Thursday, August 31, 2006


6:43 of actual patriotism

Feeling morally and intellectually confused?

Watch Keith Olbermann speak truth to power.



Presidential prayers

Can't shake it!

Yesterday, I awoke with the distinct impression that I should pray for George W. Bush, the man who is president.

Today, I can't shake the impression that I should ask the readers of this humble blog to do the same.

I harangue the presidency at every turn. At times, I confuse the presidency, which I feel compelled by differing views, especially as regards the war in Iraq (but not Afghanistan, and probably not with Iran), with the man George W. Bush, who I am compelled to love.

Redneck prayers aloft for George W. Bush.

Join me, if you will, in praying, sending good vibes, karma, thoughts, warm fuzzies and other forms of spiritual encouragement to the man.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006


No wonder I admire Nevins

So, I just accidentally stumbled across Volume 1 of the 8-volume Ordeal of the Union, by historian Allan Nevins. Volume 1 came out in 1947. The last volume, I think, came out in the early 1970s. The complete set is on order.

Wow. This is what his biographer said of Nevins, who -- surprise! -- was also a journalist:

Nevins used narrative not only to tell a story but to propound moral lessons. It was not his inclination to deal in intellectual concepts or theories, like many academic scholars. He preferred emphasizing practical notions about the importance of national unity, principled leadership, liberal politics, enlightened journalism, the social responsibility of business and industry, and scientific and technical progress that added to the cultural improvement of humanity.

*That* is MY kind of journalist-historian.

Read the Wikipedia entry.



'Press'ing onward and upward (neo-academically speaking)

Had lunch today with a cool former professor whose energy I find innervating -- and I needed some innervating.

She had her first book (history) published this year, after being dragged along forEVER by the same Big Academic Press I'm trying to interest in my own book. She ultimately pitched it to Not So Big Academic Press, which published it.

Myself, I am torn. I think my manuscript, as it is, would make it past the gatekeeper, to the outside reviewer level, of another press. But the brand of Big Academic Press (BAP) is valuable, especially in my field.

On the third hand, if I do the extra research and reconfigure my manuscript, there's still a good chance that BAP will ultimately reject it. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

Cool professor was also encouraging in my plans for October. I pitched a paper to a specialty history conference in a nearby state, and it was accepted! Major cool. Major cool addition to the c.v. -- and well, I just love doing this stuff, and there's always that. :-)

But here in the gap between the excitement of it being accepted and the angst that will accompany revisions and the panic that will pick up toward the conference date, I needed a pick-me-up.

My mood about all things neo-academic should sustain this fall. I have a book review coming out in the next issue of a journal, with an article likely to be in the issue after that.

Then, before you know it, it'll be 2007, Oklahoma's centennial year. You won't be able to sling a cat without hittin' something historical around here next year.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Second Level!!!

Um, "thanks" to Drlobo for pointing me to this ...
No change since the last time!


The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Monday, August 28, 2006


'Canticle to Theocracy'

Slide a trashcan next to the computer, if you care anything about either the integrity of secular government or the integrity of freedom of, and from, religion, and read this from Mainstream Baptist (scroll up).

BE SURE AND READ THE JUDGE'S OPINION, which will make the trashcan especially handy. The opinion is a farce and and a disgrace and embarrassment -- to my state and to the federal bar.



'The Brothers in White'

Recall, y'all, that a good friend of mine spent some time awhile back on a prison ministry effort, through Kairos Prison Ministry International. Very, very Jesusy.

He wrote me about the experience ans gave me permission to post it here. May all of us who claim the name of Jesus follow his -- and His -- example.


Hello ER,

Made my first trip back to the prison today since Kairos weekend, and I just wanted to thank you again for remembering me in prayer. And please remember the Brothers in White.

Here’s a little more about what I’ve been doing in Kairos, a loving Christian community that sets aside denominational differences for what we hold in common: the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Participants on the “free world” team range from charismatic Pentecostal to Roman Catholic and everything in between. Might even be a Baptist or two.

Here’s the concept: In the prison, the brothers are serving a sentence. They’ve been judged. They know all about the law. But many of them have never known or understood love in the way that Christ loves. Kairos volunteers demonstrate that with homecooked food, prayer and more prayer, all forms of Agape that include posters and messages of support from Christians around the globe.

The weekend is based on talks by lay and clergy on the fundamentals of living a Christian life. Kairos also ministers to correctional officers and prison staff, who recognize that an inmate with a changed heart makes their life better, too.

Most people who are locked up will return to society at one time or another. Studies show that prisoners who have been through a Kairos have a lower rate of recidivism.

In fact, one of the most moving things on my Kairos weekend was some of the correctional officers who volunteered to spend extra hours working Kairos weekend because they see the benefits and they also have hopes that the prisoners will have changed lives.

“I hope now you see that the REAL church is loving,” one of them told the Brothers in White as we all feasted on fried chicken last Sunday.

That’s another thing: The food. An outside support team cooks food and prays constantly. In fact, someone is in prayer for these guys throughout the entire weekend, day and night.

