Friday, December 31, 2004

Be It Resolved

Be patient.
The sun sets this year.
The sun rises the next.
The sun is still there.

Grieve. Breathe. Heal. Imagine.

The future lies ahead as a present for the past life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

In the meantime, I will try to welcome pain when it comes. Not with glee, no, but with as much willingness as I can muster. Some places are easier to walk through if one doesn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming, and beauty is easier to see in dark places if one’s eyes aren’t clenched shut.

[via Quotidian Light]

In the face of such unthinkable tragedy, we fall silent. But silence will not help. Those of us who choose to believe in a diety are stunned and troubled. Those who believe that life has meaning are stunned and troubled. Stunned and troubled is what we feel, but the essential question is, "What will we do?"

[via Real Live Preacher]

we are so blessed, so confusingly blessed. why us? why them? it reduces me to a pool of tears. so helpless to help.

from this post via emerging sideways

Suggestion for the next disaster:

Blogs have brought this disaster on the other side of the world into our homes and offices in an entirely new and different way.

The next big step for bloggers in emergency response situations is to build networks of blogs that can pinpoint specific requirements (food, water, clothing, transportation, medical help, emergency survivor contact, immunizations, etc.), and to be specific - "We need 14 doses of diptheria innoculation, 24 pairs of men's shorts (12 size 28, 10 size 30, 2 size 32), and ten cases of disposable diapers, size 12-24 pounds, in xyz village in Sri Lanka as soon as possible". Blogging, linked to people with cell phones, can provide exactly that kind of specific response, down to the individual level - on both ends. Donor and recipient can be matched, the material gathered at specified node points for shipment, and distributed through specified node points where it's needed. Transportation can be included in the equation by having airlines that are heading in that direction anyway accepting shipments for specific node points on a space-available basis. If there's not enough space available on airlines, contract shipments or military assistance can pick up the slack.
[via Old Patriot's Pen]

Monday, December 27, 2004

Isn't it odd how Christmases change? When you're young, these holidays have an entirely different meaning. It's all about behaving yourself until the big payoff on Christmas morning. For most kids, it's about a relationship with that bearded do-gooder, Santa Claus. I never believed in him -- my parents chose instead of educate me on the "spirit" of Christmas, rather than its patron saint.

And I have mixed feelings about that. Yes, they wanted me to remember the more religious meanings behind the holidays -- and to save me the devastation of realizing the Claus didn't exist. But part of me still wishes I could have participated in that magic.

When you get past the whole Santa-Claus stage, you move onward to the what-cool-present-can-I -get-this-year stage. Then it's all about possessing whatever the marketplace deems as the "IN" present of the year.

[via grrrlmeetsworld]

Unloading After Christmas

Face it: Today is a crappy day, isn't it. The malls, museums and movie theatres are crawling with angry, disappointed people and their angry, disappointed kids. Everywhere you look, there is no escape! Besides, aren't you still (just a little bit) angry because the Grinch spoiled your Christmas? ... because Santa left you a lump of coal in your stocking? ... that your holiday dinner drama turned your stomach? Bah, HUMBUG?! Well, I have a great solution for you...

[via Living the Scientific life]

[from the poem Cruelty]

you say,
"i love you
but your wound stinks.
let me pry the scab open
for you;
let me heal it."

i wince and say,
"no please.
it is healing fine."

[via life happens]

Sunday, December 26, 2004

[a poem I wrote today]


in judgement we gather
face to face from many paths
to meet our shared part in reaching
a verdict beyond this body

to make room for agreement
between our petty differences
over ritual slaughter of fact

our host reckons we stop
to ponder how the blame and bargains
test our firm resolve to reconcile
outstanding issues that persist

in communion we submit
factions of our very best
made with such conviction at the table
right before us

some are loyal to the law
some just want to nullify
one does not belong

on balance, unjustified

so then we offer up
another round of arguements
prolonged by much objections
at the detail

it can leave us hanging by a thread
at the end of our rope

Thursday, December 23, 2004

So what I'm trying to get across to you is, you are putting out a message of hope, and I respect that. And you are putting out a message, think postive, and I respect that. But those messages, hope and positive thinking, don't win wars. They don't.

[via Man Descending]

May wonder and awe dwell with and around you.

Give life, fulfill wishes, and experience wonder...if nothing else, make sure others don't lose anything important.

No, Not Chrismukkah...but...

Today is Festivus, "for the rest of us". Thanks Becky for the reminder!

Christmas is nearly upon us, and the world is still a dark place.

[via Beggars All]

This Past Season:

Dec. 6: Went to Experience Christmas! at Elim Tabernacle. Was good and lively, as usual. Unexpectedly saw some friends I would never expect at this thing. Not only that, I went (with friends) to someone's place whom I am somewhat estranged (partially intentionally). Great stuff!

Dec. 12: Went to Forest Grove Community Church for Celebrate This!. Was more subdued, but relaxing. Must remember to be "inflated" more throughout the year. You can't threaten a balloon to be full.

Dec. 19: (a) went to Riverway Church's Make a Wish Come True: An Electric Christmas. If you want something unconventional, this would be it. Refreshing and engaging. Focused on hope and wishes.

(b) went to my old church the Saskatoon Church of God for Fear Not. Almost wasn't sure I'd go, but decided to venture out. Got out of my comfort zone. Some technical difficulties, but enjoyed the video cued with live action.

My gift to you is a promise of love,
The gift of a failing heart.

All I have to give those that love me
Is my own imperfect love,...

That the pain will not last,
That our thirst will soon drown in the song not sung in vain.

[via Canticles of the Unhomed]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I wish I could say that it's because I'm such a generous and thoughtful person, and that's why it matters so much to me to give a nice gift. But I think there's something less pretty behind it, like needing approval and a deep rooted insecurity. Maybe it's a need to be thought very well of, to have people say "Oh isn't she such a generous and thoughtful person! Egad.

[via Feeble Knees]

By CommonMan in The Door Magazine's Chat Closet

The Sentry

In a scaffolding
Overlooking a field
In the heart of winter
Everything is asleep

The field is dead and brown
The trees are skeletons
Standing against the grey skies and exposed
The plants and trees are asleep

A creek runs through the glade
Full from the rains
Telling anyone its story
If only there was one to listen

Cars and trucks rush by
Filled with anticipation
Of reaching their destination
But they are all asleep

The sentry looks around
And asks, "Who, who will listen?"
Who will listen to the wind,
Who will hear the creek’s story?

Not one stops, no one hears
They rush by on their way
Where are they going?
There is no threat here, yet I fear

They don’t understand
They don’t listen
They don’t love
They're all dead.

