[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball


the name game

you probably don't know that i have a list of potential names for girl children, boy children and pets. sadly, this one didn't make it on, and now it's been taken (3 times!). oh well. renee' probably would've vetoed it anyway.

if i weren't going to vote for kerry already . . .

i certainly am now! go sox! Posted by Hello

update: i give up. suffering after losing game 7 is one thing; suffering after losing a flippin' regular season game in june (and having to suffer through "boomer" berman and old film clips of buckner @ that) is quite another. i know the sox are still neck and neck for the wild card, but i'm just not up for another season like this one's shaping up to be. i'll be watching in atlanta this weekend, but i'm keeping my tv turned off tomorrow night when pedey takes the mound in the stadium.


religion in the workplace

ever wonder what it felt like to be paul? or one of those followers of "the way" whom peter called "aliens and strangers"? i wonder about that a lot, and i usually come away a little ashamed b/c i'm not hated or otherwise put out b/c of my faith. anyhoo, that's the sort of question i awoke to when my clock radio started playing npr's barbara bradley's report on the issue in today's final segment in a series on religion in the workplace, "when faith clashes w/ corporate policy." (the revealer linked the npr story, too.) so, is my xtianity threatened by a "diversity policy" requiring me to merely "respect" co-workers who are of a different religion? a different sexual orientation? or maybe it's the opposite -- is the gospel actually the mother of all diversity codes? what if my faith pits me against other xtians, be they conservative or liberal? these questions will be what divides my focus @ work today, the 30th of june, 2004 (hum today show theme music to self).


it's not easy being . . . well, you know

seth's encouragement, and kottke envy, forced me to try a new template. give me a little time to get it under control, but i think i like it. it was either try a new blogger template or switch to typepad, and this seemed the easiest of the solutions for the time being. just picture one of those little "site under construction" signs @ the top for the next few days or so.


inventing a self

this american life's ira glass devoted last week's show, "my experimental phase," to "people who decide to try out a new life." the last segment scared the father in me (diarist sascha rothchild, "a nice florida girl," reads her own account of a personality change upon changing high schools), but the prologue asks the question: "how exactly is it that a person who is not gay comes to believe, really believe, that they are gay . . . for two years?" nancy updike, a contributing ed. to tal, did exactly that -- dressing "like a dyke," reading gay history, writing for a gay newspaper -- but never actually got around the sleeping w/ another woman, a "loose end" that never got tied up. what contributed to her experimentation was that she was intensely unhappy, a recent college grad whose parents were going through a divorce and whose college relationships w/ guys had all pretty much sucked. she wanted something that made sense of her dissatisfaction, she wanted to belong to a group, and she accumulated evidence from her life to support "the story" that in actuality she had been, all along, a lesbian. ira notes that "it had been her story . . . except for the gay part."

i do love to listen to ira glass talk, so i'd probably tune in to hear him read from a unix manual or a menu of chinese cuisine. still, i was captivated by updike's story, especially coming on the heels of a conversation i had w/ a colleague last week who still insists that the studies which suggest that something like 8-10% of the population is homosexual are nonsense. unlike my friend, i tend to believe the statistic. i don't think the results of all serious researchers are skewed simply b/c fare like "will and grace" or "queer eye" is on tv every night all of a sudden. it's just that i've been interested for a while in what contributes to a person's gay-ness or straight-ness. some research i read in seminary stated that one is neither "gay" nor "straight" but somewhere on a continuum, with 10 being perfectly gay and 1 being perfectly straight (speculation among my friends and wife over the past weekend seem to put me at about a 3). moreover, sexual preference is most likely the result of a combination of factors -- genetics, chemicals in the "amniotic soup," environment, perhaps even volition. it's the last factor that intrigues me, however, firstly b/c my church is now the only christian denomination to ordain a practicing homosexual (v. gene robinson) to the episcopate, and secondly because i have read (and read and read) and prayed (and prayed and prayed) about how, if @ all, bishop robinson's ordination will or should affect my own journey toward the priesthood, my family's commitment to the episcopal church, my personal friendships w/ gay or lesbian men and women, etc.

