so pervasive.  I still can’t exactly pinpoint why it is, just that I see it.

Yes, this is Tumblr and yes, these are fringe folks, or apparently I am told so.  Does that really any less negate the impact of it?  I would suggest otherwise. Ideas have consequences, but they don’t have to trash someone’s livelihood by participating in the blame game and playing the “oppression Olympics.”   There’s got to be more substance and fulfillment to life and the problems we face instead of pointing the finger in blame at someone, something, anything else…

Priorities: Green Housing vs being Homeless

About 3 weeks ago, I was in Chicago, the city I love to despise and badmouth.   There are a lot of reasons I don’t like the city, starting with how expensive it is down there, but as I was walking on Fullerton, I noticed a sign about green, energy friendly, sustainable, ect housing – all those buzzwords.

That is fantastic and all, but when you are homeless and don’t have a place to live, how much does the “green” status of a dwelling matter?

I wonder if we have really overlooked our priorities as a culture. Every group has a particular grievance for which they demand attention, often at the cost of awareness for much more important issues like having a place to sleep and something to eat.

LGBT this and Feminism that, but is  said homeless feminist going to care more about the systematic oppression of our “patriarchal” society or the fact that have no place to stay and don’t know where their next meal is coming from? Issues may be important, but don’t the daily necessities of life take primary concern.

Lets solve the big issues – the real priorites – that many of our poor and disadvantaged face before we move on to others.

And no, the government doesnt have to be the solution to giving the homeless shelter and the starving food. We as communities can do our part without Bureaucracy weighing us down and “redistributing” the fruits of our labor.

Poetry: “Lovers”

Context: I was at Swing State for Tuesday Poetry Night and I just let the creative and odd juices flow with no filter and just a bit of editing.   If you want to get a really interesting and creepy vibe, read this out aloud to yourself in your most creepy voice.

“Lovers”

Tender lovers,   I  am a true lover.   Lover’s walks… I invented those. An amorous bastard, I am that.
Dearest, I am a passionate lover. Many lovelies  stalk my small living space like harpies with the beauty of mermaids, but I remain  passionately steadfast. What can I say?  I’m a veracious and veritable lover.
My graceful beauty, Lovers quarrels I do not tolerate,  because love never stops –   Literally,  Symbolically, and Metaphorically.   Day and night,  I can feel the love…      In the sky, in the trees, and in nostalgic AIM chat rooms where the magic happens and the memories are made.
Love of my life, like a true lover, I make memories with my bona-fide love.  I can see into your soul.  Or at least I’m gonna keep telling myself that I can.
Sweetheart, they say love is a verb, and they are so right. Let me show you it’s past tense, it’s present tense, and it’s future tense. I’ll show you it’s plural form in all it’s majesty.

Angel, Let me use it in the imperative.

” Love you babe.”

Darling, Let me use it in the declarative.

“Lover, It’s time for love.”

Beloved, Let me show you it’s interrogative side.

“Are you ready for love my lovely devoted lovers?”

Iraq and embracing Multiculturalism.

     The good ole Huffington Post, a bastion of multiculturalism and pluralism, expressed great concern about Iraq and a potential bill in there “government” in which the legal age of divorce being lowered to nine years old in Iraq.

This of course also involves a conservative hardline party in the government which wants to lower the legal age of marriage way down there, something that isn’t a horrific human rights violation in the minds of at least some Iraqis. Cultural differences eh? 

image

One thing that really popped up in my mind is that to be truly multicultural and pluralistic, we should respect the laws,  choices, and ideas of said Iraqis.  This however doesn’t seem to be the case with many commentors on the Huffington Post which described it as terrible, a tragedy, ect…

But what about multiculturalism and pluralism.  Those concepts don’t apply to this situation and neither does the concept of consistency. Seriously, what gives with the picking and choosing?

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – Kind of

Yesterday, Thursday April 24th, was the day that Armenians and many others recognize the Armenian Genocide and all the horrors that took place.  Unfortunately, Turkey who perpetrated the genocide  rubs salt in the wound by refusing to acknowledge that it happened, so forgiveness becomes all that much harder.

