Archive for October, 2012
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments
A guy named Chris Fici, who was Raised CatholicTM but now thinks he’s a Hindu, writes one of the best descriptions of modern “spirituality” that I’ve ever read. Chris attends Union Theological Seminary for some reason and decided to riff on taking Communion:
Chapel has been a remarkable experience for me so far, as I come to be reunited with the sacrament of communion. Communion was something that, as a Catholic child, I never thought about too deeply, and which I took for granted along with the whole experience of worship. I was usually more eager to get home and watch Barry Sanders juke-and-jive his way for a touchdown for my beloved Detroit Lions. Returning to communion for me is a chance to reclaim a part of my spiritual identity, to fully form and own an understanding of my development as a seeker and servant of God.
I think you know where Chris is going with this.
This reunion has opened up emotions and contemplations both deeply moving and challenging. My experience in Chapel, in communion, has first of all made me realize how disconnected I am with the mood and meaning of worship in general. Even though I would worship everyday during my time as a monk in the bhakti-yoga tradition, often I would not be there mentally or emotionally even though I was present physically.
I can think of lots of terms for this sort of thing.
It was sometimes a “familiarity breeds contempt” kind of experience. Experiencing the power of worship through the lens of other traditions has often acted as a reminder for me of the unique gift of worship I carry with me everyday as a practitioner of bhakti-yoga. Through the grace of my time in Chapel, I am already experiencing a sense of reunion in my own practice as a Hindu, as I feel distinctly at home again worshiping in the temple of Radha-Krishna at The Bhakti Center, and in my own daily mantra meditation practice, chanting the names of God.
“Self-absorbed” or “masturbatory” come to mind.
This sense of reunion is truly an upwelling from the heart. During one of my first experiences taking communion together in Chapel, I was moved practically to tears by the combination of the intimate and vulnerable ceremony of taking the sacrament, of the stirring music that surrounded us, and of seeing very clearly a moment of unity in the intense diversity that we have here at Union. The emotions emanating from my heart were the kind of rare but exquisitely special feelings we get as gifts of grace from the Divine in our life, in which we intuitively know we are with something much deeper than ourselves. For me, it was a sign that I had come to the right place in my life, part of the larger gift God has given me in being here, at this time, in my own way, at Union.
As do “disrespectful” and “blasphemous.”
I come to these experiences no longer identifying as a Christian, and while being in a Christian service does not make me uncomfortable, there are aspects of the worship that I don’t literally believe anymore. My relationship with Jesus as a person, and as an ideal, is framed through my Hindu lens, where we see him as a great teacher whose example is to be emulated. We don’t see him in any particular or exclusive theological position.
But I guess there’s no reason why it can’t be all four or even more.
I continue to wrestle with, even more directly through my studies at Union, of the meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus which underlies the communion experience. I do not look at the Christian experience with the literal eyes I had, more or less, as a child. Yet my upbringing identifying as a Catholic stays with me, if it is not something I particularly belong to anymore. I can intellectually and theologically identify with critical and historical approaches toward Christianity, but there is also a strange reluctance in my heart to let go of some of the literal beliefs I have had in my life in relation to Jesus and the Christian doctrine.
I hope that none of you are playing a drinking game based on the number of this guy’s self-references. If you did, I hope the afterlife rocks since you died at least two or three paragraphs back.
Yet, I am beginning to understand that to let go of my sense of belonging as a Christian is a natural evolution of my spiritual journey here at Union, and it doesn’t preclude me from fully understanding and living and being in the natural and correct resonance I can and should have with the Christian tradition as someone who deeply identifies now with a Hindu tradition. How funny that I come to a a Christian seminary and realize that I no longer belong to Christianity!
Chris? Union hasn’t been a Christian seminary for a VERY long time.
In this diversity, the meaning of communion can no longer be such a fixed or static thing. Prof. Lundblad adds that “if you ask every person there what does this meal mean to you, you would get as many different answers as the people who were there.” In our Chapel at Union, communion becomes part of the fabric of our diversity, which shines new and dynamic colors on the essential prism of our spiritual identities as individuals and as a community.
The sacrament and experience of communion is something meant “for you,” no matter where you are coming from, or how literally or symbolically you want to take it. “Here in this community, these words “for you” are very personal, but we say it surrounded by everyone else,” Prof. Lundblad shares. “This has been the huge change for me from my childhood. The word communion for me is being recovered in my life.”
