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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: 10 things

10/15/07 02:48 - 56ºF - ID#41661

10 Things I like about Karl Barth

1. He was a pioneer. He was trained in theological liberalism, but left that camp when it failed him and created a whole new way of doing theology.

2. He was, at the same time, humble. He realized that his theology was only for the time and place in which it was written. He knew that there would always be new questions, and theologians would always have to start over from the beginning.

3. He fought the Nazi's. Almost everyone in Germany went along with the German church in endorsing Hitler, but Barth wouldn't and got fired for it. (Bonhoeffer one-upped Barth by dieing as a resister, but Barth was still pretty cool).

4. He kept writing until he died, and still didn't finish his work.

5. He was, arguably, the first post-modern theologian.

6. Despite saying so much (his major opus, Church Dogmatics, stacks about four feet high), he also knew when to keep his mouth shut. He was able to say "I don't know" when he didn't.

7. He was cool with other people. Despite being very much a reformed, protestant, Christian theologian, he had a whole lot of appreciation/dialouge with people outside of those traditions.

8. He learned as he went. Barth had a lot to learn when he was first hired as a professor, and often had to go straight from the library to his lectures. His students loved learning with him as much as from him.

9. He reached out. Despite being very much in demand as a theologian, he made time to preach to prisoners, because he knew that God cared for prisoners.

10. His quote: "We should preach with the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other."
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10/15/07 10:04 - 51ºF - ID#41658

Cable?

I got a new digital camera, but do not currently have a card reader/USB cable. My brother will give me one come thanksgiving, but I want to start posting pics now! My guess is that one of you technical people has an extra one to spare. Am I right?
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Category: religion

10/11/07 11:36 - 51ºF - ID#41596

Churches and Gay People


Last Sunday, members of my Sunday School asked me to teach a class on homosexuality and the Bible.

Which I expected would happen eventually, because really, Christians tend to talk about sex more than anything else.

But I was hoping to avoid said topic, because people tend to fight and not listen and judge when they talk about sex. And I want to avoid these things.

But they really wanted to talk about it, and promised they would be kind, and hinted that a lot of people would be interested and come to hear if I talked about what the Bible said about Homosexuality, and really, the proud part of me wanted a lot of people in my class, and I thought I could make an even handed presentation so I said, "Yes, I will do the class."

But since then I have changed my mind.

And here's why. There are no (out of the closet, at least) gay people in our church. So the class would be full of people that want to discuss an issue that DOESN'T apply to them, and that doesn't seem to be a worthwhile use of our time.

So instead, I plan on offering a class called, "Why we aren't going to talk about homosexuality for at least one year."

Points will include:

Right now, nobody (on any side of the issue) is open to change. If education does not lead to a change in heart or behavior, than it isn't really worthwhile or necessary education, in my book.

Right now, this does not (as far as I know) directly apply to anybody that will be attending the class. It is a waste of time to talk about hypotheticals when there is real stuff that we can deal with in the moment.

Christians have a reputation for being obsessed with sex and hypocritical about it. Such a class would feed into that unhealthy reputation.

Our goal for the next year is to welcome young families and people without a Christian community. Right now, we need to learn how to do this, and this class does not feed into said goal (It also does not feed into our mission of Loving God and Loving People, at least not right now).

There are right ways and wrong ways to develop any ethical position, and I would much rather teach the right ways to develop said position with a non-polarizing issue, so that those same principals can be applied to other situations.

So maybe in one year after focusing on other things, we will be ready to address this issue which I know IS important to talk about, for people of all positions.

So my question, critical thinking friends, is: Am I dodging? Is this a cop-out? Will this make things better? Worse? I am I being true to my calling, both to work for justice and to preach the word faithfully?

I really want your opinion on these matters, so please don't be shy.
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Category: religion

10/05/07 08:50 - 81ºF - ID#41512

A tale of two perspectives.

Here's a great quote on where I see my faith moving in the coming years. It was written by, of all people, a Chaplain to the Senate, Richard Havelerson. He said:

Dogmatism and faith are not identical! Dogmatism is like stone. Faith is like soil.

Dogmatism refuses to admit doubt. Faith often struggles with doubt.

Dogmatism is brittle . . . cracks under pressure. Faith is resilient, malleable, teachable.

Dogmatism is a closed system. Faith is open to reason.

Dogmatism fills one with pride. Faith inspires awe and reverence.

Dogmatism generates bigotry. Faith stimulates understanding



This is what I would call the old perspective--rational dogmatism is really foriegn to the Bible. Contrast this with the new perspecitve, the one that is in the majority today, but will more than likely go away within a generation or two.

