Friday, August 26, 2005


There is absolutely nothing defensible about what Pat Robertson said on Monday. His remarks deserve the kind of response they have gotten from Reverend Graylan Scott Haglar and Rep. Barbara Lee, who rightly said that "the call for murder from someone who claims to be a man of God is an insult to people of faith everywhere.”

I also think, however, that these kinds of public pile-ons, where everyone and his dog hastens to agree that so-and-so is a dog, have limited value. Yes, Robertson's remarks deserve to be--must be--condemned by every right-thinking person. But that's just the thing: because everyone agrees about that, condemning Robertson's remarks easily becomes a reassuring kind of confirmation that "I am a right-thinking person." And when that happens, when criticism becomes so unanimous and overweening that the offender stands alone with his sin, the ability to examine ourselves quickly weakens....
[via Mode for Caleb, HT: Jesus Politics]

Foolish Deeds Make Faith Cheap

[to the tune of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC]

If you cannot take out the dictators
But they get on your nerves
You wanna stop them but nobody cares
Who they'd ought to serve
Turn on the set, I'm there you bet
See me make the case
Just waitin' for the option hey
I want to make some space

Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)

You want nothing to get in your way
Even when she knows
She'd have the right to have a say
That's when the justice goes fella
For when I can, I'm just the man
That saves another life
Set the tone, get it blown
We'll always make some strife hey

Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)

When you see it straight and you want a break
But they won't get in line
They keep saying it's good for your sake
As if it's always fine
I just condemn, reject all them
It's just a wicked fight
We abuse, no time to lose
An awful sight hey

Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap) yeah
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)
(Foolish deeds and they've made faith cheap)

Punditry, protesting, explosions
(Make faith cheap)
Annoy, frustrate, make some noise
(Make faith cheap)

Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, made witnessing the thing to do
Make faith cheap
Foolish deeds, foolish deeds, foolish deeds,
Make faith cheap, ahhhh

[because Robertson, Rudolph, and Phelps- amongst others- are so...embarassing!]

Also posted at The Wittenburg Door's Chat Closet

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Now, I think it's fair for the Church to have positions on issues. I'm also cool with the Church having a diversity of opinions represented. What's not cool is dishonest rhetorical assasination. I'm pretty sure there's something about bearing false witness in the Bible, and I'm also pretty sure the Bible generally comes down against such behavior.

For a people who're so damn interested in faith influencing politcs, Christians tend to ignore the fact that their faith should influence their rhetoric, too. Funnily enough, it seems like people of faith often resort to dirty politics to get the job done--and then, they think the ends justify the means.

Fundamentally, that, to me, is the way faith should influence politics. It's not getting the WHOLE Church on board with a political perspective, it's not getting the government to come down on 'our' side of the issues. It's all about honesty. Faith should influence the very way we play the game of politics. Anything less...would be uncivilised.
[via a badchristian blog, emphasis mine]

[via Embracing the Mystery of All I Can Be]

Expectation is a form of premeditated disappointment.

Taking Root

As our insight penetrates deeper and deeper into recesses that were once dark to us we consciously or unconsciously demand more precise description of terms to denote phenomena that obtrude upon our senses but defy our understanding. Upon first appreciating a thing, be it light or sound, an abnormal sensation or an unusual conformation of the body, we give it a name. But we are mentally so endowed that we are not long content with the mere name of a thing. We must know where and how it begins and ends, and through what media it works. We must discover its attributes and, these made plain, we must enlarge and refine our definition and description. As the latter grow more exact there comes the perception that nothing that we sense is isolated or spontaneous. It is born of something and brings forth something. And, once our minds begin to deal with its causes and effects, then we can say that the things has entered our understanding. Then only can we affirm that its name is to us perhaps something more than a mouthful or words.

