Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shadows of the Nativity.

By Keith Patman (©1980)

Was it a cold awakening Christmas morning
In a wooden trough,
In spite of straw and swaddling clothes and angel songs?
That was not to be the last time you’d be laid upon the wood
(There were Herods, Judases from the start
Among the stars and shepherds).
And did they smile, those simple folk,
And kiss your tiny hands and weep delight?
They’d touch those hands again someday,
Believing you through cracks and scars.
Then oh! the million Christmas mornings
When you’d lie, a babe again,
Beneath a million million trees
And hear the countless tongues chanting your name.
And oh! the white snow on black shingles
Where icy crystals capture windows
And fires glow and mistletoe is wreathed and strung.
But ah . . . will they remember crimson
Dripping from the iron nails
And will they pray and will they know
A whiter white than

[from the album Centerpoint, by Jeff Johnson]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Your Meditation and Edification.

"Mary's Song"
by Lucy Shaw

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest.....
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.

His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by dove's voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
all years.

Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Things-That-Seem-Too-Good-To-Be-True-But-Are-True-Anyway Dept.

Who doesn't love a good 20 minute prog rock epic, with great Hammond organ, fat guitar tones, and cool vocals and harmonies? (The correct answer, of course, is: "no one".)

Who cares if the band is Norwegian, and their English is good-but-not-perfect? (Once again, the correct answer is: "no one".)

Who wouldn't find their life greatly improved (dare I say, blessed, even?) for having such a wonderful piece of musical magicality in their possession ‒ especially if it's FREE??? (Yet again, the correct answer is: "no one".)

So go to the following link, and partake of this bounty of prognificent profundity. (The song is called "Change".) Trust me. It is good ‒ it is very good.

Oh, and while you're there, you might as well grab the song "Pointless Masquerade", too. It's from their second album and is also offered as a FREE download (I know, I did that same high-pitched girlie squeal, too!). It only clocks in at 8:59, but don't let it's relative brevity dissuade you.

Go to

So go get them. Both of them. NOW!!! And PLAY THEM LOUD!!!! And if they don't make you smile, and want to jump and dance around the room, then you're probably going to hell or something (hey, I don't make the rules).

Did I mention that the band is called Magic Pie? This is good pie.
Bon appétit!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Remember...

I remember people thinking that Jimmy Carter would be a great President because he was a born-again Christian.

I remember people wringing their hands in despair, convinced that Ronald Reagan would get us into World War III.

I remember people thinking that George H. W. Bush would not raise taxes.

I remember people thinking that Bill Clinton would neither balance the budget, nor pursue welfare reform.

I remember people believing that George W. Bush would reign in big government, and be fiscally conservative.

It's both funny and sad how often people fail to meet expectations (whether good or bad), but that's what happens when you put too much confidence in flawed, fallen human beings.

Why do people expect more from their government than they do from their friends, their neighbors, or their selves? We want a government that is fiscally responsible – but, too often, we are not fiscally responsible ourselves. We want honesty and integrity in our elected officials, but we often don't exhibit those virtues in our own lives. Elected officials are generally a reflection of the people who elected them. In other words: we get the government we deserve (even if we don't vote).

It's as if Christians in America have developed spiritual dyslexia. Jesus said to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." But the excessive pessimism and optimism, about exactly how President Obama will govern, seem to indicate that far too many professed Christians are rendering unto Caesar the things that are God's – namely, the faith that our ultimate prosperity or poverty are dependent on government legislation.

I'm not saying that getting involved in politics (or social causes) is pointless or wrong. But if you find yourself in a state of hopelessness or despair, because your candidate didn't win – or just the opposite, because your's did – then perhaps your political or social cause has become your religion.

Whether he is a success or a failure as Commander-in-Chief, only time will tell. But one thing is certain: he's neither the Messiah, nor the Anti-Christ. And those who think he's one or the other are bound to be disappointed, either way.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Calling All Wankers!

A new ad on MySpace features a blonde girl (who seems quite proud of her new implants) asking, "Sick of an empty bed?" Which sounds like a trick question with an obviously easy answer, like: "Well, go get in it - then it won't be empty!" But wait. The ad also says one can, "Find A No-Strings-Attached Relationship!" Ahhhh, so that's what this is all about.

Well, let's have a look. Shall we?

