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OUTLIER

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Poll after poll declares that the Young PeopleTM increasingly reject Christianity because it is too judgmental and too out-of-touch with life as the Young PeopleTM experience it today and that Christianity is going to have to adapt to these facts if it wants to survive.

There is, however, a fascinating exception to this alleged reality.

LOVELY SPAM, WONDERFUL SPAM

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 30 Comments

A quick tech note.  This site’s currently undergoing a prolonged comment spam attack.  Three or four hundred comment spams at a time, now and then, which I have to go through individually since real comments sometimes get routed there.  Bill and I are trying to keep ahead of it but if your comment somehow never appears here, enter it again and I apologize.

On to the real thing.  I was at the market yesterday when I discovered that the product to your immediate left exists.

Since Hispano-Hawaiian cuisine is so hot nowadays, I guess.

I bought a can, of course.  I haven’t had any yet so I’ll let you know how it tastes.  But I have to figure that you could make a kickass omelette with this stuff and a little Sriracha sauce.  And this would probably make a pretty decent chili as well.

Then I made a digital pilgrimage to The Site whereupon I discovered that the product to your immediate left also exists.

I ordered ten of them.  And yes, you can indeed order Spam online.  Is this a great country or what?

UPDATE: I ordered this stuff Thursday.  It arrived safely today (Saturday).

REMEMBER THAT FIRST AMENDMENT DOOHICKEY ABOUT HOW YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ALLOW AN ESTABLISHED RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Yeah, me neither:

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville Redeemer was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost. In return, a fee that was estimated at $744 a year will be reduced to “virtually nothing,” Ortiz said.

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations.

*UPDATED* ISLAM, “THE RELIGION OF PEACE”

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

Once again, boys and girls, repeat after me: “Islam is the religion of peace.”

“Palestinians in the Gaza Strip celebrated an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue that left four dead and others wounded on Tuesday.

Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun carried out the attack at the synagogue before being shot dead by police.

Gazan revelers in Rafah handed out sweets and brandished axes and posters of the said perpetrators in praise of the deadly attack.

Palestinian radio reports described the attackers as ‘martyrs’ and Hamas praised the attack. Loudspeakers at mosques in Gaza called out congratulations. However, there was no direct claim of responsibility.”

I challenge anyone to provide a logical, fact-based explanation for celebrating the murder of unarmed civilians who were at worship. (Susan Russell would be a good candidate for this …………) Please, let’s hear your answers. And make it good – because remember, your church may be next

 

****** UPDATE ******

Here’s what our President, Barack Obama, had to say about this incident:

“At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace.”

There is no way I can possibly express my contempt and loathing about this statement. But to paraphrase a line courtesy of “National Lampoon”, my dinner is rising to the occasion.

****** UPDATE ******
 

Bill (not IB)

By the way, Canadians – how ’bout that CBC version of the headline: “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack”

CBC Headline

FUINSEOIG?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 45 Comments

Found a live one for you.  Jim Naughton has a post up about the governance of the Anglican Communion which elicited this comment.  Typos corrected:

Joshua, like you I’m a minority here, coming around from Celtic tradition which is even more radical than a Progressive agenda. I’ve read the history of Britain going back to the line of kings in 583BC

Might you be thinking AD, perhaps?

long before the current Royal House makes any claims.

Understandable since the current Royal House only dates back to 1901.

Fergus and Columba were Celts who held to the social and legal tradition of what has become common law, subverted and shunted aside by maritime law.

I don’t have the slightest idea what that means.

My focus as an Episcopalian is that we are a culture not merely an aggregation of political interests; and that God is central to our culture.

And our, well…you know…lives.

The Celtic Church existed before Jesus the Son of God proclaimed His ministry as the Prophet and Savior of God’s People.  Modern history conveniently ignores this fact.

Wait.  What?

Our bloodline goes back to Abraham, remember? Remember Jacob? He’s the guy who slept on the pillow we call the Stone [of] Scone which sits in St. Edward’s Chair at Westminster Abbey, that Queens and Kings get crowned upon, you know?

Uh…right, right, right, right, right.  Listen, what say I take your word for it?

