Thursday, December 25, 2008

A tent among us
[via this article, HT: slacktivist]

Let Dawn Break In Us

Let healing dawn in our wounds.
Let comfort dawn in our afflictions.
Let honesty dawn in our half-truths.
Let forgiveness dawn in our bitterness.
Let compassion dawn in our indifference.
Let joy dawn in our sorrows.
Let courage dawn in our fears.
Let hope dawn in our despair.
Let dawn break as the song of the angels bursting forth to sing in our hearts. {full post}
[from Dr. SusanM. (Elli) Elliott, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Thank-you God, for sneaking ever so quietly into this world. Keep being patient with us. {full post}
[via Tim Sean Youmans]

Just In Case

"One time on Hollywood Boulevard I saw a young girl with a baby. It was a crisp winter morning & her hair shone dark purple in the sun. She was panhandling outside the Holiday Inn & the door clerk came out & told her to be on her way & I wondered if anyone would recognize the Christ child if they happened to meet. I remember thinking it's not like there are any published pictures & purple seemed like a good color for a Madonna so I gave her a dollar just in case." -storypeople
[via biscotti brain]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Abuse

In the course of my on-going research on domestic violence I keep an eye on the news. Right now there are articles literally every day about how the economic downturn is sparking a rise in the rates of domestic violence. DV rates are usually up this time of year and with the additional stress of people losing jobs and the overall economic recession, marital abuse rates are even higher than usual.

It occurred to me, however, that for women walking in this situation it would be very easy to see the reality backward. I would have seen it that way — I did see it that way when I was in it....

No matter how much the holidays may bring additional stress or how much additional stress the economic recession may cause, these are not an excuse for marital abuse. All these circumstances do is provide an opportunity to reveal a person’s choices to be an abuser. The abuser is an abuser because that is their choice - the circumstances just give them another chance to show it. {full post}
[via Because It Matters ~ Abuse & Christianity]

If You Were Born Today

This song gets the meaning of Christmas about as clearly and as jarring as possible. Truly fantastic song and it packs a theological punch.{more}
[via Notes From Off-Center]

Not Holiday-only

Is The Onion on this? Is this National Lampoons ? Or Landover Baptist ? Or the Daily Show ?

Check this out: German Politicians want holiday pews reserved for regular congregants, not the holiday-only attendees. Yes, it's true! {continue...}
[via Hacking Christianity]

Church and State on Jan. 20: An Advent Reflection
[via ThinkChristian.NET]

For You...A Savior

You’ve been given a great gift in your honest struggle and confession of being a loser. You’re on the way. You’re on the road. Don’t whine about it. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the broad evangelical Disneyland as your destination. You’re at that point where George Bailey stood on the bridge. You can despair….and jump. Or you can know that God has sent his hope, love and good news to you in a barn, where shepherds worship in tearful silence; where a man receives a gift he never created; where a virgin says yes even to the unthinkable that grace can do the impossible.

Go there, Ted. Find that place. Go as a struggler, a loser, one with nothing. Go and know that this, and all it means and will ever mean, is for you. For you….a savior. A savior of strugglers, losers and worse.

your friend and fellow loser,

Michael {full post}
[via, HT: My End of the Stick!]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking For A Kinder Way

I'm a day late. Yesterday, my friend Adele (Existential Punk) posted an e-mail she sent to Parag Mehta, Barack Obama's Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) liaison, regarding the president-elect's recent announcement of inviting Rick Warren to give the prayer invocation at his inauguration....

On one hand, I think Obama's pick was politically daring and even savvy. Perhaps he can prove himself to some of the naysayers calling him a "Secret Muslim." But do those paranoid folks deserve to be placated?

I also think Obama's pick is an important reflection of his own character: Obama doesn't see the world in black-and-white, and he is tirelessly committed to building bridges and finding common ground. I can always get behind that!

But I do understand why my friend Adele is hurt by this move. And so I am wounded with her. Warren's political stance on homosexuality (apart from his theological stance, which could be manifested much differently) is inappropriate for a so-called progressive, 21st Century evangelical who claims to care about human rights.

Let James Dobson and Pat Robertson fight their culture wars. I wish Warren had emerged as a clear alternative for conservative-leaning Christians, looking for a kinder way.

Instead, this is becoming the wrong kind of political fodder, at a time when American needs hope, unity and grace the most.{full post}
[via Emerging Christian]

Ambitious Bit

I have mixed feelings about President-elect Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration in January.

On the one hand, liberals are throwing a hissy fit, which is always nice (though I continue to pray for their ultimate salvation, of course). And it’s good to see a fellow Southern Baptist pastor receive such public validation, especially when he has recently jumped aboard the anti-gay marriage bandwagon.

On the other hand, I fear that Warren, who is a bit of a Pollyanna, will blow this opportunity to aggressively promote the evangelical agenda.

Any preacher worth his salt knows that an invocation is not really a prayer—it is a chance to tell God things He already knows as a means of educating your listeners on right-thinking values. And Warren will have a boatload of listeners to educate come January 20th! So here is a suggested “prayer” that I will be passing along to Rick: {continue...}
[via Reverend Right`s Blog]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

But If You Are Alive...

One note said:

“It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep.”

That is a gift,

if you are dying.

That is the only thing you can give your family and the people that love you....

But if you are alive,

if you still have years ahead of you, if you are still above ground, breathing and living, that note is not a gift.

It is a curse. {full post}
[via The Prodigal Jon]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebration For The 'Have-Nots'

As I chat with people, loneliness is named most often as the reason why people find Christmas difficult.

It’s easy to say lonely people have the wrong perspective. Let’s look deeper. Our letter-boxes contain sales catalogues with jewellery that lovers can exchange for Christmas, spa packages for couples, and menus for the family roast. We walk into shopping centres filled with people rushing, pushing, bumping, focused on making their Christmas perfect. Around the corner are pictures of starry-eyed children singing Christmas carols. The television airs movies about love, and families. Everything seems geared up to tell those feeling they have not, how much they are missing out on.

If we are using this time to celebrate Christ’s birth: let’s get with it! Christmas is not about the ‘haves’, it’s a celebration for the ‘have-nots’.....

If God had decided to hang out only with agreeable heavenly beings, where would we all be?

What do we really need to celebrate Christmas? {full post}
[via Musings of a Third Culture Kid]

That Would Take An Inspiration

Anyone else inundated with bright colored dancing cute things' ads telling you life isn't complete if you don't go to (your ad here)? And I got a kick out of seeing somewhere that there is a new way to view the festive Saturnalia/(your holiday of choice here) which is a big new sales event on Saturns.

This isn't just a season that threatens those now jobless with a bad time, it seems to be hell on wheels for shopaholics. I may have to get that Chia pet... to put away for next year. Okay, what I really want is some flight shoes....

