Today marks the first Sunday in Advent. The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. The worship music I chose for today reflected themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life. - paul
Posted Sun Nov 28th, 2004 - 6:50pm by CPC Top of page
The kid and I were chatting happily last week about really really important things such as this country's top movie, Spongebob Squarepants, when, suddenly, she pointed at the TV screen behind me. Then, her face contorted in anger, she said ominously -- "He's e-e-e-e-v-u-l..."
Startled by the look on her face, I turned to the TV, expecting to see the Red Skull with his boot on the neck of Captain America -- but it was only George Bush, smirking and chortling and kissing members of his cabinet on the lips. "No, honey," I said, "that's only the president. That's George Bush."
"Well, okay," she said, with a shudder. Then, squenching her eyes shut and pursing her lips, she muttered -- "But I'm gonna call him Stinky." > read more
Posted Fri Nov 26th, 2004 - 12:42pm by CPC Top of page
The other day, something quite remarkable happened. Ever since the election, news anchors warned of the "coming assault on Fallujah," the "final clampdown," the "major military offensive" that would put an end to the resistance in that city. Dire warnings were made for civilians to flee – civilians already weakened, exhausted and terrorized by a year and a half of U.S.-style "liberation" – to parts unknown, on some kind of magic carpet.
Because I've been taking care of my mother who is very ill, I could only imagine other elderly and sick people in Fallujah "fleeing" the city on walkers, attached to ponderous oxygen machines.
I looked at my own children and imagined how we'd feel if we were told to run away as fast as we could to who knows where, because U.S. bombers were headed our way. Having grown up in a military town, I know the panic that grips even seasoned residents when a bomber appears out of nowhere, flying extremely low and darkening the sky over your head. Before you can figure out what's happening, you feel the earth shake under your feet. You can't see them coming – that's the truly terrorizing part. By the time you see that dark bat-shaped jet, it's too late to run. > more
Dr. Teresa Whitehurst is a clinical psychologist and the author of Jesus on Parenting, (Baker Books, 9/2004). She teaches parenting workshops, works on leadership research, and writes articles about Christ-centered perspectives on current issues. Visit her website.
Posted Tue Nov 23rd, 2004 - 11:52am by CPC Top of page
As a cradle-Anglican attending an Evangelical-flavoured Anglican church, I am, as most Anglicans are, sadly watching the cracks widening rapidly in and throughout our Communion -- particularly over the Same-Sex Blessing issue.
For the benefit of those who still think that the Episcopal Church is Christian, I present the Philadelphia Cathedral, the cathedral church of Chuck Bennison's Diocese of Pennsylvania. They'd love for you to drop by some Sunday morning. You say you'd love to but you don't believe that Jesus died on the Cross and rose to life again for the sins of the world? No problem:
The cathedral seeks to be inclusive in every way, and operates an open table in its worship, at which every seeker after God is welcomed, no questions asked. We serve the Episcopal Church, but welcome Christians of every label. We are a Christian community, but welcome people of any faith, or none. Our community is diverse in terms of age, race, gender and orientation. Jesus is our Way, but not to the exclusion of all other paths to God. Our liturgical space is designed to be user-friendly to members of both Jewish and Muslim traditions, who share with us spiritual descent from Abraham.
And if you're doing it with your neighbor's wife and/or husband, embezzling from your company or spending a large chunk of your paycheck on Internet porn, don't worry about the Bible. We can make that old book say anything we want it to say:
We seek to be progressive in our faith, grateful for the Biblical scholarship which now uncovers the deep meaning of the Scriptures beneath their literal face value. Inerrant Scriptures seem to us about as believable or supportable as infallible popes.
Posted Tue Nov 16th, 2004 - 10:04pm by CPC Top of page
I remember as a young kid in 1969 having a small psychedelic poster that said "War is bad for children, and other living things" near my bed. I also remember my first family trip deep inside the mysterious USA -- an Easter vacation down to Florida. Under a palm tree by the pool one day, I met a man (who in retrospect, must have been very young) that seemed to my young eyes to be the saddest person I had ever met. He had just returned Stateside on medical leave from Vietnam, and simply sat in a lawn chair -- day in and day out. I don't remember much about him other than that deep sadness that emanated from him against the background of a pale pink and lime green art-deco style low-cost family motel. That sad young soldier, and the peeling layers of pastel paint formed my impression of the US for many years to come. Fast forward 35 years later: that memory has come flooding back:
MIKE HOFFMAN would not be the guy his buddies would expect to see leading a protest movement. The son of a steelworker and a high school janitor from Allentown, Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 as an artilleryman to “blow things up.” His transformation into an activist came the hard way—on the streets of Baghdad.
When Hoffman arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, his unit’s highest-ranking enlisted man laid out the mission in stark terms. “You’re not going to make Iraq safe for democracy,” the sergeant said. “You are going for one reason alone: oil. But you’re still going to go, because you signed a contract. And you’re going to go to bring your friends home.” Hoffman, who had his own doubts about the war, was relieved—he’d never expected to hear such a candid assessment from a superior. But it was only when he had been in Iraq for several months that the full meaning of the sergeant’s words began to sink in. > more
Posted Mon Nov 15th, 2004 - 11:00pm by CPC Top of page
"Every day, millions of online diarists, or “bloggers,” share their opinions with a global audience. Drawing upon the content of the international media and the World Wide Web, they weave together an elaborate network with agenda-setting power on issues ranging from human rights in China to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the landscape for journalists and policymakers alike. "
"A collaborative novel from the premier cyberpunk authors, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling written in 1992. Part detective story, part historical thriller, The Difference Engine takes us not forward but back, to an imagined 1885: the Industrial Revolution is in full and inexorable swing, powered by steam-driven, cybernetic engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time."
