Christmas Angel, Sing To Me…

Peace On Earth

(Annual Repost)

Even as a non-believer, and even with all that the holiday entails (the myths, the inventions, religion), I’ve always adored Christmas. To me, and for me, it’s always been the ethos of the holiday – the carols, decorating the trees, the tidings of great comfort and joy from loved ones, the spirit of love and compassion and the conceptual peace-on-Earth-good-will-toward-men. Naive, perhaps, maybe even foolish; some might proclaim (as I’ve done so very often) that reality dictates it is not love that makes the world go round, but money, greed, hate and intolerance. And, more often than not, they are masqueraded in the religious dogma that, ironically – and speciously – enough, they allege opposition to.

But it is not – and never was, for me – the religious doctrine or the mythology; rather the ideal of the season, and I never let that aforementioned reality imbue my unabashed immersion of Christmastime and the power that rescinds that reality. You don’t have to believe in a virgin birth to hold tight the tenor of Christmas.

Sorta how (Calamities of Nature’s version of) Linus’ soliloquy from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” explains it (click to enlarge):

Linus: the REAL meaning of Christmas

More specifically, his last paragraph.

For me, Christmas is my love. Christmas is my friends. Christmas is family. Christmas is battling the vampires and dragons to the death for the ones that you love. Christmas is progress, not regress. Christmas is believing, if even for a nanosecond, that perhaps love – and not hate – actually does make the world go round. Or at least our love makes our worlds go round – those fortunate enough to have love, family and friends. Christmas is a community that lends its hands – and hearts – to those in most need during this holiday.

Platitudinous? Perhaps. But I’m not ashamed to own it. The “Christmas spirit” should be the spirit of the “every day.” We are the captains of our own souls and create our own fates…so, we need to be the person who we can actually look into the mirror at. Perhaps be even more than that reflection, not less.

Many, many years ago, once upon a time, when I was a wannabe songwriter and self-proclaimed poet, I wrote this little poem below, and while the innate message is of “hope and love,” this Christmas poem was crafted during a period I call my dark ages – a chapter in my life I look back upon only in abstract awe that I actually ever survived. Perhaps those stories are better left hidden within the storehouses of my soul. But even then, as now – whatever demons resurrect(ed) in my life, I, again, never let them deter my adoration of the holiday spirit, even when it seems an impossible task.

What has made my heart smile over the years is knowing that friends I cherish love this poem. Especially those with children. After copyrighting it years ago, a few years after writing it, I hand-wrote it (ah, the lost art of the handwritten word!) inside the Christmas cards I sent that year and the response was lovely and surprising. It was such a simplistic thing (it actually rhymed!) literally written while on a ten minute walk home from the subway, passing glorious neighbourhood  holiday decorations while kids were running around the local park. Yet, throughout the ensuing years friends told me they actually read it to their children! How can my soul not gleam at the thought that my unsophisticated words of optimism in darkness would bring such light to others? I was honored and deeply humbled. As I still am.

And, as uncomplicated as it might be, it is how I feel throughout the holidays…and I share it here because if it can possibly put the smallest smile on a face, then it’s worth sharing. It’s not a monumental work; hell, it ain’t even the opposite of that. It is not of epic proportions. It’s merely guileless and mildly sanguine. But it, simply, is.

I want to wish all my family and friends…near and far, tangible and intangible, a most extraordinary holiday beyond our dreams and aspirations, and a new year filled with promise. Enjoy your days surrounded with people you love. I wish for all who read this – friends, family, strangers – the most magical Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Chanukah, Happy Festivus, or however you choose to observe. Set asunder your beliefs or non-beliefs, whatever your religious or non-religious persuasions. Forgo the animosity you might imbibe in a world you might find indifferent.

Even for a scintilla of a moment, will it hurt for anyone to just…believe?

Christmas Angel
(a holiday dream…)

Where is the snow at Christmastime?
Where are the songs that I sing in rhyme?
They’re inside your heart and they ring in time
Open your soul…let your soul shine

Christmas angel
Sing to me
Meadowlark
Don’t abandon me
Santa Claus
I need you now
Don’t want the Grinch
Coming around

So I dance in the flight of the snow-white dove
As I swallow the flakes as they land on my tongue
And I carol all night to the ivory and pine
With chestnuts afire…an intervention divine?
While the children playing with the snowman, pleased
Creating snow angels at the trunks of the trees
And I thank you, Christmas angel, for bringing me here
Even Mr. Scrooge, full of holiday cheer

Christmas angel
Sings to me
Meadowlark
Lets me fly on her wing
And Santa Claus has come to town
I knew he’d never let me down
He never ever lets me down

@1998 Sage Song Musings

Rick Warren And Me

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 9.06.27 PM

It really was a simple tweet, meant with no mock toward a victim of suicide nor malice toward his father, despite his history of anti-gay turgidity.

