Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Recreating The Big Bang

I do not pretend to be a science buff in the least, but I have to comment on this article about a group of scientists trying to recreate the Big Bang on a smaller scale. Their goal is to produce an explosion from which the same kind of matter that can spur on diverse life forms will emerge. The whole point to this experiment is to travel a step closer to solving how the universe and life came into existence. What cracks me up about this massive endeavor is just the fact that the scientists have to CREATE the big bang inorder for it to occur. The scientist have to manufacture and manipulate the elements to set the Big Bang into motion. I wonder when it will dawn on one of them that by supposedly reproducing the Big Bang, they are re-enforcing the belief that an Intelligent Being has to be involved in the creation of the universe and the origin of life. The scientists' small-scale big bang cannot occur without their design plans, inventions, time, thought, money, and will, so wouldn't the same be true for the "real Big Bang?" They are essentially playing God and only further proving that a Superior Creator had to design, control, and implement the CREATION of the universe. It's just hysterical to me because their goal is the opposite, to prove that the Big Bang occured "naturally," on its own without the help of an Intelligent Being, yet their own experiment could never happen without "intelligent beings" driving it.....Oh, the Irony!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Leprosy of Our Age

The Following are two articles from two of my favorite people: Tony Campolo and Bono, about the aWAKE Project which aims to raise awareness and action to the AIDS PANDEMIC and EXTREME POVERTY that are consuming Africa:

While the HIV/AIDS issue in America continues to be a threat to our nation, the virus in Africa and other regions has become a pandemic. In Africa, thirty-four million people have been infected with HIV; thirteen million are orphans. Every minute two people contract the HIV virus; and 90 percent of those people are children. The number one mode of transmission is not through homosexual activity but from mother to infant. This is indeed the "new plague" of our times. Yet, a BARNA Research poll shows that evangelical Christians are the least likely group to help AIDS victims in Africa—less than 3 percent said they would financially help a Christian organization minister to an AIDS orphan.

The aWAKE Project: Uniting against the Global AIDS Crisis is the first book of its kind to target a general audience: AIDS: Working toward Awareness, Knowledge, and Engagement. We want the citizens of the world to wake up to this devastating disease that is killing our brothers and sisters across the nations. Upon awareness, we mourn the loss of these fellow human beings in a global wake, or funeral, for life itself. And, finally, we hope a wake of emotional and intellectual response follows worldwide by spreading knowledge for the sake of action.
- Jenny Eaton and Kate Etue, Editors

Indifferent Christians and the African Crisis
By Tony Campolo

I need not go into the agony that Africa is enduring under the impact of the AIDS epidemic. I wish you could see what I saw with my own eyes as I visited South Africa and Zimbabwe. The suffering I witnessed led me to get together the resources to start a program for the orphans of those who have died from AIDS. You meet them almost everywhere you go in those countries. Many of these children have AIDS themselves. Our program is designed to provide them with some loving care and sustenance. No child should be abandoned to the streets, covered with the body sores that accompany AIDS. No child should die alone without knowing that he or she is loved.

The social impact of AIDS is horrendous. In two of the schools I visited, there was a shortage of teachers because several of those who had held teaching positions had been victimized by the disease and were gone. I learned that schools throughout Africa are enduring this same loss of crucial personnel. The very people that Africa needs to emerge out of economic privation are being liquidated by this dreaded disease.

I believe that too often the Christian response to the AIDS epidemic has been abominable. In many instances there is a tendency to write off those who are suffering from AIDS on the grounds that this disease is some kind of punishment from God meted out to those who have been sexually promiscuous. The logic behind such a conclusion is beyond my comprehension. Consider the fact that a huge number of those who are HIV positive are women who have been infected, not because of any immoral behavior on their part, but because their husbands gave them the disease. Are they to be condemned and ignored because of what their husbands have done? And what about the children who are infected? Children constitute a significant proportion of those who are facing the possibility of AIDS-related death through no fault of their own.

