Monthly Archives: September 2009

About This Right-Wing Conspiracy….

My brother, Rick, posted this “Note to Bill Clinton” on his blog:

“Okay, so you still think there is a vast right wing conspiracy? Now, did it keep you from being elected twice to the Presidency? Did it keep the Democrats from retaking the House and Senate in 2006? Did it keep Obama from gaining the White House in 2008? If there’s a conspiracy, it sure ain’t doing very good at whoever they are conspiring against.”

Now, for all those people on the right who imagine a dastardly conspiracy by Obama to create a 1000 Year Fourth Reich….

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The Christian Hall of Fame: Beyond My Knee-Jerk Sarcasm

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Did you know there is a “Christian Hall of Fame“? It’s even located in Canton, Ohio, home of the pro football Hall of Fame. It’s a creation of Canton Baptist Temple. The most recent inductee is Jerry Falwell, added September 23.

When I read about that, I immediately fell into my default cynical mode. I assumed it would be populated mainly by fundamentalist Baptist Republicans. And I figured it would be fertile ground for a very satirical blog post, as if that would edify the Kingdom.

Then I took a look…and I’m fascinated by it!

First of all, the website is very, very well done. As user-friendly as can be.

The inductees span the last 2000 years. Click on a name, and you get a picture and description of that person. Click on a period of history (say, “The Church in Reformation: AD 1000-1500”), and you get a list of persons from that period–some that you’ve heard of, some that you haven’t.  In the Reformation period, there were eight persons: Wycliffe, Huss, Savonarola, Hubmaler, Zwingli, Tyndale, Luther, Simons. I’d never heard of Savonarola or Hubmaler, so it was interesting reading about them and their contribution to Christianity.

The last period, “The Church Expands: 1900-2000,” has 50 entries. Of those, all were English-speaking Caucasians–ten from Great Britain, one from Canada, the rest from the US of A. So I guess the world’s significant Christians mostly lived during the last 100 years, and apparently almost entirely in the United States, or at least they spoke English. There is only one person of color in the list (John Jasper, from the 1800s) and only one woman (hymn-writer Fanny Crosby). It’s too bad that, according to the Christian Hall of Fame, there has not been a single significant black or Asian Christian in the whole world during the last 100 years.

So if you want to make it into the Christian Hall of Fame, you really need to be a modern-day white English-speaking American man. And I’m guessing that you need orthodox fundie credentials. 

But still, it’s interesting. 

My favorite entry was the very last entry, for “The Unknown Christian.” It says:

This Christian never made the headlines as a greet theologian or a silver-tongued orator. He (or she) is a faithful, consecrated, born-again layman. The foot solder in the Gospel army. He (or she) is a Sunday School teacher, an usher, a singer, a bus worker, a nursery helper, a parking lot attendance, or a prayer warrior. His (or her) service is unheralded but vital in the cause of Christ. His (or her) testimony adorns the gospel as he (or she) faithfully witnesses daily “in the temple and in every house,” sacrificing time, talent, and tithe to the Lord.

Having served the Lord in the home, the church, and the world, this Christian will one day hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord” (Matthew 25:21).

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CNN’s Rick Sanchez Blasts Fox News

Wow, is CNN’s Rick Sanchez ticked at Fox News! Fox took out a big add saying that CNN (and other news organizations) didn’t cover the Tea Party march in Washington. He tears apart that claim. Interestingly, the photo Fox used in their ad apparently came from CNN’s own live feed of the event.

Sanchez says, “We covered the event. We didn’t promote the event. That’s not what real news organizations do. We covered the event.”

Watch this video. It’s worth it.

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No Pity for Roman Polanski

A lot of Hollywood types are upset that Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for a crime he committed 30 years ago in the United States, and now faces extradition to the US. Sure, he drugged and raped a minor child, then fled from prosecution. But hasn’t he suffered enough?

An article in Salon absolutely skewers the thought that Polanski deserves pity and mercy. The article lays out exactly what he did, and why we shouldn’t let it go just because he’s enormously talented and knows powerful people.

The article ends, “Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to
focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him,
admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.”

