September 2006 Archives

Subway Observation #1

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I'm finding the people on the "F" subway train between Brooklyn and Manhattan an interesting bunch to observe.

Today, the dance, really a sport full of competition, of those trying to get a seat was kind of fun to watch. Surprisingly, a man got up and actually offered his seat to a woman. Another woman came up to take it and there was a brief "dance" between the two as to who was going to sit down. The first woman declined the seat. Then, another man a couple seats from me offered his seat to the first woman, still standing. She declined again, saying that she had on her sneakers so she was fine.

The through ran through my mind whether I was going to offer my seat to the other women standing around. What about "women's lib?" Some women are actually offended if a man acts in a more chivalric way, but these women are getting older and their aging bodies are winning out over their politically correct minded indignation. That statement will get me in a lot of trouble. Oh well.

I didn't get up. I was selfishly keeping my seat and justifying my self-centeredness with the assertion that if they want to be equal, then equal I will treat them because to another man I would not give up my seat. That is my own failing - my issue of resentment or indignation or whatever towards those kinds of attitudes.

There was this little boy on the train with his dad. I suspect he was around 4 years old. What an incredible imagination this kid had. I watched him play with a couple of his toys imagining all these different scenarios. He was so free with his thoughts - what a joy to watch him. He broke into a R & B'ish, Hip-Hop'ish version of Greensleeves (sp?). His father kept looking at him, as the kid was playing with his toys on is father's leg, and just smiled and laughed. What a joy. (Of course, like any good uncle knows, I don't have to be around for the care of a child when it is anything but fun!)

I do not think there is any greater joy or responsibility for humankind then to be involved in the formation of a new life. What an incredible privilege to mold and help a child come into his/her own sense of self in a mature and balanced form. What a travesty that society encourages the aspiration of self over the giving of self to the development of the next generation.

Confounded

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I am continually confounded by the image of life Jesus presents to us. It truly is a profoundly "other" way of life and understanding!

Matthew 5:38-48 (The Message)

"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

A little more standard translation:

Matthew 5:38-48 The Bible (New International Version)

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

A long walk

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I walked home yesterday - to my new apartment in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, where my books and stuff are now out of storage and where I can finally settle in a bit. So, I walked from 5th Ave and 39th St. where I work to St. Andrew's House on Carroll St. in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I wanted to see how long of a walk it would actually be. It took me 2 hours at a moderate pace.

Walking that far through Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and into Carroll Gardens is a great experience. The walk down Broadway takes one from the Mid-town Fashion District, through the outer edges of Chelsea, the Ironside district, NOHO, SOHO, the edge of China Town, and before the bridge among the federal buildings and town hall and at the edge of the Financial District - Wall Street. I suspect I could add the East Village to the list, too. You see the swanky funkiness of SOHO, all the students of NYU, the well-dressed uptightness of Wall Street, all the tourists with their cameras walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and the "regular" people coming home from work and walking the neighborhood streets of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. You see every color and body type, depictions of most world religions, more languages than I could count, and the hustle and bustle of a big city.

It was a great experience. This is truly a unique place.

Resentment?

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I wonder how significant is the sense of resentment in all the troubles we find in the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism these days? If it is, what is the cause of the feelings of resentment? What can be done to change the situation?

James Alison, theologian, writes,

"Yet it was in the midst of these experiences that Joseph developed an awareness of being loved such that he recognized that none of the people against whom he might justly feel resentment were really worthy of his dedicating to them that weight of emotional involvement. And he moved beyond even that, to a position of such freedom that he began to be able to plot not vengeance, but sustained forgiveness as the gift of humanizing others."
(From Faith beyond resentment, p. x)

Then, if resentment is significant, how much does vengeance play in the posturing and threats of schism and the demonizing of others?

I read an interesting article from Christianity Today's website on the rise of Calvinism (Reformed theology) among young people. The article states that while the Emergent conversation gets a lot of press, the renewed interested in Calvinism is more widespread and profound. That brings up, of course, the continuing debate between predestination (God's sovereignty) and free-will.

I know that Reformed theology deals with the issue of free-will. I was raised an Arminian within the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, and while I'm certainly open to correction/change, I just can't get past what seems in the end to be our human inability to have anything to do with what happens to our eternal being - or even what I'm going to type within the next few minutes. On this issue, despite the arguments otherwise, we still end up automatons under this theological system.

Walter Bauman, the retired Systematic Theologian from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH, and the man under whom I spent a year studying Systematic Theology (far better than my course at General - sorry!), said that anyone attempting to have an integrated understanding of theology must start somewhere. While many systematic theologians begin with Creation, he said he cannot begin anywhere other than the Ascension of Jesus. That is where his system begins and from which all things flow.

