Monday, February 26, 2007

The Possibility of Disinterested Love
[via Ryan Dueck]

Screwtape Letters: The Movie?
[via Your Official Portal to Geekdom]

Tried and True

Jesus chose truth, trust, weakness. I guess the implication is that Jesus wants us to live by those same values.

Which is all very well and good, inspiring even. And I get moved to live and serve that way when I hear these stories, or when I sing hymns such as “Go to dark Gethsemane” or “beneath the Cross of Jesus.” Those wonderful Lent and Good Friday hymns that speak of God’s upside down power.

But then I wipe the dew from my eyes and face the real world. Weakness. Failure. Even love. These are not the ways I want to change the world. This not the vision I have in my head when I’m confronted with hunger or violence, grief or despair. Where God’s is like an absentee-deity when confronted with a world bent on destroying itself.

Often, when I think of God I ask, “Why do you allow this?” or “why are you hiding?” or even “How long, O Lord, must we wait?” Sometimes I ask no question at all. I just say “Get ‘em, God!” making God my own personal agent of revenge....

Do we really believe in a God like that? Do we WANT to believe in a God like that? A God who relies on truth transforming us? A God who thinks that love can change the world? A God who wants mercy to mend broken hearts?

No offense, God, but truth is too slow a process and we’ve got too many liars on the planet. A God who asks us to trust – no offense God, but you are often silent when we most need you to speak. A God who acts in love – LOVE – when we face the onslaught of basic human greed destroying the planet, the threat of violence that puts human life in danger, the hatred between peoples born of pride and the lust for power – no offense, God, what’s the point of being God if you can’t throw YOUR power around?

Also, I live in the real world. This love and trust mumbo-jumbo may sound nice on Sunday morning at church, but when I step out the front doors, people are trying to get me. They’re gonna try to take what’s rightfully mine, everything I’ve worked hard to accumulate. No offense, God, but you’re looking pretty weak.

{the full post}
[via The Word Proclaimed, HT: Kevin G Powell]

Just Gives You Chills...

a cross-cultural thriller
[via don't call me veronica]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Memorable Message or Distracting Medium?


Giving Britney a break
[via grrrl meets world]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Global Suffering, Crucified Nature

An environmentalism that does not speak of Iraq, one that speaks of global warming but not of global suffering, is an environmentalism that seeks only to replace Caesar's chariots with more fuel-efficient models. But if we would follow the path of Jesus today, we must denounce as sinful the Empire being installed in Eden today, a sin that brings us ever closer to the crucifixion not only of Iraq but nature itself.
[via Tom Hayden, HT: Jesus Politics]

Cleverly Disguised Pietism

I wonder if this Lent phenomenon is really little more than cleverly disguised pietism. So what if I prove at the end of 40 days that I can go without chocolate, junk food, buying new clothes, eating out, even food itself. In the end has it helped me to become more incarnational – more willing to live in someone else’s economy?
[via D'Caffeinated Pickle]

Deconstructing character
[via Life of Turner]

Praying for Stephen Colbert (and Rick Scarborough)
[via For God's Sake Shut Up!]

[via adventures in mercy]

Found to be Lost

One sure sign you are destined for the scrap heap of history is you believe you or your organization are the only viable option to accomplish a certain objective. If you believe ensuring secure success is just a matter of convincing others to believe you are as important as proclaim yourself to be you are in even more trouble. Such organizations are blind to what they are truly like. They overstate their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. Cruising along they don’t have a good sense of their real net impact. They lose their way without realizing they’re lost.
[via The Heresy]

Two Ways of Telling

The years that lie behind you, with all their struggles and pains, will in time be remembered only as the way that led to your new life. But as long as the new life is not fully yours, your memories will continue to cause you pain. When you keep reliving painful events of the past, you can feel victimized by them. But there is a way of telling your story that does not create pain. Then, also, the need to tell your story will become less pressing. You will see that you are no longer there: the past is gone, the pain has left you, you no longer have to go back and relive it, you no longer depend on your past to identify yourself. There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom. The compulsion to tell your story is gone. From the perspective of the life you now live and the distance you now have, your past does not loom over you.

-- Henri Nouwen
[via Prodigal Daughter]

Monday, February 19, 2007

Faith Dance has linked to me and is now on the blogroll. To see what his blog is about, read his post here.

