Saturday, May 21, 2005

See Starwars you must

Just saw it. It is worth seeing. Better than 1 and 2 by a bunch. Some inconsitancies and such, but good overall.
Best quote from the movie, "Special relations with the Wookies have I."

GK on Gay Lutherans etc

Check it out.
“Pastor Ingqvist was so glad about the snow. He was thinking he might have to do a sermon on the Lutheran church, its announcement of its commission on its position on same-sex relationships and the ordination of same-sex people. But then he thought, “No, I don’t really need to do that. People are thinking about snow.” Nobody had really asked him about this commission report, which was a masterpiece of muddling through - just a masterpiece. It was a beautiful piece of writing. It’s a case where you establish a commission to take up a question that militants on either side are waving their bright shining swords, and they’re up in arms about. And you put a commission in there, and it takes three years to work at it, and it puts out a report which nobody can understand, which says that essentially nothing has changed, and yet, some things have changed, but we don’t approve of that, and yet if you went ahead on the basis of conscience and did what you wanted to do, don’t worry about us coming after you, because we wouldn’t do it. It’s sort of a “don’t ask, don’t tell, never mind” position.

“And it’s beautiful. It’s a Lutheran art to take a controversial subject, and to restate the question so that nobody understands it, and then to write the response so that it has to do with nothing whatsoever. And out comes the report, and nobody can really be that angry about it, because it’s made up of all of this mishmash, this beautiful mishmash, and these sentences that are like extruded marshmallow. And so all of the militants who would be tempted to go to battle over this… Peace is kept! On the basis of confusion! A Lutheran art, to achieve strength through indirection and vagueness. This is an irritating quality about Lutherans, and people have become angry at Lutherans. “Why don’t you say what you mean? Tell us what you think.” Well… no! No.

“No matter how many militants and absolutists there are, there’s a great tide of moderation in my little town of Lake Wobegon. Moderates are people who have experienced back pain. Lower back pain. That’s what makes a moderate. When you’re your age, when you’re young, you can be extreme on these things and pick up the flag and carry it forward. But you get to be my age and you’ve experienced lower back pain and you realize, this is the crucial thing. These questions of principle and so forth, these can be put off until later.

“That’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

My linguistic profile

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

15% Yankee

5% Midwestern

0% Dixie

A Luther Quote

"But some might say, "Waiting for marriage is unbearable and aggravating!" They're right. It's very similar to other difficulties requiring patience that believers must face, such as fasting, imprisonment, cold, sickness, and persecution. Lust is a serious burden. You must resist it and fight against it. But after you have overcome it through prayer, lust will have caused you to pray more and grow in faith."
- Martin Luther

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Here was my statement for the panel

First off I want to apologize for being the only College Dem here. Unfortunately this discussion coincides with our elections so we could only spare one democrat, and since I am graduating in a couple of weeks I decided missing elections wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I warn you in advance that I may not be the best example of the wit or debating skills of the college democrats, as they have effectively sent a Religious Studies major to do a poly-sci major’s job.
Without further adieu, our statement.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. There is the whole case against censorships, in a nutshell.”/// After such eloquence and brevity there is little left to say, except perhaps to argue the value of progress or the meaning of censorship.#
Progress is at once humbling and edifying. Humbling, because one is forced to look around and say, “The way things are right now, this present reality, is not the best we can do.” Edifying, because the question that follows the previous thought is, “What can I do to make things better?” Progress is, at its essence, the shaking up of the status quo and a yearning for something better for oneself and for others. Yet, it is apparent throughout history that the status quo has a way of cementing itself and limiting the forces of change. They realize, “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” This they can not abide, and so they move to place a vice-grip upon the mind.
This is where censorship comes in. Those who are afraid of ideas not their own, and who have power to do something about it, will try and stop, that is censor, these ideas. This is rarely done these days by physical intimidation, more often now by greeting the ideas with: canned partisan responses, knee-jerk reactions, or with high concepts that justify low thought, like “Conventional Wisdom” “The Party Line” “Political Correctness” or “Patriotism.”#
That’s all I really have to say about free speech on campus, but there is another topic I would like to briefly touch on, national bias being imposed upon campuses. Just as we as individuals don’t want to be intimidated, or have our rights infringed upon; neither should universities have their academic freedoms, or freedom of speech, infringed upon.
For example people like Republican State Senator Larry Mumper of Ohio, are attempting to censoring the free flow of ideas. Mumper has categorized university professors as, “Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists who attempt to indoctrinate students.” And has written a bill that would debar professors, who teach “controversial material.”
Another example of someone who is trying to stifle academic freedoms, in this case not through legislation, but through outright lying, is activist David Horowitz. He recently alleged a student in a criminology class failed a course because he refused to write that the President is a war criminal. Horowitz later had to admit, “the test question was not the one described, the grade was not an F, and there were clearly non-political reasons for whatever grade was given.” These type of baseless accusations against professors are nothing more than thugary.#
And so, we of the College Democrats affirm free speech on campus, and freedom from physical or partisan intimidation. We affirm that attacks on the academic freedoms of college faculty should be rejected. We also affirm the responsibility of all students to hear people out, think before they critique, get the facts, and pay attention to the world around them.
This the U of O College Democrats affirm. Thank you.

