Monday, December 31, 2007

Balance, Gratitude and Truthfulness

[via Charming, But Single in this post]

Not to overdo this resolution thing or to put too fine a point on it, but I have narrowed my broad desires for self improvement in 2008 into three main goals. And not to become the Single Female Blogger version of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” they are:

1. I resolve to pause before buying (or consuming) anything (yes, fatty foods included) and ask myself, “Am I buying this to fill some imaginary void in my life or satisfy some fleeting emotion?” If so, I will put it down.
2. I resolve to show gratitude for the kindness showered upon me each day by friends, colleagues, family members, adversaries (real or imagined) and strangers on the street.
3. I resolve to stop hiding behind humor, sarcasm, cynicism and electronic devices and to introduce myself to two new people each month.

...Hundreds of actions correspond with each of these goals and I know I will not succeed 100 percent of the time. But I will no longer let fear of failure and imperfection cause me to consciously (or subconsciously) ruin positive things in my life. As I told a friend who is making major life changes when we were talking the other day, “Sometimes it is easier to mess up the good things than to forgive yourself for your flaws and accept that you are deserving of contentment and happiness.”

Monday, December 24, 2007

Reduce Guilt, Reduce the Excess

Guilt is the biggest source of overspending.
[via Fabulously Broke in the City]

On the Grand Scale

Christmas is almost upon us, with all the expectations that brings. (Actually, in my book, Christmas Eve is Christmas too.) Those expectations can be good—spending time with family, celebrating a pivotal moment in Christian history, showing people that we love them, and giving.

Giving in its uncoerced form is certainly a virtue. At Christmas, however, certain expectations build up about giving and spending...

So if, as you look around this Christmas (or other holiday you celebrate) you find yourself thinking “I probably could have bought more or better,” remind yourself that your decision has made life better (or at least not worse) for those around you.

Your kids will be much happier on the grand scale if your family doesn’t have to worry about grocery shopping or living comfortably throughout the year compared to any disappointment they may feel in not receiving expensive gifts.
[via Mrs. Micah: Finance for a Freelance Life]

Bringing Home

There are many reasons for grieving, not all of them related to physical death. Some grieve the death of hopes and plans, as the years of singleness, childlessness, or chronic illness accumulate. Others grieve the families they once had, now divided by divorce. Still others miss the ease of family celebrations before this new, blended family arrangement hit them.

Christmas often staggers under the weight of human emotion and expectation — just as it has from the very start.

From a human perspective, the first "Christmas," so to speak, was simultaneously crowded and lonely. Dispirited Jews shuffled around the region, required to be part of a new, universal Roman census for possibly the first time. (Previously Palestine had been excluded from the Roman census because Jews were exempt from serving in the Roman army.) Among those sojourners was a young couple with a whiff of scandal about them. {more...}
[via Boundless, HT: Solo Femininity]

Man protests commercialized Christmas by crucifying Santa - literally
[via N.Y. Daily News]
Protesters picket 'Living Negativity Scene'
[via Wittenburg Blog]

Participation in Wonder and Love

The local ballet company of my small hometown puts on a very good staging of the Nutcracker Ballet, to which I take the kids every year. (My favorite character is Mother Ginger, portrayed as a vain French courtier with her many children dashing in and out of her voluminous skirts.) But what really caught my attention this year, in light of all I’ve been thinking about relating to gender issues, was the love story between Clara and the prince. It is based not only on archetypal longings, but on a mutuality of help and of respect. Not only did the valiant Nutcracker Prince win the battle with the mice, but Clara’s courageous act was integral to his success.

A secular story, yes, and one perhaps more of infatuation than depth, in which dreams are based upon earthly beauty and the wondrous pleasures of life. But the hopes and longings of men and women, young and old, go much deeper than mere pleasure, and wonder is not merely for the young. If people love one another truly and continue to grow in love, with all the courage, valour, and tenderness required, then there is never an end to wonder. What happens between Clara and the Nutcracker is archetypal indeed.
[via Intellectuelle]

Yes, Virginia, there is a St. Nicholas
[via GetReligion]

Two Kingdoms, One Dilemma

Mike Huckabee gave two sermons today at John Hagee's (mega) Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

They were basically Christmas sermons, and by all accounts, fairly apolitical.

But it's a bit strange. {continue...}
[via The Thinklings]

Beauty In The Story

There IS beauty to this story. Not a stained-glass beauty, but a stained-soul beauty, still, a beauty nonetheless.

The Virgin Birth is about an unwed pregnant teenager. And her fiancĂ© KNOWS that the baby isn’t his. There’s nothing sexy or spiritual about this. This is a capital crime. Mary could be put to death for this. And it wouldn’t be a sanitary needle in the backroom of a jail. This death would involve rocks, lots and lots of rocks.

Joseph could have led the charge, rock in hand. That would have been his right as the injured party. Or he could have grabbed the first bus out of town. “Why should I be saddled with someone else’s kid?” A perfectly legitimate question.

But instead of exacting revenge on this helpless young woman by crushing her under the full weight of the law, he was going to cut off the engagement quietly so Mary wouldn’t be punished. At least not by any legal means; she still had to deal with the baby. But then the angel in a dream tells Joseph that the baby is God’s child, so Joseph just shrugs his shoulders and marries the girl.

