Thursday, June 29, 2006

More on the soccer articles

Remember a while back when I posted two articles by TWS? Well here is The New Republic's response.

God willing this man will be president

Here are a few good quotes from Barack Obama's Key Note Addres to "Call to Renewal":

"And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who's Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Levitacus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?"

"We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.
Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion.
But it's fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know, be it common laws or basic reason. "

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The start of Chapter 8 of "Days in the Cold" is up!

Slowly but surely Days in the Cold my online novel over at Universal Bones is edging closer to completion. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

And who is arming the murders in Darfur? China

As people know I'm a little bit of an anti-China kind of guy. It's not because I'm all "Weee, American Hegemony!" but instead because China is all "Let's support evil people if we can make a buck!"

June Newsletter

Chris at St. Mark’s
The wonderful program that has made this whole thing possible: Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM)

One of the things that I was told at the missionary conference was that they don’t want us to stay in our host country for ever, instead they want us to get back to the states after our year of service to start serving the ELCA. Now it wasn’t that I don’t pay attention, anyone who’s ever lectured me know better than that. In fact in my many pages of notes from the conference I specifically wrote this point down.
I say all this as a preface to a really exciting announcement! I have received and accepted a conditional offer to pursue a Master of Philosophy in Divinity at the University of Cambridge. The M. Phil. program is a very intense 24-week Masters Degree program. I intend to write my thesis (actually I’d like to end up with a book when I’m done with it, but that might be aiming a bit big) on the Akedah (The Binding of Isaac, Genesis Chapter 22).
What do you do when the only time your URC youth group isn’t being rotten to one another is when they play Yu-Gi-Oh!, a collectable card game? You make a Bible centric card game, that’s what you do!
This nearly completed project has taken up a lot of my time this past month. First I had to figure out rules for the game and invent cards. Then I not only had to illustrate them (with the much appreciated help of Yan), but figure out how the heck to actually make them into cards (after a few different ideas lamination was the simplest). When all done I’ll have created 100 cards (I should finish tomorrow). Then I’ll get to test them out on the Pilots.
Here are a few examples of cards:
Love (1) Event
Return target Character card from your discard pile to the top of your deck.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22)
The Flood (6) Event
All Characters are put from play into the discard pile. Noah is unaffected by this event.
The Flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. (Genesis 7:17)
Zebulun Character (2) 2/2
If Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, Gad, Judah, Benjamin, and Levi are all in play you win the game.
If Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, Gad, Judah, Benjamin, or Levi are in play Zebulun get’s +1/+0
Ruth Character (3) 2/2
If Naomi is in play Ruth gets +2/+2
But Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16)
Korean Night
Melody, a TFG volunteer over in Cambridge who is from South Korea, recently held a Korean night at the URC church she is placed at. It was a wonderful event where I was able to sample Korean food, play Korean games, and watch a presentation put on by Melody and some members of the local Korean church. It was great fun. The international aspect of this year has been an almost overwhelmingly positive part of this year of mission. I have gotten to know people of faith from all over the globe, and that makes me kind of giddy!
Trinity College
Professor Falk, my favorite Professor from back at University (and the only professor that reads my newsletters) recommend that on Trinity Sunday I should go to Trinity College and see the festivities. I’m glad I did. Everyone lounges on the bank of the Cam and listens to the choir serenade them with love songs. As dusk falls Chinese lanterns are lit. It was pretty. It was serene. It was magical. It was Cambridge!
The Archer
The children are jittery. They always are. The Archer sees the Warden in the distance giving his shpeel. "These activities can be dangerous, so pay attention to what your instructors say," and so on. Then he numbers them off 1, 2, 1, 2. Further down the line he can see some of the children counting to see if they are next to the pretty girl. Some switch places with one another to ensure that they are in the same group as their friends.
The Warden has seen this before. He’s onto their scheme like paprika on Slovakian scrambled eggs. He switches things up. There were two twos, then two ones. The schemes of men can not withstand the will of the Warden.
The two groups are split up. The younger ones run with a carefree abandon to their cite of instruction. The older ones strut or swagger like they are on a catwalk somewhere in Paris.