If I were to attempt to develop a systematic theology, I've come to realize that my starting point has to be free-will. If, and it is a big if, we are created in the image of God, then I think part of that image is our potential for free choice and honest creativity within our earthly lives. I know that many things act against the realization of that potential for free choice, but I cannot move outside the possibility that it truly does exist. We, creatures made in God's image, are free moral agents. If we do not have the ability to make honest and true choices, then I cannot get past the idea that God is the ultimate perpetuator of evil, harm, and all that is caught up within theodicy. Of course, within God's sovereignty, He can be all those things.

I don't think there is any conflict between TULIP and Arminianism/Wesleyanism. In God's sovereignty, He can choose to know or not know, to give true free-will or not. To say that we have the ability to reject God's offer of salvation does not impinge upon God's complete and full sovereignty! It just says that God has granted us that ability.

If all things are already decided, then what's the point?

What about "Free-will theism?"

From the article:

The theological depth attracted Harris. "Once you're exposed to [doctrine]," he said, "you see the richness in it for your own soul, and you're ruined for anything else."

He notices the same attraction among his cohorts. "I just think there's such a hunger for the transcendent and for a God who is not just sitting around waiting for us to show up so that the party can get started."

I think he describes Anglicanism quite well! :-)
I know a couple who are pioneering a Presbyterian Church in America church here in New York. They come to St. Paul's (Anglican High Church - Anglo-Catholic) periodically. He said that if he ever left the PCA, he would run as fast as he could to the highest Episcopal Church he could find.

Another part:


"When you first become a believer, almost everyone is an Arminian, because you feel like you made a decision," Watkins said.

Watkins didn't stop with election. An enlarged view of God's authority changed the way she viewed evangelism, worship, and relationships. Watkins articulated how complementary roles for men and women go hand in hand with this type of Calvinism. "I believe God is sovereign and has ordered things in a particular way," she explained. Just as "he's chosen those who are going to know him before the foundations of the earth," she said, "I don't want to be rebelling against the way God ordered men and women to relate to one another."

I think this is where problems arise. She states that she doesn't want to rebel against God's sovereign created order - for men and women. Is she willing to say that our culturally defined understanding of what constitutes men and women, their roles and responsibilities, right relationships between them, etc. might be wrong? It is one thing to say that we do not want to rebel against God's created order and another thing to take what we believe right now (even within the long tradition of the Church) to be absolute. While I actually agree with her desire to align her life and beliefs with God's Way of things, I know that I can easily mix up God's will for my own. Wives, be subservient to your husbands. There can be no consideration of the possibility of gay relationships. Etc.....

A day in the life...

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Today, the UN assembles. President Bush will be speaking at the main Library this morning, which is a block away from The Pension Groups' offices. All the side streets around us are being closed down.

Another day in life of New Yorkers as they try to make it through traffic grid-lock. Thank goodness I don't have to drive.

I moved this weekend. I'm just tickled pink! After a year and a half of nomadic living, I finally have a permanent place! It is kind of fun discovering the content of boxes that I haven't seen for a year and a half. It will be even more amazing when I move the rest of my stored stuff from Ohio - haven't seen that stuff in four and a half years. I kept asking myself, "Why did I pack this?"

Random thoughts on stuff...

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Islam and American Women

I listened to a NPR interview yesterday morning of an American woman who converted to Islam. She is a self-described feminist. I think she was kidnapped (or something like that) and her captives let her go as she promised to read the Quran. When she did, she said that she found a most profoundly pro-women's liberation document that she has ever read. That is my take on her comments, as best I remember them. I heard recently that Islam is just about the fastest growing religious movement in the U.S., and primarily among American women.

Back in high school, I read a book entitled 1985. It was obviously a take off of Orwell's 1984, but with a different vision. The book was situated in a pre-Thatcher, 1970's Labor Party Britain, and Islam became a very influential force - really the only force that could enable any part of British society to go forward beyond the violence and labor strife that marred the day.

Do we realize that for many young women, Islam will become the next new thing? It will be the new way of living and will become a new way of liberation - although a very different vision of liberation from the 1960's-70's National Organization of Women type of women's lib. As the negative results of many of the 1960's 'revolutions' become more apparent, non-baby boomer women will look to other means of acquiring a sense of freedom, dignity, and respect.

Christianity is failing them. Conservative Christianity is looking back to a mythical 1950's sense of womanhood. Liberal Christianity desperately hangs onto the 1960's women's-lib kind of womanhood. Neither are right, neither work well, and neither will meet the needs of young women. Islam, at least as it will be conceived in an American form by American converts, present a very different and I think increasingly attractive alternative, unless Christians in this country can get their act together to realize what the New Covenant of Jesus really teaches.

