Wednesday, August 27, 2008

blah blah blah blah blah

Today I am utterly cynical about the whole presidential election, Republicans, Democrats, national conventions, Barack Obama, John McCain, country first, change, hope, dreams, (see post title) ....

Disgusted. Completely and utterly disgusted and cynical. It's all at best half truths, and half truths are about the most disgusting, vomitrocious, horrifying nasty miasmatic thing in the fucking universe. Infinitely worse than outright lies. And I'm not talking about aleph nought. I'm talking about aleph one. (hope that's sufficiently esoteric)

Today 30,000 children will die from the ongoing lack of clean potable water and 2 bowls of rice per day.

Meanwhile, I am ... stones overweight, and today, what with a combination of the electricity I'm currently using (refrigerator, washer, dryer, microwave, laptop, lights, dsl) and the petrol I used (that's gasoline for the Americans in the crowd) (drove 40+ miles round trip to the airport) and the food I consumed (probably ... 3,000 calories), I probably consumed enough to feed multiple families in the third world. And produced enough green house gas to hasten the complete desruction of the planet in my own children's lifetimes.

I'm not buying any of it. I don't see a way to ... stay here in the U.S. *and* turn off the overconsumption. It just doesn't seem possible. And don't even get me started on the children our armed forces, along with the munitions we've produced, have killed today, or yesterday, or the day before.

The worst bit of it is, I don't see any reasonable or legitimate way to get *out* of the west altogether. And I'm not even convinced doing so would ultimately help things. Feel a bit like a rat trapped on the wheel, just running along mindlessly, with no way off. There it is.

I hope bloody John McCain wins the election, takes us into more bloody wars, finishes destroying the vaunted "economy", and helps hasten the end of American Empire much faster than could have possibly been anticipated. How's that for "hope"?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random thoughts

-the bottle of bud light I drank earlier had printed on the side that it would tasted "freshest" within 110 days of it's "born on date" of July '08. So is that just a random number? Or does something chemically *happen* to the beer after 110 days? Or do they do double blind taste tests with master beer tasters with bottles that are various ages, and then come up with some numerical rating system, average everything out, and ... TADA! come up with 110 days?

-It's a mystery to me how people can believe that the Jesus of the four gospels is "Lord of all". I mean it's pretty clear he wasn't "Lord of all" when he was hanging out in Palestine back in the day. He was Lord of a lot, clearly, but also clearly not of all. He was totally limited by location/time. It doesn't seem to me that things have gotten a whole lot better since then. Maybe they mean they think he'll be "Lord of all" someday. I mean honestly, he's not even really Lord of anyone, is he? I mean no one really pulls off doing what he said, consistently, do they?

-Spanish 21 is beatable. That's about the kewlest new thing I've learned lately. See Katarina Walker's new book. I remember thinking that naming the game "Spanish 21" was a bit of an insult to the Spanish. Turns out maybe that's not the case.

-Megs and I did an exercise last week where we each drew a family tree, with circles for each person with their name inside, and lines connecting people via marriage and blood, and so forth. Then next to each name we wrote three adjectives to describe the person. (hehe--guess any of our extended family who reads this will now be wondering what 3 adjectives we each may have written =). Next to my mom, Susan, I wrote these three adjectives: "Dead, dead, dead".

-Toppenish, WA, has the highest percentage of visibly bad teeth of any town I've ever been in. Higher even than at Skagit Speedway in Skagit County, WA.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can the gun guard legimately be called a Christian? Questioning warm fuzzies

In response to a question about how his Christianity affects his life in a daily way, Senator John McCain partially answered with a story. He said back when he was imprisoned in a Vietnamese prison camp, they used to tie a rope around both arms, pull the arms behind the back, put the rope around the head, and pull the head down between the knees, and then leave them to cope with that highly uncomfortable position for hours.

McCain said that there was a guard they called "the gun guard", who simply walked around the camp on regular rounds holding a gun. This guard, he said, came in soon after McCain was left in the previously described tied position and loosened all the ropes. Then he came back a couple hours later and tightened them back up, not long before the original guard came back to remove the ropes.

A few months later, McCain says, on Christmas day, and because it was Christmas day, the prisoners were all allowed to stand outside their cells for a few minutes. The gun guard came up during those few minutes and stood next to McCain, and furtively drew a cross on the ground. After a few minutes, he rubbed the cross out and went on about his day.

During those few minutes, said McCain, weren't guard and prisoner, American and Vietnamese. We were just two Christians worshipping God on Christmas day.

The evangelical audience at Rick Warren's California mega-church clapped hugely. Even I felt the powerful surge of warm fuzzy emotion in response to this story.

But here's what I wanna know. Is it reasonable to call yourself a Christ follower and choose to be in the position of either of these individuals? Can I call myself a Christian and be a prison guard in a prisoner of war camp where prisoners are being tortured? Can I call myself a Christian and be a fighter pilot who drops bombs as part of a militarily powerful empire which is carrying out wars against smaller, less powerful nations?

