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Tag Archives: Culture

Reading James Through an American Lens

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A Reading of James 2: 14-17 with a 21st Century,

United States Gun Violence Hermeneutic:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t act on it? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is a victim in a mass shooting, or has had a child shot to death at school, and one of you says to them, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” and you do nothing to oppose the senseless madness of such horrific violence, allowing more madmen to easily acquire weapons of mass destruction, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it doesn’t lead to action, is dead.

Garden Salad w/Ranch, A Peach And A Banana

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The last meal of Karla Faye Tucker, executed by Texas on Feb. 3, 1998 at 6:45 p.m.

Check out The Last Meals Project, where executed prisoners are paired with their last meals.

Miss America Fail: Contestants Answer “Should Evolution Be Taught in School?”

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Sorry for the blog negligence.  Hope this post both atones and amuses instead of causing needless worry about our future as a civilization.  All is well, provided you have enough hairspray.

h/t: buzzfeed

Obama Speaks to the Vitriol in Our National Discourse

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While he names Beck and Limbaugh, he also calls on people of all political/ideological stripes to be more conscious of the corrosive power of high-strung invective and roiling polemic.  As Miss Maureen O’Hara and I have  discussed on several occasions,   there too often seems to be little difference in tone between those on the rabid right and those on the self-righteous left.

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Youd Better Lern Our Language

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From this great Flickr site dedicated to the collection of “Teabonics”

ht: Bob Cesca via Shannyn Moore

Maybe the Rapture Will Save Them

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“The bullying, threats, and acts of violence following the passage of health care reform have been shocking, but they’re only the most recent manifestations of an increasing sense of desperation.

It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of ‘take our country back.’ The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists into the present and forced them to confront the future. And it scares them.

Even the optics must be irritating. A woman (Nancy Pelosi) pushed the health care bill through the House. The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner). And the black man in the White House signed the bill into law. It’s enough to make a good old boy go crazy.”

From Charles M. Blow, NYT

Scattershot Thoughts On A Snowy Day

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h/t to Blackie Sherrod, RIP

Scattershooting was my favorite Sherrod column when he wrote for the Dallas Morning News.   He’d just throw together bits and pieces of news and opinion that wouldn’t quite inspire a full column.  It was kind of like the sportswriter’s equivalent to what the Beatles did with Side 2 of Abbey Road.  I’ve seen this done by plenty of other scribes, but Blackie’s work stands out, because to me, he was one of those writers who stood head and shoulders above the rest.  If you can imagine a Mt. Olympus where the clouds billow from stubby cigars in cheap glass ashtrays, where the smell of grease-burgers and fried onions blend with the aroma of half-empty glasses of Cutty Sark and Jim Beam, there is where you will find Blackie Sherrod holding court with his peers.  Some, like Blackie, are ink-stained sports wretches, while others pound different beats.  Mike Royko, Ring Lardner, Studs Terkel, Grantland Rice, Jim Murray, and Dan Cook (my hometown hero) all reside there, sitting at cluttered, coffee-stained desks with nary the hint of a word processor in sight.  Instead the air is filled with the clickety-clack noise of ancient typewriters; and the bells of angels sound every time someone slaps a carriage return.  The company includes some legendary broadcasters:  Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Kern Tips and Connie Alexander.   Through the smoke, and lubricated by all manner of fermented beverages, story upon story tumbles forth, spiced by the wit and banter flowing from these old boys who never grew up and never gave in.  Amid the sounds of clinking ice they rehash the great dramas that once unfolded before their eyes.  The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside at Army, Jim Thorpe’s Indian attacks, Slingin’ Sammy’s punting ability, Babe Didrickson’s dead-solid putting, Gehrig and Ruth, Mantle and Mays, Woody and Bo, the Great Shootout in Fayettville, and on and on……Meanwhile, with ears glued to the outside of the celestial door,  Hunter S. Thompson and Richard M. Nixon stand expectantly, hoping for the chance to enter the inner sanctum.  (both Thompson and Nixon wanted to be sportswriters; Thompson had far greater success in the field, covering at least a couple of Super Bowls along with the Kentucky Derby for the alternative press.  Nixon did only the halftime gig at the Big Shootout and diagrammed plays for the Washington Redskins.)