The failed Bishop's Meeting in New York

The meeting of a few American Bishops from opposing sides and the representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in New York City this past week ended with no resolution between the warring parties. Now, the commentaries and opinions are flying - spin for the most part.

Bishop Duncan of Pittsburg, the Moderator of the Network, posted a statement. Here is a bit of it:

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan..."

Notice what Duncan said? "...two distinctly different groups claiming to be the Episcopal Church." The onward march for control of the Pension Fund, the buildings, and the name Anglican continues.

New take on older song

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I heard the Cranberries' song Zombie on the radio this past weekend. I haven't heard that song in a good while. Listening to the words, I realized that it is as poignant now as it was when it first came out.

Listen to Skott Freedman's cover of The Cranberries' Zombie

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=40645160

Lyrics:

"Zombie"

Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou...

Another mother's breakin',
Heart is taking over.
When the vi'lence causes silence,
We must be mistaken.

It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they're still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, oh, ya, ya-a...

[Update: I have to say that after re-reading this post I am quite embarrassed by all the grammatical mistakes and misspellings. I know that I state clearly that I will not be all that concerned about good grammar and spelling, since this is really just a place for me to dump my thoughts, but there are times when my lack of diligence is just plain embarrassing. I am a terrible proof reader! This is why I will never be a writer or why my opinions won't carry much weight. Oh well...]

I'm not really sure how to deal with this question, assertion, or quandary about the 'ignorance' of so many Americans. The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'ignorance' as: The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed. 'Ignorance' in-and-of-itself is not the real issue, because most people in the world do not want to be and if given the chance would not be lacking in knowledge. This is something of a different sort - a willful not-knowing.

Perhaps 'ignorance' isn't the right word. Perhaps a better word is 'sciolism' (n : pretentious superficiality of knowledge). We Americans, in general, suffer from willful 'sciolism.'

I say 'Americans' specifically because this type of ignorance/sciolism - almost willful and applied - seems to be a characteristic of Americans, particularly. I have had the privilege of knowing and working with people from many different cultures and countries because of my work in campus ministry, higher education, and because of my time working in Europe. This is touchy, I know, because the people I've encountered from other cultures and countries do not represent every compatriot of theirs. It is touchy, too, because I've witnessed these same kinds of attitudes among people in other countries. Yet, I have not found this same general attitude of non-engagement with or unwillingness to consider different ideas among other nationalities that seems to be so prominent among Americans - or at least with large portions of American society. I've had to defend Americans (embarrassingly so) and stressed the need to truly understand the vastness of this country between two oceans with a generally uniform culture, history, and language.

This matters to me because I love what my country ideally stands for, despite the current distortions. In addition, because I am a Christian my way of thinking must pull me outside this particular American cultural context in which I was raised/formed and now live.

Maybe we could throw in a little 'philistinism' in the mix: (n : a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters [syn: materialism]). For 95% of Americans to say, "I believe in God," is a very different kind of thing than 95% of the people doing anything about their belief or knowing what-in-the-world they even mean by it - regardless of whether they go to church or not.

Far too many of us whether we are conservative or liberal only want to gather around ourselves teachers who will scratch our itching ears. Too many of us who proclaim to be 'Christian' do not read or consider the arguments of those with whom we disagree, and when confronted with evidence that challenges our current beliefs we simply reject that evidence out-of-hand. 2 Timothy 4:3 - "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

I find it interesting that this is a favorite accusation among 'conservative Christians' against 'liberal Christians.' Yet, my experience has shown me that 'conservative Christians' are less likely to be engaged with those with whom they disagree than are more progressive Christians, often because they fear that if they read or consider ideas contrary to their perspective that Satan will deceive them and they will lose their standing with God and fellow believers. Generally, there is not a seeking of Truth, but a seeking of that which confirms what they already believe - or, frankly, what they want to believe regardless of the veracity of their position. Whether a correct or incorrect perception, this has been my experience of American Christianity - conservative and liberal. Anyway...

Most of those I know who profess to be practicing Jews or Muslims know a whole lot more about their faith, its history, and their scriptures than a many Christians I have encountered, including me.

There are Americans who are ignorant of many things for a variety of reasons, and this does not have to be pejorative. If given the opportunity, they would rectify their lack of understanding or knowledge. What I am talking about is something of a different sort that seems to have infected American culture. It is an anti-intellectualism that has contaminated students, for example, who believe it simply isn't cool to want to learn or know much of anything. What I see in many Americans today (!) is a willful non-interest in anything other than themselves and what they want to believe to be true.

