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Showing posts from May, 2015

Hitler was a Christian, and other stupid arguments

Nothing irks me more than people spreading ideas without substantiating them.

Why would anyone think Hitler was a Christian, because he was probably baptized as a Catholic as a baby?  His belief system was occultism.  This is as specious as the argument, Hitler was a vegetarian; therefore, all vegetarians are Nazis.  (he was a vegetarian and animal rights advocate).

Additionally, the "Christians don't help the poor" meme is way out of line.   What in the world does that even mean?  This article explains the stupidity of it:  Truth about Christians and poverty

Now, that being said, do we do enough?  Probably not; even if we give enough money, it may not be effective, which means every concerned giver has also as much responsibility to understand how the money is stewarded after it leaves our pocketbook.

But I was reading this morning in Daniel 4.  After Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar what is going to happen to him (mental illness, or fruition of what probably was mental ill…

Remix: Democratization and Myth-Making

Democratization and Myth-making of all types
Coming home from church, I was listening in (I jumped around since one of the interviews was disturbing) to The Best of Our Knowledge. They had two sessions called “Dangerous Ideas.”One was that there should be a reality show about the real lives of teachers (p-12), which is something I thought about a long time ago.But the guest admitted there would be too many privacy issues involved in that.They other was about a fellow saying that role-playing board games were an example of democratization of myth-making, where we no longer have to depend on “priests or emperors or ivory tower elites” to write our myths for us.
As someone who studies and teaches the epublishing phenomenon, and who just wrote a grant proposal for an open source textbook, I think about this a great deal.I call it the democratization of creativity.There don’t have to be gatekeepers any more for any thing.The ability to create a book and get Amazon to publish it (assuming you…

Coming Soon!

I have decided that the 87,000-word novel I have had sitting on my computer for three years while I did doctoral work and that has been vetted through several people who know literature and writing well--needs to go public.  Within the next couple of weeks, it will be available.  I will send a free PDF to anyone willing to read it and write me a review on Amazon immediately after it goes live on CreateSpace and Kindle Direct.  I don't want to start publicizing on social media until it gets several reviews.

I am not entirely happy about the self-publishing gambit, but I am too old to go through years of rejection and I want it out there.  It's very good and different from anything I've written--no religion (other than people go to church on Easter), no politics, no issues, no violent crime.  Well, maybe. 

I did contact a publisher this week, two actually, and found out they want lots of money to publish it.  CreateSpace will do it for free, more or less.  Since I would end …

Please consider helping in this GoFundMe campaign

http://www.gofundme.com/v4qd5d5s

Although the title Kill Fred might sound odd, it is legitimate and this woman is very ill and needs help during her cancer.  I have known her family for many years.

Handwriting and Paper Lives

So happy to hear this story on NPR this morning!

http://www.npr.org/2015/05/27/408794237/in-a-digital-chapter-paper-notebooks-are-as-relevant-as-ever

I have to say that I have tried over the years to save time in writing by going all laptop/all the time.  I can't say my writing is better, just more and faster.  This gives me food for thought!

From Breakpoint.org--response to Pew Research

Since I left home at 7:05 this morning, I was able to hear two excellent programs on the radio:  I am posting each link in separate updates.

http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/27441?spMailingID=11480392&spUserID=OTQ0MjIyMjM4S0&spJobID=541752594&spReportId=NTQxNzUyNTk0S0

This one I agree with wholeheartedly.  Christians are still the "majority" (as if we had a right to being the majority) but in the coming years we will have to get real about our faith, our theology, and our practice.  Russell Moore is quoted here as this research meaning that the chaff is being blown away (not his words, but his ideas) and people are more honest about their beliefs.

I think the real emphasis here is the loss of community and the "Bowling Alone" meme (I have read that book and it is fascinating, though very long and detailed).  Do we have to lose our individuality to have community, and vice versa?  That is a vital question.  How can we preserve both, and y…

Name that Plot: A new game for Hallmark movies

I had on a Hallmark movie last night.  The name of it really doesn't matter because the plots are all basically the same.  Within ten minutes I knew exactly what would happen.  If I had really been paying attention (I was writing at the same time), I probably could have done it sooner.  I am in the wrong business!

Johnny Guitar, Creativity, and Insanity

Last Wednesday my husband talked me into (sort of) sitting through Johnny Guitar.
If you do not know this film, don’t worry.It’s bizarre and you don’t need to waste two hours of your life on it.I had watched it before a few years back and was perplexed by it.It was laughably bad but I wasn’t sure why.Was it intentionally campy or did the director shoot for something and miss it, resulting in a mess?
My husband kept insisting that there was value in it, because he reads Wikipedia and IMDB while we watch movies and he said it was a veiled metaphor for McCarthyism.(By the way, much of what we have been led to believe about Joseph McCarthy is not entirely true.We have believed Hollywood’s narrative, covering up the fact that they were defending being communists in a time when Mao and Stalin were killing millions of people.If a Hollywood actor today were a member of ISIS or Al-Quaeda, would we think they were heroes for not speaking to Congress about it, even if the actor hadn’t killed anyon…

Thoughts on Eternity

I have taken on the responsibility of leading a small group study along the content of Joni Tada's video series on Heaven, and this has led me to some reflections.

Joni is one of my heroes, so nothing in this should be seen as negative towards her in any way.  If a person does, he/she is looking for an argument and totally missing the point.  But it occurred to me that Joni is a good one to talk about heaven because she is so limited in a physical way.  As a quadriplegic (for over 40 years--unimaginable!), she is in constant awareness of how much she cannot do.  We do not live that way--we think we are capable of just about everything. 