I am still learning what the sacrament of communion means for me. I can speak of essentials, of having faith that God is present when I chant the holy names of God in my own practice as a bhakti-yogi, or when we are drawn together in our worship in Chapel. That faith for me is the bond of communion with the Divine, a faith that draws me closer and closer to knowing and acting in the reality of my loving relationship with God. It is also a faith that draws me closer to knowing what it means to have an active communion with God in this world, fighting for justice through courage and compassion.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 7 Comments
Making fumbling, inarticulate comments about rape? Or joking about rape?
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 67 Comments
From the looks of things, US Congressman Gerry Connolly (Dumbass-Virginia) must have a really safe seat to publicly say something this stupid:
Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11) shocked constituents by suggesting that military Veterans are unqualified to serve in Congress because their deployments prevent them from putting “sweat equity” into the districts they hope to serve in Congress.
Congressman Connolly is running against Colonel Chris Perkins, a retired officer who served most of his more than 24 years in uniform as an Army Green Beret deployed overseas. Connolly has repeatedly suggested that Perkins’ lack of local involvement because of his military career makes him unqualified to hold federal office.
In an October 22nd Washington Post interview, Connolly “dismisses Perkins as unqualified” for Congress, despite Colonel Perkins’ many leadership assignments that included command of a Special Forces Battalion of over six-hundred men, and numerous combat deployments.
While speaking to a local Chamber of Commerce a few weeks earlier, Connolly asked the audience, “Where has my opponent been” while Connolly served in local government for 16 years.
Days later at a neighborhood civic association, Congressman Connolly subsequently pressed his line of attack dismissing Colonel Perkins’ extensive military experience saying, “I expect a [Congressional] candidate to have demonstrated some sweat-equity” on local issues, ignoring the 24 years Colonel Perkins served as an Army Green Beret.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments
Morbidly-obese crapumentarian Michael “Fat” Moore has teamed up with the lefties at Moveon.org to produce this anti-Mitt Romney ad which consists of old people using lots of obscenities that I guess is supposed to be funny or something. Seems like the kind of thing you’d get a chuckle out of if your cholesterol count was approaching four figures and your blood would make a really good barbecue sauce.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, October 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, October 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments
UPDATE: Never mind. Dude made the whole thing up.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, October 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments
I hope anybody reading this who lives on the East Coast is taking Hurricane Sandy seriously. Prayers ascending.
UPDATE: You know you’ve taken on a lot of water when you look out your door and see this swimming by. This picture was supposedly taken somewhere in New Jersey.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, October 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 7 Comments
Clear off and adjust the position of your fainting couches. A statewide Missouri poll has Todd Akin within two:
Congressman Todd Akin has dramatically narrowed the lead of Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s nationally watched Senate race, according to a new poll.
But the poll — commissioned by the Post-Dispatch, News 4 and the Kansas City Star — also indicates that Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment in August continues to affect the race. McCaskill still enjoys a significant gender gap, and three-quarters of her supporters call Akin’s comment “somewhat” or “very” important to their decision.
The results show McCaskill leading with 45 percentage points to Akin’s 43 points among likely voters. That’s within the poll’s 4-point margin for error, indicating a closer race than two earlier independent polls that showed McCaskill with wider leads.
Which probably means that Akin is leading.
Take Akin’s remark out of the equation. Was he the best candidate Missouri Republicans could have put forward? Hardly; if John Brunner or Sarah Steelman had won the primary, this race is over right now.
Similarly, Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon has got to be kicking himself that he didn’t challenge Claire in the Democratic primary. Jeremiah’s accomplished quite a bit and he’s actually one of the few Democrats I can see voting for.
If Jeremiah was the Democratic candidate for the Missouri’s Senate seat, he’d currently be spending more money on finding great Washington DC office space than he would be spending on TV ads.
Granted, the Republicans dominate the General Assembly here so the Governor’s liberal impulses have mostly been restrained(much to the occasional disgust of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which is a considerable virtue here). But Jeremiah is something that is rather thin on the ground in Democratic Party ranks. A realist.
But back to Todd Akin. Will the six-term congressman shock the nation on November 6th? I’m not yet ready to go that far. Elections in this state are won or lost in the St. Louis and Kansas City suburbs and judging by the completely scientific and totally reliable yard sign test, McCaskill has the advantage.
