Archive for October, 2011


You gotta love Kandu the Wonder Dawg, not to mention his adoptive parents and their caring ingenuity:

(HAT TIP: Her Judiness & the Barkers)

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B.B. & Lucille & Me & Mine Be Rockin' the House Tonight in Dallas

What a Jitterbug weekend along the I-30 corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth:

— The always bloody Texas-OU Red River Rivalry at the storied old Cotton Bowl and State Fairgrounds, (OK, so that Big Event wasn’t very pretty for Orangebloods and other Texas fans; wait’ll next year);

— The Texas Rangers will be in action a few miles down the road in a Big Playoff Game tonight;

— Taylor Swift will be in concert practically next door to the Rangers at Cowboys Stadium;

— And me on that same stretch of road tonight–I’ll be at the Verizon Center with my Jitterbug legs plugged in at high voltage at the wingding headlined by B.B. King with Fort Worth’s own Greatness Delbert McClinton, His Greatness Leon Russell and if that’s not enough, Monte Montgomery too.

Entertain me, boys.

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It was good to see this year’s Nobel Peace Prize spread around a bit–to three people rather than one–and to see it awarded to three great and courageous women whose lives and causes I’ve followed and admired.

I mean, you probably won’t see them on Roger Ailes’s Fox News Channel anytime soon–since they may not be up to the standard of “hot” women on which the blatantly and disgustingly sexist Mr. Ailes based his hiring of Sarah Palin–but these are truly admirable and courageous women.

The president of Liberia is a United Methodist (click here), and is a good friend of many my Methodist friends and clergy colleagues who’ve worked to rebuild the African nation.

The violence in Liberia became more real to me when I was in seminary at SMU and heard the horrific stories of man’s inhumanity toward man as told by Liberian students.

Despite the hard and crazy times, most of us in this country go through our days complaining and whining, as I did last night on Facebook about how I can’t get cable TV stations on Time Warner.

People all over the world go through their days hoping not to get their heads removed. . . .

Thank God for the nurturing and brave women who are advancing the kingdom of God and His/Her will for justice and mercy and peace on earth, good will to all.

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The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace . . .

patience, kindness, goodness . . .

gentleness, faithfulness and self control.

Against such things there is no law.”

— St Paul

(Hat Tip: Haydee Rancel” via Facebook)

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‎Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


The words “genius” and “icon” are tossed around so casually now that they’ve lost any meaning, but he was the real deal.

And one who showed us not only how to live but how to die:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

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“I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings.”

— Roger Ailes, the fox at the Fox News Channel,
in interview with Frazier Moore of
The Associated Press

To be fair and balanced about it, I’m sure he hires all his Fox employees because they’re hot and get ratings.

Seriously, God help us through this Age of Raw Cynicism. They’re making cynics of us all.

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The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

— From the Crunchy Con Manifesto

Read on . . . .


I was a professional film critic once upon a time, but had a sharp and unexpected change in my film-watching habits when my first child was born. I had changed jobs at the paper just prior to the baby’s arrival, so I was no longer watching movies professionally. But I was not prepared for what happened to me one day at home in Brooklyn, about three weeks after Matthew was born. I was at home watching TV when I saw that “Goodfellas” was coming on. It had been my favorite film of the year when it was in theaters years earlier, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to watch it again.

“I lasted 40 minutes before the violence sickened me so much I could no longer take it.

“This was something very new. I was an observant Catholic and a conservative in every sense prior to the baby’s coming, but I was able to hold film violence at an ironic distance. Suddenly, I felt it in my bones in a way I had never done. Why? I think it was the simple fatherly act of holding my newborn son close every day, and experiencing how unbelievably fragile human life is. Watching its wanton violation, seeing the terrible abuse of the human body and the graphic murder of human beings, was literally intolerable to me. It wasn’t that I became indignant about it; it was that I literally could not watch it.”

Rod Dreher in his blawg at “The American Conservative”

Rod Dreher is one of my favorite conservative writers and thinkers. He always has something to say and says it well–whether I agree with him or not–and often something that makes me stop and think, and maybe even re-think my values.