From "The Nature of Resistance to Tuberculosis" before the New York Academy of Medicine (February 15, 1917) and published in the American Review of Tuberculosis, April 1917.
Found in the book, Environment and Resistance in Tuberculosis, Krause, 1923.
[via Reflective Musings]

Robertson is beyond help, but many evangelicals are not. When Robertson talks about Chavez and his threat to the US, he talks much about the oil and how cutting off that oil to the US could hurt us badly. As SOF pointed out so very clearly the other day, that is an American issue, not a Christian issue. An issue of policy, not of faith. But, as SOF pointed out, Robertson cannot tell the difference. And that is the problem for the rest of conservative Christianity. If you can't tell the difference between the interests of the faith and the interests of America, then you need to do some thinking.
[via Streak's Blog, emphasis mine]

Pat, Are You In Sync?

The Judeo-Christian Scriptures are constantly warning us against syncretism, when aspects of one religion are assimilated into another thus changing the purity of the original faith. The Old Testament warned the Jews of not allowing the neighboring religions to blend with their following of Yahweh. A hallmark of Greek Hellenism was syncretism, and the Jews before and during Jesus’ time were constantly battling the urge to blend the political aspirations of Hellenism with Judaism. Jesus and his followers warned that syncretism is just another form of idolatry. Paul wrote, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

One of the biggest problems in American Christianity is syncretism....

But know this: It is not the pure religion of Jesus Christ speaking here—it is a syncretism of Christianity with American capitalism (because of the oil interests in Venezuela) and extreme right-wing politics (because of Chavez’ leftist agenda). This syncretism has taken Robertson “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition” so much that he is no longer following Jesus Christ—it is no longer Christianity.

What’s sad is that he does not even know it. What’s sadder is that many of his viewers don’t know it either.
[via VanguardChurch [the blog]]

Pat, Take Yourself Out

This story rolls on and on, which means that the place to go for all of the links is the Christianity Today blog. You have had people leap to make fun of the Rev. Pat (headline: “God Denies Links to Pat Robertson”). Hip evangelicals have been doing this for years (art from The Wittenburg Door). There have even been a few brave religious conservatives who have asked him which part of those 10 Commandments he fails to grasp.

In the MSM, Baltimore Sun reporter Arthur Hirsch has one of the best stories, focusing on a question of substance rather than straw-man destruction. It is the question that Barone and others were discussing back in 2000. What power does Pat Robertson have, anyway, other than serving as the punching bag that liberals love to prop up as the symbolic religious conservative day after day, week after week, world without end, amen? Has he become the lifestyle left’s best friend?

...It is, of course, impossible to make a wealthy religious broadcaster vanish from the airwaves since he can pay his own bills. The 700 Club also retains a niche audience. Would Pat Robertson have the guts to fire Pat Robertson? Right now, there are more people on the cultural right yearning for that outcome than there are on the left.
[via GetReligion, emphasis mine]

[via the old bill]

Kenneth Copeland Ministries has 10 Eating Out tips [including the helpful #3 eat a snack before your get to the restaurant - a couple of Age Defying pancakes might be just the thing], Maybe add number 11: If you are Latin American head of state and an american televangelist invites you out for dinner, graciously decline.

De-Militarized Zone?

Television and televangelism usually work through viewership. A show with few viewers won't stay on the air: On commercial television, no advertisers will buy space. In religious broadcasting, no donations will come in. But Robertson hasn't needed viewers for almost a decade. He has contractual obligations.

Many people have complained about the 700 Club to cable channel ABC Family, which airs it. But ABC Family has no choice. It is obligated under contract to air it. (The FCC may not be able to do anything, either)....

Robertson could go on his program and call for the assassination of Michael Eisner and ABC Family couldn't pull it. He could have zero viewers and ABC Family couldn't pull it. The ABC Family airtime has an estimated value of $46.8 million a year....

Robertson is willing to fight for these interests. He may call for the assassination of Chavez, but he'll brook no criticism of his business partners, even former Liberian president Charles Taylor. "How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'" Robertson said after Taylor was indicted for war crimes....

Robertson's financial holdings are relatively permanent and multinational. He is impervious to your criticism. He doesn't need you. He doesn't need your money. He doesn't need America.
---from Why You Can't Stop Pat Robertson by Ted Olsen

Saturday, August 20, 2005

[via It Seems to Me...]