Kairos is not a Bible study – though it is biblically based. It is not a place to work out big theological problems. It is about sharing and demonstrating the love of Christ, and some call it the best example of the New Testament Church in existence today.

Many of the men have had dramatic changes in their outlook, their demeanor, everything about them, since the first day they came in. A brother named Kevin, who has been in and out of institutions since he was 14 and used to do dope with his mom, says he’s never felt this way before.

“This is a better feeling than you can get in any crack house.,” he said.

Another guy came into the weekend known as Angry Al. He announced on the first day that he wouldn’t be hugging anyone and no one would hug him. He now hugs anyone who comes near. I turned around during our service this morning just to see him in the back wearing his wide, toothy grin. Some of the guys now call him “Angel Al” or “Happy Al.”

I could fill a page with these stories.

This was the mountaintop. They have since returned to the valley of real, everyday life in the correctional institution, and we try to prepare them for that. As the brothers grow in their faith through “share and prayer” sessions that we model for them, we volunteers decrease what we do. They build their own Christian community inside the prison, leaning on each other and on Christ, and that is what it is all about. It is all about helping them know and understand Christ’s love.

As you know, just being involved in this for the short time that I have has been a tremendous blessing for me. The fact that anyone really loves and cares for them, and particularly the God of the universe, just blows them away.

One of the Brothers said this: “If you get 100 guys in a room in a prison, and they’re smiling, IT”S GOT TO BE GOD.”


Sunday, August 27, 2006


Sundry Sunday

Lord, thank you for the rain.

x x x

Lord, comfort the survivors of the Kentucky plane crash. And, well, the victims, too.

Odd that Dr. ER, who flies frequently, is glued to the TV. Odder that such tragedies make me sad but not nervous about flying. I am scared to fly, period. Nothing can make me any more or less uncomfortable regarding air travel.

"Low," Jesus said, "I am with you always." ;-)

x x x

Lots of dyin' going on lately in my still-new church family. I knew none of them personally, after only a year of attendance and just under two montbs of membership.

The deceased, including the extended church family, include The Rev. Dr. Gary Cox, author of the wonderful book, Think Again: A Response to Fundamentalism's Claim on Christianity.

He wrote: “When I entered the ministry, it was not for the purpose of saving souls. The purpose of my ministry is to point people toward a relationship with God, because I believe the soul of a person who honestly seeks a relationship with God is in good hands.”


x x x

Prayer of Confession today at church:

"Lord of Life, we gather to work together for peace and justice, and to live each day as a member of a beloved community. If that makes us look strange sometimes, or if others misunderstand, we will not be deterred. For we have it on good authority that misunderstanding is the norm, and discipleship is rare. Help us, we pray, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, not argue endlessly about who he was. In Christ's name, Amen."

If discipleship is rare, then what should we make of the booming megachurch-religious lifestyle centers, especially those that preach that "life more abundantly" means prosperity?

And what should we make of the fact that the mainline ... churches are in decline?

Could it be that broad is the way to the megachurch---prosperity joints? Could it be that decline among the mainline churches itself is a testimony to the veracity of the Gospel they preach? I think so.

x x x

For fun. Jesus Religion. I've barely skimmed it, but it looks interesting.


Saturday, August 26, 2006


Shinin' up my red neck

Whoa. "Sling Blade" on TV this afternoon. Bristol night race on TV tonight. Grilling $36.49 cents worth of steaks (four ribeyes) for myself, Dr. ER, Bird and her YankeeBeau in between.

This calls for an ER summer rerun!

On Harvick! On Junior!


Friday, August 25, 2006


Friday: Duke's Mixture

1. Halito, Chim achukma?

That's "hello, how are you?" in Choctaw. Last year about this time, I decided to take a Choctaw language class, to augment my research of Indian, specifically Choctaw, newspapers from the 19th century. Less than 10 percent of the columns were in Choctaw, but I need to know how to read them, obviously.

Then Katrina came -- and it so freaked me out that I just forgot about the class. The hurricane changed my life, coming as it did when my life was changing anyway, about the time of my infamous "Jesus is a Liberal" post. The images from New Orleans so shocked me, and so reminded me that people hurt, and people need help, and people deserve to have their dignity, and etc., etc., that it literally drove me to my face before God -- not just my knees -- and I was "convicted," to use a good ol' country term, of my previous lack of concern, and I returned to church, fully, after a 20-year absence. It's a good ol' mainline LIBERAL church. And I'm taking some other steps to be Jesus's feet and hands on this ol' earth, since He has not others than those of His followers.

Now, barring another act of God in the world, and in my ol' redneck bleedin' heart, I'll take another stab at that Choctaw language class, Tuesday nights starting Sept. 19 -- Trixie and-or Drlobojo, y'all should jine me.

2. Crummy church sign:

“What we weave in this life we wear for eternity.”

Commentary: "If this sign was true, everyone would go to hell. Heaven is based on the work of Christ, not the work of man. I will wear what Christ wove in His life in my eternity, if I may borrow a crappy metaphor."

See more Crummy Church Signs and thoughtful commentary.