i'm not espousing the belief that sexual orientation is always (or ever) a matter of individual choice; nor am i suggesting that glass' broadcast meant to propose anything of the sort. i'm just thinking. francis schaeffer did opine that homosexuality was sometimes adopted as an act of hostility or rebellion to the prevailing cultural norms of the day. when you consider how image-oriented post-modern western culture is -- where madonna successfully remakes herself for every album until she finds nowhere left to go but kabbalism, where public relations and spin-doctoring are practically institutions, where a politician's private life doesn't have any bearing on whether s/he is fit for public service -- is it possible that some people "choose" to be gay (or gay-er, if you buy the continuum idea) to explain dissatisfaction, to be different, to rebel, for whatever reason?

dave barry da vinci

ok, we've covered the bad theology and history ex nihilo in the da vinci code. amy welborn, et al., have written entire books on it, for heaven's sake. now, dave barry devotes a few words, w/ tongue planted firmly in cheek, to just how bad this novel really is. (and thanks to everyone who bought it, we now have sequel after sequel to look forward to, not counting summer blockbusters -- my god, people, did we learn nothing from john grisham?)


it's "surf somewhere new" friday!

if you have a few mins, why not surf around to some of the seemingly limitless photoblogs on the www? i drop in on a few periodically, and some of them are quite amazing. for instance, [daily dose of imagery], which has some cool flash enabled pix in the archives, and chromasia.

well, @ least he's out-spoken

check out the vp's hijinks on the senate floor. the always funny wonkette delights: "yay! one of us! one of us! one of us!" and speaking of the veep, vanity fair's may '04 issue contained that publication's longest article ever (some 22,000 words), a pretty well written "the path to war." i haven't been able to find a link to the whole article (i haven't even read the end of it in our issue @ home, it's so freakin' long), but a substantial portion (what we in mississippi would call "a right good piece") of it was posted @ the middle east information center, whatever that is. if anyone finds the whole article online, please email me a link or post a comment. thanks.


a saintly lawyer

amy welborn points out that today's saint is thomas more (1478-1535). himself a lawyer and lord chancellor of england, he's a patron saint of lawyers (and of civil servants, so i guess he might get me on 2 fronts there). @ the risk of having my more adamantly protestant friends and readers castigate me for praying to some guy instead of, as i have assured them i do, asking some guy to pray for me but to god, here's the prayer (ahem) to st thomas more:
dear scholar and martyr, it was not the king of england but you who were the true defender of the faith. like christ unjustly condemned, neither promises nor threats could make you accept a civil ruler as head of the christian church. perfect in your honesty and love of truth, grant that lawyers and judges may imitate you and achieve true justice for all people. amen.

frustration from lack of sex

so did that headline get you? thought it might. it's not a commentary on my life outside the blogosphere (as far as you know); it's from a post on titusonenine announcing archbishop rowan williams' support for a new translation of the bible. the article appears in the london times, but i can't seem to link to it w/o having to pay some marks or pence or whatever negotiable instruments they traffic in over there. titus purports to quote from the article:
“the archbishop of canterbury, dr rowan williams, has given his personal backing to a new translation of the new testament in which st paul’s notorious condemnations of gay sex are deleted and christians are told to go out and have more sex. instead of condemning fornicators, adulterers and “abusers of themselves with mankind,” the new version of his first letter to corinth has st paul advising christians not to go without sex for too long in case they get “frustrated.” the translation appears to contradict the authorised king james version which, in a passage in i corinthians vii, often used to back the celibacy requirement in the roman catholic priesthood, quotes st paul saying: “it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” the new version, which dr williams says he hopes will spread “in epidemic profusion through religious and irreligious alike”, turns st paul’s strictures against fornication on their head. st paul’s words now are: “some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from one another. i think that is more likely to lead to sexual offences. my advice is for everyone to have a regular partner. husbands and wives should strive to meet each other’s sexual needs. they should submit to one another for that purpose. it’s not good to refuse a partner . . . .”
i'm surprised by the tone of the piece, although because i haven't read the actual article in its entirety, i can't really put it in context. suffice it to say, dr. williams may create a bit of a stir if the translators play too fast and loose w/ holy writ (but, lord love a duck, don't let's start shooting back and forth @ each other about literary criticism again -- i finally got some of my limited readership back after the last skirmish, so i don't want to go back there again!). for now, perhaps we should just wait and see exactly what's going on across the pond.