I’ve seen quite a few yard signs for Claire around here and not that many for Akin. Of course, I’ve also seen far more yard signs for Dave Spence, the Republican candidate for Missouri governor, than I have for Jeremiah so make of that whatever you will.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, October 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
If these recommendations are accepted, the United Nations will change from a pretentious nuisance to a legitimate enemy of this country:
The Washington Free Beacon has obtained a report soon to be released by the United Nations that calls for an international campaign of legal attacks and economic warfare on a group of American companies that do business in Israel, including Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar Inc., and Motorola Solutions Inc.
The report is the product of some of the worst nations in the world.
The Human Rights Council (HRC), a body dominated by Islamic countries and known for its hostility to, and heavy focus on, the Jewish State, issued the report. The George W. Bush administration refused to participate in the HRC, but President Barack Obama joined it soon after taking office. Members of the HRC include infamous human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Libya, China, and Cuba.
This idiot basically oversaw the thing.
The Obama-approved body maintains a “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories [sic].” The current rapporteur is American college professor Richard Falk, a 9/11 “truther” who once posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal blog.
The recommendations in this report go far beyond the usual UN toothless resolutions.
The report attempts to instigate a campaign of boycott, divestment, sanctions, and legal action against a litany of international companies doing business in Israel. In addition to American companies, the U.N. targets include major European firms such as Veolia Environnement, Group 4 Security, the Dexia Group, the Volvo Group.
If you work for one of these companies, I hope you’re not overly-fond of international travel or you may end up staying abroad a whole lot longer than you intended to.
“The costs to companies and businesses of failing to respect international humanitarian law are considerable,” the report warns, “including damage to a company’s public image, impact on shareholder decisions and share price and could result in employees being criminally responsible for rights abuses.”
The report warns American employees of targeted companies that they face legal risks.
“Employees of companies can face investigation and prosecution for human rights violations committed irrespective of where the violation was committed.”
Attention Episcopal Church. If this monstrosity is adopted, “engagement” is no longer an option because that entity you revere will have officially chosen sides.
Should the companies continue doing business in Israel, the Human Rights Council “calls on civil society to actively pursue legal and political redress against non-complying business” and “to vigorously pursue initiatives to boycott, divest and sanction the businesses highlighted in this report” and “calls on the international community to consider requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice” to punish the businesses.
I realize that Israel owes its existence to this ridiculous entity. But why that country still wishes to remain associated with something that clearly despises it as much as the United Nations does completely escapes me.
“Get out of the UN!” used to be a crackpot position in American politics but it’s becoming more and more mainstream by the day. Publicly advocate it here the media will label you crazy even though you’d be surprised at the number of votes you’d win.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, October 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, October 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, October 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments
I didn’t think it was possible but the Obamabots have outdone themselves.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, October 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 64 Comments
Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
I’ll bet it must be cool to live in an American state that can cause an international incident.
“The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable,” Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said in a statement. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”
American colonization of Texas was the brainchild of a Missouri lead mine operator named Moses Austin. His son Stephen is the guy Texas’s capitol is named after. So I do have that much going for me.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott further fueled the controversy on Tuesday when he sent a letter to the OSCE warning the organization that its representatives “are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place” and that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance.”
Hate to be the one to break it to you foreigners but you’re foreigners.
“The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional,” Abbott wrote. “If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”
Don’t worry, says the State Department. We’ll have a talk with those necks.
“Since the initial issue with Texas we’ve received a letter, both for Secretary Clinton and one for Texas authorities, from the OSCE assuring us and Texas authorities that the OSCE observers are committed to following all U.S. laws and regulations as they do in any country where they observe elections and they will do so as well in Texas,” [State Department spokeswoman Victoria] Nuland said. “To my knowledge [Texas] is the only state that came forward and said ‘please reassure us that you’re going to follow our state electoral law.’ And they have now been reassured.”
Attorney General Greg Abbott wants Hillary to know that Texas isn’t kidding around.
Yesterday you received a letter from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) asking that the U.S. Department of State take steps to ensure the OSCE’s election observers are not “restrained in their activities” while in the State of Texas. It appears that OSCE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election Code. Texas law prohibits unauthorized persons from entering a polling place—or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance—on Election Day. OSCE monitors are expected to follow that law like everyone else.
We’re really not that damned interested in any international agreements Washington may have made.
