Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week

Were you aware of such a thing? Well, there is, and it's this very week. I've read only one of the "10 Most Challenged Books of 2007" - Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass.

the hope of the evangelical on Election Day

Scot McKnight has an absolutely excellent piece about the eschatology of politics.

Where is our hope? To be sure, I hope our country solves its international conflicts and I hope we resolve poverty and dissolve our educational problems and racism. But where does my hope turn when I think of war or poverty or education or racism? Does it focus on November 4? Does it gain its energy from thinking that if we get the right candidate elected our problems will be dissolved? If so, I submit that our eschatology has become empire-shaped, Constantinian, and political. And it doesn’t matter to me if it is a right-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Republican wins, or a left-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Democrat wins. Each has a misguided eschatology.

As they say, read the whole thing.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Is Jesus Enough?

That's the question Brant Hansen has had on his mind.
My name is Brant, and I'm on mind-altering drugs. And that is both the best first line, ever, on this blog, and -- distressingly --it's also quite true.

Read the rest, please.

will Palin step down?

Some conservative people, like Brooks and Frum, think John McCain's choice for the vice presidency doesn't have the chops for the job, even if she does consider herself to be a pitbull.
"Sarah Palin has many virtues," Brooks wrote in a recent column. "If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she'd be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness."
Maybe the brashness is what McCain likes about her. But brashness isn't always equated with good decision-making skills. And we don't need someone on the job who counts her state's nearness to Russia as something akin to having international experience.

AND: I guess we don't have to watch the debate tonight, because we already have a declared winner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the most famous drugstore in America

Have you been?

meeting with the presidents

Recently, my step-father-in-law attended a reunion of his squadron from the U.S. Air Force. The reunion was held at the base in Rapid City, South Dakota. Guess who he and my mother-in-law were able to see when they were there?

The presidents were gracious enough to grant an audience, up close and personal.

Question: if plans were made to add a fifth face to the monument, whose would you suggest? I would vote for FDR, for leading the country through the Great Depression and the majority of WWII.

the similarities between a hockey mom and a pitbull

We all know how they're different, but they are the same in that neither have the ability to answer a question.

I'm no fanboy of Andrew Sullivan, but I think he's right to question this. If she's as unafraid as a pitbull, why isn't she talking to the press more?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Apparently, thousands of women are experiencing hysteria because Sarah Palin could be the next Veep

Senator McCain's selection of Governor Palin of Alaska as his running mate, which was hailed in some quarters and met with skepticism in others, is sparking intense reactions from some New Yorkers, who report being driven to fits of rage and even all-consuming panic.

All of my women friends, a week ago Monday, were on the verge of throwing themselves out windows," an author and political activist, Nancy Kricorian of Manhattan, said yesterday. "People were flipping out. ... Every woman I know was in high hysteria over this. Everyone was just beside themselves with terror that this woman could be our president — our potential next president."

Thanks, Josh Gerstein, for bring to mind an old psychological term. You know what I immediately think of when I hear the word hysteria?


"you don't win any apologetic merit badges by demanding a 7-day creation when the point of that story has nothing to do with a calendar week."

You in fact should take at least one demerit for doing so -- and you will, from those you are seeking to evangelize."yeah, but!" comes the response for many, if not all, of you loyal readers. "Yeah but what about the word 'day'? Don't we need to get very interested in how the word 'yom' is used in Genesis 1 so we can finally put to bed how old the universe is?"

Frank on the point on Genesis 3. He started here.

Shiver me timbers!

It's that time of year again...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy morning!

If Salvadore Dali made commercials, they would surely look like this, for Folgers coffee (my dad loves it! the coffee, not the commercial):

Conrad Heyers examines the language of Genesis

Careful consideration of Genesis 1 in its historical and theological context indicates that it uses a very different kind of narrative form and linguistic usage than those used in modern natural histories. Much of the controversy over creation and evolution is, therefore, inappropriate and misleading.

Was the universe "born" in 4004 BC? I can guess what my nonChristian friends who stop by here would say, but what about my Christian friends (and family)?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hope believers can believe in

Believers for Barack. I'm thinking they're probably younger, nonfundie types of believers.

