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Chris Corwin is a UX engineer at @salesforce who digs bourbon, beer, bikes, and beef. And pork. Aaand chicken. And asparagus. Food, really.

Frank Schaeffer: Sarah Palin Will Never Be President — Trust Me

The small smear of red on the otherwise blue electoral map looks more like a minor bloodstain on a dirty Band-Aid than anything resembling a national political party. Who voted for McCain/Palin in bigger numbers than they even voted for Bush/Cheney? Only one shrinking group: uneducated white folks in the deep south and a few folks in Appalachia. Take away the white no-college-backwoods-and/or-southern McCain/Palin vote and the Republicans would have been approaching single digit electoral college oblivion.

Sarah Palin will never hold national office nor will any Republican at the presidential level for a long time to come. Why? Because America has uneducated jerks in it but is not a nation of uneducated jerks. The Republicans are done, hoisted on the petard of their own “southern strategy.”

…and…

The Religious Right, the racists, the anti-gay hate-mongers are now not only marginalized but thoroughly out of step with even members of their own former constituency. For instance the Gordon College student newspaper (Gordon is an influential Evangelical College north of Boston) endorsed Obama this year. Many young evangelicals voted for the Democrats. James Dobson, Fox News, Limbaugh et al. were utterly powerless to do more than stir up hate. They are losing the next generation of their “base.”

Frank Schaeffer: Sarah Palin Will Never Be President — Trust Me

cindy mccain’s $300,000 outfit

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

Politics and Power Blog: vanityfair.com

Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

Colts’ Marvin Harrison Accused in Shooting

According to Gargano, police have uncovered a gun registered to Harrison in connection with the incident. Gargano reports that a fistfight broke out when Harrison escorted a man out of his bar, called Playmakers. When the man fled, gunfire was exchanged. The man’s car was struck by a bullet and his hand was grazed, and a young girl suffered a minor injury when broken glass hit her, Gargano reported.

Marvin Harrison Accused in Shooting – FanHouse – AOL Sports Blog

The Daily Detour: Does freedom require religion?

in response to The Daily Detour: Does freedom require religion?, i have a couple points to make:

We must be sure to separate the misapplication of a religious worldview from that worldview itself.

it seems to me that it is usually those who disagree with the truthiness of a specific worldview who say that actions by those who hold that worldview are the all-but-inevitable consequenses of that worldview.

conversely, those very same people tend to to be quick to apply the “misapplication” argument when confronted with misdeeds by those who hold a worldview similar to their own.

or more simply: you can’t say pol pot’s actions sprang from his beliefs and then turn around and someone like, say, cortez’ actions showed up in spite of his beliefs.

no: the evil that human beings do is because human beings do evil things, and no worldview can keep all of them from doing such things: even one that (mostly) preaches peace and compassion.

when it comes to the christian worldview, there is the “little” matter of the holy spirit and her influence on the human she inhabits.

to this, i can only answer that if god were real, and god actually sent a holy spririt to inhabit people’s hearts and help turn their minds, their actions would follow, always.

the bible says that god changes peoples hearts and minds and paul is explicit that it is a natural consequence of being saved that one acts in a godly way.

but clearly there are plenty examples of christians acting in a way that is antithetical to the way their faith says they will.

this is why there’s such an undercurrent in christian culture of the tension between freewill and god’s sovereignty.

gotta keep that freewill card around so the huge evidence of lack of obedience doesnt’ end up undermining the faith altogether.

my second point is that ideas either survive or do not survive.

ideas that are absurd do not survive.

very few people believe the earth is flat anymore because we accept the eidence presented to us: very very few of us get to see the thing from afar ourselves or understand the physics well enough to run tests on our own.

no one believes they can fly (at least no one who lives long enough to spread the idea).

but ideas that sound plausible can survive, and they can survive long enough to get refined and evolve to become more plausible.

this is, of course, the “religion as meme” idea, and it is fully capable of explaining why religion and specifically christianity describe the human condition quite well.

if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have survived.

ultimately, though, in the great sifting of ideas by humanit, the truthy ones will come to the top while the others are burned off.

this is why humans murder less than they used to, live longer, have healthier babies and are able to build rockets.

it is also why, eventually, we will shake off all notions of the supernatural to explain what is currently unexplainable.

thank god for it, too! 😉

test everything, hold fast to what is good

i have been asked to post on my practice of exposing this board to beliefs or lines of thinking that i myself do not hold to.

this thread is meant to be an answer to that request.