Without the rampant buying spree that the Saturnalia season has become for those businesses, there will less for all those welfare CEO's.

Desperate times might remind our corporate sector that without a living wage, consumers mysteriously disappear. That would take an inspiration. Well, 'tis the season.{full post}
[via cab drollery, HT: The Seminal]

Have Yourself a Peace and Justice Christmas
[via cheaper than therapy, HT: Jordon Cooper]

The Reason For Everything

Ponder this for a while: Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season; he’s the reason for everything!


Jesus is the reason everything exists in the first place.

Jesus is the reason anything exists at all.

Jesus is the reason anything still exists.

All of creation, that includes you and me, is for Jesus.

And he became one of us, so that he might reclaim that which was his by right anyway...only because of the incarnation, death and resurrection, everything becomes his in fact.

My question for you:

How should this truth affect how I think, act, feel and live? {full post}
[via The Thinklings]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Being Warm in the Cold

(also on Twitter: salvationarmysk)

Salvation Army Community Centre: It's cold outside

How we handle the extreme cold at the Centre
[via Weblog: News from the Salvation Army Community Centre, HT: Jordon Cooper]

Since we are now thigh deep in the giving season, I feel it is pertinent to share my complete and total disgust with the fact that shoppers trampled a man to death on Black Friday. If you're not familiar with the story, and don't mind having your faith in humanity tested, read more here. A few onlookers even stopped shopping long enough to make jokes about how overweight the person was that they had just killed in their haste to save five bucks on a panini maker....

In order to maintain my giving spirit in the face of such a dreadful story, I've decided to give you five good reasons to do your shopping at your local Deseret Industries, Salvation Army or other community thrift store: {full post}
[via East Coast Frost]

Wonder and Space...

Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar 2008
[via The Big Picture, HT: Bene Diction Blogs On]

How Long?

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

Almost eighty generations. Almost two thousand years.

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

Countless wars. Countless plagues and famines and floods.

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

We are bleeding.

How long?

We are suffering.

How long?

We are dying.

How long?

Our hearts are breaking.

How long?

Our minds are breaking.

How long?

Our bodies are breaking.

We are still waiting.{continue...}
[via On Journeying with those in Exile]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Envy, Justice and Dogs

Scientists have demonstrated that dogs can feel envy. So says The New York Times and so says National Geographic.

But scientists have not, in fact, done any such thing. What they actually seem to have demonstrated about dogs is far more interesting. The experiment in question actually had little to do with the deadly sin of envy and quite a bit to do with the cardinal virtue of justice. {continue...}
[via slacktivist]

Monday, December 08, 2008


Last year, someone gave my family an "Elf on the Shelf." If you're not familiar with it, it's essentially a small elf in a box and a book. The book tells you that you're supposed to hide the elf each night during the holiday season and let your kids find it. It's magic or a messenger of Santa or something. It was wildly popular last year and is probably continuing to sell well this Christmas too.

But as I started to think about the whole "real meaning of Christmas" debate and "is Santa bad" discussion that you almost are required by law to have if you’re a Christian blogger, I started to think about that elf. He was just sitting there with a smug look on his face perched on the fireplace mantle looming over our nativity scene below on the hearth. Instead of the traditional Santa vs. Jesus discussion, I began to imagine what would happen if that elf ever ran into the characters from the nativity scene. What would that conversation look like? I present you:

Elf on the shelf meets the characters from the nativity scene.{continue...}
[via Stuff Christians Like]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

For December 6th...

There are many reasons Amir and others are so harsh toward predators and abusers, especially toward children. One of those reasons is the long-term struggle of the victim/survivor to understand and identify and accept healthy love and affection throughout their lives. This is certainly true of me. I have prayed for many, many years that God would reveal His love to and toward and for me in tangible ways that would enable me to internalize real love.

I have mentioned before that my fiance is not what I was looking for but is everything I need and was afraid to need. What he is and has been is a man who loves me unconditionally and with extreme patience. When I share (appropriate) details about how he treats me with my close friends, their jaws drop in awe and shock. He is truly rare among men, and God is using him to express His love in real and tangible ways that I will eventually internalize over time.

I know this may seem simple to many, and I know it is difficult to explain to those who have never experienced abuse. My parents, grandparents, ex-husband, ex-in-laws have all abused me. So, for my whole life I have longed for this kind of love. How odd, then, it is that I have such a difficult time receiving this kind of love. I continue to be cautious, fearful. He continues to be firm, patient, solid.

These truths became poignant again this evening. {continue...}
[via Amir Larijani and the Order of Recon]
what is your pain

i will stop being woman and
become a human being

here i tip the contents out
that i hope others share
not some private event
not what has happened

but what is real to all of us
we suffer from being human

[from this poem via Suzanne's Bookshelf, also: A Sombre Trio]

Happy Birthday, Dan!

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

(Anais Nin)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flesh, Blood and Soul

There is a raging new interest in vampires this weekend, at least for those inclined to go see the new movie, Twilight, Stephenie Meyer's story that in book form sold 1.3 million. These 'paranormal romances' or 'urban fantasies' spin around human females falling in love with supernatural beings (vampires, gods, fairies, werewolves) .

I have not seen the movie, but I'd like to point out that a common theme exists in these vampire romances. The heroine is captivated by the perfect man: lovely body, rich, well-dressed and someone better than her, a man both strong and consuming. This is a formula the Bronte sisters introduced in the characters of Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre). Men who were passionate, gifted in lifting their beloved into irrational, but sumptuous heights of erotic love. Men who were powerful, rich, darkly handsome, mysterious, even controlling sometimes cruel, but so dang sexy. They were irrisistible....

Deep down I believe most women struggle with a desire to be exalted by a man mysterious and otherworldly (be it Lydia's Wickham, Jasmine's Alladin or Bella's Edward in Twilight), a man worthy of joining, uniting to, a man stronger, better than us. The female captivation with men who are "out of our league" tells me more about the state of women's souls, than the reality of the number of good men on planet earth. It tells me that we're more in love with our version of romance, than we're in love with a real man of flesh and blood and soul.

My concern, here, is that these longings are not worthy of the image-bearers of God that we are. We cannot dream of a romance between "unequals", and then expect a marriage of mutual love and respect, of partnership, unity, sexual satisfaction and enduring warmth. If we expect that a man with the prowess of a Mr. Rochester or a vampire-powered Edward will appear in our lives, we can safely assume that 20 years into our marriage we will find ourselves much more like Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice than Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy.
[via Jonalyn Grace Fincher]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

“Heaven is where love is no longer linked to loss.”
[via VanderMeander]

Really Passionate?

