Friday, November 30, 2007


'Southern Moderate Political Protest Song'

This fell off my dresser, out of a pile of detritus, just as I was wondering what to blog today. Just a little doggerel I came up with, I think just after the 2000 election.

Make that yellow doggerel. Maybe blue doggerel.

By The Erudite Redneck

"Southern Moderate Political Protest Song"

The Party of Lincoln's sold its soul
Justice 'n liberty are just bought and sold
Big money rides high and the common man cries
And Main Street America rolls ups and dies

The Party of Roosevelt's turned from its roots
From the workin' man's callouses and farmer's old boots
They say up in D.C. they know what's the best
But I'm afraid they're just gonna tax us to death

I'm not always right, but I think I've been left
My country is travelin' a dangerous path
There's nobody left to stand for the right
Of the man in the middle and his one point of light.


Thursday, November 29, 2007


Troof? Troof? U cat handles teh troof!


Lolcats splain!



("Creation of Kitteh" seen at BlondeSense. OMG go read this review of the Creation Museum! --ER)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


That ain't no tater; that ain't no radish; danged if that ain't a Thai version of a bay leaf

I don't b'lieve today could've been more out of the ordinary.

Normally, I drive 9.6 miles to work, park my truck, go in, sit at my desk and work, startin' at about 9:30 or 10 a.m. I do more editin' these days than writin' and precious little reportin' so I don't get out much. Then, I drive 9.6 miles back to the house.

Today: Up at 5 a.m., and 15 miles almost due south in downtown OKC at 7:30 a.m. Gah. A breakfast meetin' lasted until 9 a.m. Then I sat and rewrote my notes. The older I get, the less my notes are actually notes and actually are memory aids, with a shelf life of a few hours at most. So they got to be rewritten soon.

'Bout 10:15 I sauntered to a nearby newsstand, and rather than picking up the latest High Plains Journal, which I used to read regularly in the line of duty and now buy whenever I see one, I was so amused to see Willie Nelson on the cover of High Times holding two HUGE buds that I bought the dang thing.

Had the gal at the counter put it in bag pronto, 'cause more people know me by sight in downtown OKC than I know by sight, and I did NOT want it gettin' out that ER was seen buyin' a High Times -- even if it did have ol' Willie on the front!

At 11 a.m., I met an ol' friend from Texas, in town to pick up somebody at the airport, for lunch at The Cattlemen's Steakhouse, where I actually had to turn some meat back over to the waiter, my eyes havin' maintained their girth as my stomach and appetite have shrunk the past year.

Not that I ordered light: Sausage-and-cheese omelet, salsa on the side, with the hashbrowns (the ONLY flaw at The Cattlemen's is they don't have grits), toast and gravy ('cause it was too late for biscuits), and a side order of bacon, and keep that coffee comin' please.

Danged if that boy didn't bring me SIX thick slices of bacon. I gave it my best shot, but had to let No. 6 go back.

At 1 p.m., I had a rare sit-down interview on the other side of town, and was finally at my desk at the office for the first time by 3 (after sittin' in a parkin' lot rewritin' my notes), but was so clown-eyed and frazzled that about all I did was answer some e-mails and set up some pix to be shot to go with the 7:30 a.m. thing and the 1 p.m. thing, one of which is for Saturday, the other of which is for a week from Saturday, 'cause I'm workin' ahead 'cause I'll be in town but off work Wednesday-Friday next week for all-day instruction on something that'll help make me more employable in Denver, or consultable anyway.

I'm gonna learn up on the National Register of Historic Places, the laws pertainin' thereto, the tax credits attached to certain historic preservation work, historic preservation in general and &c., so I can hold myself out as an expert on such things, seein' as how I already got my main ticket punched to that line of work, which is a master's degree in history, and I have a better than passing acquaintance, but not really by much, with American architecture history, construction and such.

Headed home at 5 p.m. sharp, starved, but craving peanut sauce.

There's a Thai eatin' joint about 2 miles from the house, so after feedin' the critters, I drove over for some fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce -- the only thing I knew for sure I liked.

Perusin' the menu, and with somethin' of a sensitive tummy, I spied somethin' that sounded just about gastrointestinally right on the money: somethin' called dtom kah talay: seafood soup in a coconut broth.

