Conversation with Macky Alston

Macky_Alston_headshot-618x927

Macky is a documentary filmmaker and senior director of Auburn Media, a program at Auburn Seminary that helps faith leaders committed to justice speak out powerfully in the media. He is a descendant of three generations of Presbyterian ministers who were all committed to justice in different eras in the American south. He is a gay dad and husband in New York.

How has your personal journey to be who you are and respond to God’s call strengthened or challenged your faith?

When I have dared to follow God’s lead, it has never been easy, but life, beauty, revelation, and joy have been the reward.

Documentary filmmaking is all about exploration, wandering into the unknown. It is the ultimate faithwalk. You get an idea, raise some money, hire a crew, and go off in search of a movie that you cannot manufacture. It reveals itself to you over time. You follow it, find it.

Life has been like that for me. Believing that I am loved by God “just as I am” as a gay man, in spite of the teachings of my church; having faith that I could find love and survive as a gay man who came of age in the age of AIDS; pursuing marriage to the man I love before it was legal and then riding the wave of changing legislation, changing history; pursuing the adoption of my daughters in conservative states like Pennsylvania and Arizona – it has all been such a faithwalk.

It is impossible to describe the intimacy with God that has come from taking the risks – emotional, political, professional, relational risks – that I believe God has called me to take. I cannot imagine the life I would have led if I had refused to risk, to follow what I sensed to be God’s call. I shudder to think.

Is there a prayer or meditation that helps you make it through trying times?

Oh, this is humiliating. I am a member of the Godspell generation.  I remember the first time I heard “By My Side” from Godspell.  I’ve sung it probably every day of my life since:

Where are you going?
(Where are you going?)
Can you take me with you?
For my hand is cold
And needs warmth
Where are you going?

Far beyond where the horizon lies, where the horizon lies
And the land sinks into mellow blueness
Oh please, take me with you

Let me skip the road with you
I can dare myself
(I can dare myself)
I’ll put a pebble in my shoe
And watch me walk (watch me walk)
I can walk and walk!
(I can walk!)

I shall call the pebble Dare, I shall call the pebble Dare
We will talk, we will talk together about walking
Dare shall be carried
And when we both have had enough
I will take him from my shoe, singing:
“Meet your new road!”
Then I’ll take your hand
Finally glad, Finally glad
That you are here
By my side

Life requires such courage.  It’s amazing to me the courage we muster. Where does it come from?

Do you have a story of a person who embodies Christ’s teachings?

Recently, something my dad did took my breath away. I hesitate telling the story. It feels sacred.

My parents were visiting my New York City apartment. We were just hanging out gabbing, when we heard a cry from out of our second-story window. A couple was fighting, a young transsexual prostitute and her john. He hit her, yelled some nasty epithets, and she shouted back to leave her alone. My husband and I were calling out the window, offering to call the police. The transsexual woman thanked us, but declined. The guy split. The woman seemed to dust herself off and prepare to go on her way.

I turned around to resume my conversation with my parents and my father seemed to have stepped out of the room. In minutes, he entered the apartment with the woman who had been hit, her forehead bloody, her blood boiling, and her heart, she said, broken. She couldn’t believe that she had let herself fall for such an abusive guy.

My father calmed the woman, we cleaned her cut, hung out for awhile, and then my parents offered to take her where she needed to go.

For some, what my dad did might be an everyday act. For my father, a Brooks Brothers type, a political liberal but a pretty proper guy, it was an extraordinary one. His life and experience could not be more different, at least on the surface, from the woman to whom he reached out. Her willingness to trust him and his willingness to offer help to her made loving neighbors of us, if just for that moment.

I cannot overestimate the power of what my parents have modeled for me – their faith, their courage, fighting for civil rights in Alabama when I was born and for my equality in the course of my coming out. Their love has been constant, in spite of all the ways the risks I have taken have challenged them. Words fail.

In your mind, what are the Biblical foundations for LGBT inclusion in the church?

When a person asked Jesus what scripture and tradition all boils down to, he said, “Love God and love your neighbor.” He didn’t say “love some neighbors.” He said, “Love all.” So that’s it.  Everything else is secondary.

I also hold fast to Galatians 3:28: that in Christ Jesus, there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free – we are all one. The ways that throughout the ages we have used the bible to divide and oppress is the very problem Jesus came to liberate us from, and he regularly stood with those who society scorned, lifting up “the last” as those who we most need to heed.