Hard Truth, Comforting Fantasy

I'm usually fond of obsessive old kooks -- flat earthers, cryptozoologists, ghost-hunters and the like. There's often something admirably Mulder-esque, or at least Lone-Gunmen-esque, about these determined Cassandras. You want to avoid getting cornered by them at parties or after church, of course, but in small doses in the proper setting -- such as listening to their calls on Art Bell's radio show while driving late at night -- they can be a source of delight. The world would be a duller place without them and most of them are mostly harmless.

Unfortunately, some of them are not. Harmless. Some of them manage, somehow, to be taken seriously by a larger audience, and their unreal ideas become the basis for decisions in reality, which never works out well. In other cases, the kooks' elaborate theories turn out to be inextricably interwoven with a reflexive, and very dangerous, bigotry. In either instance -- or in the worst-case scenario when both of these things are true -- these people cease to be merely colorful and amusing. They end up hurting people.

At first glance, Marshall Hall seems like he might be a mostly harmless crank.* The retired schoolteacher from Georgia seems to have self-published more than a dozen titles on a variety of topics, all of which he seems to have desperate, passionate opinions about. Like many cranks of the fundamentalist variety, he speaks with an earnest certainty that expresses itself in a fondness for exclamation points, rampant capitalization and sweeping statements about the revealed truth of God. Ask someone like Hall about the weather and he's liable to respond, "False prophets deceive many with their UNSCRIPTURAL claims of only a 40-percent chance of rain!"

....This seems, as I said, like something merely amusingly kooky -- the sort of thing that would make you turn up the volume on Art Bell so you could sit back and savor it's high-grade nuttiness.

Unfortunately, three things prevent me from finding any of this amusing: 1) Hall's pervasive anti-Semitism; 2) a legislative emphasis that seeks to make his goofball ideas the standard curriculum for American schools; and 3) Hall's demonstrated ability to have his theories respectfully heard, approved of and disseminated by actual officials who have the power to legislate No. 1 and No. 2 above.
[via slacktivist]

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cruel Compassion = Tough Love + Self-righteousness

...the measure of a person is not just found in the friends they had, but also in the people they offend.
[via Scott Williams]

Love is balanced. There are only unbalanced people.

Friday, February 16, 2007

[HT: Bible Belt Blogger]

"If people can't stand cartoons about religion, they've got a problem."

-- Frank Miller, author of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns; Daredevil; Sin City; etc. (28 February 2006)

This page provides a quick visual reference (in the form of collages) to comic book super-heroes (and some villains), grouped by religious affiliation. Just for fun, compare the various "teams." Which is the most formidable? In a "contest of champions" in which these groups were forced to fight the others, who would win?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's So Worthwhile

Yesterday I wanted more than anything to know that when I said, "I forgive you" that I meant it. Today I know that I do. And while I thought it would be hard to trust again, at this moment, I do.
[via The World of Dell]

The Blog Thickens...

American Legends and biscotti brain have linked to me. Check them out. Linked now on the blogroll.

Hope yesterday brought love for enemies, those not like you, and the grieving and dying. Thanks to all who frequent this blog. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Love can sweep you off your feet and carry you along in a way you've never known before. But the ride always ends, and you end up feeling lonely and bitter. Wait. It's not love I'm describing. I'm thinking of a monorail.-- Jack Handy
[via Scott Williams]
Love is like applesauce--it's mushy and makes me want to poop.

Two lovers in love are better than three lovers in a love triangle, because two is less than three, and too much love can give you gas.
[via Philosophy Over Coffee]

Singles Awareness Day- The Remix
[via The Philosophical Pastor]

No, Really

Make Love -- And War
[via Bible Belt Blogger]

[via indexed]

Sabotaged, Yet Redeemable

Remember these people this Valentine's:

I do this thing. I know I do it. I don't necessarily see it at the time of doing it but when it is all said and done and I finally see what I have done and I have to go back and fix it. I sabotage relationships. Some more than others, some less. It really depends on who you are and what you mean to me. The relationships I try to sabotage are the ones that most likely mean the most to me. I feel myself getting close to someone, panic, and push them away because God forbid I let someone get close to me and see me for the mess that I am. Some people see this action of mine right away and they call me on it....

