Thursday, November 30, 2006

why Bill Clinton is a hero-100,000 children treated for AIDS!

This in the brilliant excellent good news for the week section.

So here's a question for all the clinton bashers who think george bush is so wonderful. What has w ever done to compare with today's news that the clinton foundation is helping to ensure that an additional 100,000 children have access to HIV drugs in 2007? Yippee! Try to imagine what this means for just one child in the less developed world, and then multiply by 100,000, and just try not to smile. And then remember that it means the same thing tomorrow, and the day after that, and every single blessed day of 2007. Rock on.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Guest blogger--why I am joining the protest of Mars Hill in Seattle Dec 3

Shari Macdonald Strong expressed so perfectly the reasons I am joining the protest of Mars Hill in Seattle on Dec 3, I thought I'd just repost her letter here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why On Earth Would I Want to Picket a Church? More on the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Seattle Action

To: Mark Driscoll
Mars Hill Elders and Deacons
Acts 29 Church Planting Network
Seattle Times

As a Christian woman who is planning to participate in the planned December 3 protest at Mars Hill, I wanted to write to explain my reasons for wanting to do so and to share my concerns about some of Mr. Driscoll's recent teachings and writings.

Let me start by saying, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll's recent blog post, in which he amends his previous blog entry about the Ted Haggard affair and about the dangers of pastor's wives "letting themselves go." In particular, I am grateful for the gentle tone of the post. I believe that if this were the tone that he was known for, there would not be this current firestorm of emotion around his teachings.

It was the Ted Haggard post that brought Mr. Driscoll's teachings most recently to my attention. However, I live on the West coast and have heard of him before. I know both that Mark Driscoll is a very powerful man and that many, many people – a large percentage of which are women – have left Mars Hill Church and sometimes the larger church as a result of Mr. Driscoll's teachings. I also have heard that many people have sought therapy after leaving Mars Hill, as a result of the damage done by his teachings. That last statement, of course, is based on hearsay, so I went online to read some of Mr. Driscoll's writings and to listen to some sermons. In addition to the comments about women "letting themselves go," here is some of what I encountered (in random order):

• Derogatory comments made regularly and consistently about people who disagree with Mr. Driscoll's theology, labeling them not only wrong or liberal, but "wussified," "#######," "chickified," and "effeminate" (e.g., "if the Christ you serve is just a really nice guy – I hate to tell you, but you serve a weak, effeminate, ####### Christ").

• Mocking and undermining another denomination of the Christian church:
“The One God has kindly told us who He is—Father, Son, and Spirit. But some chicks and some chickified dudes with limp wrists and minors in 'womyn’s studies' are not happy because two persons of the Trinity have a dude-ish ring. So, in an effort to copy-edit God, some folks at the Presbyterian Church (USA) who have free time because no one is going to their church have decided to consider new names for God.”

• Comparing women in leadership to "fluffy baby bunnies":
“All of this [the Episcopal church appointing female and homosexual leaders] has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to “Get over it.”

• Stating/implying that men are the only demographic that matters:
The question is: “If you want to be innovative, how do you get young men?” All this nonsense about how to grow the church – one issue: young men. That’s it – that’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate; they’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war – you get everything; you get the families, the women, the children, the money the business: you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing.

• Calling strong women who disagree with his interpretation of Scripture "godless" and saying the Bible has "a low opinion" of them:
If it’s a godly woman who has a godly agenda who has something godly to say, then she can speak. If she’s an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3, and she’s on some tirade mission to represent all women, which is what sometimes happens, women nominate themselves to represent all women… – I love it when the national organization for women, for example, comes out and says, ‘…and representing women…” What women? Did they take a vote? Did all the Christian women vote? Did the mothers vote? Did the wives vote? No. You don’t represent all women. You represent a liberal feminist constituency. Period. Not all women. Not all women. But there are women who will rise up like that, saying “I speak for all women. I champion women’s rights. I champion women’s causes” (sarcastically). We say, that’s not a problem if it’s in accordance with the rights and liberties and dignities that are afforded to a woman in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t have a low view of women. It just has a low view of some women."

• Making fun of strong women and mocking feminists:
"The question is not: Will someone be offended? The question is, who will it be? Will we offend God, saying, you know what? This is an old book, you’re kind of an idiot. I have some other opinions. I went to community college. I have a degree in women’s studies. I have a pushup bra and clear heels and opinions! [Congregation laughs.] The question is, who will be offended: God or us? And if we are offended do we really believe that God doesn’t know what he’s talking about or that this really isn’t God speaking to us? Those are the issues on the table. 'As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches.' He’s speaking here about godless feminist women who are on an agenda, beatin’ a drum, plantin’ a flag in the ground, “We’re for women! We’re for women! We’re for women!” He says, 'You know what? We’re for Jesus.' Wrong mission. Women are great, as long as they’re for Jesus."