Another thing, alongside Jesus’ teaching, that has convinced me that being gay is a gift from God and a place where God teaches me about God’s unending love is my husband, Nick Gottlieb (a secular Jew, I love the irony that his last name means “God’s love” in German). In the 20 years we have been together, I have come to know through him – his love and our wrestling through life together – how challenging, merciful, extravagant and profoundly pleasurable love can be.

What would you say to those Christians who have a different view on inclusion?

I have in my head now this line from our most recent film, Love Free or Die. In the middle of a sermon, just before a man interrupts him with shouts to repent, Bishop Gene Robinson says, “The opposite of love is not hate, but fear.”

God requires us to love one another, even our enemies, and love requires that all are included. In that space, God’s will is done; God’s kingdom comes. This challenges me to audit my own prejudices; to consider who I am excluding, just as I work to create a society that does not exclude me and my family.

What can we do to foster dialogue and build bridges with people with different views on inclusion?

Even if they don’t always want to, I believe that people are dying to talk, especially with people on the other side of the issues we care about.  I know that first hand as a documentary filmmaker. Even when they know you do not agree, people want to be heard, to connect, and to understand better the other.  W. H. Auden said, “We must love one another or die.” I really think it’s true and that we know it in our gut. Rancor unsettles us until our dying day. Forgiveness. Mercy. Reunion. Acceptance. These are the only ways to peace in our personal lives and in political life.

To win LGBT equality, we must be in deep relationship with those who judge us – that is the only way they will be transformed.  I have seen it first hand in my own family. The kicker though, as Walter Brueggeman says, is that “when we go up into that other valley, the valley where people do not think like we do, we must be prepared not only to change the folk who live over there, but to be changed by them.” It’s a risky business, this life God calls us to, but this is where the life is.

 

Love Free or Die, Official Trailer (2011) from Auburn Seminary on Vimeo.


27 Responses
  • Jean Thomas on October 26, 2012

    I am trying to really love and understand those who profess to dismiss the 47%, realizing that I too often dismiss them

  • Janet Edwards on October 26, 2012

    Dear Jean,

    You certainly are in harmony with Macky’s approach to the world and mine.

    Thanks for your good will toward others.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 12, 2012

    I’m writing here today to apologize to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. For the past 18 months or so I’ve not been a part of any worship service or gathering and I have no intention of returning to the seminary. Instead I’ve been growing and healing and learning in the way and ways God wishes.

    Since 2006 I’ve been writing articles and posts about the struggle for GLBT inclusion in the PC(USA) and about Rev. Edwards’ work. And I realize now that I was wrong to do so. It is not right to force a church or any organization or people to believe what it chooses not to believe, to violate what they hold holy, to corrupt what they deem sacred. And so, never being beyond correction, I ask forgiveness.

    Because it has been my experience, through prayer and God’s subsequent answer, to know that God accepts me just as I am, it’s impossible for me to recant everything I’ve ever written. I am a lesbian loved by God and always will be. However, I can renounce my loyalties, and so do. I no longer believe Rev. Edwards’ approach in this “calling” in the church or her politics are worthy of my support because they do indeed violate what others hold holy and corrupt what others deem sacred. It may be that I lose my job, my livelihood, even my life in speaking out this way, but it is the right thing to do.

    May the church and a nation that allows all to prosper have God’s Blessings –

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on November 13, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    I honor your sense of direction in life. To the extent that I am a Christian in the Presbyterian Church and capable of speaking for it, I forgive you.

    As far as I know myself, it has not been, nor is now, my intention “to violate what others hold holy” or “corrupt what others deem sacred.”

    What I see myself doing is expressing, as best I am able, what I believe so that others can understand, see how it flows from Jesus–as He is depicted in Scripture and Christian tradition–and, finally, respect the advocacy for LGBT people that arises from my theology.

    Please know how much I wish you well. Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 22, 2012

    Thanks Janet, but I no longer see you as a representative for the PC(USA). Your forgiveness is not sought.

    Your efforts to force the church to change its definition of marriage, I think, are equivalent to the Democrat Party and the Obama Administration’s efforts to force socialism on the whole of this country. Both are indeed a violation of beliefs that others hold holy and sacred, but you cannot see that because you choose not to.

