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Methodist Book of Discipline…

I am a member of a Methodist church. On the surface a very welcoming denomination, but below the surface is a book, not the Bible, called the Methodist Book of Discipline.

Every 4 years 800-1000 delegates vote on the language to include in the Discipline at the General Conference. The BIGGEST issue is homosexuality. As it now stands and has virtually since 1972, the Book of Discipline says this:

“The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching…”

What this means in a very real way is if you are homosexual you CANNOT:

Get married in a Methodist church or have your pastor conduct your wedding, even if you are a member (unless you are part of a region that ignores the rules, from the pastor up to the Bishop).

Become a Methodist pastor if you are out of the closet.

Conduct a same sex marriage as a Methodist pastor (you will be fired).

Commit funds to a gay/LGBTQI cause.

—-

I proudly consider myself a straight ally, think same sex attraction is not a sin or a sinful temptation, but like heterosexuality can become sinful if you are taking another’s human right away i.e. rape, pedophilia, coersion, etc…

This is where my beliefs collided with a documentary, a Methodist conservative publication, and varying conservative viewpoints without a clear answer. Many conservatives use 5-8 passages from the Bible to convince themselves of homosexuality’s sinfulness (homosexuality is a term that has only existed since the 1800s, yet is used in Bible’s, which I believe contradicts a conservative ‘Scriptural Christianity’).

On the heels of this years Methodist General Conference, Portland May 10-20, a conservative publication’s Executive Director posted this:

Same Issues, Different Era

With a call to arms:

“We must decide very soon whether we are going to continue expending valuable time, talent, and resources on a debate that is divisive and destructive, or choose to live in faithfulness to Scripture and the historic teachings of the church.”

This ‘faithfulness to Scripture’ echoes the ‘homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching’ rhetoric.

A Rev. from the South commented in agreement with the article referencing one of the 5-8 Bible passages, Galatians 5:19-21:

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

A question was posed:

I am curious. I have heard from other conservative pastors that being homosexual is not a sin. I believe I even read somewhere where Mr. Lambrecht said this.

Does the UMC have a stance on the ‘sin of homosexuality’ or are we to imply it is a sin because it is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’?

Then a response by Mr. Lambrecht who is VP and GM of the publication:

Thanks for your question, Nate. Being homosexual–that is, having attractions to persons of the same sex–is not a sin, but a temptation. But actually engaging in sexual relations with a person of the same sex is a sin. In other words, it is the behavior that is a sin, not the attraction. We all deal with temptations, which are not sin. But when we give in to the temptations, it does become sin. What we say in our Discipline is that “the PRACTICE of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” In other words, the focus is on behavior. I hope this is helpful.

Truth be told, I was the one who posed the initial question. According to the VP and GM of the publication, homosexuality is not a sin unless acted upon. ‘We all deal with temptations.’ This is where the documentary I watched fundamentally changed how I look at the Bible and those 5-8 passages. I posed another question:

I am struggling with this issue. I just watched a documentary called ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God’ about priests molesting and raping children, specifically a priest named Father Murphy. The content, at times, was very graphic and disturbing.

Rev. above used this biblical reference to make his point about homosexuality:

“Have you ever wondered how people who have received Christ as their Lord and Savior can have such an opposite understanding of what is and isn’t the will of God and the Word of God?…Galatians 5:19-21 tells us, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

My question is where is the homosexual in Galatians 5:19:21 and where is Father Murphy in Galatians 5:19-21?

Then a supporter of the 5-8 passages went to the obvious ‘scriptural christianity’ words and commented that ‘sexual immorality’ is sexual immorality, ‘homosexuality is a sin’ and effectively that Father Murphy molesting boys is the same sin as two same sex people in shared fidelity making love.

What conservative is right?

Homosexuality is not a sin unless acted upon or just being homosexual is a sin?

I had an opportunity to interview LGBT members of our church and listen to people who believe in God, love their church and love Methodism. These are real people hurt by a church that doesn’t fully accept them and they can’t just shut off their faith.

A journalist for Esquire put it best (talking about Ted Cruz, but the analogy is perfect):

“…trotted out as though it were the shining future instead of the dead past.”

Please watch and listen and if a person of faith, reconsider your views on homosexuality:

 

 

1st Draft…

NoDak Films has a first draft of the new screenplay. It feels like many drafts just to get to the first draft, but I say first draft because the script has good bones.

