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Showing posts from December, 2013

Watching Reality Television like a Christian

I am out of touch with the American public. I know this because I did not know there was a reality television show named “Duck Dynasty” until the Robertson family patriarch was interviewed by GQ, and made all kinds of people upset. I read the Washington Post blog by Dylan Matthews about the questions we have about A&E’s Duck Dynasty that we are too embarrassed to ask (read here ). I learned that Mad Men is a flop in comparison to this show I hadn’t even heard of until the GQ incident (involving the following sentiments: black people were happy before civil rights, any religion not involving Jesus is prone to violence, vaginas are better than anuses, and I’m sure some other gems). Here's the link to the original interview , although I haven't read it (suffering is optional, I say). (To be clear, I don’t think the brouhaha is real news. Also, is anyone really surprised that Phil Robertson holds these views? This isn’t the first time Phil Robertson said something

On Waiting.

Here's a reflection I gave at yesterday's chapel service at the Presbyterian Center.  The Scripture passage is James 5:7-10. Click here to read it.   -------- I am ok with waiting. I’ll wait for good food. I’ll wait for the homemade limoncello to be ready. I’ll wait for the weather to change. At the same time, I hate waiting. How long do we have to wait until this country comes up with a real answer to homelessness? How long do we have to wait until violence against women is no longer a fact of life? This waiting is, honestly, ridiculous. It’s all just so eschatological. Wait, be patient, says the author of James, presumably to those experiencing misery at the time of this writing. Be patient until the coming of the Lord (God is definitely coming back, by the way, the people are assured). This passage, out of context, reminds me of the southern clergy who wrote to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, telling him that he and his colleagues just needed to be

Being a Christian During Christmas

I have referred to being “rage-y” before. Anyone who has ever talked with me knows this is a real thing. A few things about Christmas make me rage-y.   Calling Advent “Christmas.” IT ISN’T CHRISTMAS UNTIL DECEMBER 25 TH . Making Advent 24 days long. Whatevs. For my non-Christian-nerd readers, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, which means Advent varies in length. Removing all Christmas décor a couple days after Christmas and way before Epiphany (January 6 th ), when it is still technically Christmas (12 days! Of Christmas!). People who call that thing people do when they say “Happy Holidays” “the war on Christmas.” Could you please apply that energy to ending economic inequality? Or nuclear proliferation? The emphasis on rampant consumerism, and self-gifting. I’m pretty sure a teenage girl didn’t get pregnant out of wedlock and give birth to the baby we know as God’s son to bring peace to all the world just so I could get that flat-screen TV for myself. Secu

Celebrating Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

A lot happened last night. I don’t have cable, but I have whatever helps my television pick up network tv. I watched the news coverage of the death of Mandela, “The Sound of Music,” and “Scandal.” I’m still exhausted from all the drama, real and fictional. I won’t remember that episode of “Scandal,” and hopefully I won’t remember that version of “The Sound of Music,” but I expect I will remember the death of Mandela just like I remember the deaths of Nixon and Princess Diana, or the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the events at Tiananmen Square, or the end of apartheid in South Africa. I’m not particularly close to Mandela. We never met. I never really studied him. I was in South Africa once. I, like everyone else, read “Long Walk to Freedom.” He was old, and I expected he would die just like the rest of us will. I was most struck by the news reports of the South Africans gathered outside of Mandela’s home. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, interviewed by Brian Williams of NBC Nightly New

Hell, Who I Think Should Go There, Who Shouldn’t Go There, and Why I Love Quentin Tarantino Movies

Hell Ah, hell. Like a good American Christian, I’ve been thinking about hell most of my life. I’ve never worried about it, however, because I tend to put far more trust into the mystery of God’s grace, forgiveness, and understanding than I do in God’s capacity to turn away from people forever. But hell can be a comforting theological concept for me. I can be a little rage-y. Sometimes I joke that the only time I believe in hell is when I want other people to go there. Who I Think Should Go There Enter this section under the list of “Things That Make Me Sort of a Terrible Person” (total depravity, y’all). The Hawaii legislator who took a sledgehammer to the shopping carts of homeless people. Being homeless is hard, ok? You have no safe place to sleep, nowhere to keep your belongings, things we take for granted like identification or extra clothes. In fact, many homeless people have neither identification nor extra clothes. Many don’t know where they will get their