What I thought about on MLK Day


#prophetic

These are the words that resonated with me on the holiday this year:

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

So for the rest of the week I’m going to post bible passages that reveal the church as a defender of the status quo.

Passages that show how the churches sanction things as they are.

Passages that the modern church in America, Evangelical & Mainline & Catholic, will point to and scoff.

Scoff, saying: well obviously we’re not literally supposed to take action based on this extreme passage!

Imagine that

Imagine that Jesus was & is an extremist

Agent of Change

The most important thing you can learn in life is how to change

Whatever the mechanism

Religious or otherwise

Because you will change, you have no choice about that

But it is up to you

Will the world change you?
Will the people and events around you control how you change?

Or will you control the changes?

Even as things happen to you, things outside your control, you can still be the agent that controls the effects

You’ll change over the course of your life

Be the agent of that change, not the recipient

Right and Wrong vs Reality

This comes at me from multiple directions and I’ve helped people navigate it a few times (not recently😕) but it keeps on popping up: we don’t have a right to medication.

Or medical treatment in general

There is EMTALA and some of the small provisions in the ACA of course

But that’s about emergencies

If you have a chronic illness, no one is obligated to treat you for it

If you have type 1 diabetes, no one has to give you insulin if you can’t pay for. Some programs exist in our country to try to help people get it. But again, if you can’t pay for it yourself no one is required to give it to you.

If you have a bleeding disorder no one is required to give you a plasma based medicine.

In an emergency, sometimes. But only if you’re in the right place with access to the right care

If you need chronic care to live you don’t have a right to get it

Go look up pictures of type 1 diabetics before Banting and insulin

Go look up treatments for hemophiliacs before the 1900’s, when most didn’t make it past the second decade of life

So many don’t seem to understand this

Or understand what it would mean to have a protected right to healthcare

It’s not like the government gives us rights. We don’t have a right to free practice because a document says so. The document is an agreement between the citizens of this country to create institutions that will defend that right for each individual living here.

The government itself is not allowed to infringe upon that right for sure. But if someone toes you down and forces you to pray the government is obligated to intervene.

The government is obligated ensure that no person is enslaved

The government is obligated to ensure all can vote.

We all have those rights

We’ve also created institutions that ensure we can exercise them.

Without those institutions. We wouldn’t be able to with any certainty, just look around the world and you’ll see many examples.

There is no institution that guarantees medications or therapies

There is no equivalent to the courts or military or police or CDC, for health related concerns.

Not that those institutions are perfect

There just isn’t any institution that currently exists aimed at keeping sick people alive.

Right or wrong

Not the question

Right/Wrong vs Reality

Reality; if you’re sick, you have no right to the technologies that will keep you alive.

You can pay for the privilege of using those technologies.

John MacArthur & Gay Christians


First, I’m pretty sure this guy is basing this on The D.E.N.N.I.S. System

Second, he demonstrates the first and most important reality of institutionalization; there is no greater threat than the enemy within.

No danger to the institution is worse than the heretic.

When someone challenges the institution the response is simple:

Separate entirely

I don’t like institutions

For the context, watch this video

Water & Leaves

I like tea

It’s a simple beverage

Tea leaves soaked in hot water until the leaves flavor the water

You can fancy it up, add sweeteners or milk, chill and add some fruit maybe

But the basic ingredients are simple

Hot water
Tea leaves

Brings this Bible passage to mind:

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:34-40 NRSVCE

Jesus gives Christians two basic ingredients here:

Love God
Love your neighbors

Fancy it up however you want; you need these two ingredients

When you have them, you have the basic ingredients necessary to be a Christian

Some focus on the first ingredient, after all Jesus calls it the greatest commandment

It’s like the hot water for tea

Tea is something you drink after all
Without a liquid you don’t even have the fundamental basis for a beverage

The most important thing before you even try to have tea is to find some water

But you cannot ignore the second step
If you don’t actually put the tea leaves in the water, then all you’ll ever have is a cup of hot water

Many who claim to follow Christ do this with the greatest commandment

They proclaim their love for God
They have the cup of hot water

But they refuse to love their neighbor
They refuse to add the tea leaves

Dress the water up in the fanciest trappings and the excruciatingly intricate language you want

It’s still just a cup of hot water

If you want to make a commitment to Christ, he made himself clear

Get your water
And put the leaves in it

(Next post: Finding Fire & a Cup)

I have no right to take the medications my doctors prescribe; I can pay for the privilege of taking them

It’s that time of year again where I have to fight with insurance and with all that goes into public discourse I thought I’d share my experience. Every time my insurance changes, and frequently even if it doesn’t, I have to go through a roughly 3 week process of getting the policy to pay for my meds. On this same piece of paper is a list of “alternative” meds with an asterisk after them. If you follow the asterisk to the bottom of the page, the text reads:

These recommendations are not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider.

The irony here is that I have, in fact, already consulted with my doctor. That doctor prescribed me the medication that is being denied. So now I have to prepare for weeks of arguing with the insurance, requesting appeals and exceptions, getting documentation from my provider, all to get the insurance company to acknowledge that the doctor did in fact prescribe a necessary treatment (which is hilarious to me since I’ve been on these meds for a decade).

And of course with each new shift in insurance policies there is always the potential that I will reach the point where my appeal requests will fail and I’ll either pay out of pocket or not take my meds or switch to other meds that don’t work, meds that my doctor has specifically told me not to take.

This has been my reality for so long that I’ve internalized it and find it utterly unsurprising when I receive this same letter each year from different companies.

I understand perfectly well the system we have devised in our country: I have no right to take the medications my doctors prescribe; I can pay for the privilege of taking them.

So many don’t seem to understand this. Not just young people but all age ranges. “I need these medications!” No, you want them. We have decided as a society that no one needs anything but emergency care and anything that may want after that to get the best treatment is a privilege that they are financially responsible for, even if it means chronic illness or death not to receive.

If you want that to change, so be it. Go vote. But understand that this is the reality. Right, wrong, doesn’t matter. Reality.

Ethnicity

I’d like to define ethnicity in a very simple way

Not a task I think I’ll succeed at, just something I think is necessary

Ethnicity at it’s most basic level can be broke into 2 parts:

Ancestry
&
Culture

Ancestry being who our parents were. Usually where they are from geographically is an important part of that.

Culture being traditions, norms, customs, mythology, and so on. These are passed to us by our parents, usually passed down from their families over multiple generations.

One bit of nuance here; we all have a tendency to intermingle our ancestry with our culture. We believe that the cultural norms and so on are inherent aspects of our ancestry and biology, which is not true (if you want proof go to a library, a lot of thorough research has been done on the subject).

Often this intermingling turns into a form of ethnocentrism. My ancestors are better than yours. Because my culture is better than yours. And how do I know that!? Because my ancestors say so!

So there you have it
My attempt at a simple explanation

Ethnicity = Ancestry and Culture

The biology of where we come from
And the myths we tell ourselves about who we are. Often those myths tell us what our biology and ancestry means, and often what those myths tell us about our biology is inaccurate