That’s the story of the Virgin Birth. Bare bones: a scared young woman, an angry, but compassionate man. It’s so earthbound it bleeds. To my ears, it makes the high minded theologizing sound silly.
[via The Word Proclaimed, HT: Kevin G Powell]

Pleasure in the Giving

For a glimpse into the psychology of giving, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University recently studied gift giving by pet owners, finding that it stemmed from a desire to make pets happy and offer gifts that would improve a pet’s comfort and care. The research, to be published next year, may seem frivolous, but it also gives insight into the self-serving nature of giving, since pets can’t reciprocate, the researchers note.

“When you’re giving to another person, you have this pressure of reciprocity, but it’s not there with a pet,” said Tracy Ryan, an associate professor of advertising research at Virginia Commonwealth. “It shows that a lot of the pleasure is in the giving, knowing you’ve taken care of someone.” {full post}
[via The Situationist]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

No Crystal Teddy Bears

George Bailey's Maoism also illustrates why the politics of envy is anti-family. What kind of father keeps his children in a drafty, dilapidated old house just because he's too morally smug to accept Potter's perfectly reasonable offer of a higher salary? A bad father. The kind who poses a danger not only to his own children, but also a grave public danger to all the world’s children.

And if all of that is true for George Bailey, it goes double for Ebenezer Scrooge. So no crystal teddy bears for Jimmy Stewart or Michael Caine. {the rest}
[via slactivist]

What's Wrong with Christmas Consumerism
[via Kruse Kronicle]


True story: a guy here in a Texas suburb wants to teach his children something about poverty in America, and about their own blessedness. He somehow finds a needy family at Christmastime, and decides that he and his children are going to shower them with gifts. The guy gets his friends and their children involved. They descend upon the house trailer of an impoverished family, bearing gifts. All 30 -- 30! -- of the beneficent visitors pile into the trailer to watch the scraggly urchins open their gifts. And the guy leaves satisfied that his children now know the True Meaning of Christmas.

The friend who related this story to me was nauseated by it, as was I. {continue...}
[via Crunchy Con, HT: ThinkChristian.NET]

The Same, Old Story

What could be better for the Christmas spirit than one of those books that tells us Jesus may or may not have been born in Bethlehem, Mary may or may not have been a virgin, the wise men from Babylon following a star is a real stretch, the dates are all wrong, those shepherds are only out in the fields between March and November, and Herod slaughtering the young children (admittedly, not one of our favorite episodes from the Christmas pageant) is not very probable? When the whole thing is written by Geza Vermes, our favorite Hungarian ex-Catholic-priest turned Jewish Oxford professor, you know that Paige Patterson won’t be sending any of these out for gifts this season.

Still, I’m a sucker for “historical Jesus” books like The Nativity: History & Legend (Doubleday, 172 pp., $17.95), even though the arguments are always the same:

1. Here’s what the gospels say.
2. They don’t agree with each other.
3. They don’t agree with other contemporary sources.
4. We don’t have much to go on, but here’s a little tiny bit from Philo and Josephus.
5. Each gospel writer was probably shaping his story for a particular audience.
6. The gospels aren’t history.{continue...}
[via The Wittenburg Door]

Worship the Baby, Resist the Empire
[via Revolution in Jesusland]

An Atheist Christmas Homily
[via Rumblings]

Friday, December 21, 2007


What would happen if three gaming geeks had visited the Babe in Bethlehem instead of the Three Wise Men? {continue...}
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Scrooge in Reverse
[via SoMA Review, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Subversive Influence of Christ on Christmas
[via ThinkChristian.NET]


Reconciling The Feast And Compassion For the Poor
[via The Thinklings]


Project Angel Tree is a Good Thing. Or it would be a Good Thing if the people running it would just get out of the way.

The program, part of Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship, collects and distributes Christmas presents for the children of prisoners. This is heartwarming and noncontroversial. It's also a fine example of Matthew 25-style Christianity in action: "I was in prison and you came to visit me." What's not to like?

PatWell, it turns out there's a problem. The folks at Prison Fellowship want to help these little kids at Christmas, but not quite as much as they want to spread the Gay-Hatin' Gospel.{continue...}
[via slacktivist]

NOT Conceived by Holy Ghost

This past Tuesday, December 11th, the House passed a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. The link will take you to read the entire text of the resolution. Congress voted 372-9 for its passage....

The passage of this resolution came quickly on the heels of two other resolutions passed by Congress, one honoring the Islamic holiday of Ramadan and then another recognizing the Hindu celebration known as Diwali. King presented the resolution in response to those resolutions and BP News records King's tirade on Fox News regarding the inconsistency and his reasoning....

My simple question is, "Why?" Why the necessity of affirming Christmas and the significance of Christianity? {full post}
[via The Rambling Prophet 2]

Rare Xmas export

[found via slacktivist in this post]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Infallibility For Everyone

A Vatican has announced that this year's Christmas message to the world's faithful from Pope Benedict XVI will be released in a novel new format....

"His Holiness thinks this breakthrough could silence centuries of criticism about the Catholic church's authoritarian structure, bring a breath of fresh air into the Vatican and-- as an incidental side benefit --confer Papal infallibility on everyone... at least those with Internet access."

Visit Pope Benedict's wiki at

A sample wiki of the encyclical from last year has been provided to give the faithful some practice in expressing their views. Go ahead -- indulge yourself. Ex Cathedra.
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Accounting For Faith
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) dropped a bomb on a small segment of the church world in the United States on Nov. 6. But it has the potential of creating shock waves that may have long-term effects for many congregations in church-state relations, financial accountability and understanding of clergy income and taxes.

