Saturday, December 29, 2007


To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their worth more seriously and discovering their true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.
-Henri Nouwen, Bread For the Journey, March 11 entry

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas

Nothing says Christmas quite like a light display set to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Downfall, Part 2

Via Andrew Sullivan, the federal government's fiscal exposures now stand at $53 trillion, according to the Comptroller General's latest report - two and a half times what they were in 2000. The annual deficit may be smaller this year than it was last year, but future liabilities continue to mushroom thanks to a slew of new social programs introduced during Bush's administration.

Even if it were somehow tangibly demonstrated that gay marriage would have a negative impact on society, it's difficult to imagine that it could be more than a drop in the bucket compared to the Republicans' dramatic acceleration of our rush toward fiscal insolvency. Based on the social programs we currently have in place, the government's own auditors predict that the federal budget will balloon to 60% of the country's gross domestic product by 2080 - with more than half of that going toward interest payments.

Despite seven years of extreme fiscal irresponsibility (not to mention the various side effects of our "war on terror"), the religious right remains strongly supportive of their man in the White House and no less fixated on the 'evil gays' who are supposedly undermining our society. That's not to say that a balanced budget is the sole hallmark of good governance, but the latter seldom exists where there is no genuine commitment to achieving the former.

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... [we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers...

And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crazy For God

Cross-posted from Ex-Gay Watch.

Francis Schaeffer is a name that commands automatic respect in most evangelical circles. His book, How Shall We Then Live?, and its companion video series, have been credited as the primary catalysts that led to the formation of the religious right and the politicization of the evangelical church.

Now, however, Schaeffer’s son Frank (an evangelical celebrity in his own right) has come forward to set the record straight with his new book, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. In an interview with John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, he discusses what his father (who died in 1984) really thought about the religious right leaders who capitalized on his call to action, and what he thought the church should look like.

On the leadership of the religious right:
The public image of the leaders of the religious right I met with so many times also contrasted with who they really were. In public, they maintained an image that was usually quite smooth. In private, they ranged from unreconstructed bigot reactionaries like Jerry Falwell, to Dr. Dobson, the most power-hungry and ambitious person I have ever met, to Billy Graham, a very weird man indeed who lived an oddly sheltered life in a celebrity/ministry cocoon, to Pat Robertson, who would have had a hard time finding work in any job where hearing voices is not a requirement.

On his father’s alignment with the religious right:
He has been used by people like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and others to give some respectability to points of view that really were not his. What made my dad’s heart beat fastest was talking about people’s philosophical presuppositions and how they lived. He wanted to put people’s lives back together again, people who had problems. The politicized view of him is illegitimate.

On the politics of the religious right:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twelve Days of Christmas

Nothing like a pop-punk rendition to infuse new energy into an old staple. The band is Relient K, in case you're wondering (and even if you're not).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Curious, Isn't It

As uninterested as I am in getting dragged into all the brouhaha surrounding The Golden Compass, I do have one observation to share.

It's pretty much a given that we'll see Christians marching in the streets whenever a movie or book (or whatever) comes out that portrays Christianity in a negative light or otherwise challenges "Judeo-Christian values" (as if God needed our protection). Isn't it interesting, though, that those who protest the loudest are so often the ones most inclined to speak about atheists and other non-Christians in condescending, derogatory and even openly contemptuous terms?

Hypocrisy committed in the name of Jesus is still hypocrisy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Dr. Patrick Chapman, a university professor whose name you're likely to see again, recently wrote a three-part series for Ex-Gay Watch critiquing Jones & Yarhouse's recent study on participants in Exodus programs. A must-read for anyone with an interest in ex-gay issues.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And, for the sake of balance, here's a link to Part 1 of the authors' response to Dr. Chapman's articles. Parts two and three are still pending.

Also, another must-read: Disputed Mutability blogs about her experience at a Love Won Out conference here.