update: standfirm is reporting the same in "the archbishop of the church of what's happening now," w/ a link to another article @ worldnetdaily: "new bible translation promotes fornication" (where we learn that st peter is now "rocky," and jesus' self-designation as "son of man" has morphed into "the complete person"). {nota bene: i can't vouch for worldnetdaily, btw. the first things that pop up @ the top are banners for dr. laura and something about "the role of iraq, israel, usa in bible prophecy," which usually sends me hurtling for my browser's "back" button. in fact, after perusing the headlines on wnd, i seem to be put off by about all of them. just so you know.} the bbc has the story, too; and you can order good as new: a radical retelling of the scriptures @ chb. seems, however, that the archbishop is backing off a little from his support of the theology in the new xlation (from titusonenine again). probably a good idea if the rest of the project is as goofy as this sampling from mark 1.10-11:
authorized version: “and straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the spirit like a dove descending upon him. and there came a voice from the heaven saying, thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
new: “as he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. at the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. jesus took this as a sign that god’s spirit was with him. a voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘that’s my boy! you’re doing fine!’”
update to the update: a "new testament scholar" fires back @ the times article's author (thanks to getreligion's doublas leblanc for the link). and, in an interview w/ standfirm, mark galli (xtianity today managing ed. and [wooohoooo!] converted episcopalian) prays it's all just "a horrible dream."


nyt's greatest movies

kottke says he's seen 201 of the times' list of the 1000 greatest movies ever made. as best i can tell, i've seen some 230 of them. how such great films as donnie darko, braveheart, bottle rocket, memento, glengarry glen ross, lotr (1-3) and coyote ugly (only kidding!) didn't make the list, i'll never know.


totn takes on blogging

neil conan (who has one of the coolest voices in the world short of jerry remy, garrison starr and cokie roberts, as opposed to the rheumy diane rehm -- she's probably not technically "rheumy," but her voice grates on me like w. on michael moore) promises us a "guided tour through the 'blogosphere'" in the 2nd hour of today's talk of the nation on npr. i'm not supposed to stream it @ work, so i'll have to get the audio after 3p. {many thanks to my lovely wife who called to tell me she'd heard conan's report on the radio moments ago}

lott in nyt magazine

i think can safely speak on behalf of "most people in mississippi" when i say: trent lott is a flippin' idiot.

isn't there some law against idolatry?

oh no. i am appalled this morning to find that not one, but two of the weblogs i read regularly (thinklings, the revealer) picked up an ap report that (oh no) tbn intends to broadcast "gifted," its own christian version of american idol. oh no. there are few reports that could arouse such dread in me as this. it is just wrong on so many levels. i am literally nonplussed. i think i'll just go home and get back in bed.


happy birthday baseball!

the world's greatest game has a birthday today, the 19th of june. on this date in 1846, the new york knickerbockers and the new york nine sporting clubs played what some believe to have been the first baseball game in hoboken, nj, on the home turf of the knickerbockers, the elysian fields. scott simon and princeton univ. classics professor elaine fantham compare hoboken and heaven (a la kinsella) for npr. if you wonder how to celebrate this auspicious occasion, why not e-thumb your way through the baseball almanac site for a few hours?


dateline: oxford

may not be able to get out to see any movies b/c of ellie-related responsibilities, but the oxford film festival's going on this weekend. interesting are citizen shane (already seen it; very, very odd gentleman, shane is -- try shaneforsheriff.com, but i think it may be shut down; check out the planet weekly article), blackballed: the bobby dukes story, and the cooters "work for the gooch" music video. someone should do a meme study on those cooters bumper stickers that were ubiquitous around oxford a few years ago. (nota bene: the pic is from double decker, not the film fest; just want to maintain my journalistic integrity folks). Posted by Hello



in the spirit of yesterday's centennial (did you know "centennial" and "centenary" seem to have the same meaning?), here's a little something you can put on a bracelet (special thanks to the revealer and, for the pic, wood's lot). don't know that i agree w/ joyce's theology, but i'm enjoying the way he writes. Posted by Hello

oh dear lord

i'm so bored sitting in computer systems training that i just surfed on over to a bad baby names website. someone shoot me.

trot's back!