• More making fun of women and feminists:
"They [feminists] will say, “You need to treat me like a man!” None of you women want that. No woman wants a man to treat her like another man. Because if we do…you cry. That’s true. [laughter and applause in congregation] Also: " The problem with women, though, who want to be treated like men, is as soon as you do, they say, "You know what, you hurt my feelings. I'm a girl."

• Mr. Driscoll implies that Brian McLaren has sex with goats because he accepts gay people into his church.

• “…women who don’t respect godly authority are demonic.”

• Rather than Mr. Driscoll simply saying that he disagrees with the lifestyles of young men who work in coffee shops and suggesting an alternative or challenging them, he makes fun of them. He uses shame to get men to do what he wants, calling them "chickified," "limp-wristed," "#####," "#######."

• More mocking of women who disagree with him, painting women who have opinions as "hot-headed" and "emotional," and more implications that God doesn't like these women:
"some women think they can do everything on their own" and that if men sit by idly like cowards because they don't want to get into with with their hot-headed, emotional, wives, eventually the women will take over the church, and then the church will go to hell."

• Undermining women's efforts to hold him accountable for his words, implying that the raising of theological questions by a woman is the same thing as them calling the Bible "ridiculous," and calling the squelching of a woman's intellect and voice "sexy":"Does it say, "Ladies, don't have any questions"? Does it say that? No. Does it say, "Ladies, don't disagree." No. Does it say, "Ladies, don't think for yourself." When you disagree, when you're super-theological, when you're all fired up, the first thing you don't do is start yellin' at the pastor and yellin' at the church, firin' nasty e-mails, and declarin' war and puttin' together a, a, little group of, you know, feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference."
If you're married, you go talk to who? Your husband. You say, "Sweetheart, I was readin' The Bible, I think it's ridiculous." And he would say, "We should probably talk." "Honey I was readin' the Bible, I don't understand." He should say, "Let's, let's study that together. Let's take some time, and study -- together. Now some of you will protest and say, "THAT is SEXIST!" As a married man, I will tell you, it is sexy. That's what it is. There is nothin' hotter than a wife with a great new testament, commentaries, concordances, and questions. That is theological foreplay. It's awesome. Because now you're connecting at the level of then heart and the soul and god is honoring of that."

• Mocking homosexuals:
"I am myself a devoted heterosexual male ####### who has been in a monogamous marriage with my high school sweetheart since I was 21 and personally know the pain of being a marginalized sexual minority as a male #######."

There is more, but I believe I've more than made my point. Frankly, I am upset, I am concerned, I am angry, and I am embarrassed to belong to the same religion as Mark Driscoll. I am deeply offended – not by God, but by Mark Driscoll. If I believed that Mr. Driscoll's words and attitude were reflective of the God of Christianity, I would walk away from Christianity altogether. I read at least one report of a former Mars Hill member who has. Unfortunately, as the Christian religion writer for the Seattle Times, in addition to his other roles, Mark does for many represent the face of Christianity. As that representative, he is showing the world a religion that is mean-spirited and unkind, one that depends upon mockery and shame, ######### and disrespect, smugness and name-calling to make its points.

I am sure that Mr. Driscoll has many fine points and I am not calling into question his love of God or Jesus or the Bible. I am, however, pointing out that his demonization of everyone who deviates from his absolutist claims is causing vast damage to individuals, to the community, and to the church. Perhaps he is trying to be hip and funny and provocative. But the price of this approach is far too high.

Again, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll's clarifying blog post about the Haggard situation, although I wish he had said "I'm sorry, I was wrong" instead of simply saying he'd been "misconstrued." Mr. Driscoll should apologize publicly for all the things referenced above, for the mean, flippant attitude with which he is attempting to deliver the gospel.

In the original, offending blog post, Mr. Driscoll wrote: "At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness…" If he realized that the post would make him "more despised," then why say something he already has recognized as being despicable? Mr. Driscoll has had to apologize publicly for his abuse before; on March 27, 2006, he apologized for comments made on the CT Leadership blog, in which he (among other abuses) implied that Brian McLaren had sex with goats because he accepted gay people in his church. John Piper also has censured him for being "clever."