The church must recognize that AIDS very much parallels the disease of leprosy that we read about in the New Testament. In Biblical times, those who had leprosy were deemed spiritually unclean, and others would not get near them or touch them for fear of contamination that would be both physically harmful and spiritually defiling. Leprosy was seen to have a spiritual dimension to it and those who had the disease were looked upon as being especially cursed by God. Given those realities about people who had leprosy back then, it is easy to understand why comparisons can be made to those who are infected by AIDS in our contemporary world.

It is important for us to note that Jesus had a special spot in his heart for the lepers. He embraced them. He touched them. He reached out to them in love. All of this was contrary to the legalistic pietism of religious leaders in his day. Jesus' condemnation of such religionists was harsh. He always reached out to the lepers to make them whole, in spite of the fact that touching them would render him ceremoniously unclean to the custodians of the temple religion.

The Jesus who we find in Scripture calls upon us to look for him in the eyes of the poor and the oppressed. He tells us in Matthew 25 that what we do "to the least of them" we do to him. The Christ of Scripture refuses to be an abstraction in the sky. Instead, he chooses to be incarnated in the last, the least, and the lost of this world. I contend that he is especially present in those who suffer from AIDS. Sacramentally, the resurrected Jesus waits to be loved in each of them. Mother Teresa once said, "Whenever I look into the eyes of someone dying of AIDS, I have an eerie awareness that Jesus is staring back at me." Indeed, that is the case. No one can say that he or she loves Jesus without embracing Jesus in those who have this torturous disease.

Those of us who are in the church must use what moral authority we have to speak against those political and economic structures that the Bible refers to as the "principalities and powers" that rule our age. We must raise our voice against those pharmaceutical corporations that overprice the cocktail drugs that could slow down the effects of the HIV virus in those who are infected. We must call the corporate community to account for their apparent tendency to put profits far above people.

We must also speak out against a government that spends trillions of dollars to build up a military machine, but provides only a pittance to deal with the AIDS crisis that is destroying Africa. As we wage war on terrorism, we must be aware that terrorism cannot be eliminated until we deal with the economic imbalances and the social injustices that breed terrorism. We do not get rid of malaria by killing mosquitoes. Instead, we must destroy the swamps in which the mosquitoes breed. So it is that we will not get rid of terrorism by killing individual terrorists. In the end, we must get rid of the conditions that breed terrorists. We must attack the poverty and the oppression that nurtures such extremism. Enlightened self-interest should lead us to assume that unless we, who live in the richest nation on the face of the earth, respond to the AIDS crisis in Africa, there will be dire consequences.

But, in the end, we who call ourselves followers of Jesus have a higher calling than our own self-interest. If Christ is a reality in our lives, then our hearts will be broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus. There can be no doubt that the heart of our Lord is broken by what is happening in Africa, even now. If nothing else, our hearts should burn within us as we face the fact that thirteen million children in Africa have been orphaned because of AIDS, and that for each of them Jesus sheds His tears.

On Judgment Day, we will not be asked theological questions. Instead, we will be asked, as it says in Matthew 25, how we responded to those who were poor, diseased, downhearted, and alone. Jesus will ask us on that day if we reached out to the stranger in need with loving care and if we treated the sick with true compassion. It is not that theological convictions are unimportant, but rather that true commitment to the beliefs we espouse will be manifested in compassionate action on behalf of those who are writhing in the agonies of AIDS, even now.
Written for The aWAKE Project,
Copyright © 2002 by Tony Campolo.

Transcript of Video Message Recorded for Christian Music Festivals:
Recording Artist

I went to Africa recently and came back with some facts I'd like to share with you.
Twenty-five million people in Africa now have HIV. Think about that—twenty-five million people in Africa are HIV positive. Thirteen million children are orphans because their parents have died from AIDS—and this figure is expected to double by the end of the decade.

Today—in the next twenty-four hours—5,500 Africans will die of AIDS. Today in childbirth 1,400 African mothers will pass on HIV to their newborns.