So let’s get on with the scattershooting, while wondering whatever happened to the No. 1 ranked Texas men’s basketball team………….

Waking up to snow on March 19 is kind of like waking up on February 1 to find your Christmas tree still set up.  Isn’t it about time to move on?

Just when you thought the Texas Board of Education couldn’t stoop much lower, they decided to leap into the Grand Canyon of narrow-minded, fundamentalist Christian group-think.   Scrubbing  Tom Jefferson out of  Enlightenment history is about the same as blotting out Paul Brown from NFL history.  You just can’t expect it to hold up.  Soon folks will realize that either agenda creates a sizeable gap and distortion; then they realize there’s an equivalent sizeable gap and distortion located between the ears of the agenda makers.  Then the agenda makers hit the unemployment line.

Speaking of Christians, it’s high time for my denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to move past all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over the recent decision to allow special instances of ordination of gay/lesbian clergy in monogamous, same-sex relationships.   Note to the obstinate teeth-gnashers:  we’ve had gay/lesbian clergy on the roster for some time now; this decision actually brings them out of the closet and into the same realm of accountability that we heteros have been held to for years.  It also keeps them from being fired (defrocking is what my vet does to my cats) for being the people God created them to be; and God doesn’t make crap, people do.

Speaking of the ELCA, isn’t it about time to follow up on the already successful Brand Campaign done a couple of years ago?  Remember that  “God’s Work, Our Hands” ad blitz?  Of course we were a little light on advertising funds (isn’t that the way it too often goes with evangelism budgets?), so we had to go with mostly billboards.  But now may  be the time to launch the collection of a special church-wide offering dedicated toward putting the good news about us out there via radio and television (sorry, print, but well, you know how it is now….).  Imagine a montage of groups of people from around the world, Lutherans from Tanzania to Toledo, all involved in some sort of service activity, like building a Habitat house, or serving a community meal.  The ending scenes could be people gathered for a baptism or for communion.  Their message could be as simple as “I love living in God’s grace.”   That’s my tame idea. Here’s another one:  a montage of scenes that include people in prison, people at a homeless shelter, and a street person or two saying something like, “I have a home in the ELCA.”  I also thought about framing the same message around same-sex couples, except I realized that all the same-sex couples I know are just average folks trying to get by in the world like the rest of us.  What would really appear to be so unique about that?

C’mon, ELCA, let’s do something like this!  Don’t worry–my ideas come royalty free….

The NCAA Basketball Tournament (men’s and women’s) is one of the more egalitarian sporting events you’ll find, and that is why it’s so fun to watch.  Right now there are people “stepping out of the office for a bit” so they can pop over to a sports bar and catch some of the action of this 64-team tournament.  Little schools like Butler and Wofford get to tangle with the likes of Duke and Kentucky.  Basketball is a team sport that allows the Little Davids to take on the Goliaths with sling shots that look a whole lot like cat-quick, dead-eye accurate, shooting guards.   And every year there is some team that catches at least one giant right square between the eyes.   Yesterday lil’ ol’ Murray State, the 13th seed, dropped 4th seeded Vanderbilt with a 15 ft. buzzer beater.  And 14th seeded Ohio rose up to smack down the mighty 3rd seeded Georgetown Hoyas.   The Tourney is a yearly venue for some Hoosiers-like story to play out before our very eyes, and that is why it is so addicting.   That, and all the gambling………….

Old Man Winter is bringing a good blast of wind and snow today, like some cranky old man shouting at Spring to “Get offa my lawn!”  Spring won’t get too upset, since all the bluster just brings  more nitrogen-rich moisture to the trees and fields about to stir from their hibernation.   Sorry, Old Man, your time is about up.