The Arguments

I’m reading N.T. Wright’s “The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture” right now. A wonderful book.
You know, it can be fairly easy to go through the few and various verses that are used to condemn all forms of same-sex relationship and present a rational and faithful interpretation that does not come to the same conclusion, to the point where the thread used to tie them all together to sustain the traditional condemnation of all forms of same-sex relationship is frayed beyond its ability to hold up such an interpretation.
For example, one of the favorite arguments used to support the use of the Leviticus condemnation is that while the ceremonial and dietary laws are put aside for Christians, the moral law is not. N.T. Wright decimates that argument (that we Christians are somehow still under this part of the Levitical Code – at least the part that seems to speak to homosexuality) from pages 54-58. I’ve often wondered how anyone can read Galatians and Hebrews and still make the argument that Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 is binding for Christians today.

New Identity

It is difficult attempting to live into my new identity when I am surrounded by my old one. It is hard to realize the coming completion of a long process when the current situation does not encourage its realization.
I remember a movie I saw a few years ago. I don’t remember the title, but it was about the final few Carolingian monks and their fight against evil (or some such thing). There was a scene where the protagonist Carolingian priest was fighting against his attraction to a women and the temptation to stray from his vows. While talking to his mentor about what he should do, the mentor asked him, “Are you a man?” His response was something like, “I am not a man; I am a priest.”
There is an element of truth or reality in that kind of response. Over the last several years, I have gone through a process that has set me aside for a purpose that is fundamentally different than that of most people. Not that I am any better or more enabled or whatever than anyone else in this new identity or purpose, but it is different. It is difficult to really feel the reality of it all when I am not doing the work – much, anyway. It is frustrating. What does it mean to say, “I am not a man; I am a priest!”?

What is Communion?

Some important theological work is going on by The Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (IATDC) concerning communion – what it means, how we abide within it, etc. I have heard it often said the Anglicanism presents no unique theological perspectives to world Christianity. I don’t think I agree with that, although perhaps our contribution is the way we approach the issues rather than making declarative statements pertaining to the issues.
Some of the work being done now, however, shows great potential for an Anglican contribution to world Christianity’s understanding of issues pertaining to communion.
There are four Key Questions presented by the commission:

Following the publication of The Virginia Report in 1997, the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission has been charged to study “The nature, basis and sustaining of communion in the Church, with particular reference to the Anglican Communion”. Four questions have been identified which appear to underlie this issue:
1. When we speak of the Anglican Communion, what do we mean by the word “communion”?
2. What is it that makes some disputes so crucial that failure to resolve them threatens a break in communion?
3. In what ways are Christian teachings about moral behavior integral to the maintenance of communion?
4. In answering these questions we shall be asking how far does the Virginia Report meet the relevant situations that have arisen in the Anglican Communion since its publication?

There are six Propositions that they offer for consideration. These are more detailed and well worth a read-through if these issues are of interest.

A Nation of Addicts

This is an interesting article. Whether everything said is real and true, the idea that we truly are a nation of addicts is, IMHO.
Here is the article from MarketWatch:
Oil? America’s addicted to everything!
And our denial is sabotaging the economy and markets

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
Last Update: 1:43 PM ET Feb 14, 2006
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Addicted to oil? Just oil? You’re joking? No, we’re a “nation of addicts,” doing what addicts do best: Denying reality.
In denial the brain can rationalize anything. The more self-destructive an addict’s behavior, the stronger their denial, louder their protests, arrogance, bravado, even optimism: “I’m fine, everything’s under control!”
So when a Texas oilman admits 295 million Americans are addicted to oil, as President Bush did in his State of the Union address, that’s historic!
I’ve worked professionally with people in and out of recovery; politicians, doctors, celebrities, rock stars, pro athletes and royalty, some in the Middle East, many from the Betty Ford Center. Addicts will do anything to get the next fix or drink, oblivious of the destruction around them. They create living hells, losing health, family, kids, careers, wealth, and most of all, their freedom.
Nations are no different! This is not news. Two decades ago psychologist Anne Wilson Schaef wrote “When Society Becomes an Addict.” Her opening line: “Our society is deteriorating at an alarming rate.” The symptoms: Greed, arrogance, ethical deterioration, obsessiveness, rationalism, self-centeredness, tunnel vision. We’re out of touch, living with an illusion of control.