NO, GAYS MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT SPOILED, WHINY, PETULANT LITTLE BABIES WHO CONSTANTLY THROW TEMPER TANTRUMS IF THEY DON’T GET THEIR WAY

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Why on Earth would you think such a horrible thought?

A gay couple at Green Street United Methodist Church has filed a complaint with their bishop charging that their pastor violated church discipline by refusing to preside at a marriage ceremony for them — despite the denomination’s rules that forbid same-sex marriages.

Green Street members Kenny Barner and Scott Chappell, who have been together for nine years, filed the complaint and spoke during a Wednesday evening press conference at their church. They stood with their pastor, the Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter, and made clear that their beef was with the denomination, not Carpenter.

The complaint was filed with Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who leads the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, of which Green Street is a member.

The two men are charging Carpenter with violating a church discipline that calls on pastors to “be in ministry with all people,” and also are complaining against what they are calling “gender discrimination.” The men said they are married, but couldn’t celebrate their wedding in their church.

“The United Methodist denomination is forcing Pastor Kelly to practice discrimination and to refuse us pastoral care by not celebrating our marriage,” Barner said. He went on to say that he hopes other gay couples throughout the United Methodist Church will file similar complaints.

MCJ STYLE BOOK UPDATE

Monday, November 17th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

As much of the regular readership here knows, there are two people about whom I will not write unless one or the other says something so EGREGIOUSLY stupid that I simply cannot avoid commenting upon it.  One of them, of course, is John Shelby Spong.

In early 2004, when I decided that this site would focus almost exclusively on the then-young Anglican controversy, I regularly received links from readers with subject lines that read something along the lines of, “Did you see what Spong just wrote?”

It didn’t take me long to realize that, whether I had seen it or not, I knew exactly what Spong had just written.  Whatever the subject matter may have been, I knew that it was logically idiotic, non-Christian and corrosively scornful of anything within one thousand light years of what Christianity has always been understood to mean by the vast majority of its adherents.

The guy was and remains a complete waste of my time.

The other one is Gene Robinson, for three obvious reasons.  One is that like most Episcopal bishops, the guy is a theological airhead.  The second is that publicity is Robbie’s crack and I don’t want to feed his addiction.  And the third is that Robbie literally can’t write anything at all about anything at all without eventually working things back to how whatever he’s writing about affects “the LGBT community.”

Pretty much the most important people in the world these days.

Anyhoo, Your Editor takes great pleasure in announcing that a third name has just been added to that list.  The other day, a Muslim prayer service was held in the NatCat, apparently and some people objected to it which gave Apostasy West’s Susan Russell yet another chance to thank Vague, Ambiguous, Infinitely-Malleable, Inclusive, Affirming, Open-Minded And Tolerant Deity Concept that she is not as other men are:

Yes, there are Muslims who advocate murder for “infidels,” behead journalists and discriminate against minorities – using their religion as an excuse for their violent extremism. There are also Christians who blow up women’s health clinics

Highly debatable.

burn crosses on lawns and lynch their African-American neighbors

Suzie?  You do know that it’s 2014, right?  When’s the last lynching that you remember?

using their religion as an excuse for their violent extremism.

Actual documentation would be greatly appreciated.

The truth is that ISIS is to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity.

OHHHHHkay, kitten.

It is long past time for those Christians so busy beating up Muslims with their Bibles to go re-read the part where Jesus called us to love – not to demonize – our neighbors. And to remember that this nation was founded by those with the wisdom to understand that in order to protect our freedom of religion we also need protection from religion – and from presuming to prioritize our beliefs over the beliefs … or lack of belief, for that matter … of anybody else.

Like people who think that homosexual activity is a sin, for example?  Thought not.

Philosophers, amateur or otherwise, will no doubt recognize Susie’s clever invocation of the argument named after her, the Reductio Ad Russellorum, colloquially known as “I know you are but what am I?”

Seriously, Susie?  That’s the best you can do?  What are you, ten years old?

TSUNAMI

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

As you all know by now, the 2014 elections were VERY good for the Republicans since they flipped the Senate and will control both houses of the Congress starting next year.  A few days ago, they got better when Alaska’s Democratic incumbent Mike Begich was officially defeated.  And from all indications, they’re about to get even better still:

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is vulnerable; she needs help. Instead, liberals are shamelessly turning their backs on the three-term senator.