"Spicey?" the waiter-cook-busboy-dishwasher asked. (Seriously. He was the only person working in the place.) "No, sir, not tonight."

"No spicey?"

"Nooo. Thanks."

Man, it was good stuff. A couple of mussels, a couple of crab toes or something, some squid ganglia, some shrimps, several unidentifiable parts of unidentifiable fish-type critters, a couple sprigs of lemon grass and some thin-sliced taters or some kind of radish, it looked like.

Munch. ? Munch-munch. ?? Why these taters are as tough as oriented strand board. Munch-munch-munch. ??? Is this a radish? Munch-munch-munch-munch. ???? Then the pungency hit. Mun-gah!

Them ain't taters! Them ain't radishes! So, I deposited half-chewed galanga, it turns out, on the spring roll plate and was done. It's kind of like a root form of Asian bay leaf.

Now, I'd never had dtom kah talay before, but one of my rules for livin' is "I'll try anything that won't crawl off the plate at least once. Except the baby octopus they sell in the mini-muffin cups at this one Chinese joint."

Dr. ER, on the phone from Florida where she is stayin' here(!!!!!) in the line of duty, allowed: "Yuck. Sounds like you got the (slang adjectival term that means 'Asian') version of menudo."

Purt' near. And it was goo-oo-oo-ood!

A fine, very out-of-the-ordinary day, all in all.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Religious bread, political circuses

DrLobojo! You gotta give me my college football, and my Dallas Cowboys (finally): They are harmless diversions compared to the real bread and circuses keeping the population fat, happy and dumbed down!

Religious bread (chaff, actually):

James Dobson -- The free market can be a real bitch: "Retailers Continue to Assault Christmas."

GOOD! It needs to be racheted way down in the marketplace, and the popular culture (I repeat myself), so maybe it can regain some of its significance for practicing Christians (which is real today whatever its origins).

Political circuses:

Democrat-liberal faith outreach must be working. It's freaking out the Family Research Council and other rightnut wingjobs! (pdf).

GOOD! The liberal Christian tradition is reawakening. But let it keep its horse before its cart, and its Jesus quietly influencing positions and policy -- not on its sleeve!

Lordy. Can open. Metaphors everywhere.


Monday, November 26, 2007


Caught: 'In the Grip of Sacred History'

"The narrative of Western Civilization as it is currently understood by historians in the United States has not fully escaped the chronological and geographical grip of sacred history. Sacred history, as promulgated by early modern European historians and their predecessors in the Judeo-Christian tradition, was a view of history that located the origins of man in the Garden of Eden in 4004 b.c. ..."

Read all of "In the Grip of Sacred History," by Dan Smail in The American Historical Review. (Grab a favorite beverage; get comfortable; long article.)

No wonder "Intelligent Design" sounds reasonable: We teach Unintelligent History.



On Fundamentalism, the Southern Baptist Convention, Choctaw missions, prayer, Christian liberalism, Fosdick, loving Islamist radicals, &c.

If you wonder if I'm bitter and impatient -- ha, ha, if! -- regarding Christian Fundamentalism, it's because it destroyed the last vestiges of comity in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I was 15 in 1979 and paying full attention at the 1979 Fundamentalist Takeover. It really did turn people against one another -- for one purpose: power.

Not the wonder-working power of the Blood (of the Blood) of the Lamb (of the Lamb) -- a beautiful metaphor, probably, if you grew up with it, but pretty ghastly, perhaps, if you did not, (and it makes for a catchy tune either way).

But no. Worldly power.

I learned the confrontation had been a long time coming and that it stemmed -- as does Christian Fundamentalism today -- from the fear-based reaction of some in the Church to the advances in science and biblical studies of the 19th century.

Read The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, which informed the teaching I heard in Sunday school and from the pulpit. Read about the Scofield Reference Bible, THE Bible in my church when I was growing up. Read about dispensationalism, the ideological framework for it all.

I thought 1979 was the beginning. It was not. It sure wasn't the end. It was just a milestone -- it was big, but it seemed, and seems, bigger to me because I was 15 -- with not only my naughty bits, but my brain and heart, my hopes, my sense of myself and my place in the world, all blood-engorged and tingly.

