Friday, January 27, 2006

Trust must be earned, but it also must be given....Where is that line between trust and codependence?
[via grrrl meets world]

Good Partisan, Bad Defense?

I absolutely chafe when I come into contact with a partisan, and I will not vote for someone of either party who actively ignore rational counter-arguments. This is also why many partisans despise the so-called wishy-washness of moderates as they view us as not having any principles to stand upon.

Partisans stand for principles which they have convinced themselves of being true. Moderates stand for principles based on pragmatism - the knowledge that there are more than two sides of an issue, and compromise is generally in the best interests of most than all-out total victory by D's and R's.

To broaden the scope, I also resist debating folks who believe they are sent by God to convince me with their superior (and God-given) intellect that I'm wrong and they are right.
I hold certain beliefs and certain opinions - some I hold to steadfastly, others I'm willing to reconsider. Yet, no matter where I stand on an issue, I do my best to respect another's opinion. I will not consider changing my mind if the other is not willing to do the same.

Our country, our Church, and our lives would be much healthier if folks laid everything out on the table and debated in an honest and respectful way.
[via Moral Contradictions, emphasis mine]

Not Optional...

When it comes to politics it is hard for people to rationally consider all the options. Bene has a post that documents what I’m talking about. Even those who might change their political allegiances from election to election have difficulty seeing past their bias....

Without a shred of critical thinking assume that anything negative said about this person comes from a media bias. Everything is viewed through a combative rather than rational lens.

Politicians like to use hot button issues to scare us in to their camp. I watched in disgust as Paul Martin attempted to label all those opposed to abortion uncanadian late in the campaign. The Liberals were desperate and wanted a wedge issue to divide the public and move the majority of the electorate to their side.

We become the big losers because we starting acting out of fear. It is our ignorance that forces politicians to play these games, to sway us with disingenuous inflammatory rhetoric. These games have been going on so long the two sides barely understand each other’s base.
[via The Heresy, emphasis mine]

Why Christians Vote for Vellacott?

The election hubbub is over and we have a new prime minister. His name is Stephen Harper. He's from Calgary and he's a Conservative. Word is he is also a Christian. That's a lot of 'c' words. Anyhow, there's been a lot of mud thrown at Mr. Harper over the years because he's a Conservative and because he's a conservative Christian. Politics is such a messy game. At the same time, there has been a lot of defending Mr. Harper by Christians. Why? Because he's one of us.

As Christians, we have a nasty habit of dividing the world into categories. One category contains 'us' and the other category is 'them'. Everyone who is not a Christian is not allowed amongst 'us'. They belong to 'them'. Oh, but whilst it appears to be simple, be confident that there is a whole lot of fighting about whether or not some is a true Christian and whether they're allowed to be in the 'us' group or if people would relegate them to the 'them' group. Crazy, ain't it? Who are the gatekeepers? I suppose each person plays that role for them. They likely surround themselves by people who support similar ideas so there is little conflict amongst 'us'. Or the small pocket of 'us', at least....

However, if you are going to do things (i.e., religion) for God, James lays out what matters to God - taking care of people. That's pretty simple but we need a lot of work to change our priorities. Jesus charged 'us', His people, to do that. We don't a shitty job of it, though. If you're going to vote for change, how about changing the current social structures that keep people in poverty? Christians get flack when it comes to politics because, I believe, they have screwed up priorities. And we become 'them' and the non-Christians become 'us' because they (this is becoming confusing again, isn't it?) worry that we'll do all sorts of things they disagree with because we believe we have moral superiority and the key to all knowledge and decisions. We aren't taken seriously and are ignored or belittled or disrespected because we do the same thing to everyone else who isn't in the 'us' category. Stop it. Now....

Christians need to stop trying to use politicians (and other methods) to force non-Christians to act more like Christians. Jesus' followers should focus on making more Christians act like Jesus. Makes sense, doesn't it?
[via The Hardcore Mind, emphasis mine]

Monday, January 23, 2006

Will He Relax Now?

TORONTO (SBP) -- According to party insiders, Conservative leader Stephen Harper will be undergoing physical therapy for his face immediately after the election on January 23, 2006. The normally stone-faced Harper has severly exhausted the 12 facial muscles it takes to create a zygomatic smile and will be requiring several weeks of rehabilitation once all the ballots are counted and he delivers his acceptance or consolation speech.

"The election campaign has been a real strain on Mr. Harper," said a Conservative media consultant, "When the campaign first started, we told him to smile and he said he would try but, no promises. We knew it was going to be a battle from the very beginning."