    I, too, want for my LGBT brothers and sisters to have equal rights, but not at the expense of the entire nation’s (or church’s) LOSS…loss of freedom, loss of work ethic, loss of individual potential and creativity, loss of Constitutional rights… There is no win-win in your thinking or approach, always win-lose and a bitterness against those you feel are your “enemies.”

    I read your Ground Game/Church article and cannot believe that you equate political work with worship of God. And you know, as far I’m concerned, religiously speaking, I’m considered a “backslider.” But even I can see the web of corruption you’ve gotten yourself wrapped in.

    Harsh words, I know, and I’m sorry, but someone needs to tell you the truth.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on November 24, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    You are certainly right, Donna, that your perspective and mine are light years apart these days.

    I pause at the words you use of “force,” “violation,” “loss,” “bitterness,” and “corruption,” trying to put myself into your shoes. To do it I really need you to explain how you see these as true in what I talk about. It is not self-explanatory to me.

    President Obama won a free and fair election which represents significant majority approval of his policies and approach to the future. The losing minority has to accept the loss, abide by the law (like Obamacare) and prepare to inspire the electorate the next time. (I have had lots of experience of what to do when you lose in both church and country.) I can not see “force” or “violation” in the working of the democratic process.

    In connection with same-sex marriage and the progress made there in Washington, Maine and Maryland, as well as the progress happening in the church, it is hard for me to see how extension of marriage to loving couples means “loss” to anyone else. I firmly believe there is a win-win possible in both church and state as marriages live side by side. Married couples do not complete or attack one another, or, at least, do not have to. You have to explain to me how there is “no win-win” in my thinking here or in politics in general.

    I hoped I had shown how political action can be worship by speaking of prayer as both a journey inward and a journey outward. I am sorry that did not work for you. Perhaps your sharing what you mean by worship might help as then I might be able to connect my experience in the Obama GOTV effort with what worship is for you.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on November 24, 2012

    Hi Donna, I feel so bad for you.Your honesty and pain clearly show through……God bless…..
    Bill

  • Donna on November 24, 2012

    Janet,

    Over the years, you’ve gotten to know me, no doubt everything about me, but I’ve also gotten to know you as well. The sarcastic remark in your GOTV=church article about Palin brought forth the memory of a conversation where you showed great disdain for her and the Tea Party (hence, bitterness). Your mention of the GOTV phone bank, the memory of being part of a phone bank to engage those in the church who are against GLBT inclusion but were otherwise not open to discussion on the topic (hence, force and violation). And now you mention Obamacare, that everyone has to accept the loss (force, violation, win-lose). In other words, there is no consideration of the consequences, only the “win.”

    There is always a cost associated with winning when the approach is not “win-win,” whether it is a church splintering or many members leaving, or businesses cutting emplyees’ hours and jobs to avoid the Obamacare tax. And the cost, Janet, is always what one can’t afford losing. Whether it’s an athlete’s blown-out knee, or anticipated revenue from a tax, or the demise of a congregation.

    Ask a Muslim who believes in Shariah Law or jihad to change their belief about Christianity or the status of women. Or better yet, ask an Israeli to give up their homeland without a fight. Force will not change anyone’s core beliefs. You don’t understand it, Janet, because you’ve never experienced true loss – of your beliefs, of your position, of your possessions, of your freedom.

    You can stand by your notion that Obama is doing the right thing, and that he’s a Christian. I have legitimate doubts, noting that he failed to thank God in his Thanksgiving speech, and that today, a fire burned in the State Dept’s headquarters office amidst the investigation on Benghazi. Not to mention approving the extension of the FISA Amendment Act, allowing warrantless eavesdropping of telephone and electronic communication.

    Perhaps you believe that same virtuous democratic process is at work, but I do not. I’m seeing a corrupted person and system erode core beliefs without counting the cost: core freedoms.

    Donna

  • Donna on November 24, 2012

    Hi Bill,

    Good to hear from you. Don’t feel bad. I will use the phrase I heard a minister use recently: “God is working a redemption in me.”

    Take care,

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on November 25, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    So, Donna, as I used to ask my children regularly when something had happened and I continue to ask myself often: What is the moral to this story?

    It seems to me that one thing you and I agree upon is that we desire a win-win world. I certainly do and, as far as I know myself, am striving to reach that in the PCUSA. I have my ideas about how to get there and I am interested in your solutions to our entrenched win/lose dynamics in life.

