Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm just a dog under the table too

Mark 7:24-30
24From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 28But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 29Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter." 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone

Saturday, January 29, 2005

give 'em hell, kos
They're superhuman - they can take it. And they are so totally sick of all these liberally biased facts.

Even Paul finds acorns occasionally

Galatians 3:28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Actually I'm humbly grateful for Saint Paul, but I just can't help gently jabbing conservatives. Please forgive me.

Friday, January 28, 2005

clever girl, Hillary
she has so totally been reading this blog . . . . And Wonkette has too.
Really it's not just clever or to win - well maybe for Hill it's just to win - but if we can discipline ourselves on abortion rhetoric, we can make the country a better place to live.

Katha Pollitt versus Jim Wallis
Kudos to for pointing to the Katha Pollitt column. I've read the column a few times now to try to formulate a reasoned response (Jack Shafer of Slate with his little technorati secret totally recommends this approach) and maybe defend Wallis a little.
The first thing I'd say to Katha is look at the Wesley blog and the mess that Wallis has to take from his so-called friends (and I'd bet it can be a lot worse than this post). We all need to take a breath and get over all the hurt feelings and suspicions of the pious on one hand and the honest secular humanists on the other. Y'all ever hear of some concepts like community, dialogue, trust, and relationships. I thought they were secular and sacred both, but maybe that's just me.
If you scroll down and read some of my other posts, you can see that I would certainly like to change some of our rhetoric on abortion. I think it is painfully inconsistent philosophically with our other important positions. How can we argue for community (as we should) on living wages and the environment and worker safety and education and wealth distribution and everything else when we turn around and argue dogmatically for absolute individual rights for abortion? I think that the community should have some say - balanced thoughtfully and respectfully against a woman's right to protect her personal integrity, moral autonomy, and self determination. But hey the point is not abortion. It's about an inclusive progressive community that ought to welcome evangelicals like Jim Wallis, mainline protestants like me, and I think a great number of insightful Catholics and orthodox believers. There's a long and inspiring history of social gospel and its ability to smooth some of the cruel edges of libertine capitalism. We might not ever beat the corporate sociopaths and the false prophets that in my eyes turn the church into their whore, but we can affect how these powerful people treat the innocent and powerless. I'll even further confess that I'm a sincere Calvinist so I imagine that we cannot succeed - only God can truly heal the broken world. But success is not important to me - perseverance is. We are more likely to persevere with an inclusive community talking to each other humbly and faithfully about our differences. I'm sorry Mr. Wallis and Ms. Pollitt if some of my fleas get on both of you. But that's just life.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Interesting book reviews
I might be misled by snobbery, but I tend to give the New Yorker review the most credit in terms of overall context to judge the books fairly. Also I'll confess that I have a very different point of view on politics and culture from Stan Guthrie, although he seems like he might be a very likeable guy.

Sane and civil discussion, oh my!
Left2Right's Elizabeth Anderson writes so thoughtfully that even the conservative replies to her ideas make sense. Hey, I'm always relieved when cons who aren't out of control Confederate States of America types make points that I can consider but disagree with. I want to see where she is going, but I think it will be very sensible and very decent. I'm no economist, but it's just plain to me that unfettered capitalism can destroy human dignity and decency. I almost think that in some vague way social cons sense this as well. They just act out somewhat pathologically obsessing about sex, secularism, and science rather than seeing that it's the free market race to the bottom that is stripping us of our humanity. But I'm really off topic now.

Elie Wiesel at UN

Blogs are still better than Crossfire
Maybe you could forgive some of the hyperbole a little if you take into account how powerless we feel otherwise. So if I put in Jack Shafer's name will the technorati site find it?
Gosh, that makes me feel even more powerless. Okay, now I'm powerful.

Good for when Republicans have crushed your life into the ground

Psalm 143:1-12
1Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
11For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Evangelical self-awareness
I'm a mainline protestant Presbyterian so I'm not in the evangelical group, but I'm positively impressed with this book review. It sounds like it has honesty and integrity. Honesty and integrity are not easy - I question myself constantly.

Good News for Rolling Stone (get it?)

Scripture short enough for even a progressive hillbilly to read it all

Micah6:8He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

And speaking of true evil . . .
Can you imagine what these guys would be saying if it had been a Democrat to give this inaugural address? Their intellectual dishonesty makes the word "sycophant" entirely too feeble.

