Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gen. Kelly: "When women were sacred..."

General John Kelly, born in 1950 

I keep the news on during the day while I'm doing the dishes or skimming email.  If any news breaks, I give it my full attention.

Today when I heard General John Kelly speaking earnestly about the loss of his son Robert in 2010 in Afghanistan, I sat down to watch.

But suddenly I couldn't believe my ears:

I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.
(Thank you to the New York Times for printing the transcript of Kelly's words.)

 Gen. John Kelly, chief of staff for Donald Trump, was telling me that in the 1950s and 1960s, "women were sacred."

What does that mean?  They weren't raped or sexually harrassed?  They were respected in some abstract way, though they couldn't get into law school or medical school?  

When Sandra Day O'Connor  graduated from Stanford Law school:
"at least forty law firms refused to interview her for a position as an attorney because she was a woman.[20] She eventually found employment as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary.[20]" (Wikipedia)

I'm two years older than Kelly.  I too lived through those years when my mother couldn't buy a carpet for the house because she didn't have my father's signature.

What kind of "great honor" is it when you can't get a job?  When you can't get the same pay for your job as a man doing that job?

What Kelly meant was, "In the good ol' days, we kept women on a pedestal and out of public life."

I don't want to be "sacred."  I want to be equal.

Next: what does he mean by "recent cases"?  Last week's news of sexual harrassment and rape by Harvey Weinstein?  And by his boss, Donald Trump?  If General Kelly cares about treating women with "great honor," why did he support Donald and choose to work for him?

Why does he think the "dignity of life" is gone?  Because of the shooting in Las Vegas?  Or because abortion is legal?  99% of Americans live with dignity and consider human life sacred--not to mention animal life and forests and other forms of life.  To jump from shootings or abortions to the idea that "the dignity of life" is completely gone--that's not rational.  It's an emotional rant.

And "Religion--that seems to be gone as well"???  

Psychiatrists call that statement catastrophizing.  Logicians call it jumping from a few facts to an unbelievably broad conclusion.

All Americans who went to church last Sunday, who pray for their nation and their leaders, must have been surprised to hear that religion is gone.  I don't believe that for one second.  I know.  I was sitting in a pew of the First Church of the Nazarene, Pasadena, listening to a wonderful sermon by a woman, Pastor Tara Beth Leach.

You know, I had been starting to like General Kelly.  He and General H. R. McMaster and General James Mattis seem to be protecting us from this deranged president.

But today I am reminded that Kelly is out of touch with the real world.  He thinks women are worse off now than in the 1950s.  He thinks life is not respected.  He thinks religion is "gone."

I can only conclude that we need to get this whole crowd of cultural dinosaurs and disrespecters of women out of the White House as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In Memoriam: Founder of SNAP

Barbara Blaine founded SNAP--the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests--in 1988.  It now has 20,000 members around the world.

The cause of her death Sunday was a condition resulting from a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, her family said in a statement Monday.

Her work goes on though she is not with us.

The film Spotlight showcased newspaper reporters reporting on work by SNAP and others in abuse by priests, covered up by bishops, in the Boston area.

The documentary The Keepers, available on Netflix, reveals a similar abuse ring in Baltimore.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

More on the snake in the White House

Hard to say whether the White House is a rats nest, hornets nest, or den of thieves.

Thank God that Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Anthony Scaramucci, Mike Flynn, and others have been kicked out.

But we have one more who needs to go: Ralph Drollinger, the wolf in pastor's clothing who prays with our leaders one minute and tells them mothers should not work outside the home the next minute.

He preys on them as well as with them.

See this article by Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times on August 3, 2017:

Halper quotes Judy Chu, then state senator from Monterey Park, as saying 
“I was a member of the California Assembly [ in 2004] when Mr. Drollinger told the women legislators with children at home that they were sinners...."

Check out this report by Halpern and Jordan Rau on May 21, 2004, when Drollinger's admonitions toward women lawmakers in Sacramento with young children was first making headlines.

Thank you to my new friend Kathy Barbini for citing the LA Times stories about this guy on her Facebook page, Baptizing Feminism.

She points out that his credentials as a pastor come from Master's Seminary, a one-building affair next to Grace Community Church, which sits on Roscoe Blvd. near I-5 in the San Fernando Valley.

This mini-seminary has all of 19 instructors--compare nearby Fuller Seminary with 100 full-time professors and many adjunct and part-timers, or Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas with 91 professors.

The seminary's main distinction is that it forbids women to study there or to become pastors--a hard line not found in the ministry and teaching of Jesus.

Some of the profs at Master's Seminary are not even full-time--such as John MacArthur, whose main job is preaching and managing his 8,000-member church.  

So how does a guy who comes from such a diddly-squat religious education make it into the White House to lead Bible studies with the staff there?

He leans on his history as a basketball player for UCLA--that's how Kathy Barbini explains it.  The old boys club likes athletes.  

And boys' clubs naturally like to keep girls out of things.

It's bad enough to have a sexual predator as our president--we don't need this misogynist convincing those surrounding dt that the Bible sanctions oppression of women.

First of all, the Bible doesn't approve of sexism.  See the FAQs at my favorite Christian feminist website,

Secondly, men have used religion around the world for millennia to keep women away from education, political rights, business opportunities, and economic equality.

Men like Ralph Drollinger have to be stopped.  I'm not sure how to do it, but using the dreaded Media is one method.

Progressive evangelicals and ex-evangelicals on Twitter are onto him.  @dianabutlerbass  @ julieingersoll @pastordan @slacktivistFred @antheabutler @annelinstatter.

In addition to the LA Times, The Huffington PostThe Independent (UK), Capitol Weekly, Politicus USA, and others have exposed his presence in the White House.

Shining light on evil is one way of exposing it.  