One of president Obama’s campaign promises in 2008 that specifically regarded this subject made his then stance quite clear on the subject:     “My firmly held conviction (is) that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” he said in a statement. “The facts are undeniable,” Obama wrote. “As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Well, people – politicians specifically –  change when they hold public office and the president’s position appears to have changed on the genocide and many others. The irony.  Yesterday, the president called the Genocide, “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.”  but yet again like every year since his presidency started, he avoids using the word, “Genocide” and breaks his promise yet again. His reasons may be clear to some – he doesn’t want to offend Turkey, a NATO ally, that is key to our foreign policy in the Middle East. However, he has made it clear to all Armenians that our suffering isn’t as important as the truth and the simple justice of calling what happened to our ancestors in 1915 what they were – Genocide. 

Learning from what happened to our Armenian ancestors is of vast importance – perhaps even more so that getting Turkey to acknowledge the genocide and for the president to call it what it is.  One political hot issue – gun control – is something that we can look back to the genocide to get a very specific perspective on.

The “Young Turks” who controlled the Turkish Government mandated that all Armenians register their weapons with the state.  Simple registration of the weapons was common sense, right? (Examine the book: Death by “Gun Control”) Well, the Turks then followed up that law by confiscating all those registered weapons before they put the Genocide into motion. A people who can’t defend themselves can be abused by those with immoral intentions, to put it somewhat kindly.  Learn from the mistakes of our Armenian ancestors and don’t let politicians or “the majority” take away or enact “common sense” gun laws.  An American government that is already so willing to trample on the rights of its people isn’t necessarily far off from further nefarious steps to deal with “domestic” terrorists and extremists. 

Food for thought:

1. Many of the same people who vehemently support “common sense” gun control would never support “common sense” laws concerning abortion, so don’t settle for any less than they would.

2. The Second Amendment exists to not only be able to defend ourselves from criminals, but to defend ourselves from our government and I daresay – the police – in times where desperate measures are needed. (Ask any African American who lives in Chicago about that last part and read the book, “Dial 911 and Die“) 

I’m Coming Out… As a Flexitarian

So I’ve realized that when it comes to my daily chow down, I am actually a “flexitarian.” What the Hell is that? Like everyone else, I love complicated labels most people haven’t heard of that I get to explain the meaning of to people. Gives me a feeling of superiority.

In my infallible understanding, Flexitarian is similar to semi-vegetarianism in that they consume meat very occasionally – usually 10-5% or less of their weekly food intake. In my case that applies to dairy products as well.

Unfortunately it means that I can’t claim a moral high ground over other people now with my very small percentage of dairy/meat consumption. I always find it interesting how many vegetarians and vegans forget that people choose that “lifestyle choice” – oh damn is that a buzzword these days – because of the dietary implications rather then a save the animals plea.

Will I become a vegetarian and vegan eventually? Despite my respect  and understanding for their food choices – quite healthy – when you think about it , I don’t think I can give up deep dish cheese pizzas quite yet.  

One thing to admit is that living with my parents – both vegans – makes being a flexitarian very easy considering I have to eat out to get any meat or cheese. Considering I like to save money on food, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, and rice/beans are phenomenal food choices.

Parting thought: You either pay your grocer or your doctor. I definitely lean toward the former.  

The Role Government and Christianity In helping Others

This isn’t meant to be some sort of infallible essay. It is meant to be my personal reflection on the world I see around me.

 

      Many people from every spectrum of politics constantly ponder and debate about the role of government in politics.  Now I suppose what each of us might believe that role entails depends on our worldviews. Most of us can agree their are many problems our society faces: Homelessness, corporations who get special tax breaks and subsidies that small businesses don’t,  a foreign policy that arguably encourages many people to hate America, income inequality in which people struggle to live,  people who are treated differently by our justice system, .ect.   (No, I’m not a Liberal.)

