Friday, April 30, 2004

[noticed in The Door Magazine]

Tears soak the carpet of the Great Seal of the office of the president of the United States as George W. Bush lay prostrate before almighty God.
"You are my strength and shield, an ever present help in times of trouble..."
"Any word?" Michaela asked, his eyes constantly scanning the room, sword in hand.

[read more...]

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

[noticed at Unedited Ravings, emphasis mine]

In reading 'round the blog-block lately I've encountered a few folks who are quite determined to present Jesus as a fundamentalist, quoting him saying things like, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me."

The way these folks are carrying on makes them sound like religious zealots.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Guilty by "Evangelical"

A recent editorial defending evangelical Christians piqued my interest. It confronted a loaded polling question asking respondents whether they'd vote Conservative if it was overrun by evangelical Christians. Bruce Clemenger from the EFC regarded this portrayal of evangelicals as too narrow, since they are a more diverse religious and political group.

However, this really misses the point. The term "evangelical" is primarily defined as "non-mainline conservative Protestant (including fundamentalists)", like it or not. Moreover, even though some evangelicals don't vote right-wing, those who do are the issue.

Consider the example of Stockwell Day, former leader of the Canadian Alliance. He proclaimed his political message in evangelical Christian churches, and had an evangelical following. (This included Western Canada, where a major part of Conservative voters are.) Apparently Canadian evangelicals underestimate the legacy of the Moral Majority/Christian Coalition in the States. (Remember Pat Robertson?)

So perhaps a better issue for evangelicals to confront is, without blaming the media or political parties:
When does being politically conservative and evangelical Christian sabotage either, and what can be done about it?
Isn't that the point?

Sunday, April 25, 2004

See No Evangelicals, Hear No Evangelicals...

[noticed by The Heresy]

"Liberal Party pollsters were in the field last week asking Ontarians whether they were 'more or less likely to vote for the Conservative/Alliance if you knew they had been taken over by evangelical Christians.' - Paul Wells, Apr. 20

Of course, the EFC responded:

[noticed at The Globe and Mail]

Then there is the issue of the term "taken over by" in the polling question. This implies that there is a conspiracy. A conspiracy would require a degree of political uniformity among evangelicals that simply doesn't exist. As for conspiring, critics would complain that evangelicals are more prone to shouting into megaphones than whispering in corners.

There is no plot and there is no conspiracy. Given the percentage of evangelicals in the general population, one would presume that 12 per cent of candidates will be evangelicals; 12 per cent of MPs will be evangelicals; 12 per cent of your neighbours and co-workers will be evangelicals.

Evangelical Christians do not vote as a bloc. In fact, pollsters tell us that evangelicals vote along similar lines as the rest of Canadians. This means that if the Liberals alienate evangelicals, they will lose a significant base of support.

--from There is no Evangelical Conspiracy by BRUCE CLEMENGER

Friday, April 23, 2004

Beyond Your Limits

[noticed at Smile at Me in this context]

I challenge every reader to an exercise this week. Yup, I'm giving out homework. Find someone you normally would avoid and strike up a conversation with them. Sorry if you are one of those introverted people who lives in the country. That'll be a tough one. I know if you are at a bus stop and you move toward this person that they may be apprehensive. They may think you are going to abuse or mistreat them. Surprise them. Use courteous language, say, "Excuse me" or, "Pardon me". Pay them a compliment or ask them a simple question. See how things warm up. Try something like, "How do you get to the farmers market from here" or, "I love your coat, did you buy it in town?" Try it out, push yourself, go beyond your limits, grow. Not just for your sake. For all of us. Who knows when the Germans may bomb Pearl Harbor again?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

[noticed at Been there...Still there]

If you think it doesn’t matter who you listen to, who you take to be your teacher, think again. Please be careful about who you listen to. Ask questions as you go. Ask a lot of questions.

--Rev. Kathryn Timpany

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Everybody has a point...but it's harder to connect it with someone else's.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

[noticed at The Invisible Sun]

The mystery of the poor is this: That they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love.