Must read - Stanford Prison Experiment
I think this work is powerfully insightful to the human condition - that we are all capable of true evil. Conservatives used to accuse us progressive liberals of being relativists who don't believe in evil. I guess they have showed us our error in not believing in evil, haven't they?

Monday, January 24, 2005

A psalm to keep our progressive hearts steadfast while we are among the greedy lions

Morning: Psalm 57:1-11
1Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
2I cry to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3He will send from heaven and save me,
he will put to shame those who trample on me.
God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.
4I lie down among lions
that greedily devour human prey;
their teeth are spears and arrows,
their tongues sharp swords.
5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.
6They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they have fallen into it themselves.
7My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody.
8Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
your faithfulness extends to the clouds.
11Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

Essentially the point I was making on the previous post
I'm only a pilgrimaging hillbilly so I'm a bit less eloquent and precise in language. In my defense I'd say my intuition about the repulsiveness of the Republican hypocrisy is nicely illustrated in Singer's criticism - maybe not directly but indirectly - especially from the perspective of a thoughtful Christian. And that's not always an oxymoron as much as it seems so now!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

De-Coding Bush
I know some are offended by the God-talk while I'm not. What does disturb me is first, Bush's complete lack of awareness of what a failure he is at living out what he's preaching and second, how that disconnect drives more perceptive and insightful people away from divine reality. Bush is not alone in this repulsion; I feel that this dynamic is under-rated (misunderestimated?) in contributing to cultural divisions. But fellow liberal Christians take heart, we are blessed with many opportunities here. We can forgive the hypocrisy - forgiveness feels dramatically better than anger. We can pray for those who persecute us. We can even - and please understand that it's not easy for me to say this - evangelize for our liberal friends just by persevering through these strange and sometimes ugly times.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Letft2 Right's Don Herzog on Equality of Opportunity
. . . room here for more left-right alliances in improving the nation's schools.
I want to agree (okay I'll go ahead and agree then), but read the responses. How can anyone paying attention not conclude that there is just too much cultural animosity on the right in the area of education? I think it's some kind of guilty defensiveness because there is undeniable injustice. Also these folks want desperately to argue that we are already spending enough money when almost certainly we aren't. Sounds like a formula for really angry conservatives, doesn't it? I'll almost give W a modicum of credit for braving the vitriol of his supporters on the issue. In my mind the first thing we need to do is address conservative anger about education. (Well I guess that idea applies to everything else in the world as well just cut and paste where education is in the sentence.) But anyway the next problem is that we are also impatient. We're going to have to make a long term commitment to increasing money and spending it wisely. It will be a tragedy if we let frustration, anger, and impatience destroy public education.

Nation article on abortion
I know that Mississippi politics look hideous to outsiders especially progressive liberals. It's a culture that is very different from other parts of the country, but to dismiss it without serious thought is a real loss. Because our own progressive ideology and rhetoric is sloppy on the issue of abortion, we have let false prophets sap the moral energy that ought to apply to poverty and the true need of a great many innocent kids in Mississippi. We all are at fault for the abomination that Mississippi is because we have not combated the false prophets and corporate sociopaths of the Republican party with the savvy that is necessary. Of course there are limits on what we should do to try to win, but if we fight wisely the innocent will fare better because the Republicans will have to make some efforts on the issue of poverty. It's not like there aren't reams of Christian scripture on our side. It's a matter of perseverance.

Gosh, I guess the Washington Post gets something right every so often
I've lost so much confidence in the Post that I'm pleasantly surprised whenever they get something kinda right.

Book reviews

Important action - please check out

Another beautiful psalm for oppressed progressives

Psalm 56:1-13
1Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
all day long foes oppress me;
2my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many fight against me.
O Most High, 3when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me?
5All day long they seek to injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6They stir up strife, they lurk,
they watch my steps.
As they hoped to have my life,
7so repay them for their crime;
in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
8You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
9Then my enemies will retreat
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
10In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me?
12My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Kathleen Parker via Charlotte Hays
If he were to take his oath of office, make a few remarks and quietly retreat to the White House for dinner with friends, those who wanted anybody but Bush would find a way to spin gold into hay.
He's ashamed, look at him, they'd say. He knows he's bungled the war and knows better than to show his face beaming over a parade. What a coward.
Bush, it seems, can't win for winning.