'But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted "Merry Christmas", even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.'
---Alfred Anderson, in Last survivor of 'Christmas truce' tells of his sorrow by Lorna Martin, The Observer

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sunday, December 19, 2004

By Ralph from The Door Magazine Chat Closet-- words in parentheses are supposed to be indented

December Musings

Green and red lights fade
into a panoply of red, white and blue.
The Wal-Mart lot is jammed

with cars streaming through the artificial
roads in this Discount City where savings
are awarded on the platform backs
of the downtrodden workers, who make a fuck-you
grimace as they bear the cross of nail
polish, two for two, cheap cologne on sale -
(limited supply per store.)

Santa sits despondent
in an eggnog-and-gin coma, wondering
why he has sunk to the depths
of having redneck kids piss on him.
I question my own motives
(a man's heart is evil from his youth)

for coming to this place. Maybe
because I want to mock the lives
lived inside a big box, the surreal
land of scanner beeps and company TV
(like Pravda, only cheerier.)

Or perhaps I want to cry
out with joy and exultation at the prices
of incense and of myrrh
(cash, check, or credit?)

- after Campbell McGrath

Friday, December 17, 2004

Peace on earth and good-will toward other human beings are the best ornaments of the season, and the ones for which I'll willingly reach out my hand in fragile hope and wonder this Christmas: in hope of grasping them more firmly and surely this year, and in wonder that they're possible at all despite the chaos we make of the season.

All the other ornaments can go back in the box.

[via Quotidian Light]

A diamond is forever. That seems to be the consensous. Only, what kind of forever?

[via The Bean Blog]

[via pure sweet hell]

There is a wonderful paradox that exists within me.

I have a high stone wall erected around parts of me with no glimpse of a "gate"....

Yet a large part of me is very open. What am I "open" to?

{full post}

A wall is merely a bridge upright.

A bridge is merely a fallen wall.


Someone who makes things trivial by being overly serious

Agreeing to Disagree:

"You're wrong...but I'll let you be wrong."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

i guess in many ways we never change and always need the same things--a quiet companion, a loving touch and the space & peace to know someone is completely dedicated to our well-being. that we are not completely alone.

[via Soul Sisters Unite]

Being stupid and being dangerous is a volatile combination.

Approaching Social Change and Tradition (cont.)

Read Part 1 here.

Part 1 demonstrates how focusing on social change at the expense of tradition can oversimplify the case for it, which does a disservice to both. However, this may not be only the fault of progressive activism, but also with traditional commentaries against change:
"... when tradition collides with social change, some traditions are rejected while others are retained. The process of determining which traditions are kept and which are abandoned is governed primarily not by reason but by complex cultural dynamics; the resulting social customs are often both unquestioned and unreasonable."
(Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict: The Culture War between Traditionalism and Feminism, p.11)

Could traditional analysis be possibly worse? Let's explore this in more depth:

[Note: Unless otherwise, all quotes in Part 2 are from Are There Homosexual Saints? by Joe Bob Briggs in issue 190 of The Door Magazine]

Part 2: The Con Position

Joe Bob Briggs' Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to address the conflict within the Anglican Communion about homosexuality, particularly regarding the active gay bishop in the United States. It confronts the dynamics and issues stemming from this situation, ultimately offering a moderately traditional stance. The article first examines why American Anglicans "make up the rules as they go along" about homosexuality, compared with the rest of the Anglican dioceses. Why are there differences? After all, even in places where homosexuality is "more common and open than it is here", it is considered by Anglicans as legal outside the church but unacceptable within it. Briggs suggests that the accountability implied by the traditional notion of sin is resisted by Americans, with the most relaxed groups proposing that some sexual behavior be overlooked instead.

With Us or Against Us

So when and where should there be accountability? The article clearly states that it should NOT be enforced from outside the church, since it does not have the authority. Because it is not the religious arm of the state or just a registered charity, church standards have sole jurisdiction there. Moreover, Briggs says, the struggle is "not about power or social justice", but "about Biblical authority or divine revelation," so only Anglicans (in this case) are applicable anyways. The broader society need not intervene.

Although this clarifies where scrutiny must lie, it has two uneasy implications. First, if tradition or the church needs social reform, it must come from inside. Yet it is not clear what recourse is available when tradition may be deemed unnecessarily certain and infallible. Second, since the main issue concerns Biblical interpretation, worries about injustice may be dismissed prematurely. When would social change matter?

Regardless, a practicing homosexual Anglican, under current policy, would be required to stop (i.e. repent) or leave, since continuing homosexual activity would be paramount to insubordination. The church could not simply ignore such behavior, like it or not. To demonstrate how this can be handled, the article offers two examples. In one, the preacher in question was expelled from the Southern Baptists without a "mechanism for mercy". The other case concerned an Anglican bishop in England who "resigned in order to protect the communion", also indicating that he and his former partner had remained celibate since 1991 to live within church guidelines.

Yet this does not explain why certain individuals act out inappropriately here. (The article does not suggest any theories.) Do the responses deal with the motivations behind homosexuality or are they just shortsighted and inflexible? Moreover, perhaps some people stay or persist because they believe it is more complicated than is evident to others. The only options presented are certainly unsatisfactory to some and does not determine whether the church could be lacking in this area.

Erring on the Side of Tradition?

Despite this, Briggs emphasizes that the church must attend to each of its members by its own terms. It does not conform itself to current values to be relevant, but with past faithfulness to tradition for the sake of integrity. This is the crux of the matter, as even the Protestant Reformation aimed for a more authentic connection to history, not social change or innovation. There seems to be no viable alternative when shortcomings are possibly evident. Also, this does not prove if tradition is accurate in its assessments of wrongdoing, since it could be only partly correct or fully incorrect.

However, to evaluate the nature of sin and homosexuality, Briggs refers to Romans 1: 24-27, which is traditionally used in this case. It states that God allowed humanity to participate in futile and unproductive behavior (i.e. sin), in order to reap the consequences of their misguided focus on nature. In order to describe how erroneous and artificial this had become, the author uses acts towards the same sex to illustrate the irony, where humans try to go towards themselves (i.e."against nature") instead of moving towards and acknowledging God. "As such, it's the ultimate self-love."

Briggs notes that this is not strictly referring to homosexual acts. "The sin isn't homosexuality. The sin is regarding God as nothing." Therefore, the article suggests, if gays are cast out, then so should other sinners as well. Yet while other actions can be forgiven by not allowing them to become habits, the pivotal question is whether homosexuality is more than simply a distorted practice. Previous thought assumed it only referred to confused or reckless heterosexuals, but today it is viewed and treated differently.

