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Sunday, September 28, 2003

Nothing Is Real

Usually, the journals, clippings and notes to myself piled on and strewn around my desk, while interesting in themselves, are altogether too chaotic to mean anything in particular en masse. Usually, that is, but not this past week, wherein, as if by some miracle, the top three items on one pile all related to each other quite serendipitously.

The first was a book of poems I’d been meaning to reexamine to see if my initial, negative thoughts about the book held up (they did). The second was a news release announcing a new book of poems by another author. The third, the new October edition of First Things. I started with the latter (available at their site next month), an altogether more appetizing prospect given the odds of my enjoying any “new” book of poems.

The article I began with, and have been pondering since, is “Christ and Nothing,” by David B. Hart. To do the essay some injustice, it boils down to insight that post-modern, post-Christian culture offers nothing of substance because its producers worship nothing but the will. Think of the Bacterial Girl and her willing herself to take up Kabbala without, of course, the decades of training a rabbi will tell you is a spiritual necessity for those who would safely practice that esoteric system.

Says Hart, “The only cult that can truly thrive in the aftermath of Christianity is a sordid service of the self, of the impulses of the will, of the nothingness that is all that the withdrawal of Christianity leaves behind.” He adds, “And we should certainly dread whatever rough beast it is that is being bred in our ever coarser, crueler, more inarticulate, more vacuous popular culture; because cloaked in it anodyne insipience, lies a world increasingly devoid of merit, wit, kindness, imagination, or charity.”

Now, that certainly describes Madonna and the like-minded legion that sits atop pop culture, but what of the poets I mentioned, neither achieving nor aiming for the vast pop audience? The first, the younger of the two, posits an extinct Neolithic (New Stone Age) tribe who once dwelt in the American Southwest as the conscience of the continent, their ghosts as vengeful, crying for what has become of the place at the hands of a society in which the poet inexplicably finds himself. The second posits a Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) mindset among the cave painters of Southwest Europe that, in its supposed feminist, socialist and ecologist make-up, sounds suspiciously like the Green Party platform.

I think these two poets, in their nostalgia for a pre-Christian world, fulfill Hart’s description as well. They both follow a banal program, colonizing a dead past with imaginary ghosts, the ghosts being themselves, their selves grasping at nothing.

posted by Robert on Sunday, September 28, 2003 | link

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Friday, September 26, 2003

Not A Good Week to be Famous.

First the Maytag Man dies, now three, count ‘em three more celebs kick off. Robert Palmer, George Plimpton, and Edward Said. Plimpton was a very good writer. I did enjoy Edie. Said was a two-bit intellectual hack, racist, and single-handedly destroyed the discipline of Middle Eastern Studies, turning it into a PC whiners league. I didn’t say good person, just famous. Palmer was the rock icon who sang with zombie babes in such classics as Addicted to Love and Simply Irresistible. I guess Johnny Cash and John Ritter join Charles Bronson for the last three. I wonder who’s next?

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, September 26, 2003 | link

Quiz Time.

Ooh, I even like the name.

Malifacent
You are Malifacent from Sleeping Beauty. The
ultimate goth and party crasher.


What Disney Villain are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, September 26, 2003 | link

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Spy Games.

Gee, they caught another spy at Gitmo. Well lookee there, he’s a follower of the Religion of Peace. Come to think of it, so was the last guy! Think there could be a connection in all that? Nah.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 | link

One Other Islamic Thought.

In The True Believer, Eric Hoffer had an interesting section on the fanaticism of converts. Instead of focusing on the converts you’re thinking of, he focused on involuntary converts. He said the proverbial “fanaticism of the convert” is dwarfed by the fanaticism of the forced convert. According to Hoffer, the forced convert becomes more fanatical than his converters in order to redeem himself in his own eyes. In any case of forced conversion, the convert is confronted with those in his political or religious community who did not bend and who held true to their beliefs unto death. The FC, seeing himself in contrast with those martyrs, begins to feel like a coward. In order to ward of a sense of cowardice and inferiority, he validates his pragmatic capitulation by convincing himself it was a decision of principle. Thus he becomes ever more strident in defense of his new belief system. Now take this idea and apply it to Islam. Not to individual believers (although many of their “conversions” are conversions by sword) but to the political and religious culture of Islam as a whole.