New award - Conservative Crybaby Pathetic Hypothetical Unwarranted Self-Pity Division, Reserve Champion. If Bush had trimmed back his gala a little, it would have widely appreciated. It's another lost opportunity. Certainly there are many lost opportunities even in well-led, insightful lives, but they do count somehow.

Amen, pastordan

Does Michael Chrichton know about this?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Beautifully appropriate psalm for today

Psalm 36:1-12
1Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2For they flatter themselves in their own eyes
that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
4They plot mischief while on their beds;
they are set on a way that is not good;
they do not reject evil.
5Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgements are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.
7How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!
11Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me,
or the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12There the evildoers lie prostrate;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.

Fine coverage from Fox
Wonderful! Fox will provide future historians the perfect record of our (sadly unintentional) self-parodying absurdity.

Washington insider politics
certainly would be less disgusting for me if it were a Democrat. I just wonder how when things go wrong in the next few years - and I don't want things to go wrong - but when they do how is it that they will all be our fault - or maybe Bill Clinton's?

Michael Chrichton climate novel probably needs to be taught in the Intelligent Design curriculum

Free SpongeBob!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Free will discussion

Onegoodmove on free will and the morality of the death penalty. There are centuries of thought on free will in Christian theology. Now I'm only a semi-literate hillbilly so what do I know - but I feel the death penalty is immoral for many reasons including that we humans do not understand the mystery of free will. Now neuroscience is explaining brain processes better all the time, but consciousness still seems to have some mystery about it. I might have to revise my feelings about the mystery of free will at some time in the future, but I don't think that the science is quite there yet, I mean to say that there is no mystery.

An overwhelming mix of feelings
Joy for the archbishop and anguish and tears for the girl in the photo and the Chinese hostages. Please pray for just peacemaking.

I'll admit from what I'm reading so far I'm really I disappointed in Rolling Stone
I want to see what they say and do now, but they might be guilty of a little snobbery here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Peter Hodgson Theology of the War on Terror
I agree passionately. I, of course, do not know what to do except scream this message at the top of my lungs! If this isn't what the Holy Spirit is telling me, then I think I must just be crazy.

Interesting Nation article on the Ukraine
I'm not endorsing Nation's position by any means because I know far too little about the subject, but this article has caused me to rethink my assumptions on Ukraine especially as I have observed the incompetence of the punditry on the issues of Iraq, the economy, and oh just about everything else I can think of.

Christian Century Book Review
Sounds like some of the results might be surprising.

Rev. Debra Haffner "Abortion as a Moral Decision"
Rev. Haffner presents important considerations for finding the appropriate balance between a woman's right to control the integrity of her moral agency and the community's regard for the sanctity of life (well I guess I'm adding the last part because it matters to me). The issue deserves thoughtful discussion, and it's complex enough that no one single narrative completely captures every aspect. We all should spend time listening respectfully, as difficult as that is, to differing points of view.

Perhaps I missing it, but I'm not seeing a whole lot of MLK discussion here
These guys are so morally tone deaf they still have no appreciation for the beauty of his message. Sort of a shocking reality check to me because I could be very forgiving of their hypocrisy if they wanted to join in an appreciation of the true blessing that MLK was for all of us. They stay so busy feeling victimized by who knows what and rationalizing any and everything the Republicans do that I guess they are too busy to find any perspective.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Let's make the tent big enough
We can be a community of communities where we don't have to completely agree on every issue, but we trust each other. Given the power Republicans now possess, it's a good time to realize that those who are not against us (kicking us while we are down) are for us.

Talking Points Memo on Social Security (and cheap grace)
Josh Marshall is doing a wonderful job on the Social Security issue (and the cheap grace note too). We must show backbone here and now on Social Security. It has been an important part of our social fabric for decades, it is a model of efficiency, it is vital to some of the most vulnerable of our country, and Republicans seem to hate it blindly. It is not conservative to change anything that has worked this well for so many people in order to get higher returns. And hey, that's the only valid argument Bush has at his disposal. It's true that returns using the stock market would be higher, but they are also significantly riskier. Portfolio planners (not that I know any or have a portfolio myself) always seem to preach diversity and that as you near retirement move toward less risk. Bush's plan would dramatically increase risk at precisely the time when baby-boomers are retiring.
Please also see this column from my local pundit, John Brummett.

