Life After John Oliver

That’s what frustrates me so much about Last Week Tonight”: its lack of follow-through. Oliver’s video essays are made with so much sustained wit, verve and insight that they almost incite viewers to action…almost. Instead, in just about every case, these impassioned arguments stop short of providing a productive outlet for the justifiable outrage that viewers are made to feel.

-Khoi Vinh, What to Do After You’ve Watched John Oliver”, Subtraction.com

I feel the exact same way as Khoi on this subject. I wanted to link to his article specifically because it was so poignantly relevant to me; after watching the NCAA coverage on Last Week Tonight, I seriously thought about not watching the NCAA basketball games that would complete the tournament. I ended up watching those games, but the fact that I felt moved to do something by Oliver’s coverage but had no idea what to do seemed… wrong.

Cue the Edward Snowden interview and I am left wanting yet again for an outlet to channel my sudden angst. Thankfully, and unlike many of Oliver’s shows, the Snowden interview had such a large impact on the public perception that a number of websites and blogs have covered what to do next, which is exactly the types of information I want to be known for sharing on this site.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber linked to this site to help fight section 215 of the Patriot Act from being renewed and a number of people have linked to this site, eloquently entitled Can They See My Dick?”, which links to a number of resources to help people understand why the government has direct access to their personal sexting images. From that site:

As John Oliver so eloquently explained to Edward Snowden during his interview of him for his Last Week Tonight episode on Government Surveillance, the ability of the government to see people’s dick pictures is the most visible line in the sand for people when it comes to surveillance overreach.

The fact that dick pictures” are the thing with which people take the most issue is disconcerting and unfortunate, but it still gets the point across. The government currently has carte blanche to dig into our personal information with very little oversight or explanation. We should all be working to curb that enthusiasm.


Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.