Dorothy Day



[noticed by NORM at The Door Magazine's Chat Closet]

Several years ago, my friend Dennis Prager suggested a hypothetical case, which has since been presented to several thousand Jewish and non-Jewish high school students:

Suppose two people who have the exact same earnings and expenses are approached by a poor man in desperate need of food and money for his family. The first person, after listening to the man's horrible experiences, cries and then out of the gooodness of his heart gives him five dollars. The second person, although concerned, does not cry, and in fact has to rush away. But because his religion commands him to give 10 percent of his income to charity, he gives the poor person a hundred dollars. Who did the better thing - the person wo gave five dollars from his heart, or the one who gave a hundred dollars because his religion commanded it? We discovered that 70 percent to 90 percent of the teenagers we questioned asserted that the person who gave the five dollars from his heart did the better deed.
This response suggests that in secular society, even charity is becoming a somewhat selfish act. Many people care less about the good their money is doing than about how they feel giving it. When we asked these same students who they would think had done the better deed if they were the ones who needed the money, many of them were brought up short. I think Dennis Prager has expressed the issue very well: 'Judaism would love you to give 10 percent of your income each year from your heart. It suspects, however, that in a large majority of cases, were we to wait for people's hearts to prompt them to geive a tenth of their money away, we would be waiting a very long time. Ergo, Judaism says; Give ten percent - and if your heart catches up, terrific. In the meantime, good has been done.'"

--from Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History by Joseph Telushkin

Friday, April 16, 2004

[This is what I was going to post yesterday. I discovered it while finding stuff I used to reflect the drought of pictures in the last 14 years before recently. The caption that I had on the top said, "For webpage (- when I do one)". This was when Geocities was just really starting to take off.]



What is beauty? Alas, 'tis a jewel, a glass,
A bubble, a plaything, a rose,
'Tis the snow, dew or air; 'tis so many things rare
That 'tis nothing, one may well suppose,
'Tis a jewel, Love's token; glass easily broken,
A bubble that vanisheth soon;
A plaything that boys cast aside when it cloys,
A rose quickly faded and strewn.
--Henry G. Bohn (1795-1884)

In the blindness of introspection
I stumble about, without direction,
Through corridors of pessimism
I hold myself in this dark prison.
In the silence, an offering call
Beckons me to relinquish all
I can only give, what I own
A broken shard, a heart of stone.
--Jace Seavers

"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked pensively.

"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

"You mean to die?" asked Yellow, remembering the three who fell out of the sky.

"Yes and No," he answered. "What looks like you wil die but what's really you will still live. Life is changed, not taken away. Isn't that the difference from those who die without ever becoming butterflies? ... Once you are a butterfly, you can really love -- the kind of love that makes new life. It's better than all the hugging caterpillars can do."

---from the book Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus

Thursday, April 15, 2004

D'oh! The text I was going to post today I forgot at home because I got my first 35mm film ever developed today! (BTW, I'm slowly getting back to taking pictures after 14 years! Beware world of cyber! Eventually there will be a photoblog of my amateur ability!) Maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Persecuted

Recently, a friend of mine was harassed by her former molester. It's frustating since it occurred over the internet, where trying to find a voice can be easy for either party. In that vein, let me suggest a couple of books to reflect on this...

from Library Journal's review:

His valuable resource covers early warning signs, ten abusive personality types, the abusive mentality, problems with getting help from the legal system, and the long, complex process of change. After dispelling 17 myths about abusive personalities, he sheds light on the origin of the abuser's values and beliefs, which he finds to be a better explanation of abusive behavior than reference to psychological problems.

from the review by Publisher's Weekly:

Brison's reflections on memory and forgetting and the manner in which traumatic events divide time and affect personality and relationships will resonate with anyone who has experienced great pain and suffering, as well as with the people who love and care for them. As she writes on the importance of telling the story, "control, repeatedly exercised, leads to greater control over the memories themselves, making them less intrusive and giving them the kind of meaning that enables them to be integrated into the rest of life."