The severly atrophied smiling muscles in Harper's face have endured a relentless workout of at least 50-60 repetitions per day in front of media scrums, photo ops, and personal time in front of the mirror to perfect a natural looking smile. Such activity for novice smilers are not recommended under normal circumstances and should have required a doctor's supervision before the workouts proceeded. However, these were not normal circumstances.
[via Saskabush]

If The Simpsons Chose...

So, if the Simpsons and their neighbours and co-workers were voting in the riding of Springfield-Shelbyville this Monday, how would they cast their ballots?...

Green Party:
- Lisa Simpson (too young to vote, but she'd volunteer)

Christian Heritage Party:
- Ned Flanders

Marijuana Party:
- Otto

Homer Simpson - who once led a union and conducted same-sex marriage ceremonies, but also served in the naval reserve, ran several small businesses, and got really angry when taxes were increased to pay for the Bear Patrol - is likely still undecided.
[via Daimnation!, HT: Relapsed Catholic]

Minors not Minor

I have observed that there is a distinct schism in politics. On the one hand there is the political representative who wishes to extoll the virtues and values of the party. On the other hand is the political representative who seeks to maximize votes and support. It is the same with some people. Some people want a politician who represents a party. And some people try to manipulate the politician into someone who will represent their interests. A strange di-dichotomy.

Multiparty minority governments seem perfect to best reflect the various needs of society.
[via Herbinator]

You know you're a political junkie when...

After you vote, you have to put the "ballot in the box" (ahem!), if you know what I mean.

Carol from Worship Warrior has now linked to me (although she labelled it without the "This"). Will show grace to her and link back at right.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

[via that is not my blog]

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldie Lox who left her little postmodern condo to go for a walk in the forest of worldviews. Pretty soon, she came upon what looked like a shopping center, because, in fact, it used to be one, but had recently been converted into a mall to accomodate three evangelical Christian churches. As she looked around for a sign showing the hours of operation she tried one of the doors, and since it was unlocked she walked right in.

The place was huge, and the fact that it was pretty much deserted at this time of the morning made it look all the more so. She eventually wandered to the food court, but since she had already had her porridge that morning the first things she noticed were three books, laying open and face down, on three separate tables. Goldie Lox was an avid reader, so she immediately started reading the first book.

“This book makes too many absolute truth claims!” she exclaimed, since even one absolute truth claim was a bit too many for Goldie.

So she started reading the second book.

“This book makes similar absolute truth claims,” she said, “but it sounds like it was written by someone in marketing.”

She then turned to the third book.

"Ahhh, this book is just right!" she said happily, and read the whole thing, writing ample notes in the margins that didn’t necessarily relate to the text, and even ripping out a page to put in a collage she planned to make.{read more}

Framing the Debate

But the larger frame is purple politics.. getting beyond the ideologies of left and right. Ideological positions are inherently blind. We take a stance based on a fundamental assumption and divide the world into categories of black and white. Debate stops before it can really start. We condemn those who don't see the world or related issues in the same "Christian" frame as do we. This is the final closing of the mind, and it ends in oppression no better than any other fundamentalist agenda.

There is no "Christian" option in public politics. Even voting for a believing MLA isn't a solution, since they will follow the policies of their party, which are largely driven by the ideologies of right and left (CHP? see below...)...

There should be Christians voting across the political spectrum, and they should be voting for reasons that are have to do with the shape of the Gospel. But no party represents interests shaped purely by the Gospel... not even the Christian Heritage Party, which tends toward seeing in black and white and is essentially right wing.
[via Resonate Soapbox]

When You're Jaded...

Soon, I'll be participating in a federal election, and I don't want to. There are two major contenders in modern Canadian politics (and a "third choice"), and I don't want any of them in charge. So I'm voting Communist. No, not for some euphamistic title like "Socialism", or "Neo-Marxism"; this election season, I'm seeing red....

So there's a bit of a rebelious streak in me, I guess. But really, here's what I like the least about voting in Canada: I don't actually want to vote for an agenda, or a party platform, or a set of promises, or even an ideal -- I want to vote for a leader. But all I get are politicians.
[via age of insomnia]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

King and X

Martin King has been honored, commemorated and almost given 'sainthood' by Christians and the American government as a whole with the National Holiday to celebrate King's birth. And yet, what has there been done to do the same for Malcolm X? Other than Spike Lee's movie which help bring knowledge of Malcolm X to the general public...not a whole lot.

