You Oughta Know - Supreme Vacancy

Yesterday was a rough day; my computer decided to bite the dust completely out of the blue. I suppose I needed a reason to go iPad only. But let’s face it, many days of late have been rough for a variety of reasons. Today, let’s take back control.

Supreme Vacancy

The Supreme Court has a vacancy. I learned a couple days ago that nothing in the constitution states the number of necessary Supreme Court justices; that number is set by congress and has stood at nine for quite some time. Last year, when Justice Scalia died, Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama. At the time, Republicans stonewalled the nomination, but they are now asking Democrats to be reasonable. Neil Gorsuch is the president’s pick and by the sound of it that nomination is surprisingly normal.

What’s in a quorum?

There is no doubt that the Republicans want to move some of these processes along, but playing by their own rules shouldn’t be allowed. Yesterday, some Democrats decided to boycott the cabinet nomination procedures due to the misrepresentations made in the testimonies of the nominees. Committee rules state that at least one person from each party is to be present at time of vote. The chair of the committee moved forward with the Democrats, citing extraordinary circumstances” and suspending the rules of the committee. The outcome is that Steve Mnuchin (Treasury) and Tom Price (Health and Human Services) have been passed into the full senate for deliberation without a full understanding of the following concerns, raised by Democrats:

Today, for the first time in history, the Senate Finance Committee broke the rules to push through on a partisan basis two nominees,” [Senator Ron Wyden] said. Congressman Tom Price, whose stock trades call into question whether he will work in the public interest or his own, and the other, Steven Mnuchin, who appears to have misled the committee on his company’s foreclosure practices after the Great Recession.”

Those bad” people

The travel ban has been at the top of a lot of people’s minds of late for good reason: good people are being kept out of the country for no good reason. This has caused confusion at airports, deportations, and protests, but more importantly, it has kept people from entering the country that are coming in for medical care and to escape terrorism in their home lands. Meanwhile, the president focuses on the media’s use of the word ban” and begs to differ on the idea that it is affecting good people. Below are just a few of the stories coming out of this situation:

Honorable Mention

RogueNASA, the twitter account that exists to share out information in the event the standard NASA account is legally silenced, shared one of the best tweet/response pairs in recent memory.

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.