There is not a single nation or culture on the face of planet earth that voluntarily converted to Islam. Is it possible that the heritage of forced conversions has infected Islamic culture not with the zeal of true faith but with a psychological coping mechanism of self-justifying fanaticism? Not that this is conscious, but that there is a subconscious structure of distorted fanaticism based on a cultural remembrance of the initial forced conversion. If an entire culture is conquered and forced to adopt a religion it in no way believes, could the new believers create a mindset conducive to the kind of murderous fanaticism we see today? If the individual forced convert reacts in the ways Hoffer describes, what would an entire culture do in the same situation? Quite frankly, this does make the Muslim world a lot more understandable than a strictly logical analyses does. Any thoughts?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 | link

Football Round-up.

Ugh. Notre Dame lost, as they will continue to lose until Willingham benches that second-string receiver he’s calling a quarterback. I didn’t watch any college ball this week because I was cleaning myself out from under an avalanche of accumulated possessions. The Goodwill gets lots of donations, as will the library, and I get some much needed closet space. IT was worth missing some football, especially as the Irish have been sucking so bad.

The Patriots played . . . well, they played. They traded field goals with the Jets most of the game and only came alive in the third period. Then they went to sleep again. Brady ran the ball in for their only offensive touchdown. A new guy on defense, Asante Samuel, intercepted and scored off Testaverde. The Pats would have cleaned up if they had used the blitz more. But instead of the pass rush we got workaday run stopping. Yes, they stopped Curtis Martin but that’s all they did. This team will not see the playoffs. This was a win, for which I am grateful. I will savor it because I don’t think there’ll be too many more.

What can I say about the Packers? The less the better. The game was in Arizona and the heat took a huge toll. Injuries took a toll too but the heat is what did them in. Yes, the Pack lost to the Cards. The Cardinals. The Card-eee-nals. A team that rivals the Bengals in hard-won crapulosity. Favre, in one of his legendary fourth quarter comebacks, threw the interception that lost the game. An interception in the end zone to cap off a length of the field drive in the last 10 seconds of the game. As great as Brett is, he loses as many games as he wins. Green Bay is suffering from the Marino Effect and they will only recover once Favre retires. The Marino Effect is where a team has a franchise player who is so good that they construct the rest of the team around him. Then the team becomes one-dimensional favoring the players specialty and the team never achieves more than mediocrity. This is so named because this is what happened to the Dolphins in the 80s. Having Marino, a truly great QB, they kept gearing the team to a pure pass offense to take advantage of what they had. Soon, all they had was a pass game, with no run game and mediocre defense. They did it because “Dan can win it for us.” Not without somebody to catch the ball he won’t. And not against a league full of strong defenses who now only have to defend the pass. Concentrating so much on one player, the Fish never put together a real team. Green Bay does the same thing with Favre. They won’t be champions again until they stop depending on Brett to win it.

A note for my Chief loving Spinsterian Allen, the Chiefs may in fact be the strongest team in football. I didn’t get to watch the game for obvious reasons but when I checked in on it the Chiefs were solid on all sides of the ball. I’m not going to back them wholeheartedly for one simple reason: the Marino Effect. Priest Holmes is still the focus of their offense and they need to prove they can win without him. If Holmes stays healthy the Chiefs will tear up the playoffs. If he goes down again, they may do what they did last year and fold. Maybe they’ve diversified their offense and I haven’t seen it. If the league would stop scheduling them opposite the Pack and Pats I could tell you more. I wouldn’t bet against them though.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 | link

Johnny Cash, RIP.

I hadn’t posted this because there’s nothing for me to say. How can I encompass such greatness in mere words. I am honestly shocked that he survived June for so long. But in the end you’ll just have to go out and buy tons of Cash’s CDs and let the man speak for himself.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 | link

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Evil, Hatred Thereof

I’m posting this between teaching classes so I have to be terser than I want to be: Run, don’t walk, to this NYPress essay by Mark Gauvreau Judge, “Bring Back Hate: It’s a lost virtue in lost times.” The NYPress is light years removed from—and exponentially better edited—than the free New York weekly that everybody in the country has heard of but which I won’t mention because its name rhymes with choice, a word that has come to mean the toleration of evil, whether its users recognize it or not.

Judge (perfect byline, no?), in a tour de force of concise prose manages to cite to good effect one of my top-five philosophers—Josef Pieper—as well as showing me how to introduce an apt Flannery O’Connor quote into a class discussion of Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” The O’Connor: “In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness, and tenderness leads to the gas chamber.”

My observation has been that my students have been trained by our schools to exhibit compassion for the perpetrators of many and varied evils (except in certain politically correct circumstances—Judge is great on this point) and that compassion is always the correct stance to take in the face of evildoers. Grandma’s fate in the O’Connor story will be, hopefully, instructional in this regard.

