Thursday, November 30, 2006

the song in my head

After singing Jekyll and Hyde tunes all week, this is now stuck in my head:

So I’ll drive so f-ing far away that I never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind

This is really helping with the exegetical paper. Just like having Kick Out The Jams as the soundtrack to my first sermon was helpful.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

crusading atheism

Why, then, are the enlightened so conspicuously up in arms these days, reiterating every possible argument against the existence of God? Why are they indulging in books — Daniel Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell,” Sam Harris’s “Letter to a Christian Nation,” and Richard Dawkins’s “God Delusion” — in which authors lampoon religion or rail against the devout under the banner of a crusading atheism? [...] the popularity of the current counterattack on religion cloaks a renewed and intense anxiety within secular society that it is not the story of religion but rather the story of the Enlightenment that may be more illusory than real.

I've got thoughts on this that I might post later, when I've had another cup of coffee. Of course, there's always this.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

word of the day!

trencherman, n

A feeder; an eater; usually qualified, as good, stout, valiant, etc., one who plays a good knife and fork; one who has a hearty appetite.

(can also be 'trencherwoman,' for the genderedly correct in the crowd.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


">What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

ben witherington: da bomb

Seriously, I want to marry this guy when I grow up*:
...the alliance between Evangelicals and the hard line conservatives in the Republican party has made it difficult for many Evangelicals to see the difference in our time between being a Christian and being an American, and in particular being a certain kind of an American—namely a Republican. The problem is that this reflects a certain kind of mental ghettoizing of the Gospel, a blunting of its prophetic voice on issues ranging from war to poverty, and sometimes this even comes with the not so subtle suggestion that to be un-American (defined as being opposed to certain key Republican credo items) is to be un-Christian. But Christianity must and does transcend any particular cultural expression of itself, otherwise we have the cultural captivity of the Gospel which leads to a form of idolatry...

...Yes I said war. The Book of Revelation is a huge warning to leave justice in God’s hands and he will sort things out in his own time and way. It is a call to be prepared to be martyred, not a call to arms. Indeed, there is no call to arms in the NT. Instead there are warnings about those who live by the sword will die by the sword (hmm, what does that imply about gun control), and a call to personal pacifism in order to emulate the non-violent behavior of Jesus. There is nothing even remotely to be found in the NT that supports war as an act initiated by one country against another. Nothing!

Witherington makes me excited to be an evangelical.

*Even though he pissed me off over here. Nondenominational mega-churches may be hard to hold accountable, but that's no reason to slam all of us... the Wesleyans have their problems too, buddy.

help me with my homework!

This request is directed mainly at my nonESR friends, although I'll take advice and comments from anyone. I'm working on an team exegesis project, focused on Acts 16:16-24, and I need to say something about how my religious community interprets the passage and how it affects their understanding of Christianity.

Well, religious community. That's a sticky phrase. I don't think I'm going to have much luck with 'relatively progressive yet rabidly evangelical pentacostal' as a search term on ATLA, so I've decided to define my religious community as 'people I know.' I'm taking the passage into the Roadhouse and making friends there give me opinions, emailing folks from Pentecostal circles back home, and... asking for erudite commentary from y'all.

So, even if your response is something like 'gosh, Paul sounds like a jerk,' or 'oh, that's how Paul and Silas ended up in jail,' or 'stories that wierd should really be moved to 2 Chronicles where nobody will notice them,' leave them in the comments.

If your comment is extra special, you might get a footnote in the paper. Then, you'll have the distinct pleasure of knowing that my professor is aware of your awesomeness.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


when snow is gone
from the street
and from ground beyond

– the snowbank
reveals its gritty self
grows black and hard
with sand and silt

these seasons of life
we pass through
time and again

the interval between snow
and excess of daffodils
is the interval
we crave
and dread

the ugliness of life
hidden in winter
by spring
follows us

just here, just now
to remind us
just who
we are

-James Zoller

Monday, November 20, 2006

this one's for the ecumenicists in the crowd

Lately, I had desperately pondered,
Spent my nights awake and I wondered,
What I could have done in another way to make you stay,
Reason will not teach a solution,
I will end up lost in confusion,
I don't care if you really care as long as you don't go.