The journey is difficult, immense, at times impossible, yet that will not deter some of us from attempting it. We cannot know all that has happened in the past, or the reason for all of these events, any more than we can with surety discern what lies ahead. We have joined the caravan, you might say, at a certain point; we will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or learn all that we hunger to know.
- Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey

Precepts and Pragmatics

[HT: meh.feh.blah]

Israel’s current process of disengagement from the Gaza Strip is not a failure of faith. It’s a public policy decided on by Israel’s government. The country’s leaders have come to the conclusion that Israel has no vital interests in that territory and that the task of defending the settlements and the roads leading to them are straining a seriously overtaxed army facing a Palestinian rebellion that probably cannot be brought to a peaceful resolution any time soon. It’s all the more telling that this conclusion has been reached by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the former general who spent most of his political career pushing for the establishment of as many settlements as possible.

Sharon is not a religious man, but religious Jews should in principle have no problem with taking practical considerations into account when making decisions of policy, even in a Jewish state. One only has to open a page of Talmud or a Jewish legal treatise to see how sages and rabbis have always balanced belief and precept against the practicalities of specific times, places, and concepts. Judaism is a legal religion, and the Jewish legal literature is in large part case law—rabbis addressing specific cases and problems rather than conducting rarefied philosophical discussions.

That’s why I can believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, and at the same time argue that that general principle does not lead inexorably to the conclusion that the current state of Israel must control and settle Jews in all parts of that land. God gave us the land but he also gave us minds and powers of judgment.
from Let My People Leave by Haim Watzman at Beliefnet]

Rebellion, Repression:

The comforting sides of self-righteousness

Thursday, August 18, 2005

How, Then, Shall We Live?

Families have always had differing opinions when it comes to politics and religion, but there is something rather sinister about the divisions that are occurring now. Families that used to argue about politics or religion at Thanksgiving and Christmas and then laugh about it and part company with hugs and jokes, now are determining not to speak to each other at all. Why?

My own theory (and it is only that) is that this president has been able to combine the hot button issues of politics and religion into one single entity....

In the civil rights movement, more than races were divided: so were families, both black and white. Martin Luther King, Jr. was questioning the political, social, and religious status quo; believing that "the hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood." Families were divided as some members saw that following Jesus meant going against "the way things have always been."

This really isn't a choice between Jesus and Paul. One person says, "I believe in following Jesus' New Testament teachings and example in peacemaking." Another says, "I believe in following Paul's New Testament teachings on obeying our leaders." Gentle education is the only answer. And unfortunately, it's the kind of education that may take years to have an effect. Until folks can see that Paul and Jesus don't disagree there will be division. When the fundamentalist branch of Christianity sees that we are not required to follow our leaders into sin, the healing will begin. When the progressive branch of Christianity sees that generations of enculturation cannot be undone in a few weeks or even a few years, the healing will begin. When forgiveness is the top priority, the healing will begin.
[via Outside the Camp]

Count on Fun!

From The Simpsons:

Prof. Frink, substitute teacher for the preschoolers, demonstrates a popcorn lawnmower toy.

Frink: So the compression and expansion of the longitudinal waves cause the erratic oscillation – you can see it there – of the neighboring particles.

[child raises hand]

Frink: Yes? What is it. What. What is it?

Child: Can I play with it?

Frink: No, you can’t play with it. You won’t enjoy it on as many levels as I do. [Happy noises] The colors, children! [More noises]
[via Guide to Mathematics and Mathematicians of The Simpsons, part of]

Pour Us?