An oilfield drama based in North Dakota – part of me has struggled with telling this story especially now that the BOOM is a flicker.

Every boom and bust cycle tells a uniquely American story, I hope NoDak Films get’s to tell ours.

sunny on the rig

Big Tobacco, 60 minutes, Vanity Fair and The Insider…

Wow!

On the tube the other day I watched a movie called ‘The Insider’:

After seeking the expertise of former “Big Tobacco” executive Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), seasoned TV producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) suspects a story lies behind Wigand’s reluctance to speak. As Bergman persuades Wigand to share his knowledge of [tobacco] industry secrets, the two must contend with the courts and the corporations that stand between them and exposing the truth. All the while, Wigand must struggle to maintain his family life amidst lawsuits and death threats.

The insider

20 years ago, 60 minutes aired an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, attorney generals of 3 states and a lawyer for Brown & Williamson (the tobacco giant Dr. Wigand worked for).

Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was a former Director of R&D for Brown and Williamson (B&W) and discovered that B&W was lying about the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking and the carcinogenic ingredients within cigarettes – an obvious truth now that big tobacco purged for decades. In the famous video below, from a 1994 congressional hearing, 7 CEO’s (7 dwarves) of big tobacco testify that they believe ‘nicotine is not addictive’.

Tobacco Company CEOs testify before Congress

Dr. Wigand was fired by B&W after 4 years and felt that the truth had to come out. Fascinating, fascinating interview and story by 60 minutes exposed big tobacco’s lies and Dr. Wigand as one of the most important whistleblowers in US / World History.

60 minutes interview (click here to watch interview)

But what brings this all together is a wonderful behind-the-scenes Vanity Fair story about Dr. Wigand, how the 60 minutes story came to fruition and the lengths Brown & Williamson went through to discredit Dr. Wigand and effectively the truth.

Vanity Fair article ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (click here – long, but great read)

The truth never lies…despite efforts to kill/discredit the messenger…

Great movie, great 60 minutes interview and great Vanity Fair article. I recommend watching them in this order:

Insider

Vanity Fair

60 minutes interview

How much water a well drinks…

The article from the Fargo Forum was striking to me, having worked on a drilling rig in North Dakota at the height of the Boom (over 200 rigs in the state at the time).

ND Rig Count Falling…

The article began: ‘North Dakota has fewer than 60 drilling rigs operating in the state for the first time since 2009.’

I found this information striking because I haven’t been in the boom region of North Dakota for close to 2 1/2 years since we moved to Kansas City so my mind is still wrapped around the place I left in 2013 – a region in BOOM!

One thing that has always concerned me is the amount of fresh water used to frack and maintain a well. Water that once used is no longer fit for human consumption or to grow crops.

Wastewater – now billions upon billions of gallons (perhaps trillions) of wastewater injected downhole into mother earth. National Geographic wrote a great article about the Salty North Dakota wells and how much water they consume.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: ND’s Salty Fracked Wells…

The article above, states that a North Dakota frack job uses, on average, ‘2 million gallons per well’ and ‘drink[s] down an average of more than 600 gallons of maintenance water daily’.

Furthermore, ‘over the life of the well, which authorities presume will be 30 to 40 years, maintenance water needs could add up to 6.6 million to 8.8 million gallons.’

For the sake of math, I’ll average out the water need to 7.7 million gallons over the maintenance life of the well.

So, 7.7 million gallons of maintenance water + 2 million gallons of frack water = 9.7 million gallons of water (9,700,000). Take into account, this is not recycled gray water or frack water. This is each well and over nine and a half million gallons of fresh water pumped in from OUR water table or trucked in from another fresh water source. I still find this fact so outrageously wasteful.

Another interesting part of the Forum article said this, ‘At the end of October, the state had 975 wells that were drilled but waiting on hydraulic fracturing crews as companies prefer to keep the oil in the ground until prices recover.’

Wow! 975 wells! Let’s do the math.

975 wells X 2 million gallons of fresh water to frack the wells = 1,950,000,000

Nearly 2 BILLION gallons of fresh water wasted. Now to maintain those wells.

