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]