If this isn't an emergency, what is? In the Scriptures we are not advised to love our neighbor, we are commanded. The Church needs to lead the way here, not drag its heels. The government needs guidance. We discuss; we debate; we put our hands in our pockets. We are generous even. But, I tell you, God is not looking for alms; God is looking for action. He is not just looking for our loose change—he's looking for a tighter contract between us and our neighbor.

Africa is America's neighbor. Africa is Europe's neighbor. We are daily standing by while millions of people die for the stupidest reason of all: money.

There is a growing movement for Jubilee in the United States. I love that word Jubilee—it suggests joy in a new beginning free from the bondage of slavery of any kind. In this instance, economic slavery. Let's not forget that redemption is an economic term. We need to drop the debt and end the ridiculous situation where today's generations in the poorest countries have to spend what little they have paying back old loans rather than investing in health, education, and clean water. We need to make trade rules more fair. If we're serious, we need to let these countries put their products on our shelves and stop refusing them what we demand for ourselves—autonomy in managing their own markets.

And finally, all rich countries need to increase development assistance to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa. This is not about throwing money away but about using our national wealth to improve the lives of the poorest people in the world. At the moment, of the twenty-two richest countries, the U.S. is at the bottom of the list when you look at how much the government is planning to give to foreign assistance as a proportion of overall wealth: 0.15 percent of GDP. And almost half of this goes to middle income countries. The UK and Ireland are at 0.32 percent. All countries need to get the level of the Scandinavians: 0.7 percent. Americans are generous people. Their personal giving is in line with everyone else.

I should be preaching to the converted here. There are 2,100 verses of Scripture pertaining to the poor. History will judge us on how we deal with this crisis. God will judge us even harder.

Look, sometimes we've just got to do what we're told. The children of God have to listen to their Father in Heaven. It's easy to think that Africa's problems are caused by natural calamity and corruption and have nothing to do with us. That's part of the problem, but the truth is also that the relationship between the developed and the developing world has been so wrong so for long—corrupt actually.

It's the start of the twenty-first century; it's time to put this right. Charity alone will not work. We need a new partnership based on justice and equality. We need to remind ourselves that God will not accept our acceptance of lives made wretched by a geographical accident of latitude and longitude.

We must wake up the sleeping giant of the Church; we must set alarm clocks to rouse our politicians who also slumber. The choice is there before each and every one of us: to stop and tend to the distant pilgrim sick on the side of the road, or, a nervous glance, and we turn away . . . away from the pilgrim, away from God's grace.

Written for The aWAKE Project,
Copyright © 2002 by Bono.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tag! I'm it!

I’ve been tagged, so I have to share 8 random facts/stories about myself.

1. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was twenty years old—pathetic, I know. Will had to teach me and I was the worse student in the world. My pride was hurting since I was a grown person and couldn’t master riding a bike. The whole experience culminated into me throwing a temper tantrum and boycotting the lesson by sitting on the side of the bike trail....OY!

2. I was basically an only child until I was sixteen, now I have six sisters and one brother!

3. Until I was ten, I thought babies where born through the belly button and not the Va-JAY-JAY.

4. I have an unnatural abhorrence of KETCHUP. I despise it. If I could wipe one substance off of the planet, I would choose ketchup.

5. The silent companionship of my dogs comforts me more than the best efforts of my dear friends.

6. One year at a family gathering when I was a kid, some people in my family were watching Ghost. There is an infamous “love scene” between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore that begins with them molding a very phallic piece of pottery. My mom tried to get me out of the room, and being the stubborn child I was, I refused to go and promptly began throwing a fit. To avoid the scene, my mother told me that Patrick Swayze gets his toenail stuck in the pottery machine and it gets ripped off. Of course, I did not want to see that, so I left the room. My mother never told me that was a big fat lie, and thus I believed her until my JUNIOR YEAR in high school when a group of friends at lunch were all talking about Ghost and I said, “Oh, but how can you guys stand that part where Patrick Swayze gets his toenail ripped off in that pottery machine?!” Oh the humiliation of it all! :)