The Grand Debate

I was in a panel discussion tonight. It was between myself and three college Republicans. It was about bias on campus. It was odd, in the end the professor who was "moderating" the debate was kind of debating against me as well. I was fairly clear about my position, and then she re-framed the debate to be "The Wacky liberal thinks professors should be able to do ANYTHING and say ANYTHING they want at any time, the nice clean cut conservatives boys understand some things shouldn't be said in mixed company." A little annoying. Another problem was I was at the far side of the panel table so the moderator couldn't see me when I wanted to respond to something the R's said. Still, considering it was three on one with a biased moderator I felt I did okay. The only thing I am worried about is that the moderator was actually introducing the topic so she could compile a list of thoughts on Chuck Hunt a nutty Sociology professor on campus so she can get him fired. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Please say a small prayer for my great aunt

I just got some 3rd hand news that one of my great-aunts back in Minnesota isn't doing so well. If you could keep her in your thoughts and prayers I would appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I am the first ELCA blog on the Lutheran Blog Directory

It is funny, there are tons of LCMS blogs, two ELS blogs, even a WELS blog. Curious that the ELCA isn't out there in force, as we are a little larger than the other Lutherans. I have a few theories as to why that is, but I don't think they would be appropriate to say in mixed company...

What I'm reading "Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God"

I have to say this is the first work of theography I've read. This is looking at God in a literary context.
One person calls it a "Well-written heresy." I'm only 51 pages into it but it is good. Miles basic premises are that 1. Jesus really really really is God and 2. Jesus really really did die. Of course those taken together suggest that God committed suicide. Nothing too absolutely astounding about that, but the way he tackles the issue is really cool. For example Miles emphesizes about the temptation of Jesus is not the temptions themselves, but instead the Devil trying to figure out who the heck this Jesus fellow is. Even by the end of the temptations the Devil isn't sure if Jesus is YHVH. When Jesus talks about being lifted up like the snake in the desert he is thinking about how he was the cause of the snakes in the first place, how in that case, "this incident huan crime and divine punishment are so excruciatingly ill-matched." This book is trying to get into the mind of God, the psycology of God. It almost feel midrashic, except it isn't quite playful enough, feels a bit too academic for that. Still, it is good stuff.
An interesting thing is that Miles sees Friedrich Nietzsche as one of the last people to take Jesus' message seriously. I was really stunned by it, but I think Miles has a point, the Good News is something that is "foolishness to the greek/stumbling block to Jews." It is something that one should react seriously to, "The last shall be first." "Mercy, not sacrifice" "Slow to anger" "Lamb of God" "Take away the sins of the world" etc etc. The message of Christ is radical, and if one doesn't believe it crazy.

The Questions

1. How much of Christianity is just cultural junk and gets in the way of relationship with God?
2. Why is so much of the Bible narrative? What does that tell us about God? What does it tell us about how to live life?
3. What should be the qualifications for religious leadership? What traits should be considered, what ones shouldn’t?
4. Do animals have souls? Do humans have souls? What are souls?
5. Should Christians be romantically involved with non-Christians?
6. Can/should government be involved with churches? Should churches be involved with government?
7. If love of money is the root of all evils what should we do about it?
8. Is the bible infinitely interpretable?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A slight change of the blog

I updated things a bit, took off Billy's blog as well as Woodstove. I added the online pilgrim, an ELCAer, the ELCA's website itself, Samizad a libertarian blog, the door (the single best religious satire on the planet), an online comic by a friend of mine and also added a link back my post about my mission.