Should the church respond accordingly? This depends on how much the traditional answer here could be modified in the face of new considerations. If the issues involved are seen as more complex and ambiguous than originally construed, then perhaps a reappraisal should occur. However, if tradition must prevail in spite of everything, then some discrepencies will emerge.

Take the Biblical passage mentioned earlier regarding homosexual and sinful behavior to start. Although the fact that the two activities are related to each other may lead some to conclude that all homosexuality is automatically sinful, this obscures two things. First, the fact that heterosexual acts are not mentioned in these particular verses does not necessarily mean that they are never used sinfully. Pursuing the other sex does not guarantee that it will be more effective. Second, although homosexual acts are considered a result of sin, it does not indicate if there are instances where it is not. Perhaps it is a conflicted expression at best, so conflating everything together gives a false picture. However, Briggs does not explore these options.

Convenience Over Change

In contrast, the article affirms the traditional perspective, which can be simpler and easier than the alternative. Briggs summarizes the conflict this way regarding the active gay bishop in America:
This may be a good or a bad thing as far as society is concerned, but the church is not society. The church has believed for 2000 years, with Paul, that homosexuality is something invented by God to reveal man's selfishness. Ordaining a bishop who says, "I intend to practice it continually," becomes, for the faithful, a rejection of God and an elevation of a "me first" gospel....Aside from what the church regards as a sin in itself, the whole typology of the office is perverted.
This reveals the main points of contention about this issue within the Anglican Communion. First, the option of homosexuality as a lifestyle comes from a foreign source, which can not override Biblical or church authority. Second, church precedent does not permit such behavior, as the Bible portrays homosexuality as an illustration of self-absorption. Third, the church position would be devalued as a consequence of such rebellion. Therefore, there seems no need to change the traditional view.

The article Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to explain the tension about the practicing gay bishop in the States, offering a rationale for the traditional objections against any change. Yet it does not explain why this seems merely convenient instead of truly adequate. Moreover, it conveys social change as insufficient while ignoring the tendency of some to hide behind the church when it expresses potential prejudice. It also does not give any conditions under which change may be required when needed. At best, this article appears overconfident in its conclusions.

Caught in a Stalemate

These articles illustrate how difficult it can be to justify social change or tradition. The typical response tends to focus on one side while generally downplaying or dismissing the other, with a fairly insufficient result. It is easy to be complacent when we agree. Why does this happen so often? In essence, the appeals provided either way are ultimately fraught with compromises, since the circumstances are technically caught in a stalemate. This does not indicate that there are no real solutions to these problems, but that people want more fulfilling resolutions than there may really be. Let us proceed carefully.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Thursday, December 09, 2004

[quoted via ~scottyd~ in this post]

"Rigidity arises from the attempt to achieve stability (security) through paralysis - if nothing changes, then everything will be all right. (Such rigidity is part of the popular caricature of the conservative, but how often do people of any stripe admit fundamental errors in their view of things?)

If you get out of step in a subculture you are often subtly made to feel if not crazy, then guilty, or stupid, or anything else that will pressure you back into the pack. And these feelings heighten if you assume that everyone else believes what they do for unimpeachable reasons, while your difficulties merely evidence your own weakness, recalcitrance, or bad manners.

Sometimes that may be the case, but often reflective people are out of step because they sense that something is not right. They may be confused themselves. but they should be listened to.
--from The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Daniel Taylor

Love can be more demanding. After all one can be compassionate towards someone, understand their feelings, "feel with" him, but just not care for him much. Applying the term LOVE may imply requiring yourself not only to understand him, but to actively, well, love him. Just make sure it's really HIM that you are loving, not an idealized abstraction.

If you interpret "compassion" in a manner like mercy, you might import a hierarchical view of feeling compassionate to those beneath you.
[via A Progressive Christian]

Reference re Same-Sex Marriage


IN THE MATTER OF Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26;

AND IN THE MATTER OF a Reference by the Governor in Council concerning the Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, as set out in Order in Council P.C. 2003-1055, dated July 16, 2003

Indexed as: Reference re Same-Sex Marriage

Neutral citation: 2004 SCC 79.

File No.: 29866.
2004: October 6, 7; 2004: December 9.

Present: McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron JJ.


Constitutional law -- Distribution of legislative powers -- Marriage -- Solemnization of marriage -- Federal proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes -- Proposed legislation providing that marriage for civil purposes lawful union of two persons to exclusion of all others -- Legislation providing also that nothing in Act affecting freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages not in accordance with their religious beliefs -- Whether proposed legislation intra vires Parliament -- Constitution Act, 1867, ss. 91(26), 92(12).

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Equality rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether proposed legislation consistent with guarantees of equality rights and freedom of religion -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 2(a), 15(1).

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether guarantee of freedom of religion protects religious officials from being compelled by state to perform same-sex marriage contrary to their religious beliefs -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 2(a).

Courts -- Supreme Court of Canada -- Reference jurisdiction -- Discretion not to answer reference questions -- Whether Court should decline to answer reference questions -- Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26, s. 53.

Pursuant to s. 53 of the Supreme Court Act, the Governor in Council referred the following questions to this Court:

1.Is the annexed Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?

2.If the answer to question 1 is yes, is section 1 of the proposal, which extends capacity to marry to persons of the same sex, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?

3. Does the freedom of religion guaranteed by paragraph 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect religious officials from being compelled to perform a marriage between two persons of the same sex that is contrary to their religious beliefs?

4.Is the opposite-sex requirement for marriage for civil purposes, as established by the common law and set out for Quebec in section 5 of the Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars and to what extent?

The operative sections of the proposed legislation read as follows:

1. Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.

2. Nothing in this Act affects the freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Held : Question 1 is answered in the affirmative with respect to s. 1 of the proposed legislation and in the negative with respect to s. 2. Questions 2 and 3 are both answered in the affirmative. The Court declined to answer Question 4.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sometimes groups reorganize foolishly, making both more weaker and inflexible.

The best reasons for groups to reorganize (including separating) are:

Strength (of the whole group)


Flexibility (of the whole group)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Too often, I think, humans are polar creatures. I don't mean we walk around on all fours in really cold climates. I mean we tend to think about the world just as though it's black and white, or some shade of gray. We like to think of things as being either this, or that, or somewhere on the road between those two points.

That would be fine in a one dimensional universe. However, sometimes it pays to realize that we don't live in a one dimensional universe. I think that's hard, but we should endeavor to do that--to imagine a multidimensional world.