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‘After Neoconservatism’ – a commentary

I just started reading this article, which I found this morning on Kendall Harmon’s weblog, titusonenine. Thus far, a good critique of the Bush administration’s foreign policy, our involvement in Iraq, and the consequences of both for the United States on the world stage and at home. I will see whether the whole, long commentary is worthwhile (from my humble perspective, that is). It is timely for me considering my last post.
You can find the full article at The New York Times website. Or, below.

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I am an American

I AM AN AMERICAN AND…
– I WANT COMMUNITY
– I WANT NATIONAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY
– I WANT RESPECT FOR OTHERS DIFFERENT THAN OURSELVES
– I WANT FREEDOM FROM CULTURAL INSECURITY
– I WANT FREEDOM FROM GREED AS AN ECONOMIC M.O.
– I WANT PEACE!
– I DO NOT WANT EMPIRE! NO AMERICAN EMPIRE!
– I DO NOT WANT RABID-CONSUMERISM
– I DO NOT WANT HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM
– I DO NOT WANT ISOLATION
I am an American, and I do not want the continuation of the propagation of the worst of us at home and abroad. I am a conservative (albeit a progressive one), and I am tired of the bitter rancor, the intentional polarization for the sake of ideology, and a zero-sum mentality. I am a Christian, and I am tired of arrogant fundamentalism (whether from the liberal or conservative perspective).
I am an American, but what am I first?

sitting

sitting,
on the train moving forward
morning commute
looking out the windows
this side and that
still?
moving,
three trains riding on different tracks
moving forward swiftly, slowing to the same destination
people sitting, staring, reading, listening
knowing?
wondering,
where are we going, really?
why?
streaming,
cars and trucks and vans go by
out the window they pass us by
all different directions, going, moving
forward?
rising, rising
look right!
the sun shines through clouds streaming
people watch
brilliant!
listening,
again and again
Bird York and In the Deep
“thought you had
all the answers
to rest your heart upon.
but something happens
don’t see it coming, now
you can’t stop yourself.
now you’re out there swimming
in the deep.”
over, over and again
U2 and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
“You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
All my shame
You know I believed it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”
solitude,
even if for only a moment
even if only by the din of an iPod gently
in the midst of a sea
in the deep,
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
but, I’m still swimming
I’m still sitting
I’m still moving
I’m still wondering
I believe it… You!

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Lyrics

Blanket Lyrics
Desperate for changing
Starving For truth
Closer than where i started
And chasing after you
I’m falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all i’ve held onto
I’m standing here until you make me move
I’m hanging by a moment here with you
Forgetting all i’m lacking
Completely and complete
I’ll take your invitation
You take all of me
I’m falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all i’ve held onto
I’m standing here until you make me move
I’m hanging by a moment here with you
I’m living for all that i think i know
I’m running here i’ll crash you into go
I’m tired of all the love divide in two
Just thinking about a moment here with you
‘cuz nothing else evolves
There’s nothing else to find
There’s nothing in the world
That could change my mind
There is nothing else
There is nothing else
There is nothing else
Desperate for changing
Starving For truth
Closer than where i started
And chasing after you
I’m falling even more in love with you
Letting go of what i’ve held onto
I’m standing here until you make me move
I’m thinking about a moment here with you
I’m living for all that i think i know
I’m running here i’ll crash you into go
I’m tired of all the love divide in two
Just thinking about a moment here with you
Just thinking about a moment
Thinking about a moment (here with you)
Thinking about a moment (here with you)
Thinking about a moment here with you.

What is love?

So, a day after Valentine’s Day and many people are now wondering – What is love, anyway?
So, here is a possibility for consideration:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-8)
That last one – “Love never fails” – is a tough one. Those of us in these mortal bodies will always find ourselves failing. Yet, if we want to know what love is – this is it!