Yet Mark Driscoll continues to deliver messages filled with meanness and sarcasm and mockery of those who have different opinions or theological positions, and the congregation laughs whenever he does this. Who is holding him accountable? Who, among the Acts 29 community and/or Mars Hill, is talking with him about this, saying: "Mark, you can't be this mean. This has to stop"?

I realize that I am exactly the type of strong-willed, opinionated woman that Mark Driscoll believes to be "an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3." I do have an opinion about this matter (though I don't have that pushup bra he accused all feminists of having), and I feel it is my responsibility to stand up and say something. Mr. Driscoll will likely see this letter as fitting his example of those "super-theological," "fired up" "feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference." I admit, I do hope to make some difference in this situation (no gun, though); unfortunately, I don't really expect this letter to change his heart.

I am, however, appealing to those surrounding him: Please listen. Please understand that Mark Driscoll's teachings and his harsh, unkind, mocking words are hurting women and hurting the church. Please set up some form of accountability (or, if one exists, a stronger form of accountability). Ask him to get some therapy. Until he can control his words and his tone, please ask him to step down as the religion columnist representing Christianity for the Seattle Times. Listen to his sermons with a discerning ear and hold him accountable for what he's teaching; if the tone of the above comments continues, remove him from leadership. Ask him to apologize, publicly. Most importantly of all, please set up some kind of information-seeking group within the church to hear the stories of people who have been hurt by Mr. Driscoll and his teachings – and be willing to act upon what you learn.

You have the power to do something about this. All I have is the power to write this letter. And to stand outside the church, holding a sign. Which is why I still plan to attend the protest on December 3. This isn't an attempt to be divisive and it isn't an attempt to persecute anyone, as some Mars Hill members have claimed. It's simply an attempt to say: "Somebody please do something. Please stop this." The question is: Are you listening?


Shari MacDonald Strong

Guest Blogger "hereandnow"

"hereandnow" posted at in a discussion entitled "What Makes One Person More Caring than Another", and I found the thoughts helpful and provocative, so I thought I'd repost here.

"Two very interesting sources that address the initial question of what motivates responses of caring/indifference in this world are a short academic work by Alice Miller called The Drama of the Gifted Child and a recent movie made in South Africa called Tsotsi. Drama basically comes down on the side of these traits being nurtured by our experience of pain and suffering in early childhood. Not everyone responds the same way, but Miller makes an interesting case for the way things unfold. Tsotsi, on the other hand, is based on a novel, so I assume very fictionalized. The main character is ruthless, but in the midst of his ruthlessness, he begins to experience a sort of transformation due to stealing a car with an infant in it. It deals with personal transformation of character from ruthlessness to compassion with out being trite or unrealistic (sort of).

"Now, I’ll weigh in on what I think the origins/motivations of being either consumed with compassion (other-centered) or indifference (self-centered). I think it comes down to whether we are preoccupied with justice or personal righteousness (I know, we’d like to be equally devoted to both, but it’s a rare person who is). How we derive at these preoccupations is the result of our trying to make sense of the hardships of life, be they from abuse, genetic limitations or just plain stupidity on our part. But, we try and construct systems that make sense of the pain of the human condition (loaded term that I don’t mean to equate with the fall of humanity from any state of grace in Eden). While I generally hate to dichotomize things into either/or, in this issue I do think that we either gravitate towards trying to deal with our own hurt by trying to bring justice into our world, or we deal with it by trying to protect the self at the cost of anything that gets in the way of that protection. Which side of the proverbial fence we fall on will make vast differences in how we treat ourselves and others."

help stop executions!

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

e - @ b o l i t i o n i s t
December 2006

Please forward and cross-post this message widely. If you received this message from a friend, subscribe free at

Three inmates scheduled for execution in December

Three inmates have scheduled execution dates in December, all of which are slated before December 15. Of the three, one pleaded guilty to the crimes and suffers from mental illness, while another maintains his innocence.

Percy Walton is scheduled to be executed by the state of Virginia on Dec. 8, even though he suffers from severe chronic schizophrenia.

Angel Nieves Diaz is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 13 by the state of Florida, despite the fact that no one witnessed the murder.

Read more about these and the other cases below -- and ACT!

Do Not Execute Percy Walton!

Although Percy Walton pled guilty to the shooting murders of three people, a group of mental health professionals diagnosed him with severe chronic schizophrenia. He has told people that he looks forward to his execution so that he can resurrect dead family members. Walton has suffered from mental illness for years, and he now has no idea that his execution is imminent. Executing Walton would be the same as execution a person with mental retardation, in that he has makes no connections between action and consequence. ACT NOW by contacting Gov. Tim Kaine requesting that he stop the execution of Percy Walton!