@ long last, trot nixon found his name on the lineup card for the hometown 9 in last night's game against colorado. hit a hr in the 4th, but as nick cafardo wrote this morning, "sometime soon, the sox will need to keep pace with the yankees' offense." trot and all, we still suck.



oh, i almost forgot! today is the centenary of "bloomsday." check out npr's coverage of the event.
update: in honor of this auspicious occasion, jason white makes ulysses available 1 pg/day via rss feed.

my charcoal heart

matt sturges has a good post today called "hands in motion," about god's making art from our mistakes. he writes, and i don't think he'd be put off by a small quote:
It is easy for God to forgive our sins because to God each black mark can be used as a bit of charcoal in a new drawing. The very thing that separated us from God, that introduced only chaos and futility into the world, is transformed by God into a work of grace.
as i commented to matt, god must look into my heart and see a veritable art supply warehouse!

another matt, this one a friend from here in oxford, commented recently that god looks @ us not w/ great anger over our failures, but the same way i look @ ellie grace when she's got a booger -- her frailty is heartbreakingly endearing, as ours must be to god. i can't say that i "feel" this 100% yet, but i think i'm starting to. thanks to both of the brothers m@.

how hot is it?

so you think it's hot where you are? imagine, if you will, returning home from a weekend away and finding (a) the cat panting, and (b) these candles. oh, new england, how i long for thee!Posted by Hello

movie quotes

oh no. the thinklings are playing a movie quote game, which always seems to sound the death knell for me getting any work done (thanks to josiah).

primacy of conscience

read a short article this a.m. (thanks to a tip from relapsed catholic) about australian archbishop george pell's drive to get the r.c. church to drop the "misleading doctrine of the primacy of conscience." another article linked @ the end of the cathnews piece fleshes out the issue somewhat and reveals its complexity. andrew hamilton, sj, wrote in the jesuit mag eureka street:
the archbishop claims that in committing themselves to the catholic church, catholics accept that god’s authoritative guidance about life and belief are given through the church. it is therefore unreasonable to accept that god’s guidance is given through church teaching and simultaneously to appeal to the primacy of conscience to dismiss that teaching.
interesting thoughts in light of calls from a handful of american bishops to deny communion to catholics who support "insert-hot-button-political-issue-here." having been raised a protestant, and now being part of a church that claims for itself the position of the via media, i'm more familiar w/ claims that "truth" is (a) embodied in scripture, (b) interpreted traditionally and (c) expounded by reason, and that this "truth" should be allowed to "stand over" one's individual conscience if conscience urges conduct or belief that contradicts such truth. the entire debate is interesting, however, b/c some of my dearest friends use "conscience," as well as reason, to reach doctrinal positions far different from mine (or, for that matter, orthodoxy), and a relativistic arena isn't well suited for finding "the answer" to questions surrounding, inter alia, women's ordination, international economic policy, (un)just war, and homosexual marriage.

i agree w/ archbishop pell @ least on this: the danger, as he points out, is that "increasingly, even in catholic circles, the appeal to the primacy of conscience is being used to justify what we would like to do rather than to discover what god wants us to do." the fact that evangelicals (presidents or otherwise) also use the bible itself to similar ends doesn't negate the fact that wholesale rejection of traditional doctrine in favor of more modern and enlightened understandings of scripture creates the dual possibilities of great reformation and great apostasy. the jury's still out. but we do well to remember prov. 14.12: there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

kyrie eleison.


the tangent universe collapsed . . .

. . . 962 days, 15 hours, 23 minutes and some change ago.

just sitting @ my office, watching movie trailers on the web (and feeling guilty about it), came across the trailer for the upcoming (re)release of donnie darko: the director's cut. i pored over the original movie dvd, one of my favorite movies of all time, although i can't say i really understand it @ all. the original website's enough to hold my attention for hours @ a time. if you haven't seen it, and you live in a large enough metropolitan area to warrant a screening, go see the director's cut. if you live in the sticks, as does the family wood @ this time, then go rent the dvd forthwith.


i always did like icons!

took the christian denomination selector (linked by thinkling jared) for a spin, just for funsies. turns out i ought to be eastern orthodox (followed by evangelical lutheran, lutheran-missouri synod, pcusa, methodist/weslyian, pca/orthodox pres., reformed, roman catholic, and only then by ecusa). @ least uu was ranked dead last.


