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Last Visit 2011-03-29 23:58:38 |Start Date 2007-01-26 16:14:24 |Comments 1,125 |Entries 367 |Images 31 |Videos 68 |

Category: religion

11/06/08 09:34 - 46ºF - ID#46569

More religion and Science.

As is becoming a habit, this is a post that started as a comment. See for back story.

I am having a hard time talking about "religion" in the abstract, so I will be concrete, specific, and personal. This isn't intended to be a defense of religion, but rather an explanation of why my particular faith is important to me.

It's important to me, because it is a counter-narrative that creates a counter-community in a world that is full of lies.

"Lies?" you say. "Yes--lies."

Advertising tells me that I am not ok the way that I am, but that buying a certain product will make me ok--and it invariably does not.

Government tells me that other people (gays, terrorists, immigrants, stock brokers, religious people) are the source of my problems. Often, the proposed solution is violent defeat. The idea that violence will produce peace is another lie that is common in this world.

Other things promise to give me value, and fail. Sex, popularity, food, power--whatever it is that entices, it mostly does so with lies.

Now, those of you that know me know that there is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves. Some of them (most of them?) I like quite a bit! But they can and do lie to you.

In the person of Jesus, I see one who did not live according to the lies. In fact, he exposed them for what they were, and created a counter-community that loved the enemy, received violence without returning it, and found value not in consuming resources, but in distributing them.

I need these stories, and the experience of the presence/love of God that goes with them to resist becoming a part of the system of lies that I outlined. There may be other ways, and if you are on a different one, that is fine with me, but this is what frames and shapes my life. I don't think I could be who I am without the grace of God in my life, and (for the most part) I like who I am and who I am becoming.

When I think about it, Tiny, you seem to experience science in similar ways. You live differently than others, because you have tested your experience.

I guess what is sad is that too many people live with bad science/religion or no science/religion, and just believe what they are told.

(e:jim), upon further reflection, I think you are on to something--much of religion's problems come because we have refused to respect limits. Now, this is tricky for me, because I don't believe in compartmentalizing my faith to only a part of my life--a hobby that I do sometimes and ignore others--it is a way of life.

But on the other hand, it cannot speak with authority over others not practicing that way. We overstep our limits when we generalize the conclusions that have worked for our community to other individuals/situations. While I may accept suffering as a way for myself, it is quite another thing to impose it on another.

Yet, for me, even staying within limits is a religious value--Jesus never took power "over" another, and encouraged his followers to focus on dealing with their own sin, rather than those of others.

Maybe that's enough for now. Just one postscript:

@(e:paul) I hate being a snotty child, but here's my kid-like remark: (e:heidi) and (e:tinypliny) started it! Seriously though, I thank you for creating this tolerant community, where different ideas can be discussed. I am not sure I would have been able to make friends with so many different people without (e:strip), and I am better for the experience.
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Words: 629
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: politics

11/05/08 12:54 - 58ºF - ID#46556

It's amazing how much cooler . . .

. . . candidates get when they lose.

Comments on McCain sparked this, but I also remember watching Dole on Letterman after he was defeated and thinking he may have one if he acted more like that.

Gore got a lot more friendly after he got beat--grew a beard, put on weight, smiled more, and started talking about global warming more.

Maybe the conventional wisdom about how to behave in a campaign isn't so wise!
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Words: 72
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: football

11/04/08 03:50 - 67ºF - ID#46521

YLDS Election Day Special

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Words: 8
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: football

11/04/08 12:20 - 51ºF - ID#46505

When Obama wins . . .

. . . you can thank/blame the Steelers, for beating the Washington Redskins.

. . . Or McCain, for speaking at halftime with EMPTY SEATS and DISINTERESTED PEOPLE behind him. Hey John--this race is televised!

Did you see this? It's like he wants to lose!

(Sorry I can't share is all messed up.)

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Words: 50
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: politics.

11/03/08 08:26 - 53ºF - ID#46486

Obama is working hard and spending $

A make a daily stop at Go there today, just to see the ad that jumps at you.

I have never seen an ad like that at that site.

It's interesting that my home state is in play. It has been blue state for the past two elections (at least). For a really good analysis on the crazy electoral dynamics of PA, check out This American Life:

Vote tomorrow. Root for the Stillers tonight.
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Words: 87
Location: Buffalo, NY


11/01/08 03:14 - 47ºF - ID#46461

comment became a post

I told tiny that my comment was too long and became a post, so now I have to back it up.

But I was lying.

The party was fun. Now I have to begin my novel.
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Words: 36
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: politics

10/31/08 01:26 - 58ºF - ID#46450

Redistribution of Wealth

I know that some people are coming out against it, but I have to think that in reality, they are not. If you are not in favor of "redistribution of wealth," than why do you work/invest/by/sell/trade? If you hope to receive an inheritance, than you expect your parent's wealth to be redistributed to you. If you have an interest-bearing bank account, then a borrowers' wealth is being redistributed to you. A lottery ticket is redistributing many small pieces of wealth, in the hopes of receiving a large redistribution.

Most people, when they say this, really mean that they prefer a "market-based" redistribution of wealth. Most of the time (because some people enter a market with advantages), in a completely open market, wealth becomes re-distributed by becoming concentrated. A concentration of wealth is the opposite of what is commonly referred to as "spreading the wealth around."

Nobody wants their wealth to be redistributed into somebody else's concentration, but everybody wants their concentration to grow.

If people do not think they will enjoy their wealth, than people will lose the incentive to work. Sometimes, high taxes discourage them from working. Other times, a market out of control discourages people, (as in "I owe my life to the company store.") Both must be checked.

I could go on regarding the different ways that tax policy encourages the re-distribution of wealth in different directions, but that isn't my point right now. My point is: everybody wants wealth redistributed. The only question is, how?

Words: 253
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: film

10/29/08 05:13 - 37ºF - ID#46408

Mean girls

It's not going to be a big party (like Friday) but some friends are gathering at my house to watch mean girls tomorrow night (Thurs). Call my cell for the address: 510-7086.

I really like this movie. On the surface, it's a teen film, but underneath it is a study in Girard's understanding of the scapegoat, and how religion is born out of memetic imitation and the violence to which it leads leads.
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Words: 81
Location: Buffalo, NY

10/28/08 09:32 - 39ºF - ID#46382

For Jim, James and Janelle.

Another flim short from my favorite improvisers.

And, for Mom and anyone else who might be offended: Yes, this film includes a dirty word.

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Words: 32
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: football

10/27/08 09:10 - 43ºF - ID#46374

It's monday . . .

and that means it's time for another episode of "Yinz luv da Stillers."

PS Next week the game is on ESPN. (e:twins), can I bring beer and make use of your big screen HD with cable? Or should I invite people to meet me at the thirsty buffalo (opening tomorrow!)
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Words: 59
Location: Buffalo, NY



New Site Wide Comments

sina said to paul
Well done, i like your kindness

sina said to paul
Nice job...

paul said to sina
Your food always looks so good....

tinypliny said to tinypliny
The footwork is SO fancy!...