July 2020 Archives



Am I missing something?

How can assorted Republican leaders still be refusing to wear masks? How can Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) assemble “his staff members to tell them in person he had tested positive” for the virus and still forbid them to wear masks?

How can people still refuse to believe that President Trump is racist after he tweeted the following?

“I am happy to inform all the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…. Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”

This legislation, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH), passed in 2015 “was explicitly intended to end racial segregation in housing.”

How can sending paramilitary forces to end peaceful protests NOT be seen as a form of tyranny?

How can people honestly believe the discredited lies of Dr. Stella Immanuel over the science-based facts of Dr. Anthony Fauci?

This short list does not even scratch the surface of all the malevolence that assaults us every day. The fast pace with which this chaotic spread of fear and disinformation attacks us is overwhelming; it feels like an endless, winless boxing match with Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali.

I cannot look away or stop speaking out! To do so would simply be ethically irresponsible and injudicious no matter how much grief and despair I have felt especially in this last week.

Obviously, Trump is Putin’s puppet. Obviously, evangelical pastors, such as Franklin Graham, have dressed the wolf in sheep’s clothing and continue to protect and promote Trump as a pro-life voice, when he is clearly anything but pro-life, especially in the larger sense of the term. Obviously, President Trump is a pathological liar.

I simply do not understand how people cannot see President Trump for the evil that he so clearly personifies. Even as I write this, the words of Jesus are ringing in my ears:

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

What am I missing?

To those who identify as Republican conservatives and/or Christian Fundamentalists, and especially to those who believe “Trump is the fulfillment of prophecy” prior to Christ’s second coming…

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhXwbcGSKJ8 )

…do any true Christian teachings or honest Republican values, not to mention any of Jesus’s actual words justify racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, greed, selfishness, and utter disregard for the environment; or make supporting Trump’s re-election morally, ethically, and/or spiritually correct?

NO, not for anyone who truly believes the words, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Or these words, “One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one’s own self.” Or these, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

What is worse is that once people are so heavily invested in, indoctrinated by and identified with Mr. Trump and the ideology he represents, there is no reasoning with them. They do not seem to be capable of a sensible discussion.

This lack of openness and blatant disregard for caring and compassionate conversation with regards to solving complex problems is the real issue. This is what keeps me up at night worrying about my grandchildren’s future.

We are teetering on the edge a cataclysmic cliff and a vast majority of people are behaving as lemmings ready to jump, refusing to ask why.

Why do people think that helping the unemployed under the Heroes Act will make the jobless not want to work or pay their rent?

Why do people think it is acceptable to rescind the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic leaving over 20 million people without healthcare?

Why is it permissible to deregulate environmental laws designed to protect all life on this planet?

Burying your head in the sand is not working! What solutions do you propose?

Are you afraid of the messiness answering these kinds of questions engenders?

Could all of this be what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:13-14?

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

I am not questioning God. I am questioning the beliefs and delusions that appear to be informing the maniacal behavior of many of Her beloveds.

Am I missing something? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I don’t need to hear a presidential debate to make a decision about who I will be voting for in November.

The choice is absolutely and irrefutably obvious to me.

Radical Change

Radical Change

I use to be a far-right fundamentalist …

… but I came to see how my extreme beliefs hurt people whom I had made a promise to love as the result of a decision to follow Christ.

Folks who continue to identify as I once did would probably view me now as a radical-left liberalist, and you know what? I am OK with that.

“What would ever make you change your mind?”

Returning to University at the age of 36 as a “non-traditional” student to finish my degree, being a teacher for 17 years, and volunteering at a local food pantry are three life events that had the greatest influence on shedding my illusory beliefs of separation and alienation.

None of these experiences, you will notice, took place within the walls of a church. Isn’t that the way it should be, learning and living out our faith in the “real world?”

The job I held the longest prior to becoming a teacher was as a pharmacy technician at various hospitals near where I lived. While working in both in-patient and out-patient hospital pharmacies, I was exposed to various calamitous circumstances. I witnessed a baby die due to SIDS. On occasion I was nearby when ‘codes’ were called in Emergency Rooms. I interacted on a regular basis with veterans who were missing limbs and/or who suffered mental health issues due to their military service.

While these situations may have helped me become kinder, gentler, move loving, and more empathetic, they did little to dent the chink in my armor as far as issues of diversity and strongly held, black and white beliefs on matters of spirituality, sexuality, and race relations.

One of the first assignments I was given in my ‘Seminar in Education’ class was to examine my attitudes towards multiculturalism. My paper was entitled “Joy for Learning—A Multicultural Experience.” In it I explored my myopic prejudices concerning race and religion, up to that point in time. After re-reading it today, I can see how much I have changed since then, 24 years later.

