Fundraisers, Lunch, Parades, and Too Much Patriotism

Life has been crazy weird in the last few days and there is so much that I need to blog upon…

Lunch
Jon and I had lunch with the pastor of the Other True Church in town and it was utterly enjoyable as usual. We discussed church schtuff as only a pastor and pastoral assistant and khouria can do. D (herr pastor of Other True Church) thinks Jon and I would be good members of said Other True Church. I replied that the reason I do so well in the One True Church is that I avoid church politics like mad. We also talked about the parade yesterday (which I will explain down below) and about the silliness happening in our own churches. D isn’t in favor of the ordination of women but he is totally respectful of the fact that the Spirit has slammed me with a 2×4, and I honestly do appreciate this.

Oh yes… D was in his clericals because he had a hospital visit and when I saw him, I commented, “You got religion!” I am soooo bad. :)

Fundraisers
After spending 2 hours “building” the float for the United Way parade (“building” meaning that I did random things and paced around while the menfolk engaged in carpentry and wiring), I headed over to the car wash that the small group ministry at my church was sponsoring to raise money for the heating fund. It was lovely and though my skin is redder than red as a result, I enjoyed myself. We raised almost $400 on our own, $250 of which will be matched by Thrivent. That’s not too bad for a free will offering and it more than made up for the schmuck that brought his massive 15 passenger van and only donated a dollar toward the cause. The bake sale also went well and some of my cookies sold.

Parades
This was the weekend of the United Way parade and all the Lutheran churches in Licking County marched together. We didn’t have as much of a turn-out as we did for the bicentennial parade last year but we had quite a riotous time. (We were the biggest contingent in the Newark Bicentennial Parade last year.) The people from the congregations of the One True Church bonded with those of the Other True Church in town. Considering that the hierarchy of the Other True Church hates the hierarchy of the One True Church, this was a very lovely occasion. (The Other True Church congregation in town would love to do worship stuff with the the One True Church but there’s the matter that when the DP of New York did that at the Prayer for America, *baaaaaad things* happened to him.)

Anyway… the parade was lovely though my legs were really sore afterwards and I woke up from my nap with a massive charley horse in my right leg (pain level: screaming in agony); and the rain thankfully held off until the Lutherans were done marching. We had music playing on the float and some of us were singing along. We handed out brochures and lollipops and buttons and unfortunately ran out before the parade was 3/4 over.

Too Much Patriotism = Intolerant People
(Yes, this is in response to this. No… I am not attacking him. I am disagreeing with ideas. If people decide to take this across the line to personal attacks on me, I will ban you with no regrets. Hatemail can be sent here, and yes, it is a viable address and I do check it. Having made these caveats, I will continue to the substance of all of this.)

I am an American citizen. I exercise my citizenly privileges (voting, kvetching at my idiotic Congresspeople who don’t give a rat’s butt about their constituents,…) and I’m planning to stick around here for at least a little while longer. (I have student loans to pay off.) There are things I love about my country but… I don’t think this country and its government are beyond reproach and it utterly irks me when people act like our president’s word is the Gospel.

I’m known to get teary-eyed during the singing of the national anthem from time to time and I was a colorguard during all my years in Girl Scouts but… the number of flags that suddenly popped up after 9/11 was just scary, especially when they’re flown by people who know nothing about flag etiquette. I can understand the flag being everywhere on June 14th, July 4th, and September 11th; but having a flag every 8 feet at any other time is overkill.

The post which inspired this was in response to Howard Dean’s comment that Hamas members are soldiers. The author of the post claimed that as a member of the Air Force, he is a soldier but the Hamas people aren’t and proceeded to lash out at those who agree with Dean saying that they hate America. OK… it’s great that he served in the Air Force but… it doesn’t make him special. My father was in the Air Force for three years, my uncle was in the Air Force for 25 years and even served in the Vietnam War, my cousin was in the Coast Guard for 8 years (which meant kickbutt seats for Fleet Week when he was stationed in SFO), my grandfather was a Navy pilot in WWII, and that’s just scratching the surface of the number of military people in my family. However, I am apparently anti-American because I don’t agree with the author of said post. [sarcasm] Oh yeah… great logic there. [/sarcasm]

The question that the author of that post failed to consider (surprise surprise) is whether or not the Intifada counts as a war. I would say that considering the s*** Israel has pulled on the Palestinians, it’s a pretty viable war. Do I support the suicide bombers? HECK NO! DO I support Israel bombing cars and houses, invading the Palestinian territories (which is like invading another country because it doesn’t govern those territories), and restricting travel? HECK NO! I think that both sides have done some deplorable things in the name of supposedly “keeping peace”

Did I support the rationalization for the war in Iraq? HECK NO! (We still have no proof of WMD existence past 1998.) Did I support the troops over there? HECK YES! My church prays for the troops over there at *EVERY* worship service and I know at least 5 families who have sons in Iraq in the line of fire. Am I proud of my troops? They are literally putting their lives on the line in a place where their presence is unpopular so that peace can be kept and a dictator can’t come back into power.

My point (after quite a bit of beating around the bush): it’s OK to be patriotic but you have to be aware of the line between patriotism and intolerance. We all remember the foolishness about “freedom” fries, “freedom” toast, “freedom-braiding”, “freedom kissing”, and [insert object where "French" is replaced by "freedom"] this year when France decided to tell us that we were wrong. That was intolerance — refusing to listen to the criticism of another country because some people couldn’t bear the thought that we were wrong. We can love our country but we also need to keep in mind that we are a country of humans and as such, we are broken human beings and we are not always right.