7. I love music from all genres and eras—50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90,s and now.

8. A few years ago, I felt like a spiritual misfit. When I was with evangelical Christians, I always felt like the most liberal person in the room and when I was with my non-Christian friends, I always felt like the most conservative person in the room. I couldn’t identify with the many facets of American Christianity—mainly its demands of image and narrowing agendas. I wondered if I’d ever find a place of belonging, movements to commit to, leaders whose vision and handle on Scripture resonated with me. I had almost given up completely until Bono’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast pinpointed my frustrations and my ultimate understanding of Scripture and the purpose of Christians. Shortly after, I discovered Tony Campolo, Phillip Yancey, and Jim Wallis. These great men of faith represent a voice for Christians, like me, who don’t quite fit the mold. I am truly grateful for them.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mother's Day Photos

Even though the circumstances leading up to me unexpectedly going back to NJ for a week were sad (my great-unlce passed away), I was so happy to be home to see my family on Mother's Day. The dynamic of my family, though some would label "dysfunctional," is something I cherish. The connection, love, and HUMOR cannot be duplicated. It was great to spend time with my mom, stepdad, grandma, and sisters. Although my trip did require a reluctant visit to "dysfunction junction" (my biological father's pad to see my siblings), the time spent with my sister Olivia was really fun, she helped me pic out my first pair of earrings! Jimbo encounters are never good and I'm pretty sure they will all culminate into a future therapy session one day.

Anyhow, here are some photos from Mother's Day

This is me and my Mommy.
From the left: My cousin Ashley, My sister Mayo (Christina), My aunt Laura, Me, My sister Angela, and My Mommy.
From the left: My cousin Ashley, My grandma, Me, Angela, My aunt Laura, Mayo, My Mommy, and my sister Sarah Rose.
My Grandma, Angela, Uncle Michael, and Uncle Mark watching their science experiemnt fly away (a bunch of helium balloons tied to a bag of cookies), hopefully landing to some hungry people craving chocolate chip minis! (There might have been some beers consumed while dreaming up that plan up!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another Plea For Involvement in The One Campaign: To Make Poverty History

I just wanted to post these videos about The One Campaign: To Make Poverty History. I believe it is one of the most revolutionary and noble efforts ever contrived to combat extreme poverty and AIDS. Broadening political horizons past the scope of charity into the realm of justice for the poor and oppressed, The One Campaign aims to revamp foreign aid, cancel the insatiable debts of third world countries, and create fairer trade laws to equip poverty-stricken lands with the tools to earn their own way out of poverty.

At the end of the day, at the end of time on Judgment Day, Jesus will not ask us a list of theological questions. He will not ask if we had that glass of wine with dinner or dropped "the F-bomb" when we stubbed our toes. He will not ask if we were at church every Sunday. He will not even ask if we stopped all the gays (to the disappointment of some). But He will surely ask how we treated the least, the lost, and the last of this world. Did you feed Me when I was hungry? Did you give Me drink when I was thirsty? Did you clothe Me when I was naked? Did you visit Me prison? For whatever you did to the least of these my brethren, you did it unto Me (paraphrase Matt. 25: 36-45).

The One Campaign is an amazing beginning to start living out this call to the oppressed and poor of this world. I want to be part of a generation attempting to wipe out extreme poverty...I hope you do, too.



Friday, May 18, 2007

President Huckabee?

It's a bit early to really start thinking about the 2008 elections, but I have to say that I'm loving Mike Huckabee, so far. As far as who I will be endorsing in 2008, I have no clue, but I think Mike Huckabee has a lot of promise. The following video is an interview Mike Huckabee did with Jon Stewart. If you can handle the few Bush quips from Stewart, I think you'll find the exchange enlightening.

First Time Ear-Wear!

