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