First of all, if you're the kind of person who this ad appeals to, then your bed is going to be as empty as your soul, no matter how many people you get to climb into it with you. You're a wanker. Seriously.

You see, that's how stoopid and souless advertisers think (and hope) we are. They're counting on a significant number of us not being smart enough to know that: if there are no-strings-attached, there's no relationship. A relationship requires some kind of real interconnectedness. What the ad is talking about is really just masturbation -- but instead of using one's hand, or a 'toy' of some kind, one uses another person.

Sexy, huh?

Such ads are brought to you by the same passion pimps that have managed to get so many people to refer to a one-night stand as "making love".

Man, you can almost smell the rot from here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After

Well, now that Republicans are waking up to a world that didn't end – and Democrats are waking up to a New Jerusalem that will never be – let's focus on what should (for Christians) be the important things.

First of all: Jesus is still Lord. The Gospel is still the greatest news of all. And the followers of Jesus are still expected to take up their crosses daily and follow Him. Whatever happens to the economy, or on Wall Street ; whether taxes, or employment, go up or down ; whether the government grows more or less intrusive, we have a higher calling. Our citizenship (and, therefore, our ultimate allegiance) belongs to another Kingdom. We serve another King.

Second of all: Hopefully, the habit that too many conservative Christians have gotten into, of thinking the government can be a helpful partner in the Great Commission, is coming to an end. We need more faithful disciples, and fewer political power-players. We need more prayer, and less rhetoric. And those conservative Christians need to be humbled enough to be ready to reach out in Grace and Compassion to their liberal brothers and sisters, once they come to realize the awful truth that no amount of legislation will ever establish Heaven on Earth.

May Republicans be gracious in defeat. May Democrats be humble in victory. But, most importantly, may those of us who claim the Cross of Christ become all that he has called us to be: transcending political cant and partisan rhetoric – and bring, instead, healing and hope to a lost and increasingly desperate nation.

Something happened in this election that many thought was still years away from being a reality. After 200+ years as a nation, we have our first black president. We should rejoice in this (whatever our political inclinations). We should be ashamed that it's still even an issue, but grateful that we have finally broken through such an ugly barrier.

The Bible admonishes us to pray for those in positions of authority – whether we like them, or not. We should pray daily that God will protect President Obama from those that are evil enough to seek his harm. We should pray daily that he will make wise decisions about how to govern this country. And we should pray that people will see more of Jesus in us than anything else.

Friday, October 31, 2008

An Open Letter To...

Dear flag waving, church going, truth ignoring, Americans and Christians --

I'm not a supporter of Senator Obama (as some of my blog posts will readily attest), and I believe there are plenty of legitimate reasons not to vote for him. But the flood of false, out-of-context, and misleading e-mails and stories going around about the man makes me sick to my stomach. And what sickens me even more is that people claiming to be Christians are some of the main spreaders of the manure. That's beyond disgusting (hey, way to bring more disgrace to the Body of Christ, Judas).

The fact that so much of what is being said about Sen. Obama is lies, tells us far more about the people believing and spreading the lies, than it does about the Senator.

Let's touch, briefly, on a few of the most repeated lies going around:
  • I know you hate it, but....Sen. Obama is a legal U. S. citizen (and not the first candidate to have his citizenship challenged):

  • The crap about Sen. Obama unpatriotically "removing the flag" from his plane is more fact twisting bullshit (and a half-truth is as bad as a lie). Yes, he removed the airline's Registered Trademark flag logo from the tail of the plane -- but all presidential candidates remove the airline logos when their plane gets customized. Here's the truth -- read it carefully:

  • His goof about having visited "57 states" was simply him stumbling over his words -- due, in large part, to his being tired. He was trying to say he had visited 47 (of the 48 contiguous) states, but inadvertently said 57. (Oooo, I'm sure no one spreading those internet lies has ever stumbled over their words.) And the stuff about there being 57 Islamic countries/nations/states is just more (you guessed it) bullshit:

  • Sorry, red-necks -- wearing a flag-pin says nothing about one's 'patriotism'. Just as wearing a cross doesn't say anything about one's religious faith (Madonna, anyone?).