So... I finally read an e-book of Twilight last night, and... I kind of love it like cake. With rainbow sparkles sprinkles. Carried in by ponies. Pink ponies. If I had a hard copy, I would snuggle it. I'm going to read the other two, but they'll have to wait until I reread the first one again. Note: I also own and have seen Van Helsing about fifteen times, so... my loving something is not necessarily the most ringing endorsement in the world. I'm just saying.

So, in a nutshell, here's what the book is about: Bella's an angsty teen girl in a new town, and Edward's a sparkly vampire. No, really....

A lot of people are really passionate about these books. Some of them love and defend them passionately; others... well. I'm not going to defend them any more than I'm going to defend Twinkies--you go and get yourself a Twinkie when you have a very specific kind of craving SUGARRRRR!. If you want gourmet pastry, or even a homemade cake, you know where to get that. If you're eating a Twinkie, you clearly know what you want and why you're eating it, and you know that it's not good to eat very many of them, but... you know... sometimes you just want one. And then when you're done you read it all over again. Apparently there are people who think that Twinkies count as fine dining, but... well, live and let live, I guess.

But I do have three theories as to why the books are so popular, and they all complement each other--that is to say, I think they're all working simultaneously {whole post}
[via Occupation Girl]

OVERSOLD: Pastor David Cowan, Hosea and Gomer, and the Story of Crissy Moran
[via Grace and Truth to You]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Autonomy and Alienation

Editor's note: Thirty years ago this month, a minister who had affiliated his congregation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) led his flock into a remote foreign jungle to escape nuclear conflagration, and then systematically murdered nearly 1,000 of them in what he chose to term “revolutionary suicide” — a deed for which he expected to be admired. Disciples minister Katherine Willis Pershey raises the key question, with a particular focus on her own denomination: “Could it happen again?”

Ask a dozen Disciples about any given theological or social issue, and you will receive a dozen different answers. For the most part, Disciples of Christ like it that way. They value their freedom. Church members do not want to be scolded by their pastors for what they believe. Disciples churches do not want their regional ministers to act as hierarchical bishops, interfering with call processes or showing up uninvited at board meetings to arbitrate congregational conflicts. No, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) proudly stands by its historical commitment to unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and in all things charity.

Yet the freedom this denomination holds dear in part enabled Jim Jones to lead the Peoples Temple Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ congregation, into unfathomable tragedy in Guyana on November 18, 1978. {continue...}
[via DisciplesWorld, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chance To Prove, If Not Secure

I sat on an ottoman wedged in the corner of the wine bar. It was after hours and I was providing support to one of our directors as he shot a focus group for a local ad agency. The shoot pretty much ran itself so my support ended up being more of the moral variety. It was a multi-night job and I spent most of the time surfing the internet and writing on my laptop. The groups, which consisted of African-American women of different age ranges were interesting to listen to…at first. The uncomfortable ottoman mixed with my own natural predisposition for boredom set me off in search of websites that featured shiny new gadgets of the plug-in variety.

When the moderator asked the women what an Obama victory would mean to them, I looked up from my screen. I was curious to hear the opinion of the election from the perspective of a Southern middle-class African-American woman. Many of the answers I anticipated. Words like, “empowerment”, “hope”, and “affirmation” were said. One unexpected word I heard was “anxiety”. The moderator asked the woman to clarify her statement, she continued to say, “Barack Obama is our chance to prove ourselves. If he is elected and fails, it will be devastating for African-Americans and who knows when we will get another shot?”

I knew what I was getting into with this blog. I fully intended to be an example of someone who was living as an active member of the church, but I have a very uncomfortable, shifting-my-chair feeling when people look to me as a “poster boy” for gay Mormons. Because, quite simply:

What if I fail? {continue...}
[via Soy Made Me Gay]

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Old-guard, New-guard

In the wake of the presidential election, who now speaks for American evangelicals? Will the generation of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Chuck Colson be replaced with a new cohort? Does the Democratic victory signal the end of the Religious Right as we know it? Will the Obama presidency give credence to left-leaning evangelical leaders such as Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and megachurch pastors such as Joel Hunter, both of whom personally know the president-elect?

....Is the Obama presidency the final nail in the coffin for the Religious Right? Don’t count on it. For one thing, political movements like the Religious Right don’t need a “god” to succeed, but they do need a devil. Nothing builds allegiances among a coalition like a common enemy....

Whatever happens in the months ahead, three things are certain. A new cohort of public figures will emerge, each claiming to represent American evangelicals. President-elect Obama will appoint a few of them to his administration, but none to high office. Second, the public disdain for the evangelical “brand” will subside a good bit as Bush-era religious conservatives fade from attention. Finally, by next fall, the Religious Right will solidify its support behind two or three newer figures as they seek to remake the movement’s public image.
[via The Immanent Frame, HT: Notes From Off-Center]

Barack Obama and the Empire: Where Do We Go From Here?
[via Reclaiming the Mission, HT: Faith Dance]

Friday, November 07, 2008

Means and Ends in Politics

McCain's confusion about the meaning of mavericity is resurfacing now in mirror-image form in the coalescing conventional wisdom that President-elect Barack Obama "must," above all, seek to govern in a "bipartisan" fashion.

McCain seemed to think that being a maverick was a virtue in itself and thus elevated the refusal to compromise above the substance of the principles about which one ought to refuse to compromise. In doing so, he confused the ends and the means. That same confusion underlies this talk of the paramount importance of bipartisanship. Bipartisanship and the willingness to compromise for the greater good may be necessary means, but they are not, in themselves, the ends or the ultimate principles or goals at stake. Elevating bipartisanship for its own sake above those ultimate principles and goals is the obverse of McCain's error in elevating contrariness above them.

I don't want a leader who thinks being a maverick is, in itself, the cardinal virtue. Nor do I want a leader who thinks that bipartisanship is, in itself, the highest good. I want a leader who doesn't confuse means and ends.

The good news is that I think maybe I have such a leader.
[via Slactivist]

Liberty Easy, Equality Harder

As a white American, who has never tasted discrimination, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for African Americans to grow up assuming that to reach highest office, one must be white. Remember that at this time Barack Obama is the only African American in the U.S. Senate. Last night's celebrations weren't just for Barack. They were celebrations of a milestone that spoke loudly to every person of color.

My friend and fellow Disciple historian, Mark Toulouse, has written an insightful piece for PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly entitled "The Economy of Equality," which explores the difference between liberty and equality. Liberty can be achieved much more easily through legislation than equality. The Voting Rights Act was enacted 43 years ago. It took that long to elect an African American President. For women, it shall be even longer. But someday, they will also see one of their own reach this pinnacle. {whole post}
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

HOW He Lost

We would have spent the past months listening to McCain and Obama debate policy. Talking about things that matter. Discussing how to fix the problems that America faces, and how to avoid more problems like them in the future. Maybe even our own "Santos/Vinick" debate. Instead, we got innuendo about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, an aunt in the country illegally, and Obama's middle name. We got shouts of "terrorist!" and "kill him!" at Republican rallies when Obama's name was mentioned.