[via a badchristian blog] is always tempting to just talk and simply overrun people with clever arguments and things which maybe aren’t quite true, or not quite remembered well. It is much harder to say ‘I don’t know’, or ‘I need to look into that’. It is much harder to take the time to do the research. It is much harder to argue in such a way as to uplift those who disagree with me, in a way that informs and gives them the benefit of the doubt, in a way that doesn’t use cheap tricks like straw-man arguments and the like. It is easier to just talk, but it is much more loving to care enough to argue well.
[via Just Two Guys]

The Message of Job:

Sometimes losing everything is how others find their way through.

When you view others as more than they are, they see you as less than you could be.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

"I'm thankful life isn't fair. Because if life was fair, there'd be justice, and that would mean I'd be dead. I know myself too well. I'm thankful I don't have what I wanted. I'm not handsome, and don't have a lot of money. It reduces my options. I'd probably fail every test that confronted me. Every breath is a gift from God. If you have food or clothes, you have what you need."

- Ole Anthony, publisher of The Door Magazine

[a poem I wrote today]


cutting lines over and over
thinly etched, deeply sliced
almost anorexic without fault

just marking rows from strife
made in order, to divide
like fences between neighbours

(for proper separation)

or wrinkles in perfection
measured and ruled across time
until the skin is breached

cracked instead of healed
so it appears at first
drawing life to the surface

frozen after into clots
with only arctic winds of change
and discontented winter.

Approaching Social Change and Tradition

Read Part 2 here.

[note: unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in Part 1 are from Warren Postlewaite's article Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash in Planet S]

Social change can be more stressful when engaged with tradition. It also pressures us to adjust. Yet, while social change and tradition are complex and ambivalent (at best), how it's approached is not. The usual tendency is to make things simpler and easier than they really are. This results in otherwise decent perspectives becoming mediocore and unhelpful.

To get a sense of this, let's consider two articles discussing issues of homosexuality. Both of them deal with social change and tradition from different perspectives.

Part One: The Pro Position

The first article we'll be examining is Warren Postlewaite's Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash. This article focuses on the struggle for gay rights against meddling from government and religion. It starts off by describing how homosexuality became more accepted and legalized by the Canadian government, with the newest wrinkle being gay marriage. Postlewaite states that "the case for gay marriage is simple: Equal treatment under the law." * So in time the courts will oblige and make marriage available to gays and lesbians. Yet, the article reminds us, all this social change doesn't come easy, and the fight still continues. "The case against [gay marriage] is led by the Church, or to be more fair and accurate perhaps, unrefined religious doctrine. What is a judiciary to do?" *

Too Negative? Too Easy?

With that introduction, the article then turns to the opposition to gay marriage, starting with how the "anti-gay avant-garde" argues against gay relations. Proof-texts from the Bible are crudely used as their "manifesto" to resist homosexuality and same-sex marriage. For example, take Leviticus 18:22, which condemns same-sex relations as an abomination. This type of negative press can fuel "some of the most hateful anti-gay speech and propaganda", which avoids the broader, gentler context of the issue.

To augment his concern, Postlewaite tries to demonstrate the absurdity of this particularly negative reference by comparing same-sex relations with discouraged cultural practices (like tattoos or eating pork). Since the latter are not prohibited now, why should the former be? Otherwise, shouldn't tattoos or eating pork be outlawed too? Yet by comparing two different categories, he undermines his point unnecessarily. (Try the previous argument using incest instead of same-sex relations, and see how it comes across.)

Although it is easy to see how being narrow and negative is counterproductive here, it is unclear how to manage negative or hostile elements of tradition effectively concerning this issue, since homosexuality was not understood the way it is now. The article does not indicate anything specifically. Moreover, there is no indication why a more positive response is required, other than it had not been that way beforehand and seems inadequate because of the struggle for gay rights. Either way, it definitely seems not as easy as it looks.

Change Good, Tradition Bad

After deeming "unrefined religion" * lacking, the article focuses on the relations between "traditional Christian precepts" and the "conservative legal culture". Postlewaite determines that the church hinders and discourages the state from initiating social change, because they are too similar. Therefore, the courts do not reappraise their "assumptions, prejudices, or practices". Over time though, change is inevitable and so tradition must lose out to reform.

How does that apply here? The article explains:
"Like the anti-divorce and anti-abortion lobbies before it, the current backlash against same-sex marriage has come about precisely because of the vast sea in change in public values, reflected in the latest [Canadian] Appellate courts' decisions. Thirty years ago, the Vatican wouldn't have bothered going on television to say that homosexuality was sinful. After all, who would have argued with that? All these rearguard actions reflect the increasing desperation of religious and social traditionalists in a modern, secular world spinning increasingly out of their control." *
So, just as tradition is depicted as universally bad because of a restrictive understanding of homosexuality, social change is deemed universally good because it reflects a relaxed attitude toward the issue. What the article doesn't make clear is how to integrate both groups with the complex and ambivalent reality of these circumstances. Traditionalists may see more mixed consequences with social change, especially looser configurations in relationships, yet the traditional solution could be insufficient anyways. However, while social change may be warranted, it may be more difficult than the courts (in this example) could resolve.

Optimistic and Simple

While Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains an optimistic expression of hope for gay rights, the way it construes and handles tradition sabotages this message to some degree. This is partly indicated by the flawed rebuttal of a negative Biblical reference, and using unflattering language only about tradition throughout the article. Moreover, the presumption that social change is the only response to the issue of gay rights and gay marriage is just as easy and simple as the tradition portrayed here. All in all, Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains enough significant problems to make it unsatisfying and unimpressive.

*emphasis mine

[End of Part One..."Turn Tape Over"...errr...stay tuned for Part Two]

Monday, November 29, 2004

experience - empathy = delusion

Loyalties can die hard...but so can betrayals.

Choose carefully.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


"The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"

~Henry Ward Beecher

Nice doesn’t mean accepting or agreeing with other peoples views. Nice means listening to their views without yelling your views louder.

[via Reflective Musings]

Most people believe science as a matter of course, but many of the same people don't believe in art at all.

[referred via Heart of Canada in this post]

[inspired by a recent post controversy at Jayson]

Manners are not morals.


Like vomit, something that can come up no matter how good the stuff you're feed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Since Christmas is coming...soon

From the product description:

Raheb's lifelong commitment to his people has kept him in the legendary birthplace of Christianity, even as it has become a flashpoint in the world's most volatile and hate-filled conflict. Yet, even as tanks thunder through Nativity Square, and even as he sees the lives of his friends, his flock, and his family disrupted and destroyed, Raheb also spies seeds of hope.

