Archive for October, 2007

The American Bar Association has just finished a 3 year study on the death penalty, finding it deeply flawed. One article says that the ABA reports, "major racial disparities, inadequate
legal
defense services and irregular clemency review processes."

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START NOW culture jammers!

Posted: October 29, 2007 in activism

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It’s almost Christmas season, and everyone knows what that means…

BUY NOTHING CHRISTMAS actions are coming!

The notorious international day of action, Buy Nothing Day, will happen as always on the nation’s #1 day of spending- Black Friday. The amount of money spent on ‘gifts’ in this country on just that day is absolutely criminal.

Buy Nothing Day always proves to be amazing, but it shouldn’t stop there. Fairly recently, a group of Mennonites in Canada have taken it upon themselves to put some wrenches in the gears of this capitalist-driven tendancy to spend, spend, spend. BUY NOTHING CHRISTMAS was formally organized back in 2001 simply to “call out” the cultural assumption that consumerism brings happiness and that christmas must be about this flawed brand of monetary happiness. It’s such a good way to carry on the momentum of Buy Nothing Day and to sustain actions throughout the holidays.

For enough resources to keep you busy all season, go to www.buynothingchristmas.org

A Christianity Worth Believing

Posted: October 20, 2007 in theology

READ LEO TOLSTOY

Leotolstoy_2

that’s all I have to say

WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Posted: October 15, 2007 in random thoughts

For my Marriage and The Family Class I had to read an article about a male-to-female transexual women. She was an established man with a wife and kids, served on the Philadelphia Police Department, and seemingly had it all together. Yet she was extrememly uncomfortable as a man. Those born into the “wrong” gender ussually have a really hard time all throughout life with their assigned role. Our society is set up in a way that inherently stimgatizes those who are outside the norms. It is hard to really understand the inner turmoil that makes up transgender people’s lives if you have never been freinds with one.

For some reason one sentence in the article hit me more than the others. I don’t know why. I guess it says something to my personal tendancy to be half-hearted about issues and to not take them personally- to really be driven by experience and passion.

At first there were a lot of well-wishers, but then the reality set in. Some people have had a hard time … but they’re really trying,” she said. “There also were some who were completely disgusted and never spoke to me again. I expected that, and I’m OK with it.”

from the CNN.com article

think about it

Posted: October 14, 2007 in random thoughts

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good? Noone is good but God. You know the commandments.”

“Teacher, I have kept all these since I was young.”

“You lack one thing. Go, sell all you own, and give the money to the poor.”

When Jesus said this the man was shocked and went away sad.

The Doctrine of Creativity

Posted: October 11, 2007 in theology

or why artists are better theologians.

I recently watched a documentary about Danielson (aka Danielson Famile, Brother Danielson, Tri-Danielson Delta, etc). For those who have not been privileged enough to experience the creative spirit of Danielson, let me offer some explanation. Daniel Smith- the "founder" of the Danielson project is a musician who has pushed through the music scene with his (genius) ability to create. Daniel has put out records on Tooth and Nail and his own record company.

What struck me in watching the movie was Daniel Smith’s determination to be himself. His music and material art (which he creates in unison) are extremely unique expressions that don’t so much "fit" in the mainstream flow of society. His creativity has surely forged due recognition for him, yet it has also held him back. It has held him back from "making it" in the mainstream music scene (whether Christian or otherwise). But that doesn’t matter to him. I mean, of course it matters to him; but it doesn’t matter to him. I have been thinking constantly about one thing that Daniel said in the movie.

God created me for a purpose. And to be faithful to god, I have to be faithful to that purpose. I have to be me, though I’m not very mainstream.
(or something similar. I cant remember the exact quote)

It’s difficult to be true to oneself. "Be yourself" is such a simple, cheesy, and difficult thing to say. It’s difficult if you actually try it. Soren Kierkegaard said, "Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are."

Maybe people of faith can find the courage though our respective traditions to be ourselves. Within Christianity, the doctrine of creation may offer some encouragement. Of course lately there has been so much politically-driven debate about this subject that many people often excuse the notion of "creation" as ridiculous, unscientific, and irrational. With this constant rhetoric around, it’s easy to remember that  such debate is simply part of a different conversation. The doctrine of creation is not about science, or really even about the beginning of the world. It’s about what Brian McLaren (granted not necessarily in this context) would call our framing story. As (non-scientific) early Jews asked "Why am I here?" they found an identity and strength in the (obvious to them) notion that god had created humanity and put humanity here for a purpose.

Yet in our rational circles we get so wound up with the idea that god created humanity, that we forget the other half of the sentence above- the significant part. God put humanity here for a purpose.
Leave it to those outside the mainstream to offer this insight- the writers, musicians, artists, and so on. It’s no surprise that the margins would offer something that most people have never thought of.

Be yourself.

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Posted: October 4, 2007 in random thoughts

the balance between confidence and humility