I'm not asking rhetorically. I really want to know. Is it legitimate to ... constrict our understanding of what it means to be a Christian in such a way that we can say there are certain ... more generalized lifestyle choices which are simply incompatible with calling oneself a follower of Christ?

Why or why not?

Friday, August 15, 2008

who's kewler?

Barack Obama, or Brian McLaren? There's a tough call =)

Saturday, August 09, 2008


This little line from James Taylor's Line 'em Up has been coming into my head today (with melody):

Nobody knows me--Nobody Understands.

Here's the video.

It's a song that captures how I'm feeling lately. This verse really nails it.

At that time my heart was all broke
I looked like ashes and smelled like smoke
And I turned away from my loving kind
Try to leave my body and live in my mind
But it's much too much emotion
To hold it in your hand
They've got waves out on the ocean
They're gonna wear away the land

I'm feeling in some way ... lonelier than I ever remember feeling. The way this presents is that I'm driving along in my car, feeling that feeling, and I think, "Self, you should call somebody on the cell phone". And then I try to think of who to call, and there's nobody to call. I mean there's a *lot* of names and numbers in my context list, but thinking of calling any of them produces zero anticipation of cessation of the feeling I'm feeling, to any degree.

It's a sort of ... disconnected feeling. There's also this relatively new sensation (at least having it to this degree is newish) that there's no one out there with more power than me who will take steps to make sure that things turn out well for me and for those I love. I think there's a new sense of separation from my dad having that role. Maybe it's fairly pathetic to say so, since I'm 33 years old and married with children, but up until recently there was a least a sort of ... some kind of bottom line thing in the back of my head that said "Don't worry, if things really fall apart, Dad will help with at least good advice, and probably some sort of actual tangible help as well." It springs from the fact that he seems *so* enormously vulnerable and alone now that my mom has died, and I have the sense that he needs *my* help rather than vice versa. This sort of gives the lie to the idea that finding some people needier than me and helping them will help me cope with this whole feeling, since knowing that about my dad doesn't seem to help at all.

I suspect that this touches on the emotional heart of what people mean when they say God is dead. The world is not safe, nor good--very very bad things happen to people all the time, and up until now I've been convinced I'll probably be mostly spared, somehow. But just lately, that feeling is more gone than ever.

Mike's comment and what it means to follow Jesus

I found Mike's comment here thought provoking. Thought I'd post a couple quotes with questions and so forth:

it’s very obvious that belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is paramount to our salvation (not just a pray this prayer and get into heaven salvation, but the entire process of being redeemed and formed into the likeness of Christ). This is not an optional belief for those who claim to belief in Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. Not because I’m a fundamentalist and need to be right, but because to think otherwise is not only contrary to the plain faith as passed to us through the scriptures but also because to not believe that is incoherent with claiming to love and believe in Jesus.

Mike--I'm thinking we might have some minor communication difficulties because it seems to me that you see the world from a more modern perspective, whereas I see it from a more postmodern perspective. Please correct me if I'm wrong. You don't strike me as a fundamentalist. But I'm wondering how you would react to getting to know someone, or a group of people, who *don't* believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, but who *do* love and believe in Jesus, the man who walked the earth 2000 years ago. Do you imagine that until the *do* believe in the bodily resurrection, they simply cannot love him, nor choose to do what he said? Or what of those who themselves believe in the bodily resurrection, but are convinced (through their experience) that believing in it isn't really nearly all that important, in terms of being a Christian, because they know and interact with lots of Christians who *don't* believe in it?

I mean to say ... why must we define "orthodoxy" or "christian" at all, much less in rigid terms? Do you see Jesus doing this? I mean where does Jesus insist that people have to believe in his bodily resurrection, or the apostles creed, or the 39 articles, or what have you, in order to love him or follow him? I just don't see him saying to the apostles when he got them "Follow me. And believe in my bodily resurrection." It looks to me, over and over again, that he makes following him about practices rather than beliefs. Things like "Love your neighbor, return kindness for unkindness, be perfect, don't sin" etc.

I guess what I mean to say is--tell me a *story* (that is, be like Jesus! =). When you say "believing in the bodily resurrection is paramount to our salvation", (no offense here), I'm just about bored to tears instantly. I mean *what the hell* does that mean? like---what's the antecedent for "our"--who is included in the group to whose salvation you are referring? Ideally, I'd love to hear about you personally, or at least a smallish group whose faces you know and can describe (as in, are they moustached?). What do they (you) need to be saved from? Is it acute or chronic (or both)? Does it hurt? How desperate are (were?) you? Was there a riveting moment when you thought all was lost? What was your heart rate like at that moment, and were you chewing gum (and if so, why? and what flavor?) and what color shoes did you have on, and did you have a tatoo, and why, and how is that related to the desperate situation from which you needed saving, and how is all that related "the bodily resurrection" (which is, you claim, paramount).

All of the above is intended in a spirit of invitation, and I apologize for my clumsiness if such a tone fails to come across.