3. Godawful pajamas.

Armor of God PJs, "inspired by Ephesians 6: 10-18."

Give. Me. A. Break. They look like Junior Klan outfits.

4. Love them wild hogs.

Texas Cooperative Extension will present a multi-county "Feral Hog Appreciation Day" on Sept. 28 at the Mason County Community Center located in Fort Mason Park.

It's been several years, but I went wild hog huntin' a time or five in Texas. Never got a shot.

Read all about it.

5. On God and horses.

"I can talk about my experience. Having only a human means of communication I cannot really talk about God. Horses can experience a human being entering their horse consciousness, but a horse could never tell another horse what it means to be human. Somehow human beings have never quite embraced that fact that this is also true about the human being's knowledge of God."

-- John Shelby Spong.

Read more of a very profound Q&A on theism and its implications here.


Thursday, August 24, 2006


'Moo,' y'all

By The Erudite Redneck

The cattle on the farm didn't actually say "moo" when I was growing up. In the heat of the day, they sort of let their mouths hang, the snot drip and muttered, "meeerrrrrr."

Hungry calves said, "mmmmerrrrr-HER!" "mmmmerrrrr-HER!" "mmmmerrrrr-HER!" with kind of a gutteral "H" shifting into a bovine semiyodel falsetto in the second syllable.

Mama cows separated from their calves said, "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" "mmerr-HER!" -- you get the idea -- with the same gutteral "H" shifting into a bovine semiyodel falsetto in the second syllable.

Bulls grunted and sort of growled, seemed like to me.

But then, these were eastern Oklahoma-western Arkansas bovines, the western upland South with a heavy Ozarkian linguistic influence.

Do what?

Yep. Cows have regional accents, according to Reuters.

LONDON (Reuters) - Cows have regional accents, a group of British farmers claims, and phonetics experts say the idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Real all about it!

What do Yankee cows sound like? Midwestern cows? Montana cows? Canadian cows?

What do cows says where you live?


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


'Support the troops; send Repubs home'

Busy today. Stepping aside.


... The Republicans in Congress and the White House are treating military vets like crap. ...

Read it all, from ol' pal Bitch, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Presidential community service, state and church and Jack Chick, why I love Dr. ER -- and the end of the world


IF you are disappointed in, opposed to, disillusioned and or otherwise generally sick and tired of the Bush presidency, and IF you believe the war in Iraq is immoral, illegal and uncalled-for, detracting from the real challenges we face as a nation, AND you think he should be impeached and convicted, removed from office then tried separately, then what form of community service would you recommend?

I think he should be made to work in the kitchen at some rich country club and alternately at some inner-city homeless shelter.

Why? Because for all his warring, what actually galls me about the Bush presidency is the pro-rich, anti-poor, anti-middle class crap -- in other words, the usual sins of the Republican Party.

Peeling potatoes at the country club would keep him close enough to the people who have blindly and dangerously supported him to hurt. Scrubbing pots at the homeless shelter would keep him close enough to the people he harmed.

What sins would you have President Bush atone for, and how?


Today is primary runoff election day in Oklahoma. Dems in my area got to vote in just one race, for lieutenant governor.

I voted for Jari Askins, former Oklahoma House minority leader, an attorney who seems to represent the progressive wing of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Her opponent, Pete Regan, was endorsed by former U.S. Senator and now University of Oklahoma President David Boren and others of the Old Guard conservative Dems in this state.

The last thing we need, as far as I'm concerned, is more red Democrats in this already red-as-hell state. Congressional candidates are actually trying to "out-Christian" each other in the TV ads and it makes me want to barf.

The Southern Baptist church where I vote had a couple of new Jack Chick tracts out this morning!

Here's an anti-Catholic one: "Is There Another Christ?"

Here's an anti-Mormon one: "The Visitors."

I do not take especial issue with the things asserted in the tracts. But preaching anything but Christ and Him crucified -- etc., etc. -- is a waste of time and drives people away! Jesus saves, people, not Jesus scares!


She bought me the 8-volume set "Ordeal of the Union," by Allan Nevins! Woo hoo! :-) :-) (The one she got was just $100.)


It's today, in case you hadn't heard.


Monday, August 21, 2006


'Illegal, dishonorable war'

This just in. Comment left on my May 17 post about West Point Graduates Against the War:

Just wanted to inform you that we our membership is now over 150. We had a jump start from the opposition which the legal staff at West Point raised when we opened our site. Since that time our numbers continue to grow as we speak out in various places.

One of our aims now is to encourage impeachment proceedings to have the issues which we have raised discussed openly in congress.

# posted by Bill Cross : 11:30 AM




New 'Ordeal of the Union'

"As the ... struggle developed, nearly all groups involved in it steadily substituted emotion for reason. They used stereotypes for facts, and epithets in lieu of cool arguments; they forgot the emollient grace of humor and the wisdom of the long view. ...

"Passions had been so deeply aroused that large sections of the population could not view the situation calmly or discuss it realistically; fear fed hatred and hated fed fear. The unrealities of passion dominated the hour.