I guess it is like a having a friend for a drug addict. When they are seeking the high or they are high themselves, they are consumed by an demon. They are not the person who you know and have come to love. They mask who they are in a drug high to escape the reality of what is truly their world. I have had friends who are addicts and beat their addiction. It was harder than any fight they have had to endure. They only did with love and support from the very people they hurt along the way....

This is an open apology to all I have hurt. I am so sorry for whatever I put you through. Thanks for remaining by my side when all I did was try to push you away.
[via meh.]

Deus Ex Machina

[see the whole series here at God, Inc.]

Looking for Love in All the Odd Places...

Just in Time for Valentine's
[via The Thinklings]

Is Truth Your Valentine?
[via daydreamer]

Monday, February 12, 2007

Corresponding Criticism

This is a stumbling point for many critics of pop culture -- whether of the movies, or television, Top 40 radio or mass market fiction. All of these seem like easy targets, but it's trickier than it looks because there are too many innocent people in the way to get off a clean shot. The critic who sets out to say that TV is stupid and crass winds up arguing that TV viewers are stupid and crass. The critic who opens his mouth to call romance novels silly and unworthy closes his mouth having called all the women who read them silly and unworthy.

And that's not cool. First of all, it's not a very winsome approach to persuading others to accept whatever point it is you're trying to make. "You're an idiot," is rarely a useful starting point if you're trying to get the other person to listen to the rest of what you have to say. The result of this approach, as in the cartoon, is a sneering elitism.

Let me be clear about that word, "elitism." There's nothing wrong with having high standards for popular art and popular entertainment, standards that help you (and others) to separate the good stuff from the inferior. But when those standards are turned against the audience, when they're used to separate the good people from the supposedly inferior, that's when the critic loses my respect and attention. That's when the critic loses everybody's attention. This is what makes such critics truly elitist -- the tiny circle of people still listening to them is, indeed, an exclusive elite.

Such critics also, perversely, end up siding with those they initially set out to criticize because they reinforce the dreck-merchants' standard fall-back defense, "We're just giving the audience what they want."

The main problem here, though, is that such critics are blaming the victim. That's just wrong. Someone who has been tricked into paying good money for a Clay Aiken CD has suffered enough. There's no need to add insult to injury.
[via Slacktivist's Left Behind Archives]

Heartfelt Incision

picture featured at Prodigal Daughter

Music: Cut - Plumb

"Self-Pity", "Me and Ted," and "How (Not) To Speak of God, post 3"
[via The Paris Project]

Theology Smack-Down: Andrew Sullivan vs. Sam Harris
[via I am a Christian Too]

A Cinderella Story

[HT: Streak's Blog, referred in this post]

As I perused the seasonal aisle of Valentine's flotsam, I began to notice a trend among several of the boxed sets of cards.

The boys' cards were what you would expect; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman, Spiderman, and Pirates of the Carribean, your standard testosterone inducing fare. However, many of the girls' cards were along the same level. They were hormone inducing, but not for the same reasons as the boys' cards.

The girls' selections were comprised of notably, Disney Princesses, such as Cinderella, Ariel (The Little Mermaid), and Belle (Beauty and the Beast). Tinkerbell of Peter Pan had her own box and then there were the Bratz; radical, pre-adolescent change agents.

The Disney characters were noticeably different from what I remember from my childhood and adolescent years as well as recent family viewing. Cinderella was not what these cards portrayed her to be. In the film, she was innocent, virtuous, chaste; an unspoiled maiden, the envy of her wicked stepsisters. Cinderella was not the trollop brazenly and voluptuously brandished across those children's boxed sets of Valentine's Day cards.

Without being overly descriptive, Cinderella was posing in such a way to betray her "best" features; a hand provocatively slung back on her hip; slyly leaning forward in a much bustier dress than she wore in the classic movie; all accompanied by a mischievous "come hither" look. The Tinkerbell cards were much worse, some of her poses offering a soft porn flavor....

The message that this sends to young girls is obvious; chastity, propriety, and modesty are no longer virtues. It may not be implicit on the face of each and every little card, but the seeds of impropriety and immodesty are being sown and they cannot be denied nor overlooked.