    The preacher at my church today spoke of justice, kindness and love as requirements for all human life. I agree so that’s where I begin though, of course, I often fail. Then, I try to learn and do better another time. You are teaching me–Thanks.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 25, 2012

    I don’t know, Janet, other than to say one must consider the consquences of what winning means, and note the value of those consquences.

    Whether marriage equality is achieved by the Supreme Court or state by state, it is a “win” that really doesn’t hurt anyone, and the righting of an oppression. Are there possible negative consquences? I can think of only one: lower tax revenue over time. But, in the secular arena of politics, most people I think would say (and are voting) that the right to equality outweighs any negative consequences.

    In the church, however, marriage equality is not about rights (freedom) but doctrine, theology and interpretation of God’s word, core beliefs. I’ve seen enough hatred on both sides of the struggle to make me conclude that 1) there is no justification for a “win” on either “side” and 2) because the policy is what is causing division and harm to all involved, the church would be wise to have no policy at all on marriage. Let the ministers and congregations decide what is best. And I conclude this because of the greater freedom this country hopefully still provides to the churches in its domain: freedom of religion.

    Which brings me to the last point: What is winning for you? Making others do or believe what you believe? Conquer and control? To me, winning is not about constricting the rights of others, or even changing their minds, but granting while maintaining everyone’s freedoms. That is the delicate balance of justice: granting and preserving freedom.

    Unfortunately, that is not the approach this country is taking, and neither is your church. It is rather taking the dictatorial approach of prescription, regulation, and punishment/marginalization.

    Donna

  • Bill on November 25, 2012

    Hello Donna
    Your last post points out my dilemma. For 2 thousand years Christians have been told the Bible IS the word of God. And now we are being told no it isnt. So I’ve obviously been believing a lie, or a lie is being told now. All of a sudden I’m being forced to behave/believe by a minority that only the parts of the Bible are true…apparantly only the one that I like and agree with. On the other side of the arguement, I dont want to limit or hurt another person on their beliefs. And it has nothing to do with hate. People that love each other Falilies/Christians,etc can and do disagree with each other all the time. This could all have been avoided with kindnes and love from both sides. But each side wants to force the other to agree or at least abide by their respective beliefs. Thats too bad there are a lot of good people in each group..but the battle is on so to speak.

  • Bill on November 25, 2012

    and I still need to proof read my posts……lol

  • Donna on November 26, 2012

    Hi Bill,

    That’s where I think the church leadership has erred greatly in allowing this power struggle to continue. It’s not the entire faith people are struggling over but a church policy. Most GLBT people won’t want to go to a church where the pastor is not welcoming, even if the church policy was written that way, but will attend en masse a church where the pastor is welcoming. So leave the marriage policy-making for the congregations to declare, and let the policy either be removed or generic, something like: The PC(USA) believes in the sanctity and holiness of marriage, that it is to be blessed, honored and bestowed upon committed, loving consensual adult couples…blah, blah, blah… with the PC(USA) resting its full support in the decisions of it pastors and their congregations…blah, blah…

    Problem solved. Everyone goes home happy, except for those who wish to control one another, and they can do it all offline.

    I don’t think you’re being lied to, Bill. I think there is insufficient information to come to a conclusion on this, at least in my view. I go by the Gospels, presumably written by people who walked with Christ or are secondary or even tertiary sources to what He said. And while Jesus does give us a definition of marriage, it is fully within the context of talking about different types of people and whether they should be married or not. He concludes the chapter (I think it’s in Matthew) with statements about eunuchs, which I take (perhaps extending its meaning) to mean literal eunuchs but also gay people (because they had no such word in that day as “homosexual”). Jesus never mentions them with regard to marriage, but that is not a denouncement of gay marriage, just an unknown. It’s inconclusive. Most people then point to Paul in Romans, but I defer to Jesus and the unknown. Paul did not study and was not taught by Jesus, and so I conclude that he could not have a full understanding of Him, just as you and I cannot possibly know Him completely. (Thankfully I’m out of the church now or otherwise I’m sure I’d be labeled a heretic for that!)

    So to me, neither can be proved right or wrong, but the disagreement can be settled by rewriting the policy and shifting the decision to the pastors and congregations where it belongs, prompting a “win-win” for both “sides” and the church.

    Otherwise, it’s an ugly power struggle and that’s all it is. Politics like it is out in the secular arena, dirty and full of hate.

    Hope that helps…does it?