975 X 7.7 million gallons of fresh water = 7,507,500,000

7,507,500,000 + 1,950,000,000 = 9,457,500,000

Nearly 10 BILLION gallons of fresh water.

What is going on under the beautiful earth of my home state?

Stacked rigs are seen along with other idled oil drilling equipment at a depot in Dickinson, North Dakota June 26, 2015. Since November, the Saudi Arabian-led OPEC cartel has held to a policy of unconstrained output, an approach many suspect is designed to flood global markets with more crude, push prices lower and punish rivals, including North Dakota, the second-largest U.S. oil producer. Picture taken June 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Modern day slavery and shrimp!…

Read a great article from Vanity Fair titled

Slaves Without Chains

slaves-without-chains-01

About a French Friar committed to ‘help the poor fight for better lives’.

There are two things I really took away, the first, is how I perceive Christianity through a slightly different lens then the Friar. When asked if he believes in God and Christ he says:

“[I do] but could be wrong. What occupies [my] mind is not the promise of a distant heaven but the use of Christanity to help the poor fight for better lives.”

I love this line and feel anyone can insert a cause for justice:

I believe in God or even the concept of Jesus. What occupies my mind is not the promise of a distant heaven but the use of Christianity or the concept of Jesus to_____INSERT CAUSE HERE________.

The second part that jumped out, one that has bothered me for some time, is purchasing items, for cheap usually, that are made in places where I suspect workers are working in poor conditions with little to no pay and I have always reasoned they are not SLAVES, but close to slaves whatever that means in my first world head.

From the article:

“In a survey titled Human Trafficking Around the World researchers….note that 37 percent of all shrimp imported to the United States come from Thailand, and they quote a former State Dept. official as saying ‘It’s essential that people know with absolute certainty that the flow of shrimp into the U.S. market is tainted by shrimp that’s processed by the hands of those in slavery.'”

This is scary. It makes me question every purchase from a big box store or ‘made in China’ tag.

I wonder how many goods I purchase are made by exploiting the poor while simultaneously making horrible people rich.

NO MORE!

 

‘Knuckle’ a music video…

Had an opportunity to step out of the folk, americana, North Dakota vibe. Truth be told; NoDak Films currently resides in Kansas City where my role as a filmmaker has been reduced (in a good way) to video’s no longer than 10 minutes.

After making our feature length film ‘Last Summer For Boys’ I realized I had never made anything. I started at a feature film and find myself working backwards trying to build back up to another movie. Along came a band called ‘The Hillary Watts Riot’ and an opportunity to create a music video from a song titled ‘Knuckle’.

I’ll let the video do the talking:

COTTONWOOD – a short movie

COTTONWOOD was originally submitted to the IFCKC (Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City) Fiery Wheel-O-Rama competition.

The competition called for specific plot points, genre, location and time limits.

Although this version is not the original submission, we still abided by the specific rules within IFCKC’s competition guidelines and after spinning the wheel, this is what we received:

GENRE: Pulp Crime
LOCATION: EXT. Empty Street Corner
PLOT POINTS: Hallucination, Menacing Phone Call, Poisoning
TIME LIMIT: Under 10 minutes

Check out Josh, his tour and purchase the album and other music at www.joshharty.com

Josh Harty

The Wolf of Indoctrination…

International box office sales accounted for 24 billion or almost 70% of the Global Box Office (US & Canada accounted for almost 11 billion) in 2012.

Watch ‘The Act of Killing’ now accompany that with ‘Wolf of Wall St’.

‘6 cents a share. Who buys this crap? who buys these ads, mostly schmucks…always postmen, plumbers…’ quote from Wolf of Wall St.

Then all these middle class looking dudes watch in amazement and awe as a suit clad Belfort works his ponzi magic on the phone, breathlessly watching and listening to every word. Taking notes, then indoctrinated by Belfort’s script — Scorcese’s movie, genocide, 18-24, indoctrination.

In ‘The Act of Killing’ the men who committed genocide on there own people referred to themselves as gangsters and drew inspiration from movies.

The largest demographic of moviegoers are 18-24, they represent 10% of the population, but 21% of frequent moviegoers — maybe because they have the most time on their hands, need to be entertained.

But are they suseptible to indoctrination — to believing that, if we use movie terms, the middle class is a depressing drama somewhere between ‘PRECIOUS’ and the ‘WOLF OF WALL ST.’?