The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley requested the records of six megachurch ministries that happen to be television-based and generally identified with the "word of faith" prosperity gospel movement. The six pastors and their respective ministries and some spouses were requested to provide a variety of documents to the committee by Dec. 6. The ministers are Paula and Randy White, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Joyce and David Meyer, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benedictus (Benny) Hinn and Bishop Eddie Long. Since two of these ministries are located in Atlanta, the media of this city have been saturated with both reports and commentary on the issues involved.

As of the date of his deadline for response, each of the ministries has replied in some form with Creflo Dollar and Bishop Eddie Long announcing they will not comply unless subpoenas are issued. {continue...}
[via Ethics, HT: For God's Sake, Shut Up!]

Need to keep track? Check out Televangelist Scorecard via The Wittenburg Door

Powered by ScribeFire.

Redemption Draweth Nigh
Blessed are the empty wombs
[via Randall Friesen]

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Not Kosher During Hannukah?

In the wake of the British teacher jailed in Sudan for allowing a teddy bear to be named "Muhammad," an American evangelist, Bill Keller, has launched a deliberately offensive attack on Islam. He filmed a video where he named a toy pig after the Muslim leader. In his very low-tech video, he provided the voice for the pig and explained why the toy pig converted from Islam to Christianity. Although I am a fan of parodies, I am afraid that this piece is problematic for a couple of reasons...{continue...}
[via For God's Sake, Shut Up!]

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Jumping With Joi

It's the end of NaNoWriMo. Joi has made it.

Check out her novel, A Million Sunsets.

Her novel last year: Sanctus.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feasting On Thanksgiving

[via slacktivist]

'Why have we feasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?

 Why have we humbled ourselves,

 and you have not noticed?'

 Yet on the day of your feasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

Your feasting ends in quarreling and strife,

 and in striking each other with wicked fists.

 You cannot feast as you do today

 and expect your voice to be heard on high. {continued}

Someone's rut is another's groove. Ruts are broken records; grooves keep moving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Santa Stranglings...

Wittenburg Door #214

In this issue:

Interviews: Rolf Potts and Phyllis Tickle

Also featuring articles such as:

"They'll Know We are Christians by Our Stuff"
The Exegete: Harmonizing the Gospels for Dummies
Vision Statements You're Not Likely to See
Jesus Weary of Being Lifted Higher
Goin' Straight: Notes from Ted Haggard's Support Group
St. Christopher Relieved from Duty
A James Dobson Emergency Alert: The Newest Threat to American Families
Reading Lolita at Liberty University

and more. The Last Word: Santa, Yule, and Me

Monday, November 12, 2007


To me, remembrance is about learning who we are and who we want to be.

...We can make people/criminals feel guilty for doing wrong in-the-eyes-of-another, but we can’t make people/criminals feel shame. Shame starts from within us. And it’s a means of personal change initiated by oneself. And the change can only be for the better when it’s understood (through increased skills to empathize with our victims) that disappearing will not benefit those we’ve hurt. Nothing can erase the damage done. But the best compensation for our victims is gaining healthier relationships. And the best way for victims to receive justice is to help the wrong-doer find their own true shame.

...Falsifying our personal history by censuring it is a crime. History should reveal the world of the adult along with the world of the child, memories of the good, and bad, in all.
[via daydreamer]

How Stressed...

Consider for a moment the effects that stress (and persecution would certainly qualify) has on the human body. The body functions most effectively under the just the right amount of stress. Too much stress or too little stress leads to pathology (dysfunction). It is true that certain aspects of the body are more active when the body is highly stressed but these same aspects can lead to major problems especially over an extended period of time. In fact one of the common effects of heightened stress is the tendency for the person or animal to give up (this helps to explain stress related depression). So then the question must be asked, "Does the stress of persecution make the individuals more likely to give up in the face of ongoing stress or are things like imprisonment and martyrdom actually an act of resolute determination?" Not only that, what can we say about the convictions themselves? We know that a brain that is under perpetual stress increasingly loses its capacity to reason and make accurate judgements of the stimuli present.
[via D'caffeinated Pickle]

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"The 'test of faith' card again?"

[via Mr. Deity]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Won't Someone Think of the Vampires?

"When the living dead outnumber the living, even the Messiah needs a little help!"{watch...}

May Others Be With You

"It's the running, not the cutting, that demands a cry of lament." Whether struggling with inner demons or becoming a safe target, may others be with you.

[via The Gift of Singleness, in this post]

[via Think Virtue!, in this post]

One Year To Avoid The Masks

If I were to go out trick-or-treating tonight, what might I wear to really give people a fright?

....But alas, I’ve decided not to scare anyone this year – after all Jesus does say to love our neighbor, and this is one year to avoid the masks. Don’t you agree?
[via Faithfully Liberal, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]


Don't deny. Face your fears. Persevere though tragedy.

Meager Mercy?

