Proof that God hates indoor football!

12 12 2010

A metaphor for Brett Favre’s career? Awesome video of the Minneapolis’ Metrodome collapsing. Does anyone have eyes on former coach Brad Childress?



Putting things on hold

7 11 2009

Think I’m gonna suspend this blog. A lot of the things I’m of a mind to post about are probably better worked out in a face-to-face interaction rather than a shouting soapbox, which is what this feels like. Also, a lot of cool things go on at Catalyst that I would never think of blogging… because, you know, they involve other people who probably wouldn’t want it out on the Internet.

I’m going to channel my writing into a blog that is more centered around Pittsburgh and the goings on there. Some of you might find it interesting, but most other non-burghers probably won’t. Stop by once in a while and say Hi at my Carpetbaggery site.

Thanks for your posts and interest.

Don’t let them walk that road alone…

8 09 2009


Thanks to my friend Tricia for this awesome link. Finally an answer to the question: Ok, cool, the rapture is here; but what about my pet?

The Lion of the Senate

26 08 2009

kennedy brothers“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.” – Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy was elected to the Senate the year I was born—1962. Only two Senators in history have served longer. For many on the right, Kennedy was the demonized face of liberal politics. He seemed to have received the philandering and alcoholism genes from the Kennedy family, and he had the gall to grow old and puffy on TV instead of dying young and handsome during a time of much less media scrutiny.

Today I find myself an independent, politically. I’ve been pushed away from the Right by their tendencies toward military aggression, their cozy relationships with powerful corporate interests, and their blindness to poverty and suffering in the name of increased materialism and profit. (I know I’m generalizing here.) I’m also a bit frightened of the other suitor—the Left, those tree-hugging, wild-spending, amoral hippies who shun personal responsibility. (Again, really generalizing here.)

  But I find myself somewhat inspired by certain aspects of Ted Kennedy’s political life—if not his personal one. After suffering severe injuries in a plane crash, Ted found himself in a hospital, benefitting from the best medical care that money could buy. In his place, I feel that most conservatives today would redouble their efforts at protecting a system that provided them with such vital care. Kennedy, however, looked around and wondered what happened to people who didn’t have his money or family legacy. What happened to poor, uninsured people in his position? Certainly they would be patched up in an emergency room, but then what? Would they receive the physical therapy, the equipment, and ongoing care they needed? He dedicated much of the rest of his career fighting for universal healthcare.

I wish that conservative Christians today would react this way more. I just don’t see it. I hear them talking about protecting their lifestyles, their borders, their families, their healthcare, and their various freedoms. Protect. Defend. Rights. Guns! I don’t remember Jesus talking much about such things. He was more about giving it away. He was more about healing people in the face of resistance from unjust power systems. Jesus came at a time when His people were conquered and enslaved, but He didn’t put up signs reading: THEY ARE STEALING OUR COUNTRY! To Jesus, there were more important issues.

Is my first response to protect and defend and judge, or to spend my life and money figthing for those who don’t enjoy the benefits I’ve had by being born white, male, affluent, and American? In some ways, Ted Kennedy lived his life much more like Jesus than I have. 

Any takers?

14 08 2009

pulpit“If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of [the twentieth] century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom.” –A.W. Tozer

Truth and Doubt and Faith

12 08 2009

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” —Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), Men in Black, (1997)

What a great line of dialog from a pretty darn good movie. We all marvel at how man has historically gotten it wrong, and most of us are fairly confident that what we believe as Truth today is just that. We’ve finally got all of it right.

Truth and Faith. These are concepts I’ve been wrestling with lately. I’ve been contending with them to the point that I now label myself as a Christian Heretic to close friends and confidants… and now you. I guess it is because I hold certain Truths more loosely than I once did. I’m afraid that loosening my grip on some of these truths would cause some in my life to brand me a heretic. As a result, however, I think I have experienced a greater reliance on Faith—one might say I’ve become a better Christian. (Not better in the sense of “better than others,” but perhaps “better than I used to be.”) In other words, the older I get, the less I’m absolutely sure of—but that’s okay.

I recently read this amazingly deep and honest article/essay on faith and truth and doubt. I quote it below. Take the time to read it if you want, or just skip it.

Scripture tells us that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). I think I like the New King James Version better: “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I like this better because, as history proves, being sure and certain doesn’t necessarily make it so. Besides, if you are so sure and certain, you wouldn’t need faith!

I’d rather think of my faith as the substance of my hopes and as evidence that there might just be more to life than what we see around us.

