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Archive for August, 2009

By Craig Medred, Alaska Dispatch
One year ago Saturday, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain hoisted little-known Sarah Palin onto the national stage. Little could McCain imagine the cast of characters she would bring with her or the firestorm she would create.
Isn’t it odd how nuclear explosions alter the time-space continuum? Thirteen months ago, much of Alaska knew Sarah Palin almost as much by her marriage to “first dude” Todd Palin, the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmachine racing champion, as by her political office, and the world — well, the world didn’t know her at all.
Now the world knows not only Sarah but Todd and many of the rest of the players in what has become the Palin Family Soap Opera: Bristol, the teenage daughter who has become a national spokeswoman for teen abstinence. Levi Johnston, Bristol’s ex-fiance and the daddy of the baby she had because she couldn’t abstain. Sherri Johnston, the mother of Levi, and a convicted drug dealer. Meghan Stapleton, the former television talking head who became the bark-at-the-media attack dog for Sarah, who was in turn the attack dog for Republican presidential contender John McCain.
And those are only the main players. Throw in the bit players — people like Palin’s Fox News buddy Greta Van Susteren; Levi’s handler, Tank Jones, and flamboyant attorney, Rex Butler; the gaggle of photogenic Palin children; Sarah’s plain-spoken father, Chuck Heath; even comedian Kathy Griffin, who dragged Levi along as her date to Nickelodeon’s Teen Choice Awards in August — and the show really gets weird.
Welcome to the strange new world of Sarah Palin, one-time Alaska beauty queen, one-time stay-at-home mom, and one-time mayor of the strip-mall town of Wasilla along the picturesque shores of Lakes Wasilla and Lucille in the shadow of the spectacular Talkeetna and Chugach mountains, below which dwell many hardworking people and a handful of the not-so-hard-working whom former state Sen. Ben Stevens once impolitely referred to as “Valley trash.”
The setting here is awesome, the cast of characters intriguing, and the spectacle sometimes hard not to watch.
At least until it gets just plain overwhelming.
Maybe by now you’ve had enough. Even one popular Alaska radio talk-show host was on the air in Anchorage only days ago expressing relief that with Palin gone from the governor’s office and comparatively silent on Twitter and Facebook, there have actually been a few days of quiet since she threw the “death panel” fireball at President Obama’s plan for national health care. The Obama administration, of course, is still trying to calm the “death panel” storm Palin created by posting just a few lines of copy on the Web.
And to think that prior to Aug. 29, 2008, Palin was — at least on the national level — an obscure, Republican governor in a far-off state serving as something of the de facto leader of a pack of Democrats in the state House.
That was then, when Sarah Palin was a uniter, not a divider.
This is now, with Sarah Palin one of the most visible Republicans on the national stage and arguably the most divisive figure in American politics. An ABC News/Washington Post poll in July found 70 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of Alaska’s ex-governor, but among all voters — Republicans, Democrats and independents — 58 percent view her unfavorably.
She is quite simply the most popular Republican in the country at the moment, and the Republican least likely capable of bringing Democrats and independents into the conservative fold. It’s a long way from those halcyon days of yesteryear when she was cozier with some Alaska Dems than with her own party leadership.

It would be nice to ask Palin herownself what happened, but she can’t be found. The exact location of the former governor is being kept top secret, though there seem almost as many Sarah Palin spottings as Elvis sightings in the Lower 48 these days. At last report, she’d been rumored to be shopping for real estate in Montana, New York and Rhode Island. Take your pick.
She is also rumored to be struggling with marital problems. Who knows. The rumor has been denied vehemently, and yet it persists persistently.
What is known is that Palin isn’t at home in Wasilla.

“I don’t even know where she is right now,” her father, Chuck Heath, said this week from his home near hers in the big valley north of Anchorage.

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Guaranteed to blow your mind!!!

OUROBOROS from sam3 on Vimeo.

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The word salvation, a key term for understanding the Christian worldview, derives from the Latin word salus, which means healthy and sound, in turn deriving from the Greek holus, which means whole. The Christian Gospel, as a message of salvation, can also be understood as a message of healing, one that brings wholeness to our lives.
The Gospel, or Good News, is addressed to us in our cosmic woundedness, proclaiming the Way wherein we can be healed and come to wholeness once again. This is by undergoing a total change of heart and mind, a metanoia wherein we experience a renovation of our being as we are reconciling with God, with our true selves, with our fellow human beings, and with the whole of creation.
“Understood this way, we can see how the Buddhist expression of the human predicament in terms of duhka, that is, as a situation that is dis-located, dis-eased, out of step, or out of touch with itself, is in basic resonance and in agreement with the Christian understanding of cosmic woundedness.”

—- From Healing Breath: Zen Spirituality for a Wounded Earth” by Ruben L.F. Habito. He spent nearly 20 years in Japan where he did Zen koan training and is now resident Zen Teacher at the Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas. A former Roman Catholic priest, he also teaches world religions and spiritualities at Perkins School of Theology where jitterbugger here obtained his Master of Divinity.

I like to think of salvation in terms of its healing power with Christ as the great Physician of souls. We are all broken people living in a messy, broken, noisy and violent world. We all stand in need of God’s saving grace, love and mercy and God comes to heal us in all our brokenness.

United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones, a former Perkins professor, writes in his book United Methodist Doctrine, that in Wesley’s scheme of salvation, “genuine religion is best understood as the therapy of the soul. Christianity is the way in which God is transforming God’s creation away from its sin and restoring the original God present in the first creation. This means changing of individuals and of entire social systems.”

“A common mistake about salvation is to relate it only to life after death,” Jones wrote. {Wesley’s Sermons} emphasize that salvation is a present reality, not merely something acheived after death.”

We’re all wounded, all broken, all “dis-eased,” all standing in need of God’s grace and healing power–all in need of renovation and restoration to original blessing.
Before there was original sin, there was original blessing.

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Happy Friday from jitterbuggingforjesus.com & Satchmo

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I see trees of green, red roses too,
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky,
Also the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, say how do you do?
They’re really saying, I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow,
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.

Yes I think to myself… what a wonderful world.

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“In him there is no darkness at all”

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This is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true, but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

—- 1 John 1: 5-10

****photography by Rarindra Prakarsa
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It starts out all cute with the sweet little girl’s mugging— and descends into weird.
Clever and fun and creative.
But kinda weird.
Therefore–naturally–we like it.

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Yes, Rev. Billy is still out there with his anti-shopping, anti-consumerism, anti-rich people crusades. Here he storms a shopping mall in England with the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir and gets kicked out.
As my old-fashioned grandma Nannie used to say, “The man gives me the jim-jams.”
I think that translated to something like, “the man gets on my nerves real bad.”

Reverend Billy Visits Westfield London from DeDomenici on Vimeo.

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