My entire undergraduate experience challenged me to question my conditioned beliefs and pre-conceived ideas. Everything from Mathematics to World History to Physics to English Literature and Educational coursework was part of my journey with, in, and through the eyes of God. The diploma that hangs on the wall in my office is as much Hers as it is mine.

Sixteen of my 17 years as a teacher were spent at a middle school where more than 25% of the students are minorities and a third of the students receive free or reduced lunches. This learning environment was very different from my own white, middle class, suburban educational experience of the 1960’s and 70’s.

The philosophies of “sharing my joy and enthusiasm for learning” and “students should see my acceptance, tolerance, and respect for all people” set forth in my college paper were put to the test in varying ways. Additionally, for the first time in my adult life I worked with lesbians, all of whom were in committed relationships with their partners.

I know what the Bible says about sexual orientation. I also know how easy it is for me to see God in my image rather than seeing myself and all human beings in Her image.

God’s grace and love is extravagant! This radical love is the whole point of the prodigal son parable. Do you understand how shocking it was for the son to ask for his inheritance? The son’s request “implies a wish that his father was dead,” and was considered unforgivable. When the wayward son returns home, the father’s response was just as equally surprising. He runs to his son with open arms without reluctance or hesitation.

This parable should inform how we choose to live this life, here and now, more than just as determinant of our eternal destination.

When I volunteered at the food pantry, I met clients who endured circumstances I could not even begin to imagine. This one experience more than any other indicated whether I really gave heed to Jesus’s teaching in Mathew 25:35-40 about the least, the last, the lost and the lonely.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

“None of this sounds very radical.”

How about this?

“I believe in full LGBTQ+ rights.
I believe we should protect the planet.
I believe everyone deserves healthcare.
I believe the world is bigger than America.
I believe to be “pro-life,” means to treasure all of it.
I believe women should have autonomy over their own bodies.
I believe whiteness isn’t superior and it is not the baseline of humanity.
I believe we are all one interdependent community.
I believe people and places are made better by diversity.
I believe people shouldn’t be forced to abide by anyone else’s religion.
I believe non-American human beings have as much value as American ones.
I believe generosity is greater than greed, compassion better than contempt, and kindness superior to derision.
I believe there is enough in this world for everyone: enough food, enough money, enough room, enough care—if we unleash our creativity and unclench our fists.”
John Pavolitz

To this I would add:

I believe loving as Jesus loved or Gandhi loved or Sister Teresa loved is more important than being able to quote chapter and verse of the Bible or any sacred text.
I believe that any and all both extremes of black and white thinking can be perverted to express hate towards those we may view as seemingly other than or separate from us.
I believe I would rather err on the side of love than of judgement.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

And I believe that just because I can sometimes think I have it all figured out …

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
‘   Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
   I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings* shouted for joy?

‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
   when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
   and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
   and set bars and doors,
and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
   and here shall your proud waves be stopped”?

‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
   and caused the dawn to know its place,
so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
   and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
   and it is dyed* like a garment.
Light is withheld from the wicked,
   and their uplifted arm is broken.

‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
   or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
   or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
   Declare, if you know all this.
Job 38:1-18

… I don’t have it all figured out. Not even close.




Have you heard anyone say the following?

“I decide who I’m going to vote for based on how the person stands on abortion and what they believe about marriage.”

Do you have an understanding of your own decision-making process? Or what is the underlying motivation for it? In other words, on what are your decisions based?

“We make thousands of choices every day. It’s estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Each decision, of course, carries certain consequences with it that are both good and bad.” Science.unctv.org

If a person is pro-life concerning the issue of abortion and stands with the traditional definition of marriage—including being against gay marriage, does that necessarily make them a morally ethical person?

President Trump claims to be pro-life and anti-gay marriage, and I certainly do not believe he is a morally ethical person. In fact, I dare say he is morally reprehensible! And yet, many people voted for him in 2016 and will do so again in 2020 simply because of where he seems to stand on these two issues.

Do these two issues take precedence over all the other complex concerns the US is currently facing? If so, why?

“Of about 6 to 10 million currently existing species, we have still only identified 1 million; we know more about vertebrate species than we do about plants and insects. But for groups that we know well, knowledge of very recent species extinctions — and for current species, their ranges and the threats to them — allows us to be certain that extinction rates are comparable to those of the great past extinctions.

For example, for birds, of about 10,000 species worldwide, at least 128 have disappeared in the last 500 years, about 1,200 are currently seriously threatened with extinction (all but three from human activities); there is a real prospect of the loss of 500 bird species within this century.” Daniel Simberloff

Does human existence take priority over all other existence? If yes, why? Does the dominion given to humans in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament mean we have the freedom to treat all creation any way we want? Are we called to harsh and evil rule or for benevolence and grace?

