#127: Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

2

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood —

Sealed my pardon with His blood:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3

Guilty, vile and helpless we,

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

Full atonement! can it be?

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

4

Lifted up was He to die,

“It is finished”, was His cry;

Now in heav’n exalted high:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

5

When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring;

Then anew this song we’ll sing;

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

 

Stop the Dichotomies

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Two different Facebook friends recently shared related-themed articles:

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While I found the articles interesting, and germane, I still felt they had serious oversights and fallacies involved in them.

The first article starts out with a statement to “dear fellow white people”, on the assumption that white people are one unified group, just as the whole dichotomy of “black lives matters” assumes that all blacks are one unified group, arrayed against  a unified white privilege. The article goes on to encourage the thinking that continues to ghettoize the black community by insisting on black spaces and white spaces.

The article brings up the “problem” with colorblindness, that whites can ignore race, since their culture is the norm, while blacks cannot. While true in a certain extent, this misses the whole multitudes of divides among “white” culture — “hick” farmers, “hillbillies”, “rednecks”. This dominant culture is only really normative for a small portion. The rest of the whites have similar senses of being outside their own. Only from the outside — or the inside of the elite that own this norm — does “white” culture look monolithic.

And this divide also unfairly creates a false image of a monolithic black culture. This monolithic facade is actually worse for them than for whites. The monolithic white facade still gives whites something they can move in. Creating a monolithic black cultural facade fences them in. If black culture were more heterogenous, it would also be more permeable, like the heterogenity of white culture makes it permeable for its members. That permeability is how it absorbed wave after wave of immigrants. Enforced black homogenity was the primary tool for keeping them separate.

This enforced homogenity also totally externalizes the forces that shape the black community, and rob them of internal responsibility, and self-determination.

The second article takes an interesting historical example of cultural  hegemony and gives an extrapolation that seems logical, but misses so much of what really happened. The author talks about how William the Conqueror enforced French on the English as the language of culture, and how 1,000 years later we still think of the French as culturally superior. After all, we dine at a fine restaurant, but eat at a barbecue.

What he totally misses is the cultural appropriation going on. Yes, we still use those words, but they are used by the English, who now took the conqueror’s ways and one-upped him. A similar saying could be said for the Yankees — who took that label of approbation and made it a badge of honor. When he makes the statement:

Culture defines all of our social expectations, but also our social prejudices. Every single thing we do and say, we do and say in the context of our culture.

He say something that sounds profound, but misses so much of the dynamic of what is going on. He talks about making a culture normative, and how it was used to keep slaves down. What he misses is how much of black culture was, and continues to be absorbed into the normative culture.

He also misses the variation and heterogenity within the normative and non-normative cultures, or the very strength that gives to both.

The failure is looking solely at groups, instead of counting individuals.

Which is a good transition to influence number three for this post: Zootopia. This animated movie discusses prejudice in interesting ways. I’d recommend it as a good discussion piece. Because it points the way of individual initiative, opportunity, the ability to be what you choose to be, without having to deny the background of where you came from and what you are. The ability to create a new social fabric.

But that fabric doesn’t come from embracing the emblems of division from the past, of requiring the members of certain groups to act like their group, to agree politically with their group. No, it comes from them taking responsibility and individuals both within and without their groups, for the better good of everyone, regardless of those differences.

The first article encouraged you to take these online tests, to measure your unrecognized bias. I took both online response tests it recommended, and was told I tested neutral: my responses proved no bias to any skin color or race. On the contrary side, I could see bias in the tests. When the one test required me to see grief as bad, for example, instead of part of a good, healing process, it made me realize that tests can’t easily be neutral, even if by some interesting turn of events that same test declared me neutral.

But what the tests really told me was that a true colorblindness, of seeing the differences, but not requiring one to act according to the expectations of those differences, is the real way to come through this. As the movie pointed out, if we keep carrying fox repellent, we keep seeing foxes as a separate species, instead of another sentient like ourselves.