    And most people don't put their hand over their heart during the National Anthem (just watch the crowd at any sporting event as the NA is played). Most people sing along -- as does Sen. Obama. People put their hand over their heart during the Pledge of Allegiance -- as does Sen. Obama:

  • He's NOT a Muslim. But seriously, now -- why should it even matter? Would that be any worse than the kinds of "Christians" who help spread lies and gossip about him ; or some of the "Christians" who've previously occupied the White House? (If more "Christians" would read their Bibles, they'd know how strongly it condemns lying and gossiping.):

  • The 'racist' remarks, supposedly taken from his books, are quotes that have been taken out of context, reworded, or completely made up:

I could go on and on and on.... But here's a better idea: Go to, type Obama into the search field, and read the truth about most of the nonsense that's flying around about the man.

If you have to spread lies about someone to make them look bad, all you're proving is that they must not be quite as bad as you claim (or else you wouldn't have to make stuff up). You also prove that you are a liar -- without any credibility or integrity.

I can't decide if I should vote for McCain, just to counter the psychotic Liberal vote -- or Obama, just to counter the in-bred redneck vote.

Here's an idea: If you're one of those people that believes ANY of the bullshit being spread about ANY of the candidates -- don't vote. Seriously -- just...don' The worst thing for America is stupidity. And the kind of stupidity that believes and spreads the kind of crap going around about each of the candidates, is a stupidity that is so big there's not even a name for it yet. It truly boggles the mind, and breaks the heart.

And for all you 'Christians' that are believing and spreading lies (about any candidate) -- SHUT UP!!!! You need to spend a lot more time reading your Bibles, and a lot less time reading (and spreading) internet lies. Spreading lies about others is a sin. Gossip is a sin. Sin is bad. Remember: "the wages of sin is death", and all that?

As Christians, we are told not to repay evil with evil, but to repay evil with good ; to bless those that curse us ; to pray for our enemies (and neither candidate is our enemy, so praying for them should be easy).

Believe it or not, but Jesus even expects us to love those we disagree with politically. (What a jerk, huh?)

We are told to pray for our leaders (and remember: the 'leaders', when the New Testament was written, were pagans -- so, apparently, whether we like them or their religion doesn't matter). Sorry, I didn't make the rules. If you don't like them, then choose another religion -- or, perhaps your actions prove you already have.

If your world is going to be thrown into chaos, because of the outcome of any election, then your faith is sadly misplaced. If you truly believe that God is in control, then you won't be freaking out about who get's elected President. A Christian's faith and trust are to be focused completely on Jesus. If they're not, then you've got bigger problems than the possibility of a 'President Obama'.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sign Language

Whatever Christians think about various social and moral issues – such as abortion, homosexuality, the direction in which our country is moving, illegal immigration, etc., etc. – there is a right way and a wrong way to discuss such highly charged subject matter, and do it in a Christ-like manner.

Unfortunately, Fred Phelps (and his hateful brood of wolves in badgers' clothing) is like a festering boil on the butt of the Body of Christ.

But, perhaps, G. K. Chesterton was right, when he suggested that humor is really the best way to deal with such pathetically childish evils.

Anyway, I think this guy may have the right idea.

I imagine ol' GKC would be proud.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Castrati Chic

There's disturbing - and then there's....


That's right, mantyhose - panty hose for... uh.... men (I can barely utter the words).

Apparently, fanny-packs weren't enough of a cultural castration. So leave it to the French to come up with the latest in eunuch wear. (I wonder if we could get Germany to invade them again?)

This makes the whole 'metro-sexual' thing look downright macho. And that's NOT an easy (or desirable) thing to do. (I don't think even Ryan Seacrest would wear these.)

I've never been a fan of the many ridiculous, broadbrush stereotypes that are often passed off as manliness - but good grief! This kind of thing makes me want to buy a DVD set of The Man Show, and emulate that in hopes of inoculating my psyche against whatever cooties I've been exposed to via the mantyhose website.

What's next? Powdered wigs?? Ruffled shirts???

Mark my words: It's an ill wind that blows no good.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCabama Reflux

I'd like to thank the current candidates for making me so completely disgusted that I'm not sure I can vote for either one without wanting to jump in front of a speeding semi. They should all be very proud of themselves, because that's no small accomplishment. I mean... I sat through the movie Waterworld, man! So my intestinal fortitude is pretty impressive. But this political season has just been too much (and it's lasted even longer than Waterworld - which I would have thought impossible).