John McCain could have raised the bar for political discourse in this campaign, and in so doing, he could have changed politics forever. He could have been remembered as the man who went toe-to-toe with Barack Obama, always respectful and thoughtful, debating ideas and not personalities, and went down swinging. He could have run a clean campaign, free of the innuendo and half-truths that we in the west have come to just accept as an inevitability of the political process. And if anyone on his campaign, from his VP pick to local poll captains, had done or said anything to contradict McCain's message of inclusion and respectful discourse, he could have sent them packing. He could have done all that, and restored America's faith, indeed all of Western Civilization's faith, in the capacity of politics to be about something other than the avaricious pursuit of power for power's sake, by any means necessary. He could have done it.

But John McCain surrendered. He gave up the moral high ground, and control of his own brand, in an effort to win power, and failed spectacularly.

John McCain let us all down not by losing, but in HOW he lost.
[via The Enlightened Savage, HT: Abandoned Stuff]

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wearing Many Masks

If you head to a Halloween party tonight in a devil's mask and a flowing red cape, you'll embody an array of ideas that might seem mutually exclusive: the allure of a Devil's Food Cake and the fear of the demon within, the cosmic enemy in a Jack Chick comic and a camp figure on South Park. Over the last two millennia, Satan has worn many masks. In the pluralistic postmodern era, he wears them all. {continue...}
[via reasononline]

"Is The Meaning Lost?"

Halloween? Reformation? Which is it?
[vika Kevin Powell]

Failed to Report?

No matter what happens in this year’s election, the conservative blogosphere deserves to win a collective Pulitzer Prize for its election-year coverage. While the mainstream media has given Americans a very distorted picture of Barack Obama, portraying him as a thoughtful, intelligent, unflappable, decent family man who has the temperament and judgment to be President, the conservative blogosphere has been the only place where you can get the real story. Hampered by quaint, old-fashioned rules of journalism that require citing evidence and reputable sources, the mainstream media has failed to report a number of important stories about Obama and the conservative blogosphere has had to step up and do the media’s job for them. As a public service I have collected some of the most important of these stories in one place. Pulitzer Prize judges, take note! {continue...}
[via Jon Swift, HT: Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy]

Church Treats

Last year, at the first house we visited on Halloween night, my two year old daughter McRae walked inside the minute the door was opened. Before the 75 year old man at the door could react, she had juked passed him and was deep into his living room exploring the place.

In her defense, Halloween is kind of confusing. For 364 days of the year we tell her not to accept candy from strangers. Then on Halloween, we dress her up as a big blue M&M and encourage her to use her hand as some sort of crane device to pick up the maximum payload possible when strangers offer her buckets of treats to choose from.

It would be a lot simpler if our church had a Halloween alternative event. {continue...}
[via Stuff Christians Like]

Obama, McCain & Canadian religious politics
[via Pulpit & Politics, HT: Bene Diction Blogs On]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

[HT: Culture Making]

With all the plastic surgery money could buy, you or I will never look like Princess Diana in her prime—but for absolutely no cost except a life of love, we could all look like Mother Teresa.
Culture Making, p.219

Monday, October 27, 2008


A Hero comes from the wilderness to cry out to the captives, pleading for them to awaken. This short film from Whitestone was in part inspired by "Plato's Cave" and depicts the struggle of freeing the captives, whomever they may be. This film is set to the song by the same name originally written for this film by the talented Wright Brothers: Nicholas Kirk and Billy Wilkerson.

Download the film and mp3 free at:

[HT: Hacking Christianity, from this post]

"Due to the limitations of your reality, some of your best friends can only enter incognito. In fact, the really big ones sometimes sneak through disguised as ugly monsters and vicious enemies. Otherwise, the guards at the gate would never let them through. These are the events optimists call, “blessings in disguise.”

Expand your mind, expand your world. Fire the guards, and perhaps these blessings won’t need such a bizarre entry anymore."
[via Po' Danyo]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lowered Standards

There is a great similarity between the Monarchists of post-Revolutionary France, and the conservatives in America in 2008, who intend to vote for Third Party Candidates. The Monarchists were holding out for a theoretical, potential future return of the Monarchy. Third-Party voters are holding out for the theoretical, potential true-conservative candidate. It is possible that, had they not obeyed the Pope, had the French continued to abstain from voting or running for office, one day the Monarchy would have been brought back to France. There is also a remote possibility that Third Party voters may, one day, bring about the nomination, in America, of a true conservative. And yet, and here is the point Pope Leo XIII made, Catholics are bound to live in the concrete reality in which God places them today. While not perfect, the good that would be accomplished by the French Catholics and the American conservatives, is at risk of not being done because of the pursuit of theoretical, potential, utopian possibility of perfection.
[via Taliban Rising]

Weirded Out

I felt so glad to be inside.

What puzzles me is that people buy these spooky things, they think it's fun, part of getting into the "halloween spirit", I suppose. And I'm the type of girl who LOVES having any excuse to dress up (just ask my family). But the spooky, scary stuff you can keep....

I wonder if anyone else feels as weirded out and out-of-place as me? I wonder if the way I feel tonight is the way early Christians felt all the time....vulnerable, surrounded by pagan ideas that dehumanized their friends and family. Did they see friends coming back from the temple with hair shaven off and cuts on their body, proof of their devotion to Artemis? Did they witness the degredation of a sister turned into a temple prostitue? Did they watch as neighbors purposefully invested in acts that twisted their humanity?

I feel like, tonight, I can taste the alien-like feeling early Christians must have felt. It makes me glad that Halloween comes only once a year.
[via Jonalyn Grace Fincher]

Sarah Palin -- You're no Aimee Semple McPherson
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thankful Acts

So what are you Thankful for?

That's the Question of the Day, isn't it? The question on everyone's lips.

I don't know about you but I always have trouble answering that question. It's not that I'm some sort of ungrateful lout, or that I think I deserve everything I have, or that in a quid pro quo world I think thankfulness is unnecessary.

It's just that there seems to be a “right” answer and a “wrong” answer to that question, a moral expectation every Thanksgiving. There are certain big ticket items that I'm obliged to be thankful for, and I'm supposed to walk right past the bargain bin, pretending its not there. {continue...}
[via The Word Proclaimed]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tangled History

Economy in a freefall. Political rhetoric. An apathetic electorate dismayed by the slide of their country into irrelevence. Theological liberalism. Doctrinal indifference.

