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BLOOD FROM A THEORETICAL STONE

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Useless-on-the-Potomac has a new tax idea for working couples that has conservatives up-in-arms:

President Obama’s proposal to expand a tax break for working parents with children under 5 has some conservatives criticizing it for discriminating against stay-at-home parents.

Those parents wouldn’t be able to take the proposed tax credit equal to 50 percent of child care expenses, up to a maximum of $3,000 per child. What the critics fail to see is that the playing field wasn’t level to begin with. The tax code is already hugely distorted in favor of stay-at-home parenting: Labor outside the home is taxed; household work, such as stay-at-home parenting, is not.

Fact is that right now, claims Josh Barro of the New York Times, stay-at-home moms are the ones with ALL the tax advantages.

I realize that sounds like a bizarre thing to say.

Ya think?

Why would there be a tax on parenting, and why would the lack of such a tax constitute a tax preference? But productive activities within the home are not especially different from the taxable work we do outside the home.

Wait for it.

We labor, and instead of receiving a cash wage, we receive something else we value: a clean house or a mowed lawn or a well-behaved child. In 1973, the economist John Kendrick estimated that unmeasured and untaxed household activities like child rearing amounted to about a quarter of the size of the whole economy as measured by gross national product.

Wait for it.

When we hire people to come into our homes to do these things, the labor is counted as part of the economy and subject to tax. If I pay you to watch my child and you pay me to watch your child, we both owe income tax. If you and I each watch our own children, the I.R.S. collects nothing — even though we have done substantially the same work for the same benefit.

Now.

This tax preference for housework over paid work creates a significant distortion: Some people (mostly women) choose to stay home when, absent tax considerations, they might work outside the home instead.

Raise your own kid by yourself rather than hiring someone to watch your kid for you while you return to paid, TAXABLE employment is…unpatriotic or something.  You’re allowing a job to be done for free that Washington could be making money from.

Basically, you’re stealing from the government.

Consider.  If I ever get around to cleaning my apartment by myself (not entirely sure when that’s going to happen any time soon) instead of hiring a cleaning service, am I not stealing?  Am I not depriving someone of taxable income?

Man, I suck.

FUNNY JOKE

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Set-up:

Is the Super Bowl divinely rigged?

One in four Americans say yes, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Religion News Service.

Twenty-six percent of Americans and 27 percent of self-described sports fans believe God plays a role in determining which team will win a sporting event. Even more — 53 percent of Americans and 56 percent of sports fans — say God rewards faithful athletes with good health and success.

Sixty-five percent of Catholics and 68 percent of Protestants believe God rewards faithful athletes, while just 27 percent of the religiously unaffiliated say the same.

Protestants, at 45 percent, are more likely than other religious groups to believe God plays a role in determining the winner of a sporting event. Thirty-one percent of Catholics and nine percent of the religiously unaffiliated agree.

Punchline:

On the other hand, 100% of American Calvinists believe that God has already determined the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl.

Thank you, thank you.  I’ll be here all week. :-)

YES AND NO

Monday, January 26th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

The Guardian is really excited about the consecration of Libby Lane as Bishop of Stockport:

It is not enough to greet her consecration with no more than an “about time too”. There are particular reasons why female bishops will be a refreshment to the church,

Look at how well female bishops have benefited the Episcopalians.

not least that they are the last generation of bishops to have spent a long time in unpromising and unglamorous jobs and learning all the lessons that can only be learned that way. Women in senior positions are not in themselves sufficient to change the church in all the ways it must change to survive and even flourish.

Granted, we’re not going to be dropping by any time soon…

But their appointment to positions of visible power and influence is an entirely necessary precondition for all the other changes that must come.

Like finally getting rid of this creepy Jesus-died-on-the-Cross-for-the-sins-of-the-world-and-rose-from-the-dead crap.

It is a cause for rejoicing in and of itself. We rejoice with Ms Lane and all her sisters who have waited for this moment, and with all those who will follow her.

We’re not as excited about the episcopal consecration of this guy.

What, though, should we make of the consecration that will follow a week later, of [the Rev. Philip North as Bishop of Burnley] who will not be touched by any hands that have treated a woman as if she were a real bishop. This seems an extraordinary concession towards a view of women, and of authority, that the vast majority of churchgoers regard as immoral and unchristian. Is it the chivalrous treatment of a defeated enemy, or a concession to the misogynist bigotry that has done so much to disfigure Christianity? Mr North may not have been responsible for these arrangements.