in the interest of keeping it clear for those who won’t read more than a few sentences, i’ll make my main point up top, and flesh it out below:

the verses i have in mind, mostly are:

“…test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 thes 5)

“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. (1 peter 3)

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 cor 3)

my main point is this: all that is truth is god’s truth, and we are instructed in scripture to seek it out and claim it as our own.

all too often, christians take an anti-intellectual attitude. we tend to discourage critical , questioning, or creative thinking. we do this, i think, in a misguided attempt at “guarding the truth” — but the end result is that the truth is actually supressed, or more likely, never actually encountered.

many of us who grew up in christian homes, and almost all of us who grew up in western society, have heard some version of the gospel all our lives. it is impossible to get through life without encountering a version or other of it. the problem with this is that fimiliarity breeds contempt: as people have become accustomed to what they have heard is “the gospel”, and rejected or accepted that gospel, they then go through their lives thinking they have done just that: accepted or rejected the gospel.

in fact, i submit that they have done no such thing.

as paul makes clear, if it is not the actual gospel, it is really no gospel at all.

and the pop-culture version of the gospel is not the actual gospel that jesus preached.

i’ll make that point again, because i believe it is vitally important: the story that most people in western culture have accepted or rejected is not the gospel, but something else — something crippled and distorted.

i am not questioning the “salvation” of millions of people who hold some christian faith now or in times past (romans makes clear that god judges all people based on what they know and what they do with what they know — i believe we can trust the father in heaven to do the right thing with each and every human soul). rather, i am talking about something else: living life with jesus as mentor, for the good of those around us and to the glory of the father.

jesus asked no less than for people to abandon all they held dear, turn their lives in a new direction, and pursue love and justice.

thousands crowded around him because he taught with an authority they had never encountered on a subject they had heard all their lives: the message of god’s love.

the message he preached was that the kingdom of god was available in a way it never had been before, and that anyone and everyone would do so may enter into it.

some rejoiced at this, some balked.

a few turned very bitter, and eventually killed him for it — because his message was threatening the status quo, where they were comfortabely in power.

but he proved that he was who he claimed to be — the perfect revelation of the father — by not staying dead, and he turned the world on its ear by sending his students out to teach others what they had learned about how to live life: by loving people.

as a couple of generations passed, and it became clear that the story of this incredible news should be preserved in writing, some of these students set out to do just hat — and others set out to write to the groups of people who had started meeting together to encourage each other in this new faith.

a few of those letters of encouragement were saved, and eventually gathered together as part of the scripture.

the three verses i qutoed above are from some of those letters.

in it, we have clues from some of the earliest believes — some of jesus’ first stuents — about how to live this life he instructed us in living.

so little of jesus message had to do with holding to this or that theory about theology, or subscribing to any one system of belief.

rather, jesus message was about doing. about loving your neighbor, and about taking care of the poor, and about taking care of the single most important thing god ever created: the people around you.

and all of the letters to the early churches were geared towards encouraging people to that effort, and against allowing the ideas of the culture to invade and infect that pure message.

they were encouraged to try out the ideas that came along, and compare them to what they knew to be true, and to allow the spirit of the one true god to help them discern.

they were instructed to be thinkers: to be ready to give answers about this faith to questioners.

they were reminded that even when they think they know that they still don’t know what god knows.

in light of all of this, as society changes it is still our duty as people who are trying to be students of jesus the christ to test all things.

to truly think through issues and not simply cling to the thinking we have always held, but to constantly evaluate our heads and our hearts and the ideas we find around us so that we can grow in our faith.

i post ideas that some may dissagree with (and i may disagree with) to further this effort.

i believe that we as christians must think critically about the ideas that the world around us holds, so that we may meet those ideas head on: embracing what is true, rejecting what is false, and always doing so with the help of the spirit of god.

i believe that too few of us bother doing that, because we have grown up in a culture that discourages it, and that it is one of my duties to encourage right behaviour.

some of the ideas i present are not in line with scripture. some are.

we who are jesus’ disciples are under instruction to test them all, and to cling to those that are.

ignoring these ideas won’t make them go away, though. the world around us, the one we are called to be in, holds these ideas, and if we are to be the salt and light in this world, we are obligated to reach them in a gentle, understanding way.

i believe that by thinking through tough issues, and by evaluating more sides that we might be comfortable with, we can grow as a body of beleivers — we can gain a higher understanding of the truth.

i trust the holy spirit in the believer’s life to help them discern that which is false from that which is true.

it must be evident that “truth” is a funny sort of thing, since many of us here claim to have it, yet disagree on so very many things.

so let us approach ideas humbly, and with open minds, as we are instructed to. let us reason together. let us think critically and creatively about this faith.

