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Showing posts from April, 2008

cinema review: Frontier House, PBS, 2002

Dear PBS
I'm not sure if I should thank you or complain to you for bringing to the viewing public the real life experience of The Lord of the Flies. Frontier House seems to embody everything William Goudling conveyed in fiction. Well, maybe not everything, but we saw plenty of flies and a pig was sacrificed though not idolized. We also didn't witness physical violence, but Jesus considered anger as bad as murder (Matt 5:21, 22). "Lyin', cheatin', hurtin'" were all writ large, it was like an extended video for the Led Zeppelin song, Your time is gonna come.

You gave us the wealthy Clune family, who demonstrate how to obey the letter of the law and ignore its spirit at the same time. Is this how the rich get richer? He is a CEO of a family aerospace manufacturing company, which sells many military products. They felt justified in going off the reservation for trade with modern families and acquisition of non-period luxuries such as a box spring. He also has h…

In the rain...

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Splash!

No puddle would alter my stride now that my shoes were off. Between puddles cherry blossom petals on the ground would collect on my bare soles as I ran then wash off in a puddle. The cycle repeated over and over again as I enjoyed 3 and a half miles of barefoot running in the rain. It was a more blissful contrast than normal as I had kept my feet shod for a 3 mile hill interval workout. The particular hill we train on is a rough macadam, something my feet are not conditioned enough for yet. Getting to the hill required me to run around puddles. Running in wet shoes is very disagreeable to me.

Previously, I ran the last mile back to my office with liberated feet. But this week I need to increase my sole conditioning. I needed a few more miles. The rain had held off for the hill workout but as I deposited my shoes in a dry spot, the next wave of showers commenced. If I weren't running, 50 degree Fahrenheit would be uncomfortable on those exposed toes. The mild numb…

Passionate Preggers Song of Songs 7:7-13

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I have jumped ahead to chapter 7 of the Song of Songs and am still using the NET for the English translation. I have included their subsection headings in bold type.

See the series so far. In the previous blog post in this series I concluded that Beloved is now pregnant, but the passion hasn't ebbed between the two.

The Lover to His Beloved:

7:7 Your stature is like a palm tree,
and your breasts are like clusters of grapes.
7:8 I want to climb the palm tree,
and take hold of its fruit stalks.
May your breasts be like the clusters of grapes,
and may the fragrance of your breath be like apricots!
7:9 May your mouth be like the best wine,
flowing smoothly for my beloved,
gliding gently over our lips as we sleep together.

The background information provided in the NET notes are extremely helpful for those of us far removed from Ancient Near East culture. For example, even Homer compared a beautiful woman to a palm tree. In my interpretive slant, that of assuming she is pregnant, he has sensitivel…

book report part 2: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny

I found this analysis of Hitler's rise to power timeless, from Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Abridged Edition, Alan Bullock, Harper Perennial, 1991, originally written in 1962.

Hitler was made chancellor with some self-serving negotiations between the various parties, including the Catholic Centre and the Conservative Right, who both opposed the Communists. They overlooked Hitler's gross faults hoping to maximize the things they saw positively.

Blinded by interest and prejudice, the Right forsook the role of a true conservatism, abandoned its own traditions and made the gross mistake of supposing that in Hitler they had found a man who would enable them to achieve their ends. A large section of the German middle class, powerfully attracted by Hitler’s nationalism, and many of the German Officer Corps followed their lead. (p.139)

It's the danger of all political parties whose need for power becomes more important than the original reason they sought power.

book report: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, Bullock

I am finally ready to continue my genocide and tyrant reading by touching the 3rd rail of Nazi Germany and Hitler. At the library I picked up the abridged version of this classic, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Abridged Edition, Alan Bullock, Harper Perennial, 1991, originally written in 1962.