(HT: LaShawn)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

what they said about Elvis

That's the real trick, isn't it? Knowing the line between dangerous and too dangerous, and vowing not to cross it.

Farm Bird

Bipolar disorder

Not just for adults. James, the focus of this New York Times article on the growing prevalance of bipolar disorder diagnoses among children, was declared to be bipolar at age 8.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

birthdays and sunsets down on the farm

We had the privilege of enjoying a down-home sunset when we attended the birthday party for The Wife's uncle. He has a farm in Vermilion County, Illinois, where he grows mostly corn and soybeans. He turned 80 years old, and his daughter and two sons decided to throw him a surprise celebration. My mother-in-law baked and iced the cake, while The Wife added the decorations.

Obviously, The Wife's uncle is one of John Deere's biggest fans. Yes, that's him in the lower right corner.

Why do people stay when they know a potentially devastating hurricane is coming?

A hurricane isn't like a tornado, which can be extremely destructive but often comes with only a few minutes' - or even seconds' - worth of warning. Earthquakes can happen with no warning whatsoever. Hurricanes develop over the ocean, and often take several days to reach land. People are able to watch the hurricane strengthen or weaken as it comes toward them. They can track the storm through the TV or the Internet. If weather forecasters and reporters and saying that there will be a large amount of damage, why do the people who should be able to evacuate (not those why stay because they have no resources or transportation) decide to stay?

Newsweek talked to Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and an associate dean for Columbia University. He was asked about those people who voluntarily chose to stay despite warnings:

I heard an interview this morning on NPR with someone who was electing to stay in Galveston. This was a guy, his family and extended family, that were moving into a masonary building to ride it out. They are strong-willed, independent individuals who I think relish the idea of riding out something most of us would consider to be too dangerous to remain. However, this is an evacuation with several days' warning.

We just did a study on evacuations under scenarios of disasters without warnings. We are very concerned about disasters that occur without warning when we have to do evacuations in real-time—in essence, immediate—for example, an earthquake or a terrorist nuclear attack. We found about two thirds of people with children would not comply with official orders to evacuate until and unless they were able to retrieve their children from school or day care. If we have two thirds of the population with children that would not comply, what we would have is evacuation chaos and an absolute breakdown of disaster response in circumstances that provided no warning. Under those circumstances, unless we got much better at having well-developed disaster plans that parents were comfortable with, we can anticipate extreme chaos as public officials would be unable to stop parents determined to get their kids.

But of course, the storm hit last night, a Friday night heading into the weekend. People could have left the previous night, especially if schools and businesses were closed yesterday due to the hurricane. It's not like they were waiting around waiting for school to end.

I think there are a variety of reasons:
  1. People have lived through some bad weather before and they think, I survived. Nothing's going to happen to me this time.
  2. People listen to the reports and think, It can't be as bad as they say it will be.
  3. Some people are just plain stupid.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"I’d denied it ever since I was a kid."

I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’"

Gospel music singer Ray Boltz has come out as a gay man.

(HT: JT)

If you're going to run a compaign on "straight talk," it needs to be honest talk

Because, you know, character counts.

AND: Will we get some straight talk about this?

Ike comes to Texas

Take time out of the day to pray for those in Texas.

the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one... or even Sharpay

Only Chattaway can compare the High School Musical movies with the Stark Trek films.

I think the worship team at my in-law's church will be doing this on Sunday

(H/T: Frank Turk)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

send them to Iraq

In his highly praised documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore is shown chasing several people in Congress and asking them if they were sending their children into the military to serve in Iraq. I wonder what he thinks about Sarah Palin sending out her son.

the special music at my in-law's church last Sunday

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tom Brady out

Tom Brady, arguably the best modern day quarterback, is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Since I am a Colts fan, I am bound to hate the Patriots, but I take absolutely no pleasure in this news. Hopefully Brady will have a full recovery and be back for another season. This severely hurts the Pats' chances of performing well in the playoffs, if they make it there.