Cinderella is the wrong character to impose this kind of licentiousness upon. Tinkerbell might have been crafty, sneaky and even downright mean; but Cinderella? The Bratz seem to have been created for the express purpose of instilling sexuality and a mall mentality in the minds of young girls before the age of nine, but Cinderella? The extrapolation is sickening.

Why contort Cinderella? Why defame her good nature, undermine her humility and ridicule her femme sole? She could easily be the poster-girl for chastity and purity. I know the answers to my questions. If it can be instilled in the minds of girls at a young age that sexy, provocative dress, sly backward glances, and flirtatious body language "works" and gets them what they want, then why not start early? Its what boys look for and what they expect, isn't it? Cinderella was communicating the way girls ought to look and act, and chaste is not it.

Nevertheless, my girls did not notice Frankenrella.
[via The Rambling Prophet]

Disguising the path of death as a hidden and secret path towards divinity is the oldest lie around.
[via EternaLee]

Saturday, February 10, 2007

War Without, War Within...

In the aftermath of 9/11, Ehren Watada decided to join the U.S. Army specifically to be part of the effort to defend the nation in the "war against terrorism." Already a college graduate with a bright future, Watada was not part of the "poverty draft," but saw himself as a volunteer in a noble cause. Convinced by the Bush administration's case against Iraq, he joined specifically wanting to be deployed in Iraq. But, during officer training school, Watada learned Just War Theory and how it is (supposedly) embedded in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically in the difference between lawful orders, which must be followed, and unlawful orders, which must be refused. Watada also continued to follow the news and was astonished when no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq and, point by point, the Bush administration's case for the invasion (ius ad bellum, "justifications for the war" in JWT terms which must reach the level of a causus belli, a just reason for the war) fell apart.

By the time Watada's unit was to be ordered to Iraq, he came to the conclusion that the war was illegal under both U.S. and international law. Therefore, any order to deploy to Iraq was illegal and any orders he would give as an officer in that deployment would be illegal. So Watada refused to be deployed with his unit. Note carefully: He was not claiming to have become a conscientious objector. One can apply for CO status in the U.S. military (I did over 20 years ago when I became converted to gospel nonviolence), although it is harder to win that status during war time. But Watada had not embraced pacifism and had no objection to military service as such. He volunteered to be sent to Afghanistan (which still seemed justified in his view), instead.

He was charged with several counts of missing troop movements, refusing to follow orders, and conduct unbecoming an officer....

Naturally, a jury could decide that someone like Watada was wrong in application, but if judges rule that one may not even bring up the question of an order's legality, then what is the point of the distinction between lawful and unlawful orders? Deeply embedded in Just War Theory is the concept that unjust wars may not be fought and unjust actions in war must be refused. Is this a "live option" in the U.S. context? If not, can U.S. Christians who hold to JWT join the U.S. military? A "blank check" to the nation agreeing to fight any wars it wants to fight is ruled out by JWT, but is the U.S. effectively asking its citizens in uniform for such a blank check? If so, if adherence to JWT norms is impossible in the U.S. context, can U.S. Christians give it any support? Should they then re-investigate the claims of Christian pacifism?
[via Levellers]

Five Questions Your Pacifist Friends Are Tired of Answering
[via Burnside Writers Collective, HT: Eric at The Wittenburg Door's Chat Closet]

Friday, February 09, 2007

Love is...Crazy?

Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.

When the Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered Edna to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said, “Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged. Since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love, I have concluded that your act displays sound-mindedness. The bad news is, Jim hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.”

Edna replied, “He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?”

The moral: Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
[via My End of the Stick!, HT: The Boars Head]

Erroneous Fictions

Not all movies need to be faithful to history, whatever that might mean. Movies are a medium, and that medium can be used in a variety of ways, and no one thinks that it has to reflect historical scholarship acurately. Gladiator would not have been the movie it is, or Braveheart for that matter, had the historical record not be violated. But Christians need to be careful when the subject of movies are their history. Why? We tend to construct naive hagiographies that play into practices and beliefs that may be less than healthy.