“test everything; hold fast what is good.”

on “course joking”

where’s the line?

what defines “course joking” ?

is it simply using a (gasp!) curse-word?

is it lewdness?

is it always only in the ear of the beholder?

are there simply some things a christian should never say, under any circumstances?

(and if so, can you tell us without sinning???)

is what you ought not to joke about, or say, variable depending on whom you’re with? (and, yes, we know you’re always with god, that’s a given)

are there “levels” of course joking, with some stuff being okay for sally, but for jenny that would be a sin?

another point often brought up — by the more conservative among us, usually — is something along these lines:

“…but, if christians are not even supposed to give even the slightest impression of sinning…”

to which i resopnd: but jesus was accused of being a drunkard — surely those who did so got the impression he was a sinner?

also, this brings up a related point:

there is a verse that the KJV is very widely quoted, even by people who use the NIV or other translations normally:

1 Thess 5:22 (KJV) — “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

this verse is often misused to say that everything a christian does should never be able to be confused with something evil, by anyone.

but, as with a lot of things, the king james 600 year old verbiage is getting in the way of what god was really saying:

most other translations say something more like:

ESV: Abstain from every form of evil.

anyway, back to course joking: when is what you say simply wrong?

the idea of what’s “obscene” has changed a BUNCH in the past 30 years.

(anyone in here seen the movie grease lately? — its filthy! filled with offensive language — that was perfectly acceptable in its day. and i bet that if the producers of that film saw what we put on tv during primetime, they’d flip thier lids, with the ammount of skin we show)

i don’t believe simply “offending someone” can be the gauge, as i have heard some contend.

this is because of what i read in John 6

The Words of Eternal Life

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life…”

perhaps that’s a different “meaning” of the word offend than is often meant — but, there it is: clearly simply “if it offends, it’s wrong” won’t do as a test of what is or is not coarse joking.

in any case, our words can offend without being coarse joking — and coarse joking can be coarse joking, i think, w/o offending anyone in the room.

i think this just goes to point out, as i sit here and think about it, how wise jesus’ teachings are.

he really didn’t come with laws, as it’d be so easy to simply follow a list of laws and think we’re OK in god’s eyes (read: pharisees).

instead, he came with advice on real heart-change. changes in heart that result in sensitivity to the spirit, the fruit of which ends up being that things such as coarse joking naturally disappear from our behavior.

(or something along those lines)

i think that does NOT end the question, however:

since it was implied in my question that jesus does, in fact, hear everything anyway.

if we didn’t think god hears all we do, the question would be rather moot, even.

so, as it is, the question of “would you say it in front of jesus” is really just re-phrasing the question, in a way.

additionally, we get into the same problem of “…something jesus wouldn’t want to hear…” that we do with “what others don’t want to hear”.

who “decides” what jesus wants to hear and not hear from us?

that, really, was the point of my asking.

where do we end up drawing the line?

how do we end up drawing said line?

i submit that the lines we draw have little to do with jesus, the scripture, or leadings from the spirit so much as they have to do with the culture we’re brought up and live in.

consumerism has infected evangelical culture

for too long we’ve been presenting a brand of christianity that is about personal gain, which we generally mean to be equal to “the american way” — that is personal comfort, and happy families.

a good amount of “beware the homos and abortionists!” is thrown in by the major radio pastors, in an effort to rally the “moral majority” into a voting block, and so there’s quite a bit of political power to be gained by “being a christian” that we sell as well.

by “sell” i mean what the average person who is not a disciple of jesus and follows his teachings thinks about christianity, at least in america.

we are consumerists, not christians, as a group.

we, as individuals, are very non-confrontational with our non-christian friends (if we ever bother to get any — i know far too many christians who simply never develop deep relationships with anyone who isn’t in their small group, and then complain about their co-workers “lack of morals”).

we tend to ghettoize ourselves into our own schools, our own congregations, our own music, and parties — and so very few of us are really out there making deep, lasting relationships with non-christians that what we as individuals are selling is, “christians don’t care about you, or your crappy lives, now go to hell.”

that’s the message most people get from us.

we tend to only talk about christ when a peer cusses in front of us, and even then, are we really talking about christ, and his work on earth? or are just asking them to not offend us?

i know this becuase i talk to a lot of them, on a regular basis.

i hear the pain that has been caused by “christians”.

i regularly get told by new friends that they are amazed when they find out i’m a christian — because i’m nice.

this, friends, is sad.

Before you go