Just Peacemaking
It sounds like a more realistic ethic to me than pacifism, and it also might be politically viable. Of course political viability is not determinative by itself, but it is valuable in making the right toe the line with more integrity. If Democrats look too weak, it gives Republicans the whole field, and, I think, we can all observe that that prospect does not always work out well.

more from Left2Right's David Velleman on letting Roe go
Some good questions here. I know feminists might feel abandoned by those of us who want to reconsider our position on abortion rights. Please do not let anger drive us apart. As I have said before, our libertarian (or perhaps privacy-oriented) rhetoric is the same kind of rhetoric that the powerful use in their pursuit of an unregulated free market with no laws on worker safety, the environment, minimum wage, etc. I think we have to challenge our own positions when so many things that most of us believe in are undermined by our reasoning on one issue.

Reality check for me after previous gooey post
Jobs should lift you out of poverty not trap you in it - that's essential for a decent society.

Good MLK thread on dKos
My take is that King points to a true inspiration that makes winning and losing not so important. They will take care of themselves. I don't mean that what we care about - peace, the environment, education, equality of opportunity, and everything else - that they aren't important. They are vital. But when we speak out and show up and persevere, then we make a true and positive force for good. Why do Republicans differ with us on all these issues of honest morality? Because they care more about winning and power and the way to win and get power is to take advantage of fear and anger. Everything we do that dissipates fear and anger forces the powerful - right now overwhelmingly Republican - to perform better on the truly moral issues of our time. They will try to divide us with dishonest and empty morality, but we have vision to see past our present failures. That is my take on Dr. King.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

good dKos thread
Spicy! Makes you feel a little bit of warmth and hope.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Slate's Kaus take on torture

An Eminem Too Far? Marty Lederman has posted a non-hysterical critique of Heather Mac Donald's torture article. ... 2:27 P.M.
It's Kaus's -I'm too cool and smart to be a liberal - smarminess that repulses me. Just go join the Republican party Kaus. Your complete indifference to the moral dimension of torture will fit right in.

South Park conservatives
I'm not going to pick on South Park because I have a soft spot for satire. But I think these kids in the column spend way too much time feeling sorry for themselves - they've been cheated by affirmative action, the media are liberal, political correctness is oppressing me - wah, wah, wah. And they're all pro-life? I seriously doubt that most favor living wages, or care at all about the death penalty. I hate to pick at them too much, they are kids. But they reflect profoundly on our self-centered, overly competitive culture - some day when they are older they will painfully realize how empty their arrogance is.

King inspiration
"The judgment of God is upon us today...We have alienated ourselves from other nations so we end up morally and politically isolated in the world."

Taco Bell boycott - an important action. Please check it out.

Even Lindsey Graham can see that "we have lost our way."
Just completely wrong of us. We are a brood of vipers in serious need of repentance.

Biology textbook evolution sticker ruling
We can be certain that the anti-evolution faction will feel persecuted by this ruling. I am sorry and ashamed that these folks create a conflict claiming the same beliefs that I hold and are important to me. I cannot escape from my perception that they are arrogant in their approach to the relationship of science and religion. For me religion is coping with the mystery of our existence and its purpose - not some absolute knowledge of biology. From what I've read so far, the judge could not have ruled other than the way that he did.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel - wonderful column with a plethora of links
She's preaching to the choir with me. These are the real issues that matter!

Alterman column
What people identify as a cultural liberal bias in the media is really attributable to arrogance and self-importance, a significant proportion of which derives from the tremendous wealth that inevitably accompanies media stardom. The right-wing exploits that arrogance—which it terms “elitism”---attaches a phony “liberal” label to it, and proceeds to concoct a story about the SCLM that bears almost no relationship to reality.
I personally find this mini-narrative of the SCLM pathology convincing. A big reason that the right is so successful in exploiting the openings SCLM give them is that the right's desire for power outweighs any principle they might have had.