Somewhere between ‘THE GODFATHER’ and ‘THE ACT OF KILLING’?

Now, the second largest demographic are 25-39 year olds. Those who HAVE to find disappointment in there lives because they are not Wolves, they are not Gangsters. But if they are also not ‘grim, yet ultimately triumphant’ tales of success, then they are simply Middle Class and told that they are heroes and sold that they need more.

‘Wouldn’t you feel better, if like, you sold that to rich people who could afford to lose the money?’ says Belfort’s first wife/girlfriend in the movie.

Then the term, both highlighted in print and said aloud ‘Robin Hood’ — a perverted Robin Hood that is nothing like Robin Hood. Dropped. Indoctrinated. Swims around the very purposeful art of details within a movie.

The perverted ‘ACT OF KILLING’ reenactments by the same men who killed. 24 billion dollars of tickets sold outside the US and Canada. 85 million dollars of tickets sold to ‘WOLF OF WALL ST.’ outside the US and Canada.

‘Rich people don’t buy penny stocks…because they’re too smart…I mean what person with a college education would trust this bunch of jerk-offs.’

‘Money crazed kids…’

An exhausting movie that is meant to exhaust the viewer into submission. It is all about submission. For those who cannot stand the bore, they zone out. For those who don’t want to be pinned, they reverse it and show their disdain and then, inevitably, there are those who submit.

Don’t submit! The middle class is the backbone of the world and not some Wolf of Indoctrination.

images

A little always adds up…

This morning I drank a refreshing glass of water as I always do and for a moment stared at the glass, wondering if all the answers to my next screenplay were somehow connected to my hydration. How each drop of water played a part in the internal make up of my body, which maybe lubricated my mind hydrating and facilitating the parts of me that have a voice.

Then I got on my computer and in my oilfield research I found the old Rock Center story where Brian Williams talked about the oil boom and Williston. I remember watching the story on ABC a couple years back. What I didn’t see was the story after the story called ‘Boomtown: Viewer’s Questions Answered’ until today.

Both Brian Williams and the correspondent Harry Smith, who went to Williston and made the story, were blown away by the number of folks who wanted to know more about Williston, the oil boom, and especially JOBS after the story aired.

Williams switched gears and said:

“Now a big deal, which we did not have time to immerse ourselves in…this is fracking, hydrofracking and it’s proven so controversial and environmentally damaging in other parts of the country…why is it any different out there [North Dakota]?”

Then correspondent Smith replies, with a neat little graphic:

“They drill down 2 miles deep into the earth and then that pipe starts to go sideways…They shoot some water in there with a little bit of sand and a little bit of chemicals at high pressure into that rock and the oil just comes oozing out. Now the only real environmental concern is what happens to the wastewater, they put it in ponds. There was a flood last spring, some of it got out and some animals were hurt…”

Smith then goes on to finish by saying:

“Beyond that [fracking] the larger environmental issue for them in North Dakota is this has always been a pristine wide open rural landscape, put 50,000 wells on there it changes things.”

It’s a couple years old, but WOW! Here I go…

What I love is how Smith talks about fracking:

“They shoot some water in there with a little bit of sand and a little bit of chemicals at high pressure.”

Like a little super soaker with a handful of sand and a small syringe of chemicals.

OR

From Bakken Decision Support System (BCSS), “An example of a well in 2010 with a horizontal length of 10,000 feet had used approximately 3.5 million gallons of fluid and 4.5 million pounds of proppant (sand and ceramics of specific sizes, strengths, and treatments that increase the likelihood for the proppant to remain in the formation versus flowing back to the surface with the fluids).”

“Water is either piped in from local ponds, streams, or reservoirs…in cooperation with local communities and landowners or can be trucked in when local water sources are not available.”

I called the ND Petroleum Council and found that from Jan. 2012 – Oct. 2013, 3,283 wells were drilled in North Dakota. The Boomtown segment aired at the end of 2011 so for an easy time roundup I started the well count at Jan. of 2012. BCSS said 3.5 million gallons of fluid is used per well. Because I am not a mathematician or a chemist I am going to use this simple formula:

Amount of fluid per well – 3.5 million gallons
_______________________________________________(divided by)

Chemicals per 1000 gallons of fluid

(equals)

3500 ((1,000 gallon)) units of each chemical used

On Halliburton’s website, Fluid Disclosure ‘Bakken Hybrid Formulation 1’ their chemical usage was an average amount of chemical they used per 1000 gal of fluid so following the formula above 3,500,000/1000 = 3500 ((1,000 gallon)) units of chemical. I took the low end range of the amount of each chemical used in the fracking process per 1000 gallons and multiplied that number by 3500.