Then again, they may cancel class so as not to interfere with hurricane Isabel parties.

posted by Robert on Thursday, September 18, 2003 | link

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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

By the Way . . .

Has Bob been brilliant lately or what? He needs to pen some odes to Spam and stop making me and Carol look bad.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 | link

Football Round-Up.

I did not watch the college games this week. There was no reason to. Auburn beat that girl’s school, I mean, Vanderbilt. If they didn’t Tubberville would’ve been fired on the spot. Notre Dame lost to Michigan. Willingham kept playing Holiday, who, according to the Notorious G.U.P., was still forgetting the snap count and was so nervous his hands visibly shook before each pass. Talk about telegraphing the play to the defense. ND ran the ball against Michigan’s great run defense but because they didn’t put back-up Brady Quinn in they didn’t take advantage of Big M’s less than stellar secondary. The Irish will lose until Holiday gets benched or moved to running back. Alabama won against Kentucky and the vaunted Hefty Lefty. The Lord of the Ring Dings. The Pillsbury Throwboy. The Battleship Lorenzen. I have nothing to say about the game, but I love the nicknames.

The Green Bay Packers actually won. This would be more exciting if they beat someone other than the Lions. Still, winning was nice. The team gelled nicely and Ahman Green seemed to get over his case of the dropsies. In fact, Green’s first run was the old Packer Sweep. It was so beautiful. Just sweep around, break through the line, and run a nice 70 or so yards to the end zone. Sweet. Favre played well but not like he used to. Hopefully they’ve gotten their game on track and will have a good year. Playoffs? Maybe. Winning the playoffs? No.

Good Lord, the Patsies actually played this week. On the field I mean. After they phoned it in last week, I was expecting Phillie to crush them. Instead, the Iggles up and died. Phillie played just awful. The Pats played very well. Seriously. I was shocked. Brady was accurate. The defense played with heart. The offensive line held, but was still weaker than I’d like. This was a dramatic improvement over last week. Then again, the Iggles really sucked. Maybe my joy is tragically comparative.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 | link

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Monday, September 15, 2003

Monday Morning Morals

The Sept. issue of Touchstone magazine has several pieces worth reading, but you’ll have to purchase a copy to read the one that struck me in particular, “Deadly Choice: Abortion as a War Against Women,” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, whom you might remember as author of Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life (Anchor) and other notable books. In it, she argues, the agenda of pro-abortion leaders has always been about more than pro-choice law:

“How have the advocates of abortion convinced vast numbers of people, many of them decent people of good will, that women’s prospects for happiness and self-realization depend upon unrestricted access to abortion? The simple answer lies in their success convincing people that full personhood for women depends upon their becoming equal to men in every way—which effectively means securing freedom from their bodies and, especially from children. The more complicated answer arises from the assumptions of our culture as a whole, especially its escalating sexual permissiveness, its loss of spiritual direction, its pathological fear of human mortality and the related cult of youth, its dedication to instant gratification and disdain for sacrifice, and, perhaps most portentously, its abandonment of children.”

Couple Fox-Genovese’s insights with those of Robert P. George, a Princeton professor who attacks the “animalist” positions of his Princeton colleague Peter Singer, the Professor from Nowhere (also in this issue, in the transcribed testimony George gave before the House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in July 2000)—and what you get is a disturbing picture of the return of Baal worship, 21st Century style, wherein the sacrifice of infants is justified for the sake of career and the most celebrated careers are those of the Bacterial Girl and her skanky protégés.

Further recommended reading: the prophetic Walker Percy’s novel, The Thanatos Syndrome, wherein he entertainingly nails the metaphysics of it all—again.


posted by Robert on Monday, September 15, 2003 | link

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Saturday, September 13, 2003

The Left’s Unrequited Love for the Moon

One of the sharpest 9/11 anniversary articles I read last week was Christopher Hitchens’ “How Not to Remember 9/11,” wherein the author recommends Americans adopt a steely, stoical attitude regarding the prosecution of the war on terror—and the sooner we do the better for our psyches. It’s a short piece containing a remarkable percentage of astute observations. Here’s one regarding the persistent, willful ignorance of the American Left:

“If our Congress or our executive mansion had been immolated that morning, would some people still be talking as if there was a moral equivalence between the United States and the Taliban? Would they still be prattling as if the whole thing was an oblique revenge for the Florida recount? Of course they would… Civil society is assaulted in the most criminal way by the most pitilessly reactionary force in the modern world.” Instead of going after these goons, the “posturing loons” of the left “all concentrated on a masturbatory introspection about American guilt, granted the aura of revolutionary authenticity to bin Laden and his fellow gangsters, and let the flag be duly seized by those who did look at least like they meant business.”

