Monday, October 23, 2006


Why Single Girls Love Jane Austen
[via Chronic Singleton]

Critical Engagement

Kuo’s current disillusionment stems from the realization that the GOP cynically manipulated Evangelicals and had little interest in advancing the issues he held dear. Now, however, in the face of this disappointment all he can advocate is that Evangelicals take a two year “fast” from politics. Hegemony or withdrawal are two theological options embraced at various times throughout church history. Yet neither of these options honors what I believe to be central public tasks of the Church. The hegemonic view entails forging a permanent political alliance that undercuts the Church’s loyalty to God while the withdrawal option violates the Christian commit to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Kuo has done the world a favor by exposing the cynicism of the Bush crowd. But he has not given Evangelicals any real guidance on how to enter public life in a way that truly incarnates Christian discipleship.
[via Faithful Democrats, HT: Jesus Politics]

Painful Ambiguity

Most Christian commentators seem highly irritated by the movie "Jesus Camp," calling it "hateful" and propagandist. And at least some secular reviewers have, via the movie, decided that brainwashing children is a common evangelical distinctive.

I found the movie, and its message, somewhere between those extremes.{continue}
[via Blue Christian~On a Red Background]

Friday, October 20, 2006

Harder To Reach

Sin is our trouble, not liberalism in government. To treat cancer by temporary measures is to endanger the victim still worse. David Kuo will probably be considered a neurotic pessimist by his cheery fellow-preachers, but he is right and they are wrong, even if he learned his lesson the hard way. Modern political machinations – whether by the right wing or the left wing of evangelicalism – are nothing more than fads that work up mere optimism and positive thinking. Whenever government tries to make men good without being righteous – something the devil would love more than anything in this fallen world – the professing church becomes cluttered with hosts of superficial saints who never sell out to Christ....[it] only makes them harder to reach with what they need most.
[via daveblackonline, HT: The Rambling Prophet]

Refreshing Transparency

The reason I like Kuo is that, first, he seems truly sincere, unlike Towey, the Bush Administration’s designated hit man. Kuo seems sincere in a truly refreshing, entirely transparent, way that is seldom seen in the age of 24 hour cable news. The man seems incapable of artifice, which I’m sure is why the “naive” charge has legs, but it is also why I’m thinking I like naive in this political season.

Of course George Bush sounds sincere when he says that we are winning the war in Iraq or any of the other inanities he is wont to say. But if Bush is sincere, he isn’t serious. Bush may have believed what he said about compassionate conservatism during the 2000 election, but if he were also serious about compassionate conservatism, he wouldn’t have had to ask “have we done compassion?” He would have already known.

It seems to me that Kuo is both sincere and serious about helping the poor and sick....

Kuo seems to wear his humility on his sleeve, and I like that.

There are lessons here for us on the embryonic Christian left. We need to speak truth to power, Republican or Democrat, instead of trying to accumulate power ourselves. Of course the Democrats currently represent our best hope for achieving our goals, but that may not always be so, and we risk losing our way if we forget that. We need to keep hold of not only the sincerity of our beliefs, but also our humility. And we need to be open to working with those, like Kuo, Danforth, Cizik and others, that don’t share all of our theological or political beliefs. This isn’t about being victorious on the political battlefield, but responding to Jesus’ call to “follow me”.
[via I am a Christian Too]


Abortion is generally not the problem in need of our attention. In most cases, abortion is one result of a number of related problems; abortion is wrapped up in intimate ways with attitudes about sex, living wages, access to good jobs, healthcare, childcare, education, and so on....

Girls from conservative homes like mine do not need lectures about the shame of sex, but about the beauties and dangers of sex, and ways to avoid the dangers. They must learn to love their bodies, draw appropriate boundaries, and know what precautions to take when they are ready for sex. Hatred of women and women's bodies in the Christian tradition are abortion issues.

Women from all walks of life must make a living wage so they can support children when they are ready to have them. If two-thirds of all women who seek abortions say they cannot afford a child, improving economic conditions by providing viable job opportunities for both men and women should greatly decrease the number of abortions. Raising the minimum wage is an abortion issue.