This has dire affects on our foreign policy, on our safety and standing in the world, on our ability to realize, admit, and rectify our mistakes and wrong doings, on our ability to compete in a changing world, on the demand that our politicians and leaders lead wisely, and whether we as a culture and a people will continue to prosper. We cannot have a democracy without an informed and educated citizenry. We cannot exercise positive leadership in the world if the positions we take and our actions in the end cause more harm and hardship than good. There is a disconnect between what we want to believe of ourselves and our actions and the reality of it all. In the competition of ideas and world-views, if ours lead to nothing more than the imposition of position rather than the encouragement of that which betters those with whom we are engaged, then we will lose - as we should.

A little different vision

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A little different vision:

Living From a Different Vision
By: Mary Grey

Consider the many spiritualities that arose as a culture of protest against corruption and abuse of power. In fact, the monastic movements began as a retreat from city to desert, as a counter-cultural protest against the decadence of city life. A spirituality of resistance and struggle refuses to let injustice have the last word. Let us be clear: this is not an opting out from society, a retreat to an inner world where Christians settle down cozily with their own ideals, and give up on social critique. Far from it: prophetic critique today will work as far as possible with whatever forces or energies of society are leading in the right direction. The point about a spirituality of resistance is that we already live from a different vision. And this is what is so energizing.

Source: The Outrageous Pursuit of Hope, Via Inward/Outward

The process of realizing the differences between what has been known as "Evangelicalism" in this country and what has developed into the Christian "Religious Right" is picking up. For twenty years now, this group that has developed into the politicized Religious Right has striven to make sure the American public believes that they are the true Evangelicals and that their brand of Christian faith-expression is the only true expression of the Christian faith. The Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Mainline Protestants, and any other form are all apostate and not truly Christian, although the Religious Right will align with them politically or socially when their goals are the same.

Here is an interview from the Star-Tribune concerning Randall Balmer's new book, "Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament" :

Interview: Christian right has hijacked his faith, evangelical says

What is becoming more apparent is that the Religious Right is not the same as traditional American-Evangelicalism. In the same way, I think that we are realizing that politically the Neo-Conservatives in charge of this administration and who have taken control of much of the Republican Party are not truly conservative in the traditional understanding of American-conservatism and not in line with the traditions of the Grand Ol' Party of Lincoln.

Thank God! The distortions of the Christian faith and of American-Conservatism are becoming clear, and the Religious Right and the Neo-Conservatives will be brought to task. I just don't know how long the deception will last or how deep will be the damage.

Via: Father Jake Stops the World

It is hard...

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"Say what you want about the vices of the dogma of sin, one of its virtues has always been to remind us that we—all of us—live between the animals and the gods, that one of the underappreciated challenges of human life is to somehow become a human being."

In Prothero's review of the new Oxford University Press' new books series on the Seven Deadly Sins, he writes much about how each of the authors handle their respective sin. I find it interesting that the book written by the Columbia University Buddhist Studies professor Robert A. F. Thurman (Uma's father!) gets a good deal of attention and Prothero suggests that his book is the only one that treats the topic as "sin" - or what might be traditionally understood within Christianity as sin and the effects of sin. What does this tell us about current American culture? You know, this American culture of ours that if you heed the spin of poll-results from the politicized Religious Right suggests this good, wholesome, and particular kind of Christian nation, despite the evil, godless, and liberal American cultural elites who are trying their hardest to destroy Christian America.

Anyway, the quote above struck me. What does it mean to be truly "human?" Biologically? Psychologically? Communally or individually? And, particularly for me, Spiritually? Can any of the above really be separated without loosing the essence of what a "human being" really is – this thing between animals and the gods? I don't think so, but for many people the "spiritual" aspect is often removed from the equation - or at least any kind of defined and systematized understanding of "spirituality."

Then, there is this idea that it is quite challenging to actually become a "human being." Perhaps, to view the holistic nature the human is a good first step in understanding what it means to be a true "human being." The spiritual cannot be seperated from the physical from the psychological, etc.

I agree with Prothero's assertion that our cultural understanding of sin and sin's effect upon human life has been turned on its head - sin once seen as that thing which impinges upon our freedom has been turned to be understood as that which brings about our freedom. Where does the difference between freedom and license, liberty and libertinism?