Hitchens, of course, remains a man of the Left, but one increasingly frustrated by the moral and intellectual density of his party. Here he once again admonishes the Left for its abject failure to see that just because American conservatives see Islamists as the enemy doesn’t mean the Left should embrace them as friends. The Islamists win this one, and leftists who haven’t learned how to lie prostrate toward Mecca and don burqas will literally lose the heads they figuratively misplaced long ago. Why don’t they get that?



posted by Robert on Saturday, September 13, 2003 | link

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Thursday, September 11, 2003

Unabandoned


To suffer loss is not to be
At a loss. It is to be
In loss. In it, there is no
Distance any longer
Between quick kiss
And long goodbye.

It is a lie, such a lie
To deny this anguish
Prescribing more distance,
An even deeper detachment
To those severed

From such men
As we saw that day,
In fear, in faith,
Inch by inch
Pushing back
Gates of hell
With their lives.


RB 02/11/02

>>>more>>>

posted by Robert on Thursday, September 11, 2003 | link

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Monday, September 08, 2003

Charles Bronson, RIP.

Yes, I should have blogged it last week, but losing Bronson was too horrible to think about. He was a man. He played men who were unapologetically men. He was tougher than tough, but humanly tough. None of this cartoon-y wire-fight crap. I love Jackie Chan but Bronson would have just pulled out a hand cannon and blown a cavern in ol’ Jackie. Bronson, man, Bronson. Man.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, September 08, 2003 | link

Football Round-Up.

Just shoot me. My only winning team was Notre Dame and they deserved to lose. While Auburn’s loss to Georgia Tech was refreshing, as is the thought of Tommy Tubberville polishing his resume in the wee hours of the morning, it couldn’t make up for the grinding horror that was my football weekend. Alabama lost to Washington State, the school they swiped their erstwhile stripper-philic coach, Mike Price, from. After a slow start, Bama finally got things together but not half so together as WSU. Still, Bama should have a pretty good season if you can tell anything after 2 games. Three coaches in 9 months is a lot to overcome but Bama looks like they’ll do it.

Notre Dame, however, was an excruciating disappointment. After all my bragging on Ty Willingham he goes and darn near tanks the opener. Willingham started Carlyle Holiday as QB. Holiday is no QB. He’s a runningback who throws. Willingham uses a West Coast offense. Holiday doesn’t know the West Coast offense. The Irish publicly admitted that Holiday does not know the offense. Yet Willingham not only starts Holiday, he leaves the moron in all game. Holiday fumbled about 6 snaps from center. After 2 or 3 fumbles, ND changes centers. Holiday keeps fumbling. Everyone on the line knows the snap count but the QB. I swear to you the QB forgot the count on the play he himself was calling. He still had his hands between the center’s legs and kept a-counting as the ball whizzed past his head. Holiday should have been benched after the first quarter. They did have to put in the back-up QB for a series or two after Hioliday hurt his ankle. The back-up then took the team down field for the Irish’s first offensive TD since last November. Then guess who comes back in to keep fumbling? Holiday. Worse, Willingham, up by 7, goes into the dreaded Prevent Defense. Dreaded by the fans of the team that uses it because no other defense guarantees points for the other team like Prevent. Letting the other team tie the game and take it to overtime, ND was lucky their kicker squeaked in between the uprights. What a pathetic win.

Green Bay blew it big time, losing at home to their archnemesis, the Vikes. This had better be Favre’s last season because he is just too old. Worse, he hasn’t adjusted his mental game to the ravages of time. Still, Brett kept it to a mere 4 interceptions. The Pack took 2 quarters to warm up but finally did start playing in the second half. The Pack also lost Donald Driver, their best receiver, with a neck injury on a failed jumper catch. He was carted off the field on a stretcher but seems to be okay. They nearly tied it up and only ended up losing by 5. This could end up being a 6-10 season, or even, dare I hope 7-9. The wins will be ugly but there will be wins.