Obama is Change We Can Believe In. And, of course, by change they mean the same old thing. Same old policies. Same old rhetoric. Same old ask what your country can do for you/ make the rich pay their fair share/ corporations are evil/ class warfare/ blah, blah, blah...

McCain is... What the heck is McCain's campaign slogan? He used to be the guy that was always pissing-off his own Party. I respected that, even if I didn't always agree with his positions. But the downside of being a 'political maverick' is that, if you ever decide to run for Prez, you're going to have to appear less of a maverick in order to get enough people to vote for you. So McCain keeps tripping over his own feet, like someone trying to dance to a tune he's never heard.

The problem with having to try so hard to please so many to get elected is that, by the time you get into office (if you get in), you've practically forgotten who you are. You can't be an agent of change if you're policies are the policies your Party has always espoused (and your runing mate is a 35 year career political insider). You can't be considered a maverick if you're going to practically sell your soul to try to please the faithful of the very Party you've so often offended (especially when that Party wasn't particularly thrilled to even have you as their candidate).

So here's a novel idea: be men of integrity, dammit! Tell the truth - often and consistently - about yourself, and about your opponent. That's change I can believe in. That's being a political maverick.

I'd like to hear the candidates consistently condemning the vile rhetoric and outright lies that are being used by their supporters. I'd like to hear somebody say, "If you're one of those people that claims ______ about my opponent, stop it. Period."

Let's hear Sen. McCain stop in the middle of a rally and confront anyone who shouts "terrorist" or "kill him" about Sen. Obama. Start repudiating the tactic of citing Sen. Obama's middle name as if it were a cuss word. Tell people like Sean Hannity to "SHUT THE HELL UP!" And stop telling lies (or approving of lies being told) about your opponent.

Let's hear Sen. Obama stop playing (and rebuke those who play) the race card. Start condemning those morons who call (or wear t-shirts that call) Gov. Palin a cunt. And stop telling lies (or approving of lies being told) about your opponent.

Sen. Biden, stop just making up stuff that never happened. Gov. Palin, stop talking nonsense, like Sen. Obama was "pallin' around with terrorists."

Good grief, people - you're supposed to be adults. So start acting like it.

[I'm Ricky, and I approved this message.]

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama Strikes Out

I'm no genius, but here's why I question Senator Barack Obama's fitness to be president.

First: He goes to a church for 20 years, but claims he didn't know his pastor was a bigot. How, exactly, does one manage that? His excuse seemed to be that he was absent on the days his pastor was preaching crap. But, come on - what are the chances? Every time?? The odds against that being very likely have got to be astronomical!

Also, he had referred to the pastor as his mentor (which is defined as "a wise and trusted counselor or teacher"). How does one not know their mentor is a bigot? It would be kind of like not knowing your dad was in the Klan.

If he doesn't know his pastor and mentor of 20 years is a bigot, then how can I trust his instincts when facing some of the duplicitous heads of state he'd be dealing with as president?

Secondly: He asked, in a speech, that if America were to become a nation comprised solely of Christians, whose version of Christianity would we live by - James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's (and Heaven help us, if those are the only options)?

He then went on to quote some Old Testament legal codes, to try to illustrate the hypothetical delimma (e.g., "which passages of scripture should guide our public policy - should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay but eating shellfish is an abomination?"). Then he referred to the Sermon On The Mount, saying that it's "a passage so radical that it's doubtful our own Defense Department would survive it's application". He then said, "So before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles, now. Folks haven't been reading their Bible."

Unfortunately, it's obvious that Senator Obama hasn't been reading his Bible either. Although (like the aforementioned Dobson and Sharpton), he's obviously not above grabbing a handful of verses, pulling them out of context, and using them as political stones to throw at those who disagree with him.

The problem is that Christians are no longer bound by the Old Testament laws. Jesus' atoning death on the cross broke the need for those holiness requirements. All who find new life in Him are freed from the demands of the OT laws - so no true Christian should be involved in trying to re-establish that from which Jesus died to free us. And the fact that Senator Obama (as a professing Christian) wouldn't know such a basic Christian doctrine kind of bothers me. And if he does know - but treats the holy scriptures of his own religion so cavalierly for cheap political gain - then I think that bothers me even more.

Another problem is that Senator Obama fails to acknowledge the huge differences between the kind of slavery that existed among the Israelites, and the slavery that most people today think of when they hear the word. Either he's ignorant of those differences - or he knows, but is counting on the American public being ignorant of them. Either one is inexcusable for someone wanting to be President of U.S.