lies and the lying liar who blogs them

i lie on rough draft a lot. it's not so much that i distort facts as that i allow you, the reader, to draw false inferences. however, please consider this mea culpa to be limited, so far as i know, to lies about one subject: myself.

now that i think about it, pretty much everything on here is @ least tinged w/ deceit. for instance, i have a lot of links in the sidebar to theological information. the assumption one draws from that fact, i would surmise, is that i am a theological person. well, "theological" i may be, but whatever that means it is not synonymous with being "in a right relationship to god," as evangelicals are wont to say. most assuredly, i am not all that often "aligned" w/ god. i understand things about him intellectually, but far too infrequently do i experience those things. i write a lot about "right doctrine," but my doctrine doesn't appear to be keeping me near to god.

so what? well, i don't know. i write to myself today, but these words are here for all the world to see. if you do not find yourself "sideways" w/ god as you read this, then you have my permission to dismiss this all as the semi-intelligible ravings of a conscience-seared wanderer. personally, i'm trudging through a pretty dark time of late (no wonder i posted c. m. thomas' "job" back on 31 may -- now that i look @ him, the figure in the painting looks a lot like me), but there are signs that the clouds are breaking. just last night, renee' got me to admit that i really don't understand forgiveness, the very heart of the gospel, all that much, and to make such an admission required (i think) that i bend my knees ever so slightly, moving toward that place where eventually i hope to be -- in complete submission to god, experiencing true forgiveness, living as a "slave to righteousness" (whatever would that be like, to live like that?).

so that may explain why i haven't posted much lately. and this entry serves as a milemarker, of sorts, for me. it's a reminder of the night i saw that i believe lies as much as i tell them. the night that renee' read the following verses from job 22, and i understood that they applied to me, and god began to adjust my orbit around him for the first time in a long while. a long, long while.
Is not your wickedness great?
Are not your sins endless?
You demanded security from your brothers for no reason;
you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked.
You gave no water to the weary
and you withheld food from the hungry,
though you were a powerful man, owning land-
an honored man, living on it.
And you sent widows away empty-handed
and broke the strength of the fatherless.
That is why snares are all around you,
why sudden peril terrifies you,
why it is so dark you cannot see,
and why a flood of water covers you.
Is not God in the heights of heaven?
And see how lofty are the highest stars!
Yet you say, 'What does God know?
Does he judge through such darkness?
Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us
as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.'
Will you keep to the old path
that evil men have trod?
They were carried off before their time,
their foundations washed away by a flood.
They said to God, 'Leave us alone!
What can the Almighty do to us?'
Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.
The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
the innocent mock them, saying,
'Surely our foes are destroyed,
and fire devours their wealth.'
Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent
and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.

the bunnies are back

and this time it's titanic. but even better (maybe better than the exorcist) is the shining. these things just make my day. (special thanks to charles everson, w/o whom i probably never would've noticed angryalien.com)


the exorcist . . .

reenacted in 30 seconds . . . by bunnies. haven't had such an experience since i found a buried track on a cd (i think it was filter, but for some reason that doesn't seem right) which narrated "the rapture" from the point of view of . . . carrots. i couldn't make this stuff up if you paid me. (and a very servicable get fuzzy today, too.)


one christian's stance on gun control

well, i've been away for a couple of days, so i figure it's about time for me to step in it again. last week, i forwarded an email around that purportedly originated with tom mauser whose 15-year old son, daniel, was one of the 13 kids killed @ columbine high school five years ago. i sent it to everyone in my address book, knowing full well that i'd get a broad range of responses. some people "signed" the petition by passing it on; others didn't. one of my closest friends wrote back w/ an extremely well-reasoned retort, part of which read:
It seems to be that what the country needs is not more legislation, but more responsibility. Responsibility by people like teachers who know young men capable of such violence, responsibility by friends, and most assuredly, responsibility by parents who need to pull their heads out of their asses, get off the couch, turn off the tv, and actually invest in their kids lives.
touche'. i agree wholeheartedly, and not just b/c my friend is widely known to be smarter than me. the main problem isn't gun proliferation, it's sin, and no amount of gun control is going to usher in the kingdom of god. but i'm afraid i still come down squarely on the side of assault weapons control, maybe for reasons even i don't fully understand. but this is a place for me to air out what i think, sometimes only to look back and think "what the . . . ??, sometimes to look back and be confirmed in my own mind about what i originally thought. so, air out, i shall.