"Playing catch-up" is a tremendous understatement - more like suit up for the game
We might not ever be as successful, as big, or as powerful, but I think we can do beautiful things. A progressive community of faith serves the whole community - the community of faith by pointing to the poor, social justice, the environment, and postpartum life; progressives by connecting them to faith and tradition; and everybody else by showing the real possibilities that faith transcends conservatism. The world desperately needs us to persevere with grace and do our best to serve these functions.

daily reading

Isaiah 41
17When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Bush quote

I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."
Doesn't "I think that's just the way it is" mean that he has now said it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thurgood Marshall - a true inspiration
The real irony about our inability to see our common ground is that it is vast - much more than in the old segregation days. But there is so much dishonesty that it is difficult to trust conservatives today.

Sweet, sweet Charlotte still at it
Why am I spending so much cyber ink on a CBS report on a religious blog? Well, because since Watergate, the liberal press has had more influence on the way we think about morals than the churches.
Ms. Hayes is spectacularly wrong in too many ways to discuss here, but "more influence on the way we think about morals than churches" is a perfect example of a paranoid conservative article of faith. There is plenty of good and honest discussion about the media that debunks this paranoia, so I don't need to go into all that. But it's a great little indication of why we can't talk to each other in any meaningful way. In other words, there is no need for us to negotiate reality on the liberal bias bunk.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Altercation on morality
What I might humbly throw out there for the frustrated like Alterman is that social justice is a powerful theme of every faith community. Social injustice is the true failing of the right even beyond their obvious hypocrisy.

Ottati column on page 8 is worth the scroll-down
The online community is a way to build the capital we need.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on Kinsey and Sex
Rabbi Shmuley certainly makes some valid points about the the oft-cited "coarsening of our culture." But its cheap to blame Kinsey and his research for that reality when the culture of profit and competition fuels the coarseness. It ain't free-love hippies cranking out Fox programming, folks. Money is the driving force, but we blind ourselves to that truth. And the spiral gains momentum every time we get preachy but ignore the greed of our consumer culture and the hold money has on us all because young people sense the inherent dishonesty. I think this is why we see more and more cheating in school especially in competitive situations. The spiral of dishonesty teaches our kids to cheat and lie - that this is the real adult world. It is the real world for most adults - pharaoh and Caesar and Empire and power and money but with a veneer of lies about love, etc. But hey, I'm preaching and there's more time later to contemplate and pray and read and think.

Christian nation? Even as a Christian that claim worries me
It can seem discouraging and shameful to call myself Christian when I read Mr. Bartlett's statements. I am just as repulsed as anyone else with good sense. I, however, still feel a calling to identify myself as a Christian - I accept all of this shame as part of the mystery of the pilgrimage. I want anyone who reads this blog (and I'm pretty sure that is still no one) to know that Mr. Bartlett and his fellows on the right do not define Christianity.

Wholesale theft from onegoodmove. Just too beautiful. Probably just more brilliant marketing from these guys. They are both talented that way.


Michael and Mel Posted for no reason other than this is apparently driving the wingnuts mad. The freepers are really going off the deep end.
"I feel a strange kinship with Michael," Mr. Gibson said. "They're trying to pit us against each other in the press, but it's a hologram. They really have got nothing to do with one another. It's just some kind of device, some left-right. He makes some salient points. There was some very expert, elliptical editing going on. However, what the hell are we doing in Iraq? No one can explain to me in a reasonable manner that I can accept why we're there, why we went there, and why we're still there."
Quicktime Video '22 692K
Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the video.
Posted by Norm at 11:54 AM Comments (3) Trackback (0)

Dean letter to DNC
I'm all for Dean as our chairman even though I was not a supporter for him as our nominee last year. This is the perfect spot for him, and it shows we stand for something, doggone it. Dean's instincts are right on, he's inspiring, and he has backbone. No one will respect us if we won't risk losing for what we believe. I'm an inspired hillbilly for Dean.

lovely Charlotte (beliefnet's conservative blogger)
"While it provided some of the most enjoyable reading I've had since the Starr Report, the report is basically a white wash."
She enjoyed reading the Starr Report!? Okay, I'm definitely not too worried about wonkette now. Not that I ever was, anyway. I guess we all have different tastes, but yuck.

Maybe it is just cheap gossip
that I saw on wonkette, but Clooney is definitely killing the Buddha here. A word on linking to wonkette on a self-proclaimed Christian blog. I humbly and sincerely (and maybe stupidly) think it's a Christocentric kind of thing to do. Jesus caught a lot of flak for hanging out with prostitutes, and if it's right thing for Jesus to do, I want to try to follow. Maybe I will stumble, but that's not the point. Following on my pilgrimage is the point for me. Did I just call wonkette a prostitute?

daily reading (maybe it's just me - but for us progressive liberals, isn't this is a balm?)