America, 2008? {continue...}
[via, HT: The Daily Scroll]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lost In Their Own Journeys

How about this. I’m on a journey around the world. I have all my tickets purchased and my agendas. Sometime into my journey the travel becomes rocky … then, suddenly, everything is ripped from me … my tickets, my agendas, everything … including my identity. I’m alone in a foreign land with nothing but the clothes on my back. Oh, and two young children in tow who have also been stripped of everything, including their identities, except for the clothes on their backs. I am forced to figure out who I am, where I am, how to care for my children and myself, how to help them figure out who and where they are, etc.

Yet during this time, everyone else we were travelling with has moved on in the journey. There are points along the way we still see each other, such as educational and religious meetings. But it’s odd … because all these people have all these experiences we don’t have. They are refreshed, full of life and energy … and hope … and continued goals … moving forward.

Occasionally these people ask about us, but for the most part, they’re all lost in their own journeys. Meanwhile, we’re still struggling … trying to recreate our identities … to discover who and what we are … to reconfigure our futures, our journeys.

These years … where the rest of the world has moved forward … and we’ve been trying to heal and reconstruct our lives … these are The Lost Years.

It’s getting easier to see these differences, smile, and move on. But other times it’s all I can do not to cry.
[via The Order of Recon]

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Turning Things Upside Down

Sarah Palin has cast herself in the role of the populist, the maverick who will go to Washington and turn things upside down. She's the outsider, the breath of fresh air, uncorrupted by years in Washington. She combines this message with a religious air that reaches into a conservative Christian base for support. She opposes Roe v. Wade and gay marriage. She backed a bill that celebrated Christian Heritage week in Alaska and endorsed the teaching of creationism (or ID -- that's not been clear), and carries herself with a sense of righteousness that is rooted in Christian populism. Robert McElvaine compares her Christian populism with that of another outsider, William Jennings Bryan. In some ways they share belief systems, but the recipient of their ardent attacks are very different. Palin attacks the elite (media, Hollywood, educational establishment) while Bryan attacked the "Interests," Wall Street financiers and corporate leaders. a group that has not received (at least until now) attention from the Right. It's an interesting piece published today in Sightings.{read on...}
[HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Our world glamorizes personal intimacy. But intimacy is more talked about than experienced because it is a painful process. It involves risks, possible misunderstandings, vulnerability, perhaps even losing something of oneself to the other person. Relating to the other as person means giving him or her free space to be truly a person. It means foregoing the temptation to impose our own will on the other. There is joy in personal relationship, but the joy comes by way of death to self. Giving, listening, and personal intimacy are painful processes, but they are also renewing processes that form our communal character."
Simon Chan, Spiritual Theology [HT: Faith Dance]

In God We Trust-- an Essay on the Idolatry of Security
[via Ben Witherington]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unexpected Possibility of Power

This twisting of feminist history and rhetoric to protect a champion of anti-feminist causes, traditionalism and sex-kitten objectification, is particularly unnerving for exactly the reasons that Palin's biggest supporters claim it is: for its elevation of antifeminist "real women" as icons of rebellion against a supposedly powerful and elite feminist status quo (however depressing it is to begin untangling that premise)....

That Esther's biblical fame is actually due to her subversion of that submissive role — using her beauty in order to save her people from genocide — seems fitting for the sort of adulation conservative Christians have for Palin in hailing her as the right woman for the times. They linger on her victimization at the hands of a cruel media — with Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America demanding that the media "Stop Bullying Sarah!" and offering Palin, post Charlie Gibson-interview, comforting words against Washington, D.C. "data robots" who know nothing of heartland values — while at the same time crowing about the hidden power that Palin will tap into. As Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition declares, trying his hand at coining demographic catch phrases, arguing that Palin has energized a groundswell of "Faith Moms."

..."Faith moms," "hockey moms" or "real women," the formula for the campaign is the same, yet another twist on the Esther story: the conservative argument that not only can traditional submissive wifehood hold unexpected possibilities of power, but a step further to the coercive promise that women's return to more traditional roles is the only avenue through which they will find power.
[via Religion Dispatches, HT: Benediction Blogs On]

Healing And No Ammunition

One thing I've learned in life is that you can't stop a bullet without something getting destroyed.

I'm talking about emotional hurt, the kind of things that are symptomatic, those moments that prove beyond doubt that human beings are flawed in how they relate. When someone takes something you value and treats it with contempt or apathy, the pain is like a bullet, a small thing, that with the speed of a moment penetrates and damages. Words, too are tools, for destruction or for building. Sometimes what is left unsaid is a weapon, too.

Some of the smallest moments become that bullet. You can tell someone outside the bubble about that moment that wounded you, and they may laugh at you and tell you it's only a small thing. And that it is. Bullets don't crush you, they riddle you with holes that drain life. In some relationships the wounds heal and the scar disappears, and in some one wound lays open for a long time, and in others you lie bleeding for what seems like years, and sometimes it is: decades....

You have the choice to know and be known. If you never let anyone past the wall, the medic won't get in either. Somebody out there has the power to fix you, or at least to try. All hands can be healing hands or weapons, and words can heal or hurt. We have choices. And the biggest choice is not to be the violent one who causes the pain. We fail so often at such a simple thing, but it's a choice we have to keep making over and over again: to be one who brings healing and not ammunition.

It's your choice. The only way to stop a bullet without sustaining damage is leaving it in the box. You can't stop someone else's bullets, but at least you can stop your own.
[via You saved my life from a colorless one]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Opportunity and Significance

So then, how have the various culture warriors responded to Sarah Palin, whose behavior and beliefs seem to fall into both conservative and feminist camps, yet cannot readily be defined by either? As it turns out, the old alignments have for the most part remained intact, yet with some subtle shifts, and the priorities of the right and the left regarding the women issue have been clarified in some surprising ways.

Actual feminists hate Sarah Palin. With one voice. There is no accommodating her in that camp. These are the left-wing, non Bible believing, abortion “choice” fanatics. Adherence to abortion “rights” is their litmus test, and it is enforced as rigidly and religiously as the patriarchal-complementarian (PC) institutions enforce adherence to “male headship,” and by the same means: censuring and ostrasizing all who do not pass the litmus test. This, then, is why feminists in the current culture refuse to acknowledge Feminists for Life as truly feminist (an organization of which Palin is a member)—even though abortion is the only significant point at which FFL breaks ranks with current, orthodox feminism. (There are a number of feminist issues that they don’t directly address, since their main focus is on saving unborn babies from destruction.) Albert Mohler says he cannot understand why feminists (such as Sally Quinn of the “On Faith” blog) are critical of Sarah Palin. After all, isn’t Palin demonstrating distinctly feminist proclivities? Well, Dr. Mohler, this is why.