Read More and Take Action at:

Do Not Execute Angel Nieves Diaz!

Angel Nieves Diaz was convicted in the murder of a bar manager in Miami, but no one witnessed the crime. Diaz maintains he was out of the state at the time of the murder, and his girlfriend has admitted that she testified against him after being coerced by the police. Also, Angel Toro, who allegedly was with Diaz during the crime, received a plea bargain and is now serving a life term. Diaz represented himself at the trial, even though he did not speak English at the time, and the trial jury was influenced by the heavy security surrounding Diaz during the trial.

ACT NOW by contacting Gov. Jeb Bush requesting that Angel Nieves Diaz's execution be halted!

Read More and Take Action at:

See and act on all current Execution Alerts at

December 5: Jerome Henderson, OH

December 8: Percy Walton, VA

December 13: Angel Nieves Diaz, FL

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's snowing!

It's snowing in Seattle.--what a rare and wonderful treat! Millions and millions of enormous soft white fluffy flakes are gently wafting their way down and accumulating! Yippee!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Version 1.

Dear g*d(dess).

The planet is mostly FUBAR, and your redemption plan doesn't begin to approach being enough. thanks for squat.

Version 2.

Dear g*d(dess).

Thankyou that I live in a country with a per capita GDP of $41,000 while 3 billion people rot in destitute poverty with $700 per year. Thankyou that I live in a country where we are going to spend $1.1 Trillion on defense in 2007 so that I can feel relatively safe while another 150,000 Iraqi’s die. Thankyou that I’m a man so that I can feel relatively safe while one in four women in this country will be raped or sexually molested by their 18th birthday. Thankyou that even though I and my family are among the 46 million uninsured in this country, at least we still live in a country where we are spending $2.2 trillion on health care this year, while over 2 million died and 12 million children were orphaned because of aids in Africa in 2005, and another 2 million will die of malaria there this year, mostly children under 5. Thankyou that I live in a country where the lives of my wife and my newborn daughter were saved during an obstetric emergency, while 500,000 mothers will die worldwide this year from obstetric emergencies that are mostly relatively simple and inexpensive to remedy. Thankyou that I am going to get to obscenely gorge myself on enormous quantities of food today, while also today 25,000 people are going to die of starvation around the world.

God bless (only) America.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This is freaking kewl

Today minister's (you have to realize, by the way, that I put that apostrophe there for the sole purpose of annoying the heck out of all you people who find that sort of thing annoying) from seven international partners signed a 12 billion dollar agreement to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)--the world's first ever working, viable fusion power plant (well, sort of). They are going to freaking heat up hydrogen isotopes to 100 million freaking degrees and then force them together to make them fuse and thus give up part of their mass as energy, something that normally only happens in totally uncontrollable places like stars and hydrogen bombs. How totally gnarley is that? (answer: very very totally gnarley!). Unfortunately, if you are over 70 years old, you probably won't live to see actual online fusion power plants for electrical energy, which probably won't finally happen until 2040 (or so they predict). But still, it's pretty damn kewl. Now I wonder if we could do this any faster if, for instance, we had taken the 400 billion we've blown on the iraq war and used that money to speed up viable controlled fusion. Oh well. You can read more about ITER on their web site.

Monday, November 20, 2006

god i hate

las vegas.

In this city more blatantly, somehow, than anywhere else, there exists the dichotomy between our rich, ritzy, showy, lit up, clean, perfect, beautiful, glorious, happy, well fed, .... facade; and our poor, filthy, ugly, shredded, despicable, helpless, ... brokenness. It wears on one, perhaps especially one like me, and I sense glimmers of the possibility of me coming to like, and to want more of, and to believe in, the facade. I hate that the worst. it's like the anti-me, coming to gobble me up.

And for you people out there who thing my blog is just too depressing (you know who you are) I found this (I think) pretty freaking gnarly animation of a radial engine from wikipedia (try not to stare at it too long--it has similar powers to Kaa (about whom Kipling writes thusly: "He is very old and very cunning. Above all, he is always hungry," said Baloo hopefully. "Promise him many goats. All this in the story which tells of his powers, Kaa's Hunting, which you can read *now* by clicking on the name, which will take you to that page of the etext from project gutenberg.))


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who's your favorite speaker?

Stephanie said in a recent comment on this blog:
ben, i like hearing your thoughts on this. i have listened to mark driscoll sermons in hope of finding some redemptive value but instead end up frustrated. so i empathize with you.