Psalm 42:1-11
1As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
2My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
3My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
4These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
5Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help 6and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me.
8By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9I say to God, my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?"
10As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
11Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Nice-looking progressive Christian blog

Monday, January 10, 2005

irregular ecumenical post
The scripture and dogma are different, but killing the Buddha belongs to all of God's children, at least on my blog it does.

Tom Delay being creepy and giving scripture a bad name
But these verses would strike serious fear in my heart if I were Mr. Delay (not that I don't have a healthy fear myself).

Not every one who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?
"Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you: depart from me, you evil doers.'"

Berube blog on recalling what we (through Powell) said about torture
Depressing isn't it. Accountability means nothing - power is all that matters. Right now, we are not ourselves. Please wake up! Also Berube blog is very impressive.

Safire column on tsunami, Voltaire, Job
Definitely sells Voltaire short. Also I see the book of Job as affirming the beauty and goodness of creation even in the face of injustice and tragedy. The goodness of creation still seems essentially true even in the wake of the tsunami tragedy. But there is also mystery in the interplay between chaos and order. Understanding is sometimes beyond Job and us because we are creatures inside the creation.

daily reading

Psalm 82:1-8
1God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2"How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
3Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
4Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
5They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6I say, "You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
7nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince."
8Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!

Gilead - a novel that we must read
I've come across several reviews of this novel that intrigues me.

I got this link from onegoodmove - just too funny.
I'll confess that other than Dark Prince Novak, I really like the individuals on the abomination Crossfire became. The folks on Capitol Gang weren't that bad either. But the decision to terminate is absolutely right no matter how bad the replacement shows are. I mean these shows just got so dysfunctional. No exchange - all message discipline (repeat talking point whether relevant or not) - no listening. But a serious reality check for everyone is this: message discipline, which destroys any chance for dialogue, almost always wins democratic elections. We have to cope with the limitations of human nature.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Death squads
The thoughts behind this policy idea are disturbing and disgusting. We have to learn that torture and death squads cannot yield anything that is worth their doing. And among all the other victims is the community of faith. (Actually, I think atheists have a great deal of faith just of a different variety.) I mean that the community of faith is a victim by the way it is made to appear, or perhaps that light that shows its true nature. Either way it is painful.

William Placher Jesus book
I really don't worry an awful lot about the Christ of Faith versus historical Jesus smackdown. But leave it to the pious to hang on to conflict. Bless our hearts!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

We should embrace scripture (just another reason why)

Isaiah 59:15b-21
15bThe LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

Dahlia Lithwick asking a good question
Why didn't he talk honestly about his memos and his other thoughts? One of my problems with the Bushies is that they refuse to let a discussion happen out in the public sphere. Remember the Medicare bill, they didn't allow a hint of a discussion on why we should or shouldn't do it, or how much it would really cost. And of course that completely precludes any discussion on what else we might do with the money we can't talk about in the first place. But hey, I'm really off on a tangent here anyway.

Slate movie club on the Passion of the Fahrenheit thing
Lots of other stuff too. I don't worry about all the jargon over my head. My experience with wonk-jargon is it's usually a big disappointment when I figure it out. I assume that also applies to movie criticism. By the way, I love the Zhang genre - if only beautifully choreographed martial arts could solve problems!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

daily reading - the miracle I wish I could perform

John 2:1-11
1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now." 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

same old Charlotte Hays
Let's see
"The Democrats, in their intellectually frivolous way, have no intention of holding a serious, non-sloganeering discussion on the subject of torture."
And Republicans, in their morally frivolous way, have no intention of holding a serious, no-excuses discussion on the subject of accountability.
Here's part of what Gonzales said in his opening statement:
"After the attacks of 9/11, our government had fundamental decisions to make concerning how to apply treaties and U.S. law to an enemy that does not wear a uniform, owes no allegiance to any country, is not a party to any treaties and - most importantly - does not fight according to the laws of war."