I knew -- I knew in my soul -- that the controversy would wreck "Bold Mission Thrust" -- the Southern Baptist's stated goal in 1976 of taking the Gospel to every person on earth by 2000 -- because I knew, even then that cooperation was the engine of the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program -- not doctrinal tests!

Read it and weep, Southern Baptists and fellow recovering Southern Baptists: "We have an International Mission Board that would kick Lottie Moon off the field," a South Carolina Baptist pastor writes. (Read about Lottie Moon.)

CONSENSUS, not total agreement, and not majority rule, historically, has been the secret to the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Southern Baptist Convention is too far gone, I think. At least for me.

In the wider sphere, I don't know any liberal Christian who wants to see Fundamentalists banned from the Church. It is the other way around -- and that's what gets me, a recovering Fundamentalist turned liberal Christian, riled.

It's not what they believe, but that they demand that I believe it, too, in order to wear the Christian label.

Here, let me echo Harry Emerson Fosdick, from 1922, (and you can be sure I didn't hear of HIM in Baptist Training Union [something else long gone from Southern Baptist practice]):

"If a man is a genuine liberal, his primary protest is not against holding these opinions, although he may well protest against their being considered the fundamentals of Christianity. ... The question is: Has anybody a right to deny the Christian name to those who differ with him on such points and to shut against them the doors of the Christian fellowship? The Fundamentalists say that this must be done. In this country and on the foreign field they are trying to do it. They have actually endeavored to put on the statute books of a whole state binding laws against teaching modern biology. If they had their way, within the church, they would set up in Protestantism a doctrinal tribunal more rigid than the pope’s.

"In such an hour, delicate and dangerous, when feelings are bound to run high, I plead this morning the cause of magnanimity and liberality and tolerance of spirit. I would, if I could reach their ears, say to the Fundamentalists about the liberals what Gamaliel said to the Jews, “Refrain from these men and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will be everthrown; but if it is of God ye will not be able to overthrow them; lest haply ye be found even to be fighting against God.”

Read all of Fosdick's sermon, "Shall the Fyndamentalists Win?"

Well, I didn't mean to go off on a lamentation. But it all ties together with what I did mean to write about.

On words, the Word and "the Word of God." Some things to think about.

The Choctaws had no words for such concepts as "sin," "salvation," "redeemer" and so on until Christian missionaries introduced them. More importantly, the Indians had no written language. The introduction of writing alone put them under the control of Euro-American Christian culture:

"In what language should either (preaching or teaching) be done? Was it more important for the missionaries to teach the Choctaws the English language so that the Indians could could hear and read the Gospel and be saved or for the missionaries to learn the Choctaw language so that they could translate the Gospel, preach to the people in the Choctaw language, and teach the Indians to read the word of God?

"If language is a basic aspect of cultural idetnity, the transformation of an exclusively spoken language into a written one is one of the most profound changes that its speakers experience. Literacy objectifies the words and their meaning and gives them permanence. Attempts by missionaries to reduce native languages to written systems is testimony to a profound Christian belief in the metaphor of Logos, the word made God."

-- from Clara Sue Kidwell, Choctaws and Missionaries in Mississippi, 1818-1918 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), 83.

Too much emphasis on words rather than the Word, does more harm than good!

Finally, there's this, which is firmly in the evangelical tradition but wonderfully free of the taint of Fundamentalism (they are not interchangeable words) -- and like no concept of prayer I heard growing up (although I did get chastised for talking about similar albeit ill-formed concepts as a teenage Vacation Bible School teacher's helper!)

It starts with the concept that the Kingdom of God is neither in the future nor "out there" somewhere. It's right here, right now:

"God is looking for a beachhead of presence in the world -- a body, we might say, and indeed that is the very image Paul seizes upon in his letters. We 'the Body of Christ' have formed a partnership to dispense God's love and grace to others. As we experience that grace, inevitably we want to share it with others. Love does not come naturally to me, I must say. I need prayer in order to place myself within the force field of God's love, allowing God to fill me with compassion that I cannot muster on my own.

"This way of viewing the world changes how I pray for others. Crudely put, I once envisioned intercession as bringing requests to God that God may not have thought of, then talking God into granting them. Now I see intercession as an increase in my awareness. When I pray for another person, I am praying for God to open my eyes so that I can see that person as God does, and then enter into the realm of love that God already directs toward that person. ...