A Blast of the Past #64: Birthday Bash

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In 2005 I tried a neighborhood party for my birthday. We got hot dogs and chips and put up signs around the neighborhood for the free food. We got some family to come by, and a few people, but most people ignored it. Still, we have a little commemoration in pictures:

The Apology

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Wednesday I had an interesting cycling experience. I was riding down Armour Road in North Kansas City. It was the time of morning before the sun had risen. The red flashing light on the back of my bicycle was strobing brightly. There were few cars sharing my lane; the couple that did passed on the left as I stayed to the right side of the lane.

Until I got to the block for turning left onto Swift. I moved into the center of the lane and put my arm out to signal my intent to move into the left turn lane — and thus make a left turn — when I reached the lane.

But when I got to the lane and started to move into it, I realized it was occupied. A white car that had been behind me was using the left turning lane to pass me on the left while I was attempting to use the same lane for my left turn.

After my first reaction, to move myself to safety, I had my second reaction. “EXCUSE ME” I found myself broadcasting in a loud, questioning tone.

The car cleared the intersection, moving back into the driving lane, and stopped just on the other side of the intersection. “Sorry about that,” I heard. (Apparently his window was down and he had heard me.)

By this point I was leaning left, making my turn through the intersection. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I think it was something like “thank you”, or some other saying to show I appreciated and accepted the apology, without approving the action, of course.

But that is the first time I’ve ever heard an apology from someone to me on my bicycle.

 

(Update: This morning I had a similar experience. Along the same stretch a car tried to use the turning lane as the passing lane, but this time he saw me signalling before actually getting up alongside me and so swerved to the other side. 

The turning late is in two pieces, used for a left-hand turn for traffic in both directions. These cars were sliding into the lane when it was against their direction of traffic.)

#126: Rock of Ages

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

Rock of ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let the water and the blood,

From Thy wounded side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure,

Save from wrath and make me pure.

2

Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no languor know,

These for sin could not atone —

Thou must save, and Thou alone;

In my hand no price I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling.

3

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When my eyes shall close in death,

When I rise to worlds unknown

And behold Thee on Thy throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

 

#125: Jesus Paid it All

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

I hear the Savior say,

“Thy strength indeed is small!

Child of weakness, watch and pray,

Find in Me thine all in all.”

CHORUS

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain —

He washed it white as snow.

2

Lord, now indeed I find

Thy pow’r and Thine alone,

Can change the leper’s spots

And melt the heart of stone.

CHORUS

3

For nothing good have I

Whereby Thy grace to claim —

I’ll wash my garments white

In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

CHORUS

4

And when before the throne

I stand in Him complete,

“Jesus died y soul to save,”

My lips shall still repeat.

CHORUS

Trolls

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While I was waiting at the dentist’s office today I read a Time article from August about Internet Trolls. It reminded be about the below story:

Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was “Gruff.”

On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll , with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker.

So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

“Trip, trap, trip, trap! ” went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll .

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, with such a small voice.

“Now, I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! pray don’t take me. I’m too little, that I am,” said the billy goat. “Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Well, be off with you,” said the troll.

A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s the second Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, who hadn’t such a small voice.

“Now I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! Don’t take me. Wait a little till the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Very well! Be off with you,” said the troll.

But just then up came the big Billy Goat Gruff .

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap! went the bridge, for the billy goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

“Who’s that tramping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“It’s I! The big Billy Goat Gruff ,” said the billy goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

“Now I ‘m coming to gobble you up,” roared the troll.

Well, come along! I’ve got two spears,
And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I’ve got besides two curling-stones,
And I’ll crush you to bits, body and bones.

That was what the big billy goat said. And then he flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that he went up to the hillside. There the billy goats got so fat they were scarcely able to walk home again. And if the fat hasn’t fallen off them, why, they’re still fat; and so,

Snip, snap, snout.
This tale’s told out.

But of course the article was talking about a different type of troll. Based on the article I hadn’t realized exactly how prevalent trolls are. Of course, trolls are also primarily alt-right, as anyone at Mad Genius Club could tell you (/sarc). After all, what could be less trollish than being a group of women who were being declared white Mormon males — and such a group of white Mormon males (with great racks), certainly have a lot to teach us.

Actually, that last part is true. They know a lot about being trolled. They also know a lot about how to deal with trolls and keep a rambunctious group of people civil with maximum freedom of expression and thought. Too bad the Time Magazine people didn’t think to ask them anything.

 

And that, is my quick, quirky post for today.