"I hope it was worth it."
[via Acre Fields, HT: The Science of Following God, Living Morally, and Making Awesome Movies]

Friday, October 26, 2007


I ask God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
May you understand what really matters so you can live a pure and blameless life. I ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants you to do in your life.
I pray that your love for others will overflow more and more, and you will continually do good kind things for others.
All the while you will learn to know God better and better.
I pray that your heart will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to you whom He has called.
I want to you realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.
I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe in him.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit.
I also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need.
May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.
And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.
May your roots go down deep in to the soil of God’s marvelous love.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how high, how long, how wide and how deep his love really is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.
Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
And may you always be filled with the fruit of righteousness, for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Now glory be to God. By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would even dare to ask or hope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hasidic Hallowe'en?

It's not just another Hasidic zombie movie. "Hold on for the most violent, sexually explicit experience since your bris."

Takeaway quote: "There are Jews on the lawn. Zombie Jews!"{more}
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Oh, Beautiful...

Existing beauty standards matter in the lives of those who do, and those who do not, meet them. A parent’s words are among the least frequent, least credible, and least relevant words that their adolescent children will hear, particularly when it comes to questions of beauty and social acceptance among their peers. In fact, by even focusing on the problematic standards of beauty that their children face, parents risk underscoring and strengthening the power of that standard.

The “Onslaught” video may itself have that effect by bringing into relief the current unforgiving and unrealizable standard of beauty that now dominates our culture. Thus, while the “Onslaught” video urges parents to “talk to your daughters,” it probably should add “but don’t show them this video” which all-too-clearly highlights the undernourished and oversexualized prototypes of “beauty.”....

It seems peculiar, therefore, that Dove would offer a film demonstrating the ubiquitous attack of the beauty industry that ends with the suggestion to parents that they are the ones to make a difference by simply talking to their kids. If the industry is the problem, it strikes me as odd that the parents are supposed to be the solution.
[via The Situationist]

Why Christians should take Richard Dawkins seriously
[via The Heresy]

Hey, It's Close To Hallowe'en

The War on Christmas weapons
[via Bene Diction Blogs On]

"It's Why You Drink..."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Containing Control

Coercive Control
Coercive Control, cont.
Coercive Control : 3
Coercive Control : 4
Coercive Control : 5

[via Suzanne's Bookshelf]

The Gestalt Switch & Positivity
[via Mined Splatterings]

Protecting Daughters From Themselves?

This afternoon I listened to the proposed omnibus bill that will deal with a number of significant changes to the criminal code. Included in this bill is the intention of the government to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. Now while most people might think this is good thing – I for one am pretty much against it.

Now on the one hand I readily recognize what this legislation is intended to accomplish. It seeks to give greater teeth to enforcement and the judicial system in penalizing offenders with stiffer sentences and generally greater consequences. And to be fair it will like do that. And who in their right mind wouldn't want to 'spank' offenders harder for this type of crime. In my opinion the law is not strict enough in penalizing sexual offenders but…

I'm not sure we are fully appreciating the latent or unintended function of this type of legislation. We have worked hard in our society to establish a more gender equality. We have a long way to go but many strides have been taken to help women gain more social power and relieve the oppression that they have suffered in the past. I'm not just talking about more equality in the work force but in more general ways – women today are the beneficiaries of a sense of common ground. I think this is a good thing. And while I recognize that there are still some who would argue that this equality is a negative thing and that it somehow challenges God design – I think that most people recognize that women were unfairly treated in the past and that the partial redemption of their social status is more inline with God's view of our standing in his eyes. I think that is precisely why this legislation moves in the wrong direction.

I think this legislation suggests that women/girls are actually weaker than men/boys and need to be protected. {continue...}
[via dcaffeinated pickle]

Sworn Friends?

How, in short, do the ideologues of the Left and of the Right react to civility, even friendliness, among rival politicians?

When I read the blogs or listen to the comments of today’s fierce ideologues, I think that they look askance at any camaraderie or compromise in politics. They’d rather win an argument, at least in their own eyes, than advance the interests of the country at large. (Or even their own causes, if incrementally and incompletely.) And they have no patience for the simple practical fact that politics, like much of life, is about people working together with people, sometimes people who have deep disagreements....

Members of Congress and other public officials are sworn to do what’s best for the country. It’s disappointing how infrequently they do that, to be sure.

But surely the solution to that problem isn’t for members of competing political parties to wall themselves off from one another, sworn enemies. According to most people who’ve spent decades in Washington, there’s been too much of that partisan walling-off in recent years anyway.
[via RedBlueChristian]

Pleasing and Placing

Pleasing Each Other
"Christian women should know their place."

There, I said it. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that if they don't "know their place" they cannot minister effectively.

Of course, I could also say the same thing of Christian men. They must "know their place" if they are to minister effectively. {continue...}
[via Complegalitarian]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Getting Ourselves Out

People become broken with all kinds of uglies in this life, and restoring yourself is part of it as well! Granted some roads are worse than others, and some woundedness is worse as well! ....Domestic abuse needs to come out of the closet! October is domestic violence month, and there are other causes as well that use this month....and you see a lot MORE coverage for that! It is a very scary subject for ALL involved, but if we are make a difference it has to be HEARD and recognized! ....There are ALL kinds of factors that you may have - and another person has a different set to own! If we have a pattern in our lives, and that doesn't always have to be bad relationships in the past........we have certain mindsets we MUST get ourselves out of as well!
[via Emotional Abuse and Your Faith]

Speaking of which, Open Letter to Pastors [via Suzanne's Bookshelf]


In an effort to do away with sexism, the Spanish town council of Madrid decreed that half of all road signs and traffic signals should alternate between male and female walking figures. And how can you tell it’s a female figure? The silhouettes will have ‘feminine attributes’ such as a skirt, ribbon, and ponytail instead of simply being the outline of a striding man. This is their way of fighting inequality in their streets and giving women more visibility. {more}
[via The CBE Scroll]

This video will apparently seem patriarchal:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Confronting eternity on earth
[via Intellectuelle]

How We Are?