"At its best, my prayer does not seek to manipulate God into doing my will -- quite the opposite. Prayer enters the pool of God's own love and widens outward. ...

"On a trip to Russia in 1991 I participated with a group of Christians who actually prayed with officers in the KGB. 'We invited you because we need to learn the meaning of the word repentance,' said the presiding colonel. ... With shame, I realized that during the Cold War not once had I prayed for Russian leaders. Perceiving them as mere enemies, I never took the step of bringing them before God and asking for God's point of view.

"What about Islamist radicals who now oppose the West with violence? What effect might it have if every Christian church adopted the name of one Al-Qaeda member and prayesd faithfully for that person?"

--from Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 303, 308-310).

What effect, indeed.


Sunday, November 25, 2007


'Ten Years After'

Not the blues rock band! The blues rock marriage -- "blues" 'cause of current temporary living arrangements only!

Dr. ER and ER, sittin' in a tree -- we got hitched 10 years ago by a Justice of the Peace in a Texas county courthouse, with a spindly 10-year-old Bird, all arms and legs and elbows, uncomfortable in a dress for the occasion, in attendance.

My anniversary gift!

Her anniversary gift is in the shop. I had a little cash-flow issue. Suffice it to say it's the gift to give, because it's the gift that lives and lives -- and my fellow central Okies will get that. But, shhh!

Poor Dr. ER is in there on the couch, watchin' the shoot-your-eye-out movie. She picked up a tummy bug from Bird, who picked it up shopping on Friday. There goes our Big Night Out tonight at the Red Lobster. :-( Eh. I think I'm gonna whup up some kind of turkey spaghetti for supper.

Bird and YankeeB made a hand yesterday, decorating the tree inside, which Ice-T has again claimed as his very own, while I strung lights outside.

Dr. ER flies back to Colorado in the morning, then to Florida and who knows how many other trips before coming back Dec. 11 or thereabouts for the rest of the year.

Just some rambling. I had some thoughty thoughts to blog about, from a couple of books I'm reading. But, blah.


Friday, November 23, 2007


'Just as I am,' not 'Just as I want to be'

Boy, this is a mess. I think it's a natural result of the whole idea that churches can help "change" people who have gender issues -- and this poor guy-gal has more than his-her share!


By The Associated Press

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - High on prescription drugs and four days without sleep, Michael Berke raced his Harley to the megachurch where he’d found a home.

He barged into the church office, wearing a mesh shirt printed with profanity. In his hands he held a picture of a curvy woman with long, red hair and pouty lips.

"This is who I used to be," he said.

"And this" — he gestured to his flat chest, bald head and red goatee — "is who I’ve become."

He was born a man. After a lifetime as a social misfit, he had transformed himself into Michelle, a saucy redhead. Then, three months ago, he had become Michael again — with the financial aid and spiritual encouragement of Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale.

Now, he wanted to be Michelle again, and he blamed Calvary for making him the man he had become. ...

Read all about it.

Prayers aloft for all concerned!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Day of Publick Thanksgiving & Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving Day, y'all.

The ER house is full -- Dr. ER, Bird, YankeeB, Apollo and Fenway the granddogs, Ortiz the hamster, Jambalaya and Etouffe the hermit crabs, Ice-T the kitty-cat, and Riker, the regal Pembroke Welsh corgi and Bailey the 'tarded weinie dog, all present and accounted for. ER is grateful.

Below is President Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (cool, historywise), which President Jefferson thought out of place for a president (which is even cooler, religious-freedomwise). Click to enlarge.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The answer to an eternal question



Tuesday, November 20, 2007


'God's Presence,' by Philip Yancey

The following reminds me that I have nothing to complain about, and everything to be thankful for -- especially real dwelling places of the Holy Spirit like Dahnmaya. Most of us are absolute babies at faith.

It also reminds me why the least among us shall be first:

The less there is of us within us, the more there can be of God within us. If we can manage to empty ourselves of ourselves -- or, if circumstances empty ourselves of ourselves -- then God can wash in, and then back out and into and onto others.


