Saturday, February 25, 2006


"I take on the fat cats and run with the big dogs."

The UAE: our new best friends

The former head of the Sept. 11 commission said the deal "never should have happened."

Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said there was no going back on the deal.

So it sounds like a done deal to turn over six major ports to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates. This is great. Turning over ports like Baltimore and Miami to foreign interests.

The administration defends itself by saying critics are just anti-Arab bigots, and these nice UAE people aren't like those war-mongering Iraqi citizens we're blowing the crap out of. Just because UAE honchos went hunting with Osama Bin Laden after Bin Laden declared war on U.S. citizens.

Noooo, the UAE will always be a friend to the U.S., no matter what happens over there.

The xenophobia card coming from the administration that wages war against Arabs in the name of protecting us against terrorism, when it's really waging war for oil and political and financial gain, killing thousands of Arabs in the process? Really.

Gimmee a break.

It is unwise, or let me be blunt -- stupid and mindless -- to turn over control of our ports, our interstate system, our railway systems or our airport systems to any foreign interests. I can tell you, I wouldn't be that impressed if the French, those pro-U.S. Europeans, were taking over, either.

The trouble with a Middle Eastern group taking over is simply the instability in the region. I, Politicat, recently time-traveled back to the time we were best buds with Iran, and we loved the Shah. Remember that? Remember how fast things change over there?

U.S. relations with other countries, and other interests, can change PDQ, this cat tells you.

So we give away control of a top national-security concern, like our ports? To ANY corporate interests owned by foreign governments?

Just because its happened before, doesn't mean we should allow it to continue. Other countries are smart enough to be extremely leery of letting (read this as not letting it happen) foreign interests buy up property, businesses and infrastructures within their countries. We need to wise up.

And the administration hardly knew anything about it. That's funny in itself -- our antiterrorist gurus don't know about control of our ports being sold off?

Yeah, right.

I wonder how much Bush and Cheney friends will make off the deal? Politicat's sensitive nose detects the stink of filthy lucre changing hands.

What's next? Selling Dulles International Airport operations to the North Koreans?

Hmmm. Better look -- maybe they already own it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Theological ruminations

I've been reading the lively theological discussion in the comments at Father Jake Stops the World. Trying to sort out what it means to be a Christian, how do we interpret and apply the creeds, and how do we deal with people who hold different (and sometimes antagonistic) views.

Phew. Difficult stuff, and the stuff of decisions about trying to live out faith here in the ultraconservative ol' Diocese of Central Florida.

If I'd been closer to a diocesan border, and there were a more moderate diocese I could have slipped into a couple of years ago, when the s..t hit the fan, I would have been out of here.

There wasn't, so I didn't. I could have driven a bit farther than I do now, to a more liberal parish, but I found myself drawn to the Church of Open Arms.

I was hurting and suspicious when I went there, after the trials in my old parish. The biggest draw to the parish was the assisting priest, who was my spiritual director. She's left now. (sigh)

The rector probably isn't a whole lot less conservative than the one in my old parish, but he voted against joining the AAC, after hearing some of the hate-filled messages of its proponents.

He set up a beautiful memorial service, full of bells and whistles, for my gay brother, the one who died last summer.

The rector had never met my brother. My brother never found his faith, and didn't attend church. I told the rector the circumstances about my brother* up front, and the priest didn't miss a beat. He lent his beautiful voice and music to the service, while the assisting celebrated. He arranged for chalice bearers and the whole nine yards. A number of parishioners, who had never met my brother, either, attended the service.

This may strike some of you as nothing out of the ordinary, but it is, in my experience.

I remember the service given for a family member of some friends of mine in the old parish. The departed wasn't gay, but was a drug user who died in unpleasant circumstances. Nobody worthy of concern, it seemed.

The rector barely even showed up for the service. There was nada but a few words, then the departed's ashes were stuck in the ground. I was the only parishioner except family members to show up.

What a difference in attitude.