Why might unmitigated praise for someone like Wilberforce have negative consequences for Christians? For one, it can produce a mythology about the man that when questioned leaves us feeling deceived. Wilberforce was a man of his times, and exhibited as many vices as virtues. As Christians we should not shirk from acknowledging this. Many Christians I know praise Wilberforce because they want to believe that Christianity is solely responsible for abolition, just as many wish to believe that the root of modern science and all its benefits are due to Christianity. Whatever the truth of these kinds of statements - and there is a grain of truth to them - when uttered without due caution and self-criticism they can lead to bloated self-imagery, and a self-understanding based on erroneous fictions.
[via Prolegomena]

Saving Lives or Preventing Sex?

Religious Right leaders are opposing the use of a vaccine that could save the lives hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. Additionally, they are attacking Rick Perry, Texas's conservative Republican governor, for taking action to ensure that no young Texas women die from a preventable form of cancer.

Perry issued an executive order requiring girls to receive a vaccine to protect against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer....

Why would pro-life Christians oppose such life-saving measures? Because HPV is contracted though sex, and these Christian leaders fear the vaccinations would then encourage young women to become promiscuous. In this mindset, preventing sex becomes the first priority, even over saving lives....

Thus, it seems that the dominant position for many conservative Christians is not being pro-life but actually being anti-sex. After all, CWA's Wright claimed that Perry's action required "little girls to be shot with a sex virus vaccine."

Tragically, this extreme anti-sex ideology may be a death sentence for some women who have committed no sexual sin. Consider the woman who faithfully waits until marriage only to get HPV from her husband who did not wait. This faithful Christian woman could be given a death sentence because of the anti-sex policies of the Religious Right.

Consider the woman who is raped and given HPV. This innocent woman could be given a death sentence because of the anti-sex policies of the Religious Right. The case of rape by a parent or close relative undermines the argument of Religious Right leaders like Land and Perkins that getting the vaccine should only be the decision of the parents.

Or consider the woman who grows up in a non-Christian home but after a few years of unfulfilling sexual activity repents and begins to live a godly life. Shortly after beginning her new life she discovers she has cervical cancer. This new Christian woman could be given a death sentence because of anti-sex policies of the Religious Right.

Even if none of these cases were true and every woman who got cervical cancer from HPV was unrepentant and promiscuous, should they be denied a life-saving vaccine? What is really more important: stopping promiscuous sex or saving lives? What should the Christian response be? Should we cast the first stone because the women deserve death?
[via, HT: For God's Sake Shut Up!, emphasis mine]

Character Advancement

The Canadian Blood Services is missing out on an untapped demographic (literally) by not pimping themselves to the high school and university geek-gaming crowd. I realised this earlier in the week while sitting in the comfy donor's chair for my 57th blood-letting, and later, when I had my free soup and cookies while reading a pamphlet that revealed, from a poll, that Canadians assume about 24% of the population are blood donors, when the real number is only 3.7%. Three point seven percent.

I tie this to the blood that's wastefully roiling about the circulatory systems of countless thousands of gaming geeks across the country because it was only a couple of weeks ago I got my silver donor card in the mail to replace my old bronze one. 50 donations versus 25. That's when it hit me: I just levelled up. Hell, 43 more times and I'll get my gold card for 100, baby!

....There's a sticker on the back of donor cards that lists the number of previous donations with room underneath to mark the date of the 10 most recent. When those ten are filled up: new sticker, new total. That's when I realised that giving blood is like gaming in real life.

Part of the appeal of geek gaming (Dungeons & Dragons, role playing video games) is the immersion in some other realm. Playing make believe. The other part of the appeal that doesn't get as much lip service is character advancement. That final member of the rabid herd of three-legged albino unicorns is finally slain, the experience points divvied up, and your quondam hanger-on of a party mage, having bided her time, has now been imbued with the ability to cast Fireball! Who's laughing now??

Apply that same thinking to giving blood, and for some, a satisfying sense of altruism looks a little sweeter when you know you have to earn a gold card. I seriously get a little tingle when I see the nurse write down the date of my donation every week or two. It's like experience points. I'm one step closer to a new sticker on the back of my card, and a smaller step closer to that gold card. Gamers know they have to start at Level One and are wired to work for little or no reward knowing the delayed gratification that comes with levelling up. They would make perfect blood donors.