Don’t get The Guardian wrong.  The guy is highly qualified and will make a good bishop

An important point is that he is clearly going to make a good bishop, whatever his views on women. He has spent most of his career working among poor people in unfashionable places. If men of his views are to be promoted at all – as both archbishops have promised they will be – then he is clearly a well-qualified example,

But he’s not, like…you know…a girl and stuff.

and may be almost as good at the job as many of the women who will follow Libby Lane. In the generous and joyful spirit that should attend her consecration, we will welcome his, as well. But mostly hers.

Does any of that make any theological sense whatsoever?  Of course it doesn’t; this is, after all, the Church of England.  But think of it as kind of a transitional stage between now and whenever the C of E decides that women’s ordination has become the Law of the Medes and the Persians.

PILLARS

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Time does things like this, it always has and it always will.  But it still sucks:

Even as the Chicago Cubs lost one game after another, Ernie Banks never lost hope.

That was the charm of “Mr. Cub.”

Banks, the Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP who always maintained his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite decades of playing on miserable teams, died Friday night. He was 83.

The Cubs announced Banks’ death, but did not provide a cause.

Banks hit 512 home runs during his 19-year career and was fond of saying, “It’s a great day for baseball. Let’s play two.” In fact, that sunny finish to his famous catchphrase adorns his statue outside Wrigley Field.

TROLLING

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

I don’t know how many of you know this but Jim Naughton has terminated his association with his creation, Episcopal Café.  They’ll probably coax him back for a guest post from time to time but Jim’s not running that joint any more.

The folks Jim turned the keys over to have redesigned the place.  Can’t say as I’m a big fan of those giant photographs but, in general, I like it.  But the one thing they don’t do at the moment is moderate comments.  Which means that plenty of opportunities for fun exist there, particularly at posts like this one.

CHEATRIOTS

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 56 Comments

I wonder how many people in New England realize that they root for perhaps the single most hated North American sports team that I can remember in my entire life:

No team in the NFL is given less benefit of the doubt than the New England Patriots. Retired players still fume over long-past Super Bowls they claim the Patriots won through acts of duplicity. Football stalwarts dream up nicknames for coach Bill Belichick, who will soon lead the Patriots into another Super Bowl  — “Belicheat,” Don Shula calls him. And big-time columnists continue to plunk down voluminous dispatches that enumerate the Patriots’ many alleged transgressions.

These are the New England Patriots: the NFL’s least-trusted team.

It now appears that designation is more warranted than ever. On Tuesday night, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, long the NFL’s go-to writer for scoops, reported the NFL determined that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots used during Sunday’s beat-down of the Indianapolis Colts were suspiciously deflated, raising questions as to how that happened and whether the Patriots had an unfair competitive advantage.

According to Mortensen, the balls had two pounds per square inch less air pressure than what’s required by NFL regulations, which would allow players to grip, throw and catch the ball with greater ease. “Under NFL rules, each team provides balls each game for use when its offense is on the field,” Mortensen noted. “The balls are inspected before the game by the officiating crew, then handled during the game by personnel provided by the home team.” It remains unclear how the balls were deflated, considering referees are supposed to check the balls two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff.

One individual told Mortensen that the league, which spent a good amount of Tuesday looking into the matter, was “disappointed … angry … distraught.”

This is far from the first time that the Patriots have been caught in the act.

How accurate are these rumors? Who knows. But numerous coaches said they don’t trust how the Patriots go about their business — complaints that go back to the beginning of Belichick’s tenure as head coach in 2000. According to the New York Times, before even his first preseason game as a head coach, he came up with an idea that would eventually balloon into one of the biggest scandals to hit the league in the past decade: illicitly videotaping an opposing team’s signals. The practice would continue through the 2007 season, when Belichick was caught and fined $500,000 — but not before his team racked up three Super Bowl victories and a postseason record of 12-2.