Now let’s get the to absolutely putrid, lower than pond scum, ugly as Hillary’s butt New Englan’ Patriots. You may have already noticed, they still have no “D”. They played so badly, they . . . oh screw it, I can’t complete the metaphor because the Patsies didn’t play at all. They took the field with the valor of a Parisian. The defense just wandered about and the offense went 3 and out as fast as they could so their spots on the bench wouldn’t get cold. For a while now I have ranted on what the Patsies need to improve on the field. I was wrong. The Patriots have a solid core of good and great players who have everything it takes to dominate the league. The problem is the coach and more accurately the owner. The coach killed this season in the middle of last week when he cut Lawyer Milloy, one of the best players on the team and the defensive team captain. The team captain! The heart of the defense! Well, Belichek’s message got through loud and clear: play as great as you want and we’ll fire you anyway to line the owner’s pockets. Surprise, surprise, the defense played Sunday as if they were doing the bare minimum required to fulfill the terms of their contracts. Belichek, aside form gutting the defense and sucking out their souls, has hung the offense out to dry. He still hasn’t gotten an offensive line so Brady can’t run his check downs and is hurried, knocked down, or sacked on most every snap. The Pats still haven’t invested in a solid receiver corp. The offensive coordinator still calls the wrong plays for the team he has. Belichek commits the cardinal sin of coaching to the game plan and not to the team. May I also point out that he has become the reincarnation of Pete Carroll? Pete “Two Runs and a Pass” Carroll? All this negligence and, quite frankly, incompetence, from Belichek throws the weight of the game on Brady’s shoulders. The kid can’t handle it. Nobody can. Green Bay does the same thing with Favre and look where it’s got them. Sitting home in January, that’s where. Brady has to take too many chances and tries to force the ball into too many tight spots. His interception rate goes up, his accuracy down, and his confidence can’t help but waver. But with everything Belicheks’ doing wrong, the ultimate blame falls on the owner, Bob Kraft. Kraft is the one who keeps Belichek in charge. Kraft is the one who probably pushed for Milloy’s cut. Kraft is the one who doesn’t want a championship team, only low player salaries and a full stadium. The Pats won’t achieve what they have the talent to achieve until the league does to Kraft what it did to Mike Brown in Cleveland: i.e. force him out of control of the team.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, September 08, 2003 | link

I'm not lying this time.

Fatima is really back (finally). She posted and she's not happy. Check out her archives too. Maybe if our six or seven readers bump her stats, she post more.

posted by Carol on Monday, September 08, 2003 | link

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Friday, September 05, 2003

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!



People Who Wear White Shoes After Labor Day
Circle I Limbo

Voluntary Vegetarians
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

The Tolerant and Diverse
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Leftists
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Murderers and Rapists
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Socialists, Communists
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Pedophiles
Circle VII Burning Sands

False Prophets
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Jane Fonda
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell



posted by Lee Ann on Friday, September 05, 2003 | link

Football Round-Up.

I watched most of the UAB game to avoid the eternal 2003 NFL Season Kick-Off Pre-Game Show. UAB and Southern Miss were about equally bad. The highlight of the game was kicker Nick Hayes. I was shocked as heck when he missed the point after. I grew up with him and he’s a great guy. Great leg too. I did flip to the pre-game extravaganza every so often, hoping it would be over already. I missed all but snippets of Slutney and the Hasbeens. When Aerosmith is dull, it’s time to go home. The game itself, afterthought that ABC obviously held it to be, was no great shakes. The Jets vs. the Redskins. Since Jets QB Chad Pennington is out for most of the season with a broken wrist, Vinnie Testaverde is their starter. He’s too old and was never great to begin with. Good, but not great. Expect a long season for the boys in green. The Redskins, who won, are just lame. They have 4 of last year’s best starting Jets but even so looked pretty mediocre. This was not an enjoyable game. It was, however, Real Football. And that, my dear Spinsterians, feels good.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, September 05, 2003 | link

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Thursday, September 04, 2003

Seven Days in September


I have just watched the first fifteen minutes of this program on A&E and I can’t believe it happened. Two years and I have forgotten what it felt like to watch that horror.

How on earth could anyone do that? I almost think that it would be more comprehensible if they had done it casually: “Dude, let’s go hijack a plane and fly it into a building.” But to deliberately and carefully plan and practice and study so you could kill thousands is so completely inhuman that it should be inconceivable to anyone with a conscience.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how things can go wrong (it’s my job), and I have read lots and lots of true crime so humans being stupid or evil is no shock to me, but generally, there isn’t this kind of planning going into it. Ted Bundy just killed when he felt like it; he didn’t spend years, or even hours planning a kill. I’d be willing to bet he spent no more than two minutes on planning any one crime. To obsess about killing thousands, to live, breathe, eat, dream that goal for months or years is not human.