    Donna

  • Donna on November 26, 2012

    Bill, this is bigger trouble, I think:

    Jamie Foxx Calls Obama “Lord and Savior”

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/11/26/jamie-foxx-calls-obama-our-lord-and-savior#ixzz2DKou43ep

  • Janet Edwards on November 27, 2012

    Dear Donna and Bill,

    Thank you both for engaging again in conversation about important things in this space. I have two thoughts to share. On the whole, with regard to the meaning of “winning,” I agree with your line of reasoning, Donna.

    In the church, I agree that the solution is to leave choices about participating in marriage to the pastors and the congregations (actually, the historic position of Reformed Christians). The overture that was before the PCUSA General Assembly last summer and probably will come again in 2014 replaces “one man and one woman” with “two people” in the definition of marriage in our Directory for Worship, a version of what you suggest.

    I know that there are Presbyterians who fear that they will be required to participate in marriages their theology does not recognize–just as some fear that they will be required to condone ordinations they do not endorse. Nothing in the present PCUSA Book of Order or practice in the church fulfills that fear because that kind of constriction is contrary to basic Reformed theology. We have had trouble when we have strayed in that direction. Only time will settle these fears, I think.

    “Winning” in our body politic is more complicated as I see it. Obamacare offers a good example of that, I think. We require car owners to have car insurance because auto safety is a common good. We are joining every other developed nation by recognizing that individual health is a common good–if you have a body you will have health problems–and, therefore, we will soon require everyone to have insurance (or pay into the pot to cover inevitable healthcare costs in what Chief Justice Roberts calls a tax).

    I understand that many in our country deem this a loss, that this is a solely a win/lose situation. Here, too, time will tell as we just do not know what the outcomes of this reform will be until they happen.

    What I suggest is that “winning and losing” are very much in the eye of the beholder. Another way of saying it is that they are “felt” rather than “defined.” A person who “wins” because her preexisting condition is no longer an impediment to getting insurance or his 25 year old son, otherwise ineligible for insurance, is able to remain on his plan, may feel that they have “lost” because they do not want to be told what to do or fear that death panels will deprive them of an MRI when they need it.

    How we experience life is colored by our feelings of “winning” or “losing” and that is our own responsibility. It is perilous to place those feelings in the hands of others or circumstances. I hope that makes sense to you and I look forward to your comments.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • Donna on November 27, 2012

    Janet,

    Unfortunately, I disagree with your thoughts about winning and losing. One is a goal and both are results, not feelings. No one sets out in life to lose or fail but to achieve their dreams and desires as best they can. In the case of equal marriage in the church, you and GLBT people hope to “win” equality, by whatever ways the church will condone same-sex marriage. Your opposition hopes to “win” by maintaining the church’s policy as it is, specifically designating gender(s).

    By both sides politicking to get what each wants (to win), the church has been divided in two (much as this country has been) by both sides persuading others to a sense of “truth.” A win on either side connotes “rightness” or that one truth prevails, and the other does not. Regardless of which sense of truth achieves its goal, the divide remains. And then people like Bill still questioning: what is the ultimate truth?

    The only solution, rather than “split the baby,” is to look at the church’s demography and put the decision at the level most appropriate: with pastors and congregations, where the fears you mention can also be allayed by church pastors and congregational votes, along with their promise to make referrals to new attendees to an appropriate church/congregation if their world view doesn’t match. That works with the intangible – theology – because people can choose what to believe and act accordingly.

    It doesn’t work with the healthcare bill. Everyone has been forced to participate, despite their beliefs and desire to choose, until it ultimately replaces even workplace healthcare coverage. What’s worse than that loss of freedom, is the loss of freedom in having to pay for it for “self” but also “others” who are unable to pay. It may be that you see it as the Christian thing to do, but it is a dictatorial thing to do in terms of government. With its end-goal in mind of only government healthcare, what happens to the health insurance industry and those jobs? What happens to medical industry as a whole when it is constricted by government cost controls? Fewer doctors, pharmacists, medical professionals? What is the long term impact on industry and society, other than the revenue gleaned for government? And how can we possibly believe that the government is capable of administering healthcare when Medicare and Social Security have been so badly mismanaged?

    It brings about a point of contention I have on the extent of Obama’s socialist policies. It’s ok to enforce national healthcare for every citizen (and non-citizens) but not to enforce a state or national identification card in order to vote? It’s okay to place a monetary burden on those Obamacare impacts (even a $95 tax on those who don’t insure themselves), but it’s not okay to ask people to go to their DMV once every four years to get a free id card?