From my Christian perspective, there are things that we do that originate from our inner-selves (what is unclean is not what we put into our bodies but what proceeds out from of our hearts) that distort our understandings of and relationships with God, our neighbors, and our own self-understanding. To live by license or a libertine existence seems to bring about true freedom, but often we become bound by and controlled by those behaviors. Our true freedom is hindered or even destroyed. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want whenever we want, but true freedom is the ability to step outside of our own wants and our own lusts. To give into or indulge our own wants and lust often leads to enslavement to those wants and lusts - materialism, greed, addictions, etc. To engage in the struggle and daily battle to resist the temptation of sin, I think, is the process of discovering true freedom.

We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We don't deny ourselves, but we are enabled to move outside ourselves so that we can consider the wants and needs and betterment of our neighbors as a goal at least as important as self-indulgement - perhaps even more so. For me, this is a beginning point of discovering what it means to be a "human being." It is a challenge and it requires discipline, but the process brings freedom.

Read the review by Stephen Prothero (chairman of the Department of Religion at Boston University) of the new book series on The Seven Deadly Sins published by Oxford University Press at ChristianityToday.

Via: Titusonenine

Losing place...

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I caught myself the other day responding to the cultural zeitgeist of pro- and anti-anything that doesn't smack of mythical-America (a bucolic rendition of the 1950's era that centers on male White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and doesn't consider the plight of anyone not in positions of political, economic, or cultural power - anyone other than male WASP's). I'm not a liberal, but I am a Christian. That means that my focus is not (or should not be!) on the accumulation of power or wealth or the fear-based need to protect and preserve what I do have.

I'm a male WASP, and I know I have benefited from what some liberals like to call my "skin-privilege," and I suppose I could add to that my "gender-privilege" or perhaps even my "religion-privilege." From my tending-towards-libertarian-conservative perspective, I react negatively to notions like "skin privilege" and the politically correct demands that all people of the world have to be uncritically accepted and loved and esteemed regardless of the actual outcomes of their philosophies, beliefs, or actions. (I know that few people, even the most politically-correct minded liberals, do not say that we should be uncritical, but the way it works out in the world suggests this is the end result.)

I believe, in general, that the free-enterprise system and competition help the most people, that Western Civilization despite its flaws is still the best why of conceiving of life in the world, that all cultures are not equal, that the cult of Self-Esteem particularly evident in American educational pedagogies is counter productive, that there are differences in the sexes, and that I don't have to feel guilty for the atrocities that past generations have perpetrated against the vulnerable - those non-WASP's who had no power. Oh, and I believe that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God and the only way to the Father, despite the idiocy of many of His followers - myself included.

Okay, so that is my very culturally-current American way of thinking. Shoot fire, we are the greatest thing the world has ever seen and we are God's very own blessed people and the world - every last human bein' in the world - should just bend over backwards with gratitude that they can walk on the same planet that we Americans dominate! But, then comes the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. Suddenly, this very American way of thinking doesn't seem so good and right. Hyper-individualism, hyper-materialism, hyper-busyness, hyper-selfishness, the drive for hegemony and empire, the loss of the sense of community, the repudiation of self-reflection and education, the push for banality in our cultural life, and the growing inability to love our neighbors as we certainly love ourselves just doesn’t seem very workable or attractive any longer. Is there any wonder why so many people in the world are rejecting so much of what we have come to represent – contrary to the high-minded ideals we like to think we project to the world?

If I am serious about being a follower of Jesus, then I have to lay aside all these notions. As a Christian whose home is not here, may American identity is irrelevant; my desire to attain and preserve power or privilege is inappropriate; my proclivity to indulge my lusts of whatever sort and be undisciplined is perverse; my selfishness is destructive; and the fear that grips me as those who have traditionally been marginalized gain more power and influence is very sad and dead wrong with regard to the call of Jesus to be a servant to all people. The two greatest Commandments - To love God with my entire being and then to Love my neighbor as myself - are profoundly difficult and profoundly contrary to the present culture in which I find myself.

I am losing my place in this world – that place that has traditionally been granted to male WASP’s. How will I respond? I hope I will respond in the way of Jesus’ example. I caught myself responding with indignation (really out of fear). How will I respond, tomorrow? What opportunities and freedoms will be realized by my loss?

Lots of spin

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There is a lot of spin and angst going around concerning ++Rowan William's interview with a Dutch newspaper - Nederlands Dagblad. The more radical-conservatives are claiming that ++Rowan is now supporting their side and the more radical-liberals are gnashing their teeth.

Both sides are spinning his comments for their own purposes (sometimes I wonder whether they know how to do anything other than spin, spin, spin?).

Here are some good reference sites to read-up-on and for yourself the interview:

Here is the Dutch interview transcript:

http://www.nd.nl/htm/dossier/seksualiteit/artikelen/060819eb.htm

Here are a number of good assessments and commentaries on the interview
from 'Thinking Anglicans':

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001890.html

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