Even though I will not be able to sport any of this "bling" for another month, I couldn't resist purchasing my first batch of earrings!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Fine Line Between Faith and Denial

A few years ago, a Ukrainian man hopped over the fence into the den of lions at a zoo. Zookeepers and bystanders frantically attempted to lift the man out as the ferocious lions surrounded. The man repeatedly refused the extended polls and harnesses while screaming, "I trust God! God will save me!" The lions promptly pounced and mauled him to death.

This man's bizarre actions reflect the dangerous abstract mentality that sometimes gets attributed to "trusting God." This short-lived news story resonated with me because I am the the product of a parent that used "trusting in God" as an excuse to be unwise, irresponsible, and reckless. The "logic" of this mentality is that "since I am a Christian and put my trust in God, I do not have to take any precautions in life because God will miraculously intervene to prevent anything bad from happening." It usually strikes me as an "entitlement complex," that Christians are entitled to exemption from the struggles and hardships that come along with living in an imperfect world.

During my childhood, this misconstrued version of trusting in God took shape by not wearing seat belts, purposely leaving doors unlocked, refusing to work to provide for the family, leaving children with strangers, and too many other irresponsible and reckless acts to list.

I had a friend committed to leaving his doors unlocked in the name of trusting God. I'll never forget the day he arrived at his car to find all of his belongings stolen. "I trusted God, how could this happen?" he yelled. I told him He could still trust God, He's not the one who stole his belongings. I trust God, but I lock my doors because I don't trust the thieves, rapists, and murderers that prowl around this world. You know, the countless number of people in this world that have been given the free-will and use it to repeatedly violate God's perfect will?

God-fearing people all over the world get sick, swindled, abused, raped, lose loved ones, and die every single day. It's terribly simplistic and insensitive to insinuate that if they "truly" trusted in God these things would not occur.

Jesus reveals in Matthew 5:45 that "He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Christians are not exempt from the consequences and side effects of living in a fallen world; we are promised that the tragedies and struggles that do come our way will inevitably be used for His glory and for the transformation and deepening of our hearts. God doesn't promise immunity, He promises company, strength, and the ultimate working together for good. If I get attacked or robbed (for the fourth time), I believe God will see me through it and teach me something, not that He'll automatically spare me from it. But I am also going to take reasonable precautions to prevent it.

While I firmly believe that God is capable of the mind-blowing "laser-show" type miracles that we seem to crave so direly, I am more and more convinced that God's intervention manifests more often through the needs He calls and leads US to meet for each other. I also believe that trust in God includes trusting in His decision to equip people with the tools to live their lives. A.W. Tozer once said, "If God gives you a watch, are you honoring God more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?" If God gives us brains, abilities, talents, and resources to make wise decisions, develop safety procedures, medical remedies, and so forth, should we not utilize them in pursuit divine intervention?

Rejecting medical aid is another claim of "trusting God." Doctors get a bad reputation in the Christian community (sometimes deservingly because of the overuse of harmful drugs and neglecting natural remedies), but I admire the doctors that dedicate their lives to tend to the health of others, who spend their lives trying to come up with cures to the countless diseases that claim so many lives. And when those cures and remedies do come along, I believe the glory goes to God because he equipped them with the abilities to do it.

This is not a post to advocate giving into fear, paranoia, or denying divine intervention, it’s just some thoughts on my own experience with irresponsibility and lack of wisdom in the name of "trusting God."

I think this old joke sums it up best:

A man found himself on the roof of his house during a flood. He fell to his knees and asked for God to save him. A man in a rowboat comes by and offers him a lift. "Oh no," he says, "I am waiting for God to rescue me." Another man in a power boat comes by and makes the same offer. Again the man answers that he will wait for God to save him. Finally, a helicopter passes over and drops him a line. "Come aboard!" say the National Guardsmen. But the man still insists that God is going to save him. The flood waters continue to rise and soon the man is swept away. When he wakes up at Judgment, he says to God “Why didn’t you rescue me?” “What do you mean?” says God. “I sent you a rowboat, a powerboat, and a helicopter and you kept turning Me down.”


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Abracadabra, Hocus Pocus, Jesus!