if you look on the web -- just type in "christians and guns" -- it is readily apparent that i am in a distinct minority on this issue. carlo stagnaro wrote a piece for lewrockwell.com, about which i know absolutely nothing, in which he quotes jesus, the ot, larry pratt, j. r. r. tolkien (that one surprised me a bit), all in condemnation of gun control. his conclusion: one may believe banning guns is a good thing, and campaign for gun control; nobody has the right to do it in the name of god. in another piece on frontpagemag.com (again, i didn't even visit the site, so i have no idea of its politics), univ. of oklahoma professor david yeagley asserts that early american christians viewed the firearm as an essential element of christian deportment, and demicide (whatever that is -- i looked it up in all 4 dictionaries i have in the house and found nothing) is always preceded by public disarmament. ask the bolsheviks, the nazis, or the khmer rouge (i knew who they were).

now, i concede that i didn't find a lot of sites popping up from evangelical christian organizations joining together to ban bazookas. just the opposite, as recounted above. stagnaro even quoted such a heavy hitter as thomas aquinas, who apparently wrote: without doubt one is allowed to resist against the unjust aggressor to one’s life, one’s goods or one’s physical integrity; sometimes, even 'til the aggressor’s death . . . . in fact, this act is aimed at preserving one’s life or one’s goods and to make the aggressor powerless. thus, it is a good act, which is the right of the victim.

so what can i say to that?

i'll be brief. firstly, i'll concede (again) that this is a divisive issue, probably to be left to the dictates of conscience. if someone attacked ellie grace, i'd throw pots and pans and the cat, sans claws mind you, @ him (i don't have a gun, but i'd probably be brandishing it about if i did). so i'm not standing on the firmest of footings here. but -- who says we can't urge responsibility and ban assault rifles, weapons for which i can conceive of no good reason for their existence in any american home. in fact, who says that it's not our responsibility to say "nope . . . you can't have that, i'm afraid; you'll put your eye out" (or much, much worse)? in my faith (such as it is) i strive for @ least a modicum of consistency, for some internal thread to hold it together. thus, i am (here goes) opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. {i told you i was about to step in it.} i'm also opposed to the death penalty, ot law aside. if we can't mete out capital punishment fairly, and more importantly if we don't do it weeping over the untold effects it may have on our society (insert pope john paul's "culture of death" argument here if you wish), then we shouldn't have that little toy either. i've already said i'm starting to question whether the term "just war" is an oxymoron (apologies to my ethics teacher @ seminary, who was a just war advocate and quite decidedly not a moron). many of the authors whose websites i surfed cited genocides, many of them targeted @ christians, in support of their positions. nevertheless, i am not persuaded. if, heaven forbid, i were to have to die for my faith, then i trust that god would somehow achieve more through my death than he would have had i shot my way out of danger and lived to preach another day. no proof texts in my hands here; just an intense intuition that the way of the christian is not to be the way of the gun.

you know, i'm so glad that i don't set public policy. i am far too finite a man to plumb the depths of life and death issues such as these and then legislate wisely. but i'm not called to do that. i am not trying to convince any of you (my 3 or so committed readers, for whose patronage i am eternally grateful). and i write these words knowing full well that, as the little god of my blog here, i can go back and edit them whenever i please. but to say that the guns used by the guys who shot up columbine were already illegal misses the issue. does anyone think if those guns had been legal the atrocity wouldn't have occurred? here i should probably point out that i also found some stats online that seem to say that gun laws may actually increase crime levels, not make us safer. but i'm not talking about safety, really. sin still abounds, and if someone wants a gun, they'll likely get it in spite of all the laws in the world. but i think it's an important issue, one which most christians should probably ponder even though it's not likely for us here in the west to ever have to choose martyrdom or gunplay. any erstwhile rhetorician can make the case that governments shouldn't have the power to ban weapons (i'm not advocating banning all weapons, either, but that's beside the point, too). all i'm saying is: guns take lives, and i have a suspicion that @ least some christians are too concerned w/ keeping jackbooted government thugs out of our gunracks to get out there and cultivate, encourage, pray for, shout from the rooftops for life. that's just one christian's position, but it's one i can live w/. and, i think, it's one i could die w/, too.