For all intents and purposes, it appears to me we have ruled over the earth with the harshness and greediness of an evil king bent on destroying everything that does not serve his very own personal wish and whim.

Acrimonious and disgraceful leadership and example is not a sound basis for decision making.

Again, I ask you, on what do you base the myriad of decisions you make in your life, especially those that can and do affect so many people and other life forms either negatively or positively?

I am a follower of Christ and registered as a Democrat and I believe it would be just as morally impoverished to vote against Mr. Trump as for him simply because of his abortion and gay marriage stance.

Extreme, ignorant and black and white thinking is selfish, narrow-minded, hard-hearted and shows a lack of awareness, and/or intelligence. Individuals who live their lives in such poverty are lost—lost in their own merciless illusions of judgement, wrath, and anger. I pity these folks because they must be enduring a lot of pain or fear in order to want to build walls around their hearts and country rather than become pathways for Light, Love, health and healing.

Do you really want to see the abortion rate drop? Then provide women—ALL women, not just women with economic advantages but poverty-stricken women, women of color and all women everywhere–with educational and economic opportunities so they do not have to see men as their only way through this world. Until we do that, we are faced with a patchwork of limited programs that barely if at all meet their physical and/or emotional needs, much less the needs of children born into trying and disadvantaged circumstances.

Abortion and sexuality are just two issues among many others where people want to impose what they see as right for their own bodies and lives onto others by taking choices away from anyone who disagrees with them. How can the difficulties and challenges different perspectives on these issues raise be addressed through impoverished, black and white thinking? They can’t.

And since collective answers to complex and multidimensional concerns are never straightforward, how can choosing a leader based solely on those two issues regardless of your faith or spiritual practice be so neat and tidy? It can’t.

Not all decisions we make are weighted equally and the results and outcomes can range from inconsequential to life threatening. Within such a broad and seemingly unlimited range of possible results, what becomes our basis and motivation for deciding? What are the things that must be considered?

“Before you speak, THINK. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

This saying could easily translate to decision making. To it I would add, do my decisions judge others, life and the world in the light of love?

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” not “force unto others.”

How will you choose?

My choice? I just want to help people—I don’t care about their gender, their sexuality, the color of their skin or anything else that may be used to make us believe we are separate.

I just want to help and be a pathway of Light and Love.

I Really Want to Know

I Really Want to Know

Mr. President,

I am just going to get right to the point.

First, rather than browbeating school districts to reopen by threatening to withdraw Federal funding, why not take those funds and invest in laptops for every student in the United States and take measures to assure all students have a good and affordable broadband connection? This proposal would open other avenues for learning particularly for students who may not do well in traditional classroom settings. Textbooks and other educational resources could be fully on-line thus eliminating educational inequalities.

Secondly, why have you systematically dismantled over 100 laws and regulations designed to protect the environment? Instead of rolling back these directives because you view them as economically restrictive, why don’t you use them as an opportunity to create new technologies, which would in turn create jobs? Why do you insist on destroying our planet rather than thoughtfully managing our ever-limited resources? The earth simply cannot sustain the human population without reflective stewardship strategies for future generations.

Third, you have taken an adamant pro-life stance on abortion. How do you propose to enforce laws against abortion? Do you intend to incarcerate the women who have an abortion? Should you not also incarcerate the men who impregnate them? Will there be stricter laws for women than men, or vice versa, and why? Since you seem determined to legislate women’s bodies, should you not also regulate the number of ejaculations men are permitted within a certain time period? What are your proposals to support women’s healthcare, or do you continue to just see us as a bunch of pu**ies you can grab?

Fourth, what are your ideas for law enforcement reform? Why do you insist on militarizing our police rather than looking for creative ways for ‘law and order’ that bring about community connectiveness?

This list of issues is in no particular order and is certainly not a comprehensive inventory of the vast obstacles, conflicts and inequities the United States is facing as a nation. I haven’t even mentioned your complete mismanagement of the Pandemic and the lies, delusions and propaganda you have used to try to convince people it will just ‘go away.’

Frankly I am writing this letter because I am completely worn out by and disgusted with your rambling, hatred-filled rhetoric. The United States has many serious and complicated issues and your way of dealing with them has been and is to use labels and words to polarize its citizens and dehumanize those who do not fit your white male patriarchy privileged viewpoint.

Creative problem solving and caring conversations cannot occur through such a limited, deluded and punitive mindset such as yours.

Finally, rather than spending your campaign funds creating advertisements that try to discredit and defame your opponent, why not generate commercials that answer my questions. I really want to know!

With respect to the office you now hold,
Susan Fridinger



“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.”  Brene Brown