It’s a bad habit of mine to pause on late-night television evangelists while channel surfing. It’s like a car crash, you don’t want to look, yet your eyes are helplessly glued. As comb-over charlatans reduce the power of God to a rabbit they can yank out of their hats at will and turn it back off the moment cameras stop filming, I can’t help but cringe. One preacher, in particular, “testified” about how praying in the name of Jesus got him a BMW (donated by some poor sap viewing his prophesy that he’d receive the luxury-mobile). A sea of heaven-raised hands and muffled “hallelujahs” erupted from the crowd.

This man encouraged the packed auditorium to revamp their prayer lists with luxury cars, mansions, or any other over-the-top extravagant desires and demand it with “all authority” in the name of Jesus. After all, the Bible does say whatever one prays in Christ’s name will be granted. It’s the typical gospel of prosperity propaganda, “if you really had the faith, you’d be rich, successful, etc. etc."

As I watch these sort of spiritual three-ring circuses, I realize I am guilty of treating Jesus’ name like a magic word tagged on to the end of my prayers, too. I’ve never prayed for a BMW or for a canvas bag with a money sign on the front to fall from the heavens, but there have been times when I fervently prayed for things, events, circumstances, and situations, fully believing it would come to pass because I sincerely prayed in Jesus’ name. The disappointments that followed lead me to sweep Jesus’ promise of “whatever is asked in My Name, that I will do” far beneath the carpet of my mind and heart for a long time.

Praying in Jesus’ name was always a bit of a conundrum for me. I would ask things like, “So, if I pray for someone’s demise in Jesus’ name, God would honor that?” There are endless scenarios of evil or just plain ridiculous requests with Jesus’ name tagged at the end of it that we all know God is not going to grant or honor. So, why does Jesus say:

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it”? (John 14:13-14).

It wasn’t until recently that I broke out of my 21st century concept of the meaning of the word “name.” To me, a name is just a title assigned to a person, place, or thing to more easily identify them. Back in “biblical times,” names actually had meaning, more than meaning, they were suppose to reflect someone’s character. The name “Jesus” isn’t powerful because of the arrangement of letters or the sound of it when spoken. It is powerful because of what it means. Praying in Jesus’ name has more to do with the prayer itself, as oppose to tagging the name of Jesus to the end it. Praying in Jesus’ name is praying in His character, praying in His Spirit.

When I started weighing my prayers by this criteria, I realized that many of my prayers, though well-intentioned, did not always align with the character of Jesus. While I'd always ended with “In Jesus Name I Pray,” my prayers were really “In Tia’s name I pray,” because they centered around what I thought was best from my very limited perspective.

I had to start asking myself, “Is what I am asking of God in Jesus’ character? Am I asking for my will or His Will? Is it in the spirit of sacrifice, kindness, growth, love, humility, generousity, and benefit for the least, lost, and last? Or is this about quick fixes, short-sighted solutions, or what I deem is best for me/others as oppose to what is actually best for me/others?" Don't we believe that God foresees the future and knows what is best? How our request, if granted, will turn out? Doesn't He know the affect it will have on our hearts, our relationships, our faith? Don't all these factors suggest that waltzing up to God with our specific set of spiritual demands is a bit foolish?

There will always be greedy showmen contriving grandiose spectacles to exploit the concept of faith and manipulating Jesus’ Name to satisfy their lust for riches, fame, and power. And while the “showiness” of it all can be alluring, we need to shape our prayers in accordance to the less attention-grabbing submissive faith that mirrors the character of Jesus, in the spirit of humility, sacrifice, servant hood, and kindness (I'll let you know when I get there!). The illusion of Jesus as our own personal Genie is a tempting one, but real growth and relevancy in our prayer life requires learning to pray in Jesus’ character and not in "name" only.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Far-Reaching Forked Tongue