In the ... Last Supper conversation in which Jesus bequeathed his peace, he also promised a far greater gift: the presence of God, who would live not in some faraway heaven but inside us, in our very souls. He promised us the Holy Spirit, and the title he chose, the Counselor (or Comforter), itself indicates one of the Spirit's main roles. The sense of God's presence may come and go. Yet the believer can have confidence that God is already present, living inside, and need not be summoned from afar.

I have seen evidence of God's presence in the most unexpected places. During our trip to Nepal, a physical therapist gave my wife and me a tour of the Green Pastures Hospital, which specializes in leprosy rehabilitation. As we walked along an outdoor corridor, I noticed in a courtyard one of the ugliest human beings I have ever seen. Her hands were bandaged in gauze, she had deformed stumps where most people have feet, and her face showed the worst ravages of that cruel disease. Her nose had shrunken away so that, looking at her, I could see into her sinus cavity. Her eyes, mottled and covered with callus, let in no light; she was totally blind. Scars covered patches of skin on her arms.

We toured a unit of the hospital and returned along the same corridor. In the meantime this creature had crawled across the courtyard to the very edge of the walkway, pulling herself along the ground by planting her elbows and dragging her body like a wounded animal. I'm shamed to say my first thought was
She's a beggar and she wants money. My wife, who has worked among the down-and-out, had a much more holy reaction. Without hesitation she bent down to the woman and put her arm around her. The old woman rested her head against Janet's shoulder and began singing a song in Nepali, a tune that we all instantly recognized: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

"Dahnmaya is one of our most devoted church members," the physical therapist later told us. "Most of our patients are Hindus, but we have a little Christian chapel here, and Dahnmaya comes every time the door opens. She's a prayer warrior. She loves to greet and welcome every visitor who comes to Green Pastures, and no dount she heard us talking as we walked along the corridor."

A few months later we heard that Dahnmaya had died. Close to my desk I keep a photo that I snapped just as she was singing to Janet. Whenever I feel polluted by the beauty-obsessed celebrity culture I live in -- a culture in which people pay exorbitant sums to shorten their noses or plump up their breasts to achieve some impossible ideal of beauty while nine thousand people die each day from AIDS for lack of treatment and hospitals like Green Pastures scrape by on charity crumbs -- I pull out that photo. I see two beautiful women: my wife, smiling sweetly, wearing a brightly colored Nepali outfit she had bought the day before, holding in her arms an old crone who would flunk any beauty test ever devised except the one that matters most. Out of that deformed, hollow shell of a body, the light of God's presence shines out. The Holy Spirit found a home.

-- from Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006): 273-274.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Front-row tickets

To see Bon Jovi in March, in Denver! Secured by Dr. ER.



Sunday, November 18, 2007


Okie Centennial Thanksgiving Week Prayer

of Confession today at church:

Lord of Life, we come to the time of Thanksgiving when for generations the harvest was "safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin." As the north winds blow, we are reminded of our mortality, and of our dependence on one another for blessings beyond our deserving. Teach us also to feel responsible especially to those who have not been so blessed. For it is the anniversary of a place called Oklahoma, and we must not only celebrate the past, but learn from it -- just as we must do the same in church. Otherwise, it will only be hot air that comes "sweeping down the plains." In the name of Jesus, our Teacher and Lord, we pray. Amen.

Way cool.


Saturday, November 17, 2007


'Dwight Sings Buck'

Man. I've bought more music lately than I have in quite awhile, for some reason. "Dwight Sings Buck" is what's burnin' up the CD player in my truck now. The Bakersfield Sound (ignore that "was") is ER's preferred sound, I reckon.

Long live Buck.


Friday, November 16, 2007


Oklahoma Centennial: DrLobojo's wagon tale

Go read DrLobojo's story. Good stuff.



'Oh, what a beautiful morning!'

Happy Statehood Centennial to all my Okie kith and kin!


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Let's map moron communities instead!

Wow. I can't believe this was even an idea:

LOS ANGELES: A police plan to map out Muslim communities that was sharply criticized and called racial and religious profiling by civil rights groups has been at least temporarily halted.

Read all about it.

How it was not seen as the modern equivalent of Japanese internment camps is beyond me. Hey, we got the technology now to track people! Who needs fences, right?

Freedom is vaporous. I defend my own when I defend yours.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Statehood centennial tiredness

Busy week this week, workwise and historywise, Friday, Nov. 16 being the 100th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood! Up at 4 a.m. today! Plus Dr. ER is in the house until Nov. 25 -- our 10th anniversary!