First of all, I have a confession to make. I post on crosswalk.com's forums. This is a forum made up of mostly right-wing Christians. It is entertaining to read the arguments over relatively pointless things, and the conservative take on politics and current events. It reminds me of the world in which I grew up. It also reminds me of this new perspective that I speak of, which is currently dominant. I offer my last experience with crosswalk as a contrast to the humble, generous, trusting and life-giving faith illustrated in the first quote and discovered in scripture.

So, in a recent discussion on crosswalk, the opening post said that many republicans are unsatisfied with the recent crop of candidates because they are not pro-life.

Someone quickly pointed out that Mike Huckabee was pro-life.

Being the trouble maker that I am, I pointed out Mike Hucakabee's position on the Iraq war, and suggested that, while he may be "pro-american-life," he is definitely not "pro-life."

This bothered the other person who replied, "more like pro-innocent life."

Now, internet discussion boards are made for snarkyness right? So I ask.

"Are the Iraqis that we have killed guilty? What are they guilty of?"

Apparently the other person did not have a good answer to this question, because I got a quick response from the moderator asking me to stay on topic.

Now, I must admit that my common sense told me to leave well enough alone, but I just wasn't in the mood for that, so I carefully worded a post about what I believed "pro-life" to mean. I did not mention the war, only that "pro-life" ought to include life before and after birth, in our country and outside of it.

Well, that got me banned. The board called me out publicly and asked me to email the administrator. So I did. This is what I got in reply.

Thank you for taking the time to request a review of your status with our Community.

I have reviewed the post and have concluded that the moderator took the appropriate action. Your post ignored the instruction. Before progressing further, I would like to ask you a few questions.

1. What have you learned during your absence from our Community, and how do you hope to apply it in any future participation?

2. Do you agree to refrain from participating in any thread having to do with the topic of abortion?

3. Do you agree to immediately comply with Moderator instructions?

4. Have you reviewed our Terms of Service, and do you promise to conduct yourself in our Community in a manner that conforms to the rules of conduct as outlined therein? (http://l.salemweb.net/CommunityTermsofService)

5. Specifically, do you agree to #19 of the Terms of Service?

Thank you for taking the time to respond to these questions. Your responses will assist me in reviewing your status and determining your future participation in our Community.

To clarify, this email does not guarantee your return to the Community. However, we are hopeful of a positive resolution and complete restoration.

Sincerely,

Fritz
Manager of Communities
Salem Web Network



Isn't question 1 funny? So I am in full-on snarky mode now (I know, not the most Christian of attitudes, but then again maybe it is--Jesus was snarky with Pharisees, and these guys definitely fit in that category), but I will confess that I wasn't being as kind as I could to Fritz when I replied, as follows:


1. What have you learned during your absence from our Community, and how do you hope to apply it in any future participation?

I have been gone for maybe one day. What did you expect me to learn? I have been reading "The Church on the other side," and that has taught me many things, but I don't think any are applicable to this situation.

2. Do you agree to refrain from participating in any thread having to do with the topic of abortion?

No. I suppose this means I won't be re-instated, but I also suspect that you can sympathize with my decision. How can I remain silent about such an important topic?

3. Do you agree to immediately comply with Moderator instructions?

It depends on the instructions, but if they are reasonable and in accordance with the TOS, I will.

4. Have you reviewed our Terms of Service, and do you promise to conduct yourself in our Community in a manner that conforms to the rules of conduct as outlined therein? (http://l.salemweb.net/CommunityTermsofService)

Yes.

5. Specifically, do you agree to #19 of the Terms of Service? (Included below for your review)

Yes.



As I guessed, they did not re-instate my account. After I dried my tears, I decided to ask "Would you please do me the courtesy of outlining how my second post was in violation?"

And this was the reply:


Hello there!

Thank you for taking the time to write us with your question.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to discuss this with you further.

Please do not email me further until you are willing to agree to the restriction.

Sincerely,

Fritz
Manager of Communities
Salem Web Network




Do you see the difference? The world today is filled with stories of people who were turned off by attitudes like that of Firtz. Salem communications is a for profit company, exercising control, and refusing discussion. They literally questioned me as if I was a child, and while it is their right to do so, it makes me sad because this is the way that so many who call themselves Christians behave.

But this attitude does not come from faith. It comes from dogmatism.