I love this quote in the article I highlighted:

The art of growing up is coming to terms with the disturbing fact that even the very smartest people don’t always have the answers. Let us remember that it was only a generation or so ago when new mothers smoked cigarettes on the maternity ward while nurses fed the infants nice big bottles of formula. Only two years ago, children were still being taught to believe that poor Pluto was a planet.

If history teaches us anything, it’s that the truth is subject to change. This means that what is standard practice now may someday be eschewed, in the same way that no health-conscious person puts plastic in the microwave anymore. It also means that notions we now consider dubious may, somewhere down the road, become widely accepted.

This is, to an extent, what I have experienced lately. I find that my faith is leading me to be more politically liberal, even as most people of faith in this country seem to go in the opposite direction. For me, liberal (once an evil, dirty word) means to give it all away: your money, your possessions, your position, and even your life. Conservative means the opposite: to store, to protect, to defend, to hold on to what’s rightfully mine. Which of these stances would seem to reflect the heart and words of Jesus more? I’m just asking. Some of you probably have different definitions. Some would say, “I’m all for giving to those in need, just don’t put a gun to my head and legally require me to do so. Let it be my choice.” To you, I’d say, “Valid point.” But health care, like police protection and national defense, does not seem to be a need the church can provide. If there is injustice… if there are have’s and have not’s… then doesn’t a civil society step in and say, “We all need to take care of this”? If Microsoft has the power to purchase healthcare at a discount rate that Joe’s Plumbing (yes, I brought Joe back into it!) will never be able to afford, do we just say, “C’est la vie”? AND… although this is not really part of the current debate, can American companies really compete globally if they are forced to pay for the health care of Americans? Starbucks pays more every year for healthcare than coffee! How can GM compete with Toyota when they have to pay for all the health care of their employess and Toyota doesn’t? After all, you are not insured by your insurance company; you are insured by your company that pays for it. The insurance company just shuffles the paper and reaps the profit.

Thus, I find that I staunchly back the effort of healthcare reform. Not that any of it is perfect, but I believe health and healing are moral and spiritual issues. I’d like to still believe that there is actually “freedom and justice for all.” A person’s access to proper healthcare shouldn’t be tied to what job they have–or, for children, the jobs their parents have. Let’s face it. Medical practice wasn’t that important in the days of our founding fathers. Back then, most people thought that if you were sick, it was probably due to witches or evil spirits! There were no vital operations or medications or diagnostic testing. Today, there is. Where you were born and what job have shouldn’t dictate whether you and your children live or die.

So, yes, I am willing to pay a little more to ensure that everyone has equal access to proper healthcare. Besides, maybe my friend who just shut down her small business would still be operating if she didn’t have to get a “real job” with healthcare. Maybe some I know who are stuck in their jobs because of health coverage could do what really makes them happy.

Many are obsessed with the Truth that the U.S. has the greatest healthcare in the world. They hold on to this notion as if it needs to be true or else there is something wrong with the universe. They ignore the facts that other countries with universal health care have longer life spans, lower costs per capita, and lower infant mortality rates than the U.S.

I still actually consider myself an Independent politically, mainly due to the fact that I consider the entire process a corrupt enterprise that further corrupts those who become involved in it. But I also believe that this nation is amazingly strong and resiliant. Our consitution and its seperation of powers have withstood wars, civil unrest, and over two hundred years of time. When I listen to those on the Right, however, it sounds as if they think this country is made of glass that will shatter because of a few initiatives from a former Illinois Senator. Do Republicans really think that even Democrats would stand for “death panels,” euthanizing babies and old people, and forcing truly sick people to die in waiting lines? Democrats have babies and grandparents and diseases like everybody else! We’d all rise up if that were to ever happen. Thus, for now, I am siding with the folks who would like to extend health care to every U.S. citizen.

Besides, if the only industry fighting against it is the insurance industry… isn’t it probably a good thing?

In the future, if I get brave, I may ponder the other Truths and Doubts that keep me up at night. We’ll see how this goes.

Don’t cry for me Argentina

13 05 2009

prayer1Don’t think from my past post that I am at all discouraged. I’m not. If anything, I find myself more deternined than ever to figure this thing out rather than just apathetically drifting into inaction and paralyzation. Here is a little encouragement for all of you who, like me, have a very hard time getting quiet enough to really pray. That cacophony is still prayer! 

From Primary Speech: A Psychology of Prayer by Barry and Ann Ulanov:

“If we can let ourselves go in prayer and speak all that is in our minds and hearts, if we can sit quietly and bear the silence, we will hear all the bits and pieces of ourselves crowding in on us, pleading for our attention. Prayer’s confession begins with this racket, for prayer is noisy with the clamor of all the parts of us demanding to be heard. The clamor is the sound of the great river of being flowing in us.”