We have just seen the last of a terrible century with, quite possibly, worse to come. Why is it so hard for us to be good? Why is it so hard for us to be happy?

One thing, at least, has been pretty widely agreed: we can’t expect much help from science. Science is about facts, not norms; it might tell us how we are, but it couldn’t tell us what is wrong with how we are. There couldn’t be a science of the human condition. {more...}
[HT: Prolegomena]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Neither Savior Nor Scum...

Stop Your Sobbing
[via, HT: Kruse Kronicle]

Interior Decor

Now when we go to the small group gathering I always sit where I can see it, and I do stare at it catching new things I hadn’t seen before. It’s like we have this secret relationship, this picture and I. It makes me smile whenever I see it, and I still don’t completely know why. {enter in...}
[via randall friesen]


[HT: MUSE MACHINE, from this post]

For those of us who have read Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini's evocative book "The Kite Runner," the scene that sets the stage for the moral saga is a horrific one -- young Hassan, a boy from the despised Hazara tribe, is raped by vicious hoodlums while his privileged "best friend," Amir, runs away.

That quick but unforgettably shameful scene forms the center of the story that is both Amir's and Afghanistan's. Unable to face what he has done, Amir torments his friend until he is forced to leave the house and the city, while Amir himself wanders from Kabul to Peshawar to California, working out his guilt and finding finally a way to atone.

Now this most interesting and morally dangerous story has been made into an American film, and it was to be released early in November. Surely, since the story line will follow the book's, it will portray how the story illustrates traits that have too often characterized historic Afghanistan: cruelty toward one's fellow man, ethnic differences and hatreds, the search for a workable commune among so many different groups.

But something is happening with the film that is odd only to its self-absorbed American makers. The filmmakers, working with Afghan Film, the state-run film company, picked the boys to play Amir and Hassan from auditions of 5,000 young Afghans. And while the film itself was produced in China because of the tribal and sexual sensitivities involved in the story, no one seemed to think of what the Afghan response would be to the rape scene, even though it was relatively sensitively done.

The outcome today, according to press reports of the film and the Afghan response, is that parts of the film may be considered demeaning to the ethnic Hazaras, resulting in threats against the two child stars. The American studio has delayed the film's opening and offered to bring the boys to the United States this fall for the premieres and to later take them to the United Arab Emirates to live temporarily. Other members of the boys' families may also have to leave the country. {continue...}
[via Opinion - Georgie Anne Geyer, Yahoo News]

Oh, Sup...rising.

Ann Coulter's Supersessionism
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Leaves Me Wanting More

Good as I have it, I sometimes find it hard to be thankful. The riches, worries, and pleasures of life have a way of undermining my gratitude, and at worst, leave me wanting more than I have.

Once in awhile, the flies on the faces of kids somewhere else in the world shame me into realizing how filthy rich I am. The pictures on my wall remind me of family. I enjoy sunsets, living in a land that doesn’t know war, and in a house that keeps me secure.

Yet, keeping my heart set to be thankful is a real challenge. Life has a way of kicking us in the teeth. It’s hard. Circumstances don’t always bounce our way. People don’t always treat us fairly or forgive us. Sometimes we can’t even forgive ourselves. Accidents happen. Age is inevitable, and so is death.{continue...}
[via EternaLee]

Consisting Mostly of Air

So why is it when I'm not thinking about myself, life is pretty carefree, but when I'm faced with my own sinfulness and greed, all I see is death?

...Why, exactly? To live longer? To flee the emptiness of my own soul? To keep from going out and shooting someone myself?

...I guess our name is Legion.
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Fool's Efficiency?

I have no problem with buying an American-made car -- my Civic was built by the UAW in Ohio, my Escort was built in Korea -- but it will be a long while before I overcome my hard-earned, visceral distrust of Detroit engineering.

So I understand that aspect of what the J.D. Power guy is talking about. But he fails to notice another equally significant reason that the Big Three automakers have a lousy reputation: They've spent millions of dollars over the past several decades on a PR campaign designed to persuade us that they don't know what they're doing.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have loudly insisted for years that they are technologically incompetent. They have spent millions of lobbying dollars to explain all the things they cannot do, all the improvements they are unable to make, all the ways their abilities, designs and engineering are inferior to those of their competitors. All of that money spent advertising their limits and incompetency has had an impact. American car buyers listened. We believed them. {the rest}
[via slacktivist]

Losing Contact

Am I going nuts? Becoming co-dependant? Reverting to an earlier state when I had to be told what to do and when to do it?

What was going on?

....I shouldn’t find my identity in my friends. Friends pass away.

I shouldn’t find my identity in my family because my Family of Origin weighs me down with too much baggage.

I shouldn’t find my identity as a parent. For that’s too oppressive to my children.

I shouldn’t find my identity as a husband. For that’s chaining my wife to MY happiness.

So where DO I find my identity?