On the other hand, staunchly PC mainstream evangelicals love Sarah Palin. But not quite with one voice. They offer diverse and somewhat inventive rationales for why a woman may be fit to lead the free world but never a small church congregation. I have surveyed numerous PC responses to Sarah Palin’s candidacy for Vice President. Diverse though the rationales may be, there is one consistent thread: A woman can be as competent as a man in high-level political leadership. Whatever the God-given “difference” may be between male and female, it is not the ability to govern in secular leadership positions. Whew! That is certainly a huge reversal of the traditional view of the difference between men and women. What, I wonder, have become of the PCs who believe that women just don’t have the gift of leadership? That God has not equipped women to rule, and especially not to rule men?

So we now see clearly that the primary concern of both the PCs and the secular feminists is the issue of “abortion rights.” The secular feminists would really like to have a woman in the white house—but not unless she is there to promote the alleged “right” of a woman to kill her in utero child for the sake of her personal convenience. The PCs really want all women to be subordinate and domestic—unless a woman is ready and willing to serve as a pro-life advocate in the White House.....

The Sarah Palin phenomenon seems to have given some PC women permission to express their suppressed yearnings for freedom, opportunity and significance outside the home (yet without dismissing their domestic duties).

Indeed, one must endorse the basic, early concept of feminism—that a woman should have opportunity to serve in a vocation outside the home—if one is to endorse Sarah Palin as a good choice for Vice President of the U.S. This is logically entailed and evidently readily recognized as such by those of the PC perspective.

So, it seems we’re all feminists now. No longer may “feminism” universally serve as the f-word. Its meaning now must be qualified. Sarah Palin is a feminist and a Bible believing Christian and is radically (that is, she lives it out) pro-life. No longer can PCs insist on labeling biblical egalitarians “evangelical feminists”—by by which they have meant “feminists who ‘purport’ to believe the Bible.” Feminism can no longer be snidely and categorically dismissed as “liberalism.” It must finally be recognized that there are strongly pro-life Christians who also want to see women break out of their conservative evangelical subculture and take up their freedom in Christ to speak to and influence the world and the church with the wisdom and talents God has given them.
[via Men and Women: Leaders Together]

Related: Sarah Palin is a Christian feminist. What is a Christian feminist? via Complegalitarian

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sense of Manliness

And this comes from the Church for Men blog (catchy blog name). This blogger, David Murrow, knows Sarah Palin personally and also is writer of Why Men Hate Going to Church. The post is innocuous banter about personal experience notwithstanding the final graph....

I find the comparison to Teddy Roosevelt quite odd--but maybe not. In Murrow's world, where church has to "restore the masculine spirit" perhaps his comparison of Palin to Roosevelt fits his perceived worldview quite nicely. Roosevelt was a president quite consumed with his own masculinity; one blogger even recently referred to him as the "manliest creature to have ever existed."

But in this world where the church has been robbed of its masculinity, has adopted the "Jesus is my boyfriend" persona, and church is tailored for women, Murrow advocates that a "strong shot of testosterone" needs to be injected into the church. This blurring of the lines in these people's theology is making my head hurt. In this world where feminism has bought Palin this opportunity to be John McCain's running mate (though not even a backward glance will be made toward feminsim, though she will enjoy the benefits), many men cannot be comfortable with Palin simply as a woman running for VP. So, we must liken her to manly Teddy Roosevelt and it takes a woman to bring this sense of manliness to the White House.{from this post}
[via The Rambling Prophet 2]

Assailed or Idealized

CNN’s John Roberts has recently mused about Sarah Palin’s relationship with her youngest child. He is quoted as saying, “Children with Down syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of vice president, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?”

Why oh why oh why are those questions not asked of fathers? Has anyone questioned Barack Obama about how he plans to balance being the president and not miss out on important years of his young daughters’ lives? Of course they don’t, because they assume Michelle Obama will take care of things....

While the skeptical words from people like John Roberts bother me, I am getting equally perplexed by how others want to play up the allure of Palin’s “supermom” status. Since when does being a supermom equate to having the credentials to be Vice-President of the United States? Why is there so much focus on her role as a mother? While it is understandable to show appreciation for Palin’s role as a mother, what we should be talking about are issues like her position on global warming, health care, the war in Iraq, and the economy, not her baby or her daughter’s pregnancy. What a grande distraction from the real issues! These concerns would not be the focus if Palin was a man.

Even in the midst of all the Palin adoration at the Republic National Convention, I still sense she is not being treated as an equal at all, but as a token woman being used to rally emotions. And that frustrates me as much as the outright misogyny and pejorative language that assailed Hillary Rhodham Clinton. Michelle Obama, too, has had to contend with sexism – and racism as well....

Whether a woman is being assailed or idealized on the basis of her sex, there really is little difference. In neither case is she being treated equally to a male candidate, who is not being evaluated based on his gender, how well he fits a gender role, or how well he parents. So, while the sexism at play with Hillary Rodhman Clinton might look completely different than the adoration given Palin by some enthusiastic voters, I would argue that there really is little difference at all.
[via 72-27]

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ache Beautiful
from the album "It's For You"

(Michael Roe)

you're so far away
and i won't see you any day soon
we came a long way
and now you want to fly to the moon
all alone going your own way
i thought i owned your love
and now you say

ache, ache beautiful for me
go along and ache
ache beauty babe

thought love was here to stay
for years, but now it's down to days
and it's one long long day
to Heathrow from Humboldt bay
love was a song we sang
so beautifully
and can it be gone permanently
and you say

ache, ache beautiful for me
come along and ache
ache beauty babe

yeah, ache, ache beautiful
but all this heart can do is break
so take a piece

you say you're young, too young
you want to just live for today
but true love don't come along every day
and you say

ache, ache beautiful for me
come along and ache
ache beauty baby

yeah, ache, ache beautiful for me
come along and ache
ache beautifully

yeah ache, ache beautiful for me
above me you can sail
duty free
and you say

ache, ache beautiful
but no heart ever breaks

© 1994 7 & 7 Is Music (ASCAP)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Made in China

China's Olympic Games began in Beijing in venues choked by smog and under the shadow of a crackdown on human rights and religious freedom.

The Chinese dazzled the world with an impressive and often intimidating opening night display of pageantry and technical flash.

Now millions of concerned Christians around the world are focused on China because of the Games and want to support believers there. But like the smog that cloaks the Beijing skyline, layers of cultural misperceptions, political biases and contradictory information conceal the actual status of the Chinese church from our view.

What's really going on with the church in China?

It's hard to tell what's real. At least that's been my experience. Maybe you'll do better at sorting it all out than I have. (The discovery that much of the Olympics fireworks display on opening night was computer-generated is perhaps emblematic of the problem).