Santa Claustrophobic?

From the Publisher's Weekly review at

...deChant argues that in American culture, commercialism itself is a viable religion. In fact, he says, Christmas is "perhaps the best example of religiosity in our culture." What is most startling about deChant's fascinating book is his contention that postmodern American consumerism closely resembles premodern religious worldviews, in which the "everyday world of commerce and consumerism" was "saturated with religious myth and ritual."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, XII


The administration is becoming univisioned. That's great if you think Bush is taking us in the right direction, not so much if, like me, you think he isn't.

So what should democrats do? First of all stop talking about what they'll do in the next presidential election. There are enough centrist republicans in the congress to block a neo-conservative agenda from taking hold. Democrats should be partnering with folks like Arlen Specter and John McCain to make some attempt to block overly conservative supreme court justices, etc.

It's like dems have conceeded not just the election, but the next four years. In fact, it seems to me that the people who are talking about blocking a radical agenda are those centrist republican...{full post}

Post-Election Analysis, XI


Americans, like the citizens of any other nation, live in their own bubble. Their angle on the world is often unique and distinct from that of Canadians. We, like other societies have an advantage in that we can compare our perspective to the American one. Now that things like the Internet have bridged the gap, and Americans are now being introduced to alternative perspectives some are getting upset. They have suddenly realized that people in western democracies like Australia and Canada hate them. {full post}


The limit of loyalty or protest.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

[from The Revealer]

In 2002 and 2003, my friend Peter Manseau and I spent about a year traveling the United States, reporting a book called Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible, a sort of spiritual geography of the nation. When we published the book earlier this year, interviewers asked us time and again: What’s the common denominator of American faith? What is it that most of us share?

We lied every time. We offered up sincere but misleading tributes to freedom of speech as the American devotion. We avoided the answer that had made itself as plain as the two-lane roads we drove on: The greatest common denominator of American belief is anti-homosexuality. {full post}

Friday, November 19, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, X

Red, Blue and Purple?

[Thanks to Jordon Cooper for the link!]

The Way, The Truth...The Strife

**bookend lines: from I Just Wanna Know by Steve Taylor from On The Fritz

I just wanna stay angry at the evil

Jesus said:
Come unto me-----and I will give you------rest
The church said:
Come to me----and I'll give you---- a (painful)------test

Jesus said:
My yoke is easy----my burden-----light
Church said:
For your life-----you'll have to----fight

Jesus said:
I'll make you fishers of men
Church said:
We'll leave a hook in your mouth
And cause you pain------once again

...Jesus said:
I am the way----the truth-----the life
Church said:
WE are the way----the truth----the strife

Jesus said:
Casting all your cares on Him for he careth-----for you
Church said:

We care nothing----------for you

...Jesus said:
Vengeance is mine-------I will-----repay
Church said:
We'll make you-----pay

[from the poem Jesus Said at Church Abuse Poetry Therapy]

I just wanna be hungry for the true

{from the poem The Violin}

The violin------exquisitely------weeps
While----it's----tender beauty-----eloquently-----tenderly speaks

Singing----on lofty wings
With----peaceful strings

Speaking to-----a wounded soul
(The message----is--- passion)

Under----its' control


Thursday, November 18, 2004


Doing things at all costs


Settled ambivalence about open-endedness


Moving from outside with great liability and great promise

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, IX

The good news, said Steven Waldman, is that the true, hard-core, conservative "values vote" flock is not that large a percentage of the American population. The bad news is that there is no way for the Democrats to discuss the real, live, issues they face -- again, think abortion and marriage -- without being asked to compromise to appeal to the mushy moral middle.{full post}

Post-Election Analysis, VIII

In case right-wing Christians in the U.S. are bothered about people being absolutely annoyed at the election results:

Too often we assume that because we are on the right side of the absolute/relative moral divide that we are exempt from having to understand why the “blue state secularists” believe as they do. We don’t have to accept relativism as legitimate, but dismissing it as intellectually disreputable (as I regrettably tend to do) will not help us win hearts or change minds. Instead, we must make the necessary effort to dig deep and find the root of their relativism. Such a task won't be easy and will certainly require more than a dismissive, reductive analysis. Since all Red state absolutists don’t have the same reason for believing in moral absolutes, we shouldn't expect Blue state secularists to all share the same reasons for believing in moral relativism.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


when it isn't taking things for granted, where submission comes


when it isn't taking things for granted, where authority comes

Monday, November 15, 2004

Trust and Truth...

We need to stop relying on fear, manipulation and coercion to control people. We need to repent of our selfish ambition and our aim to use church as a vehicle to boost our status, prestige, or wealth. We need to align ourselves according to the simple principles of truth, justice, integrity, mercy, compassion, love, self-sacrifice and faith.

Sometime ago I listened to a Christian leader talk about how a certain day was a dark day in the history of our province. I didn't realize what he was talking about until he finally mentioned the ruling allowing for same sex marriage. I'm amazed at how upset people get over something like this, but are largely silent on disenfranchisement of aboriginal peoples, or the impact of divorce and single parent families on society. We like to get excited when the government has "abandoned God's word" but we are quiet about putting ourselves under the knife of some very simple, commonly understood principles....

How would we accomplish what we are called to accomplish if people keep jumping ship as soon as they encounter something they don't like? However it is very rare that people who refuse to change or submit hear this as long as they keep filling up the building and donating money. {full post}
Ironically I saw the above after I saw this from Liveprayer's Daily Devotional [November 15, 2004]:

The fact is, those who reject God's Word have always contended the Bible was
"hate speech" since it condemned them of their sins. They have tried to
intimidate people into being silent by calling those who dare to call their
sin what it is, judgmental, intolerant, unloving, and full of hate. Sadly,
their bullying tactics have worked. Rather than stand for the truth of
God's Word despite the lies of those who oppose it, most Christians choose
to simply remain silent. It reminds me of Saul of Tarsus who said nothing
as he stood by, holding the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen to
death for daring to speak the truth of God's Word.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

{full post}

Will world peace only come when everyone is lost without any resources?

Judgement Begins...

[quoted via]

Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are....

If when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil, we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. But if we are on the look-out for evil in others, our real motive is obviously to justify ourselves, for we are seeking to escape punishment for our own sins by passing judgement on others,...
--from Dietrich Bonhoeffer...The Cost of Discipleship


when hating your enemies isn't enough

Friday, November 12, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, VII

[via The Evangelical Outpost]

No doubt the Republican Party would prefer to treat white evangelical voters the way the Democrats treat Christians in the black community. Every four years the Democrats show up at their churches, quote a few scriptures and make a handful of empty promises. Then when they gain power they work to undermine the very values that these church goers hold dear. The Democrats are so convinced that the black community will not support the Republicans that they know they don’t have to take their concerns seriously. The Republicans, unfortunately, make the same assumption about the evangelical community.