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it," we read in the first lines of the Gospel of John.

In Mourning for Women's Equality Day

I can't find anything to celebrate today, August 26, 2017, nearly 100 years after women gained the right to vote in the United States of America.

I can only mourn: 

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton should be our president.  
  • dt should have gone back to his golf and crooked real estate deals funded by his Russian buddies.
  • Heather Heyer should be alive.
  • ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio should be in jail in Arizona.
  • Muslim refugees should be here, hosted by the churches and NGOs reaching out to them.
  • Mexican and Central American immigrants fleeing gun violence and poverty should be respected for their contributions.
  • The Dar al-Farook mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, should still be standing as a house of worship.
  • US participation in the Paris Accords to fight global warming should be making progress.

And more.  But no, we have to endure horror after horror since the pseudo-election of dt to the presidency.

Hillary would have been a competent, experienced president from Day One.  dt still doesn't have the sense or interest or compassion to be president at Day 218.

Every president since Nixon has honored Women's Equality Day, but dt, the man who proclaimed "No one respects women more than I do," didn't get around to it until Friday afternoon.  Guess he was too busy firing Seb Gorka, pardoning Arpaio, and worrying about the people in Texas facing Hurricane Harvey.

While every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama has proclaimed Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day, the law does not require the president do so. This differentiates the day from official federal holidays, which are designated by Congress.

There's a She Persisted March in downtown Los Angeles today at noon to mark this day and keep up our fighting spirit, but I don't have the heart to go.

It feels pointless.  

Nauseating News

If you want to vomit, listen to this White House "Bible study," actually a propaganda session to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

Thank you to Kathy Barbini on her Facebook page Baptizing Feminism for letting me know about this problem and providing the link.

Thanks also to the Los Angeles Times for a glimpse of who Drollinger is and how he got started at John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles--article by Evan Halper.

See also an earlier LA Times article by Halper with Jordan Ran.

And this report in The Huffington Post:

In Memoriam: Virginia K. Hearn 1930-2017

A sad end to a long life: my friend Ginny Hearn died last Saturday, August 19, at age 87.  She had suffered pneumonia and also a stroke.

Ginny was a member of the SF Bay Area Chapter of Evangelical Women's Caucus back in the 1970s and 1980s and attended several national conferences.  See I believe she also edited the EWC Update, a newsletter, for a few years.  

"Of course, we know it was a broken heart," writes her step-daughter, Christine Hearn.  Ginny's husband Walter had died on April 11, four months earlier.  He was four years older, born in 1926.

Ginny wrote and/or edited several books, including Our Struggle To Serve: The Stories of 15 Evangelical Women in 1979.  Reta Finger, Ruth Schmidt, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and I are among those who wrote about the problems of trying to use our gifts in the church.

She was an adjunct professor of communications at New College, Berkeley, for 10-20 years; teaching journal writing was her specialty.  See the tribute on the New College site:
She also worked as an editor at His Magazine (InterVarsity Press), the Christian Medical Society, and Tyndale House Publishers before launching a book editing business with her husband.

I visited Ginny on July 11-12 in Berkeley when I was in town briefly to deliver my daughter's dog to her in Oakland (after caring for it while my daughter was traveling). 

Ginny repeated, "I am disconsolate.  I am broken-hearted.  Walter was the best of men."  She hadn't left her home more than a few times since April.  Food was brought to her.  Friends from First Pres Berkeley came (one per day), to check up on her, as organized by Christine, her step-daughter, who spent most of Saturdays and Sundays with her.

Ginny also said, "I just don't know what to do with my life."  "The future is a blank."  "Why am I still living?  God could have taken us both."

I argued with her, "That would be hard for God to do.  I don't think God could really do that."

"Yes, he could," she argued.

I asked her what the Westminster Catechism says about what we are supposed to do with our lives.

She answered correctly "We're to glorify God and enjoy him forever."



Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him [sic] forever.[2]

Thus she still had her long-term memory even though she had gotten confused about some things and had very weak short-term memory.  Her sister Millie (b. 1932) had died of Alzheimer's a few years ago in a care center in Colorado.

Nevertheless, Ginny was seriously depressed and could not summon up enough energy to carry on in a new phase of her life.  I did pray with her and tried to point out small steps she could take.

When I asked her to name things she was grateful for, she said, "This sister K.J." [Katherine] and "51 years with Walt."

The service will be at First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, in a few weeks.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Grieving over the 10 young sailors...

The news broke on Monday night: ten sailors missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker near Singapore.

Ten sailors missing.

They had been sleeping in their bunks while others managed the ship.  I thought about them, mourned their loss all week. Then on Thursday their names were released and one body was found in the flooded interior of the ship.

Today the Wall Street Journal printed their photos on the front page and gave them this headline, taken from the hymn "Eternal Father, strong to save":  

".... calm amidst its rage didst sleep."

The second verse is about Jesus sleeping in a boat during a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  His followers wakened him, and he stilled the sea (Luke 8:22-25).

Other sailors tell about waking and evacuating their flooding room, trying to find others injured or not able to get to the ladder.

I stare at the sweet faces of these young men who suddenly, unexpectedly lost their lives.  

Amidst the constant hullaballoo over dt, these young men did not get enough credit this week.

May their remains be found.  May the their souls rest in peace.  May their families recover.

My nephew just completed about seven years in the Navy, serving in the Seventh Fleet and for several years on the USS John S. McCain.  He slept in about the same area as these men slept.  He survived his service in the Navy and now works as a recruiter in Orange County, CA.

Trinity Hymnal

Eternal Father, strong to save — Melita

Original Trinity Hymnal, #629

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Saviour, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep
And calm amid its rage didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
Who badd'st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light and life and peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.