...That’s why I grieve when a relationship is lost. When I change churches. When I lose contact with friends. When my family goes to Edmonton. And that's okay. That's what's supposed to happen.
[via Kevin G Powell]

Open Discussion

Muslim leaders around the world have addressed an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian religious leaders -- including David Coffey, President of the Baptist World Alliance. The first of its kind letter, entitled "A Common Word Between Us and You," is designed to promote understanding between Muslims and Christians. {more}
[via Mainstream Baptist]

The question for Catholics is how the pope will respond. There is another significant anniversary coming up, that of B16's Regensburg speech that deeply offended many Muslims because of his association of Islam with violence. This letter is an olive branch, and the Holy Father would do well to hang on. And it is significant for the number of its Muslim signatories: Islam has no centralized authority, but the dozens of scholars and muftis have tens of millions of followers.
[via The Examined Life]

Breakdown of Compassion

Of course, psychological factors are only some of many causes underlying the failure to respond to genocide. But the psychology is important and it has implications for policy that, so far, have not been addressed....

The broader message of this psychological explanation is that we cannot trust our quick, natural, intuitions that we rely upon heavily to tell us whether or not some moral transgression is occurring and to motivate us to respond. Rather, our moral intuitions fail us when the number of lives involved becomes large. Indeed, the research shows that the breakdown of compassion can be seen to begin when the number of needy persons goes from 1 to 2!
[via The Situationist]

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Are You Giving Thanks Now?

[via indexed]

In thanksgiving we remember those who have died,{continue...}
[via Bene Diction Blogs On]

With Humble Thanks by Jadon Slade Androsoff

God of old, giver of all good gifts, we give You thanks.
Jesus our Lord, sacrificing life and death, we give You thanks.
Spirit of Christ, our strength to prevail, we give You thanks.

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are those who need, for You are shown.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are those who mourn, for You are comfort.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are those who are gentle, for Your world needs them.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are those who crave justice, for You are just.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are those who are merciful, for You are mercy.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are the innocent, for You deliver us.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are the peacemakers, for You are their own.

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

We humble ourselves and pray, and turn from all our dominance,
For blessed are the oppressed, for You identify with them.

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

Bless those who oppose us, prime Ancestor, for You exalt the lowly for Your glory. Lord, hear our prayer.
Bless those who resist us, master Servant, for You overcame the powers with Your grace. Christ, hear our prayer.
Bless those we do not know, gracious Power, for Your wisdom knows no bounds. Spirit, hear our prayer.

With humbleness, we give You thanks, God of old, giver of all good gifts.
With peacefulness, we give You thanks, Jesus our Lord, sacrificing life and death.
With helplessness, we give You thanks, Spirit of Christ, our strength to prevail.

For Your sake, Triune God, Amen.

[inspired from Matt. 5: 1- 12 and 2 Chron. 7:14]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Isn't That Romantic?

They met online. Poured out their hearts to each other. They each thought they had found a soul mate with whom they could spend the rest of their lives.

The only problem: they were already married. To each other. {more...}
[via the view from her]

[HT: Ponderings On A Faith's Journey in this post]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a flinty populist in a zip-up jacket whose scathing rhetoric and defiance of Washington are often caricatured in the Western media, has transcended national and religious divides to become a folk hero across the Middle East.

The diminutive, at times inscrutable, president is a wellspring of stinging sound-bites and swagger for Muslims who complain that their leaders are too beholden to or frightened of the Bush administration. Ahmadinejad, who arrived in New York Sunday ahead of a U.N. General Assembly meeting, is an easily marketable commodity:a streetwise politician with nuclear ambitions and an open microphone. {continue...}
[via The LA Times]

Who was God more disgusted with this past Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejads, or well known minister TD Jakes?{continue...}
[via the Liveprayer Daily Devotional, 09/26/07]

Toleration's Apparent Fall

"Multiculturalism" has become a suspect term almost everywhere in the world nowadays, and particularly in Europe. People say things like: "I used to be for openness and toleration of difference, but now I see where it's leading." But where is it leading?

Almost every reason for toleration's apparent fall into disrepute concerns Islam. Even simple requests, like that of schoolgirls to wear headscarves in class, are suddenly freighted with immense political significance and treated as issues that must be resolved at the highest level of government. People - and their elected leaders as well - often have the feeling that such seemingly innocent proposals are in fact part of an ominous "hidden agenda". {continue...}
[via commentisfree, HT: Prolegomena]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Conserve or Destroy?

Wow! A bomb that Al Gore can love. Isn’t modern technology wonderful? {the rest...}
[via Magic Statistics, HT: Kruse Kronicle]

Reminders of the Jews

Just in time for Yom Kippur...{continue...}
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Friday, September 21, 2007

Testy or Tempting?

I am 100% in favor of tasering obnoxious people, whether they are conservative, liberal or radically moderate. In fact, I don't think we are tasering people enough and that this country would be better off if we had more tasering not less. {more...}

[via Jon Swift]

So I see this negativity out there, and I think about the fact that negativity alone does not generate forward momentum. Negativity followed by a conversation about how to make things better generates forward momentum.

[via Thomas - Technical Blogger]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prince of the Air

From this issue:

  • Interviews of Rob Bell and N.T. Wright

  • Detective Ace of the Air! Another Kenneth Copeland Mystery

  • Your Chosen People's Management Plan

  • Church Struggles in Wake of Potluck Scandal

  • The Shocking Truth About Catholics: They Can't Sing

  • NEW! The Submergent Church!