An added incentive is knowing that they're in the top 4% of something. That's the 96th percentile, man! Do you know how many standard deviations away from the mean that is? Neither do I, off hand, but that sort of thing is significant to the type of person who'll go without sleep for most of a weekend to get that +5 longsword he knows is at the end of the quest.
[via Simian Farmer]

Real and With Mistakes

Every once and awhile I get ticked off at the world in general. Actually, it happens at least a few times nearly every day. Today was certainly no exception.

Early this morning my Mom and I took the bus downtown together. There's a guy who gets on the bus at our stop, and on Thursday mornings his girlfriend is already on from a previous stop and saves a spot for him. They usually get really close, kiss until they near the borderline of making out in public (but don't really cross it), then get off and walk to the Tim Hortons, holding hands. It's a joyful reunion for them, and they always seem so happy... I've seen them on the bus for over a year. Every Thursday when we're on the bus together, the four of us, my Mom scoffs at them with commentary. Depending on my mood, I may or may not reply, or react, or scoff.

Today my Mom said, "I know a cure for that kind of behavior! Marriage!" She laughed cynically. An understandable opinion from her point of view.

"Mom, that's not funny." I said sadly. And it isn't.

We've been studying the "white wedding" and wedding photos meme in Art History - and before you go all internet culture on me, the word meme existed long before the internets. And it's pronounced mem, not Me-Me. And it means a small unit of well to universally known, rapidly shared culture that acts much like genetics. Anyway, one of the things that was said in class that totally floored me - made me wonder why I'd never seen it before - is that marriage in pop culture is one of two things. Happily ever after... or laughably dysfunctional. Not interesting, not loving, not realistic. Mostly, there are no visual or cultural representations of a "good" marriage. At all. Just try to think of one. If there is, it's just vague - the marriage is good and they get on with the story, right? So where do we learn, as humans with all learned behaviours - to be married? From your parents, for one. Which helps the whole dysfunctional world to stay that way. And helps people like me with no father figure to become a negative statistic....

It makes me wonder. Sometimes when my dog comes to just spend time with me, gaze adoringly into my eyes as I pet him - I wonder about long term relationships of unconditional love, like the one I have with my dog. Where you're just happy to see the person at the end of the day. Sharing a meal together is a big deal. Enjoying their presence beside you completes the picture. That's all you really care about.

And then there's the tiny concept in the back of my mind that re-iterates that relationships and marriages... they aren't really about sex. They're about the relationship, and the sex is a bonus. Society doesn't treat it that way, though. Culturally, marriage is just about monogamous sexuality. Forget a great relationship. Drama is fine, and funny is great. But real? Real and with mistakes, without perfect lighting or consistently dramatic moments... That's a real adventure.
[via Do me a favour, would you sing this to me slow]

Why basing life on bad movies is to be avoided
[via Charming, but Single]

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Sinner's Dilemma?

One of the least fruitful dead-ends in any online discussion forum is the Eternally Refined Analogy.

Someone attempts to illustrate their argument with an analogy which, being only an analogy, is not perfectly equivalent to the gist of what they're trying to say. And with startling speed, the original matter of the argument is abandoned and the conversation becomes primarily about criticism and refinement of the analogy.

Part of the reason I've never been particularly fascinated with game theory is that it reminds me of this phenomenon. It seems a bit too much like one big round of the Eternally Refined Analogy....

I spent those years serving the Queen of the Sciences, and theology hasn't warmed up to game theory. (From what I've read of the Summa, though, I'd bet Thomas Aquinas would've loved it).

It's difficult for theologians to hear the intricately refined scenarios posed by game theorists without hearing the unspoken preface, "And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him." So if presented with something like the prisoner's dilemma, a theologian is likely to respond with something like, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves ..."

But, unlike Jesus, I'm going to try to provide a straight answer here and describe three different theological objections to the prisoner's dilemma.

{read the rest...}
[via slacktivist]

Disordered Love and Lisa Marie Nowak
[via Faith Dance]

Monday, February 05, 2007

[HT: creator's canvas]

There is a distant ache within,
one that reminds me that the body is not complete,
one that haunts me in the safety of my home,
and the comfort of my pillow.

It screams of injustice,
of my sisters (who are not yet akin to me):
the ones who are grossly oppressed,
whose bodies are burned
from the loss of all hope.