"Had some great leader appeared, he might have broken through this emotional fabric. ... (But) a nation which needed a president of penetrating vision, moral courage and practical grasp was given (an) incompetent chieftain (that) leaned to an extraordinary degree upon groups of aides. ... The country was governed by a Directory rather than by a President."

Not commentary from today's news.

Historian Allan Nevins, describing the shape of the country in the 1850s, in the years leading to the Civil War, in Ordeal of the Union: Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847-1852, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), ix-x.

God help us avoid a similar ordeal.


Sunday, August 20, 2006


' ... all the children of Abraham ...'

Music this morning at this church: A member, looked to be late 50s, sang tenor and played guitar to this Steve Earle song:


I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin' anyone could do or say

And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
Then I regained my senses again
And looked into my heart to find

That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then

Then the storm comes rumblin' in
And I can't lay me down
And the drums are drummin' again
And I can't stand the sound

But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Reading: Proverbs 9: 1-6. Note that Wisdom is a female.


Saturday, August 19, 2006



Snakes to let! Terror at 30,000 feet! Camp galore! Hot chick stewardesses. Running gay steward joke! Torn flesh! Mile-High Club gone terribly awry!

Good actin'. Good directin'. Good dialogue.

Great snakes!

Fun flick.




OK, now that everybody has talked out of their arses over the judge's ruling over warrantless wiretapping, here's the text of her ruling.

ACLU vs. NSA (pdf) -- or I like to call it: Freedom vs. Order.


Friday, August 18, 2006


'I was in prison ...'

Good friend of mine is on the third day of a five-day mission to Christians, and others, in prison in Texas. I don't know many of the details, but y'all feel free to join me in prayin' for him and them.

It don't get no more Jesusy than that.

Matthew 25: 34-40:

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "



Thursday, August 17, 2006


FOTF puts politics over the hungry

From Focus on the Family:

The National Council of Churches (NCC), a liberal voice for mainline denominations, has published a study guide for churches to help end poverty around the world. It’s a noble goal, but some are troubled that principles in the guide are based on a United Nations campaign.

Read all about it.

Horrors! NOT the UN! SO WHAT?

Focus on the Family is no parachurch organization, as it likes to claim. It's a right-wing political organization that claims to promote "righteousness" while ignoring the clear example of Jesus.

It's just a matter of time until Focus on the Family starts cannibalizing itself.

First "liberal," Christians, then "moderate" Christians, then "not-conservative-enough" Christians, then "conservative-but-not-right-wing" Christians -- and finally, it will smear and ridicule people not associated directly with Focus on the Family.

What a crock, and a farce and a disgrace.



Plain talk from Plains

God bless Jimmy Carter.


SPIEGEL: Mr. Carter, in your new book -- "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis" -- you write that only the American people can ensure that the US government returns to the country's old moral principles. Are you suggesting that the current US administration of George W. Bush of acting immorally?

Carter: There's no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unpressured departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Carter: Under all of its predecessors there was a commitment to peace instead of preemptive war. Our country always had a policy of not going to war unless our own security was directly threatened and now we have a new policy of going to war on a preemptive basis. Another very serious departure from past policies is the separation of church and state, which I describe in the book. This has been a policy since the time of Thomas Jefferson and my own religious beliefs are compatible with this. The other principle that I described in the book is basic justice. We've never had an administration before that so overtly and clearly and consistently passed tax reform bills that were uniquely targeted to benefit the richest people in our country at the expense or the detriment of the working families of America.


SPIEGEL: One of the main points of your book is the rather strange coalition between Christian fundamentalists and the Republican Party. How can such a coalition of the pious lead to moral catastrophes like the Iraqi prison scandal in Abu Ghraib and torture in Guantanamo?

Carter: The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them -- which is also a radical departure from past history. So these are the kinds of things that cause me concern. And, of course, fundamentalists don't believe they can make mistakes, so when we permit the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, it's just impossible for a fundamentalist to admit that a mistake was made.

SPIEGEL: So how does this proximity to Christian fundamentalism manifest itself politically?

Carter: Unfortunately, after Sept. 11, there was an outburst in America of intense suffering and patriotism, and the Bush administration was very shrewd and effective in painting anyone who disagreed with the policies as unpatriotic or even traitorous. For three years, I'd say, the major news media in our country were complicit in this subservience to the Bush administration out of fear that they would be accused of being disloyal. I think in the last six months or so some of the media have now begun to be critical. But it's a long time coming.

READ ALL ABOUT IT from Spiegel Magazine.


And neofascists' heads explode

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Introducing ... the Mu(rin)al!

This is makin' me blush. But what a hoot!

Unchecked, unverified, as it drifted in on this here Internet contraption:

"Edge designs is an all-women-run company that designs interior office space. They had a recent opportunity to do an office project in NYC. The client allowed the women of this company a free hand in all design aspects. The client was a company that was also run by all-women execs ... The results, well ...

"We all know that men never talk, never look at each other ... and never laugh much in the restroom ... The men's room is a serious and quiet place. But now, with the addition of one mural on the wall ... lets just say the men's restroom is a place of laughter and smiles ..."