  • Midwestern Christian Girl Still Single at 22

  • Retread Records' Shout to the Lord—Extreme Edition

  • Thomas Nelson Publishing: A Division of Globex® Applied Weapons Systems, Inc.

  • LaHaye and Liberace!

Friday, September 14, 2007

[via Ben Witherington]

In Friendship, Night...

You may be the receiver of the dark night where, it wasn't your choice to end the friendship or end the pattern of friendship intimacy. It may have been your friend's choice, or maybe it was circumstances outside your friendship that demanded a significant change in friendship intimacy. But because you had an intimate friendship, you experienced or are experiencing a dark night. If you have deeply cared for your friend, trusted your friend, opened your heart and became vulnerable in the presence of your friend, the suffering is a risk you took.

Although painful and confusing, going through this is formational and character-building....

The dark night of friendship can happen when "one of the friends is incapable of sustaining the degree of intimacy wanted by the other in order to push the friendship into new depths" observes Mary Hunt. There are myriads of different types of dark nights in friendships.

There is another kind of dark night. The dark night of internal dynamics within your soul and within the friendship. This takes place in many ways in myriads of deepening and deep friendships. The friendship grows because of this dark night, is strengthened and renewed through this dark night. {the rest}
[via Faith Dance]

Community and Conformity
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Monday, September 10, 2007


Syria has so far accepted (at least) 1.5 million Iraqi refugees. Beginning today, that country is placing limits on the number and type of future refugees it will accept....

This isn't surprising, but it's not good news for the more than 2 million Iraqis who have fled their country or for the 2.2 million more who are "displaced internally" and may soon join those fleeing the country in search of safety. (Figures from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.)

Those figures are not disputed, they're simply ignored by the current American debate over whether or not the so-called "surge" is "working" (whatever that means). The fact that one out of every six Iraqis has fled their home seems like it ought to be relevant to any discussion of the "security situation" in that country, but it has apparently been decided that the opinions of these 4.2 million Iraqis -- voting with their feet and their whole lives -- should not be given quite as much weight in this discussion as the opinion of the very serious Michael O'Hanlon or the other York Hardings who, after all, have visited Iraq several times....

As I write this, Gen. David Petraeus is testifying before Congress that, "The military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met." None of the 2 million Iraqis who have already fled nor any of the 50,000 additional refugees leaving that country every month has been asked to offer their testimony about all of the progress the general is describing...{the rest}
[via slacktivist]

Not Politics, Not Alarm

I've noticed two patterns in global warming skepticism. Firstly, many reasons for disbelieving in anthroporphic global warming (AGW) seems to be political rather than scientific. Eg - it's all a liberal plot to spread socialism and destroy capitalism (or sometimes just plain dislike for Al Gore). As one person put it, "the cheerleaders for doing something about global warming seem to be largely the cheerleaders for many causes of which I disapprove".

But beneath the politics is a more elemental instinct - an aversion to alarmism. We've been burnt before. The media predicted an ice age in the 70's which never eventuated. Y2K was going to destroy society - it was barely a hiccup. And I won't deny there are alarmists in the global warming camp. Urgent cries that the ice sheets are on the verge of sliding into the sea. Hysteric predictions that Manhattan will soon be underwater. Or emotional pleas to save those cute little polar bears. Sadly, alarmists seem to be the loudest voices in the global warming debate. But that doesn't change the science underneath.

So I avoid the distractions of political agendas, ad hominem arguments and hyperbole about "the new religion". Instead, I concentrate on the science. {more...}
[via Skeptical Science, HT: The Heresy]

Statements By Leaders...

In times past, I used to read stories about how people in the Soviet Union, China and other authoritarian states had learned to ignore the propaganda that was being disseminated as information by their leaders.

Now, as Gen. Petraeus testifies before Congress, I am reading stories about the American public's cynicism in regard to statements being made by our leaders. Here's an example {continue...}
[via Mainstream Baptist]

Who we are 6 years after 9-11
[via Streak's Blog]

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Experiencing More...

There are times in our lives when we leave our normal routines and even our physical locations for other places and during those times away we really experience growth and personal development. Then we return to our normal circumstances, with our old friends and family.

We come back significantly different people than when we left because we really are bigger people. We’ve experienced more, we’ve been shaped and honed and learned a thing or two along the way. {continue...}
[via Randall Friesen]

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Myth of Consistent Skepticism
[via Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2007]

Standing With Others

I try, when viewing a story about yet another child molestation case or rape of an adult woman (the latter being a crime I take very personally as a blow against all men as well as women), to get past that feeling of guilt/defensiveness a sensitive male can hardly escape in such matters. Women do view men with suspicion, and my feminist sensibilities tell me we often give them more than adequate reasons to do so. Rather than complain that we are being discriminated against (which as a white male I feel is singularly disengenuous), I suggest we men find ways of standing beside women and children against predators, most of whom are in fact male.

I would hope that in an instance where we experience discrimination due to being male (a mother's apparent nervousness at our presence, a woman's sudden outburst in the office or a social situation about how men are all dogs, that "all men want the same thing" and so on), we allow that feeling of unfairness and anger and sadness at such accusations against us to remind us of how much more often such things happen to minorities and women. Let our small bit of suffering teach us to empathize with the greater suffering of others.