Many evangelicals, however, are unwilling to be so easily dismissed. If our values are ignored by both the Democrats and the Republicans then we will either choose not to vote or cast our ballot based on other concerns. While we are united in opposition to abortion the same can’t be said for other issues, such as fighting poverty, tax policy, and universal health care. With such slim electoral margins, the Democrats don’t have to change their positions on “moral values.” All they need to do is wait for the Republicans to marginalize a large portion of their base.
{full post}

[via Blogin Idiot]

We forget that we are the same person no matter what we hold in our hands.

The Newest Entry to link to me is:

Reflective Musings

That adds to this list [also featured at the right]:

Been There...Still There
Bruce's World
The Invisible Sun
Jayson Besserer
Lake Neuron Bait Shop: of Door Magazine fame
...seeking serenity
Unedited Ravings
Worship Freehouse

[and grrrl meets world had it on the sidebar/blogroll...but now it's on her bloglines/rss reader.]

Do You?

Yesterday was Remembrance/Veteran's Day.

Do you remember the enemy (including terrorists) with the stigmas they bear? (Would it matter if it was us?)

Do you remember civilian casualties, intended or not?

Do you remember child soldiers without their innocence?

Do you remember soldiers who were drafted?

Post-Election Analysis, VI

Civil War, the next generation?

[a poem I wrote today]


Climbing up these mountains
Only to tumble down

into the valley
after the quest

Venturing out to see
And going through the motions

across the plain
away from here

Stopping to imagine
That there are oases soon

just mirages
just a dream
just unknown.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, V

[Thanks Wendy Cooper for the reference!]

I received yet another overwrought e-mail today from a distraught, Bush-hating individual, bemoaning how the American people have screwed up THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIME and how now we are going to invade the world and beat up gay people in the street. I understand the need to vent and maybe have a good stiff drink. I’m hoping that everyone has that out of their system now, so we can talk about what to do next.

First, let’s try some deep cleansing breaths. In with the good, out with the bad, in with the good, out with the bad…..

All-righty then – time for Christy’s Plan for America. Well, it’s not so much a plan as it is questions for discussion. The first thing we need to do is face forward and have a vision for this country that is more than just reacting against the Bush administration. It would help if everybody stopped talking about how stupid and brainwashed half the country is since they voted for warmongering and intolerance and slapping around poor children. Truth is, the Dems did a lousy job of presenting an alternative vision for our engagement with the world, and a lot of people (most of whom were NOT members of the religious right) voted for the guy who talked about the big picture....

Either we’re all just headed straight for hell or we need to find a way to have some civil conversation. If we don’t figure out how to build some bridges, people, it’s going to be a long four years. {full post}

If you're never offended, you're never challenged.

If you're always offended, you'll never learn.

In this post, I mentioned someone trying to do a novel this month for National Novel Writing Month. Here's a couple more:

Postage Required by John Carney


Bounty of Four by Eric aka "LostDog65", creator of The Writer's Outpost

[all three of The Door Magazine Chat Closet fame]

Never Again

Does war never completely end because there are always survivors?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Post-Election Analysis, IV

Yet liberals, trapped in a long-standing disdain for religion and tone-deaf to the spiritual needs that underlie the move to the Right, have been unable to engage these voters in a serious dialogue. Rightly angry at the way that some religious communities have been mired in authoritarianism, racism, sexism and homophobia, the liberal world has developed such a knee-jerk hostility to religion that it has both marginalized those many people on the Left who actually do have spiritual yearnings and simultaneously refused to acknowledge that many who move to the Right have legitimate complaints about the ethos of selfishness in American life.
--Rabbi Lerner in part of this post featured here

Post-Election Analysis, III

So who's to blame? Even asking the question makes clear why it's worth rethinking what makes this country tick.

It's true that a surge of voting from so-called Christian evangelical voters turned the tide in Ohio last week. And millions of Americans in exit-poll surveys said they identified with Bush's appeal to "values" — religious, patriotic, and otherwise.

But what seems indisputable is that more Americans, in an uncomfortable time, felt deeply insecure and vulnerable. That's very far from the picture of primitive, gun-toting, evolution-scorning backwoodsmen that excites condescension abroad.

The U.S. is divided, no doubt about it, but the divisions are not easily caricatured. Americans may be worried about the war in Iraq, but sizeable numbers remain convinced that battling "terrorism" there keeps the terrorists away from their shores.

What Good Cometh Out of Blue States?

[from Cheaper than Therapy]

Who has the highest divorce rates in the nation? The Bible Belt (Red States).

Commentators and RRers in the Red States continually remind the rest of us that they have the corner on Family Values, that the Northeast is out of touch with such values (I guess those gay people are not ruining everyone's marriages) and that the Northeast is a secular psuedo-Europe with no understanding of God and the things that matter. {full post}

What's Your Story?

Joi's doing a novel for National Novel Writing Month.

Monday, November 08, 2004

After Fallujah [inspired/response to this post]:

Blaming religion for war is like blaming democracy for some failure in the Republican Party.

---from Winnifred Gallager, in this interview

[a poem I wrote today]


drenched by grief
from an overcast sky of misery

bursting at the seams

lush green growth lifts
above the droughts of longing

doubt, insecurity, fear

maybe right now, maybe not
for every season passing through

like the wind

empty, restless
chasing everything of value with nothing again

and so--it goes!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Post-election Analysis, II

...some religious voters are struggling with the decision of whether they can vote at all, because picking a flawed candidate forces them to compromise on these -- for them -- life-and-death issues.

And what if the leaders of both the religious left and the religious right felt increasingly vulnerable? The rising profile of the gay-rights movement, and its strategic clout in blue-county elite culture, increases attacks on its views, as well as its power. Ditto for the leaders of the religious right, even though their numbers are apparently quite large -- especially in red-county America. What if the realization that you are a minority actually undercut your ability to compromise?

And what if you had few political options? Perhaps the religious left and the anti-religious left face the same dilemma as the religious right. Where do they go? What are their options in the voting booth, other than deciding to stay at home? How will Dr. James Dobson dance with the Terminator? Could Hollywood embrace an old-fashioned Democrat, one who was conservative on cultural issues and progressive on economics?


