Thursday, January 31, 2008

And the Winner of tonights Obama/Clinton debate.....

The Democratic Party. They were nice to one another (as opposed to last night's gorefest in the Reagan library), they had differences, but they didn't go after one another on a personal level! Good for them!
Obama did well framing the argument as his judgement trumping her experience. He's running a much more post-partisan campaign than she is. His pro-government transparency views impressed at least one person I was watching with. Everyone was impressed by his "I don't want yes-men/women working for me, but people who will tell me when I'm wrong" answer.
They both had some good one-liners, Clinton, judging by the applause she received, may have got the best one in saying that it took a Clinton to clean up after Bush one it will take a Clinton to clean up after Bush two.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fundamentalist Unitarian Universalism

This last Sunday I attended a Unitarian Universalist church. The church building itself was rather large; it had a lot of stain glass windows, including one with Jesus and Mary at the front, as well as a cross over the window engraved in the stonework. It had the feel of an old school Congregationalist church. The liturgy was rather “normal” some songs then a reading (the reading was of Ralph Waldo Emerson, this was the first really big tipoff that the church was not simply some bland form of Christianity). The children’s message was about a panther than learned to walk in the sun like apes. Again nothing overly out of the ordinary. The basic thrust of the liturgy was that all faiths have beautiful aspects to them, that faith is important and strengthening, and if one scrapes off the nasty metaphors found in religious texts you end up with a vision of the transcendent, and it is the same transcendent no matter the faith.
Then the speaker came up to give his homily “Where the Giants Lead.” His basic point was that the founders of Unitarian Universalism were pretty radical, and they moved from denying the divinity of Christ to a belief that all faiths, properly understood, contain God. THEN he talked about going to a funeral at a predominantly African American church and feeling uncomfortable about singing about Jesus dying on the cross, but after a while he thought about how it was just a metaphor about how all people suffer, then he was able to sing it with gusto. Then he decided the thing that most Unitarian Universalists had lost since the Holocaust was a belief in salvation. He proclaimed that the world, all caught up in a war between Islam and Christianity, can only be saved by Unitarian Universalism. He believed the current “war on terror” is like the 30 years war between Protestants and Catholics, the result of which was religious tolerance between the two groups. Likewise he feels that after a long struggle between people of different faiths, along with the unstoppable jugernaught known as globalization, we will all look beyond our silly myths to the great transcendant truth, come to our senses, and worship together as Unitarian Universalists.
Wheew. So, the two main things that hit me were the difference between the rhetoric of liturgy and the rhetoric of word, and the utter Enlightenment era mentality of the whole thing. The liturgy was all about affirming the diversity of faith options, but the sermon was all about tearing down the silly myths by the violent other, that is people of specific faiths. Also the arrogant idea that everyone, if they really understood what they were talking about, is saying the same as “the enlightened few,” the Unitarian Universalists, smacks of ultra-uniformity, giving power over the other to “experts.” In essence I think if the speaker was very entrenched in a modernist viewpoint and a healthy dose of either pre-modern mythopoetics, or probably more helpfully post-modern philosophy, would have made him realize how he was pulling a total “Will to Power” trip.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A crowd in South Carolina shouting "Race doesn't matter!"

Its an interesting phenomina, that's all I'm saying. I think Obama might be trying to sell more than he can deliver, for example the idea that an Obama presidency would cleanse politics forever (my paraphrase) is a little audacious. Still, I think he's got something, and something more than just a charismatic glint in his eyes!
PS I'll be posting on the Unitarian Universalist church I attended this morning today or tomorrow.