Saturday, March 31, 2018

When God Is Edged Out

Holy Saturday... a contradiction in terms.

Saturday is the day most people do errands or relax or do housework and yard chores.

But in Holy Week, it's the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

It's a day of sadness followed by joy and hope.

It's a godless day... we commemorate the day when Jesus, our God incarnate, was dead and gone.  We were hopeless.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood this hopelessness.  See excerpt below from Letters and Papers from Prison, written during the year before he was executed by the Nazis for being part of a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Bonhoeffer was indeed at a place of, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

He wrote, 

"The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us.  Before God and with God we live without God.  God allows Godself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross."

The Rev. Dr. Lynn Cheyney quoted that last line in her sermon on Palm Sunday.

The Rev. Nate Rugh quoted it in his sermon on Good Friday.

Many have debated "the problem of pain": if God is good, why does that God allow so much evil in the world?

The answer lies in those words: "God allows Godself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross."

The Transcent, Original Good allows evil to happen but suffers as we do when humans do evil.

Excerpts from Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison

Is there any concern in the Old Testament about saving one's soul at all? Is not righteousness and the kingdom of God on earth the focus of everything, and is not Romans 3:14 too, the culmination of the view that in God alone is righteousness, and not in an individualistic doctrine of salvation? It is not with the next world that we are concerned, but with this world as created and preserved and set subject to laws and atoned for and made new. . .
Barth was the first theologian to begin the criticism of religion. . . but he set in place the positivist doctrine of revelation which says, in effect, "Take it or leave it": Virgin Birth, Trinity, or anything else, everything which is an equally significant and necessary part of the whole, which latter has to be swallowed as a whole or not at all. That is not in accordance with the Bible. . .
It is a long way back to the land of childhood
But if we only knew the way!
There isn't any such way, at any rate not at the cost of deliberately abandoning our intellectual maturity. . . God is teaching us that we must live as humans who can get along very well without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us. The God who makes us live in this world without using God as a working hypothesis is the god before whom we are standing. Before God and with God we live without God. God allows Himself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which God can be with us and help us. Matthew 8:17 (he took up our infirmities, and bore the burden of our sins) makes it crystal clear that it is not by his omnipotence that Christ helps us, but by his weakness and suffering.
This is the decisive difference between Christianity and all religions. Man's religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world; he uses God as a deus ex machina. The Bible, however, directs us to the powerlessness and suffering of God; only a suffering God can help. To this extent we may say that the process we have described by which the world came of age was an abandonment of the false conception of God, and a clearing of the decks for the God of the Bible, who conquers power and space in the world by his weakness. . .
Humans are challenged to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world. One must therefore plunge oneself into the life of a godless world, without attempting to gloss over its ungodliness with a veneer of religion or trying to transform it. . . To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some particular form of asceticism. . . but to be a human being. It is not some religious act which makes a Christian what he is, but participation in the suffering of God in the life of the world.. . .
During the last year, I have come to appreciate the "worldliness" of Christianity as never before. . . I don't mean the shallow this-worldliness of the enlightened, of the busy, the comfortable or the lascivious. It's something much more profound than that, something in which the knowledge of death and resurrection is ever present. . . One must abandon every attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, a converted sinner, a churchman . . . This is what I mean by worldliness-taking life in stride, with all its duties and problems, its successes and failures, its experiences and helplessness. It is in such a life that we throw ourselves utterly in the arms of God and participate in his sufferings in the world and watch with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, and that is what makes a human and a Christian.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Passover & Seder

Was the bread Jesus ate at the Last Supper matzah or normal yeast-raised bread?

"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer," says Jesus in Luke's account of his final twenty-four hours (Luke 22:15).  

Of course he would want to share the Passover meal again before he died.

Events overtook him.  We don't know whether the Last Supper Jesus ate was indeed a Passover celebration or whether it was just a party before he was arrested and executed.

Experts disagree on whether the meal was a Seder:

But one thing we do know: Jesus really wanted to share that holiday with his disciples, the way a child wants to celebrate Christmas.  

Jesus was fully human in that regard.  He was a ben-adam -- a human.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cry more, Nod less

Jennifer Palmieri

"It's okay to cry in the work place. Women need to nod less and cry more--not try to be like men" says Jennifer Palmieri on MSNBC.

She's referencing the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign and how she nodded when criticized at some points in debates and how she was criticized for crying.  The advice then was not to be too emotional and "act like a woman" or appear "weak."

Her new book is Dear Madame President.

It's addressed to the next women presidents who are growing up now--such as Emma Gonzalez of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Naomi Wadler, the 11-year-old who spoke at the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C.

These empowered young women are changing how women feel and act in the workplace and in campaigns for electoral office.

See this moving review of Dear Madame President in the New York Times:

Time Magazine:


Monday, March 26, 2018

Counting the Days until Impeachment

The impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1999

During most of 2017 I was enraged by the dt presidency.  It shouldn't be happening.

I was angry that the 2016 election had been stolen by: 

  • James Comey playing up the Clinton emails
  • voter intimidation and disenrollment in certain states
  • Russian bots posing as Americans and posting lies about Hillary Rodham Clinton on Facebook and Twitter
  • Other lies targeting right-wing voters
  • Bill Clinton's mistake of talking to Attorney General Loretta Lynch

All of the above is still true, but now there are other deceptive measures to add to the list:

The president and his campaign have broken so many laws and told so many lies that it's just a matter of time until the House impeaches him.

