June 02, 2005

A Few Things

from - smijer

I got up at three in three in the morning to use the potty. I went in, sat down, and the next thing I remember is looking up from the floor trying to focus my eyes on Mrs. smijer, who was informing me that what happened was a seizure. The second in three years that she has witnessed.

I'm about to leave for work, late, after spending some time to rest and recuperate... Grand Mal seizures leave you hurting and drained.

Notes of interest on church/state separation:
Daily Kos documents the efforts of the Ohio Restoration Project, an attempt to further place the evangelical church into the service of the Republican Party, and provides a blistering rejoinder from a thoughtful Presbyterian pastor:

This is not America's mission. This is frightening, diabolical stuff for non-Christians and Christians alike. It is blasphemous to claim that any earthly kingdom is God's kingdom. The theological foundations of this movement are vacuous. They are set on the sands of opportunism, self-righteousness and greed. [...]
The media must investigate and show this movement for what it is. Courageous preachers must help their congregations understand what is at stake. Silence is not an option.

Coincidentally, I was reading an interview at BeliefNet last night with Max Lucado, who gave the benediction at the Republican National Convention last year. He, too, seems to have a much more tempered attitude toward the role of politics in the Evangelical church:

One of the things that amazes me about Jesus is that when he had a moral difference with somebody, he drew near to that person and they dialogued about it. There’s the story about little Zaccheus, the tax collector; the guy was a crook, but he could legitimately justify his income through the way he interpreted the law--but it was wrong. Jesus hung out with him, and as a result there was a change in Zaccheus’s life.

I wish there could be some way in which people who have a preconceived notion of the church, of religious people, could hang out with church-going people for a while. I think that they think every time we’re in church we’re beating the abortion drum or bashing gay people. We’re not doing that—most people are not doing that. We’re struggling like everybody else, trying to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing in life. So I wish there could be some way that blue states could kind of intermingle with the red states.

And then vice-versa, I wish we could come to a better understanding of the struggle that a homosexual has and why abortion seems to be such a threat to so many people who are pro-choice. There’s not that dialogue taking place right now.

Actually, I take issue somewhat with the implication that our notions of the church are "preconcieved"... I do hang with church people to a certain degree, have attended a variety of evangelical churches, and really have tried to understand them. And yes, the church experience is deeper than just gay-bashing and beating the abortion drum... but you'll still have to sit through quite a bit of both if you go to one of theirs. The Ohio Restoration Project is closer to rule than exception. Nevertheless, Lucado's attitude seems a very much healthier one than, for instance, James Dobson's.

For more temperate thoughts from the Christian side, see this piece on stem cell research by the executive director of the Baptist Cetner for Ethics.

A couple of notes of interest on the Ongoing War In Iraq:
Don Rumsfeld has been let out of his closet again and immediately goes to rattling sabres at nations that might assist Al-Zarqawi:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned Iraq's neighbors today not to give medical treatment or safe haven to Iraq's most-wanted insurgent, Jordanian fugitive Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Well, excuse me. If Zarqawi shows up on my doorstep asking for medical treatment, I'm going to try to get it for him. Of course, I'll also notify the proper authorities and have him arrested, but the problem isn't with providing medical treatment - it's with providing him safe haven. I, personally, still believe in "innocent until proven guilty," though I'm afraid I may be alone in that regard.

But what is Rumsfeld accomplishing by threatening nations that give Zarqawi safe haven? I don't know about you, but if I'm Syria, with the U.S. military stretched to its breaking point, and unable to uncover the simplest intelligence of what I may be doing, I'm more afraid of terrorism from Zarqawi's people than I am of irritating the Holy American Empire. I think there is room to worry that the U.S. really will become the "Paper Tiger" that Republicans warn you against the Democrats creating.

What do you think?


Posted by smijer at June 2, 2005 11:56 AM

I am sorry to hear about your seizures. This is definitely nothing to fool around with but the worst part is that you will spend more money than Congress once you get into the “I’m going to see a Doctor” vortex. I wish you well. And as far as Rumsfeld is concerned here is an excellent articlethat pretty much covers the legacy he will leave. And as far as preconceived notions most of mine usually turn out to be pretty much correct. People are people and you can pretty much figure out where they are coming from and what they believe after an hour or less of dialogue. Most of them have a burning desire to be a part of something that they consider to be bigger than they are. I guess that is because they figure there is safety in numbers. Many believe what they believe because they are afraid not to believe it. It is as Jim Morrison said, People Are Strange.

univar.jpg Posted by Buck on June 2, 2005 01:18 PM
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I agree with Buck on the "safety in numbers" theory. I just attended a corporate meeting where 80 or so people had to leave one building and go a few blocks to another. I observed that most people cannot make that walk alone; they have to get their little groups together before setting out.

univar.jpg Posted by joe on June 3, 2005 10:19 AM
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I'm sure that the "safety in numbers" idea is a part of our biological predisposition towards social activity. On the other hand, there is another driver for individual success that most of us share. How it all plays into the psychology of religion and politics is probably beyond our ability to comprehend completely. Still, I personally believe that the desire to participate in something bigger than onesself is a healthy and worthwhile pursuit. As is the desire to succeed individually.

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on June 3, 2005 12:30 PM
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p.s... best, I think, is when one drive balances the other...

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on June 3, 2005 12:32 PM
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