Women everywhere must have affordable health care for themselves and their children, so they can bring healthy children into the world and keep them healthy. Affordable universal healthcare is an abortion issue.....

To engage in productive dialogue about abortion, we must account for justice and equity; we must strive to make our country one where laws, practices, programs, and attitudes nurture women and allow them the opportunity to bring babies into the world when they can support them, provide them excellent healthcare, send them to college without putting themselves in massive debt, and promise them truthfully there are living-wage jobs waiting for them.

Come to think of it, if this isn't a genuinely pro-life position, I don't know what is.
[via AlterNet, HT: grrrl meets world]


School has barely started and already three shootings have occurred around the country. In Bailey, CO, an adult gunman entered a high school, barricaded himself in with several girls, and then proceeded to abuse and kill them before taking his own life. Less then a week later on the other side of the country, another adult male entered an Amish classroom, dismissed the boys, and tied up and killed several of the young girls. Both of these acts of violence specifically targeted young girls.

One thing noticeably lacking in all the discussion on school shootings is an analysis on why these shootings targeted women specifically....

Until we view both women and men as intrinsically worthy and able, our culture will continue to foster a view of women as objects of pleasure and men as sexual animals. The Christian community is in no way isolated from this erroneous conceptualization of women. Books like Captivating are so destructive for exactly this reason—they teach young girls that their beauty is what is ravishing, and not any other aspect of the self. As Christians, we need to heal the broken relationship between women and men by redeeming the personhood of each.
[via The CBE Scroll]

Impossible Recipe?

Statistically, Christians have the highest divorce rates in the United States. We are at 27 percent according to George Barna. This is a statistic accounts even for people who live together unmarried outside Christianity. We have higher divorce rates than all other religions, including atheists, with the next highest stat being 24%.

Most Christian leaders blame people within the Christian Body for this embarrassing gap. Well, there is a saying, "The proof is in the pudding." Our pudding is burnt. Atheists have better pudding. It's time to take a second look at our recipe and stop trying to blame the poor people who are trying to eat the pudding.

In recent decades, there has been a proliferation of "family ministries." These ministries have exact teachings for everything from family roles to how to put on your socks in the morning. Churches have become bent on forming cookie cutter families that fit the mold. There are multitudes of heavy teachings on "Biblical order," and submission, and blood covenant, and duty, and death to self, and being the perfect wife and husband . . . etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The church has become very legalistic concerning roles in marriage, and divorce issues. The attempt to control families and keep marriages together by legalism is cultish and is backfiring terribly. This is the reason that we have the highest divorce rate....

Sadly, as divorce rates continue to rise, the church gets more condemning. The language of legalism intensifies. Perhaps, we just need to realize that we have concocted an impossible recipe for marriage. Perhaps, the weight of our doctrines is causing the increase of Christian divorces. The Bible says we should need no humans to teach us because of the powerful presence of God within each of us. Jesus said to consider no human your teacher except the Teacher Himself....

By leveling heavy marriage doctrines, the church has robbed many people of the life, uniqueness, creativity, joy, abundance, fulfillment, and love that marriage was intended to bring.
[via the articles at God's Word To Women]

Have Identity, Will Fit

So I was peeing at a local Covenant church last night, and right at eye level, taped to the inside door of the stall, was an advertisement for "Motherhood Rocks" conference, sponsored by a Christian stay-at-home mom organization. I finished my pee wondering, "Does motherhood rock?" and concluded that it doesn't, really....

A person could more strongly identify with gender identity, or religious identity, and de-center the place of sexual desire in identity. Sexual desire gets worked out, then, in the context of some other more foundational identity.

This all has me thinking about my own identity options and how I balance them. Though I love being a parent, I don't like the social role of 'mom.'....