So, I cry and I pray and I beg,
Love me, love me, say that you love me,
Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.
Love me, love me, pretend that you love me,
Lead me, lead me, just say that you need me,
I can't care about anything but you.

Crazy theologians, they.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

poem of the day

Going Blind

She sat at tea just like the others. First
I merely had a notion that this guest
Held up her cup not quite like all the rest.
And once she gave a smile. It almost hurt.

When they arose at last, with talk and laughter,
And ambled slowly and as chance dictated
Through many rooms, their voices animated,
I saw her seek the noise and follow after.

Held in like one who in a little bit
Would have to sing where many people listened;
Her lighted eyes, which spoke of gladness, glistened
With outward luster, as a pond is lit.

She followed slowly, and it took much trying,
As though some obstacle still barred her stride;
And yet as if she on the farther side
Might not be walking any more, but flying.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

stayed up too late listening to NPR

From Cheers and Jeers:
Mid-week Rapture Index: 156 (including 3 false prophets and one Democratic House) Soul Protection Factor 16 lotion is recommended while you're transferring your food and supplies from the house to the bomb shelter.

Glad to see that Upstate NY provided three of those pickups. On the not-so-good side in terms of getting today's work done, NPR has all sorts of interactive maps to play with.

From NPR:
"We took a whuppin' last night and we understand that," said Tom DeLay, the former GOP House majority leader, whose old Texas seat switched to Democrats, too. DeLay, who resigned from the House after being charged in connection with a campaign finance scheme, said many conservatives chose not to vote.

"The Democrats didn't win," he said, "Republicans lost."

Why isn't this fellow irrelevant yet? Sure, I'll be even more thrilled if we pick up the Senate seats in Montana and Virginia, but how can Democrats winning across the nation not be classified as a win for the Democrats?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I have lots of profundities in my head about the Eucharist, lentil mashes, Greek oracles, the Day of the Lord, State Space Semantics, all the stuff I never got around to processing about going home back in September, something that happened in Sunday afternoon worship that really touched me, and, oh, mudpuddles. Someday soon, all these profundities will converge, and that will be one awesome lentil mash. I think I'll bring lentil mash to potluck next Sunday afternoon, but I don't know if it will be the conceptually awesome one of my dreams.

For now, though, I just want to say that it rained pink lemonade last night at the Roadhouse. I had to put out buckets to catch it, like I would in a leaky house.

And of course: Go Spitzer!

Friday, November 03, 2006


(connected to reflections during class this morning on transformation, which I may at some point organize well enough to write)

A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto
-Czesław Miłosz

Bees build around red liver,
Ants build around black bone.
It has begun: the tearing, the trampling on skills,
It has begun: the breaking of glass, wood, capper, nickel, silver foam
Of gypsum, iron sheets, violin strings, trumpets, leaves, balls, crystals.
Poof! Phosphorescent fire from yellow walls
Engulfs animal and human hair.

Bees build around the honeycomb of lungs,
Ants build around white bone.
Torn is paper, rubber, linen, leather, flax,
Fiber, fabrics, cellulose, snakeskin, wire.
The roof and the wall collapse in flame and heat seizes the foundations.
Now there is only the earth, sandy, trodden down,
With one leafless tree.

Slowly, boring a tunnel, a guardian mole makes his way,
With a small red lamp fastened to his forehead.
He touches buried bodies, counts them, pushes on,
He distinguishes human ashes by their luminous Japer,
The ashes of each man by a different part of the spectrum.
Bees build around a red trace.
Ants build around the place left by my body.
I am afraid, so afraid of the guardian mole.
He has swollen eyelids like a Patriarch
Who has sat much in the light of candles
Reading the great book of the species.

What will I tell him, I, a Jew of the New Testament,
Waiting two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus?
My broken body will deliver me to his sight
And he will count me among the helpers of death:
The uncircumcised.