So here's my question. Who's your favorite speaker or speakers--the ones where you do find redemptive value--the one's who manage to plant lovely story seeds inside you which bear delightful fruit? If you can, also share links to talks from these speakers.
To start us off--one of my favorites is Dan Allender, who always manages to surprise me and (lovingly) shove me right out of my completely whacked comfort zone.

Monday, November 13, 2006

my thoughts on sex and power in the context of the recent Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill thing

From here:

I think I have a *great* gut feeling for a powerful abusive system when I see it. Call it whatever you want. There’s something inside that recognizes it immediately becuase I lived in something very similar for years, and it was hella hard to get out of, and to get healed from. Driscoll and Mars Hill Church set that feeling off big time, and the more I read about and interact with them, the more conscious evidence there is for my head of what my gut is telling me. It seems to me that perhaps the major problem over there is a misunderstanding of power. I really think that the leadership doesn’t understand the level of the power they have, and the damage their uncareful use of that power is doing. I think there are two possible paths for them. Either they will just continue to be the way they are–this happens to some people–they never really change, no matter how much pain they cause others and themselves. My hope is that it will go the other way for them–that they will come to understand and feel in their heads and in their guts the pain that their misuse of power is causing, and repent, and start to repair. That would be awesome. the sense I get from Mark, and from Lief, is that they have not yet experienced the depths of brokenness that they need to experience in order to *really* understand their desperate need for love, and for jesus. Mark gives very flippant lip service to being a sinner. It’s scary to see unbroken people wielding power.

and from here:

I think that what a man in a position of power like Mark Driscoll (that is, a man who knows that other people look up to him, listen to his teaching, and intend to implement it) should be emphasizing overwhelmingly to married guys about sex is this: We (guys) live in a culture where the overwhelming message is that women are objects, women are worthless unless they are young, thin, and beautiful, women are sexually assaulted, women are beaten–all in all, women have a pretty shitty time overall, and it’s mostly the fault of guys who are saying and doing all these abusive things to women. So in light of the fact that we are swimming in this pool, and breathing this freaking air, our first priority with our wives should be to give the lie to all this crap, and tell our wives both in words and deeds that they are beautiful, period, and that that they are worthy of respect and love, period. Our number one goal in regards to sex with our wives should be to be romantic, and kind, and gracious, and focused on what *they* want. Etc. Etc. Etc. etc. etc.
And if someone in a position of power, like mark, is focusing on anything else when teaching married men about sex, then by default, that is, by not swimming against the cultural tide, he is swimming with it, and reinforcing it.
That’s what I think.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

something lighter

The European Union Commission have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for Europeancommunications, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As partof the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spellinghad some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan forwhat will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).

In the first year, "s" will be used instead of the soft "c".Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard"c" will be replaced with "k". Not only will this klear up konfusion, buttypewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replacedby "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan beexpekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have alwaysben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mesof silent "e"s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing"th" by "z" and "w" by "v".

During se fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan bedropd from vords kontaining "ou", and similar changes vud of kors be apldto ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz year, ve vil hav a relisensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun wilfind it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru.

And here's Jabberwocky in Welsh. 20 points if you can read this out loud in less than 3 mintues From the jabberwocky variations page:

Selyf Roberts

Mae'n brydgell ac mae'r brochgim stwd
Yn gimblo a gyrian yn y mhello:
Pob cólomrws yn féddabwd,
A'r hoch oma'n chwibruo.

'Gwylia'r hen Siaberwoc, fy mab!
Y brathiad llym a'r crafanc tynn!
A rhed pan weli'r Gwbigab
A'r ofnynllyd Barllyn!'

Cym'rodd ei gleddyf yn ei law
I geisio ei fanawaidd brae--
A gorffwys ger y goeden Taw,
I feddwl--fel pe tae.

A thra pendronai ymhlith y coed
Y Siaberwoc a'i lygaid fflam
A ddaeth, mor wallgof ag erioed
Gan ffrwtian gam a cham!

Un, dau! Un, dau! drwy'r awyr oer
Aeth min y cledd ysgiw, ysgôl!
Fe'i lladdodd, a chan gludo'i ben
Hwblamodd yn ei ôl.

'A lleddaist ti y Siaberwoc?
Tyrd yma, hapllon fachgen!
O jiwblus ddydd! Hwrê! Hwroc!'
Gan wenu arno'n llawen.