Here are some others who agree with me:

I'm not worried any more.  The need to attend a demonstration calling for his impeachment is over. Yes, this administration continues to damage the nation in many ways every day, but the end is in sight. 

Mid-term elections are coming up in seven months, and all indications are that afterward there will be enough votes in the House to impeach dt.

The investigation into Russian collusion in the election continues apace, and eventually Mueller will calmly state, "Checkmate."

A falling stock market will trigger Trump's fall even if the Congress doesn't act.

Trump and his White House have shrunk in my eyes to a source of entertainment.  Shocking new words or actions emerge every day. It's almost fun to see the latest ludicrous developments.

"Honey, I shrank the president," someone tweeted after Karen McDougal told her story to 60 Minutes about her ten-month affair with dt.

He's shrinking more every day.  

I'm no longer angry at him or obsessed by him--just saddened by the whole sordid mess.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Facebook Flunks Ethics 101
ZDNET is "for professionals seeking to research technology-related issues, and solve business technology problems."

I'm disgusted with Facebook.

After much thought, I decided not to delete or deactivate my FB account.  Instead, I will stop using FB but leave a final post and cover photo to explain why I am leaving.

Deleting or deactivating would mean losing a big part of my online voice--in order to punish Facebook.  

By leaving up my final post, I am using the FB platform to speak out against FB.

My plan is to return after Donald Trump is impeached.

Facebook has committed two major crimes, both of which contributed to the defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the election of Donald Trump.

1) Facebook provided a few of its own employees to the Trump campaign during 2016.  They worked out of Brad Parscale’s office multiple days a week. Parscale says he "used only Republican employees and wanted them to be partisan if they were going to work for the campaign," according to a Wall Street Journal article last October.…/

2) Facebook sold the data of 50 million users to Steve Bannon's and Robert Mercer's shady "Cambridge Analytica."  That data was then used to find and target vulnerable voters by sending sheer lies about Hillary Clinton to their FB pages.

Contributing to the election of the worst American president in history is an unforgivable act.

I regret not being able to keep up with my friends via FB and not being able to post flower photos, dog photos, and political comments.

But I have to turn my back on this medium that has contributed to harming so many people and endangering the entire world.

Email me at

My political and feminist posts will be on my blog 

Flowers and the beauty of God's creation will be on 

I will  read your tweets and fight the White House on Twitter @AnneLinstatter 

If you post on Instagram, I'll see you there, and I will post photos of dogs, flowers, etc.: annelinstatter. 

Hasta la vista...

Stephanie Clifford Rules!

The 45th president is being "hoist on his own petard"--or whatever--by Stephanie Clifford.

I'm liking Stephanie more with everything I learn about her.  As Matt Flegenheimer, Rebecca R. Ruiz, and Katie Van Syckle write in today's New York Times:

"...for most of her professional life, Ms. Clifford has been a woman in control of her own narrative in a field where that can be uncommon."

"It is she, some in Washington now joke, and not the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who could topple Mr. Trump."

I love Wikipedia's explicit definition of what it means to be hoist on one's own petard:
Shakespeare's phrase, "hoist with his own petard," is an idiom that means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall into one's own trap", implying that one could be lifted (blown) upward by one's own bomb, or in other words, be foiled by one's own plan.

dt has definitely fallen into his own trap.  In his attempt to silence this accomplished woman, he has defamed her.  He has said she lied.  But she got a good lawyer, who figured out that dt didn't even sign the nondisclosure agreement.  So it's not an agreement.  She is suing dt to be released from the supposed contract asking her not to speak about the one sexual encounter she had with him.

In the course of that lawsuit, dt will probably be required to testify under oath.  He will probably lie, and a lie could cause him to be impeached, just as Bill Clinton was. 

On the one occasion Stephanie agreed to have sex with him, he had trapped her.  After he invited her on a date on July 13, 2006, she arrived at his hotel room to find him wearing only pajama bottoms.  This encounter occurred at a celebrity golf tournament near South Lake Tahoe.

How many women has dt assaulted or exploited?  No one knows.

But he ran into one woman who knows how to handle men like him, and she may well be the trigger that ends his presidency.

The abuser becomes prey.  

As several news commentators are pointing out, dt has not made a single tweet against Clifford.  He's afraid of her.  

Read the brief biography of Stephanie Clifford written by Flegenheimer, Ruiz, and Van Syckle, cited above: "Porn Star Suing Trump Is Known for Her Ambition: 'She's the Boss.'"

She grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and originally thought she might become a veterinarian, a writer, or a journalist.  

She now owns her own business and tours nationally doing "adult entertainment"--which should be known as entertainment for males whose mental and emotional growth got stuck in their teens.

She connects "her professional journey to the lives of service workers... the dishwasher, the cashier or the bus driver," note the authors of the NYT  article.

Go Stephanie!  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

War games and military patches

I think of the Strategic Air Command as a super-serious military enterprise.

The U.S. Army Air Forces established the Strategic Air Command (SAC) on March 21, 1946, for the specific purpose of executing “long-range offensive operations in any part of the world, either independently or in co-operation with land and naval forces,” writes Roger Launius in his blog.

But when you worked for the SAC, you got to wear this cute patch that looks like a comic book character--Superman?  Batman? 

Men and their war games and uniforms...