{the rest of the poem}

Give A Little Love
[via For God's Sake Shut Up!]

Caution can cripple. Risk can ruin. Creativity can moderate.

God, Mammon and Ministry
[via I am a Christian Too]

Why I jumped on the climate change bandwagon
[via The Heresy]

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mr. Deity Superbowl Extra: The Press Conference
[via Mr. Deity]


[HT: Mr. Deity]

[HT: Francis Stokes]

The Grinch Who Stole the Super Bowl
[via The Thinklings]

Real Sportsmanship...

For the winning Super Bowl team, the season's journey will end in victory in Miami. But the losing team will be seen as winners in Africa for a long time, thanks to a partnership between the NFL and World Vision. The incorrectly titled but perfectly good losing team's NFL-licensed apparel will bring joy to people living in extreme poverty in the coming months.

Since 1994, World Vision has been accepting hundreds of official shirts and hats from the Super Bowl. Instead of being disposed of, they are shipped from the event site to World Vision's Gifts-in-Kind Distribution Center in Pittsburgh, PA. From Pittsburgh they join shipments of other goods requested by World Vision field staff and are then distributed to children and families living in extreme poverty. Many of these recipients have never owned a new shirt in their lives.

World Vision also receives the merchandise of other team that advance and win through the playoffs. Shirts are produced with the logos of all playoff teams. When teams are eliminated, those shirts are not salable and they become available for donation and use outside the United States.

Currently, World Vision is permitted to distribute these products in 25 African countries (all of which already receive other goods through World Vision's Gifts-in-Kind delivery and distribution system). There are also four Eastern European countries in which World Vision distributes on a limited basis In recent years, donations have gone to Sierra Leone, Niger, and Uganda.
[via Bible Belt Blogger]

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Children See. Children Do.
[via Unfinished Christianity]

Valentine’s Day is Over-Genitalized
[via Experimental Theology, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

How an Intellectual Could End Up a Prophet


Hendricks v. Swan, 2007 SKQB 36 (35 pages)[pdf]:

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench released the decision in a child custody case where a biological mother placed her baby in the care of a third party family without the consent of the biological father. Based on the evidence, the Court found that the child’s best interests were served by granting custody to the third party family.

The Court found the biological father capable of providing a positive adult presence in the baby’s life, but not in a parental role. For the benefit of the child, the court ordered a one-year period of “familial calm” to facilitate bonding and attachment. As such, the biological father will not resume access for a period of one year, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

In arriving at this result, the court stated that the paramount consideration is always the best interests of the child. The court must determine which environment best provides for all of child’s needs. While blood ties are one factor, they must be considered from the point of view of the significance to the child, rather than the significance to the biological parent. Any factor, including kinship, must remain subject to the best interests of the child. The Court must also consider the uncertainties associated with transferring a child from a known situation of security and stability to a situation with many unknowns. In the case of an infant, the Court must consider the potential harm to a child in disrupting attachments have developed or are almost formed.
An interesting discussion occurs here at the Rotten Tomatoes Forums.

Personal observations:
  • If the biological mother aborted instead, this complicated process could've been avoided.
  • Family members want things simple, even if it's not the best.
  • Good intentions and leverage can blur together.
  • Timing is something, but where you stand is everything.

Conscientious Objectors?

Right now in Canada there are two cases before the courts which pit the religious freedom of an individual against the law of the land. In the first, two BC parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses will go before the Supreme Court of British Columbia because three of their four surviving sextuplets were given blood transfusions against their wishes. The children were legally removed from their parent's care long enough for the transfusion to take place.

In the other case, a marriage commissioner here in Saskatchewan is being brought before a Human Rights Tribunal because he refused to perform a same-sex marriage. Orville Nichols, who is a Baptist, does not believe in same-sex marriage and refused to perform the ceremony even though as a marriage commissioner he is legally obligated to do so.

When does the religious freedom of the individual trump the law of the land? As a country, Canada has been known for it's tolerance. Sikh's who become members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are allowed to wear their turban instead of the standard RCMP head wear. The college I went to had a prayer room set aside so that Muslim students could fulfill their prayer obligations. But what about the two recent cases I outlined above, are we as a country guilty of selective tolerance?
[via The Headbanger Theologian]