Whatever the cause — or the effect — some players allege the tactic may have tilted pivotal games in the Patriots’ favor. Among them is Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, who played and lost against the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl. He says there’s no way the Patriots could have known about some of the plays they ran — but they seemed to. “I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl,” he told CSNNE.com last year. “…We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn’t ran. … And a couple of plays on third down that we walked through also. … And they created a check for it. It’s just little things like that. It’s either the best coaching in the world when you come up with situations that you had never seen before. Or you’d seen it and knew what to do.”

Some have suggested that the Patriots should be booted out of this year’s Super Bowl and that some kind of quickie play-off game be played to determine who represents the AFC.  After all, my Rams only had one week of preparation between the NFC title game and the 2000 Super Bowl.

Right now, I don’t think that’s practical.  After all, you’d be asking two teams who’ve basically shut it down for the year to crank it back up again and whoever came out victorious would be at a considerable disadvantage in the Super Bowl.

Not that you take that option off the table; far from it.  But if I were Roger Goodell and if Roger Goodell had a spine, here’s what would happen:

(1) The Patriots will not be allowed to participate in the NFL draft for the next three years, all of their picks parceled out among the rest of the league.

(2) Something like college football’s probation should be instituted in the NFL, where college teams caught in serious violation of the rules are allowed to play their regular-season schedules but are ineligible for play-offs or title games.  You got caught cheating again, Pats?  Guess what.  You’re literally ineligible for the Super Bowl this year.

(3) Bob Kraft, New England’s owner, should be hit with, at the very least, an eight or nine-figure fine.

(4) And Bill Belichick should be told in no uncertain terms that if ANYTHING even remotely like this ever happens again, he and anybody on his coaching staff will be permanently banned from ever coaching on any level in the NFL.

Enjoy your outlaw pose, Pats Fan.  Because right now, everybody in the rest of this country is a Seahawks fan.

MAKING YOUR MARRIAGE WORK

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

What’s the best way to convince your wife that your home is beyond repair and needs to come down? In the past tense:

A New York man who rented a bulldozer from a local construction company and demolished the house that he lived in with his wife, whose name is on the deed and who did not know about the razing, told NBC 4 New York he did it because it was dilapidated and needed to come down.

The foundation of his Middletown home was crumbling from years of disrepair, 48-year-old James Rhein said Tuesday afternoon, and he tried to get a permit to demolish it himself Monday but couldn’t because the office he needed to visit was closed due to the federal holiday.

Rhein’s wife is the legal owner of the home. She was not there when it was razed and police said she had no idea it was happening. Rhein said he tried to call her before beginning the demolition but she didn’t pick up her phone; all items left in the home when it was destroyed were replaceable, he said.

Rhein admitted to NBC 4 New York his wife was distraught initially.

“But now she’s over it,” Rhein said. “We’re good. I’m a good husband, what can I tell you?”

As Ace puts it:

Here’s how you consult with a woman: “This happened already. Now howsabout you come over here and make me a sandwhich.”

Hey honey, remember when you said we should take Ballroom Dancing Lessons? Well I bulldozed the house. Also, no dancing lessons.

THE 2015 STATE OF THE UNION SHOW!!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 128 Comments

Got started a little earlier than I thought I would.

2:34 I just got back from Freddie’s Market to lay in booze, er, supplies for tonight’s festivities. The more I think about it, the more I believe that Stephen Green may have had the right idea all along.

7:55 Gettin’ on toward that time so I’d better get the first vodka thing going.

8:02 – Let’s rock and roll.

8:08 – Himself is on the way in.

8:13 “Our combat mission in Afghanistan is over”  Really?

8:15  “Growing economy?”  I don’t have a job, dumbass.

8:18  “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very hard times.”  Of course that’s never happened before.

8:20 “America is number one in oil and gas.”  No thanks to your opposition to Keystone or fracking, thank you very much.

8:22 Dude’s just making crap up now.

8:23 My way or the highway, bitches.

8:25 Rebecca just isn’t asking for a handout.  Except that she wants “affordable child care” at someone else’s expense.

8:27 You’re not just going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.  You’re going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control AND paid her affordable maternity leave.

8:29 “That’s why this Congress needs to make sure that women are paid the same as men.”  Since they basically are right now.

8:30  Strengthen unions.  Saw that one coming a million light years away.

8:32 Free community college.  ‘Kay.  Who’s paying for it, O?

8:34 Apprenticeships?  You mean like going back to reading law again?  Produced Lincoln, after all.