But if ya got a shy bladder in the first place ...



'Not ... a spirit of fear'

Perfect timing, considering the spirit of the e-mail upon which the previous post was based.


Devotion for Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1.7

Just today, during a meeting, a group of us began talking about all of the fear that is being spewed out into the world via the airwaves, Internet and print media. Oh, I'm not saying that the world is free of violence or hate or terrorism, but I remain amazed at the amount of speculation about terrorist activities, natural disasters and nuclear war that permeates our communication sources and, so, permeates our lives.

We talked about how many news sources are trying to predict where the next terrorist strike might occur and how many innocent people would be impacted. So, I wonder, "Does fear breed fear?" Does the fact that we are constantly talking about terrorists and destruction some how reprogram our minds and hearts and souls to expect the worst in people and in our world and expect the worst possible outcomes?

I actually think that fear-based thinking goes against everything Jesus lived and taught. The Gospel witness tells us that Jesus said, "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." So tell me, where is the fear-based thinking in that? Paul put it another way when writing to Timothy, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."

So, if all of us began to think about the fact that God, through the life, death and resurrection, has promised us life abundant, and if we thought about that until it became part of our molecular structure, I wonder if that would begin to change the way we live in a hostile world. I wonder if our positive thinking and our penchant for hope would begin to permeate the minds and hearts and souls of all those we met. Then I wonder if we would be real evangelists by helping people reclaim their God-given spirit of power, love and self-discipline.

As faith-filled people we do not have to live under the oppression of fear. We, of all people, have reason to have eternal hope. Let us cast off the chains of fear and let us take on the mantle of hope. Let us be the people who, by living in hope and by speaking of hope and by sharing our hope, change the hearts and minds and souls of all whose lives we touch. Help us to start a contagious reaction of hope and let us do it not just for our sakes or even the sake of the world, but because we trust the in the extravagant grace of God.

Holy God, teach us to be people of hope, pushing back the veil of fear that holds so much of our world hostage. Use us to bring about hope, love and peace in your realm. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Senior Pastor/Rector
Cathedral of Hope, Dallas

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Far Left? Only to the Far Right!

I pulled this out of my heart and mind this morning in response to an e-mail from an acquaintance who is self-described as "far right."

What some of us have been saying for some time is 1., the "war on terror" is a misnomer; it's crime on a grand scale, with occasional need for traditional military forces, as well as traditional diplomacy; it's also poverty on a grand scale, which also needs to be addressed; it's the kind of tyranny that this country has *always* found hard to oppose; that is, involving some of our strategic allies! -- and it's a lot of things none of us have realized or thought of or imagined yet. To call it a "war" creates false expectations and, quite frankly, is a rhetorical club used by the right to scare people unnecesarrily when people are already scared enough.

And 2., Iraq is the biggest and ongoing strategic blunder of this new way of life that the administration has misnamed the "war on terror." Syria and Iran are licking their chops now for Israel; they are going to attack and the U.S. will go to the aid of its chief ally in the Middle east, which will tear this country apart to a level somewhere between Vietnam and the Civil War; and the U.S. will have to institute the draft because our armed forces are worn out; and the quality of life will go to hell because the economy will stagger under the dual heavy loads of Bush's deficit and uncounted billions as the cost of war.

And history will lay it at the feet of George W. Bush and his neocon sheep, who are more "neo" than "conservative."

And my acquaintance said:

That is ... interesting. True, it is difficult to see someone south of Manhattan thinking that way. I will take more time for comment, later.

Far left, left wing stuff it is. People who think that way should love Cuba and Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Russia, where the average Ruski makes 25 cents per month. Those countries are socialism gone to seed.

More later. Your ... views, give disservice to the men and women who know that we are in a war for the property and soul of the USA.

And I say BS. I've been insulted by an ideologue.

Read George Will's latest column: Law enforcement wins a round in the "war on terror." Will is the last surviving conservative in public life today.


Monday, August 14, 2006


ER Still Life: Office(not-so)Max

Long-time bloggy buddy Frenzied Feline -- one of my oldest bloggy buddies -- suggested I put up an ER Still Life of my "clean" home office, since I reported dedicating all of Monday afternoon to "cleaning" it. Well, it depends on what your definition of "clean" is, but I made headway! Here's my desk.

Here is a view of one wall in my office. Note the space on some of the shelves. That's new. I hoed out hundreds of books today. If it wasn't about some aspect of nineteenth-century American history, or economic theory, or theology-religion, or political theory, out it went.

You can sort of tell there is a floor. And if you look hard you can see the couch. One of the boxes is headed for the garage. One stays. Two hold books I've yet to read.

This is in the hall outside my office. The books to the left are books I plan to read. The books to the right are books destined for the garage.

More books headed for the garage.

A rare, rare sight. These are grocery sack of books waiting at the front door to be taken somewhere, probably to the local college library for its annual book sale. This is a first: I am getting ride of books. Dr. ER is happy. :-) Work remains.