I can’t imagine being judge, jury, and executioner and saying these Jew-loving Americans, children of Shaytaan, must die. How could anyone who had a mother and father who loved them and took care of them possibly think that way?

And then I think of the soft anti-Semitism I encounter around here: “Why do those Jews think they are ‘chosen’?” spoken by someone who thinks she is a good Catholic (I don’t know, maybe because it’s in the Bible?) or the conspiracy of Jews back east who control the finances of the country mentioned by an otherwise highly intelligent person (and all I can say to that is “Oy vey Maria” and tell him that we are not going to have that conversation).

And I guess if you grow up with that kind of crap, and then that kind of crap raised to the nth power, you think there is a reason to do that and your soul is so completely curdled from the lies and the hate preached to you every Friday that you can’t even think of your victims as people.

I don’t know if there is anything to be done about them except to wipe every last one of them , Taliban, al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiya, from the face of the earth. I don’t believe there is any reforming people like that. I don’t believe they can be persuaded that they are wrong. I think they will continue to try to kill us unless we take care of them. If they are prepared to live and let live like civilized human beings then let them. But any move against us must be met with ten times the force. Apparently it’s the only thing those fanatics will understand.

posted by Carol on Thursday, September 04, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I Don’t Mean This in a Bad Way . . .

Protestantly speaking, why can’t the Episcopalians ordain an openly gay bishop? I don’t mean “their denom, their rules”, I mean, seriously, why not? Who exactly has the authority to say “you can’t do that!”? (I do want to get it out of the way that I find it absolutely hilarious that a religious denomination founded for the express purpose of letting a man run out on his wife and family to shack up with his love bunny is now on the verge of self-destruction over the ordination of a bishop who ran out on his wife and family to shack up with his love bunny.) Back the point, how can a Protestant say that the Episcopalian hierarchy can’t do what it sees fit to do? My understanding of the basic rule of Protestantism is that each man reads his Bible and reasons for himself what Christianity entails. Thus no hierarchy stands between the individual and his God. So how can a Protestant honestly say that the Episcopal reading of the Bible is wrong? If the Episcopal church studies the Scriptures and finds therein that the “love the sinner/ neither do I condemn you” teachings of Christ outweigh His strictly moralistic ones, who is Joe Protestant to say different? Unless there is some authoritative standard of Christian morality and conduct, it’s all up to the individual Christian or denomination to determine the will of God.

I don’t find the “entirety of Christian history forbids it” argument persuasive because, frankly, the Protestants have junked quite a lot of traditional Christian religious and moral beliefs. The early Christians held divorce, abortion, and contraception to be abominations too yet most Protestant denominations have okayed one or more of them. This cherry-picking of which beliefs of the first Christians you’ll buy into is a bit too self-serving for me. You can’t say that those who learned Christianity from the Apostles themselves were wrong about the Real Presence, Apostolic Succession, the Communion of Saints, women’s ordination, abortion, etc. but are suddenly God’s Own Prophets when it comes to sodomy. Trust tradition only when it condemns something you find icky?

The Bible maybe? Well, all the Protestant denominations I am familiar with skip over or omit big chunks of Scripture they find inconvenient. I don’t mean come up with an interpretation with which I do not agree, I mean flat out ignore. I know many a Protestant who clicks his heels together and chants “there is no book of James, there is no book of James.” (I do here want to say that I readily admit to living in a state with some very, er, unique Protestant groups.) But this brings us back again to whose interpretation of Scripture is more valid than whose. People can both honestly and dishonestly interpret the same verses in vastly different ways. Lets’ leave off the dishonest ones as that deals mostly with cults, haters, loonies, and Jack Chick-types, all of whom are a whole ‘nother ballgame. Lets’ stick with the honest disagreements amongst your mainline denominations and “non-denominations”. There are endless different Protestant churches all interpreting the same Bible in very different ways. Who’s right? We’re right back where we started. If the Episcopalians think their gay bishop is Scriptural, who’s to say it’s not?

By what authority can any Protestant or Protestant denomination say that another Protestant’s or denomination’s interpretation of Scripture is wrong?

Note: I base my observations of Protestants on the Protestants I have most often observed. I am most familiar with: Southern Baptists, Pentacostals, Apostolic, Nondenominational, Vineyard, Church of Christ, Snake Handlers, and Absolute Psychotics. Trust me on that last one. They make the Snake Handlers seem normal.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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