Mae'n brydgell ac mae'r brochgim stwd
Yn gimblo a gyrian yn y mhello:
Pob cólomrws yn féddabwd,
A'r hoch oma'n chwibruo.

And here is Carroll's orginal poem:

Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Response from Mars Hill on blog comments

In all fairness, I would encourage those following this whole thing to read this response from Mars Hill Church on Comment 102 at the CatE Post (referenced below) (I guess it's a little late to add that this whole discussion is *not* g-rated)

Can I just say this looks to me like a big powerful abusive system (Mars Hill Church) trying to further squash their victims while maintaining their own apperance of holiness and propriety. But hey, that's just me.

update and change in date of Mark Driscoll protest

So the Mark Driscoll protest (mentioned in the post directly below this one) is now going to be on December 3. Please make a note of it.

Feel free to read about my visit to Mars Hill Church this morning here

And here's today's astonomy photo of the day--the cat's eye nebula

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Protest Mark Driscoll's misogyny Dec. 3 (NEW DATE!) in Ballard

I want to encourage any seattlelites reading here to click here to join in the protest of the misogyny of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, one of Seattle's biggest churches. Mark recently suggested on his blog that perhaps if Gayle Haggard had taken steps to be a little hotter, then Ted Haggard would have found it easier to resist temptation. Can you believe that? (For more evidence of Mark's warped misogynist viewpoint, just follow this post at converation at the edge. See especially comments 102 and 109) So is protesting mark's words, and his general misogyny, at the 11Am service at Mars Hill on December 3 (NEW DATE!). I called Mars Hill and asked whether there was any chance of speaking to Mark about this, but was told he is booked up for two years! I left them my phone number and they said they would have another pastor get back to me. So I will keep you posted.

And may I encourage you to check out the 4 minute preview of Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly 3, and perhaps buy the dvd? Jean clearly and concisely shows just how prevalent and how enormously damaging our whole society's underlying "women are only worthwhile if they are young and beatiful" message really is. Just click on the name Killing Us Softly above, and about halfway down the left side of that page click on "Play Video"

Friday, November 10, 2006

an image of mercury's recent transit of sol

On Wednesday this last week, things lined up in such a way that Mercury could be seen crossing the sun from over half of our planet! In the photo below, mercury is the tiny black circle (almost a speck!) to the left of center. You can see a bigger version of the image here This is today's Astronomy picture of the day, which you can have automatically downloaded to your desktop every day using this software These pictures are always amazing--makes me look forward to seeing my computer desktop every day.

Friday Videos

Awesome guitarist! Who is this guy?

White and Nerdy

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Poem by D.

From Eclectic Waters
November 6th, 2006


A small body,

moving like a black bead across linoleum floor,

spins grey thread.

She hangs it like party streamers


rocks, trees, doorframes and windows.

Her webs of small triangles, looped and tied together,

have been dismembered by hats, flailing hands, and squirrels.

Each time, she hides beside the knotted corner, the one in the shadows,


the web break

into frayed fingertips that twitch.

She has sat on the edge of countless webs. When the wind dies down, her legs click forward.


A small body,

moving like a black bead,

spinning grey thread and stretching it out.

I leaned forward, but heard no sigh,

only the click click click of hairy legs against a twig.

A small body,

moving like a black bead across linoleum floor,

spins grey thread.

She hangs it like party streamers


rocks, trees, doorframes and windows.

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's my birthday!!

At left: a victim of an American atomic bomb
Notes from today:

-In The United States, we are halfway through the current season (Autumn, here), but we are *not* halfway through Spring in Oz, because their season (Spring) runs September 1 through December 1 (the meteorological seasons), while our season (Autumn) runs from 23 September to 21 December (the astronomical seasons). Wierd, huh?
--Plutonium was first produced at Hanford on this day in 1944, and used about 9 months later to instantly kill 70,000 people, mostly civilians, in Nagasaki.

(Dammit-my mother told me recently that she read my blog once, and had decided to wait to read it again until a day when she felt really pumped up with joy, since she found it so depressing that she dasn't (now there's a lovely word--"dasn't") start to read it when she's down, or she'll end up really in a pit. So I planned to make today's entry 100% cheerul and fun and happy just for her. but I just *can't*. It's not how I see the world.)

--Today I am 32. Next year, I'll be an adult by hobbitish standards. So I'm entering my last year as a non-adult. I intend to enjoy it!. Following, for your enjoyment, is the four minute version (that is, read aloud, it takes about 4 minutes) of the chronlogically first half of my life (through age 16). And I've left out *all* the really bad stuff (for you, mom!)