[via Marla Swoffer]

Glass Half Empty, Half Full" a.k.a. "Cup Overflowing"

Materials: as many different sized drinking glasses as you have people (i.e. 4oz, 6oz, 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz) , water (or milk, but then you'll need cookies--and perhaps a mouse--to go with it), 1 large bowl

How To Play:

1. Think of something you wish were different but can't change.
2. Fill the glass halfway.
3. Now think of a worse situation and say "I wish it weren't______, but I'm thankful it's only_______ instead of _______.
4. Fill the glass to the rim.
5. Pour it into the next size larger glass and pass it to the next person.
6. (S)he pretends to be in that worse situation and thinks of something else to be grateful for.
7. (S)he fills it to the rim.
8. (S)he pours it into the next size larger glass and passes it to the next person.
9. Repeat steps 6-8 for everyone.
10. When the last person is done, the first person puts their empty glass into the large bowl and the last person pours their full glass into the empty glass, saying "This is my life poured out for you."
11. The first person says "My cup is overflowing."
12. (S)he uses his cup to scoop out the water and put some into each person's glass. Everyone drinks it down (if you're doing the milk and cookies version, eat them now). Group hug.

You can start a new round with the next person thinking of his/her own gripe.


First person: I wish it weren't hot, but I'm thankful it's only 80 degrees and not 110 degrees."

Next person: "It's 110 degrees, but I'm thankful I have A/C."

Next person: "It's 110 degrees and I don't have A/C, but I'm thankful I have running water."

Next person: "It's 110 degrees, I don't have A/C or running water, but I'm thankful I have water to drink."

Next person (last one): "It's 110 degrees, I don't have A/C, running water or anything to drink, but I'm thankful I'm alive." (No one is allowed to use the life card except the last person, and only if he/she has to because they can't think of anything else to be thankful)

In this way, the first person sees just how good they actually have it relative to many other people in worse predicaments...but that ultimately everyone can at least be grateful to be alive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Automatic Colors

The more I try to actively participate in my life, the more I feel like a bystander. I watch as someone else steals indiscriminate colors and furiously scribbles a chaotic display of disobedient lines.

Isn't there a rule that says you must stay within the bold black lines clearly designated as the boundaries?

Evidently not. Some mornings I am defiant. This is my book. These are my media. But my venturous pictures that I alone create and for which I draw my own borders become awkward, messy ... mediocre.

Isn't the wildflower supposedly deemed most beautiful? Its bloom is one that has survived a volatile environment to become something treasured, something precious.

But most mornings I desire a new page to color. I want a blank canvas in order to begin again ... yet my medium is still the same. Capricious.
The bold lines are in new places, but the pictures, too, appear the same.

My book is worn; I am running out of pages.

[via Midnight Musings]

The Pain of Death

When we compare the length of time it takes us to deal with death versus the length of time it takes someone in Thailand or Uganda, it is staggering to see how quickly they re-enter their lives. Why? It isn't because they love their children or parents less. It is because they didn't expect someone to stop sickness and death. We do, and suffer for it. We would do better to consider this a temporary stop on our way to heaven....

I had reason to rejoice. Yes, I hurt, but only living people hurt. Dead ones don't.
[via Tent Pegs]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

You own nothing... but your life creates value immediately.
--in a comment to this post at Thoughts of an American Centrist.

[Thanks to The Yellow Line for the link!]


Extravagant and useless gifts do make an impression - indelible ones if well personalized. The underlying theory for why that is the case makes perfect sense too.

While gift giving and courtship is gender-unequal, men may become more equal than women in relationships should male contraception turn popular. Where a woman is in a relationship only to have a child, a man can withhold that favor unless she is willing to invest more in return. Casual encounters would become easier with the man in control too. Risk would be replaced by sterility.

That is definitely empowerment for men as long as they buy into the idea of contraception psychologically and are willing to suffer the side-effects. For both sexes the shift in the balance of power would take getting used to and there could be new relationship issues that neither knows how to deal with.
[via Heartcrossings]

We’ve talked before about the complexities of tackling a massive problem like extreme global poverty. If you spend any time at all reading about or discussing this, you will inevitably run into the argument that a lot of international aid is ineffective because it goes to prop up the regimes of corrupt, awful leaders. And while it’s not quite that simple, there’s some truth there. The argument often continues to point out that liberal democracies tend not to suffer famine or to suggest that market reforms might lay the groundwork for positive economic growth. In a very simplistic sense, this is part of the argument behind the recommendations and requirements that the IMF lays out for the poorest of nations.