I came up with:

19,460 gallons of chemical per well
9,975 lbs of chemical per well

Because Halliburton wasn’t clear and because they were using the term gallons in their estimates, the 4.5 million pounds of proppant (sand, ceramics and even more chemicals) is in a separate category I don’t have information on (yet). So this “They shoot some water in there with a little bit of sand and a little bit of chemicals at high pressure” comment by Mr. Smith sounds a bit insulting.

Numbers tell me that ‘some water…with a little bit of sand and a little bit of chemicals’ multiplied by 3,283 wells equals:

3.5 million gallons of fluid x 3,283 wells = 11,490,500,000 billion gallons of fluid

19,460 gallons of chemical x 3,283 wells = 63,887,180 gallons of chemical

9,975 lbs of chemical x 3,283 wells = 32,747,925 lbs of chemical

PLUS

4.5 million lbs of proppant x 3,283 wells = 14,773,500,000 billion pounds of proppant

So all those little numbers together look like this:

11,490,500,000+63,887,180+32,747,925+14,773,500,000 =

11,554,387,180 billion gallons of water and fluid chemicals

14,806,247925 billion pounds of sand and solid proppant chemicals

Enough gallons and pounds of shitty waste water proppant material to fill________________________(insert relative object here)

Remember Mr. Smith says “Now the only real environmental concern is what happens to the wastewater, they put it in ponds. There was a flood last spring, some of it got out and some animals were hurt…”

Again these little terms “some water” “little bit of sand” “little bit of chemicals” “some [wastewater] got out” “some animals were hurt” that Mr. Smith uses make the Bakken sound, for lack of a better word, small and there is nothing small about 3,283 wells and counting and all the other wells drilled before 2012.

At least the oil and gas industry is doing their part to figure out how to recycle their wastewater and I use the term recycle very very loosely.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

“While the recycled water can’t currently be cleaned up enough for drinking or growing crops, it can be cleaned of chemicals and rock debris and reused to frack additional wells, which could sharply cut the costs that energy companies face securing and disposing of water.”

Reusing shitty water is a great thing, but this is a bit disturbing:

“Some companies are finding it is still cheaper in many parts of the U.S. to inject the wastewater deep underground instead of cleaning it, which has slowed adoption of recycling technology. But experts say that is likely to change as fracking grows. At Schlumberger, which predicts that a million new wells will be fracked around the world between now and 2035, reducing freshwater use “is no longer just an environmental issue—it has to be an issue of strategic importance,” Salvador Ayala, vice president of well-production services, told a recent conference.

It all goes back to making money, by either reducing the amount of fresh water used or inventing/controlling a whole slew of other crap to treat the crap they made. One million fracked wells by 2035 is scary shit unless not one drop of freshwater is used, but if shitty water is injected underground then you have to keep using freshwater.

And then there’s a whole other story about how much shitty water actually comes back to surface after a fracking job.

And when we are done fracking, a million years from now, what happens to all the recycled shitty water that can’t be used to grow crops or be used for human consumption?

I know one thing, it took a lot guts for the chairman of the ND Republican Party and a founding member of the ND Tea Party caucus Robert Harms — on paper this guy has energy development literally written into his bio and for him to say, after the Casselton, ND crude oil train derailment/collision: “I think it’s a good wake up call for all of us, both local and state officials, as well as the people with the oil and gas industry and the transportation industry…Even people within the oil and gas industry that I’ve talked to feel that sometimes we’re just going too fast and too hard.”

Too often, it is much easier to see the damage things can cause above ground without really paying much attention to the damage that can occur below ground.

Now if Harms statement is just fodder to bolster support for the Keystone Pipeline, that is just wrong, but I couldn’t help but feel real sincerity in his words.

It’s much bigger and when talking fresh water, is very scary because fresh water is the most important resource in the world and my kids don’t have a voice in it yet, but I do.

MK-BY830_WATER_DV_20121118180752