Landrieu gets it and they don’t like it. Hollywood and simpatico leftist political writers have long loved Robert Redford asking, “what do we do now?” at the end of “The Candidate.” It suits them to think they must perpetually guide elected officials.

But this November, voters answered that question emphatically. “Not that,” they said of Washington’s liberal tack the past six years.

Surveying the wreckage, some Democrats have gotten the message. Landrieu is one of them. Yes, her steps like voting against Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as Senate Minority Leader and her newfound enthusiasm for a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline smack of desperation. It’s obvious these are moves Landrieu feels compelled to make with her political back against the wall.

On the other hand, they are the right things to do. They are things most of her constituents or the country want her to do. And they are therefore things any reasonable official reading the post-midterm political tealeaves would do.

Do others on the left see it that way? They do not. The good liberals at Talking Points Memo survey Landrieu’s collapsing support among Democratic moneymen and throw up the headline ”Dead Woman Walking.” Outside groups that provide critical financial support are also sitting out the Louisiana runoff.

If I’m Landrieu and I somehow pull this thing out, the first thing I do when I get back to Washington is pull a reverse-Jim Jeffords.  I declare myself an Independent who will be caucusing with the Republicans.  Sometimes.

Democrats are scrapping a multimillion dollar ad buy, liberal groups aren’t jumping in to help her campaign and national political staffers haven’t moved down en masse to help get out the vote.

Just days after enduring a shellacking that left Senate Democrats in the minority and licking their wounds, the Louisiana Democrat is calling her own shots in her uphill battle to fend off Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in a Dec. 6 runoff.

Numerous polls suggest Landrieu will have a tough time in a runoff. She picked up 42.1 percent of the vote and Cassidy won 41 percent. But much of the 13.8 percent support tea party Republican Rob Maness’ got will likely go to Cassidy. A recent NBC/Marist poll showed that in a head-to-head matchup, Cassidy would get 50 percent of the vote while Landrieu would draw just 45 to 46 percent.

KNOW SOMETHING?

Friday, November 14th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Modern life sucks.

LETTING TOMMY DOWN

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Tom Ehrich REALLY hates it when you don’t vote in the way that he instructs you to:

Big money bought an election.

And you know this how?

Fear prevailed over confidence

Confidence in what, exactly?

and loathing over reason.

The whole “black president” thing, right?

The majority chose not to vote

Which means that nobody gives a crap what those people think.

allowing a passionate minority — older, whiter

 ANNNNND there it is.

to change the balance of power. Attack ads drowned out issues. A broken political system tolerated cheating and bullying.

Once again, Tom.  Bumper stickers are not evidence.

Most worrisome is the absence of the virtues that enable a democracy to function in a challenging world.

Translation: people actually disagreed with me.

Civic-mindedness gave way to clever voter-suppression tactics.

Wouldn’t mind seeing some actual evidence, Tom, since I’m kind of cynical that way.

Freedom of the press

Translation: the freedom of the press to continue to push the obviously-correct progressive agenda.

got lost in attack ads and deliberate distortions of reality.

Translation: actual reality.

Respect for opponents is gone. So too is the search for common ground, competing ideas, confidence in the nation, confidence in government, confidence in the future. Gone, gone, gone.

So what do we do about it, Tom?

Progressive Christianity is only one voice on the spectrum of religious opinions. But over the years it has had a large impact in its insistence on honesty, fairness, tolerance and humility. Progressive Christians have fought slavery, racial injustice and oppression of the vulnerable. Our search for truth has allowed room for other truths, other voices — a critical attitude in preserving democracy.

Except for conservative truths and voices.  Because those people are wrong, obviously evil and really suck and stuff.

We need to be forming alliances with minorities, the bruised and marginalized, and with people who want to make a difference, especially young adults. We need to stand for generosity and civility

Except for conservative truths and voices.  Because those people are wrong, obviously evil and really suck and stuff.

and against the politics of meanness that would suppress votes, deny benefits, punish women and minorities and wink at overzealous police power.

Yeah, whatever, Tom.

ZZZZZ…

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 53 Comments

There’s been another one of these:

Did Jesus Christ marry Mary Magdalene and have children with her? Surely, you’re thinking, that’s the kind of sensationalist mumbo-jumbo you find only in the pages of fiction.