Saturday, April 10, 2004

[text by Beth Happiness in the poetry section]

War

White and red it flows through the sand.
Black and White together they stand.
Cold and stiff as rocks they lay.
Morning and noon, night and day.
Tick, tick, tick, the hands of time move slowly.
Flip, flip, flip, the pages of calendars turn.
Slowly time passes by.
Then shouts of joy ring out.
But why?
We haven't really won.
Because...

White and red it flows through the sand.
Black and White together they stand.
Cold and stiff as rocks they lay.
Morning and noon, night and day.

© 1991 Beth Mercer

I am a Christian because I am imaginatively hooked on the story of a convicted felon who not only gets away with it, but goes on to be an all-time international best-seller. What is his crime? Growing up. Finding his voice, telling the truth with it and not giving a damn what anybody thinks.

Holy Writ, in other words.

---from Holy Writ by K.D. Miller, p. 113

Friday, April 09, 2004

since it's Good Friday...


Whose burdens are you bearing today?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

[noticed at Been There...Still There]

"If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic."

--Hazel Henderson

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

text from Beth Happiness in the poetry section

image from 14 STATIONS By David Michalek, discovered by Tim Samoff


final flow

ruby droplets kiss linoleum
drawing together
to make a pool of red
diamonds drop into the circle
dancing, swirling
bleeding a pinkish blur

the gem pool glows gaudy
glittering
in fluorescent light
dim shadows look on
laughing
in delight

darkness conquers
beauty flees
jewels waste
life ends its song

© 1996 Beth Mercer

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Since Easter's coming up...again


[refered by IdeaJoy]
Surely this IS the greatest story ever told. A populist preacher — from the backwater of a backwater — is abruptly snuffed out, crushed under the Imperial foot. Yet his message spreads, flashing into a conflagration which the mightiest empire in the world can't extinguish and is ultimately consumed by. The story gets even better when you consider the mythically-perfect oppositions set into conflict: incomparable military power and grandiose display versus the humility, love and sacrifice of that one solitary life. You can't get much more dramatic than that. And it's not just great drama: it's spectacular cinema — the first subject truly worthy of Hollywood's epic ambitions and widescreen-Technicolor-special effects presentation. There is this little problem, though. The Tinsel Town treatment and all the trimmings are decidedly at odds with everything the subject had to say about mass taste, fame, wealth and power. And despite the obvious cinematic possibilities for a showdown with the Empire, the core of this story involves less a political revolution than a change of hearts: much less easy to photograph, and touching upon miracles that glitzy effects may tend only diminish.
---from Epic Survey of Jesus Movies From La vie et la passion de J├ęsus Christ to The Passion of the Christ By Mike Hertenstein

Monday, April 05, 2004

Since Easter's coming up...

When two great faiths celebrate festivals of redemption in proximity as Jews and Christians do now at Passover and Easter, we are reminded that without religious ritual, the past cannot claim us, and the heart of life will elude us.
[noticed at The Globe and Mail in this article]

Saturday, April 03, 2004

[noticed on Mark's blog]

Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in. - Katherine Mansfield

[noticed at Jordon Cooper via Joi Ito's Web right here]

In my experience, the more people talk about honor, the less they know about it and are either using it as a way to try to convince you to trust them or trying to convince themselves or something. Some of the stupidest mistakes I've made in friendship and business have been when I have assumed that people spouting off about codes of honor would actually adhere to them. "Don't you trust me?" "Just trust me." Bah.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

[seen on Mark's Blog]

I wish there was a rewind button on life. I suppose there is. . . in a sense. You can ask for forgiveness but that requires humbling yourself and admitting that you are out of line. I'm finding myself having to do that more and more lately. It's good for batting down the ego but it sucks when you think that you have caused confusion or hurt. I wish that learning things the hard way wasn't the way that I had to learn so much of what I've learned. Then it becomes a matter of whether or not I'd truly learned anything. :)