Sunday, August 13, 2006


'It's John 3:17, stupid'

Not a typo in the headline.

John 3:17: "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

Prayer of Confession today at this church:

"Lord of Life, forgive us our foolish ways. We think that we know Your mind; we think we know Your heart; we think we know Your will. But we cannot fathom a single one, much less all three. Let the sweet, sweet spirit in this place lift us up where we belong, and give us a glimpse of the kingdom of right relationships. For we are all indeed saved, whether we know it or not. In Christ's name we pray, Amen."

1 Timothy 4:10: "For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."

Read all about Christian Universalism at Tentmaker.

ER's question of the day: Why would God, who, through Jesus, commands us to love our enemies, in the end consign them to eternal torment? Ditch the cop-out: "God's ways are mysterious!" Yes, but Jesus's Way is clear.

What? The? Hell?

What is the Good News (the Gospel) anyway?

Could it be ...



Saturday, August 12, 2006


New pix of Ice-T!

Bird, her YankeeBeau and Dr. ER have run off to buy a TV and to take care of some things to do with YankeeBeau's car, which left them stranded along Interstate 35 yesterday. (A WAL-MART "technician" failed to replace an O-ring when he replaced the oil filter. That's WAL-MART: W-A-L-M-A-R-T.)

Apollo and Fenway, the step-granddogs, are in their cage, and so Ice-T has the run of the house for a few hours. I thought I'd take some new pix of the Best Cat in the World!

Here, Ice-T is curled up on the floor near my feet while I am in my recliner. How cute!

Here's one of Ice-T ready to play. I can tell because of the way he has curled his tail!

Ice-T playing amongst some of the books and papers in my home office floor! What a silly kitty!

Ice-T likes to sit outside the bathroom like this sometimes when Dr. ER or I are in there. He sneaks in when he thinks no one is paying attention.

Here's the kitty-cat on the bathroom floor, outsude my closet, at my feet while I am at the sink! He loves to stay close to his daddy when the dogs aren't around. You can tell he's relaxed by how straight his tail is.

--ER ;-)

Friday, August 11, 2006


Buy a Ford for freedom

Seventy-eight Texas Ford dealerships have written the Ford Motor Company and asked it to stop advertising in homosexual publications.

Then, 78 Ford dealerships in Texas are run by bigoted jerks who worship money, but probably claim they worship Jesus.

Read all about it, from a biased source.



A numbER of thoughts ...

1. Wet stuff fell from the sky awhile ago! Freaked me out. Scared the cat. Just means it'll be humid as all get-out today. That kind of shower during a drought just adds insult to injury. (Click on image to see just how dry it is, and where, in Oklahoma.)

2. Is it just me, or was the throw-every-bottle-and-tube-from-the-planes reaction yesterday the "plastic sheeting" over-react of the season?

3. Unless someone has told them they were doing so in reaction to the UN's diploacy efforts, why would any of the talking heads assume that Israel's pullback of 1,000 troops is anything other than a tactical maneuver? I'm no expert on military matters, but unlike Shep Smith and some others, I do know what I don't know.

4. That little pissant Tucker Carlson took on Anderson Cooper in his "Beat the Press" segment the other night after Cooper dared, in a "reporter's notebook," to actually WRITE something approaching the literature of which even deadline journalism is capable. I'll give Cooper this much: He's probably set for life (son of Gloria Vanderbilt) and he doesn't have to do what he does, but he ain't afraid to get it on him. Carlson is a twerp in comparison.

4.a. Clearly, I've put way too much thinkning into my cable-news watching this week.

5. Last-minute house-cleaning this morning. Bird, YankeeBeau and Fenway and Apollo are supposed to come in today. Yay! I have not yet determined what shape and form of livestock to prepare in honor of their visit.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


Love-hate relationship ...

... on again, off again, on again, off again, ON AGAIN.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


It's official: This 'vacation' sucks

Quoth myself, Friday Aug. 4:

Grrr. I'm off next week. And I'm so wired, from bustin' it to be able to take off that I have a bad feeling that it's going to be one of those "vacations" that take me until, like, WEDNESDAY to calm down and FRIDAY to actually relax! Arrrrgggghhhhhh!
# posted by Erudite Redneck : 4:27 PM

Sigh. Ya win some and ya lose some. This'n is a loser. I haven't done half the things I meant to have done by now. I just don't feel good. Blah.

The heat is pissin' me off, and the fact that the heat is pissin' me off is pissin' me off, because heat used to roll off me like sweat off a duck's back.

Dreamed about raw sewage and a skunk last night. No lie. WTH?

In a desperate attempt to get my head on, I think I'm going to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum this afternoon, by myself -- and if that ain't a fogeyish thing to do, I don't know what is.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


God bless Billy Graham

Brain is in neutral. No time to go anywhere I'd really like to go this vacation week. Besides, it's hot out there. Nice and cool in here. Lots of books to read. My get-up-and-go got up and went.

I was going to write a nice intro to the following, from the current Newsweek cover story on Billy Graham, but, nah.