The official word came via a letter that Rick Warren had written to the members of his church. His son, Matt Warren, committed suicide.

“At 27 years of age, Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many. Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now…”

The New York Daily News picked up on the tsunami of tweets that speculated on Matt’s sexuality. Many, it seems, surmise that perhaps Matt was gay, and he couldn’t live with his father’s antipathy (to put it mildly) toward gay people any longer. And they singled me out in their article with a screenshot of my tweet:

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 9.04.55 PM

I won’t play revisionist here. My feelings for Rick Warren have not changed – he is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. He – and the likes of his fellow multimillionaire snake oil sales reps like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, ex-gay (hahah!) TD Jakes – profess to be “Men (or women) of God” while speciously spewing anti-gay rhetoric with smiles on their faces, spouting mumbo jumbo gibberish like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

But I was pissed-off (if briefly) with the Daily News reporter who penned the article. Now, I need to explain nothing I say (I own up to everything I write) – especially to those commentators who, apparently, can’t read, and who have filled my twitter feed with hate-filled tweets in response to my non-hateful Warren post – but, my tweet has and had NOTHING to do with Warren’s son’s sexuality. It was and is about suicide. Anti-gay browbeating spewed for years from the likes of Warren and his ilk help promote the suicides of gay youth. And the anguish of the families of those affected/effected by such suicides is palpable, raw and heartbreaking. But The Daily News’s Sasha Goldstein likened my tweet with what she called “twisted twitter users” who “turned tragedy into talking points.” (However, while I did no such thing, I can easily reply, “And so what if I – or others – did?” Warren’s history has shown no mercy in attacking a group of people he deems as second class citizens!)

Of course I wasn’t reveling in his pain. Of course I wasn’t blaming Warren. Of course my heart aches for all families haunted by suicides. I pray (as an atheist, I mean that symbolically and colloquially) his son is at peace, and I hope the Warren family learns to cope with their insurmountable loss. But hopefully Warren will learn to curb his homophobia with the knowledge that his words – and the million words written and spoken by his anti-gay community – have helped cause thousands of young men and women to end their lives. That’s what I meant by “Now you know the pain…” There was no joy in my tweet. No karmic hosannas. And absolutely and unequivocally not a scintilla of hate. I know the monumental confounded, conflicted juxtaposition of rage, torment, agony of suicide. It’s not an emotion I wish on anyone.

But my truth didn’t stop the mentally imbalanced from attacking my words, and twisting them into what they wanted to believe as their truth.

Michelle Malkin is a demon, as we know – a vile, anti-patriot hate-monger of the highest – albeit, funniest – caliber. She created a ridiculously fun sorta social-media-for-Tea-Bagger’s site called Twitchy (get it? Har har! Such a card, she is!). They too posted a screenshot of my tweet, which is when the hate-posts first started coming:

My favorite is from Jason Zeidler, based on his hashtag alone:

Fucking Fag
Joe Muck detests me – not so much for what I said, but for my Twitter bio…which come to think about it, IS me (it reads “Optimist Pessimist Pacifist Fighter Dieter Eater Muse Muser Saint Sinner Humanist Atheist Realist Bundle-Of-Sticks…Partnered, Faithful Friend ~ Drama-free zone (sorta)…” Now just what does he have against dieters?):

He detests me
Jennifer Dove hashtagged me as #LibTrash. But at least she RTd me. That was sweet:

Lib Trash
Rich Algeni hopes I get consumed by my hate – and soon too! (I don’t know what that means, but his bow tie is kinda endearing, no?):

May Your Hate Consume You

Listen, if you’re active on social media – no matter how insignificant (I mean, I’m a pittance with less than 800 followers!) – then you accept what’s thrown at you and take it with a grain of salt – by putting yourself out there, verbalizing your thoughts, conveying your beliefs, you’re basically drawing a life-size target on your chest. And I’m absolutely content with that. But if you know me at all, you know that “haters” are hardly even an annoyance. You could say (as I have in the past) that I thrive on them – their empty words from their empty heads mean nothing to me except when I’m delighting in their stupidity. I laughed at every one of the hate-tweets, actually replying to some (I know, I know. I shouldn’t – it only fuels their animosity). What strangers think of me or my words – rather, those who contort them from reality to their debased fantasy – is something I could care less about, but even that would take up too much time.