Yesterday, for the first time since I started in ought-4, I just forgot to biog! That's how crazy this week is.

Today, I went to a session of the Conference of State Governments, which was meeting in Oklahoma City this week.

Tonight, the meeting ended with a great, low-key concert by Okies Blake Shelton and Vince Gill at what I will always know as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, but is now the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

And, at one point, I took off my name badge and went out into the lobby gunnin' for a Very Important & Prominent Person in Oklahoma Business Circles, literally ready to kick his ass, because during the concert he showed his own ass so plainly it embarrassed me and shamed me, as an Oklahoman, to the point of redneckery.

Lucky for him, and me, that I missed connecting with him, the arrogant son-of-a-bitch. If you don't like this state, and its art and musicians, and you're in the business of promoting Oklahoma to others, then go to hell. Especially this week.

The upside is Drlobojo met us for dinner and the concert.

Yay Oklahoma!


Monday, November 12, 2007


'The Mission of Business'

Companies around the globe are mixing profits with gospel ministry.

Read all about it, from Christianity Today.




Twins separated at birth?

First cousins anyway.

Henry F. Potter:

Richard B. "Dick" Cheney:



Oklahoma's official state cartoon character!

GUSTY! Who knew?

Somehow, I totally missed this news. But I LOVED Gusty when I was little. On KTUL-TV, Channel 8, out of Tulsa, the creation of weatherman Don Woods. He drew Gusty every night at the end of the weather, and sent the drawing to some lucky kid!

Read all about Gusty!

Also on Channel 8 was Uncle Zeb! Before Uncle Zeb were Mr. Zing and Tuffy, also on KTUL. As a teen, I watched Mazeppa host late-night movies, same channel. Mazeppa was an early character of nattive Tulsan Gailard Sartain.

Tell me about your own local TV characters and such!


Sunday, November 11, 2007


Worth noting from 'The Christian Century'


"Revisiting Niebuhr: Reinhold Niebuhr's ideas are more important now than anytime since he died in 1971, argues Paul Elie (Atlantic, November). Ironically, 'bellicose neoconservatives, chastened "liberal hawks," and the stalwarts of the anti-war left' all claim that he would support their position on the Iraq war. Elie thinks it is Niebuhr's biblical view of history that has enduring value, a history that 'tells of a people confident of its special role yet thwarted again and again on account of its pride, and growing in wisdom through a sense of the frailty of human nature and the limits of earthly powers.' As for the war in Iraq, Elie suggests that following Niebuhr would mean recognizing both that the war in Iraq is lost, in the sense that we can't remake the fractious country in the image of America, and that a quick withdrawal from Iraq is impossible: having invaded Iraq, the U.S. now has a shared history, which brings with it a shared responsibility."

-- From "Centurymarks"

[Aside: "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people," Colin Powell told the president in summer 2002. "You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all." See Pottery Barn rule.]


"In 'A Common Word Between Us and You,' 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals have unanimously come together for the first time since the days of the Prophet to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam."

Read all about it.

"... the graciousness of this open letter is such that Western Christians hardly deserve it."

Read all of The Christian Century's editorial, "Between us and them."


"I'm not sure who'll invent the cure for cancer, discover a new energy source, or genetically engineer a plant that will end starvation, but I bet it won't be an anti-Darwinian Christian."

-- Philip Gulley, in Porch Talk (HarperSanFrancisco), quoted in "Centurymarks."

(All from Nov. 13, 2007, issue of The Christian Century. Motto: "Thinking Critically, Living Faithfully.")


Friday, November 09, 2007


Eh! Ehh! Something's up. Ehh!

Ehh! Strange doings going on this week! Ehh! My daddy had some women come over the other day, and they cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and scared me all the way up under the bed in my daddy's room!!

Then, last night, my daddy was all over the house, tidying it up. And he did all his laundry, and made sure all the dishes were caught up.

He's been pretty tolerable the last couple of days, too. Not as grumpy as usual.

Something's up. I don't like it. I don't like it ONE BIT.

-- Ice-T

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The coolest thing I have ever seen on the 'Net

Wow. I just sat and watched the whole thing. Made me smile bigger than I have in days. The song. The record. The player. Too cool.

