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Showing posts from October, 2011

if sexual ethics are not that big a deal...

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...then why do liberal Christians keep talking about it. Scott Paeth, a professor of religious studies at DePaul University, in a post called "sex for Christians", written in response to Tim Dalrymple's observations of carnality among Princeton seminarians, has a few things he wants Tim and his conservative ilk to know...sex is not a big dealconservative Christian ethics are irrelevantthere are bigger fish to fry (see #1)sex is a splinter that plank-eyed conservatives are picking atevery Christian is "of this world" in some way or otherit's too hard, good thing God has grace on us
Well, it's weird to discuss Christian ethics with a Christian who doesn't interact with the particulars of the Bible. I was thinking of the general reluctance to hearken to Paul among liberals when I read 2 Timothy a few weeks ago, and Paul tells him, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel b…

book report: The end of Sexual Identity by Paris (2011)

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If you are straight and think gay people just need to get over it, this book might be for you. Dr. Jennell Williams Paris is an anthropology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She's straight, married, mother of 3, and teaches at a conservative Christian college BUT she's learned some things, like "it's complicated." More than that, she argues, the labels of gay and straight or hetero- and homo- don't convey the complication.Just because it's complicated does not mean that the author is arguing for gay marriage. Don't jump to conclusions. She doesn't, but do read this short book from IVP to get you thinking.

book reports: two memoirs by Vietnam veterans

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This summer I read Loon: A Marine Story by Jack McLean, when I went on a war history bender. Last week, when I brought my kids to the library, I have a bad habit of sitting on the floor in front of the history section of the "New Arrivals" and checked out What is it like to go to War by the fellow marine Karl Marlantes. I no longer have the books in hand, so I won't have long quotes, but both are terrifying and heart wrenching tales that point to the primary battlefield in a soldier's soul. Nate Self's account of his battle experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in Two Wars, which I reviewed in the spring, also has many of the same overlapping themes. The biggest theme is the ongoing injury of the soul called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both men suffered through it, as did their families. Both Vietnam vets are highly educated, McLean went to Harvard after his tour of duty (the first Vietnam vet). Marlantes left Oxford to go on his tour of duty. They write…

a better house than an earthship

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I think about many odd things on my bike ride. Yesterday, I was thinking about North Dakota. It's economy is smoking right now because of it's petroleum reserves. As a result, many people are moving there but are not finding enough housing. However, the climate is tough there. A good house there would be 1) quick to build, 2) easy to keep warm, 3) light filled in those long winters and 4) strong for tornadoes and blizzards and floods, (bonus points for no/low cost mortgage).

Earthbags could do all but 1, unless there was a big team of helpers. A Corganix shipping container/earthbag hybrid also suffers from slowness except for the utilities which come pre-installed. Earthships would also be slow. The earthships are low slung though which helps with high winds. They also are built with south facing green houses to capture passive solar heating and provide light. But this modified version, called the high thermal mass (HTM) home is even faster to build and promises even more ease …

If you don’t get married, it’s hard to get a divorce

This article If you don’t get married, it’s hard to get a divorce at The Washington Post highlights the very issues I've tried to raise in light of the concept of sacramental marriage recently practiced and promoted by emerging church ecclesiologist Dr. Tony Jones. As I argued before, and this article presents real life examples, that since he knows the fragility of the marriage relationship, the built in legalese of the marriage contract is a big help for the possible break up. Without the legal contract language of marriage, those in sacramental marriages could end up in awful situations like these after 20 years of unwedded bliss...

Luxenberg recalls one client who lived with her partner for 20 years. They’d had a child and built a home together. The woman’s income was about $50,000, Luxenberg says, and her boyfriend’s was “six or seven times that.” When the couple split, the woman hired Luxenberg to see what recourse she had. The answer: not much.

There would be child support, “…

a day to remember the european destruction of native americans

I keep telling my kids that today is not a holiday but an Italian pride day. Italians are proud of their brave sailor, Columbus, who found the new world. But I can't join in the celebration of the destruction of entire nations. I came across this article today about the process of reconciliation between white Christians and tribal nations in British Columbia and was moved deeply by this pastor's confession. "It must be hard for you," I said to the First Nations people, "to believe that salvation has come to my house when I refuse to repent of behavior that's harmed you deeply. It must be hard to believe the Bible and its Good News when white people have had it for so long but don't seem any better for it." If your self-righteous patriotism gets in the way of this confession please read up on information from my book reports on the book Mayflower (Indian enslavement and casualties) or on The last days of the Incas (uprising), or this report on 1491, …

book report: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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This summer I came across a blog post suggesting that Moby Dick is an allegory of Herman Melville's struggle with God. I read Moby Dick over twenty years ago in high school and hardly remembered it. But it did fit into a different tack I'm taking on book selection. I want to read the older books, the longer books, the harder books and abstain from the conversation of the newer books. I want to read great books. Moby Dick is certainly old, long and hard, but I'm not sure it's great. Maybe I need to be older to see it's greatness. But I was intrigued by Sproul's blog post.
Sproul writes, If the whale embodies everything that is symbolized by whiteness — that which is terrifying; that which is pure; that which is excellent; that which is horrible and ghastly; that which is mysterious and incomprehensible — does he not embody those traits that are found in the fullness of the perfections in the being of God Himself?

Who can survive the pursuit of such a being if the …

Geoff's photobooth

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Geoff Gordon and I go way back, even many years before we were roommates in the infamous North campus dorm of UConn, aka the "Jungle" (queue up Axl Rose). He's done so many cool jobs since graduation and his current one is really cool. He owns 3 photobooths which he rents out for events like weddings. I was able to help him set up one of these beasts this summer. These are not camera and shower curtain gizmos. These are real steel. He, or one of his staff, stay at the booth making sure the equipment works well the entire time and helps guests glue their duplicate 3-photo strip into a memory book with their personal comments. I wish we had one of these at our wedding 17 years ago. Check out his business on facebook or at his blog, Photobooth Planet.

song lyrics to live by

I have a friend in California who is a singer and song writer. He's been releasing new music lately and explaining the back story to his songs. All these stories touch me, and push the lyrics deeper into my soul. So this is a shout out to Justin McRoberts and his music. But you need to go to his blog to read these stories. The one that absolutely slayed me was the one about his father. I only know a tiny bit more about the back story, but even without my extra knowledge, this song, 33, is so strong. How can it not be strong when it's about his personal overcoming of the dark shadow of his own father's suicide? It gives me so much hope.
Thanks Justin.
I've included the song video below.


33 from Justin McRoberts on Vimeo.