Well, how do we address them? What do we do? As a libertarian, I question the ability of the government to address these problems on a widespread level without suffering from the same problem it always has in history; the government and its power being bought by the richest and most influential in society.  For instance when the government gives “handouts” there are always strings attached – usually ones that involve voting for the person giving you the handouts. Regardless whether handouts are a bad idea, good idea, ect there is a very direct reason to keep that person in power as well as to make sure they can take from others for whatever reasons the public deems acceptable. Currently the rich are a favorite target, but what makes it okay to take from them and give to others? Assuming someone worked their *beep* off, became rich, and didnt get every special tax break and subsidy under the sun that their competitor didnt get, why is it okay to take from them? Should wealth be a reason to take from? If we did it for reasons of race, ethinicity, ect it wouldn’t be appropriate, but why is it all of a sudden okay to take from them because we think they have too much?

Alot of the rich in our country have become rich because they have been able to buy power and legislation which directly benefits them and hurts their competitors. And its not just them. Its almost every profession and class trying to get what they can for themselves at the expense of others who are deemed to be “acceptable targets” for whatever the reasons. Look at lawyers. There are so many laws now and those laws are so complex that lawyers are now needed for almost every case. They get rich, and the poor and minorities who cant afford them get screwed. Justice becomes a normal thing for the rich.  The poor are left to fend for themselves.

Beware: Indictment and reflection of Christian Church and its failings:

Now, I actually agree with liberals that the rich should share their wealth with others, specifically the less fortunate and the poor of our society. Why? Because Biblically the rich are supposed to take care of the poor. The homeless. The widows. The orphans. I see this as the responsibility of Christians, the Church and the overall Christian community. However, if I value the idea of liberty and freedom, should I just impose my beliefs on the rest of society through legislation even with the best intentions in mind? As liberals would say, we are not a theocracy.

The church here in America has become decadent. We care about money and political power. We’ve forgotten about the homeless in our towns, the poor striving to get by, and the single mother who we are willing to mandate that she shouldnt have an abortion, but are unwilling help her raise the child when she has it through. We have become willing to maybe throw out a handout here or there, but we refuse to make the time to teach people how to fish instead of giving them a fish.

We’ve refused to bother to help teach people how to raise crops for themselves (hydroponics, aquaponics,  local organic farming) so they can eat healthy and not be subjected to the horrid cheap food of today. We’ve refused to take part in helping the single mother raise her kid if she chooses not to raise them as a Christian, depsite what the Bible says about helping the poor. (Note it doesn’t say, help these people if they become Christians or are willing to go to Church, it commands us to help them regardless, because they are who the Kingdom of God is for and the love of God and his commands for us apply to the destitute of society) We dont have time to take in that kid afterschool, help teach him a trade, impart what knowledge of skills we have to him.

From a social standpoint its become worse. As much as I personally consider abortion to be a form of murder, many of conservative christian friends are willing to forsake the idea of liberty and insist that the government has power over your body, whether its to choose to have an abortion or do drugs.  While I understand the reasons, I dread the additional power we give to the government for the best of intentions.   (Isn’t it possible to discourage abortion without government intervention into the matter? Especially on a communal level?)

We’ve gotten caught up in some “culture” war in which we’ve completely abandoned the idea that the Kingdom is for the “scum” of society. Its for the muslims, the “homosexuals”, the domestic abusers, the rapists, the murders. (I’m not equating homosexuality with that, just saying that we treat homosexuals like the scum of the earth and we forget that the Kingdom is for them as well) Yes we want people to turn from sin, but first they need to know that they are significant, important, and loved because they are made in God’s image.

I’ve seen my fellow Christians say HORRIBLE things about “liberals”, the president, people who disagree with them. I think to myself, “How could you say that?” This is someone made in God’s image. They may be a sinner, but the Love of God specifically applies to them no matter what “sins” they commit or what we think of them. As Christians we’ve become obsessed with material possessions and money. One key failing that we are reeling from is that we’ve abandoned the concepts of freedom and liberty which are concepts I would argue come from the core of Christianity, especially considering we believe that man is fallen and sinful. How exactly can we trust ourselves to not abuse authority especially in the light of history? (Assuming legislation is someones morality enforced on the general public.)

