Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Each morning when I wake up I reach for my phone to check for notifications or emails. One of the things I enjoy seeing most is my "look back" from Facebook that shows me what I was doing on that day's date in previous years. If nothing else it shows me how fast a year or more can get away but it also usually provides for some nice memories. As someone who likes to reminisce about days gone by this works well for me.

Yesterday's look back had a photo of our pups that I'd posted 7 years ago just after Charlie had come to live with us. I had written in the comments section: "Toby is becoming more and more accepting of Charlie all the time. Charlie follows Toby like he's a big bother at the dog park. It's very cute to watch." I remember those days. It would take Toby at least a couple of years to warm up to the little guy but he eventually did. They're not playmates but they can often be found snuggled close together.

I took the photo to the right yesterday afternoon to bookend the photo from 7 years ago.

I got a text the week before last from Rachel inquiring if I was interested in attending the Bernie Sanders rally in St Paul when his campaign rolled through town last Tuesday night. We had last been to a campaign rally together in the fall of 2004 when George W. Bush came to town. It was a time when Tammy and I were part of the Christian Conservative voting bloc. Little did we know then how much our political views would change over the next few years and neither did Rachel realize that the same would happen for her as all 3 of us individually began to question a mindset that had been working for us but a mindset that was about to be questioned by us all.

We'd bought into an ideology based on a pro-life platform which apart from that one thing bared little resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. We cheered alongside our fellow Christians as GWB led us into battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, never once stopping to question the words of Jesus to love our enemies. That alone should've been enough to cause me to pause and begin my questioning but it wasn't. It would eventually take the anti-labor actions of the Bush administration toward my workplace and an anti-GLBTQ lead pastor at our beloved church with its abundance of conservative Christians and their vocal support of him to give me that cold slap to my face that said "Wake up! These people are wrong and you're supporting them!"

That was when I began to question everything about this marriage of my faith and politics that the republican party was only too happy to arrange. And it's only gotten worse since leaving both the church and the party as the republican winner of last night's Iowa caucus, Ted Cruz, proclaimed in his victory speech, "To God be the glory"; his own version of "Allahu Akbar". This is the same Ted Cruz who recently shared the stage with Kevin Swanson, a pastor who advocates killing gays. It's the same Ted Cruz who recently stated his promise to carpet-bomb the Middle East in his quest to go after ISIS; a pledge that promises to kill untold thousands of innocent lives. It's the same Ted Cruz who would rather shun refugees who desperately need our compassion. Where for god's sake is Jesus in your thinking, Ted?

And how do Christian conservatives respond? They come out in record numbers to support this man and the skewed Christian ideology he's peddling. This is so troubling to me.

So yes, I was happy to meet up with Rachel and Raenelle at RiverCentre in St Paul to hear Bernie speak before an enthusiastic crowd of mostly younger people but a crowd also made up of many in their 40s to 60s. What Bernie says resonates so much with me and has for many years.

Bernie's candidacy for president is a longshot but if a man peddling a severely warped Christian ideology can get the nod, surely a man telling us the truth about the destructiveness of trickle-down economics, tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy among us paid for by cuts in programs for struggling people and the toll on our country of wars without end, he too has to have a chance.

But there's more. I hate to end this entry on a heavy note so I'll slip in a video from Saturday's ride. Enjoy, because I did!


John Hill said...

Amen, brother!
Preach on!

Kevin Gilmore said...

I didn't know where I was going with this post when I sat down to write it. I had a lot of thoughts but didn't want to add to the divisiveness that we're all overdosing on of late. But I needed to say this for my own personal record here for years from now.

Thanks my friend.

Vannevar said...

how do you do that photo thing where you leave some parts in full color and the rest go to black-and-white? thanks!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Vannevar, I used an app called Color Splash.

Vannevar said...


Kevin Gilmore said...

Vannevar, check this app out instead. I think it's easier to use and gives better results.

Color Pop