In fact, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s 2003 best-selling thriller, was hinged on that very premise: a secret bloodline had sprung from the union between Jesus and Mary.

But now the authors of a new book, The Lost Gospel, claim to have unearthed evidence of a manuscript which tells the story of Jesus’s two sons and his marriage to Mary, one of his closest followers, who was at his crucifixion, burial and the discovery of his empty tomb.

However, this new book focuses on a story to be found in a manuscript dating back to 570 AD and written in Syriac — a Middle Eastern literary language used between the 4th and 8th centuries and related to Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. 

Written on vellum — treated animal skin — it had been in the archives of the British Library for about 20 years, where it was put after the British Museum had originally bought it in 1847 from a dealer who said he had obtained it from the ancient St Macarius Monastery in Egypt.

For the past 160 years, the document has been studied by a few scholars but has been considered pretty unremarkable.

But then Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-Canadian film-maker, and Barrie Wilson, a professor of religious studies in Toronto, took a look. After six years of study, they are convinced they’ve uncovered a missing fifth gospel — to add to the four gospels, which tell the story of the life of Christ and are said to have been written by the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the 1st century AD.

If true, this would make it the greatest revelation into the life of Jesus in nearly 2,000 years. Jacobovici claims the manuscript, which is 29 chapters long, is a 6th century copy of another 1st-century gospel and casts parts of the Bible in a very different light.

Just stop, dudes.  Even the Huffington Post isn’t buying this crap.

Just this week another Jesus hoax has appeared in the media. Media producer Simcha Jacobovici has collaborated with a professor named Barrie Wilson on a book called, “The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text That Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.” I don’t wish to be rude, and I will freely admit I haven’t read the book yet, but the entire premise is utter hogwash. Jesus probably didn’t marry. Even if he did, we have literally no way to know it. We’re basically looking at a sensationalist money-making scheme here, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

REALLY?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

I’m a lazy guy, I’ll be the first to admit it, but Madre de Dios, I’m not this lazy.

NOTE TO SELF

Monday, November 10th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Take care when using social media.

THE TRAIN ISN’T MERELY OFF THE TRACKS, IT’S HEADED INTO ORBIT

Monday, November 10th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

What’s next on the LGBT+52 agenda?

That’s a question with as many answers as there are ball-point pens that have been lost in the past 50 years. But one of the answers which many Conservatives (and some Liberals) give most frequently is polygamy, which I’m sure many of you will agree with.

Now, an often-overlooked fact is that polygamy comes in various versions. What we most often refer to as “polygamy” is actually properly called “polygyny”, which is having more than one female mate (wife) at a time. This is what the Mormons used to (and some say still do) practice, what is currently licit for and practiced by Muslims, and what was found in some instances in the Old Testament. The flip-side is polyandry, having more than one male mate (husband) at a time. This isn’t much of an issue; it’s always been the “one husband – five wives” type of polygamy that turns up not too infrequently. The only instance of polyandry that I can recall hearing about was a fictitious one – remember “Paint Your Wagon”, with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood being joint “husbands” to Jean Seberg?

It’s much easier to find real instances of polygyny. It’s becoming a big problem in the UK – a Muslim man will immigrate to London, and subsequently bring his four wives, each of whom has a group of children. UK law requires the wives to be admitted, and also requires that dependent benefits be paid to all members of the family – even a polygamous family. The price tag can be stupendous. A report from the Gatestone Institute says:


“The United Kingdom also recognizes polygamous marriages in which both parties, before they moved to Britain, were resident in a country where the practice is legal. ….. A Muslim man with four wives is entitled to receive £10,000 ($15,000) a year in income support alone. He could also be entitled to more generous housing and council tax benefits to reflect the fact that his household needs a bigger property. The result is that the more children produced by Muslim polygamists, the more state welfare money pours in for their wives and them. By having a string of wives living in separate homes, thousands of Muslim immigrants are squeezing tens of millions of British pounds from the state by claiming benefits intended for single mothers and their children.

Those women are eligible for full housing benefits – which reach £106,000 ($250,000) a year in some parts of London — and child benefits paid at £1,000 ($1,500) a year for a first child, and nearly £700 ($1,000) for each subsequent one.”