My first 16 years, the negativity avoidant 4 minute version

I was born 2 weeks premature on an air force base in Altus Oklahoma, whence I was flown 6 hours later to a larger hospital in Texas, where a surgeon (whose name I have not yet managed to learn, although I'm working on it) and his team saved my life by sewing up my deflated left lung. (I have the scar to prove it!). At age 2, I moved with my family to Wichita, Kansas, where I later met my best friends Sam and Jennifer, with whom I hung out and learned to ride a bicycle and made a fort and learned to ride with no hands! (yippee) and we all went over to Washington Street (the paved street!!) to ride because we could go faster on pavement (yeehaw!) My dad took me to preschool in the mornings on the way to work, and we regularly stopped at a donut shop, where we both ate donuts and he drank coffee, with milk for me. And we *never* told mom (sorry, mom, hehe). My mom taught me to read so I was the most advanced kid in my preschool, and I began my lifelong insatiable thirst for books with the hardy boys books. I buried a cover of a hardy boys book along with some other valuables in a jar in the yard of our house before we moved on. I wonder if it's still there.

At age 8, I moved with my family to Tacoma, Washington, where I attended McCarver elementary and won a distinguished student award from the school district. I hung out with my cousin Kelli, and we had the "hunga munga club". Very very kewl! And I went wading in the summer at Alling Park wading pool. My 3rd grade teacher read the Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe out loud to us, and also Sounder and Pippi Longstocking, and I rode the schoolbus an hour both ways and I would have missed my stop half the time cause I was engrossed in a book, but Kelly saved my bacon. And Kelli fell off the monkey bars and broke her tooth and had to have a root canal. Yikes. My dad spent the year in Turkey fixing military aircraft for the U.S., and we missed him, and we joined Bethesda Baptist Church and my mom and I became Christians.

At age 9, I moved with my family to West Germany, where first we lived in the hotel on Rhein Main Air Force Base for 3 months, and then we moved to a little house in Morfelden, where the neighbor was this scary German guy who spent Saturdays cleaning his BMW down to the level of q-tip pefection and yelled at my parents in German about things occasionally, including our dog barking during siesta time (I suspect they don't call it siesta, since that is a spanish word, but it's the same thing). I spent every waking moment apart from school with my best friends, Gary Branam and Neil Compston. We built forts and played in the woods and wend sledding and rewrote the U.S. Declaration of Independence as independence from school and teachers and all the sins of King George III became the sins of the teachers. We make counterfeit copies of hundreds of thousand of 'merit bucks', our little private school's system of currency used to reward various good things, and we packed our rewritten declaration in a box with these counterfiet bills, and we presented the whole thing to our teachers at the end of the year awards ceremony. Very kewl.

At age 12, I moved with my family to Seattle, Washington, where my dad retired from the air force and started working full time as an auto mechanic. We lived in a tiny unincorporated section of king county called "esperance", between 3 very urban cities. My dad and I built a race engine together and put it in an old beat up GM pickup truck (that's "ute" for the Aussies) and god it ran and sounded sweet and I got my first speeding ticket in that truck. I poked around on the pre-inernet with my 8086 no hard drive dual floppy system which ran at 2 kilohertz. I switched from a tiny little private christian school to homeschooling at age ...15 or so.

If youv'e read this far, thanks for indulging me

Saturday, November 04, 2006

quote of the week and a dilemma

quote of the week: from gladly suffering fools: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. There are Transformers, more than meets the eye. Transformers, robots in disguise."

This made me laugh uproariously. Ihope it may do as much for you.

I ran into this dilemma after revolution conference this weekend. I went away from the conference thinking "ok, I'm going to pursue kindness and justice". And almost immediately I was really unkind to my mother, which I didn't want to be. This was complicated by the fact that I was being unkind to her because I was furious over her (seemingly to me heartless) stance of injustice towards the people of iraq. I had a rather vitriolic argument which ended with her saying outright "If I have to choose between voting for someone who is going to bomb Iraqi children, or someone who is going to bomb [allow for the bombing of] this neighborhood/my children/grandchildren, I'll vote for bombing Iraqi children." god I felt furious, and I was unkind in my fury. Let me just say that I think this is a totally fabricated choice which doesn't exist in the real world. Moreover, I *want* to choose to suffer violence rather than perpetrate it. Furthemore, I think this is the *real* Christian choice (...ahhhh, like duh! the Cross!). the thing is, I just can't seem to translate this *want to* into anything concrete (or maybe I don't *really* wanna!). dilemma dilemma.