"(Billy Graham) is far from questioning the fundamentals of the faith. He is not saying Jesus is just another lifestyle choice, nor is he backtracking on essentials such as the Incarnation or the Atonement. But he is arguing that the Bible is open to interpretation, and fair-minded Christians may disagree or come to different conclusions about specific points.

"Like Saint Paul, he believes human beings on this side of paradise can grasp only so much. 'Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror,' Paul wrote, 'then we shall see face to face.' Then believers shall see: not now, but then."

Oh, I think this deserves emphasis:

"A unifying theme of Graham's new thinking is humility. He is sure and certain of his faith in Jesus as the way to salvation. When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: 'Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't ... I don't want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.'

"Such an ecumenical spirit may upset some Christian hard-liners, but in Graham's view, only God knows who is going to be saved: 'As an evangelist for more than six decades, Mr. Graham has faithfully proclaimed the Bible's Gospel message that Jesus is the only way to Heaven,' says Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross. 'However, salvation is the work of Almighty God, and only he knows what is in each human heart.' "

No other comment, other than: "It's good. Go read it."

Pilgrim's Progress.

Or, read a summary from PR Newswire.


Monday, August 07, 2006


Choo, mew, moo

Clearly, vacation time is wasted on me. I am strolling through my list of household chores, but mostly just piddling around. I don't piddle well. I will be crazed by midweek.

Here's something I picked up at a used-book and antique store awhile back. These aren't particularly rare, I mean as far as 100-plus-year-old railroad stock certificates go.

But this one is cool to me personally since the RR traversed my neck of the woods, and because it came in a nice frame with two-way glass, so you can see the front and the back of the certificate. It was issued Nov. 14, 1898. Not bad for fifty bucks. The framing job alone might've cost that.

Read about the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf and other railroads across the Beautiful Indian Territory. From The Chronicles of Oklahoma.

Ice-T had this self-portrait commissioned. Dr. ER painted it at one of those you-make-it places at the mall. Note it is OSU-orange. Ice-T is a smart kitty, Ice-T is.

Now, FINALLY I can let the cow out of the bag. Before we went to the rodeo last weekend, we all met for early supper, whereupon Bird preented me with this here cow, knowing that I collect cows of all kinds, even hippy-dippy bovines like this one!

She does not know that I dropped the critter while unlocking the doors to my truck right before we all climbed in to go to the rodeo, and she does not know it broke my stupid big ol' redneck heart, even though the dang thing cost, like, 99 cents and is goofy as all get-out -- it came from my Bird, just for me, and it is lovely.

She does not know that I fretted all week for the time to go buy some Super Glue to fix it. And she does not know that I spent an hour today using the file I used to sharpen hoes to get the broken pieces to fit well enough together to glue two legs back on!

Well, maybe she does now, if she read this post, which she won't because she doesn't read my blog. (This will be a test!) But the point is: I laid hands, and Super Glue and a file, on this cow and healed it! Glory halle-MOO-jah!



Exorcisin' vanity!

OK, so once in a great while, as an exercise in vanity, I click onto the college library Web site to see if anybody has my master's thesis checked out.

Holy stolen intellectual property! Look what it said when I just now checked!

Status: copy2 Lost - 07/25/2006

I'm dumbfounded. There's another copy in the library archives, but -- man!

Dr. ER said, "People steal (doctoral) dissertations all the time."

Thieves! People should "borrow" these kind of things the way I did! Check 'em out, take 'em to Kinko's and copy them. It costs about $30.

The real offense here is taking a work off the shelves for good. What an ugly tear in the thin veil of civilization that is a library.



'Historic religions ... brutal weapons'

Monday. First day of a week-plus off. My list of household chores and to-do's is immense. Brain slipping into neutral. Before *that* happens, here's something to ponder:

There is no moral high ground in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Oh, the world has picked sides, but that's all it is. There is no moral high ground in any war because there is no moral nation! And the End Times fanatics, God love 'em, neither advance the kingdom of heaven nor assist the nations of earth.


"The full evil of human finitude and sin is most vividly revealed in conflicts between national communities. ... No party to the conflict has a perspective high enough to judge the merits of the opponent's position. Every appeal to moral standards thus degenerates into a moral justification of the self against the enemy. Parties to a dispute inevitably make themselves judges over it and thus fall into the sin of pretending to be God. ...

"The rivalry between Jews and Arabs in Palestine is a conflict between two races and religions, involving not only the natural will-to-live of two collective racial organisms, but the economic differences between the feudalism of the Arabs and the technical civilization which the Jews are able to introduce into Palestine.

"How can a high enough rational and moral perspective be found to arbitrate the issue between them? How is the ancient and hereditary title of the Jew to Palestine to be measured against the right of the Arar's present possession? Or how is one to judge the relative merits of modern Jewish against ancient Moslem culture without introducing criteria which are involved in and do not transcend the struggle?

"The participants cannot find a common ground of rational morality from which to arbitrate the issues because the moral judgments which each brings to them are formed by the very historical forces which are in conflict. Such conflicts are therefore sub-and supra-moral.