Happy birthday, Ben Linus

My favorite character on Lost turns 54 today. Okay, Michael Emerson, the man once known as Henry Gale, turns 54. In his honor, you should hang out on an island, manipulate everybody around you, and visit creepy guys in rocking chairs.

"Slacker Uprising"

Michael Moore's film Slacker Uprising is being released online for free - "this is being done entirely as a gift to my friends." The film's original title was the more humble Captain Mike Across America. Well, maybe it's not entirely a gift.

You can sign up here to get it through your email.

one major difference between being a mayor and being a community organizer? the money

I guess Governor Palin is taking some time off so she can learn how to answer the tough questions, and no doubt she'll be asked about this. Of course, she moved on from governing a small town to governing a state, so her past hasn't dictated her future.

UPDATED: Palin has agreed to an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson - they will meet later this week.

Equus vs Ursus horribilis

It's a rematch of Super Bowl 41 when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Chicago Bears in tonight's game at the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium. Tune in tonight at 8:15 ET/7:15 CT. I may live in Illinois now, but I remain a fan of the Colts. True Blue fans know where to go.

UPDATE: Ugh. For us Colts fans, it truly was horrible.

I want to mourn the loss of all the crabgrass and dandelions, and tell them that we love them!

When tree-huggers get weepy.

(HT: In the Agora)

a thought about McCain and this "Country First" business

During the Republican National Convention last week, many people raised signs that read "Country First." McCain talked about it during his speech last Thursday, how he puts America first because America "saved" him. (Did America actually "save" his immortal soul, or merely prolong his mortal life on Earth until the inevitable comes?) McCain said that he refused to leave the Hanoi Hilton before others who had been there longer than him, simply because they were fellow Americans. The audience clapped and cheered as he talked about how he has - and will - always put his country first.

I have to ask: Is "Country First" something that should be not only shouted from arena floors, but also practiced in public and private lives? Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." If we are to live as citizens of Jesus' kingdom, is it permissible to say, "Country first?"

I don't need to ask Obama into my heart. I just need to ask America.

God as a woman

A feminine view of God.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Want to buy some illusions? Slightly used, second-hand..."

They were lovely illusions,
Reaching high, built on sand.
They had a touch of paradise,
A spell you can't explain...

I think both conventions should have featured Marlene Dietrich singing this song. Pity she's no longer available.

Does Fox News Channel's Greta Van Sustern know her ABC's?

As some dude from Idaho was talking about casting their delegates' votes for John McCain, Greta asked, "Isn't Arizona the first state alphabetically? Where's Arizona?"

Greta, ALASKA comes before ARIZONA if we're doing things alphabetically. L before R. I think you need to give your kindergarten teacher a phone call.

RELATED: Nice speech, Governor. I bet you know which state comes first alphabetically.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Westville Labor Day Parade 2008

Just like last year, The Wife and I took the kids to the Labor Day parade in downtown Westville, Illinois. Even though it was 94 degrees and we forgot to bring lounge chairs, we still had an enjoyable time.

We couldn't believe all the celebrities we saw, like the Fazoli's Tomato:

And this famous captain:

no love for the Joker in Japan

The Japanese don't seem to care for The Dark Knight. Maybe the next Batman movie should showcase this dastardly, more-evil-than-Satan-himself feline.

Sarah Palin, the Republican choice for Veep

McCain thinks she's good enough, and evangelicals are sure to like her. Palin's own mother-in-law, not so much.
"I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain," Faye Palin said with a laugh. "People will say she hasn't been on the national scene long enough. But I believe she's a quick study."
Not quite a ringing endorsement. It also doesn't help that Palin is like a lot of travelers - she's got some baggage.

RELATED: Andrew is writing about this stuff? When did his blog start looking like Perez Hilton's?

AND: Need proof that feminism is dead? Read this post over at Daily Kos. Yeah, let's all peruse and think about and examine and publicly discuss - on the Internet for the world to read, mind you - the body of a 16-year-old girl. It's not like that kind of thing hasn't already been in our brains.