New rule for interpretation: whenever September 11 is written as 9/11, it means Republicans want to abuse their power. What did the people we tortured in Iraq have to do with September 11?
You'll notice I haven't mentioned Abu Ghraib--I saved the worst for last.
Oh yes, Ms. Hays, and you devote less then two paragraphs to it, and even there you only recite the lame excuses that virtue paragon himself Rush Limbaugh has tried ("sexualized society").
Now why is our society sexulized, do you think? Could it be profits for media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch? Ever watch Fox?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Stanford law prof Richard Thompson Ford federalism idea
I think this approach could be helpful in easing some of the cultural divisiveness. But doesn't it seem like social conservatives throw federalism out the window when it allows states to make choices they don't like, e.g. marijuana, assisted suicide?


Congratulations to us: We’ve reached the point where American soldiers torturing innocents has become boring –a short story buried inside the paper demonstrating that U.S. officials have long known about what was going on and chose not to deal with it. Of course that’s the way Bush, uh-huh, uh-huh, likes it; torture, death penalty, it’s all in a days work for those who are resolute.

from Altercation

another blog to check out
The further we go into the rabbit hole, the better.

Follow these links to Ruckman column
and check out the other goodies. The progressive religious online community might not be mega-huge yet, but it has to warm your heart to see the good guys persevering.

l like Moore.
He doesn't take himself too seriously (and neither do I), and he does a fine job of afflicting the comfortable.

more beliefnet on tsunami
What resonates with me in this column is our need for repentance. I know the word repentance creeps out people who've suffered from too many bad preachers. Don't let them ruin a perfectly good word, though. A pilgrimage requires movement, and repentance is a part of movement. It's not some surrender to Jerry Falwell. :)

please let me summarize
Judge Posner and his buddies give us long-winded, disingenuous rationalizations for giving the executive branch the unchecked power to lock up folks and throw away the key.

good news
I hope Jon Stewart continues to wield his power this wisely. Maybe he could do something about Fox reality programming next.

The always humble Tony Blankley
Mr. Blankley, I agree, Americans are not stingy. That's one of the main reasons I think you and your conservative ilk are un-American.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

dailyKos discussion on torture
The conservative rhetoric on this issue is completely dishonest and immoral. It's a crystal clear sign that the only thing that matters to them is power. Power is their God.

Good lectionary blog

These links might not make sense

but, doggone it, I can't help it. There's just something so right about the intersections of npr and Berkeley and good old fashioned hillbilly bluegrass - it's like a glimpse into the kingdom of God. The mean-spirited folks like the self-pitying social conservatives can't take it away from me. They can win and have all the power, but there is a reality they don't own where their power and money don't matter.

Charlotte Hays

"Loose Canon is amazed that a tsunami killing thousands of people can be turned into just another propaganda tool by those who sincerely despise George W. Bush and the United States. They never change their tune."
Ms. Hays, statements like this one undermine your credibility tremendously. You and your conservative brothers and sisters need to stop the self pity and take responsibility for the power you possess. Your movement is the most powerful force on the planet right now. The world is what you make it.
And, I'll add, if conservatives ever do as much good as all the derided liberal policies of the past, then I'll be pleasantly surprised. Time will tell and history will judge.
Why Do Liberals Always Hurt the Ones They (Claim to) Love?January 4, 2005 5:20 p.m."In her new book, 'Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help (And the Rest of Us)' - released today - Mona Charen holds the Left accountable for their grand claims of magnanimity. The book, as she tells it in the introduction, 'is a chronicle of failure - the failure of liberals to help those they set out to help.' And in her scorekeeping, Charen has a constructive end in mind: 'a moral challenge. She writes, 'Liberals must be called to account for the real havoc they have created in so many lives. They must be asked to offer something more than good intentions when their actions lead to disaster.'"
Oh, it must take so much courage to blame liberals!

Lynn Sanders on rethinking abortion
I'm very agreeable. We've let thoughtful dialog(ue) wither for too long. I'm pleased Professor Sanders ventured into the dangerous waters where the responses get overheated almost immediately. Some other thoughts here

slate human nature blog
Running discussion of our depravity?

Voltaire on 1755 tsunami
Good-looking blog! Also found at onegoodmove.

What do I believe?
I believe that belief isn't knowledge-lite. It doesn't have anything to do with knowledge because it deals with the unknowable, the mystery. Anyway what the bleep do we know?
PS I found edge link at onegoodmove.