8:36 This is starting to sound something like a Nuremberg rally.

8:37 “Let’s set our sights higher than a pipeline.”  See you, Keystone.  And get used to paying $3.00 or more a gallon again.

8:40 “And where we too often run under the rocks is how we pay for all this”  Here we go.

8:43 The top one percent.  Saw that one coming a light year away.

8:44 He’s on to foreign policy now.

8:45 Barry thinks his “foreign policy” is making a difference.

8:47 America’s foreign policy has been forceful?  Obama wants a Congressional resolution authorizing force against the “Islamic” State.

8:52  Go ahead and take “credit” for Cuba, O.  “Stands up for democratic values and extends the hands of friendship to Cuba?”  Care to reconcile those two mutually-exclusive ideas, Barry?

8:53  Computer hackers now?  This have something to do with the IRS scandal?

8:55 Climate change.  Last year was the warmest year of climate change of record, Barry.  Do you have any idea how old the universe is, dimwit?

8:56 Barry wants to go Luddite.

8:57 Dude had to work duh gaze in there.  Pretty much de riguer these days.

8:58 O wants to close Gitmo.

9:00 “I still believe that we are one people.”  Glad you do.

Sorry that things stopped early.  Some kind of technical problem; I’m not quite sure what happened there.  I’ll keep comments open a little while longer.

DEFCON ONE

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

WARNING.  Some things which are seen cannot be unseen.

AN EXPERIMENT

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

This evening, I’m going to try something here that I’ve never tried before.  I’m going to liveblog the State of the Union address.  For those of you who don’t know what liveblogging is, that’s when a blogger blogs about an event, a speech or a political debate, say, as it’s happening and records instant reactions to whatever’s said.  Idiotic comments, horrible proposals, facepalm moments, stuff like that.

Stephen Green, who’s been doing this for years, is a master at this sort of thing.

The thing starts at 8:00 PM Central Time (everybody else, check your local listings) so what I’m going to do is start the post a little before that, with a few preliminary remarks, and then get rolling once Obama does, posting a line, saving it, posting a line, saving it, etc..  I’ll try to time-stamp each revision as best I can.  I’m a terrible typist so I’m not going to worry too much about spelling.

Bill?  Feel free to join in.

If you guys want to join in, feel free to do so in the comment box.  Anything that strikes you as funny, outrageous, disgraceful, whatever.  Who knows, you may catch something that I missed.  If you’re watching the thing and want to comment bur you’re not from this country, don’t worry.  Comment away.  And your stuff will automatically be time-stamped.

A few tips.

(A) Keep it short.  Remember, he’s not going to stop talking.

(B) Get the gist of whatever quote you include because that’s all you’re going to have time to do anyway.

(C) FORGET any spelling or formatting errors you make.  Everyone will know what you mean; what these things are all about is immediacy.

(D) If you comment doesn’t show up automatically, don’t enter it again but just keep going.

Immediately after the speech is over, I’ll head over to comment-editing, see if anyone’s comments were routed to the wrong place and see they get posted.  But if you just want to watch the fun, scroll to the bottom of the post and keep hitting Refresh every minute or so.

CHILD ABUSE

Sunday, January 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 53 Comments

Meet the two worst people on the face of the Earth:

Eliel: When did Wyatt first begin to explore his gender/gender expression? How old is he now?

Lisa: My husband Tim and I started noticing that he was exploring gender expression when he was around three years old.

Wait, wait, wait.  It’s coming to me.  You two met when you both majored in Gender Studies at Berkeley, didn’t you?  Must be hard to raise a family on two Starbucks jobs.

He really loved it when I painted my toenails and wanted to join in.

That was what tipped you off?  Seriously?  My guess is that Wyatt saw Mommy doing something that looked like fun, wanted to be a part of it and Douchebaguette Lisa turned the perfectly normal and natural reaction of a three-year-old boy into some kind of weird sexual construct.

For the sake of the readership, I may not go very deep into this crap.  There is so much stupidity here that I worry that the longer I go, the more of you are going to end up with concussions when you get done head-banging your keyboards into powder.

Newsflash, Moron Lisa.  THREE-YEAR OLD FREAKING BOYS have exactly five interests and only five.  Mom, Dad, toys, candy and learning how to go to the bathroom.  THREE-YEAR-OLD FREAKING BOYS neither know nor FREAKING CARE what “gender” is, never mind how it should be “expressed.”  Idiot.