where in the world have i been?

this is kinda cool. world66.com allows you to set up a homepage and create your own personalized map of where you've been or would like to go in the USA (they offer world maps, too, but mine's pretty much empty). you can also write about your travels in the open travel guide. just one more way to choke the information universe w/ essentially useless trivia about oneself.

smarty jones

the topic of today's interoffice debate: whether we want smarty jones to win the belmont stakes tomorrow, thereby becoming the first triple-crown winner since affirmed in '79. the players: me 'n willie sue, the latter being in favor of said achievement, the former opposed. why? you ask. well, i think it's the name. "smarty jones." it's completely devoid of gravitas. who gives a race horse a first name that sounds like a candy and a cognomen that's so ubiquitous it prompts inane jokes. for instance (this joke is only told by joneses): "you know, adam and eve were named 'jones,' but whenever somebody sinned god changed their name." see? inane, pedestrian, vacuous. smarty jones, my fanny. a true thoroughbred needs a moniker that packs a wallop. your citations, secretariats, affirmeds (who can hear that name w/o thinking of alydar?), war admirals -- those were real horses. even war emblem, funny cide or spectacular bid (my particular favorite nom de neigh, save for secretariat), all horses who won the first two legs but lost @ belmont, have names that conjure up thundering hooves and mud and "down the stretch they come . . . !" "smarty jones" sounds like a second-class putdown for the bespectacled and slightly malodorous girl in 3rd grade who knew all the answers to the geography questions. but, then again, maybe it's just me. i don't like west coast sports franchises (the country progressed east to west, so the lefties can't have as much tradition as our side, can they?); i couldn't stand to see a mike fratello-coached team win an nba championship b/c he's too short; no team w/ less than 15 years under its belt should ever get world series rings (that means you, d'backs and marlins, the latter doubly so) b/c their fans haven't suffered enough yet (did i mention i'm a red sox/cubs fan?). and so it goes, here in the office of the undersigned (supported by your tax dollars, no less). when i win the debate, as i undoubtedly will, rest assured that i shall gloat and prance about. "smarty jones." thhppppftphtttt!


marky mark

here are 2 things i didn't know: (1) mark wahlberg is a self-professed "devout catholic;" and (2) he told tavis smiley, in an interview about a documentary he produced called juvies, that he had a ticket for one of the flights out of logan on 9/11 that crashed into the wtc but opted to drive to new york @ the last minute. who says you don't learn anything on pbs latenite?

where the rubber hits the road in mass.

today's globe has a story about the spot in which bishop tom shaw has found himself, i.e., getting pressure from both sides in the same-sex marriage debate w/in the ecusa. i found the article very interesting, not only b/c bishop shaw is my bishop, but b/c i consider bishop shaw, the rev. bill wallace of emmanuel church in the back bay (who has already performed 3 such ceremonies) and the rev. bill murdoch of all saints west newbury (who is a leader in the aac movement in the commonwealth, but whose church's website curiously brings up information on mail order prescriptions for lamisil) to be friends of mine. maybe that'll give you an indication of how uncomfortable i am w/ this whole mess. there are people whom i love dearly on both sides, both in mass. and here in mississippi, so no matter where i stand i'm on the other side of the aisle from friends.


n. t. wright on koinonia and communion

it's probably no big secret that i hold n. t. wright in very high regard, both as a scholar and as a faithful bishop (he's bishop of durham, england). his keen intellect and high view of scripture serve to make him one of the foremost orthodox nt scholars writing today. if you're interested, john allen interviews tom for the most recent online edition of the national catholic reporter. in the lengthy interview, tom touches on some of the critical issues facing the anglican church, including homosexuality (he is a member of the eames commission, so he doesn't commit himself necessarily), as well as the idea of denying communion to politicians. special thanks to douglas @ getreligion for the link to the interview.