I resonate with my womanhood (though that's been a process, too), but wifedom and motherhood ... I'd rather just be a spouse and a parent. As a woman, I want to be a wife and mother on my own terms, and American evangelicalism is just so damned judgmental about how women are supposed do those things. My profession may be atheistic, relativistic, and humanistic, but at least it gives me space to express my gifts and bless the world. I've found my footing as a Christian anthropologist, but as a Christian mom...I'm just beginning.
[via The Paris Project]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Don't Let Jesus Deal With All That Crap!


I Don't Need Your Blessings!

Monday, October 09, 2006

[via Muslim WakeUp!]

Don't count the earth - there are plates
under there that do the moving
and insanity caused by gravity
sends her spinning, my earth.

Neither is it God. God watches
with big uncountable eyes
and nudges the occasional avalanche
into view, but mostly loves it
and leaves it alone, my earth,
my over-awe. And so I clamber

up mystification and towering loss
to see if there's a better view
of the wheels, the levers, the infinitesimal
feet causing dust to rise, if there's a place
to stop and ablute my eyes
of love. What is it that moves?

{the full poem by Kyla Pasha}

The Power of Foley

While many have written of the smell of new revolution in the air. The Foley-Hastert scandal shows an older revolution eating its children - that is, the "Gingrich revolution".

What makes the scandal powerful is that it is really three scandals - the first is the sex predator scandal of Foley and pages, the second is the cover up scandal which includes Hastert and the FBI, the third is also a sex and cover up scandal, but it is the one which is the glue that holds the entire roving meltdown together. It about Gay Republicans. Specifically Gay Republicans. That's Gay Republicans....

The three scandals do a delicate dance, and each one keeps the others alive, each one strengthens the others, and each one is one that embarasses some people, while it arouses others into fury. If the scandal were any one of the the three, it would have been rushed off the pages, pun intended, ages ago. Imagine if Foley had simply resigned last year when confronted with evidence of wrong doing. On the other hand, replace female with male pages, and this becomes a non-scandal, because the Republican masses, rather than exploding with rage, would be swelling up with pride. "Sure, our boy gets it. See Republicanism is better than Viagra."....

The third leg spews up from the dark subterranean realities of the right wing, and it is the driving force both for the voracious appetite for revelation, and the relentless response. This leg goes to the sexual politics of the reactionary movement, the sexual politics of the intelligentsia, and how they play out in the world of public politics.
[via TPMCafe's Coffeehouse, HT: Jesus Politics]

Evasive Therapy

When last I checked, the death rate was holding steady at 100%. So no matter how many miracles you name and claim, at some point your prayers for healing will be answered with a no....

But heaven should never be used to talk people out of their grief.{the full post}
[via Real Live Preacher]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Friendly Failures?

Some may wish to reflect on a friendship gone bad; others may have ideas of how to heal cracking relationships; others may have other ideas about why it is that friendships are sometimes broken or why they fade into a distant memory. Epstein’s chapter led me to a reverie of former friends no longer in my life. You feel this at times?

Most of us had close friends in high school or college and, for any number of reasons, are simply no longer a part of our life. Perhaps a Christmas card, or an occasional e-mail, but what nurtured and sustained us at one time in our life — a true friendship — is no longer that kind of friendship.....

I had returned a world I left — and it evoked both pain of relationships now gone and joy for relationships once enjoyed. I could go on. Point made. Many of us know what is like to return to a former social world. These friendships were not broken; they simply faded. Seeing someone from that world opens that world back up to us …

Others, of course, crack … for a variety of reasons — time, pushiness with one another, personal changes, time needed for children or others, marriage or divorce, politics, inappropriate things said, pride, misunderstandings, etc..

We’re taught to be reconciled with one another at all times. That’s a great idea, to ape the words of CS Lewis, until you find yourself at serious odds with a friend.
[via Jesus Creed]

This Thanksgiving I wish you life. In your depths, in your love, in your wish to remove yourself from the pain of this moment of living, in your hopes. I wish you life. It will come.
[via be-musings, HT: Scott Williams]

Let The Day Begin!