So I’d paint his nails and his brother Eli’s. He’s 4 now, turning 5 in April. We have intentionally encouraged the boys to explore who they are without regard for traditional gender roles. For Wyatt’s 4th birthday, he asked for a princess dress, a tea set, and boxing gloves.

I call shenanigans.  I seriously doubt that the kid wanted any of that stuff.  I think it was more of case of Mom showing him pictures and saying, “Honey?  Wouldn’t having one of these or one of those be really fun?  Of course it would.”

We have a picture of him using all three at once! He loves having a tea party and pretending to be a fairy godmother (tiara, wand, and all). It’s a typical weekend morning for him to wear his princess dress with a ninja mask, wearing a doll in his kid-sized Ergo Baby Carrier, and making tea for everyone — with a sword stuck in the back of his shirt.

It’s times like these when I

REALLY

regret my career path (the fact that I spent 20 years doing a low-paying job that no one wants anymore at a place that didn’t respect me also figures in but that’s for another post).  But if I’d gone into psychiatry and gotten this kid as a patient, I could have retired fifteen years ago.

Eliel: What was you and your husband’s initial reactions to it?

Lisa: Neither of us batted an eye.  I tease sometimes that I hope one of my boys turns out to be gay because it will increase my street cred as a liberal, hippie mom. But I suppose there is fear about how the world is currently set up to make life difficult for those who are queer. We just do the most we can to make Wyatt and Eli feel that whoever they are, whoever they love, they are beautifully and wonderfully made in our eyes and in the eyes of God.

Except that these two nitwits don’t seem to mind pointing out God’s design flaws.  But a question occurred to me the other day.  If we accept the trannie premise that some people are born sincerely believing that they’re men trapped in women’s bodies or women trapped in men’s bodies, shouldn’t a sex change operation be considered something perilously close to the unforgivable sin?  After all, God made you that way.

Eliel: Has he ever experienced any kind of bullying for his choices in games or clothing?

Lisa: I wouldn’t say there’s been any “bullying,” but there have been some comments. In preschool last year there was a pirate dress in the dress-up area. One day Tim picked him up from school and the teacher seemed embarrassed that she had let Wyatt wear the dress. He shouted at Tim, “I’m a PRINCESS!!” and the teacher quickly jumped in to say, “You’re a PIRATE.” Tim then said, “He’s a pirate princess!” I suppose he’s young enough where bullying hasn’t really happened but I do fear for the time when it might.

A pirate dress.  A pirate DRESS.  Yeah, I think your kids are going to regularly get the crap beaten out of them.  I just hope that you two have an answer for them that’s a whole lot less theoretical and a whole lot more comforting than the ones you’ve given in this stupid interview.

And thanks to my cement head and the fact there hasn’t been a working brain cell inside that thing for a VERY long time, my keyboard’s just about gone.  Luckily I have the old one to fall back on.

Eliel: What do you have to say to those who say allowing Wyatt to express himself this way will cause him to be Gay or Trans?

Lisa: To those people, I would say A) No such thing as a parent making their child queer.

But there is such a thing as a parent psychologically screwing up a child beyond all hope of repair.  Speaking from experience here.

B) If he is gay, bi, queer, trans, sadist, masochist, pastryist, autosexual, Camarosexual, mitersawsexual backhoesexual, AppleBrownBettyist, so what!

I might have added a few terms to that list.

Eliel: How do you reconcile this scripturally?

Lisa: We are a Christian family and we deliberately challenge traditional gender roles.

Say it with me.  Well of

COURSE

you do.

I’ve always known in my heart that the loving, grace-giving God with whom I have a relationship loves LGBTQ+ people as fully and completely as cisgender

I don’t know what that last term means and I don’t want to know what that last term means.  So if you know what it means or if you Google or Bing it, PLEASE do not enter it in the comments or I swear I’ll pull the damned thing.

FUBAR

Friday, January 16th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

In circumstances that can at best be described as suspicious, Heather Cook makes bail:

Bishop Heather Cook was bailed out today by a person she has described as her “steady companion,” Mark H. Hansen, a former Episcopal priest who was defrocked in 2005 for his opposition to the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.