But here’s the thing…. It makes sense to point to a country like Zimbabwe and say that the impending food emergency can be traced in large part to Mugabe’s misguided land reform and his horrific policies aimed at the urban poor and rural citizenry. But Niger’s case is much different. In many ways, Niger seems to be doing a lot of things right. It is a fairly respectable democracy in a region where dictatorship and military coups are more the norm. It has begun to implement many of the free market reforms recommended by the IMF and the EU.

And yet millions of Niger’s citizens face a dire food emergency.

When I first started reading and writing about this, the storyline seemed pretty clear:
bad harvest + locusts + lack of international response = famine. But the articles I read today suggest that the story is much more complicated than that....

The food emergency in Niger doesn’t seem to be a proper reflection of Niger’s ability to produce food. I’ve read a number of accounts of bustling, well-stocked food markets throughout the country.

Ultimately, it’s possible that these market reforms will be the key to getting Niger out of its current cycle of extreme poverty. But if letting the free market drive pricing results in the death of hundreds of thousands to millions of people, is it worth it? Might there be other preconditions that need to be met before freeing prices?

Look, the dark side of capitalism is that there will always be economic losers. But there’s a huge difference between inevitable income inequity and inevitable mass starvation. I don’t want to pretend that there’s anything but an ugly answer to this question, but what is the threshhold where the loss outweighs the benefits of market liberalization?
[via From the Salmon, emphasis mine]

Those who shout make it impossible to listen.
[via blue girl]

...when somebody’s fired for what looks like no good reason, the real reason was personal or political.

In every organization, from the local Wal-mart up through General Motors and over to the United States Army and back down to the town police department and the Methodist Church and the corner drugstore, bosses fire workers for no other reason than they don’t like them.

The fired employees have offended them, scared them, or given them some reason to be viewed with distrust.

Given human nature, it’s often the boss who's really at fault and who also may not even understand her own reason for wanting a particular employee gone.

A female boss fires a female employee just because she’s younger and prettier but the stated reason will be that the employee was late to work too often. And maybe she was, but everyone else has been too.

The same female employee might lose her job because her male boss can’t look at her without getting an erection, but he fires her because she forgot to mail a package on time.

The same employee might never give offense, never inspire jealousy or lust in a childishly-minded boss, be a hard and competent worker, and lose her job for taking a personal call on the job but really because through her diligence and competence she made the boss fear for his or her job.

People get fired because their spouses offended the boss at a party.

They get fired because the boss just wants somebody else to have their job.

They get fired for being too old or too talkative or too loud or too quiet or too witty or too serious for the boss’s taste.

They get fired because they crossed a customer or a client whose business the bosses value far more than they value even the best employee’s good work.

They get fired because long ago they made an enemy who has been waiting and waiting for the chance to take revenge and who has finally landed in a position to take it.

They get fired because in one way or another they have become a threat to the organization or to the bosses.

In every case the “official” reason will be some infraction of company rules.
[via Lance Mannion, emphasis mine]

But how tough can love be before it ceases to be love at all?
---from What Fundamentalists Need For Their Salvation by Dennis James Duncan

This Land is My Land...

No "Absentee Landlord" here:

[via Fanatical Apathy]

To: The “Settlers”
From: God
Re: Eviction Notice

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that your tenancy of the following premises, to wit:

The property at The Gaza Strip, together with all buildings, sheds, closets, out-buildings, garages and other structures used in connection with said premises, will terminate on Monday, August 15, 2005, and you are now hereby required to surrender possession of said premises to the Palestinians on that day.

On a personal note, let me add that it pains me to file this notice. I really thought you were going to figure it out for yourselves, you know, “share and share alike,” “to each according to his need,” yadda yadda yadda.

But no. You had to get all snippy about it, even those of you who don’t even live there, fer cryin’ out loud. What’s up with that? All this mishigas over land that I promised “you” a few thousand years ago? You’d think a few dozen centuries of enslavement, diaspora, and whatnot would’ve clued you in that you’re going to have to work out your problems with other people without my help, that I’m not going to intervene and keep you on that land if you insist on behaving like a bunch of assholes. You’d think.

Yes, I’m an angry God. That at least shouldn’t be a shocker.