Let the Day Begin by The Call

Here's to the babies in a brand new world
Here's to the beauty of the stars
Here's to the travellers on the open road
Here's to the dreamers in the bars

Here's to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here's to the workers in the fields
Here's to the preachers of the sacred words
Here's to the drivers at the wheel

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin

Here's to the winners of the human race
Here's to the losers in the game
Here's to the soldiers of the bitter war
Here's to the wall that bears their names

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Here's to the doctors and their healing work
Here's to the loved ones in their care
Here's to the strangers on the streets tonight
Here's to the lonely everywhere

Here's to the wisdom from the mouths of babes
Here's to the lions in the cage
Here's to the struggles of the silent war
Here's to the closing of the age.

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start ...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

[via indexed, HT: Random Thoughts]

Friday, October 06, 2006

How Equal is Right?

From the article The Marginalization of Evangelical Feminism by Sally K. Gallagher:

Ninety percent of American evangelicals believe in the ideal of husbands' headship; which for most involves being the spiritual leader in the household and having final authority in making decisions (80 and 53 percent respectively). At the same time, 87 percent believe that marriage should be a partnership of equals--an attitude that is shared by mainline and theologically liberal Protestants as well. This blending of ideals of mutuality and hierarchy within marriage is characteristic of the majority of ordinary evangelicals. Only five to ten percent are consistently egalitarian or consistently hierarchical "complementarians" in how they describe their work and family lives. The large majority emphasize partnership in decision making, and the idea that husbands' headship be demonstrated in service, listening, involved parenting and loving companionship (Gallagher 2003)....

Given the influence of second wave feminism on gender norms within American culture, and given the availability of a discourse of mutuality and partnership within evangelical subculture, and given the pragmatic egalitarianism of most ordinary evangelicals, the question remains: why have the ideals advocated by evangelical feminists thus far failed to transform the culture of husbands' headship among American evangelicals?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Curses and Supplications

Cursed are the rich in ego,
For theirs is the empire of hell.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are those who deny,
For they shall be rejected.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are the dominant,
For they shall lose privilege.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are those who clutch and fight for survival,
For it is never enough.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are the merciless,
For they shall receive no love.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are the hypocrites,
For they shall see themselves.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are the warmongers,
For they shall be called defenders of faith.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Cursed are those who are exalted for survival's sake,
For theirs is the empire of hell.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy.

Thirty-three Years Ago

The last time the first day of Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah coincided was thirty three years ago; that was the year of the “war to end all wars” according to Anwar el Sadat which started on Yum Kippur or the tenth of Ramadan. I celebrated the first day of Ramadan this year at the house of Jewish friends joining them for their Rosh Hashanah dinner to break my fast. On the way back from dinner I was reflecting on an Al Jazeera TV news program that I saw a while back which showed images of Sadat’s first moments visiting Israel and then the famous pictures of Sadat, Begin and Carter and their big hand shake. The Jazeera program focused on the failure of the normalization between Egypt and Israel and had two guests, the former Israeli ambassador to Cairo and an Egyptian writer. The anchorwoman did not hide her delight at the failure of normalization; the Israeli guest did not seem to have much coherent to say and was not allowed to say much anyhow. The Egyptian guest was full of solidarity with the Palestinians and rejection of the peace process, full of slogans from the Nasser era about Egyptians never forgetting their Arabism. There was really no debate, an Israeli complaining about the Egyptian Government failure to push normalization and an Egyptian complaining about the Egyptian Government for pushing normalization....

Thirty three years ago fasting Muslims and fasting Jews fought one another on a massive scale in the desert of Sinai and on the Golan Heights, for the sake of the memory of the thousands who lost their lives in that war and all the other Arab Israeli wars let’s overcome the hatred and work towards reconciliation; neither side has the option of prevailing by force. Only through dialogue, building trust and understanding the conflicting narratives will there ever be justice and peace in the Middle East.
[via Muslim WakeUp MWU!]

Don't die to prove you're right; Live to prove you're better than that.