The main issues first surfaced this year in the controversy over evangelizing at the Games. {continue...}
[via The Wittenburg Door]

Approaching Defeats

Before our morning Bible study some of us walk up to the local coffee shop, bypassing Starbucks. We're friends with the owners and the staff and we've been walking up there almost every day for a decade.

When Bill opens the place, he takes some time to banter with us, mostly making fun of our friend Gary. With nonstop Olympics coverage this week, Gary's been regaling us with stories of his glory days when he almost made the U.S. Olympic team in gymnastics in 1964.

Many of us have such stories-- the if-only tales of fame and success just out of reach.{continue...}
[via The Wittenburg Door]

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Not A Thing

It struck me recently that a lot of people think they know what’s wrong with this world, and it also struck me that they’re all wrong.

Seriously — almost every political and religious group, every opinionated person, every publication with an opinion, has said at one time or another what they think is wrong with this world.

Conservatives think that we’ve become a welfare state (giving too many handouts to the poor), while many liberals think we’ve allowed too much corporate welfare (and I tend to agree with this more — we give billions to corporations and much less to the poor and sick). Others think that abortion is the problem, others think it’s declining morals, others think it’s infidels, and others say it’s infidelity. Other things that are wrong with this world, depending on the group: the media, young people, environmentalists, McDonald’s, criminals, gays, black people, white people, foreigners overrunning our country, bigots, radicals, the Establishment, poor people, corporations, lazy people, evil people, Fox News, the Internet … the list could go on and on, obviously.

So what’s really wrong with the world, in my opinion?

Not a thing. {continue...}
[via Zen Habits, HT: Swinging from the Vine]

I am all for the institutions taking responsibility for reversing the injustices they have profited from. But the missing piece is “us”, not “them.” The real problem is that community cannot be created by direct deposit. The government cannot legislate away our selfishness and our fear of the “other.”
[via Under The Overpasses, HT: biscotti brain]

"We can talk on the phone as we eat fast food while using the ATM. Not only are we better at multitasking and becoming more productive and efficient, along with the increased pace, more is required of us. And so we hurtle through life faster and faster, becoming busier and busier. The result is that in our busyness we are becoming increasingly efficient at leading meaningless lives."
Don Whitney, professor, Midwestern Seminary [via]

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Painful, Humiliating Work

Imagine you are a filmmaker, an auteur who has just released a short film to the waiting public. Every image, every word was painstakingly chosen to convey a single message. This single-mindedness of theme is reflected in the tiniest details -- down to the style and coloring of every letter that appears onscreen. You edit and re-edit until every second, every frame reinforces this single theme. Your finished product is seamless, relentless, forceful and uncompromising.

Now imagine that after all that work, all that laborious craftsmanship, you find yourself forced to go before the public in order to deny that this single, unmistakable theme was the intent of your film. In interview after interview you are forced to lie again and again. "No," you say, "that's not what the film intended to convey, not at all."

Those interviews would be painful, humiliating work. Some part of you -- the craftsman, the artist -- might be secretly proud that your intended message had gotten through as clearly as you had hoped. That small part of you might feel rewarded and gratified to see your skills recognized. Yes! you'd be thinking, they got it. But at the same time, you'd be forced to deny that this was really the message of your film. You'd be forced to try to convince these astute viewers that you were, in fact, an ineffective and talentless filmmaker who had failed, miserably, to convey the "true message" of your film. It doesn't mean what it seems to mean, you would have to say. It means something else.

The scenario above is not hypothetical. It's happening now, in the real world, to real filmmakers. {continue...}
[via slactivist, also: Unsubtle]

and there's apparently an Election Shocker! via The Nation, HT: The Rambling Prophet 2

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Psychology of The Dark Knight: Batman, superheroes, popular culture,art, Friederich Nietzsche, terrorism and the politics of George Bush
[via Encefalus]

In The Darkness, The Battle Wages

there is something very believable in the epic of the dark knight - misunderstood, flawed, torn between the desire to do right and the compelling race for the easy exit.

i feel a great affinity with the dark knight.

gone is the white knight, the hero in shining armor died with the 20th century. we do not relate any longer to the stainless, spotless hero who will not, nay cannot be tempted by the darkness that pervades our lives....

many of us can relate to the man in black. we are misunderstood... people believe they know our intentions and can understand our motivations, but they cannot. they jump to conclusions when they speak of us, believing we have given ourselves completely to the dark night. but they do not understand that it is in the darkness that the battle wages. gone are the days when we could encounter evil without getting our hands dirty... maybe we never could. some of us have marginal personalities, are socially inept, have made decisions that have castigated us, seemingly for all time.

we want to make a difference but are forced to wear a mask.
[via Scott Williams]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Forces That Are Near

In contrast to the simplistic opposition of good guys and bad guys, spy thrilers with artistic pretensions display all the "realistic psychological complexity" of the characters from "our" side. Far from signaling a balanced view, however, this "honest" acknowledgement of our own "dark side" stands for its very opposite, for the hidden assertion of our supremacy: we are "psychologically compex," full of doubts, while the opponents are one dimensional fanatical killing machines.
~ Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes

The same, I think, could be said of superhero movies with artistic pretensions. Take The Dark Knight. Batman's psychological complexity, his struggle with the moral ambiguity related his own actions, and his status as a "Dark Knight", do not level the playing field between Batman and the evil he resists. For the Joker is, in his own words, "a dog chasing cars", he is evil and violent, simply for the sake of being evil and violent. He promotes chaos for the sake of chaos. The Joker has not psychological complexity, no internal moral struggle, he is a "fanatical killing machine". He is thus completely, and utterly, insane. Hence, Batman's inner turmoil functions as a sign of his supremacy over the forces he resists, personified in the Joker.

Of course, many people have noted that this moves Batman from the realm of the heroic, into the realm of the anti-hero, and that's all well and good (i.e. that's where Batman has always belonged), but it doesn't take us very far. {continue...}
[via poserorprophet]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In The Course of Time (lyrics and music by Mike Schmitz)

Secrets born in unknown lands
Currents that struggle to get
From your mind to your hands
Crossings heaving into view
Nobody rides through
The raging waters but you
Harder rains are gonna fall
Fog stands before you solid as a wall
All these mountains left to climb
But it's all, all in the course of time

Yes, there's fire on the trail
Long weary days and bread
That has long gone stale
But gifts you forfeit in the night
Reappear, purified
In the gathering of the light
Lies have crept into your ears
Soon as you know (soon as you know)
Knowledge disappears
Pain and wounds to heal the crime
And it's all, all in the course of time

Lightening stabs into my sight
I'm lit like a wick
And ripped like a storm blown kite
Danger just heightens what I feel
I reach out with my Sistine finger
To touch the wheel
Clouds no longer on my eyes
Fear is no jury when the heart retries
Every point to be aligned
And it's all, all in the course of time

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can't Tell

How can I stay in love with a man who hasn't spoken to me in a year and a half? A man who can't plan a special date for us, can't tell me anything without me asking first, can't challenge me, earn money for us, lead us in devotions or call me at work to see how my day is going. I don't know how. {continue...}
[via Pray For Ian, HT: single/certain]

Extra Support

Honestly, I have never been a fan of boundaries going up - it involves separation or at least admission that some issue/relationship is too difficult to work through.