It's a poor comparison, but her inabilities in reference to our own physical mobility are an analogy of ours to God's, or to what we might be in eternity.  We do not desire heaven because we cannot imagine an existence better than this.  Joni, who lived "normally" until she was 17, has memories of a different life, of an athletic,…

A Non-fairytale look at marriage

Riding home from church I usually listen to TTBOOK, an NPR program from Wisconsin that goes by the name "To the Best of Our Knowledge."  They often have interesting book reviews and thoughts.  Today, not so much, so I turned over to the Christian station and heard this song.  It struck me as apoignant, truthful, realistic, and rather rueful look at marriage.

What do you think about when you look at me
I know were not the fairytale you dreamed we'd be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery.

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we've drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night.

It's going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds
Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together.

If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could h…

An American Tragedy--Several Times Over

--> My Facebook page is exploding with photographs and links to the Duggar story.For some reason, I feel compelled to write about it, which shows something more about me than the facts of this case.The blogging world empowers us to have a voice or enables us to think we have something to say with that voice.
I have read several of the “articles” on the Internet, including Christianity Today’s and many blog posts.The whole story is just tragic, and I am not going to qualify it in any way.I don’t see anything good about this, any good coming out of it, either for the children who were victimized, his own children, his wife, his parents, him, the organization he worked for, the evangelical community as a whole, or the sniping secular audience who says things like “one of their kids is probably gay.”I am not sure what that has to do with anything, but comment sections are often bizarre.
What I haven’t read, and don’t understand, is the fundamental question.Why were these peopl…

A Little Lebowski Goes a Long Way

My son talked me into watching The Big Lebowski last night because it was on Netflix.  That is two hours of my life I will never get back.  What a waste of time.  I didn't laugh once and felt assaulted by the bad language and just general stupidity of it.

Yet, because it is a Coen movie, I gave it the benefit of the doubt that there was more there than my first viewing.  However, I won't be giving it a second one.  I don't have the time.  There were no normal people in the film except the waitress in the diner and the Mexican nurse.

On the positive side, it seemed to be a remake of The Big Sleep if Humphrey Bogart were a stoner.  There are a lot of parallels in the plot, mainly its convolutedness.  As someone wrote on the IMDB reviews, there's a reason it's a cult classic--what kind of people are in cults, anyway?

Comfort, Normality, and Reality

I have a post-it-note (TM) on my computer at work:  "We must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. "

The world is messy; our lives, whether we want to admit it or not, are messy.  Achieving order and balance in life is a good, ongoing goal, but it will never be achieved 100%.  We are a nation of OCD-types, thinking we can erase the messiness but all we are doing is creating a veneer of perfection, like a Southern Living magazine cover.

This is not to say that disorder, clutter, and filth are in any way acceptable; only that there will always be dust bunnies and cobwebs in the corner, there will also be an unpaid bill or unanswered letter, there will always be uncompleted tasks. 

Deeper, though, I am talking about being uncomfortable knowing there is ISIS killing our brothers and sisters, there is hunger and poverty and slavery.  We should be uncomfortable and stay that way, irritated and annoyed and looking for answers because it is human nature only to look for answ…

Woman's Best Friend, too

Our little dog Bumper, whom we inherited from my mother after her death last July, woke up yesterday with a back leg that didn't want to work.  He laid around most of the day, declining to move until well into the afternoon.  Because we had to euthanize a little dog in 2013 who developed back problems and because Bumper seemed to be acting like Buddy did, I took him to the vet.  I found out he has arthritis and needs some analgesic, which she "gave" (re:  sold) me for way to high a price, although I don't think we can give him the human equivalent of a nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory. because of his size (only 20 pounds).  Buddy's problem was much more serious--broken back.  I knew it wasn't too serious with Bumper when he heard the garage door open and he recovered enough to run out of the room.

Of course, Bumper is nine years old, or 63 in dog years as they say.  If I suffer from a stiff back every morning (especially after three hours of heavy gardening yes…

Review of Lila by Marilynne Robinson

I recently finished, on Kindle, Lila by Marilynne Robinson.  It is the third in her series Home, Gilead, and Lila.  Unfortunately, I read Home quite a while ago and have not read Gilead, although I have it somewhere.  (I have an inordinate amount of books in several places, a fault.  So I am not entirely sure where my copy of Gilead is).

The first question is always, in this world of marketing, would I recommend it.  That depends.  Not to buy--there are few books I would recommend to buy at full price, and would say go to the library and check it out or borrow a friend's, or get it used from the behemoth of online books sellers (no plugs here, although of course I got mine from the behemoth.)

It also depends on (a) whether someone had read one of the previous books, (b) one is at least familiar with the Christian world view, (c) one is willing to think, and (d) one is okay with stream of consciousness writing.  I am not sure that is what it would be called, but it seemed so to me.…

We vs. I: The question of the age

Self and selfie hood

I think we should change all the hymns that say "I" to the "we." 

Here we are to worship, here we are to bow down.
Here we are to say that You are our God.
You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to us. 

(The rhymes may get messed up, but the theology would be better.)

When we survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died.
Our richest gains we count but loss, and pour contempt on all our pride.

Well, it would work better for some than others, and I definitely don't want to rewrite Isaac Watts!

Tattoos

 This article makes the most sense on this issue and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/singles/is-it-biblical-for-christians-to-get-tattoos.html

I had a discussion with my son about pot legalization and Christian use of it  I said, sure, it's at least equal to alcohol in its effects, but from a Christian point of view, legality is not a standard.  Would a person trying to walk with and grow in Christ want to be in an altered state of mind?  Is it compatible with being led by and full of the Holy Spirit?  What does it have to do with holiness?

It's time to call for a much higher standard than  "permissibility."