To my way of thinking, that’s the power of genuinely good writing. Good writing has the potential to challenge your values, or force you to sharpen your arguments for what you believe and to why you believe it.

Concerning his reflection on violent movies . . .

I have no problems watching violent movies, which can underscore moral and Christian truths and be nourishing food for thought for Christians and others of faith who take their faith seriously. The great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor–to name but one author among so many great Catholic fiction writers–used violence to great effect to underscore the Truth and the truths of the gospels.

One reason Martin Scorcese is one of my favorite directors is that he, who happens also to be Catholic and was in fact a seminarian–is an artist whose movies are chock-full of Christian theology, complete with his trademark and often disturbing violence. (And I’m NOT talking about The Last Temptation of Christ, which caused such a stir among conservative Christians who would have been better off to have ignored it rather than protesting it outside movie theaters. It is, for my money, one of the worst movies by Scorcese or anybody else I ever suffered through, and an awful adaptation of a provocative and interesting classic of a Christian novel.)

I don’t think that Rod Dreher (who left the Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church, BTW) has an argument with the fact that great art that is ultra-violent–if done right by a great artist–can be morally and theologically illuminating for the most devout Christian. He points out, after all, that he once sang Hosannahs about Scorcese’s Goodfellas back when he was a film critic.

And he’s not making a political argument in his reasoning for being so turned off by violent drama after his first-born came along.

He’s just being the smart, intellectually honest and high-minded writer that he is in sharing his thoughts on violence (and sex) in movies. Everything that Dreher writes comes out of his being grounded in some sound and thoughtful theology. Whether you agree with his theology anymore or less than you agree with his politics, he knows his theology–what he believes about God and Christ, and why he believes it.

That’s one of the very definitions of theology–what I believe and why I believe it. Theology–and this being a Christian blog I’m talking Christian theology here–is your belief about all things God with an explanation of why you believe it based on serious Bible reading, serious Bible study, Christian tradition, reason (you don’t have to check your brain at the church door, as they say) and experience.

With no further of that old ado, click here for the full posting from Dreher. And as a bonus, here’s the “Crunchy Con Manifesto”:

A Crunchy Con Manifesto
1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

More on Her Greatness Flannery O’Connor

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Foods and meals as recalled in both the Old and New Testaments show us that folk in biblical times saw food and eating as holy (a far cry from how we view food and eating in this age of fast food and chemical production/preservation). That’s why The Last Supper is so crucial to the story of Jesus–and why it’s a sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward grace) in Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant faith traditions.

In Eucharist: Christ’s Feast with the Church, Methodist scholar Laurence Hull Stookey wrote:

In the fullest New Testament tradition, eating and drinking with Jesus is enactment:

“The Eucharist is a feast in which we, with the risen Lord, incarnate the hope we have of a righteous realm in which Christ’s sacrificial love destroys barriers among human beings and between humanity and God. To this feast all are invited by God on equal terms.”

Oct. 2 is World Communion Sunday.

For more on what that means and its background click here.”

And also here,” where you’ll find a comment at the bottom of Debra Dean Murphy’s posting from yours truly, who’s always trying to make trouble, isn’t he?)

And here’s another blurb from Laurence Snookey’s book on the Eucharist . . . .

“Jesus’ mealtime companions ran the gamut of society from unacceptable lepers and the unrighteous but ultimately penitent Zacchaeus, on the one hand, to the respected, but sometimes self-righteous Pharisees on the other. Across that wide spectrum these meals of Jesus were to be seen as enacted illustrations of the scope of God’s concern. Jesus’ table fellowship is a manifestation of the new creation, which embraces all who are discriminated against in the course of normal human activity (according to what we might call ‘old creation rules’) and yet are willing to hear the Good News with repentence, thus fulfilling covenant obedience.

“Jesus’ meal in the upper room before his death cannot be separated from all the eating and drinking previously reported of him. . . . [but] all of those earlier meal accounts also must be read in the light of the resurrection . . . ”

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