This particular quote stood out to me in light of the all the press Ben Stein's documentary, Expelled is generating. Not only does Stein embarrass the Darwinian thought police of academia, but he also draws a connection between Darwinism and Hitler's "final solution". I don't know if anyone bloviating over this accusation has actually read Hitler's propaganda piece, My Struggle, or Mein Kampf. I haven't either. but this biography quotes from it not knowing that a documentary in 2008 would make such accusations. So consider this quote in the context of Hitler's anti-Semitism.
Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “The idea of struggle is as old as life itself, for life is only …

Evil are shoes

No, not evil, but not necessary all the time either. For example, I run barefoot, but I work in a lab with icky stuff that wouldn't be good if spilled on my feet. Here is a great article on the non-necessity of shoes, called You Walk Wrong in New York Magazine. One great comment pointed to Soft Star Shoes for those times when society requires shodding. At the article comments a barefoot runner I know from a Yahoo group comments as well as a few lifetime barefooters and some really offended people. It's great fun to be barefoot. Your feet will acclimate. Last week I resumed running barefoot. I only went out for a mile and a half each time. This week I'm out for 2 miles at a time. I'm getting little nicks and blisters as I acclimate again. Life is never pain free anyway, but these little sacrifices now pay bigger dividends later on. Enjoy God's equipment!

Cinema review: Tess (1980)

What do you get if you mix great cinematography with fine acting and wonderful direction combined with a depressing story? Roman Polanski'sTess, a great summary here. The young Tess gets seduced/raped/exploited by a rich guy whom she had hoped would help her family as a kinsman. She flees, pregnant. The baby dies. The local vicar won't give the baby a Christian burial. He had previously informed her father that he comes from an ancient family line that were originally pagans. She baptizes her son and buries him with proper prayers then flees her village. She finds work as a milkmaid and falls in love with another vicar's prodigal son, Angel. She doesn't reveal her sordid past until after the wedding when he had revealed his past affair. He rejects her and flees to Brazil. She ends up back with the rapist as a means of support for her and her family. Angel returns and confesses he's wrong. So she kills her oppressor and together she and Angel flee to the North. Even…

book report: The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston

I encountered this history on display in a local library among other books related to China in response to the upcoming Olympic games in Beijing, also known in 1900 as Peking. Peasants across China were being displaced by modern technology brought in by the Europeans and Japan. Railroads were making camel trains obsolete and the telegraph prevented secrets being kept in the countryside. As resentment built a longing for the past rose up and found expression in the practice of martial arts, which looked like boxing to the Europeans, who named the practitioners "Boxers." The Boxers were work themselves into a frenzy and claim possession by local spirits. Their demonstrations attracted large crowds of Chinese as well as their xenophobic message. The foreigners were to be expelled. The spirits had showed their displeasure by bringing a drought which brought shortages to the rice crop. The Boxers reasoned and proclaimed that once the foreigners were expelled, the spirits would ap…

barefoot running 2008

Yesterday I went out for my first barefoot run of 2008. I kept it short, just a mile, so I could break my feet in gently. I wore my Nike Free's for a hill interval workout today, but took them off for the last mile of the run back. Last week was also the first week of 2008 that I bicycle commuted every day. This week is looking good as well for cycling.

death penalty?

C. Michael Patton, whose blog I enjoy regularly, makes a simplistic apology for Christian support of the death penalty. The argument follows the path of here are the Bible verses that advocate it and here are the verses that tell us we need to obey our government. Fortunately, we are blessed with a government that is supposedly of the people and by the people and for the people. We can seek to change its laws, which we as Christians are trying to do regarding abortion. It is the issue of abortion that made me switch from being a death penalty advocate to an opponent. I believe abortion is murder. It's the murder of the most innocent and the most helpless. However, I do not believe justice would be served by demanding the death penalty for those who abort their babies. Nor do I want that fear of legal consequences from legal abortions to prevent people from supporting its restriction.

Additionally, the death penalty has been used as a racist weapon. Hence I oppose the death penalty …

The flu...

has wiped me out, either with me having it or taking care of the kids with it. I sat on the couch for the entire weekend and read 2 books. Only one is worth a book report, sometime this week I hope.

Obama and the UCC vision of theocracy

John Mark Reynolds asks
In short, for Senator Obama’s chosen church the theological is the political. I can['t jpu], in reading about it, find any reason to separate the two. With Mormonism, traditional Christianity, or with other monotheistic and supernatural faiths (such as mainstream Islam or religious Judaism), there is a realm that is “not of this world” central to the theology. Those required metaphysical beliefs are extremely minimal in Obama’s chosen religious home.The kingdom of God is not just coming for the UCC, they long to bring it in. Weirdly in a media where the slightest whiff of “theocracy” on the right brings rumbles of worry, this desire to bring Christ’s kingdom to the United States using an ugly blend of socialism and sixties morality causes hardly a worry. Perhaps it is because secularists recognize in it a functionally secular vision tricked out with religious language.The bottom line is that the UCC has so many positions on matters of government that Senato…