welcome to the machine

not to harp on one particular subject too much today, but during my lunch hour i took tracy's advice and streamed frontline's piece "the merchants of cool." the singular sense i got from the show is that advertisers may be the only group to truly appreciate the potential of the generation of teenagers alive in the west today, a generation more populous even than that of the baby-boomers. and what are the advertisers selling? in short, guys as "mooks" and girls as "midriffs." sex, image, rage, cash, violence, "cool" -- these are the medium and the message of the marketing machine. if postmodernism heralds the death of the metanarrative, these guys aren't listening. instead, as one of the interviewees remarked, they are targeting teens @ a worldview level, programming kids w/ the "official worldview" as conceived and presented by mtv and huge media conglomerates. i hate the "slippery slope" argument, but i think it's applicable here. as jimmy iovine, the head of interscope records and the man behind limp bizkit (remember them?) said in the last segment: there's no way to stop a movement in popular culture -- there's just no way to stop it, it's gonna happen w/ or w/o you -- there's absolutely no way to stop that train.


i've been using feedreader alpha 2.5 for a few weeks to keep up w/ the 'blogs i read every day, and b/c blogger just gives me an atom feed for rough draft, i decided to use feedburner for rss syndication myself -- hence, the nifty little flamin' icon @ the top of my sidebar. whoever comes up w/ all this stuff is way smarter than me.

2 out of 3 bloghoppers agree . . .

i suck. no kidding. i placed a little link to bloghop.com in my sidebar to see if people would actually vote on whether they liked my weblog, and so far i've got 2 "love its," 2 "sucks," and 2 "hate it" (w/ italics for emphasis). and i've got 1 "ok," which throws off my neat little "2 out of 3" analysis. i knew when i started writing stuff that people would wander, perhaps foolishly, into these pages, and i stated from the outset that one motivation for my writing was to figure out what i think about some of the issues i address. so i'm not @ all bummed that some people thought so little of my writing to exercise the franchise and declare "alas, he sucketh!" one thing i do wish, though, is that when people stop by, read and are put off, that they'd leave a comment so we could have a "conversation" (big episcopal word) about it. admittedly, some if not most of the topics i touch on are controversial; where's the fun in writing about things upon which everybody agrees? but when i've read other people's weblogs and posted what could be considered negative comments, often they have responded w/ a comment, another post, or even started a chain of email correspondence, after which we sometimes agree and sometimes must agree to disagree. i appreciate all the good comments i get, and many of them have led me to other topics or websites where i've learned something i didn't know before. anyway, i'm not complaining. if you think i suck, i hope you take 15 seconds to vote that way. it'd just be cool if we could talk about it, too.

then again . . . maybe 2 out of 3 of you are in actuality yankee fans.

friends w/ benefits

can't say i'm surprised by this, but terry mattingly @ getreligion calls our attention to a piece by benoit denizet-lewis in the 30 may 2004 issue of nyt magazine on the sexual proclivities of teenagers. b/tw this, "thirteen" (a really good movie, although it scared the bejeezus out of me) and that thing w/ the jelly bracelets (true or not), i'm thinking about chaining elmo in her closet until she's 21.


decoding da vinci again

this issue just won't die. indeed, dan brown's book has been on the nyt bestseller list for over 60 weeks (and, if i'm not mistaken, it's the "most-'blogged book" on the web these days), and there's now a plethora of books surfacing that claim to debunk brown. martha giltinan (thanks, mother!) sent around a link to charles colson's commentary on darrell bock's breaking the da vinci code, which purports to do just that. amy welborn has a book, too, called de-coding da vinci. i haven't read any of the debunking books, although i have opined from the pulpit that brown's book is essentially, ahem, a load of poo, scholarship-wise. there's something about us in the west, though -- we like to make up our own theology. just make it up! and we love conspiracy theories (vanity fair had a piece last month [i think] about just how goofy we have to be to hang on to some of our beloved theories). anyway, i'm not going to post about the book any more, but i thought i'd pass along the links for those of you who may be interested or, more likely, have friends who believe they are discovering the long-buried "truth" in brown's fiction.


this is one of the most moving pieces of art (christian or otherwise) that i've ever seen. i first saw it reprinted in discipleship journal back in 2002, but i wanted you all to see it. the artist is c. m. thomas, and his work is online @ altpick.com. check him out, and read his artist spotlight bio if you get a second. poignantly, he says his philosophy is that "art should inspire, heal, motivate people, and uplift the world." sounds like the gospel, yeah? Posted by Hello
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