Hansen posted $35,000 of collateral and signed a $215,000 promissory note to meet the 10% requirement of the $2.5 million bail for Bishop Cook, who was jailed last Friday on manslaughter and drunk driving charges stemming from a car crash that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo.

I don’t know about you but I don’t think I know anybody, let alone a former Episcopal priest, who has that kind of jack lying around.  And who exactly is this Hansen guy anyway?  This is how Cook described him.

In an autobiographic sketch for the Maryland Episcopal Diocese, Bishop Cook described her relationship with Hansen as follows:

“Supporting me in my vocation is my steady companion, Mark, a passionate Anglican. After having dated in our twenties, life took us different ways, but we found each other again two years ago, and it has been a great blessing.”

So.  The live-in boyfriend may be looking at bankruptcy for a women he might not be seeing again for a long time?  Makes sense.  Meanwhile, Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton recently issued one of the worst pastoral letters in the history of the Christian religion.

After discussing this tragedy with some of my bishop colleagues for over an hour and being held up in prayer by them, one said, “Eugene, I am the child of an alcoholic and I’ve spent many years dealing with that and coming to understand the hold that alcohol has on someone who is addicted to it. I want to tell you that the Diocese of Maryland is not responsible for the terrible accident that killed that bicyclist. You are not responsible for that; Heather Cook is. It’s not your fault.” I burst into tears. I hadn’t realized how much I had internalized the weight of responsibility for the tragedy, the sense of shame, and the desperate need to make it all better.

Excuse me?  Hate to break this to you, Gene, but in a way, Maryland kind of is responsible.  Was this woman seriously vetted by anyone there at all?  When Cook mentioned the first DUI, assuming she did, was anyone in Baltimore curious enough to investigate the circumstances surrounding it?  You know, the shredded tire, the fact that Cook was so blasted that she couldn’t complete the sobriety test, etc?

Or did it go something like this?

COOK: I had a DUI a few years ago

COMMITTEE: Oh well, everybody makes mistakes.  Moving on…

Gene?  The correct response would have been to tell Cook, “Please go get help.  We’re going in a different direction.”

Then there’s the whole not letting the diocesan convention in on any of this.  Yeah, I know, Cook was behind the wheel that day.  But the Diocese gave her a pointy hat and hooked stick, essentially telling Cook that nothing was wrong.

Gene, you and your diocese could not possibly have handled this any worse.

PIGS

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 53 Comments

There, I said it.  If you bitches want me, you can find out where I live easily enough:

This shocking footage shows the scene of devastation after a bomb strapped to a 10-year-old suicide girl was detonated in a marketplace.

The explosion, in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killed at least 16 people and injured more than 20, security sources said.

“The explosive devices were wrapped around her body and the girl looked no more than 10 years old,” a police source said.

Maiduguri, the capital of northern Borno state, lies in the heartland of an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, and is often hit by bomb attacks.

BY ASSOCIATION

Monday, January 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Emmanuel, the Webster Groves, Missouri Episcopal parish I attended until 2003, is located right across Lockwood Avenue from and has had a close relationship with one of the most formidable institutions in American liberal Protestantism.  Eden Seminary.

Because Emmanuel was being renovated at the time, my oldest sister got married in a chapel at Eden.  Reinhold Niebuhr studied there.  And big-league leftist theologian Walter Brueggeman both studied and taught at Eden and while he taught there, he used to preach at Emmanuel from time to time.

I remember hearing one of his sermons at Emmanuel once.  I don’t remember what it was about since I was, like, a kid and stuff.

Anyhoo, Marlena Graves at On Faith had a chat with the old guy a while back:

We in the United States live in a deathly social context that’s marked by consumerism and militarism and the loss of the common good. Younger people that are committed to the gospel have to think carefully about how to critique that dominant system of military consumerism and how to imagine alternative forms of life that are not defined by those corrosive pressures.

Military consumerism?  What on Earth does that mean?

That ideological system causes us to be very afraid, to regard other people as competitors, or as threats, or as rivals. It causes us to think of the world in very frightened and privatistic forms.

So the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are not actually our enemies then?