Others used the comment section of the Daily News for further accusations against me. I had posted a retort to the columnist in the comment sections (pretty much summing up what I wrote here in this blog post), but that didn’t stop the crazies:

Opie Juan

Folks like Opie Juan (ah, the anonymity of the internet!) can sugarcoat Warren’s words all they wish – it doesn’t make them less hateful. Saying innate sexuality and the right as a human being to want to marry is akin to incest and pedophilia is HATE. Period:

(courtesy Pensito Review)

And, it’s not merely “disagreeing” either, when it comes to equality, as some have suggested in their tweets. If you don’t feel that gay Americans should obtain the same equality that straight Americans have as a basic human right – then it’s hate – how else to explain the deep-rooted hostility? And stop the bible-thumping, please. If you’re so concerned with biblical teachings, then 100% of the human race will be going to “hell.” Don’t claim that you love us but only as second hand citizens of humanity. It’s fundamentally wrongheaded.

But it wasn’t all vitriol – I also engaged with a few who questioned my tweets in a civil manner. Apparently there are some who might have fundamentally different beliefs and views than you, who can exchange thoughts and ideas without offense. Whoulda thunk it?

Others have re-tweeted my original post in support of my words, and some have “favorited” it. It’s nice to know that some understand context in 140 characters or less.

Again, my hope is that the Warren family can get through this personal horror – and yes, they do have my sympathy. Warren now knows what the pain of suicide feels like, and I really hope that he can learn to curtail his innate hostility toward the gay community, and maybe, just perhaps, he might save a life or two of a desperate young gay person.

Despite my loathing for what the man stands for, I sympathize with his anguish and hope he and his family can heal. Whether he – or anyone else – believes that sincerity means nothing to me.

**********

To read the whole Daily News article, click HERE.

Christmas Angel, Sing To Me…

Peace On Earth

Even as a non-believer, and even with all that the holiday entails (the myths, the inventions, religion), I’ve always adored Christmas. To me, and for me, it’s always been the ethos of the holiday – the carols, the trees, the spirit of love and compassion and the conceptual peace-on-Earth-good-will-toward-men. Naive, perhaps, maybe even foolish; some might proclaim (as I’ve done so very often) that reality dictates it is not love that makes the world go round, but money, greed, hate and intolerance. And, more often than not, they are masqueraded in the religious dogma that, ironically – and speciously – enough, they allege opposition to.

But it is not – and never was, for me – the religious doctrine of the mythology; rather the ideal of the season, and I never let that aforementioned reality imbue my unabashed immersion of Christmastime and the power that rescinds that reality. You don’t have to believe in a virgin birth to hold tight the tenor of Christmas.

Sorta how (Calamities of Nature’s version of) Linus’ soliloquy from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” explains it (click to enlarge):

Linus: the REAL meaning of Christmas

More specifically, his last paragraph.

For me, Christmas is my love. Christmas is my friends. Christmas is family. Christmas is battling the vampires and dragons to the death for the ones that you love. Christmas is progress, not regress. Christmas is believing, if even for a nanosecond, that perhaps love – and not hate – actually does make the world go round. Or at least our love makes our worlds go round – those fortunate enough to have love, family and friends. Christmas is a community that lends its hands – and hearts – to those in most need during this holiday.

Platitudinous? Perhaps. But I’m not ashamed to own it. The “Christmas spirit” should be the spirit of the “every day.” We are the captains of our own souls and create our own fates…so, we need to be the person who we can actually look into the mirror at. Perhaps be even more than that reflection, not less.

Many, many years ago, once upon a time, when I was a wannabe songwriter and self-proclaimed poet, I wrote this little poem below, and while the innate message is of “hope and love,” this Christmas poem was crafted during a period I call my dark ages – a chapter in my life I look back upon only in abstract awe that I actually ever survived. Perhaps those stories are better left hidden within the storehouses of my soul. But even then, as now – whatever demons resurrect(ed) in my life, I, again, never let them deter my adoration of the holiday spirit, even when it seems an impossible task.