Post-election Analysis

I've been hearing and reading a lot about how "moral values" shaped the election. I'm not so certain that's true. Instead, I think a lot of the Red votes were a reaction by largely rural and white voters to the inevitable transformation of the nation to a polyglot of peoples and cultures. A subtext in the fear-based appeals of the Republicans is that America is changing from an Anglo-dominated society run by rich white men to one where women, minorities, liberals and "non-Christians" have increased clout. The fear of many Red voters isn't just about terrorism; it's about losing their thus-far privileged way of life.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Bush may heal nation with anointing

Hinn Supporters Nervous

With the victory his and the battle the Lord's, President Bush has a bold agenda ahead. This may include healing the nation, if his acceptance speech is to be believed.

Despite being a tall order, some believe it's possible.

"What Bush needs is a strong, fresh anointing like Benny Hinn's," one advisor said, on condition of anonymity. "The moral majority may have made President Bush into the major Christian celebrity, but some Americans still do not lift the garment of praise. An anointing would give him the power to restore the division in this country as well as get donations without raising taxes."

Some Hinn supporters are concerned, however.

"Although Pastor Benny welcomes others receiving from the Lord, sharing or even losing Benny's anointing may have bad consequences for the world," Jane Smith, a Hinn supporter, argues. "I mean, think of his crusades. Would they be as effective if he had to share or lose the anointing?"

Yet some are not convinced it could even happen.

"There is only one special anointing," Dan Smallwood, another Hinn fan, suggests. "I don't think President Bush could even aquire even a small touch, although having Benny Hinn in a high position may help." Some argued that the anointing only works in a church-like setting. "Unless President Bush makes the government into a church, I don't know if it would be possible, " another fan mentioned.

The Democrats -- particularly white, university-educated elites -- have still not learned that thinking you're smarter than everyone else is a poor substitute for not understanding the life experience of those who aren't like you.

And it is proof yet again that when you pit those who feel they are intellectually superior against those who believe they are morally superior, the moral ones will win because they will fight harder for their convictions.

Democrats may also learn a thing or two about hatred and division. On the hate front, when you truly despise and disrespect your political opponent, you will underestimate his skills, miss nuances, swing too hard and you will pay dearly.
--from Democrats failed on many fronts by John Gormley in today's Star Phoenix

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well, the American election is over! (Jon Stewart will still be busy!) Some people feel like this:

12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 16"I, Dubya, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
17And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

[adapted from Rev. 22:12,16-17, NKJV]
whereas others feel like this:
2bThe churches gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3And I saw one of the debates as if it had been mortally wounded, and the deadly debate was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the right. 4So they worshiped the churches who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the right, saying, "Who is like the right? Who is able to make war with him?"

[adapted from Rev. 13:2b-3, NKJV]

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Vote, Sinner! Vote!

I'm sure Christian Republicans will say, today:

14"Now therefore, fear the RIGHT, serve It in sincerity and in truth, and put away the groups which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the RIGHT! 15And if it seems evil to you to serve the RIGHT, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the groups which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the groups of the traitors, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the RIGHT." [adapted from Josh. 24:14-15, NKJV]

Monday, November 01, 2004

On Purpose...sorry...

Includes a new strip from Which Circle? and interviews with Winnifred Gallagher, Rick Ross and John Spalding

After The Empire

"Change of one sort or another is the essence of life... when we try to prevent the forward movement of life, we may succeed for a while... but inevitably there is an explosion..

"And so empires of ideas, as well as empires of wealth and power, come and go. To live well is to observe in today's apparent order the tiny anomalies that are the seeds of change, the harbingers of the order of tomorrow. This means living in a state of a certain insecurity, in anguish and loneliness, which, at its best, can push us towards the new. Too much security and the refusal to evolve, to embrace change, leds to a kind of death. Too much insecurity, however, can also mean death. To be human is to create sufficient order so that we can move on into insecurity and seeming disorder. In this way we discover the new." --- Jean Vanier
[noted here via the Weary Pilgrim]

noted by Tim Samoff:

Election Eve Prayers via willzhead

Sunday, October 31, 2004

'Unto thy seed I have given this land.' From the moment of God's covenant with Abraham in the Old Testament, the idea that a people are chosen by God has had a central role in shaping national identity. Chosen Peoples argues powerfully that sacred belief remains central to national identity, even in an increasingly secular, globalized modern world. In this important new study, Anthony D. Smith goes in search of the deep Judeo-Christian roots of the many manifestations of national identity. This rich and timely contribution to current debates about nationalism explains the complex historical reasons behind often violent modern conflicts around issues of land, culture, religion, and politics.

Public Service Announcement

[got this in an e-mail the other day.]

Dear Blogger,

I'm writing to you because I think we might feel the same about what is at stake in the election this coming Tuesday, and I was hoping you might spread the word about a new tool we have built that could make a real difference. allows anyone, anywhere to make quick encouraging phone calls to young, low-income and minority voters in swing states. Progressive, nonpartisan groups have registered over 2 million of these new voters this year. If they vote, it will make a major difference, and that's why there are so many suppression efforts aimed at them. I hope you can spread the word about VoterCall. We launched a few days ago and have grown to 14,000 volunteers and rising fast. The more volunteers we have the more phone calls we can make. Millions need to be made to get the turnout we need. I include a blurb below on VoterCall that you might post, and attach a logo.

VoterCall is a project of Res Publica, supported by the National Council of Churches, TrueMajority, Rock the Vote, and National Voice (The November 2 Campaign)

Many thanks for your time,
Ricken Patel
Res Publica

I’m mourning for something
And I don’t know what.
This wave of melancholy has with a brute force,
Like a wave crashing onto the shore.

I wish I knew what I’m mourning for.
Nothing dramatic has happened to me.
I should be happy.
My old friends are appearing again.

Why must this mourning be happening?
Is it the influx of memories from my past?
Is it the realization that I may be stuck here?
I only wish I knew the answer.

{from Mourning by Shawn Allison}

Saturday, October 30, 2004

[from Dyer Straits by Stephen LaRose in Planet S]

Does the world have an "American problem?"

That's the question noted journalist Gwynne Dyer is posing these days. He says no matter who wins the upcoming American presidential and congressional elections, the United States of America faces a long, slow slide into second-tier status.

"The United States has been the world's greatest economic and military power for the past 80 years," he said in a recent speech at the University of Regina. "We're in the earliest days of the time that they will lose it--but they will lose it."...

The United States has maintained its position of being the preeminent world power through its technological, military, and economic might. Combined with a relatively stable economic and political system, the U.S. dollar became the economic keystone of the world economy, much as the British pound was at the height of its empire, Dyer says.