See a few book reviews here.
If you know the book, check out the Difference Dictionary.
Posted Mon Nov 8th, 2004 - 5:18pm by CPC Top of page
Christians of Action is a network of practicing Christians who speak out, write, organize and protest about injustices done by government, media and businesses. We aim to encourage biblically based moral relationships and ethical public policy decisions throughout Canadian society.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Henry David Thoreau
Posted Fri Nov 5th, 2004 - 4:22pm by CPC Top of page
Here's something on NPR that make my Cheerio's suddenly go down a bit rough this morning:
One of the first major foreign policy challenges for a new Bush administration will be dealing with Iran. U.S. officials believe Iran is just a few years away from attaining a nuclear weapon and there's growing concern among some in Washington that diplomacy isn't enough to deal with the threat.
The Atlantic Monthly magazine recently arranged a mock war game to examine U.S. options if military force is used to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the exercise showed how limited the options are.
Posted Fri Nov 5th, 2004 - 8:49am by CPC Top of page
I'm going to stop blogging about US politics for a while -- it's too depressing to read the news. While I did not exactly long for a Kerry Presidency, I am deeply concerned for the world because of the specter of four more years of morally bankrupt Bush doctrine and the probability of more outlandish hawkish pursuits. I shuddered today when I heard him speak of his desire to spend his "hard earned" political capital.
Watch out "U.S. Bill of Rights". Better duck and cover over there Mr. and Mrs. "Axis of Evil". Yikes!
"My people will be destroyed from the failure of knowledge, for you have rejected the knowledge, and I will reject you from ministering as a priest to me. Because you forgot the instruction of your God, I will also forget your sons. As they were becoming many so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into dishonor. They eat the sin of my people, and they increase their appetite through their sin. And it will be like the people, like the priest. And I will visit his ways against him, and I will personally turn his deeds back to him. Indeed they will eat but they will not be sated. They will commit fornication but they will not give birth. For they have forsaken to wait for Yahweh. Fornication and wine and new wine take away heart."
Posted Thu Nov 4th, 2004 - 1:56pm by CPC Top of page
"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
Posted Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 - 11:09pm by CPC Top of page
David Neiwert is a freelance journalist based in Seattle, WA. He has posted Thug Watch on his Orcinus site (which purports to explore policy, culture and journalism in the 21st Century -- albeit from a "liberal" world view).
Thug Watch is about tracking right-wing nastiness against Kerry supporters in the 2004 election. There is a wealth of anecdotal and factual evidence on the Orcinus site. Here's a taste of the atmosphere surrounding a recent incident:
Lisa Dupler, a 33-year-old from Columbus, held up a rainbow-striped John Kerry sign outside the Nationwide Arena on Friday, as Republicans streamed out after being rallied by George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A thickset woman with very short, dark hair, Dupler was silent and barely flinched as people passing her hissed "faggot" into her ear. An old lady looked at her and said, "You people are sick!" A kid who looked to be about 10 or 11 affected a limp wrist and mincing voice and said, "Oh, I'm gay." Rather than restraining him, his squat mother guffawed and then turned to Dupler and sneered, "Why don't you go marry your girlfriend?" Encouraged, her son yelled, "We don't want faggots in the White House!" The throngs of Republicans were pumped after seeing the president and the action hero. But there was an angry edge to their elation. They shrieked at the dozen or so protesters standing on the concrete plaza outside the auditorium. "Kerry's a terrorist!" yelled a stocky kid in baggy jeans and braces. "Communists for Kerry! Go back to Russia," someone else screamed. Many of them took up the chant "Kerry sucks"; old women and teenage boys shouting with equal ferocity. ... Dave, a 54-year-old electronic technician, said that if Kerry wins, "I'm going to leave the country and go to a Third World nation and start a ranch." His wife, Jenny, laughed and accused him of hyperbole, but he insisted he's been studying Portuguese, the language of Brazil, "so we'll have an escape route." Sitting near him was Greg Swalley, a blond electrical contractor. "I think Kerry is the anti-Christ," he said, only half-joking. "He scares me." ... A few of the protesters, meanwhile, were red-faced from yelling at their antagonists about homophobia and budget deficits and a senseless war. Republicans were incensed. A blond woman dragged her young redheaded son toward the protesters, pointed to them, and said, "These are the Democrats," speaking as if she was revealing an awful reality that he was finally old enough to face. As she walked away with a group of other mothers and children, she was so angry she could barely speak. ... Looking at the small knot of protesters, many of whom were chanting, "Four more days," 22-year-old Nick Karnes, wearing a knit ski cap and baggy jeans, yelled, "Shut up!" Then he turned to his friend and said, "We can take 'em."
Posted Mon Nov 2nd, 2004 - 11:05am by CPC Top of page
The poll results are in, and apparently the rest of the world would like to see John Kerry elected (no idea of the margin of error!). These are interesting results which I am sure will be spun tightly by some both sides in the election -- and probably ignored by everyone else.
Here's an idea: Let's ask the U.S. to either let non-American's have a vote, or stop calling their President the "Leader of the Free World".
Posted Mon Nov 1st, 2004 - 1:30pm by CPC Top of page