From calling democratic opponents “faggots,” to branding the entire Arab race as “rag-heads,” to accusing 9/11 widows of enjoying their husband’s death, to advocating the unwarranted and immediate use of nuclear weapons, Ann Coulter relentlessly spews her brand of caustic venom in the name of republicanism and Christianity (contrary to popular belief, they are not one in the same). One would hope that someone espousing such overtly vicious political sabotage would be regulated to the small corners of the Far -Right blogosphere. Yet, with every twisted, reprehensible remark she pollutes the airwaves and newspapers with, Ann Coulter is endorsed not only by mainstream republicans, but by the Religious Right, as well. (baffling)

Why, oh why does most of the Republican Party still continue to deem Ann Coulter as a competent conservative commentator, legitimizing her position as an appropriate and admirable spokesperson for their party? In light of all the heinous vast generalizations she applies to Muslims, African-Americans, women, the poor, and of course (the prey she takes most delight in), democrats, why is she repeatedly asked to speak at Republican National Conventions? Why is she handed wide-reaching platforms on TV, radio, and internet to pronounce her degrading propaganda to the larger masses? And most disturbingly, why is she invited to judge who is and who is not an “authentic” Christian with the Three Musketeers of the Religious Right (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson)?

I’ve never cared for Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, but I have always respected James Dobson. I was appalled when I heard the conversation that transpired between Dobson and Ann Coulter during a Focus on the Family interview. Dobson chuckled at Coulter’s various attacks on everyone who doesn’t blindly bow to “The Party of God” (as Coulter put it). Their chat closed with an exchange that blew my mind.

Coulter described the concern over brutally (and illegally) torturing our enemies as an absurd and foolish notion (I’m not accusing the USA of torture, but Coulter isn’t opposed to the use of torture, and anyone who disagrees must be a tree-hugging hippie in her mind). Coulter said to show kindness to one’s enemies “is a liberal idea that just will not die.” And James Dobson said nothing to challenge that! Do I even need to go into the love your enemies spiel?

Has Evangelicalism become so intertwined with Republicanism that we cannot clearly identify the central teachings of Christ because it gets in the way of our politics? Have Christians become the “yes men” for the Republican Party, instead of holding it accountable to what it ought to be? (I’m not saying the Republican Party endorses torture, but when a Christian leader refuses to stand for the obvious biblical principle of loving our enemies just because it will contradict a fellow republican’s political ideology, there is a huge problem).

I believe good and bad qualities exist in both political parties. I can’t pretend that republicanism is 100% conducive with biblical Christianity. I won’t deem everyone who adheres to a moderate democratic position as “Godless liberals” (frankly, the extremists within both political parties freak me out). And I most certainly will not pretend that the ruthless, mean-spirited, and manipulative tactics of someone like Ann Coulter are in any way acceptable, admirable or amusing, just because she is speaking in favor of a political party heavily endorsed by evangelicals. Ann Coulter sells racism, sexism, and fascism cloaked in Christianity, and people are buying! Coulter not only voices the most extreme form of republicanism (if it even still is republicanism), but justifies her hateful statements by spinning the principles of Christianity. Her assertions and accusations are unapologetically arrogant in true “shock-jock” form that conveys anything but the principles and demeanor of Christ. How she justifies her sanctimonious promulgations by evoking the name of Christ is a new low, even in politics.

Here is an Ann Coulter 101 Course, for those of you who have been lucky enough to dodge her vitriolic tirades. The following are just the beginning tip of notorious quotes:

“I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.”—Her column; December 21, 2005

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis... These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them... I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”—Excerpt from Godless: The Church of Liberalism June 2006[1][2]

“I don't know if Bill Clinton is gay. But Al Gore - total fag.”—Media Matters; July 2006

"I'm getting a little fed up with hearing about, ‘oh, civilian casualties,’ I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning.”—Media Matters; July 2006

“Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of 'kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and doesn't answer to the name Mohammed).” –From her column; March 4, 20

“There are no good Democrats.”—Interview with Brian Lamb; August 11, 2002

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot", so I — so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards.”—Speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington, DC, March 2, 2007

“The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars — that's the Biblical view.”—Oil Good; Democrats bad; October 12, 2000

