How Evangelical Christianity’s brand is all used up.

Dinosaur-Jesus

Here is an insightful article from Raw Story that describes how Evangelical Christianity became so tied up with the Trumpian Republican Party, and how right wing political policies have damaged the reputation (“brand”) of evangelical Christianity in general.

In fact, many Christian leaders, even from conservative denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, are divorcing themselves from the term “evangelical” because of  negative associations with the worst human traits, which have only become worse since Trump was elected and has shamelessly pandered to the Christian right in spite of his debauched lifestyle (which he has never repented for) and evil policies.

How Evangelical Christianity’s Brand is All Used Up

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I still don’t have a car.

I hesitated about writing a post like this, but I’m in a bit of a financial bind.

I still haven’t received the payout from my insurance company for the accident I was in three weeks ago (apparently they used the wrong address and it will be overnighted on Monday),  but because of the age of the car (’99 Toyota Corolla), the payout isn’t enough to get even a good used car.    I’m afraid I will have to resort to a Buy Here Pay Here dealership because my credit is nonexistent (that’s another story I won’t get into here but has to do with my narc ex ruining my credit rating).   That’s a burden I can’t really afford because I don’t earn that much, and it still requires a hefty down payment.

 

So I’m doing something I feel very uncomfortable doing and asking for help so I can get a good used vehicle.   I hope I’ve been doing something in return like writing and posting interesting and helpful articles that make you think, laugh, or inspire you in some way.

Thanking you in advance.  Any amount you can give is appreciated!

Donations can be made through my PayPal account:

otterlover58@gmail.com

 

The world as 100 people.

Even though everything seems to be getting worse (the world is a lot more complex, and there are a lot more people), over the long term, they have been getting a lot better.    Here’s an infographic that illustrates how things have changed for the better over the past two centuries.  I thought this was interesting.

I am not able to make this bigger.  Sorry!

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Happy First Day of Spring!

Yay!  Winter’s over.  I hope everyone’s enjoying the day!

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Why write about politics and religion?

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When I started this blog, I remember saying I would never write about politics or religion.

Four years later, I’m writing about both politics and religion.   Though not every one of my posts covers these two divisive subjects, a good percentage of them do.    Sometimes I remember the promise I made when this blog was new, and feel like a bit of a hypocrite.

But then when I realize how closely our political situation (and religion too, since in America, right wing evangelical Christianity has become VERY political) ties in with narcissistic abuse and sociopathy, which was this blog’s original focus —  I realize I made the right decision in tossing aside my original vow to steer clear of religion and politics.

In 2019, narcissistic abuse is no longer a matter that only affects individuals, relationships, and families.   It’s the modus operandi of a criminal political organization or perhaps group of criminal political organizations that is affecting everyone under their rule on a nationwide, or even a worldwide, scale.    What is happening in the Republican Party — no longer your father’s, brother’s, or even your own conservative, small government, ‘family values’ party, but a treasonous terrorist organization of white supremacists and religiofascists that serves only the wealthy, white, straight, and male — is narcissistic abuse writ large.  Like it or not, all of us, to one degree or another, are affected by it.

Those of us who are horrified by what has become of America and the cruel way some vulnerable groups of people are being treated, and terrified by what Trump and his sociopathic regime may do to us next are most likely suffering some form of PTSD.    If we already were victims of narcissistic abuse, we are likely suffering a relapse of Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).  I know I sure as hell am.   Most days I feel like I’m just barely hanging on.   It’s hard to think or to function.   I feel constant anxiety, and sometimes depression.  When I’m not anxious or depressed, I’m in a white hot rage.   Peace of mind is a thing of the past, since I never know what fresh hell each new day will bring.    I know I’m far from alone.

Living in Trump’s America without being part of his cultish base feels a lot like waiting for your abusive husband to get home and not knowing whether he’ll beat you up again or mercifully just ignore you tonight.   It feels like being a scapegoated child in a family of narcissists, who blame you for everything that goes wrong, even though you don’t understand what you did wrong (and probably didn’t do anything).   You’re always anxious and on edge, always waiting for the “other shoe to drop.”  Narcissists like to keep you off balance, and Trump and his sycophants like to create the sort of chaos and say the kinds of things that keep us all off balance and constantly on edge.   What he’s doing isn’t any different than what your narcissistic mother did to you, and it has the same deleterious effect on your mental health.

Since 2016, mental health professionals say their caseloads are increasing, and most new caseloads are people suffering PTSD because of the trauma Trump is causing them.  Even if his cruel and hate filled policies don’t affect you or your loved ones directly, the threat of violence, the taking away of benefits and freedoms, and the mocking hatred is always there, like a black heaviness in the room.  The toxic rhetoric he and his base use against anyone who doesn’t act, believe and look the way they do never goes away, and it’s getting worse.  Now he’s goading his base (through his Twitter account) to actual violence against anyone who dares to criticize him or his policies.   I have no doubt he’s trying to rile up the police, the biker gangs, the gun nuts, and others to form a militia against liberals and progressives (and even moderates), truthtellers, and the lovers of democracy.    Make no mistake:  he’s gathering an army of brownshirts to terrorize, attack, and even kill anyone who isn’t on his side.