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Church Growth Principle: Truth or Myth?

When you reach 80% of seating capacity, you’ll stop growing. You won’t grow beyond 80% of capacity.

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A Sadly Preventable Loss

A 22-year-old Ohio girl, a member of one of our churches, died last
week of complications from H1N1. She was a recent college graduate
working two jobs. According to her roommate, she became ill two weeks
ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she lacked health insurance
and was worried about the cost. 

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Notes from Our Vacation (Part 2): Rushmore

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On Tuesday, September 22, we visited Mount Rushmore. We were there around 1992 on a trip to Colorado. Back then, they just had a gift shop and an observation deck from which you could see Mount Rushmore in the distance. But they have totally redone it. I know we’re not supposed to believe that government can do anything right, but let me tell you–they did this right. Plus, there were far, far more visitors than I remembered on my previous two visits.

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As you come up the steps from the parking garage, you walk right toward the monument in the distance. It’s spectacular. It’s a very long and wide walkway. The latter part is lined with 14 pillars, each bearing four flags. That’s 56 flags–one for each state, plus each of the 6 US territories. After the columns is a large observation deck, with an amphitheater beneath it. You’re a lot closer than you were with the previous gift shop.

rushmore_steveatbase200.jpgBut that’s just the start. You can then take a path which circles around right up to the base of the mountain. You’re basically at the bottom, in the slag rock pile, looking up at the faces. Nice, very nice. You really feel like you’re a part of this monument, not just gazing from a distance.

By the time we browsed the new gift shop and ate a monstrous ice cream cone, it was probably 4:30. We headed on to our bed & breakfast. Just beyond the park, we encountered a whole bunch of cars stopped. Two white mountain goats were in the gully beside the road, and people had stopped to take pictures. So did we. Beautiful creatures.

We settled into our B&B, and then decided to return to Rushmore for the nightly program. And we’re sure glad we did. Hundreds of people were there, far more than I was expecting.

A lady park ranger led the program. She gave a lot of history about the mountain and the four presidents, and we watched a nice 20-minute film about Rushmore. As the film ended, the mountain gradually began lighting up, thanks to a beacon and a couple banks of powerful lights. There were no shadows among the faces. Very well done, and quite dramatic.

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The park ranger then invited all military vets to come down. Probably 60 did, lined up double-file across the wide outdoor stage. She found six volunteers to help lower the American flag, which they then folded into a triangle. I was very struck by several vets who stood at attention, saluting, while the flag was being lowered. Their reverence for our country ran deep. In the photo above, the one on the far right was the night’s only WW2 vet.

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The ranger then went down the lines of vets with the microphone. Each vet put his or her hand on the flag–just as thousands of other vets had done previously, with that same flag–and gave his/her name and branch of service, and maybe a little bit more–rank, unit, country where they saw combat. One woman came forward to represent her husband, a WW2 vet. Another woman was representing her husband who was in Iraq.

There was only one WW2 vet. When he mentioned serving in World War 2, the crowd applauded.That was the only applause of the night. There were many Vietnam vets, but no Korean War vets. However, some fellow guests at our B&B, who went the next night, said they had several Korean vets, but no WW2 vets. They also said the crowd applauded for each currently-serving soldier. So I guess the dynamics differ each night.

I had been to Mount Rushmore twice before. But with the enormous changes they’ve made (finished in 1997, we were told) and the evening program, I was just overwhelmed. I would gladly go back.

Time has proven that they made excellent choices in the four presidents chiseled into the mountain. Today, we might argue for FDR instead of Teddy, and some would suggest Ronald Reagan. But those four guys–Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt–were definitely larger-than-life presidents.

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Anything Strike You Odd About This Name?

Thank you, Jackie Houchin, for bringing this to my much amused attention. This is the official blog of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Somebody at PETA needs to say the name of this blog real fast about five times in a row.

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Humor from LOLCats.com

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From the Mouth of Our Darling Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin went to communist China and, while America is at war, criticized the US president and our government. I will expect condemnations from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, and Bill O’Reilly. And from millions of other right-wing conservatives.

Unless they are hypocrites. In which case, they’ll find reason to praise her.

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