A little talk with Mom

Several nights ago I had a conversation with my mother, who died four and a half years ago.

It was part of a dream, of course – but unlike any other dream I recall having.

Whatever else was happening in the dream, suddenly she was there. I moved toward her, and we embraced.

“How can this be?” I asked.

“What, you don’t believe I’m here?” she replied.

Her appearance and her voice were the same as they were about the time she died at age 93. She was so very slight that it was almost as if she were not there. But however frail she was, she definitely was solid. No ghost here!

“I’ve missed you so much!” I said.

“I’ve missed you so much, too,” she said.

We caught up on a few things; I don’t remember exactly what. I do remember telling her that she had a new great-grandson named Heath. She was pleased to hear that.

Then we got down to business – the reason she wanted to talk with me. We had a few things to clear up, words that had gone unsaid that needed to be said, finally.

These things I remember but won’t report on. They’re too personal. Just little irritants that had come between us. Misunderstandings, really. We straightened them out. Then she smiled and brushed the side of my face with her hand, and she was gone.

I woke with a start and lay there awhile wondering what had just happened. I rarely remember dreams, but this one I remember clearly.

I suppose you could explain it as wish fulfillment, some long-delayed yearning for closure after she died so unexpectedly. Or Easter projection: This is the season of unexpected appearances, after all.

Call it what you like. All I know is that several nights ago, I had a conversation with my mother, and it was good.

The court endorses tyranny

The draft Supreme Court decision throwing out Roe vs Wade is a triumph of ideology over constitutional law.

It is precisely what was most feared when three Trump appointees joined the court.

It is precisely what was most wanted by the MAGA crowd, who scream about “law and order” but don’t give a damn about law as long as they get the kind of order they want.

The opinion by Samuel Alito, court Neanderthal-in-chief, attacks Roe as “egregiously wrong” because abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution and is not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”

Of course, a lot of things the court routinely rules on are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The court’s job is the adjudicate those cases based on what is mentioned and what is implied though not specifically mentioned.

Alito’s main appeal, then, is to tradition. Abortion was not legal before Roe. Therefore, it should not be allowed now. With this blithely nonsensical argument, Alito throws out nearly 50 years of precedent based on Roe.

Roe was decided on a right to privacy and personal autonomy that the justices found in the 14th Amendment. Alito implies that he’s waiting for other cases based on this right to come his way so he can sweep them away, too.

Forget about contraceptives. Forget about a right to sleep with or cohabit with or marry whomever you want – whatever that person’s sex, race or nationality.

In fact, forget about freedom altogether. You are not free. You have no rights. As Alito and his allies on the court have ruled in the past, corporations have more rights than human beings. You need to learn your place. Your rights begin and end only where the control freaks in the all-powerful MAGA government say they do.

You’ll note here how right-wing operatives have cleverly hijacked the language of freedom. Freedom is not having to wear a facemask or get an antivirus shot. Freedom is being able to dictate how your neighbors live their lives. Freedom is being able to claim a cash prize if you turn in someone for crossing a state line to have an abortion.

Freedom of religion is not being able to worship as you choose while granting others the same right. Freedom of religion is being able to impose your religious views on others. Others may not agree that personhood beings at conception. (Biblically speaking, it’s a dubious notion.) But your opinion rules. Your ideology rules because the Supreme Court says it does.

Several states have passed draconian anti-abortion laws in anticipation of Roe being overturned. These laws do not include exemptions for incest or rape. That clearly signals that these laws are not about abortion at all but about enforcing violent male domination of women

Earlier this week many people celebrated Star Wars Day – “May the Fourth be with you.” Remember that the second movie in the original trilogy was titled “The Empire Strikes Back.” As one of my seminary professors frequently said, “The empire always strikes back.”

The bigger story here is that white “Christian” nationalists want to create an invincible apartheid shield before they become a minority. They want to fabricate a system that keeps them in power and in control forever.

Missouri, a slave state, is already poised to criminalize abortion. Kansas, always a bloody battleground over slavery and human rights, at least gets a chance to vote for the right thing. Other slave states, and some new ones, are eager to form a new Confederacy where a certain “tradition” always wins

Vlad the Impaler Putin is smiling. He knows who his allies are. All despots do – except for Alito and friends. They think freedom is a privilege granted to a new, not a human right.

Schism rips my church

As of May 1, the United Methodist Church is officially in schism.

Actually, the church has been far from united for a long time. Just how fragmented it is will take some time to learn.

May 1 was the official start date of the Global Methodist Church, the dream of a break-away segment of the church.

Over the next couple of years, individual churches, and perhaps even whole annual conferences, will align either with the GMC or remain with the UMC.

The GMC will be the “traditional” church – that is, the body of believers who are staunchly opposed to homosexuality. The UMC will continue to be the big tent church, welcoming all people of varying persuasions. So some tension over homosexuality will remain.

Apart, the two churches will be considerably weaker than they were together. But at least they may not be ripping into each other all the time.

Dissidents within the UMC have spent many years looking for a decisive dividing issue. They finally settled on homosexuality. They claim it’s a matter of scriptural integrity. They say progressives have a weak doctrine of biblical authority. Progressives say no, it’s a matter of biblical interpretation, not biblical authority.

I say it goes back to the Civil War. It’s a matter of Confederate culture versus Union culture. Morality and questions of biblical authority or interpretation are secondary. They’re just fancy window dressing. The real issue is that in the Confederacy, you just don’t do unseemly things like that. (Or if you do, you sure don’t talk about it.)

The schism represents a win for the Institute for Religion and Democracy. It calls itself a conservative group fighting for scriptural integrity. I consider it a right-wing hate group working to destroy all semblance of faithful Christianity in America.

IRD operatives will be hanging around the UMC trying to break it apart even more. These folks need to be outed and encouraged to spread their evil virus elsewhere.

If you want more even-handed commentary on these issues, I suggest you check out the blog of David Livingston, pastor of Old Mission UMC in Fairway. He’s done an especially good job of reviewing the proposed Book of Discipline of the GMC. Read him at http://revliv1.blogspot.com/.

I will not mourn the loss of the schism’s leaders. I will mourn the spiritual well-being of the many good people they have lied to and manipulated, and the authentic witness of Christ that has been diminished by this vile episode in church history.