My point is that politics and religion in 2019 is very much tied up with narcissistic abuse and sociopathy, and to not address the fact this problem is now happening on a nationwide or even worldwide scale (and perhaps has been for a long time) is to deny that it is happening at all.  To not write about current events in light of narcissism and sociopathy would be irresponsible.

My first goal in writing about these issues is to educate and make those who might not have connected this presidency with the problem of narcissistic abuse more aware that it is happening.  With awareness and education, people are more equipped to see what is happening, when it’s happening, the various “tricks” they use (gaslighting, lying, blame shifting, demonization of groups, black and white thinking, employing “flying monkeys”, etc.) and take appropriate action or defense measures to guard against it.

Since most of us can’t go “no contact” with Trump (unless we have the means to emigrate to another country), we must stay vigilant and aware of the myriad ways he and his “flying monkeys” abuse us (he abuses his own base too, but they are in denial, like the cult members they are).  At the same time, we can’t forget about our families, our friends, and try to enjoy our lives as best we can.   The little things in life matter too.   We can (and must) take breaks from the news, and focus on more positive things, and try to find joy wherever we can.

Remember that even in the most depressing and darkest of circumstances, it is possible to find joy.     Read The Diary of Anne Frank for inspiration and strength.    If you believe in God, pray.   If you don’t, do positive things for yourself and others.    Give (and get) lots of hugs.  Volunteer.  Adopt an animal.   Do good things in your community.   Everything you do makes a difference.

Don’t put on horse blinders and pretend what’s happening isn’t, but in the midst of all the black chaos, take time out for joy and friendship.  Also remember that Trump is an angry, lost soul who has neither joy or true friends and never will.   You are better than that and that’s why he hates us.

The other reason I write about politics and religion is because it’s a way to personally cope with what’s happening.   Just as I wrote about my own abuse as a survivor of a narcissistic family and emotionally abusive marriage in order to heal, it’s also necessary for me to write about the ways I feel abused by Trump and his regime in order to keep my sanity.   Otherwise I might completely give up hope and put a bullet in my head.

*****

Further reading:

Narcissistic Abuse in Trumpistan

We Need a Lot More Awareness About Narcissism and Sociopathy

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

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At the dog park.

The weather was pretty today (the first true springlike day we’ve had) and  my daughter wanted to take my ex’s dog, Dexter, to the dog park.

As you can see, we’ve had lots and lots of rain.    The dog park was basically a mud pit, but it seemed like every dog in town was there, and they were having the time of their lives, especially this hilarious guy digging in a mud puddle and barking at it.

Trump signing Bibles makes a mockery of faith.

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Just as ripping babies from their mothers at the border and throwing them in cages makes a mockery of America’s legacy of compassion for immigrants, and Trump’s tax breaks for the rich and endless fruitless investigations into people he considers his enemies make a mockery of democracy, Trump signing Bibles for Alabama tornado victims yesterday makes a mockery of Christianity, and even faith itself.

Trump’s faked empathy for people in a red state like Alabama, while victims of the California wildfires and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico got nothing but disdain from this president, says more about Trump’s narcissism and the fact that the people in Alabama are much more likely to be part of his base (and therefore vote for him in 2020) than people in California.   And of course, as far as Trump is concerned, Puerto Rico isn’t even part of the United States, but a “shithole country” full of those brown people he doesn’t like, and as they can’t vote anyway, they certainly won’t be casting a ballot for him.  So why bother helping them in their time of need?   There’s nothing in it for him.

But beyond the selective “empathy” he’s showering on tornado stricken Alabamians, the Bible signing he staged for his evangelical base is far more unsettling.

Although it may seem like a minor thing,  I actually think it’s one of the most sinister things Trump has done (outside of atrocities like throwing babies in cages at the border or taking away healthcare from those who most need it, etc.).   Many people, even atheists and nonChristians, are also deeply unsettled by it.  

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How is it possible that people outside the Christian faith can see how diabolical this is, but Trump evangelicals, who pride themselves on how “Christian” they are, can’t?  Maybe it’s because they have enough distance from the situation that they aren’t blinded to the truth: in signing Bibles as if he himself is the author, Trump is actually attacking true Christianity, which rejects everything he stands for.  In signing Bibles for his gullible and cultlike  base, he is also consciously or unconsciously equating himself with God (“I alone can fix it.”)

Trump and his dominionist and far right evangelical donors and sycophants (I’m looking at you, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr.)  have twisted Christ’s message of love and unity into its polar opposite.  Instead of teaching compassion for the needy, humility, and a life of service, and the recognition that “God’s kingdom is not of this world,” these fake Christians celebrate greed, unfettered capitalism (no protections against corporate excess and exploitation), destruction of the planet in the name of corporate profits, the torture of children and families, the denial of healthcare, and the oppression and removal of basic rights for women and people of color. They turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and infidelity (as long as the guilty party is a Republican), and they worship a hateful, narcissistic, eternally angry, vengeful diety who hates the sick, the poor, and foreigners, and rewards the wealthy and powerful with even more wealth and power, to whom he has given “dominion” to rule over the rest of us.