As you know, Texas election laws govern anyone who participates in Texas elections. The fact that representatives of the United States joined the U.S.S.R, Yugoslavia, Romania, and other OSCE member-nations in signing a document at a 1989 conference in Copenhagen has absolutely no bearing on the administration of elections or laws governing elections in the State of Texas. Yet the OSCE invokes the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document to seek your help ensuring that its representatives are not “restrained” by Texas law. If the OSCE wishes to visit Texas during election season, we welcome the opportunity to educate its representatives about the State’s electoral process. But OSCE is not above the law and its representatives must at all times comply with Texas law when they are present in this state.
We can’t and won’t ignore Texas law simply because you want us to.
While the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document cited in the OSCE letter is legally irrelevant and will have no impact on the State’s administration of the November elections, for the sake of accuracy you should know that the letter misconstrues OSCE’s own governing documents. Indeed, the OSCE claims that requiring its representatives to comply with Texas law somehow contravenes paragraph 8 of the Copenhagen document. That is false.
Dear Lord. Please let one of these OSCE people walk inside a Texas polling place. I SO need for that to happen.
In fact, paragraph 8 specifically stipulates that OSCE representatives may only observe elections “to the extent allowed by law.” As you know, in the United States that means both state and federal law. The OSCE’s letter states only that its observers are committed to compliance “with all national laws and regulations.” This statement may simply reveal that the OSCE is unfamiliar with our nation’s federalist system. On the other hand, it may reveal that the OSCE does not consider itself restrained by state law. Texas needs OSCE’s assurance that its representatives will abide by Texas law when they are present in this state. We have not received that assurance.
Let’s be honest, Mrs. Clinton. These people have a political agenda.
In addition to my desire to defend and enforce Texas election laws, I am also concerned that an unnecessary political agenda may have infected OSCE’s election monitoring activities. The OSCE has published policy recommendations and other reports that raise objections to state laws that prohibit convicted felons from voting, prevent voter registration fraud, and require voters to present a photo identification at the polling place. The OSCE may object to photo identification laws and prohibitions on felons voting—but our nation’s Supreme Court has upheld both laws as entirely consistent with the U.S. Constitution. And perhaps ironically, the OSCE representative leading the mission to the United States hails from the Netherlands, which has a photo identification law for voters. According to the Dutch government’s official website: “checking identity documents helps fight fraud.” Why the OSCE appears to now question voter identification laws in the United States is beyond reason. Perhaps it is just politics. Regardless, the OSCE’s perspective on Voter ID is legally irrelevant in the United States.
So pardon us if we refuse to cooperate with some leftists who have already reached a desired conclusion.
Indeed, contrary to the principles of “political pluralism” articulated in the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document, the OSCE has recently coordinated with a number of plainly partisan organizations in the United States. This appears to reflect a concerted effort to politicize an initiative that was previously perceived as an international information exchange program. While Texas may welcome visitors from any nation or international organization who wish to learn more about the steps the State has taken to protect the integrity of state elections, we need not open our doors and accommodate an international effort affiliated with partisan organizations in the United States that wish to suppress electoral integrity.
And look into reading the United States Constitution some time since it’s the highest Earthly law Texas cares to respect.
The United States Constitution authorizes the States to regulate the conduct of state and federal elections within their borders. In Texas, the Legislature has exercised its prerogative to implement laws that preclude felons from voting, prevent groups like Project Vote from questionable voter registration activities, and instill confidence in the electoral system by requiring voters to present a photo identification. While we welcome international visitors who wish to engage in a legitimate information exchange, we have no interest in being lectured by the OSCE about how best to conduct the State of Texas’ business.
That and our own.
Unlike the unelected bureaucrats at the OSCE, our State’s leaders and decision-makers were duly elected by Texas voters. Elected members of the Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Election Code to ensure our State’s elections are free, fair, open, and reliable. The Election Code does not authorize OSCE’s representatives to enter the polling place and nothing in a document that may govern the OSCE’s conduct has any impact—legal or otherwise—on the conduct of elections in the State of Texas. If the OSCE does not wish to follow the laws that govern everyone else present in the State of Texas, including the voters who elect our State’s leaders, then perhaps it should dispatch its representatives to another state.
Ayup. It probably won’t happen any time soon but if the American left ever does get its people’s republic going and a bunch of states successfully secede from it, there will probably be a considerable debate about what to call the new country. Some might wrongly argue that the name “Confederate States of America” should be revived but I have a simpler and better suggestion for what to call the new state.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, October 25th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments
That link’s not obscene or anything but you might want to make sure there are no kids around when you click on it. It may save you from having to have The Talk before you or your child are emotionally ready.