I was thinking today that instead of the concept of boundaries, with its fences that can get larger and larger until people are very far apart, I like the idea of scaffolding.

Scaffolding on a building provides work space, and possibly even extra proteciton or support to work projects that are either too hard to get to, or that are vulnerable in some way. Boundary fences keep animals or people separated from something. Relationally, if I say that I need some new boundaries with someone, I am saying that I need separation in some, or all areas. I wonder what it would mean for me to say I need scaffolding instead.
[via My True Self]

Of His Kind

It's strange that two robots could illustrate something about humans, but these did. Wall-E, a robot designed to be an (as his acronym explains)"Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class" works all day long compacting human trash. When he goes home he's got a robotic cockroach buddy (that he regularly accidentally runs over).

Wall-E is alone on earth (all humans have left because the trash and pollution have made earth unliveable), but even his cockroach pal doesn't help his loneliness. Wall-E is the only one left, alive, of his kind. And he longs for someone like him. It made me think of Genesis after Man is done naming all the animals, how he realizes he's sort of a lonely guy, no one around like him (Gen 2:20). Wall-E's so lonely that he practices holding hands with himself and watched "Hello Dolly" ceaselessly. There is no companion for Wall-E either.

Until EVE arrives....EVE makes Wall-E stronger. And Wall-E changes EVE, too. {the rest}
[via Jonalyn Grace Fincher]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Delight is not merely a passive phenomenon. It presupposes the internal personal preparation whereby we put a halt to the controlling, self-serving impulses that would reduce others to our personal satisfaction or fancy. If we want to show true delight, we must first tame our self-ambition, by learning the arts of detachment and genuine attention."
from Norman Wirzba's Living the Sabbath, HT: Faith Dance

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Biblical Justification


For me, that one word just about says it all by way of response to Ware’s way of thinking.

The sad thing is how unsurprised I was by Ware’s remarks. That’s because the same sick belief-system bleeds over into the arena of clergy sex abuse.

Men who abuse their wives do so because of their need for control and dominance. With Southern Baptist teachings on “biblical manhood,” those abusive men find biblical justification for their dominance.

Baptist clergy sex abusers also have control and dominance issues. And guess what? They also use biblical justification. Why? Because their victims were raised from the cradle to believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.

“The Bible tells me so.” Every 3 year-old in a Baptist Sunday School sings that song. If the Bible says it, then I believe it, and that’s what I must do. It’s what we were all taught. Thinking otherwise wasn’t even thinkable.

Clergy-predators know how to exploit that early indoctrination. They become masters at biblical perversion and they turn the word of God into a weapon.

They even convince themselves they’re entitled. After all, they’re called by God Himself. And countless other Southern Baptists fall into that same thinking whenever an abuse victim tries to speak up. “Touch not mine anointed!”
[via Stop Baptist Predators]

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wouldn’t it be great if we valued peace as much as we value freedom? -Howie Luvzus

The problem with summers is that there are precious few holidays–especially in the United States. You’d think that we’d be able to think of a reason to celebrate during the summer. Especially in July. June is a time of spring weddings and a time when students get out of school. August is filled with anticipation–a time when folks go on vacation before autumn busyness crowds the calendar.

What we need is a holiday in July. A day of celebration to give us pause during the height of summer. Today, July 4th would be an excellent day for that holiday!

Thanks to Michael Iafrate at, I now know that today is a day worth celebrating. You see, the 4th of July is the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, the Patroness of Peace. {continue...}
[via Jesus Manifesto, HT: Howie Luvzus]

Incarceration Without Representation

When I think of the 4th of July, I think of freedom. I think about Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I know this is a real downer, but here goes… As a Christian I think I should not only think about my “unalienable Rights” but also the rights of others. Thus, when I see my fellow citizens talking about freedom, it saddens me that there are those under the control of my government who really don’t have freedom. One of the cries of the revolution was “taxation without representation is tyranny.”

What about incarceration without representation?
[via Howie Luvzus]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh, Those Things We Should Have Done
[via ThinkChristian.NET]

Deeper Flavors of Diversity

"Many waters cannot quench love," I pondered Solomon's words sitting on a dusty porch in West Africa, the afternoon downpour pounding on the tin roof over my head. "But they certainly do a good job trying to drown it."

....Loving across cultures means that both sides release their grip on familiarity in order to experience deeper flavors of diversity.

While many waters could not quench our love, their rough waves have certainly smoothed our rough edges. In all of these ways, we embrace our own culture while keeping our arms open to the other.
[via The Link Between, HT: a comment from this post]

Fishing For Substance

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day….
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

On an international scale, this poignant proverb has moved hearts, opened wallets and enjoyed widespread popularity in relief and development literature. It correctly identifies the temporal quality of much aid work and demonstrates the need for development beyond the limits of most projects in relief situations.

However, this little proverb carries with it inherent assumptions that need to be examined more closely: {continue...}
[via Ministry To The Homeless, HT: The Link Between]

A setback is a set up for a comeback.
[via Hope From Ashes]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Those Who Stay, Those Who Leave

Great natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tidal waves, strike our world. Where there is warning, a few brave souls usually choose to remain in their homes. The vast majority of the inhabitants flee the coming devastation. After the storm abates, those who are able to do so return home. And at times there is a pattern that emerges between the lines of the news reports that are written for the world to read. Often there is a striking contrast between those who stay and those who leave. The hearts of the survivors are often full of gratitude that they are still alive. The returnees at times see only devastation and feel only anguish. The one who is lashed by the storm is often the one who is grateful.
from Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, by Kenneth E. Bailey, [HT: Radical Womanhood]

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Never Far Apart

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about a Buddhist couple who chose to live their lives never being separated by more than fifteen feet. They shared food, books, bed, and the rest of their daily existence never far apart.

It struck me that that is a level of committed intimacy that most of us couldn’t handle, and I wondered how we would be different with each other, having shared that level of intimacy on a daily basis. {continue...}
[via Randall Friesen]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet -- James Oppenheim {read the rest}
[via Hope From Ashes]