“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.”  — Matthew 4:9 

If Satan is real, this is exactly what he would do.   What better way to turn good people away from Christianity (or in the case of Islam, the Taliban/ISIS is used the same way) and at the same time attract sadists and sociopaths?   Do you think the devil would be transparent and use things like pentagrams?  Nope.  That would be too obvious. 

Trump signing Bibles (he not only signed them, he signed their covers!) as if he’s the author makes a mockery of Christianity (and the Abrahamic religions in general), as well as violates both the first and second commandments.   God has not elevated a serial adulterer, sociopathic narcissist, torturer of innocents, and treasonous criminal like Donald Trump to some exalted favored status, and anyone who believes Trump is God’s chosen is listening to the wrong preacher.

Although Christianity can and has been used for the betterment of humanity, it has also been used to justify slavery, genocide, torture, and other atrocities. That’s why the separation of church and state is so important to democracy, and to my way of thinking, democracy is the most Christlike, humane form of government possible.

If you’re a Christian (and even if you’re not), I highly recommend these awesome progressive Christian blogs (and the last one by a former evangelical who discusses the abuses of the New American Evangelism from personal experience).

John Pavlovitz: Stuff That Needs to Be Said

Jesus Without Baggage

Chris Kratzer blog

Rachel Held Evans blog

Not Your Mission Field (Chris Stroop is an ex-evangelical who left his church because he recognized how toxic and abusive it had become)

Trump supporting evangelicals are today’s Pharisees.   Many evangelicals of the dominionist persuasion (an increasing number of evangelicals and fundamentalists — and even some very conservative Catholics — have fallen prey to this dangerous Christofascist movement) even call themselves “prophets and apostles.”    Use your God given discretion when dealing with people who claim to be “anointed” or have certain “gifts of the Spirit.”

“By their fruits you will know them.”  (Matthew 7:16-20)

Narcissistic Supply.

I have one last concern, and it’s probably the most important one of all.
Trump’s evangelical supporters’ declarations that Trump was chosen by God (and their dangerous belief that any criticism of him constitutes disobedience to God) only feeds Trump’s malignant narcissism. Although he may not himself even believe in God (though I can’t prove this), the fact that so many people believe he was specially selected by God to usher in His kingdom must give him some pretty intense narcissistic supply. Anyone who is familiar with NPD knows that the more narcissistic supply you give to a narcissist, the worse and more abusive they get. Trump evangelicals are feeding and nurturing a monster.

Climate change has turned our farms into lakes.

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Floodwaters in Henderson County, NC

 

For the past three or four years, I’ve been noticing drastic changes in our climate that can’t be explained by temporary freakish weather conditions or other passing factors.  These are enduring, permanent changes that have affected the climate in the mountainous regions of North Carolina (Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains)  and have actually raised us up a notch on the Plant Hardiness Growing Map so that plants that were once not viable here (due to it being too cold) can now be grown.    Soon I expect to start seeing palmetto trees!

Forgive the gallows humor, because it really is no joke.

In spite of occasional blasts of severe winter weather and single digit temperatures, for the most part, the past three or four winters have been extremely warm, some days so warm you can go without a jacket or sweater.  I remember Christmas Day of 2015 was in the seventies.   I’ve seen trees and flowers blooming as early as mid-February.   I may live in the south, but it’s not the tropics or even the deep south.   In normal years the winters have been consistently cold, though they don’t last very long, even here in the mountains, where it tends to be colder.

hottesttemps

But even more noticeable than the higher temperatures and earlier springs (and later winters)is the rain.  While climate change has made some parts of the country, such as California and much of the west, extremely dry and prone to drought and devastating wildfires, other places are getting an excess of rain (and severe storms).  We are one of those places, and the rain often leads to flooding, something that until recently wasn’t that common here, or at least was confined to specific areas that everyone knew to avoid.  Now it seems to be everywhere, and is affecting small farms in this area the most drastically.  There’s an area of fairly flat land in Henderson County that I pass on most days.   This is a valley area which is often used as farmland or grazing land.    Now many of these farms and grazing areas seem to be almost permanently flooded, forming shallow lakes and ponds.   The water never gets a chance to evaporate sufficiently before the next rainstorm comes along and causes even more flooding.

The rivers also seem unusually high.   There are times certain roads have been closed off due to the rivers and streams overflowing their banks.

And the mud!  While it tends to get muddy here every late winter and early spring, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.   When you walk across the grass,  you feel the ground give way beneath you like a soggy sponge.   Trees have fallen because the ground is too soft to hold their roots in place.   And all my shoes are ruined.  This forested region is fast becoming very close to something resembling a wetland.

The speed of these changes is scary.  Climate change is real.  Anyone who tells you otherwise either isn’t paying attention or has bought into lies certain powerful politicians and CEOs are telling.

Words to live by.

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