Hello. My name is America. And I’m a gunaholic…

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See? Now you never have to do another one of those again. You just roll that clip after the next gun tragedy. Which will probably be before Thanksgiving.

Jessica Williams
The Daily Show

October 5, 2015

Oct. 9, 2015–

Reports of a shooting on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. One dead, three wounded. This comes 8 days after the “one before that,” on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I’m tired of saying things from the heart when so many others seem to be talking out their asses. And covering their eyes and ears. And pretending guns aren’t really involved.

If the first step toward a cure is admitting you have a problem, then we are still light years away.

Hello. My name is America. And I’m a gunaholic…

Mass shootingsRing any bells…?

I Now Pronounce You…

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Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.

– The Impressive Clergyman

If you glance at the sidebar of my blog, you’ll notice my “Credentials of Ministry.” A word on that…

Way, way, way back in 2003, before I absconded with an open(er) mind, the church I was working at in Missouri licensed me to “marry and bury,” as the saying goes. Between then and my departure from the ministry, I performed two extremely Christian weddings (cord of three strands, Proverbs 31 woman, husbands love/wives submit, and all that).

Then, having packed my clerical bags, I assumed that was all in the past…

…Until a friend asked me, quite recently, if I would be interested in conducting a secular wedding ceremony for his dad. To my surprise, I found myself actually considering it. And in one week and change, I will be doing it.

However, being unsure as to the continued validity of that first license, I decided to update my status by applying for ordination to the Universal Life Church, a process which took about three minutes and which is accepted, with certain exceptions, in most of the fifty states.

So, now, have license, will travel.

The online approach is unlike me. On one level, I feel like I just shopped for a term paper. On another, though, this feels…important. Formality doesn’t carry as much weight with me now as when I was “Pastor Vance”; after almost seven years of what our families would call “Godless marriage,” I find that two strands, tightly woven, don’t really need a third. If the online ordination offered by the ULC allows me legally to bring  two new strands together, then it’s good enough for me.

It feels important because there are people, like me, who believe that the parties involved are more significant than whatever religious legitimation might be brought to bear on the proceedings. A strong commitment between loving individuals, whatever their gender, trumps commitment to any particular theological or philosophical system. The latter is neither necessary nor sufficient to a long and happy marriage, and sometimes only gets in the way.

Also, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, it seems to me that someone needs to stand for the right–legalized, perhaps, but still not guaranteed–of all people to build a relationship with the person of their choice. I was once told that, if a same-sex couple looks hard enough, they’re sure to find a pastor willing to marry them. To which I reply: No one should have to “look hard” for permission to celebrate their desire for commitment, as if their love were any less valid than anyone else’s. So, look no further: here I am.

This is a feeble attempt to express my feelings on this matter. And I’m definitely not the A-Team. But if you’re looking for affirmation rather than approval; if you’re more interested in your commitment to one another than commitment to any particular faith; if the only legitimation you need is your love for each other; if any of this applies to you, then I’m your guy.

Now…let us eat cake!!!

Turn, Turn, Turn

Follow the Dustmobile Diaries!

The Dustmobile Diaries

228935_10100144579688033_6458830_nIt’s Winter-fall
Red skies are gleaming – oh –
Sea-gulls are flyin’ over
Swans are floatin’ by
Smoking chimney-tops
Am I dreaming…
Am I dreaming…?

– Queen

Okay, so perhaps I’m jumping the gun a bit with the photo and the song quote. But I can’t help myself: I’m excited.

Those of you who don’t live in Central Texas (or really, those of you who live anywhere where seasons are actually a thing) may not understand my emotion, and this whole post may seem a bit pointless. Bear with me…

Saturday, October 3, 2015–the first day of the latter year on which our thermostat actually dropped by itself!

Yeah, baby!
Winter is on the horizon at last, and all is right with the world!

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May your travels be snowy and bright!

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Done

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Look at my face!!!

It’s important to me that you be able to connect this face with the following words, because this is a moment in which anonymity only serves to make things worse.

By now you’ve most of you probably heard about the school shooting in Oregon yesterday. Once again, I’m faced with the undeniable need to say…something…don’t know what. I’m losing the will to write about this stuff, since it’s obvious that the right people are not listening.

I could write another poem, with language well-couched and mostly unintelligible, but let’s face it: the ones who need to understand don’t generally devote enough energy to the situation to ferret out my meaning (whatever that may be).

I could be level-headed and politic, but we all know how far that sort of thing gets us these days, and in any case I don’t have the intestinal fortitude for it this morning. I don’t feel level-headed; none of us should.

So, follow the bouncing goddamn ball.

Did the shooter target Christians? Who the hell cares?! Beyond being one more excuse for Christians in this country to go on about imaginary persecution, this redirect elbows out the more important point: he targeted people, human beings, all of whom are and were of great value regardless of their religious inclinations. So let’s ask the question that matters, okay?

Do guns kill people? Or do people kill people? Or are we just making up stupid questions and mincing meaningless words to keep from having to address the real problem? Innocent people are dying, and we’d rather ignore that than risk having some of our toys taken away.

Are these shootings down to mental illness? Sure, some of them. Not unlike the NRA party line. But the fact remains that an environment in which the mentally unstable may so easily obtain what in cases like these can only be called weapons of mass destruction relegates the shooter’s mental state to a position of secondary concern. An insane system obviates the sanity of the individual: whether I am nuts or not doesn’t matter; only whether I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong freaking time.

If you are one of those who values the 2nd Amendment over the lives it has taken and will continue to take, I say this with all the vehemence I can muster: Screw you. It’s not about you. So get over yourself, stop inventing excuses for your own selfishness, and get it through your heads that these “fun guns” you crave were created to kill. Even when they’re used for protection.

We inhabit a cycle of unending and ever-increasing interpersonal violence. It’s not because of The Fall or original sin. It’s not because of mental instability or video games or hip hop and heavy metal. It’s because we refuse to pull our thumbs out and take even the most minimal of actions. It’s because the majority of us, after being briefly outraged, turn a blind eye and wait for the next one to happen.

True, this is a problem that isn’t going away any time soon, but that’s only because we’re too busy sitting the fence (or shooting at it) to do anything about it.

So this is on us. Again.

And again. And again. And again. And…