"The effort to bring such a conflict under the dominion of a spiritual unity may be partly successful, but it always produces a tragic by-product of the spiritual accentuation of natural conflict. The introduction of religious motifs into these conflicts is usually no more than the final and most demonic pretension.

"Religion may be regarded as the last and final effort of the human spirit to escape relativity and gain a vantage-point in the eternal. But when this effort is made without a contrite recognition of the finiteness and relativity which characterizes human spirituality, even in its moments of yearning for the transcendent, religious aspiration is transmuted into sinful dishonesty.

"Historic religions, which crown the structure of historic cultures, thus become the most brutal weapons in the conflict between the cultures."

--Reinhold Niebuhr, in An Interpretation of Christian Ethics
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935).

Sunday, August 06, 2006


My step-granddog and step-granddog-in-law have started their own blog

Fenway and Apollo's blog!


Saturday, August 05, 2006


Happy blogiversary to me!

Trixie pointed out to me that my first blog post was two years ago today! Her own blogiversary is coming up, too.

What an inauspicious start:

Aug. 5, 2004.

A year ago today, I was in a whiny mood (surprise):

Aug. 5, 2005.

Sigh. And today, Saturday, I'm at my desk at work to spend a half-day getting things wrapped up so I can take a week off. Sigh.

But, happy blogiversary to me!


Friday, August 04, 2006



Your host is busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest today. Y'all talk amongst yourselves.

Some possible topics:

Sooners: Oklahomans should be embarrassed that so many are treating the Bomar scandal like it's the End of the World when every Baptist preacher in the state will tell you that the End of the World is starting in the Middle East -- not in Norman, Okla.

Mel Gibson: One thing the media doesn't understand about "The Passion" phenomenon is that it was the story of the Passion of Christ itself, not the movie, "The Passion of the Christ," that moved so many. I personally think it's wrong to accuse Gibson of being "pious." I personally think he is a particularly spiritual stripe of Catholic, with an inherited anti-semitic bent and a fetish for the gore, specifically the blood, associated with the Crucifixion. Most of Christianity emphasizes the Blood of Christ, mainly because of concepts of sin and sacrifice inherited from the Hebrew faith, the Paschal lamb and so on. Which makes Gibson's obsession with it kind of ironic. Fundamentalist Christians put Gibson on a pedestal, Gibson didn't; and fundamentalist Christians, who take the concept of "spiritual warfare" seriously, not secular, or Jewish, Hollywood, will take him down from it -- if he is taken down.

Israel-Hezbollah: Dr. ER and I are pissed that it's already become an also-ran story on the cable news! We were sickened to see the Mel Gibson story take over. Israel, sadly, seems to have followed the Rumsfield theory of war, which I heard on one of the shows: Send just enough troops to lose.

Hillary-Rumsfeld: Hillary finally grew the balls to say what needed to be said three years ago. Rumsfeld should go. His idea of a lean-mean fighting force was shortsighted when he came up with it and seems to be sheer insanity now -- read the Foreign Affairs article he wrote on it! I think it came out summer 2001, maybe fall.

That's enough.


Thursday, August 03, 2006


Evidence in sooner-Bomar scandal




Dems' hopes spring eternal

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state Senate gained a Democrat and lost a Republican today.

Senator Nancy Riley says she's switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party because the G-O-P is being taken over by the extreme right wing.

(Ya think? -- ER)

Read all about it.


Big Red Losers

Excuse us while we Oklahomans talk a little inside football.

I am not mean enough to dance in the street over the woes of the ou sooner football team. But, as one who believes a successful football season is when Oklahoma State beats ou (regardless of the outcome of any other game, and I'm serious), I must say I am interested in OSU football for the first time this year.

sooners sack QB for getting paid for work he never did at ...

Big Red Losers.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Worlds colliding -- arrgh!

Book review for eggheady history publication due yesterday! Arrgh!

Only 200 of 600 words done. Arrgh!

Must go to work now. Arrgh!

Must work on review at work. Arrgh!

Hey, sometimes I work on work at home.

What I tell people is my job gets me up in the morning, and playing at being a historian keeps me up at night. Times like this, day and night lose all meaning -- because I put it off and put it off and put it off and it's my own dang fault!

Arrgh! Arrgh!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Summertime ER still life

Inventory of items on table next to ER's recliner:

Pez dispenser -- "Tow Mator," (voice of Larry the Cable Guy, in "Cars").

Tool of my trade: notebook.

Red felt editing pen.

Lazer pointer, for amusing Ice-T.

Two-pack of red pepper-spiced buffalo meat sticks.

Stanley tape measure.

Pint jar of gumballs from the Cracker Barrel.

About 2 fingers of George Dickel in an Oklahoma State rocks glass.

Box of Slim Jims.

Pez wrapper tossed akimbo.

Framed picture of the Best Cat in the World.

Stuffed critter of some kind (They are all over the house).

Birthday card from Bird and YankeeBeau (in green envelope).

Hidden behind notebook: Small monkey sock puppet, small snow globe, large snow globe.

And peeking from under table, on the right, a ceramic Holstein cow and calf.


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