Dwight Friesen spoke over the weekend about how maybe being christian means identifying those places/relationships where we are doing the us vs. them thing, and choosing to *be* the "and" which replaces the "vs." in that equation. That is, he says, maybe christ calls us to lean into the relationships where we most experience the us vs. them thing. The problem I see with this is that I hate the way I behave in those relationships, and that's *why* I lean away from them. Dilemmas and paradoxes--how can I escape these mazes and traps? (ahhhh, duh, you can't, you're human!).

At the risk of carrying on at far too great a length, I also want to say that I am enormously happy for Ted Haggart, who can at last begin to experience reality and thus experience god. and I am enormously pissed off at New Life Church in Colorado Springs Colorado, who in their recent press release glaringly display the very attitude which at least 50%ishly led to this whole debacle--namely, a massive refusal and inability to see or acknowledge their own toxic codependent traits and attitudes which led them to be attracted to and live with an addict for all this time. What's enormously sad is that if (that is, as/when) they continue to refuse to look at themselves and ask "now what about *us* made us choose to sit under this addicted person and be so deceived?", then they will just hire a new guy who covers his stuff up better. Very very sad. And if you don't believe me, go ask Jeff Van Vonderen, who deals with this shit for a living.

scary photo of the week and revolution conference!

So these guys are the top 3 executives of alliant tech systems, the corporation that makes 90% of the small arms ammunition sold both privately and to the military in the U.S. (not to mention other excellent shit at larger scales for really big guns on battleships, and planes, and so forth). This means, imho, that they bear responsibility at some level for 90% of 30,000 deaths and 65,000 injuries in this country every year (.....9 times 30,000 = 27000, and .9 times 65K = ...58.5K) and god knows how many deaths and injuries around the world every year.
So here's my question. What do you see in their faces?
Here's the major themes I picked up at the totally awesome revolution conference this weekend:
What matters: kindness, justice, humiliy, connection with other people.
What doesn't matter: the local church.
Now some of you are probably going "oh my god, you heard that the local church doesn't matter? that *so* wrong wrong wrong.) Well here's what George Barna found out:

1. after any given sunday morning worship service, 80% of attendees felt they did not connect with the living god during the service.
2. after 1 year, 50% of regular church attenders said they never during the year experienced connection with the living god during church services.
3.Only 23% of people said that the local church was the place where they experienced their best spiritual connection/transformation.

Furthermore, Barna did research on what is influencing culture in america. What causes people to do and think the things the do and think. He found there were three tiers of influencers.

1. 7 things which provide about 60-70% of the influence in our nation. These were: Movies, music, tv, books, internet, family, and public policy.
2. a bunch of things which put together provide about 20% of the influence in our nation, including peers and radio
3. a larger bunch of things which provide about 10% of the influence in our culture. Among these is the local church. Furthermore, if you try to break it down to *just* the local church, he found that for the average american, the local church provides about 0.5% (that's one half of one percent) of the influence in their lives.

So here's the question: Is *this* where god is going to accomplish what he wants to accomplish in and through our culture?

Barna decided "NO", and he says he has 'joined the revolution', because god made him to be a people influencer, and it just wasn't happening as part of the 1/2 of one percent.

so the two questions, again, are:
1. What do you see in the faces of the ATK execs?
2. (in the light of Barna's research) Is the local church where god is going to accomplish what he wants to do in and through our culture?

You can peruse Barna's research at The Barna Group

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Good news for the week

Negotiations between the government of Uganda and the LRA are back on track as of yesterday. If you pray, I would encourage you to pray over this whole situation.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know about the devil...

But were afraid to ask. Megan and I went to Hale's Ale's Brewery the other night for The Kindlings Muse. The beer was really good, and the food was tasty and the radio show was brilliant. Dick Staub, Bill Hogg and Bryan Burton (and will you please notice, Gretta and Megsie, that I have deferred to your (very strange) method of having no comma after the last item before "and" in a list of items?) talked for a while about the devil--who/what is he (Bryan won't say "who"--he wants to withhold personhood, which Bill thinks is a bity silly), his history, the reality/nature of evil, what about demons, how do christians in the modern and postmodern eras see all these things, etc. etc. It was facinating, and they took live questions, and Megan and I *both* got our questions chosen *quite* early (2 of the first 4). Megan says this is because we are both brilliant. I know she's brilliant.

You can listen to segment one of the show here. And segments 2 and 3 are coming tomorrow and Friday (in which Megan and I feature! Yippee!)
They do a show every Monday, so if you're in Seattle ...