I firmly believe I and many others in the Christian community have to go back to the drawing board. And this is where I believe the government on a small level can play a role. (My libertarian bias is going to show.) Too many parts of our society are convinced that they know whats best for everyone else. California thinks Texas should adopt its educational curriculum and vice versa. We want to insist that we can “legislate” problems away. That however has never worked and never will.

I have enough faith in people to believe that they know how to address the problems that affect them directly. Some of these can be on a national scale (I blame the government.) but many problems can be tackled at the local level by a community, and not through legislation necessarily. In fact legislation should be our last resort, rather than our first. 

Many conservatives have dissed the president for being a “community” organizer, but since when did that become a bad thing? It is the communities that solve problems. A community with whatever kind of safety nets they’ve set up know when abuse is happening, know when their neighbor needs help, and their representatives can be spoken to without a campaign donation in the streets, at town meetings, ect.

From a Christian standpoint, our call to help our communities is very important. If all our wealth that we have, every penny is given to us by God, should we not be helping not only our own poor, but the desolate, the homeless, the widows, ect who God has commanded us to? People however have become in love with their money. I guess I am emphasizing a change of heart as being the key to helping communities.

School shootings, suicides, bullying, ect happens because we are not invested enough in helping others and actually caring about them, not just giving them something from the food pantry and pretending we’ve done our penance for the month. If someone in our community has been treated so poorly that they need a specific label to call themselves (Trans, Queer, ect.) to feel comfortable and like they matter, what does that say about us in general? Especially Christians? Everyone is made in the image of God, and regardless of whether they are “sinners” or not, they MATTER. They are important and they are significant in the eyes of God and should be in ours as well.

To often our response to lets say a “homosexual” is, “Hey repent vile sinner, turn from your sin, and stay away from us and our kids!” WHAT? Yes, to repent you must turn from sin, but you matter no less in the eyes of God. To those who I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with, have differing opinions on sin, or even acknowledge it as a concept, my first response should be, “You my friend are loved. You matter. Your life is important and your wellbeing. If you need a place to stay my home is yours. IF you need a job, I will do what I can to give you one. If you need food, I will feed you.”  Mathew 25 is very specific as to what Christs commands as our duty to those around us, especially our own fellow Christians. (The urban poor Christians of Chicago?)

However we’ve let “politics” jade us, makes us say horrible things about people dying, who need medical help, shelter, a job, a reason to live. It saddens me to the point of making me want to cry. What can I do? I won’t bother with the government, as I don’t have cash to make campaign contributions. Instead I will go directly to those in need. I will encourage my fellow Christians to embrace our roles to help our communities, both in the resources we have as well as our time. If we can strengthen our communities, and I mean truly strengthen them, the amount of laws and government we need will be minimal and the potential abuses from strong government for good intentions will be reduced.

Alot of my fellow Christians especially liberal ones, are fed up with alot of the problems they see. They have been ignored often by their fellow Christians. They see injustice, whether it be from the police, lack of education, ect. This is where I advocate for a solution that emphasizes the community, specifically the Christian community to rise up and help those who are desperately in need. Their problems should be our problems. They are part of the Church and should be treated as such.

This is why I dont like prohibiting felons from owning firearms to protect themselves and their families, especially with how our justice system is an the amount of minorities that are felons. I truly believe the goverment doesnt care about minorities, only their votes. This may seem facetious and wreak of hubris, but I care about “minorities” and the poor because God says they are important and made in his image and he commands me to help them, not because I will get anything from it or that it will somehow directly benefit me.

No the concept of true Biblical love transcends that, “Scratch my back and I will scratch yours” that has permeated our culture.  Yes, we should attempt to make money, to excel in our jobs, to make music which people may end up throwing millions of dollars toward us for and all for His glory. We should however remember that all of our money is given to us by him and what he expect us to do with what he has given to us.