    Thus my question to you: what does winning mean to you (in the church and as an Obama supporter)? What is your goal? Does it mean making others believe (or behave) as you do? Or is to grant and balance the freedoms of all, without diminishing anyone’s freedoms?

    This is why I wrote earlier that I can’t support your approach any longer. To me it became clear that you (and the other side) only wish to achieve that goal of winning, of rightness, of having one truth prevail over another, via politicking, despite the damage done to the church as a whole.

    It’s also why I don’t support Obama. There are too many instances where such “force” under his leadership has diminished our Constitutional rights and freedoms, rather than granting them or maintaining or preserving them.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on November 28, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    I think, if you look back in this thread, I have said twice that for me, ideal winning is what you describe as granting and balancing the freedoms of all, without diminishing anyone´s freedom. I do put that qualifier of “ideal” because, as you acknowledge, this is difficult to achieve in any community. Politics is always involved in a group finding its way together.

    As I understand him, Bill feels that I am trying to make him believe what I believe. He can correct me if this is not the case. As far as I know myself and have said, my intention is to express what I believe and for the church to allow the possibility of my views (and this is what has happened with regard to ordination).

    There is nothing in the Book of Order of the PCUSA that requires Bill or those who hold his views to believe what I believe or to vote the way I vote.The present situation with regard to ordination in the PCUSA can be viewed as a win/win if we accept that we can live side by side rather than insist that one “side” winning means the other loses.

    I hope you saw that I agree with you that Obamacare is a different case. I am presently visiting friends in Germany who are conservative Catholics and I shared with them you view that President Obama is socialist. They both agreed that he is not a Marxist. He is perhaps similar to a European Social Democrat because he does have a conviction that there is a common good in which we all participate and therefore have a responsbility to support.The Christian DEmocrats in Germany believe this as well.

    One form of that support is paying taxes. Another form is buying required car insurance or, coming soon, required health insurance. Another form might also be required identification to vote if there was a common good to protect against voter fraud. The difficulty is that voter fraud has not been proven to be a threat to the common good. On the other hand, I would say, the documented hardships eligible voters face in getting the proposed ID cards do threaten the common good of doing our best to get all registered voters to vote.

    There is more to say. I do have a sense that we are going round and round right now. I hope you see some way forward for us.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 28, 2012

    Hi Janet,

    Yes, more can be said. Hopefully the church will do the right thing and reach that ideal balance of granting and preserving freedoms.

    On the socialist issue? All I can say is that is doublespeak to say health insurance imposed upon all is similar to car insurance. Car insurance is not imposed upon everyone, but everyone who owns a car or maintains insurance to drive. Taxes are paid by people who work, not the unemployed.

    What concerns me more is making government healthcare the ONLY healthcare available, in addition to the other measures of government power overtaking individual freedoms in communication/free speech (as noted in the link above), ownership in GM, ownership of student loans, and so on.

    This is not what the founding fathers intended for America, and I find your words a confirmation of the Republican criticisms of Obama. My instincts are that they are correct in their assessment that the US is being led to that European socialist state you mention here, and I rather think the current struggles across Europe are or should be an omen that the same thinking and policies will bring us to the same conclusion.

    One question, before I depart. How will healthcare ensure they are treating the correct person without establishment of a photo id or some other means of true identification?

    I’ll depart the conversation with the statement that this shift brings shudders to my soul because the more I see of government actions and Obama’s leadership, the more I am reminded of those “end times” teachings/sermons as a youth.

    I’m sorry but not only am I rugged individualist by nature but also a capitalist and I cannot support Obama. That won’t move us forward, but I wish you and the church well.

    Donna

  • Bill on November 29, 2012

    This is off the subject, so please forgive me. Janet I was looking at the PCUSA website and I don’t see any mention of the Bible…anywhere. Did I miss it some place? Surely as “Christians” you teach from a Bible? What Bible is it if you do?
    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Janet Edwards on November 29, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    I am grateful for your response, Donna. For me, you do open some avenues for further discussion.

    I am glad you say, “hopefully,” about the PCUSA and ordination as it suggests to me that you see how G-2.0104 does balance the positions in the church. I know you and others may fear that this will not remain the case but that would be a choice on our part. It is not inevitable and would be something I would strongly resist.