Cone's thesis is that we need to look to both Martin King and Malcolm X in order to seek a peace that will bring about freedom. He believes that both were working toward the same goal: freedom; it is just that both had different paths which they were following. Holding either one alone is not of a full enough vision of the pursuit of freedom - we need both King & Malcolm X. Both were striving toward freedom, and working for the respect, dignity and humanity of the black person. However, each was sensitive to their geographical area and because of that, had to response differently. Cone believes that while King's nonviolent approach related well to his Christian faith, it was also one of the only routes possible for King. If blacks had responded with violence in the south, the whites were only too ready for that, and it would have been a bloodbath. However, they were not prepared for, nor did they really understand how to handle King's nonviolent approach.

What Martin Luther did for the poor black Christians in the south, Malcolm X was doing for the ghetto blacks in the north, by affirming their blackness. Malcolm X arose out of the pits of the violence and drug culture of the black ghettos and was a "Daniel" to them - he spoke with a strong, powerful and courageous rhetoric and inspired the blacks of Harlem to walk with a dignity that they too were created with a humanity and to be willing to fight for that right to humanity. He believed that the worst crime that Americans committed against the blacks in the ghetto was to teach them to hate themselves. So, because of this, Malcolm found his power not in the nonviolent roots of the Christian faith, but rather in Islam and the power of affirming the blackness and African-ness of blacks in the north. King looked to being a good American while Malcolm X attempted to help blacks experience their true blackness and not forgot or try to cut ties to their heritage, history and past with Africa.
[via pomomusings, HT: Jesus Politics]

Gambling on the World?

From a time standpoint, one thing we’re sure of is that we each have a finite span of days to live; evidence is pretty clear on that point, right? Just as the facts are equally emphatic about that bit of days directly preceding us (parents, ancestors, world history and all that). At the point of death for all people so far, there is another stretch that follows them (children, descendents, more history and such). But depending on how you view things, there’s either a divergence or not at that point: the dead person goes on to some sort of post-life existence (good, bad or prolonged) while life on earth continues ... or life on earth is the only time line following death. Grim thoughts, I know, but bear with me.

Now when it comes to good stuff, most of us are reasonably confident it exists, right? But what it is and when you get it, that there’s some disagreement on. For those in the post-death extinction camp, it’s pretty clear that life is your only chance to take in good stuff. Hence hedonism, hence sucking the marrow out of life, and such views. Within such a view, it’s safe to say there’s equally strong consensus the good stuff gets doled out disproportionately in this life. Not much you can do about that, except try to share sometimes, and make sure you get enough for yourself....

I think both extreme world-renouncing and extreme world-embracing are out of balance. In their own way, both tend toward extreme selfishness. Cause who doesn’t want good stuff? We all do. Even us un-admitting masochists. So, depending on where we think it’s at and where it’s gotten (now or later, by grasping or virtue), we put all our energies toward getting it. And this is where sex comes in. Even if, supposedly, you should be in the world-renouncing camp, it’s hard not to notice all the power here.
[via Sexless in the City]

It's interesting, though, how we dichotomize as a way of establishing footing.
[via Bo of the Bales]

Named, Not Marked

Good naming is not only affirming--sometimes it hurts.

The shared naming I think is trickier. What defines a group is what is in common. Here's where I'm uncomfortable....

We need some naming within communities--in the quotation above it freed Caspian to reign and yet to regard his rule with caution. It empowered Old Testament patriarchs to go on difficult journeys and to make a people. There is a naming that induces creativity, that blesses, and there is a naming that controls, that produces what is called an "ascriptive culture" in my studies, that defines "us" and "them" very narrowly.
[via A Thin Silence]

Many Returns?

It is only during those tedious expanses of time following the thrill of commencement (the, um, other 98% of life) that everything goes awry.

Basic pattern:

1. Manic burst of enthusiasm
2. Brief but obsessive engagement with new idea, project, person, resolution--or blog, perhaps.
(To the exclusion of dishes, duties and other assorted drudgeries of daily life--tax papers in particular.)
3. Sudden and bewildering dissolution of all energy for new passion
4. Immediate abandonment of pursuit
5. Search for large rock to live under
6. Promise to remain under rock house-arrest until discovery of cure for such behavior
7. Reconsideration of above vow at first flicker of new flame of passion for something else
8. Repeat

Thankfully, once in a miraculous while, there is a pattern interrupt.