The gospel very much wants us to think in terms of a neighborhood, in terms of being in solidarity with other people, in sharing our resources, and of living out beyond ourselves. The gospel contradicts the dominant values of our system, which encourages self-protection and self-sufficiency at the loss of the common good. The church is in some ways a reflection of those dominant values.

How do we fix this, Walt?  For a start, we can listen to the Prophet Barack.

A paradigmatic example is the conversation that we’ve had about healthcare, the Affordable Care Act. Providing healthcare for all of our citizens is a mandate for any workable society. Our resistance reflects our kind of privatized notion that everyone ought to get what they can pay for – and if they can’t pay for it, they ought not to get it. And [that] identifies and fosters a kind of disadvantaged class that is excluded from all of the resources of society.

Because if we don’t…

You can watch while the differences between people who have a lot and people who have a little or nothing — that gap grows and grows. You can’t have a viable society if you organize the economy that way. You can take it in terms of healthcare delivery, education, or in terms of housing or any of the social goods. If you do not have a practice of neighborliness, society becomes unlivable.

What about the Single Most Important Moral Issue In The Entire History Of All Humanity?

The discussion needs to start with what it means to be made in the image of God. The confession of Christian faith is that all of God’s human creatures are made in the image of God. That means that they are to be treated with dignity, offered maintenance and security, as is necessary. There’s almost no use arguing over biblical text.

Particularly when biblical text forbids you to…ah, you know the drill.

The only thing that will change people’s minds about this is getting to know people who happen to be gay or lesbian or bisexual, and what you discover is that they’re people just like us.

Sinners.

To overcome our fears, I think it is basically fear

Saw that one coming 2,000 miles away, Walt.

means getting to know people and to see that they are not a threat.

We already know that.

There may be people with those sexual differences whom we like or whom we don’t like, but they’re all made in the image of God.

That bumper sticker too.

To stereotype them negatively, it seems to me, is a complete misunderstanding of Christian faith.

To declare that sinners aren’t sinners at all seems to me to be not only a complete misunderstanding of but a intentional perversion of the Christian faith.  But that’s just me, Walt.

I know those texts are in the Bible, but the Bible is a dynamic tradition that’s always on the move to new truth. If you track that out, probably the ultimate statement about that is made by Paul in Galatians 3, that in Christ there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Barbarian, slave or free. We are all one in Christ. And what we know in the gospel is that God’s love reaches toward all of God’s creatures. To sort them out in terms of who are the deserving and the qualified and who are not is imposing a judgment on human reality that simply cannot be done.

The problem that many of us have with that take, Walt, is that we’re not permitted to do any damn fool thing that pops into our heads.  We can’t make and pray to idols, we can’t murder, we can’t covet our neighbor’s wife, we can’t have sex with animals, we can’t have sex with someone of the same sex as we are, etc.  Not to worry, says Walt.

I know those texts are in the Bible, but the Bible is a dynamic tradition that’s always on the move to new truth. If you track that out, probably the ultimate statement about that is made by Paul in Galatians 3, that in Christ there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Barbarian, slave or free. We are all one in Christ. And what we know in the gospel is that God’s love reaches toward all of God’s creatures. To sort them out in terms of who are the deserving and the qualified and who are not is imposing a judgment on human reality that simply cannot be done.

Yeah, Walt?  In Christ, it’s true that there aren’t “male or female, Greek or Barbarian, slave or free.”  But it’s also true that no one is permitted to sin.

Just sayin’,  Walt.

JUDGMENT DAY

Friday, January 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 55 Comments

Heather Cook has been charged with manslaughter, DUI, leaving the scene and TWD:

An attorney for the Episcopal bishop facing manslaughter and drunken driving charges stemming from a hit-and-run that killed a cyclist says she is now in police custody.

David Irwin, an attorney representing Bishop Heather Cook, says she turned herself in to authorities on Friday afternoon.

Cook was charged Friday morning with manslaughter, drunken driving, failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury and death, and using a mobile device while driving.

Cook blew a point two two.

Cook fatally struck 41-year-old Tom Palermo on Dec. 27 while he was riding his bicycle in Baltimore. Palermo died of a head injury later that day. Prosecutors say Cook registered a .22 percent blood alcohol content shortly after the wreck.

I don’t think TEO will linger too long over Heather Cook.  She’ll resign, do her time, find some other “Christian ministry” to occupy the rest of her life and that will be that.

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