The little ones are almost passed the rope on the ground that looks like orange flavored liquorice, when the Archer takes one fe-fi-fo-fum giant sized step to the line. He raises his hands like a hipster traffic cop and says, in a very American accent, "Line up behind the waiting line," and then with a strangely elegant flourish of his hand he indicates the rope.
He wears green cut-offs stained with grass, grease, and even a little blood for good measure. His white T-shirt has on it the words "Peace, Love, Luther," with a peace sign, a heart, and some strange flower with a cross inside it underneath the words. He must be one of those American Fundamentalists BBC Three always talks about, the children think. He wears wrap around sunglasses and a blond gottee that is so long that it had to be either ironic or post-modern. His short hair is topped off with a backwards raggedy military-style green cap.
The kids realize he’s not only a Yank, but a Damn Yank, cocky and brash, emblazoning his American-ness upon his chest. If Tolkien’s Orks were a warped and devolved version of Elves the Archer was, in their eyes, proof positive the Americans played the same role in relation to the British.
By that time the straggling teens, trying very hard to out disinterest one another, show up he has already asked, "Are you guys ready for some Archery?"
"Yeah." They say with words as bland as the three servings of potatoes each day they’ve grown up on.
"I said," he says his tinted and unseen eyes scanning the line, "are you guys ready for some archery?"
"Yeah," again they say, some of the younger ones picking up the enthusiasm in his voice.
"Is that it? I’ve heard Liberal Dem MP’s with more fire in their belly," he says, smiling at his own wit, "Are you ready for some Archery?"
"Now. I can see that you’re all very excited," one of the older boys chuckles before he can help himself, "but we first need to go over a few rules, just to keep us safe. After all," he says, looking to the boy who had chuckled previously, "no matter how exciting archery is we do have to remember we are dealing with sharp metal bits flying around at fast speeds."
"Lucky for us you guys are already following rule number one, which is when you aren’t shooting stay behind the waiting line."
He pauses, walking down the line of kids, like some self-important Banana Republic General.
"Now what is rule number one?"
They don’t answer.
"What wasn’t a rhetorical question!" he says, with a smirk that reminds them of his president’s face.
"Don’t-mumble mumble- the waiting line."
"And," he says, pacing back down the line, "the second rule is if I, or any of you, see something dangerous out there," he makes a general gesture toward the two archery busses, "shout Stop!" and boy does he shout stop, "everyone should put down their bows and stop shooting."
He pauses. Stopping in front of the middle of the line of children, he says, "Dangerous things could include… Amber, the College’s dog," he makes a ridiculous motion of a dog bounding along by swaying his body back and forth and moving his hands up and down, "wandering out into the middle of the range. After all," he again looks at the boy who made the mistake of chucking, "after all shooting the Warden’s dog tends not to help relations with the boss-man… So what’s rule number two."
"Don’t shoot the dog," one young boy shouts, while the rest mumble, "stop if you hear stop."
"Correct, stop if you are told to stop. The remaining two rules are kind of corollaries of one another," they are also a little authoritarian, but never mind that, the Archer thinks to himself, "Rule number three is ‘Don’t shoot unless I tell you to.’ What’s rule number three?"
"Don’t shoot unless you tell us to."
"And rule number four is ‘don’t cross the shooting line unless I tell you to.’ Otherwise you might end up plunking your neighbor in the head. And I don’t want to remove any arrows from anyone. So what’s rule four?"
"Don’t cross that line unless you tell us too."
"Excellent," then he proceeds to explain to them how to shoot, describing the stance as similar to a golfing stance, demonstrating this fact by wielding a bow briefly as a club. He describes the proper fingering of the string as being "like the boy scout salute," and tells the kids that when retrieving an arrow from the target they have to do, "the live long and prosper sign from Star trek." A few of the younger kids do the sign unconsciously as he demonstrates it. In short he uses more similes and metaphors than are used in pulp noir.
Then the Archer comes to his favorite part. The demonstration shot.
"Okay. I’m going to let you break rule number one," what a benevolent dictator he is, "come on up so you can see what I’m doing. Stay to this side of me… like in a quarter circle. 45 degrees of a circle guys. A circle, yeah? Circle, yeah? Yeah, circle?" He says that last bit with a mock British accent.
Then he goes through all the steps he showed them thus far, from making sure the odd colored fletching points up when loading the arrow to pulling back the string to the side of the mouth. He looses an arrow. It finds its mark just inside the yellow. The children let out oo’s, and ahh’s. The Archer allows himself a momentary smile and then gets back to business.