And the Apostle Paul said that when everything else goes away, faith, hope and love will remain. This is a good thing. Thanks for being patient with this long rant.
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Category: life

10/04/07 11:11 - 66ºF - ID#41502

Things I am going to do on my day off

Not that you care, but I feel like posting and don't really have any interesting thoughts right now.

1. Vacuum (just one room)

2. Clean a toilet and a sink

3. Laundry

4. Work (I know it's a day off, but somebody can only meet on Friday)

5. Fax our old insurance agent (is it getting interesting yet?)

6. Water our newly planted lawn (you can take the boy out of the suburbs . . .)

7. Read.


Wow. I am boring. Well, things should get more interesting in the evening. We are hosting a guy named Doug Tilton at my house, and he is speaking at my church on Saturday morning (10am, with a free continental breakfast, for any that may be interested!). He has been working in South Africa since 1992, and seems to be dong good stuff. Here's a link to his bio

Now you know why I am cleaning. Guests.
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Category: 10 things

10/02/07 02:48 - 64ºF - ID#41455

10 Things I like about TMBG

TMBG = They Might Be Giants, a great band, for those uninformed.

1. The live shows. I've never been in a happier place.

2. They are Geeky. So geeky.

3. They are pop, but not lame.

4. Multiple instruments are utilized, and even the weird ones fit perfectly.

5. Dial-a-Drum solo.

6. Dial-a-song.

7. Unconventional song topics, that aren't unconventional to them.

8. The ability to write a catchy song in nearly any style and still be able to transcend said style.

9. Tight harmony.

10. Songs that I can sing a long with.


The list was so easy. There are probably 100 things I like about They Might be Giants, and after that, I could just list songs, 'cause I like each of them, too. Videos and Children's books should be the list, but I just went with the first 10 I thought of.
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Category: 10 things

09/28/07 11:11 - 58ºF - ID#41377

10 Things I like about estrip

1. I can see who's online.

2. People aren't really shy here.

3. It's an online community that also has a real community.

4. It's just about the right size (although more (e:peeps) would be nice).

5. It's mostly personsonal, but also cultural and political and other -als.

6. There's almost always something new.

7. Easy help is available, simply by asking.

8. The statistics. Its fun to count things, even if they don't matter (that Count von Count certainly influenced me as a child, didn't he)

9. When it tells me not to forget my umbrella.

10. When a picture or sound surprises me in the chatter.
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Category: politics

09/27/07 08:36 - 59ºF - ID#41350

I am a one-issue voter . . .

. . . much to my surprise. I also never thought I would be in agreement with so many celebrities, but they are right on this one:



Some people are tired of Bono preaching, but he's a really good preacher!
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Category: 10 things

09/26/07 07:47 - 71ºF - ID#41335

10 Things I like about Ahmadinajad

Another challenging one. I'm not sure I can come up with 10, but I'm going to try.

1. Courage of conviction. Sure, he's wrong on just about everything, but he had to know he would get laughed at for saying that there aren't gays in Iran, and he said it anyway.

2. He called the US hypocritical for having nukes but asking other nations not to. He isn't wrong about EVERYTHING.

3. His name is fun to say. Especially if you imagine Adam Sandler tilting his head back, chin out, eyes closed, and stuttering slightly as he says it.

4. His "openness" to study the Holocaust, if applied to other disciplines, will allow for a much more progressive system of Education in Iran.

5. His country has healthcare for everybody written into the constituion (my guess is that he has something to do with its implimentation).

6. I think he actually wants peace.

7. He gently reminded the guy that introduced him at Columbia that they practice hospitality differently in Iran.

8. Before doing that, he smiled through a litany of attacks.

9. He desired, for whatever reason, to show sympathy for victims of 9/11, and did not protest when told he could not, at least not publicly.

10. He's stayed alive during his visit. Conspiracy-theory Drew was worried that he was brought here so that he could be hurt or killed in such a way that would start a chain reaction that would end in war. As dumb as the guy is, the world will be much better off if he keeps breathing, at least until he is home.


I did it!


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Category: 10 things

09/24/07 11:16 - 63ºF - ID#41301

10 things I like about being home alone

1. I can sprawl out over the whole bed.

2. I can eat what I want, when I want.

3. I don't have to share the computer, or the tv, or anything else.

4. I can drive the car that I like.

5. I can walk around in whatever state of undress I would like.

6. I can work late (I know this is weird, but I like my job).

7. I can sleep in (especially if I work late).

8. As long as it gets cleaned up by Wednesday, I kept the house clean the whole time.

(these last two are the sappy ones--just a warning)

9. Nice phone calls from my wife every night.

10. Saying good-bye and welcome home.
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