And by the way, let’s say you do settle all that land that I promised you? What then? I don’t remember saying anything like “…and then I’ll give you all free candy and the best seats for Mets games,” do you? Nope. It’s just land, after all. Nobody’s going to Heaven for occupying the right piece of real estate, even if you improve the property and put in a couple of pools and a senior center and whatnot.

Okay, okay, so I “gave” you the land. Did I say “and nobody else can use it?” Did I say “and don’t be giving any of it away to the locals if you’re not really living there?” Did I? It was a while ago and I don’t check my notes that often, but probably not.

Yes, yes, you’re still the Chosen People. But anyone have any idea why I Chose you? Anyone? Show of hands? No? Tellya what - why don’t you think about that one for a while instead of getting all your panties in a bunch over what school district you’re living in?

Let’s be reasonable. You needed land, I gave you some. You’ve got a good thing going right now. If the land you’re really living on gets too crowdy sometime in the future, come back and ask me for more. I’ll see what I can do, though it’s really a seller’s market out there. I’ll think of something. But no promises. Not anymore, because apparently those come back to bite me on the ass a couple of millennia later!

Okay? Your government told you, the majority of your people told you, the rest of the world told you, and now I’m telling you. I’ll even ‘kick it old-school,’ if it’ll make you feel better:

Go forth. I command thee.! Etc.! For there are some nice places up near Haifa right now, very Reasonable Prices, and lo! I have commanded you to go there and find thee a home. And behold! For I have seen the mortgage rates to be Reasonable in My eyes, and have provided that thou mayest have Decent Parking and Good Proximity to milk, honey, and other Perishables. Be fruitful and multiply, so that thou mayest have to at Some Point build a spare room or two above your Garage, which would be Pleasing to My eye, providing thou dost not opt for a Mock Tudor styling or something like that, for this is, after all, the Middle East, and who are we trying to Kid anyway? But I Digress. Go!

Yours sincerely and BFF,


Moving Onwards...

AS ROBERT KENNEDY SAID, as quoted by his brother in a funeral ORATION: Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.
[via The Heretik]

Of course, when two sides claim this, it doesn't win a war.

Monday, August 15, 2005


...when you give a song to someone, it's like giving a piece of yourself to that person and hoping they'll get it... what's terrible is that you didn't create the song so someone must have given it to you. But when you take hold of it, it becomes something to you and you put it into yourself in a way that's not like a book or a painting - it's like a small thread that's wrapped around a very central part of your brain - and when you give the song to someone, that thread is tugged from time to time, bringing your thoughts back to the song and to the person to whom you gave it.

If that person is still in your life, listening to the song is okay - but when the person leaves and you know they have it, it's painful. I know I've given important songs to people who still listen to them although they no longer listen to me. Knowing that they hear that song without me, somehow claiming it now as their own, makes me mad or sad or something - not sure what it makes me. But though the rhythms are the same, the words never change and the melody neither sharpens nor flattens over time - there's something twisted about giving a song away in that somehow, the person you give it to isn't hearing what you hear, else, they'd still be in your life.
[via Happenstance and Geography]


it's interesting how, when we most need to learn something, we come up against its very opposite....

what's the line that separates between protecting your own self and your interests and your peace of mind and comfort and right to rest and relaxation and your boundaries, with being generous and giving to the world at large and manifesting prosperity every time?
[via Life Happens]

"The thing about living within community is that you can fuck things up with people in less than half the time."
[via Been There...Still There]

Pressure feels bad when you think you're only full of pus.

Compatibility, friendship and responsibility take a longer period of time to develop [and it's] less likely that someone can fool you into believing that they are something they are not.
[via Renaissance Grrrl]

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The main difference between principles and grudges is anger.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sometimes the heart seems too big when the world seems so small.

Saskatoon and area blogger meetup

Date: Saturday, August 13
Time: 1pm - until we clear out
Place: Meewasin Park (off Spadina Cres., near Lenore Drive)
Bring: yourself, anyone else you want (friends/family), your own BBQ/picnic stuff, lawn chairs, games, etc.