And as for the Sermon On The Mount: It is radical. So radical, in fact, that none of us (including Senator Obama) survives its true application (which is probably why Jesus asserts that a new birth is in order).

I do not think Senator Obama is a closet Muslim (and I think professed Christians need to stop spreading such silly propaganda - and should rebuke those who persist in spreading it). But if he is so ignorant of the basic tenets of his own religion - or is so willing to use his religion's holy scriptures as political fodder - then it's kind of hard for me to trust him to make right and wise decisions about some of the complex domestic and foreign policy issues that face our country.

The third strike against Senator Obama was his statements that Senator McCain and his supporters would try to scare voters by pointing out that he [Obama] "has a funny name...and he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills". In other words, he basically called Senator McCain and his supporters racists. That kind of crap has gotten really, really old. And I think the charge tells us more about Senator Obama, than it does about Senator McCain.

It's kind of ironic, too, since Senator McCain also had the race card used against him (but by whites) in the 2000 South Carolina primary, when Repubican opponents tried to stir up trouble by pointing out that he has a daughter that ain't quite as white as he is (I guess implying that he had defiled his race by mingling with a non-white). Turns out Senator McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh - but some of his opponents in SC implied she was really the product of an illicit affair with a black woman. ooooohhhh...

It seems like Senator McCain just can't get a break - apparently, he's either too white, or not white enough.

There are people in this country that oppose Senator Obama simply because he's black. There are people in this country that support Senator Obama because he's black. Both kinds of people are idiots - his race should have nothing to with it. His words and actions should be the only reasons you support or oppose him, or any other candidate. (And not things taken out of context, or grossly exaggerated, like the nonsense going around about him not saluting or respecting the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, or flag.)

Politics in this country have always been dirty (those who think it's a fairly recent developement are woefully ignorant of our nation's - and human - history). It's a sad, but true, fact. But there are some things that everyone should agree are wrong, no matter what your political leanings. Unfortunately, people only seem to get upset when it's the "other side" doing it - which is why things aren't likely to get better any time soon. We get the government we deserve. Whether you vote or not, the government generally reflects it's people. But it's not likely to change any time soon, because changing the character of government requires a change in the character of the voters - and most people won't even consider the possibility of changing their character, because that would require admitting they were wrong about something (which most people are loath to do).

I registered Independent (you had to pick something), so I wouldn't feel obligated or pressured to support any candidate based on their Party affiliation. So, just because I can't support Senator Obama, don't assume that means I support Senator McCain. Obama striking out doesn't mean McCain is doing any better.

As For Me...

I am ancient and ageless. I'm not nearly as good at anything as I'd like to be (as this blog will quickly attest). And I'm far worse at some things than I ever feared I'd be (as this blog will, I'm afraid, also attest).

I am loath to talk about myself, since anything I say about me is bound to be less than objective. So any biographical info found lying around here will likely be sparse, often changing (as I try to keep it as accurate as possible), and painfully dull.

I am living proof of the reality of Original Sin and Amazing Grace (I just wish I was more Amazing than Original). I am a cripple, of the muscular dystrophy variety. I am a Christian, of the I-Started-Reading-The-Bible-To-Prove-It-Wrong-And-Oops! variety. I am blessed beyond measure to be married to the lovely and talented Patty Sue.

I'm doing this just to see what it's like - not because I expect to be any good at it, but to silence the myriad know-it-alls who keep insisting that I can write. The only thing I'm remotely good at is writing lyrics - which I've been doing for about thirty years. Unfortunately, people think that writing is writing, and so keep insisting that I could write in another literary style if
I'd just try. This blog should dispel those notions in short fashion.

Typing anything even remotely coherent takes me just a little less than forever. So, I have no idea how often I'll post.

I called this little misadventure "Knot On A Blog" A) in a lame attempt at punnery, B) because it's bound to be about as interesting as a knot on a log, and C) because I probably should [k]not have a blog of my own. (See how punny?... No?... hmm... Well,...don't say you weren't warned.)

Comments are welcome (encouraged, even) - but if you post something just to try to be obnoxious or shocking, I'll delete it. Go be silly and unimaginative somewhere else (I've got those qualities covered here).

So,... Welcome to my blog. This won't be pretty.