I will be the first to admit that I feel extremely hypocritical after saying all this. I’m selfish. I’m lazy. I want my time and I want it now. I would rather play video games and hang with my friends then really invest the time to help the poor around me.  However, I recognize my failings and will strive through the grace of God to utilize his time to the best of my abilities to fulfill his commandments.  Heaven may be a ways off, but the ability to create a “Shire” here, a little peace of earthly home for us and everyone around us should never be forgotten.

 

My friends and fellow human beings made in the image of God, you are loved.

Detroit: ‘The Truth Hurts… Tough Shit’

In today’s society, people who tell it like it is are rare. Usually they don’t want to lose their jobs, have their reputation permanently tarnished, ect.   L Brooks Patterson, is apparently one of those rare people and he is taking some heat for it.  He made “controversial” comments – let the entertainment begin – about the city of Detroit.  In a recent interview with the New Yorker, he said the following:

“Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher,” he said. ”The truth hurts, you know? Tough s***.”

He goes as far in the interview to warn his children to stay out of Detroit to the extent of even avoiding to stop for gas because its a potential car jacking in the making.  Regardless of his chosen political party, Republican,  he is spot on. Detroit looks like world three happened to it and the residents who live there look like survivors of the war.

Yes, this is Detroit, not a third world country

I was in the Detroit back in January of 2012, and there is really nothing positive to say about the city. For all those who immediately shudder at the “Republican” buzzword, I’m not a republican and Patterson has aptly and correctly described Detroit. But don’t believe me, go and stay a night around there yourself – if you have the guts that is.  Apparently the Reverend Jesse Jackson isn’t pleased by Patterson’s comments and believes they they include elements of racial offense, because he is calling for a public apology. Why? Details, details as to those words of racial offense:

“He’s also quoted as saying a prediction he made has come to pass. He said, “What we’re going to do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.”

National Action Network’s Michigan chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II shockingly shared a similar opinion as Reverend Jackson. He found the remarks to be:

“repulsive -not just because Detroit is mostly a black city, but “because it is also a direct slight to the American Indians who occupied the land before Detroit was Detroit, and Oakland County.”

I do believe both Jackson and Willams III to be mistaken in their judgement on this “incident”, if you can call it that. Why?
1. The truth really does hurt. What the American government did to the Indians when they took their land and herded them onto reservations is essentially what Patterson is describing. Rough, but the truth should never be buried regardless of how much it hurts.

2. It’s irrelevant whether the city is mostly black, mostly white, mostly mixed, or mostly whatever; Detroit it still a place you don’t want to visit and should avoid visiting if you value your health, belongings, and those traveling with you.  Patterson has nothing to apologize for.

Let me make one of those dreaded internet admissions for all to see that might haunt me in the future:  When I was scouting out a hotel room to stay at, I realized I and those with me couldn’t stay in Detroit.  We would need to stay in the “burbs” maybe about 15-20 mins from Detroit if we valued our safety.   This video is an example of why you would want to stay in the burbs:

So I specifically looked at the racial population demographics of the towns near Detroit.  I found one that was 98% white or something close to that percentage and chose the motel there.   Pretty appalling right? Safety ends up trumping convictions sometimes.

What should really appall us is in what crime statistics show, especially in a place like Detroit and its outskirts. It is appalling at just how many laws we have to make sure poor minorities, specifically African Americans,  end up as part of those statistics.  It’s no accident that alot of people who live in Detroit can’t own guns to defend themselves and their families because they “broke” laws  ranging from drug possession to drug use to even robbery.   But hey, it’s not like the criminal element wont’ have weapons?

I don’t share Patterson’s opinion that Detroit can’t be saved, but hard choices, sacrifices, and an admission of what does and does not work will need to happen.  Until then, if you live in Detroit, you might as well wrap your fences in barbed wire, bring out the pit traps, and post menacing signs about how you own a firearm and will use it on trespassers.

Rant concluded…