How will we know the difference?
Despite the chatter on today's "Crossfire" that seemed to hint at Tucker's departure, we hear that it's not that Tucker is leaving "Crossfire", it's that "Crossfire" is leaving "Crossfire". CNN said to be canning the show, replacing it with monkeys throwing their own **** at each other.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

not sexy but very important

Tutu interview

Love this quote.
"I keep having to remind people that religion in and of itself is morally neutral. Religion is like a knife. When you use a knife for cutting up bread to prepare sandwiches, a knife is good. If you use the same knife to stick into somebody’s guts, a knife is bad. Religion in and of itself is not good or bad—it is what it makes you do… "

Barbara Ehrenreich Nation piece
A little old now but good and spicy. I particularly like the way Ehrenreich perfectly captures the predatory nature of what I think of as a right-wing counterculture. But hey, Barbara, I think the "coldly Calvinist..." is unfair to us Calvinists and untrue.

bunch of blogs

castelli reviewing wallis book

i might misunderstand backlinking

check this site out tree huggers

sojo on walmart
Wal-Mart is a mix, for me. I am convinced it does benefit consumers. But it pushes business hard on a race to the bottom. We have to strike a balance - that's the essence of justice, the right balance. A real sense of decency and justice can let the free market find efficient solutions without deteriorating to a spiraling race to the bottom for workers.

swami on soapbox
You go, swam!
This link would have made more sense if it were still pointing where it originally did. I don't see any permalinks to use. Hey, I only figured out the permalink thing like yesterday, so what can I really say?

Sojourners pro-life Dems
I'm very sympathetic. I'm troubled on many levels (moral, intellectual, etc.) by our libertarian sounding rhetoric on abortion. I'm not saying this is some quick fix formula for winning elections, either. I think we should strive to struggle more honestly and faithfully for a consistent progressive pro-life agenda including ending the death penalty, fighting like hell for living wages, and taking abortion seriously.

Feynman from onegoodmove
I have in the past gotten too upset about creation science. It could be used as an opportunity to discuss what science really is and isn't. Obviously, intelligent design fails. Discussing why can be illuminating.

good for them
Sounds like the complaints did some good.

Monday, January 03, 2005

worth watching salon commercial
I think we have to remember we're on a pilgrimage. Sometimes we look back and think (realize?) how little we know or understand. But it was still a part of the pilgrimage. It's easy to be a snob and feel superior to social conservatives, but really they're on the pilgrimage with us. We just happen to perceive reality differently at times.

Will the religious right improve?
I think they will. But maybe we will have to irritate them some.
At any rate Bush has sent his brother, his dad, and his better.

Kofi Annan under siege from conservative attack machine
I think the attack machine has to have an enemy. I just don't want us to become some kind of mirror image of that mentality.

Conservative victimology
The self-pity is old.
This link would have made more sense if it were still pointing where it originally did. I don't see any permalinks to use. Hey, I only figured out the permalink thing like yesterday, so what can I really say?

Zakaria article
I'm a fan of Zakaria - he seems well-informed and grounded.

Orthodox theology
This is intriguing. Can you see why I sometimes worry about authenticity and superficiality?

tsunami karma
I am grateful that my ecclesiastical and theological ignorance allows me to feel moved by these explanations. I intuit that there is important truth here, and I hope that it is incorporated in my prayers. By the way, I'm not good at prayer, but I am working on it.

dailykos Gonzales discussion
I lean towards opposing vigorously without the filibuster.

Thank you God for Shirley Chisholm

discussion thread
I like being an eavesdropper on good discussions like this one.

nytimes op-ed
Easy for me to agree on the caution and hope. Also community matters - we're all in this together.

left2right link added

Looks like a great blog. If the Weekly Standard hates it, then it must be great, right?
Nice response on Weekly Standard's review.

A couple of onegoodmove posts,,1381701,00.html
I 'm drawn to all these posts because I find them honest. So many times for me people of faith seem dishonest and cheap because we want our faith to solve the mysteries of life. I want faith to help me cope with the mysteries I can't solve not to dishonestly deny the mystery.

Sounds like an interesting read
I feel certain that we shouldn't be snobs about conservative Christians even though they hurt my feelings on a regular basis. We have to learn how to disagree more faithfully. Otherwise we are poor witnesses.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

sadly not surprising
But maybe someday we will be surprised, and we have to keep ourselves open to that.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Ottati - well worth reading

more one good move on tsunami