“They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment.”—University of Florida speech; October 20, 2005

“I'd build a wall. In fact, I'd hire illegal immigrants to build the wall. And throw out the illegals who are here. [...] It's cheap labor.”--Fox News; The O'Reilly Factor; Transcript via Media Matters; April 14, 2006

“We should invade their [Muslims] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”—Media Matters, September 12, 2001

“I think our motto should be, post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'”—At CPAC Conference; February 10, 2006

“I think [women] should be armed but should not vote...women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend's always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”—Comedy Central; Politically Incorrect; February 26, 2001

“I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote.”—Fox News; Hannity & Colmes; August 17, 1997

“Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now.” –Slander (2002) p. 5-6

Then there are the 22 million Americans on food stamps. And of course there are the 39 million greedy geezers collecting Social Security. The greatest generation rewarded itself with a pretty big meal.”—WorldNetDaily; December 2, 2003.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Just Call Me Smitty!

Hand me a pencil, a tape recorder, and one of those wide-brimmed hats that make you look gay or British because I am officially a reporter! I landed an 8 week internship as a paid reporter for the Dawson Community Newspaper! It all happened so fast. My journalism professor recommended me to the editor this week for the position. I whipped up my resume and portfolio to meet with the editor on Friday. She was very welcoming and the atmosphere was very casual. We chatted about school, some of my articles for the The Compass (The My Scene column won her over), and current events in the news, then she offered me the job! I can't believe it! So for 8 weeks, I'll have to get up at 6 A.M. and not get home until nearly 7 p.m. Mon-Fri., but it will be completely worth it! I’ll be covering real stories, writing articles, editing, and generating ideas for columns and stories! I can’t even begin to put into words how thrilled I am to be given this opportunity. Usually internships translate to slaving away for free in hopes that one day the minimal amount of time working amongst a chosen profession will look good on your resume. Not only will this look good on my resume, but it pays!

I'm going to try to burn some sermons on CDs, so I do not go completely batty on the ride down to Dawsonville. Can anyone recommend some good speakers? I already started burning every Tony Campolo message under the sun (God, I love that man) and some Calvary Chapel pastors that I enjoy. Any other suggestions?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to this experience, even if I just end up covering carnivals and town meetings, or even if I fall flat on my face and fail miserably. This is something I have always wanted to do, and just to get my foot in the door is such an honor!

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Poem Of Many Slant Rhymes

A Life of Circumstance

Broken arrows on the floor
Awoken shadows upon the door
Hollow lies soar the skies
Swallowed pride roars to rise

Whipping winds slave to divide
Gripping sins crave my demise
Latent tears inspire true rage
Patient fears conspire to cage

Oh, these ocean waves never cease
Though, devotion saves severed peace
Hoping faith will sing, though thirsty
Groping grace will cling to mercy

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Third Time's A Charm

Today, I sat squeezing the life out of my husband's hand as a scary lady held a gun to my head. It was loaded, not with bullets, but with 14 carat gold! I got my ears pierced, finally. My ears and I have not always seen eye to eye (yes, my ears have eyes, and a smart mouth, if you must know). They tend to resist change, and boy, they sure are snarky about it (snarky, it's a it). We've been down this road before. At age ten, the first traumatic piercing episode occured, and my ears threw a temper tantrum that would make Little House of the Prairie's Nellie Olsen seem like a saint. The whole nightmare resulted in the skin of my ears growing over the backs of the earrings in a record amount of time. I had to get the earrings surgically removed. About four years ago, I tried again, but alas, my ears won round two as well. After eight weeks of meticulously rotating and cleaning my earrings, the first night I removed them, the holes were closed by morning.

On a bit of a spontaneous whim tonight at Walmart, I decided to give it another go. I'm sure William will regain full use of his hand in a few days (childbirth should be interesting). Anyway, about 24 years overdue, I finally have my ears pierced and hopefully they will stay that way! So, when my birthday and Christmas roll around, know that I have 24 years worth of earrings to catch up on!