So, Polygamy is something which has huge potential social impacts. And – it’s out there, sometimes openly, sometimes obscured from view.

But,

wait for it –

The LGBT+52 crowd has now outdone themselves.

Twice over.

The polygamy that we feared has been superseded by something new.

From “The Daily Mail”, 23 April 2014
“The world’s only ‘married’ lesbian threesome are expecting their first child. Doll, Kitten and Brynn, from Massachusetts, were joined together in a marriage-style ceremony last August and are expecting a daughter in July. Kitten, 27, is pregnant after undergoing IVF treatment using an anonymous sperm donor, and the trio eventually plan to have three children – one for each of them. Doll, Kitten and Brynn Young married in a ceremony in August 2013, when each of their fathers walked them down the aisle. All three women wore white wedding gowns and exchanged rings. The so-called ‘throuple’ worked with a specialist family lawyer who drew up the paperwork and drafted the ceremony so that all three of them were obligated and bound to each other . While Brynn and Kitten are legally married, Doll is handfasted to both so the threesome are as equally married to each other as legally possible. Brynn says: ‘Doll, Kitten and I may not be the norm but we are perfectly normal. We are simply people trying to live the life that we feel is best for us and we deserve the rights afforded to others.’”

Now, you didn’t really think the women would have a monopoly on this for long, did you? Hunting for an apartment led a man to write about his being part of a thruple:

From “The Guardian”, Saturday 25 October 2014
” ‘And what would I have said, really? ……. it’s for me and my two boyfriends, and we need the second bedroom for an office because we all work from home some times?’ But this [renting] dance, this time, I’ve got two partners waiting in the wings, and I don’t know how to say that without taking a chance that our apartment hunt will go pear shaped. My least favorite part of being in a thruple might just be the word ‘thruple’, which sounds like a small bird puking. I’ve auditioned other words in conversations: troika (too fascist); trinity (too holy); and triple threat (which would work better if we were an actor, a singer, and a dancer instead of a writer, a costume artist, and a set designer.). But nothing’s stuck.

Instinctually, I’m a rather private person and, were it not for the fact that I feel it politically and socially imperative to be out, I would probably never discuss the intricacies of my personal life with anyone not actively involved in it. (So to everyone at my day job just now discovering that I’ve had two boyfriends for the last four years: Sorry! It’s not you, it’s me.) Call us a ‘thruple’ if you must. My boyfriends and I are happy together, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.”

We now have to deal with the notion that the Gay and Lesbian activists are going to go ballistic. After all, haven’t they told us all along that what they wanted in “lesbian marriage” and “gay marriage” was for monogamous, long-term same-sex couples to be able to make a loving commitment to one another? So when they hear about “throuples” – well, doesn’t that throw their whole argument into a tailspin? The monogamous part goes right out the window, along with couples, transforming marriage into nothing more than a descriptive of whatever a self-identifying group of homo/hetero/bi individuals wishes to make it. And therein lies the destruction of marriage that conservatives have warned about all along, and which LGBT+52 assured us we nothing more than empty worrying, idle speculation and over-reaching imagination.

And yet, people make ideas into reality every day. Walt Disney has a well-known “imagineering” department, the development and design group which turns concepts into what is now a 27,000 acre theme park. If they can do it, so can others, as the current state of conflict over same-sex marriage shows all too clearly.

Between the social and fiscal problems of polygamy, and the re-definition needed to deal with such things as “throuples” (and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the first “triskaidekuple” shows up at the church and/or county clerk’s office) one would hope that reasonable people can see why certain institutions can’t just be arbitrarily changed to reflect the self-proclaimed “rights” of any group of people that claims some kind of voice in the issue. And the notion of keeping the government out of people’s bedrooms becomes very difficult when people keep ramming their bedroom practices down the throats of courtrooms around the world.

Anyways, I’m now more knowledgeable than I was yesterday. I know what a “throuple” is. Trouble is, I wish I didn’t………………………….

Bill (not IB)

OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY

Sunday, November 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

America, 2014.  A place where you apply for a government grant to pay off your government loan:

After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.

“This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us – the taxpayer for their pet project,” said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. “It’s actually rather obscene.” 

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

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