    With regard to Obamacare, I tried to be careful to say that car owners, not everyone, are required to buy car insurance. Since everyone has a body that will inevitably get sick, everyone will soon be required to have health insurance.The unemployed also pay taxes like sales tax or gasoline tax.

    Under Obamacare, private insurance companies will continue to offer insurance (one reason the advocates for single-payer were so disappointed by the Afforable Care Act). And my German friends tell me that healthcare here is also through private insurancers in a system very similar to Obamacare that has been in place since Bismarck in the 19th century. As I see it, government healthcare being “the only healthcare” is, again, a fear that is unlikely to happen given the power in our system wielded by the insurance companies.

    One other thought is that feewer doctors and nurses is not the only solution to bringing down our healthcare costs. The alternaive I see is to pay them less by shifting from fee for service to salaries. Medical education will have to acommodate to this and med students seem to be realistic about this. Turning the profession away from financial gain and toward the art of healing is a desirable thing, in my opinion.

    When my husband was sick in the spring, he was in the hospital for several days. Everytime he was given medication or taken to have a test done, the checked his identifying wrist band multiple times. This is a different situation from voting where, in Pennsylvania, ID is required for a first time voter in a new polling place. Thereafter the signature match is, I think, sufficient.

    It seems to me, Donna, that you and I both believe that, in the end, God wins. The arc of history does is long but bends toward justice. If now is the end times, praise GOd. If not, then praise God. I think individualists can support Obama (witness his stand for choice) and for capitalism (the auto industry is close to paying back the share the government bought to help it recover, actually a triumph of government/private partnership).

    Time will tell which of us is a better holder of the facts and predicter of the future. I hope we watch together and that you comment when you feel so inspired.

    Peace, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on November 29, 2012

    Dear Bill,

    I do believe that the PCUSA website has a quote from the Bible at the cetner of its masthead.It ususally does when I go there. The PCUSA recognizes that there are many translations of the Scripture. It does require of every candidate for ordination the passing of courses in both Hebrew and Greek.

    I use the Revised Standard Version for my morning devotions, the New Revised Standard Version for my writing and The Message by Eugene Peterson for another perspective.

    I hope that answers your questions, is helpful to you and that you share any further thoughts.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 29, 2012

    Hi Janet,

    Yes, God (Yahweh) wins in the end, but there’s just way too much out there about Obama, through his own actions (like telling Putin he’ll have “more flexibility after the election” – caught on a live mic), the youtube video where Obama talks about “my muslim faith,” the closed door discussions on the fiscal cliff, the campaign lies stacked against Romney but now the complimentary “he’s obviously a successful businessman,” Obama’s words in support of Israel but his actions speak otherwise, executive orders written so generically that the gov’t can use them to control the media/communications or arrest/detain indefinitely even citizens who are considered suspicious…

    I am sorry, I can not support Obama in any way, shape or form. I am against socialism because I was well-schooled in my studies about how easy it is to deceive people by focusing on division and the use of charisma.

    Someone once termed all of the things as “shark bumps.” A shark will bump into its prey actually alerting it to danger a number of times before devouring it.

    You can shrug these “shark bumps” off, but I can’t. I pray to God it all works out for the best, but I fear, with good cause, that it will not. The IRS is already auditing me for not turning in a W2 for $26 in 2010 (I hadn’t received it).

    Reuters had an article out yesterday: GM is opening $1 Billion auto plant in China. The gov’t owns 30% of GM and I believe 70% of the financing company. Payback, I doubt will come. Perhaps they should give an electric car to everyone earning under $250,000/year.

    Here are some other articles you may or may not find interesting:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124208383695408513.html

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obamacarepoint_and_counterpoin.html

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/militant_socialism_in_america.html

    Best,

    Donna

  • Donna on November 29, 2012

    PC (USA) ordination requires Greek and Hebrew and MDiv degree.

  • Janet Edwards on December 5, 2012

    Dear Donna,

    As I have said, Donna, we do seem to be simply spinning in circles now in this exchange.

    It’s good to end in agreement that God wins and live with our differences, I think.

    Peace be with you, Donna, Janet

  • Donna on December 6, 2012

    Janet,

    Yes, and you have answered nothing, or, if you know and believe as little as you have expressed about Obama, then you are as misled as the entire mass of Obama zombies. Even a former aide described him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Someday God will win, but, until then, we have both quite witnessed a communist revolution achieved without bloodshed – of which I want no part, and in which you actively participated.

    Donna


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