A cautious crawling out from under the stone and a slow and sobering re-engagement with the previously abandoned passion. Over time, a few baby steps toward those most elusive and magical states known as focus and balance.
[via Chameleon Chronicles]


We know that change does not take place by edicts on the wall - it takes place through conversations among people within their culture every day. And we know - if the conversations around us contain no reference to the change you desire - there is no change happening whatsoever. In such cases the culture remains the status quo.
[quoted via Unedited Ravings]

It occurs to me that if we live life well it becomes a well-written poem: meaning is visible within it. The details of an individual life--the myrid of ways in which that life is expressed--should serve to make the meaning held within it clearly evident to observers.
[via Quotidian Light]

Friday, January 13, 2006

Apparently it's "De-lurking Week". Feel free to comment here to get acquainted. Commenting is easier than posting. I should if I don't get to you quickly or, well, at all, hopefully I'll learn something in the process.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

At Morn

[via Becca's World]

Your state and place will never change
no matter where life leads.
That fact remains, it will stay the same
often cause my heart to bleed

There will be joy on the path somewhere
people tell me all the time
but without you, it seems all these things
are bells without a chime.

for though this sorrow lasts for a night
true joy is to be found at morn
and somewhere growth and peace and light
are given to those who mourn.

[the full poem]

There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.
More Random Chuck Norris Facts [via Jordon Cooper]

Hero Worship?

[via How to Save the World]

One thing that seems to differentiate US culture from that of any other affluent country is the cult status of its leaders -- especially political and business leaders. Unlike in Canada or Europe, disagreement or criticism of one's boss in the US is treated as sacrilege -- a career-limiting move. And while Canadian and European television programs and cartoonists savagely ridicule and caricature their political leaders, and Canadian and European media go out of their way to unnerve and challenge these leaders, their US counterparts seem to treat their 'leaders' with deference bordering on hero-worship....

Many studies have shown that leadership has little to do with organizational success -- successful leaders, for the most part, just happened to be in the right place at the right time with a good group of people already working 'for' them (and when they move on to their next overpaid position, usually fail dismally to live up to expectations). No matter -- with a high 7-figure annual income, they can retire after one serendipitous success and spare themselves and their adulators the embarrassment of their inability to repeat their divine performance....

No one is in control. What gets done (for better or worse) gets done as a result of the staggeringly complex interactions and personal decisions of everyone. Even in the most hierarchical organizations, far more energy is expended finding workarounds for incompetent management decisions and policies (without offending management, of course) than is spent implementing the odd intelligent insight that management, with all the resources at its disposal, 'manages' to come up with. Employees, and customers (who are often treated only slightly less paternalistically than employees), actually have almost all the good ideas that would be needed to make any organization much more successful, but it is taboo to listen to them, to even be accessible to them. That would make the leaders look weak, as if perhaps they don't have all the answers. And that, of course, is unthinkable.

Relax, Not Chick Tracts...

The Wittenburg Door, issue #203. This issue has an e-zine version. Check through the graphic to find the link (or just look at the sidebar here).

Featuring interviews of Chris Yambar and Steve Chalke.

Also...The 700 Club Emergency Script, Sam I Am is Dead: The Theological Underpinnings of Green Eggs and Ham, the Blame-O-Matic for theodicies, The DaVinci Quiz, and well...more.

Abandon yourself to The Last Word this time.

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."

--General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff
[via Reflections of Christ]

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just Enough Light...

"Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, "How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?" There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let's rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away."
Henri Nouwen
[via Randall Friesen, emphasis mine]

I went to a funeral on Saturday. This was part of the program:

Ode to Venus of Willendorf

Your rippling flesh, and
Your thick rich thighs

I recognize myself
In your faceless face
Your anonymous identitiy

You who portray women who were,
Women who will be

I am one of many just passing in between, but
By knowing you
I've come to realize, a little more of me.

--- Fara Madsen (March 10, 2002)

Jesus Gets...Relevant?

Ok. So, I’m the Son of God, right? You’d think I wouldn’t need human approval to get my spirits up… and you’d be right. I don’t need human approval at all. But, man, do I love it! So I sent the kindly folks at Relevant Magazine an earnest little email that may or may not have also been a shameless “hey, look at your old friend Jesus blogging now,” but I honestly love them and what they stand for… anyway, they gave Me a shout out on their podcast and I’ve been on cloud 9 all day… which is a big deal because I usually just hang out of cloud 11...

Below you can listen to the podcast segment where they name drop Me.

[via What Would Jesus Blog?]

Risk of Robertson?

It is a very good thing that Pat Robertson decided to become a TV evangelist instead of a medical doctor....

Some groups might even say that obesity and tobacco use are sinful. So let's give brother Pat some credit, Ariel Sharon may have in fact had a stroke as a result of some sin, but dividing the nation of Israel is not one of the sins on the above list. To support brother Pat, I would like to make a modest proposal. I believe the timing is right to campaign the American Stroke Association to review its list of risk factors to include dividing the land of Israel. So everyone out there should write a letter encouraging this new risk factor.
[via Random Thoughts]

Sorry for the lack of updates the last few days. Life is what happens when I make blog posts. At least now my blog can be seen well in Firefox!