The terrible truth is that regarding sexual violence, the male is implicated. We personally may not feel that we are, but our manhood is for far too many women a sign of their own, and their children's, lack of safety.
[via Blue Christian on a Red Background]

Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach
[via Kruse Kronicle]


Death is what happens when you're making other plans.

If I Want To Progress...

The last couple of years I’ve begun to realize that I have to make the choice to not pursue an interest. I have a wide variety of interests, but I can’t pursue them all—at least not if I want to progress with any of them. I have, for instance, stopped playing video games and I watch much less tv than I used to. I now devote more time reading and writing. {more...}
[via The Eagle and Child]

Monday, September 03, 2007

Work and Home

This Labour Day, remember the unemployed and the homemakers.

Laboring for Peace
[via Mainstream Baptist]

Understanding the Value of Work
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

"Supporting the Troops"

I have long maintained that peace groups, including faith-based peace groups and pacifist churches, need to work with military veterans, especially those involved in military-related peace groups. Many of these military and veterans-related groups are NOT committed to nonviolence as a way of life (although some are–Veterans for Peace is composed of military veterans converted to nonviolence). Most follow some form of Just War Theory and/or celebrate military culture in a way that makes many traditional peace churches and pacifist Christians squirm. Tough. Get over it and get to know these folk as real human beings.

Look, the simple fact is that very few nations (Finland and Costa Rico are exceptions) are doing without standing militaries in the near future. The U.S. has a national culture that celebrates an independance achieved by a military revolution. Our national narrative (somewhat inaccurately) celebrates our military as the defenders of all our cherished freedoms. We honor military service as among the most patriotic and selfless ways of service. None of this is going to change overnight. So, if peace groups want to make a serious impact on foreign policy then, above all, they must not seem contemptuous of the military. Rightwing militarist policies win over more peaceful, or even more realistic, policies time and again by the simple tactic of making peace groups look and sound “anti-soldier.” They constantly paint opposition to militaristic foreign policy as failure to “support the troops.”
[via Levellers]

Friday, August 31, 2007

What Road Again?

[via indexed]

If you're driven, accidents can occur on the way to the hospital.
If you're only journeying, the right exit can be elusive.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
[via scott...diagonally parked in a parallel universe]

Thursday, August 30, 2007

To Action

They seem to think that prayer is wholly unconnected to action. Considering what they're praying for, of course, this is probably a good thing. {the rest}
[via slacktivist]

These Apparent Roles

Even those who appear to be the typical mother and housewife on the surface belie these apparent roles. {the rest}
[via Shawna R. B. Atteberry]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Realizing Struggles

It's hard to face up to shortcomings in your own life, and oddly difficult to face up to the things you had no control over (we human beings love our control). Can I control the fact that I am, at the end of the day, pretty mediocre? Not really. I try to make myself better, but I'll never be a great musician, a great artist, a great scholar, or a great writer. There's only so much you can do with what you've got. And that's ok....

It's hard to realize that I am so often unreachable.
[via Deluded Wine]
n a world where we so often drift from day to day in a simple existence, I wonder what would happen if we allowed ourselves to be stirred to action more often? How much good would come of it? How many lives would be effected? How would our worlds be changed?

So what is your "Enough is enough!" trigger?
[via do you think it'll fly?]

Through A Mirror, Divided

Seeing Yourself Through Virtual Reality
[via Mainstream Baptist]

Slow Response, Fast Conclusions

E-mail Silence: I’m Not Writing Back Because I Hate You
[via Prof. John Stackhouse’s Weblog]

When you can't take it anymore, pour out.
When you can't give out anymore, open up.
When you don't know your level, simmer down.

When the fashion of life starts to shrink and feel snug, it's easy to feel fat.

Men: Irrelevant, Unlovable and Useless?

My baby or My job?
[via grrrl meets world]
Thoughts on Three of Them
[via Charming, but Single]
Why are we single? The male view
[via Sexless in the City]

Preacher Control

[via Streak's Blog]

Forget gun control, ...push for "preacher control" where you have to pass a basic psychological competency to get a license to Preach.

But that--unlike asking God to kill someone--would be ridiculous.
I wondered yesterday why...only invoke an imprecatory prayer against someone who, you know, wrote ...a mean letter? Why haven't we used this weapon against Osama Bin Laden? Or against terrorism in general? ...[W]e could down God's wrath on select terrorists and South American dicatators. Talk about your "smart weaponry" and "air strikes."

But that would be ridiculous. Almost like having a degree in home economics for female seminarians in a world where we might elect our first woman president next year.

In the "Not Making This Up" Category:

The Unicorn Museum
[via The Wittenburg Door Insider]

China's reincarnation station checkpoint[via The Wittenburg Blog]

and in the comments by Tyler L.:

Coming up next, America to limit the number of blessings an individual can receive from God. Such blessings are viewed as disruptive to a Free Market and, according to leading psychologists, damage a person's sense of self-reliance. Congress hopes this new law will discourage the whole “have mercy on whom I will have mercy” attitude God has taken in the past. A list of suggested blessings has been prepared for review and is expected to be mailed to God soon after the law takes effect.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Truly Difficult

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good
and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. {the rest: [HTML], [PDF]}

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jeremiah as War Resister
[via Levellers]

If you believe that every human being has the right to self determination, then how do you cope with people who claim not to want that right? {continue...}
[via slacktivist]