Politics to the right of me, politics to the left of me: Both sides of gay politics have a vested interest in denying ambiguity....

The right has an interest in denying homosexuality could be innate, and maintaining it is always the result of a negative environment; the left has an interest in insisting it is always innate and never the result of environmental factors. Both have an interest in denying ambiguity...
[via The Grace Pages]

What I know all too well:

"Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

When "believers" talk to skeptics, they use images, tell stories, and give signs in an attempt to break through their culturally bound vision and lack of imaginative reach. But when the skeptics talk back, they flatfootedly translate those narratives into concepts, thereby misreading story as argument and hence focusing upon the seeming logical contradictions.

This is, perhaps, why skeptics attribute all kids of odd ideas and beliefs to religious souls that have absolutely nothing to do with what they actually think. It's as if the skeptics cannot grasp myth as anything other than false belief, and so they miss entirely the metaconceptual aspects of faith -- taking its figures literally and falsely projecting metaphysical notions upon what is essentially a poetic and deeply ironic worldview.
from Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries, and Other Christians in Disguise by Robert Inchausti, quoted at Emergent Voyageurs

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Most of us are only looking for perfection, not truth.

What does it profit someone to gain the whole truth, but lose your soul?

Monday, August 08, 2005

New and Clear

To be sure, the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still plays a part in the imagery of popular culture. But more meaningful references to Japan's nuclear past, like those in the story of Godzilla or the cartoonist Keiji Nakazawa's best-selling series about a Hiroshima survivor, have morphed into the cultural equivalent of elevator music.

Indeed, Japanese culture is unusual (although by no means unique) in its ability to take shocks or disturbances and gradually transform and neuter them. In that respect, today's atomic imagery in pop culture is not so different from the mohawked punks who apologize profusely if they bump into you in downtown Tokyo: the T-shirts they wear with antisocial slogans (in English) are an aesthetic statement, not a moral one.

For my generation, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the war in general now represent the equivalent of a cultural "game over" or "reset" button. Through a combination of conscious policy and unconscious culture, the painful memories and images of the war have lost their context, surfacing only as twisted echoes in our subculture. The result, for better and worse, is that, 60 years after Hiroshima, we dwell more on the future than the past.
[by Joi Ito]

[via Llama Drama]

The make-up is leaking softly,
Ravaging, sopping imperfection;
I count down the seconds,
Until my knees give way
To the blemished portion
Of my heart, an unhealthy
obsession, weeding
Into my everyday life
Through my patient,
Diluted sensibility.

[full poem]

[via the poetry of -xtessa-]

Leap of faith

i loathe
that i don't play.
the game is waiting for me
and i sit
by the sidelines
waiting for someone else
to play
and wonder
why i never win.

the Spotlight seeks me
i hide under the rafters
i am the unheralded champion
and paralyzed.

Everyone is waiting for me.

I dive. And surface alive

Saturday, August 06, 2005

[via Portrait of the Woman as a Young Artist]

Network news as counter-reality

First, a network news host with something to say, says nothing. And then, a reporter with nothing to say, says something. And in both cases fact and truth went missing. [read more]


[via The Way Seeker]

Good poetry
Makes a beautiful naked woman
Materialize from

Who then says,
With a sword precariously waving
In her hands,

"If you look at my loins
I will cut off your head,

[full poem here]

Friday, August 05, 2005

Flesh and/or Spirit

Some day I would like for Dobson and Mohler and the Pope to explain to me why they think the imago Dei must have a genetic structure rather than a spiritual one. Logically, that would mean that sin -- which corrupted the imago -- also had a genetic structure.