Every time I've gotten mad at the rector of the Church of Open Arms since, which has been several times (but I think he's pretty much blithely unaware of it), I remember his kindness in all of that. I'm sure even some of the parishioners came to the service at his hint that I could use the support.

So here I sit, in an ultraconservative diocese, in this mixed-bag parish with a conservative at the helm.

Thankfully, I've haven't run into anyone in this parish who spouts hate. That's made it easier to be here.

So, getting back to the comments at Father Jake's site, there is a mystery to faith.

I certainly don't understand God's workings. As painful as the separation from my old parish was, God put me someplace better, where I think/hope/pray I'm growing in my faith.

When I look into the faces of most conservatives in the parish, I see Christ's love, and understand He wants to work in and through us all. Even those with whom we disagree.

I thank God I haven't encountered hate-spewers in this parish. Maybe we can truly become the church of open arms.

I only pray I have enough Christ in me to maintain this quest for Christ, for as a parish, we're going to be facing some really hard times and choices. Unspoken prejudices will come to the surface.

Can I keep in mind that those who hold these prejudices are God's children, with spots in them as yet unhealed, look for Christ in them, and reflect Christ's love to them?

My plan is to leave if this diocese leaves the Episcopal Church. but even I'm wise enough to know God sometimes has other plans. If so, she'll have to fill me with love -- which is what I want, in any case.

The nature of God is a mystery, and that mystery touches us each in unique ways.

There's no doubt in my mind that my brother is with Christ now.

(*my brother was gay. What killed him, though, was alcoholism. He drank himself to death, and he died of internal bleeding related to cirrhosis of the liver. I applaud Bishop Robinson checking in for help, and pray for his recovery. I tried to get my brother into a residential-treatment program a couple of years ago, but he resisted, even though he'd already had a bleed. My brother just got angry with my pushing.)

My belief is that when Christ judges us, it's more of a discernment, and a healing of the spirit, which my brother and all of us need. After this, only a few truly hard-hearted ones could resist him.

I believe she's the God of inclusion, who wants each one of us, passionately.

Why? A mystery.

Ours is the God of many chances, and those chances extend even beyond death. Christ overcame even that.

Our strict orothdox brethren are probably branding me a heretic. So be it. Jesus loved my brother, and me, and all of us, in our hurt and hurting -- enough to die for us.

He loved me first, and I love him passionately.

Do you think he's looking for reasons to turn us back from the pearly gates? Or that he requires us to sign a confessional? Oh, he's so much more than we want to make him.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I'm introducing a guest columnist named Politicat. He likes to tell it the way it is, at least the way he thinks it is. He's definitely opinionated. He's also a cat. I'll let him fill you in on the rest.
-- UnSaintly Pat


I'm Politicat. I leave belly-scratch-loving domesticats in the dust.

Politicat speaks

Yeah, I'm Politicat. I take on the fat cats and run with the big dogs.

Now, my mistress, the UnSaintly one, she's a little mild, if you know what I mean. I guess it's that trying to be a Christian thing. Not me--I'm no fangs barred! If I think something's funny, I'll laugh it, politically correct or not. Mocking is my specialty.

For example: the vice president's unfortunate hunting accident this past weekend. What a hoot!

Top 10 reasons for shooting Mr. Whittington:

• Cheney mistook Whittington for Dubya and shot him. Cheney's a lousy shot. We could speculate endlessly about whether Cheney had the moving truck ready for a quick trip to the White House.

• The Bush was there, and he's the one who actually pulled the trigger. Cheney got pinned as the patsy in the cover up.

Nah, it would have been pinned on some hapless aide.

• Cheney mistook Mr. Whittington for an Arab terrorist and determined to torture the plot out of him.

• Cheney did it because he could.

• Whittington, in his big, orange hunting jacket, looked just like a small, fluffy bird. An easy mistake to make.

Are you sure it wasn't Dubya with the gun?

I guess that's not 10 reasons, but I'm a cat. I can't count that well.

Isn't peppering quail with birdshot a case of overkill? It can't do anything for the flavor. I say, if you're going to hunt small creatures, kill them the way God intended -- with your teeth.

-- Politicat