What has made my heart smile over the years is knowing that friends I cherish love this poem. Especially those with children. After copyrighting it years ago, a few years after writing it, I hand-wrote it (ah, the lost art of the handwritten word!) inside the Christmas cards I sent that year and the response was lovely and surprising. It was such a simplistic thing (it actually rhymed!) literally written while on a ten minute walk home from the subway, passing glorious neighbourhood holiday decorations while kids were running around the local park. Yet, throughout the ensuing years friends told me they actually read it to their children! How can my soul not gleam at the thought that my unsophisticated words of optimism in darkness would bring such light to others? I was honored and deeply humbled. As I still am.

And, as uncomplicated as it might be, it is how I feel throughout the holidays…and I share it here because if it can possibly put the smallest smile on a face, then it’s worth sharing. It’s not a monumental work; hell, it ain’t even the opposite of that. It is not of epic proportions. It’s merely guileless and mildly sanguine. But it, simply, is.

I want to wish all my family and friends…near and far, tangible and intangible, a most extraordinary holiday beyond our dreams and aspirations, and a new year filled with promise. Enjoy your days surrounded with people you love. I wish for all who read this – friends, family, strangers – the most magical Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Chanukah, Happy Festivus. Set asunder your beliefs or non-beliefs, whatever your religious or non-religious persuasions. Forgo the animosity you might imbibe in a world you might find indifferent.

Even for a scintilla of a moment, will it hurt for anyone to just…believe?

Christmas Angel
(a holiday dream…)

Where is the snow at Christmastime?
Where are the songs that I sing in rhyme?
They’re inside your heart and they ring in time
Open your soul…let your soul shine

Christmas angel
Sing to me
Meadowlark
Don’t abandon me
Santa Claus
I need you now
Don’t want the Grinch
Coming around

So I dance in the flight of the snow-white dove
As I swallow the flakes as they land on my tongue
And I carol all night to the ivory and pine
With chestnuts afire…an intervention divine?
While the children playing with the snowman, pleased
Creating snow angels at the trunks of the trees
And I thank you, Christmas angel, for bringing me here
Even Mr. Scrooge, full of holiday cheer

Christmas angel
Sings to me
Meadowlark
Lets me fly on her wing
And Santa Claus has come to town
I knew he’d never let me down
He never ever lets me down

@1998 Sage Song Musings

We Hold Their (Un)Truths To Be Self-Evident…And Obvious

Faces of Hate - Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of FRC

There are plenty of fundamentally, inherently stupid people in the world, as we all know, especially in politics (hello Queen of the Morons Sarah Palin and greetings Ol’ Crazy Eyes Michelle Bachmann – who, BTW, still refuses to debate 16-yr old Amy Myers after a tsunami of idiotic “facts” spewed from Bachmann resulted in Myers’ requesting the debate), but only a genuine mental midget would NOT call the Family (ha!) Research Council a hate group. But, a hate group they are, and have been deemed so by Southern Poverty Law Center – and they’ve been boo-hoo-hooing the new lapel since they were branded with that truth late last year. I mean, you’d think they’d revel in it, as hate groups on par with the FRC – e.g. irrelevant cow Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization of Marriage, Lou Sheldon’s The Traditional Values Coalition, zany crackpot Donald E. Wildmon’s The American Family Association and my favorite, closet queen Peter LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth About Homosexuality – are so brazen in their animosity that it’s almost comical! But, just in case anyone actually needed proof of their innately invidious rhetoric and loathsome politicking, seeing – and hearing – is believing.

For The Bible Tells Me So…

...for the bible tells me so...

**********

The hypocrisy of the rampant maniacal religious enmity that pollutes this great America has been so remarkably covered, in the most scissor-like detail, that it’s astounding that anything else needs to be – or could be – said to debunk the fiery hatred that seethes from the pores of the perpetrators. Especially when it comes to the basic human rights of gay men and women.

The almost weekly exposition of the ungodly acts of so-called godly men and women can always be found on many, many websites, and my favorite is Joe Jervis’ great Joe My God. And Joe not only exposes the false virtue of the religious right (and left), the anti-marriage hate-mongers, and religion overall, but also the mendacity of the wacko Conservatives and Tea Bagger movement (how come it thrills me still that a political movement has unknowingly named itself after a gay sex act? Oh, the irony!!!)

A few years ago, I updated the famous “Dear Dr. Laura” meme that spread throughout the Internet (do people still use the term “internet”?) after her risible remarks about homosexuality became national headline news. You can read my alteration HERE).

But I realized, only today after coming across fellow Tweeter Corbin’s twitpic posted above, that perhaps the decades-long fight for human rights could’ve been avoided if only this simple lesson plan would’ve been taught in every pre, middle and high school for decades.

How simple chalk and a blackboard makes the most complex of issues.