If eight cell blastocysts are fully human persons -- created in the image of God, but with a propensity to sin -- then why don't we have genetic engineers searching for the "original sin" gene. If they could find it and remove our rebellious nature, we could all be sinless and perfect.
[via Mainstream Baptist]

Blind Mechanisms

More and more, I think it's too bad that Intelligent Design was first proposed by Christian thinkers with a religious and cultural agenda (some of whose real sophistication as thinkers gets eclipsed in this emotional debate). If the idea had come from demonstrably unbiased scientists, who thought they saw evidence of a creative and responsive rather than blind mechanism at work in life's intricate variation and adaptation, then religious people could have welcomed the new theory without being suspected of having cooked it up to comport with their faith. And secular-minded people might have given it some real mind-time, and thought about how it might be tested, and appreciated its salutary challenge to evolutionary theory -- as Dean says, "If they're proven wrong, then doesn't that just strengthen Darwinism?" -- instead of dismissing it out of hand.
[via Ambivablog]

Just because you don't like the impact, doesn't mean it isn't there...
Others just can't get it. I don't know if they are stupid and stubborn but over time it makes it really hard to be in community with them.

Not Gonna Fall Away?

From this series of posts (Thanks The Eagle and Child for the reference!):

but in all my years of college, in all my years of being in a close friendship with her, i never became part of the world the church feared.
i was a part of her world, wrapped in love, acceptance, and loyalty.

"you can love her, but you can't be in her life" that's what the pastors said, that's what the people in the bible studies said.

during college i loved marie, unconditionally, i loved her because she was a beautiful person, who was my friend.
after i became a member of the salvation club, i loved the sinner, but hated the sin, and that just meant that i was not a good friend to her.
that simply meant, i backed away, and i became less and less christ like, the more and more i prayed, went to church, read the bible, and lead a bible study.
the less christ like i became.

and it was intoxicating, the attention, the questions of what i was telling her, how i was going to witness, and what a great story it would make. it was my drug, and i got my high every sunday.
i wanted to save her, i wanted the story, i wanted that notch in my belt.
i was a horrible friend to her.
[via And that has made all the difference]

Religious freedom is the first freedom, and religious bondage is the worst bondage.
[via Progressive Christians Uniting, noted by Jesus Politics]

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

About Senator John McCain:

In 2000, I donated money to his campaign online. It was the first time I'd donated money to a campaign since I was an idealistic college kid heaping high hopes on an idealistic candidate -- Jack Kemp. That was a waste of money, and so was my donation to McCain, who simply cannot garner respect from Republicans who want zealots, not people who publicly promote bi-partisanship.

And that's really the rub with McCain. He's the kind of independent politician people say they crave, but he can't get a platform because he does not represent the sole interest of either party. He can't even run as an independent, because even those group of people have their partisan interests. He's not conservative enough, not liberal enough, not green enough, not libertarian enough, not you name it. What is he? He's rational, forthright, and for the most part, honest. He can see the benefit of sponsoring legislation like the American with Disabilities Act, which at the time was GOP heresy (was supposed to cause the real estate market to crash and burn).
[via The Gad(d)about]

Not Playing

I think most of the liberal and progressive lobbying organizations know that he is not going to be defeated, but they see it as an opportunity to further chip away at Bush's credibility and political capital. If they play it right, this can be a way to mobilize the liberal base and to illustrate in stark terms for the passive centre-right (white) majority in the U.S. the ways in which the values and methods of the radical right extremists in the White House are out of step even with them and not just with progressives. In other words, they are playing not to win this particular battle but to win points that will play into Democratic Party victories in the mid-term elections in 2006.

This may, indeed, work as predicted. I think the record of the Democratic Party and the major liberal and progressive organizations in this regard are not particularly encouraging, but they might be able to pull it off.

But should they?

I would argue no.

I would argue that this is a golden opportunity to refuse to play the game.... I got an email from MoveOn the other day encouraging me to "Create The Slogan That Will Take Down Karl Rove," which made me feel faintly ill -- the Right isn't strong because it has cooler slogans, it is strong because it has very well organized movements (as well as great, greasy buckets of cash) behind it. A slogan or a slick media campaign may win a particular fight, but it is only with revitalized social movements that even quite moderate and liberal change will occur in any kind of sustained way, let alone the more radical changes that some of us might fantasize about.
[via A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land}

Worldviews are a lot like typing. If we have the wrong starting point, we'll end up with incoherence. The trick is getting people to stop typing long enough to look at the screen.
[via The Christian Mind]