But the dollar's worldwide economic cachet came from the American economy's stability-- something that looks to be a thing of the past, thanks in no small part to current economic policies in Washington.

Friday, October 29, 2004

What Must I Do With These People?

[referred via Holy Weblog]

Recently a Christian from Australia wrote to ask, "Why are American Christians so bloodthirsty? Why do they support the war in Iraq, no matter how many innocent people are made to suffer? We just don't understand why they're willing to kill other people so that they can feel more safe – it's so selfish!"

She's right, and she's wrong. She's right about the fact that many Christians in America will blindly support whichever war their president promotes, with the assumption that his much-advertised praying guarantees us that God approves of all those bombs and missiles, and even the inevitable collateral damage.

This "don't worry, be happy" stance of pro-war Christians can make those of us who suffer at the news of civilian deaths almost green with envy: How do they go blithely to church, pray and give an offering, then go eat some nice mashed potatoes and gravy at Cracker Barrel with nary a worry about the families being bombed or shot or crushed by their own military at that very moment?

But she's wrong in her assumption that all Christians in the U.S. find civilian deaths an acceptable price to (let someone else) pay for Mr. Bush's ultimate goals. Many, including those in the evangelical community, were raised to obey Jesus' teachings above any other, and suffer mightily whenever they learn that more innocent people have lost their lives to this terrorizing "war on terror."{the full post by Dr. Teresa Whitehurst}

[referred via the Weary Pilgrim]

Election Day in the United States (for all of you overseas readers), is only 5 days away and many Christians will be going to the polls to vote. Hopefully they will be critically looking at their faith and voting accordingly to their distinctly Christian convictions. While I have already voted during the early voting time period in my state, I have continued to take great interest in the election as it has taken on a very religious tone.

The religious tone of this campaign season has been well documented and I personally have had multiple mixed feelings about the religious rhetoric that spews from the candidates mouth (especially the President). But apparently this religious rhetoric is appeals to some folks in spite of the history of the candidates’ policies and actions in office.
{full post from Icthus, emphasis mine}

Bipolar Spirituality [from Bruce's World]:

Like Job many people suffering from depression are living on religious platitudes and are not able to face the reality of their suffering.{full post}

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Making things right is not the same as doing right things.

Being right may mean being unpopular, but being unpopular doesn't mean being right.

i was raised by a mother (the real bobbie) who would cry at super-market openings while that year's fair queen poorly sang the national anthem. she was the most patriotic person i knew. she taught me that war was good for the economy and got things moving again.

that folded into an eschatology that thirsted for war as a 'sign of the times' - wars and rumors of wars were sure indication we were just moments away from the rapture....

if you start to listen to gwb critcally you start to hear that he hints that american/democracy and freedom itself is the 'great white hope'. that american democracy is going to restore hope and freedom to the world. i'm sorry, but that is heresy. jesus is the only hope for freedom. gwb is trying to do what the disciples asked jesus to do, and he wanted no part of it.

---from this post by emerging sideways, emphasis mine

Humans find it quite difficult to live with one another even during the best of times. Some of us aren't emotionally wired for intimacy. Some of us have crippling flaws that make relationships difficult. In fact, some of history's greatest contributors have been relationship-challenged. As an adult, Isaac Newton shunned personal intimacy in all its forms, preferring his laboratory of the mind to living specimens. Henri Nouwen, who inspired many of us to move deeper into relationships with God and one another, had trouble himself developing intimacy with others. Relational disorders abound among creative people....

But we live in a culture that makes relationships harder while stimulating the hunger for relationships. The more globally the market economy structures itself, the more relentless the assault on all nonmarket social relations. [from Out of the Question...Into the Mystery by Leonard Sweet,quoted in this post via Jordon Cooper]

A friend of mine once told me,"From what I understand of celibacy, it's a lot like fasting (chastity is more like nutrition). Celibacy shouldn't be seen as deprivation, but appreciating the gift of another and focusing on God in the meantime. Therefore, marriage shouldn't be seen as an escape from celibacy and chastity. If people do, then they do more damage to the sacrament than single celibates. " --from this post at Deluded Wine

The Vote Needs You!

(c)Philip Leiter, 2004 [of The Door Magazine Chat Closet fame]

September 11, 2004

Dear Prayer Team Member,

Not since our BRAVE CHRISTIAN forefathers fight for (proper) religious freedom has there been a more important event than the election of our BORN AGAIN J President, George “W” (stands for Will-Of-God ) Bush.

Please consider purchasing your PRAY THE VOTE: Special Election 2004 kit. For only $49.95 you will receive the PRAY THE VOTE: Special Election 2004 embroidered cap, the PRAY THE VOTE: Special Election 2004 coffee mug, the PRAY THE VOTE: Special Election 2004 “official” stationary, complete with the “W” autograph (remember, W stands for Will-Of-God).

You will have the ASSURANCE of knowing that when your check clears central accounting, you will receive the following blessings:

1. A substantial reduction in your mortgage interest rate*
2. Preferred seating at your house of worship
3. Two free REMISSION OF SINS sessions led by our own Dr. Binkey LaRue.
4. A free copy of Dr. Laura’s latest book: God Hates Fags, and I Can Prove It.
5. A full year of CLEAN TOILETS , our PRESIDENTIAL PRAYER TEAM’S celebrated housekeeping program now in it’s fourth year of maintaining a Godly cleanliness.

Good Christian, should you fail to PRAY George W. Bush into the White House this November, much evil will be WROUGHT upon this great nation.

Should the SECULAR CANDIDATE prevail, all (proper) Christian thought will be IMMEDIATELY outlawed, BIBLE BELIEVING churches will be forced to pay a hefty worship tax, all PRAYER will be subject to approval by a board of Heinz Catsup trustees in an office located in - gasp- Boston, and underarm deodorant will be BANNED.

Prayer Partners, we simply cannot allow this to happen! Your tax deductible** payment is urgently needed to prevent these great CALAMITIES.

Simply complete the attached form, staple your W-2s where indicated, and return in the POSTAGE PAID envelope.

DON’T DELAY! Even as we prepare this appeal, the DARK ONE is working overtime to make sure the SECULAR CANDIDATE wins this November.


Karl Rove
(or a secretary with authorization to use this name and rubber stamp thingie)

*requires an additional donation to PRAYER TEAM of the equivalent of your first three months mortgage payment, successful enrolment in our PRAYER DOLLARS mortgage loan program, and a routine, three year, monthly financial commitment to PRAYER TEAM not less than 10% of your GROSS annual salary (combined).

**not actually tax deductible, but we’ll place your membership certificate on the bulletin board outside our cubicle in the IRS headquarters.