Found it when reminded of it by this post by Geoffrey, who is going to talk to a high school Sunday school class about spiritual messages in modern rock music.

Made me think: Songs with explicit references to Jesus and the Christian concept of God used to be on "secular" radio stations, before "contemporary Christian music" became a thing.

Christians withdrew themselves, and their music, and the Gospel, from the world, to pat themselves on the back with Dove Awards! Gah! We. Can't. Get. Anything. Right.

Then, there's this: I loved this song when I was little -- and I still do. I WAS 7 (listen for the reference) when it came out, which made it even cooler when I heard it back in '71-'72.

If we could all just shut up and sing, I think we could all get along.



President Bush to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf: Do as I say, not as I do

George W. Bush is president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces. You'd think somebody would've told him that by now.


(Tip o' the fedora to Geoffrey.)


Book meme! My favorite!

Come one! It's fun! :-)

Grab the nearest book. Turn to page 23. Go to the fifth full paragraph. Type it in the comments and cite the book. Go ye therefore and do likewise on your own blog, if you like.


"Atomic Energy Commission. It no longer exists. See Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

-- The Associated Press Stylebook, 2003, New York: Associated Press, 2003.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The South sighs again

Ol' ER jined up with the Sons of Confederate Veterans in ought-ought-1, just in time to watch it all go to hell in a floweredy handbasket.

Ol' ER jined up because he loves history, 'specially antebellum history South, and post-Civil War history West. And because ol' Great-Grandpa ER (on Mama ER's side) fit as a Rebel out of Johnston County, Arkansas.

He got crippled, apparently in a hand-to-hand, 'cause his pension records say he was injured in the hip "by breech of rifle" or somethin' like that. Plus, he, like so many others, got dysentary and he apparently had severee diarheea ... diea ... de -- the shits until he died, in 1930 at age 90.

Helluva story. Mama ER remembered him -- remembered how he stayed out on their sleepin' porch when they lived up in the Arkansas Ozarks before they moved to Fort Smith, and how he'd jump up hollerin' in the middle of the night, chasin' old Yankee ghosts, presumably. He was shell-shocked, she said. Had what we now call PTSD, I reckon.

So up I jined with the Sons, in a local group that seems as dedicated to history, general and family -- "heritage, not hate," as they say -- as I am. Elsewhere, more radical Southrons started takin' over local camps of the SCV and before long they tore the poor ol' venerable outfit plumb up. May they burn for it.

Maybe the SCV can shake off these low-life, white-trash neo-secesh fleas and get its historical self back in order. Until then, ol' ER will remain on the sidelines watchin' it scratch and whine.

Why this comes up: This here article is a cleverly written update on the squabble, written by a gal from the Southern Poverty Law Center, of all places, and it appeared in the newsletter of what used to be the local camp of the SCV, which has now gone freelance, presumably for the same sad reason I made my own exit from the still-radicalized SCV.

Infighting within the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) heritage group has reached monumental proportions, as the "Lunatics," the nickname for the SCV's most extreme political hard-liners, call for the resignation of the group's commander, Chris Sullivan. The power struggle exploded during the SCV's convention in late July, when two Lunatics had their memberships suspended by the SCV's ruling General Executive Council (GEC).

Until this April, Sullivan, although a suit-and-tie type, was widely liked in Lunatic circles, where biker attire and extreme-right views predominate. ...

Read it all, y'all.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


'Jesus is Lord Hunter Check Station,' &c.

As has become my custom, I follow a couple of days of white-hot ire and fury with ... cutesy, funsy-wunsy pix of critters and such. Hey, it's the ER way.

Halloween pix are obvious, the disembodied beard outside the conference room is at the Seventh Native American Symposium at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, in Durant; the Jesus is Lord Hunter Check Station is in Daisy, Okla.,; Reba McEntire Road is in Stringtown, Okla., one of about three places that claim her; there's a famous ER Still Life in here.

This might be a purdy good day. I have come up with an excuse to wind up at the AQHA World Show this afternoon, with plans to be done about beer:thirty and hang with a friend of mine from Burns Flat, Okla., who worked for me as a reporter in Texas.


P.S. That is Italian sausage on the grill.

P.P.S. That pic of Bailey helpin' me cleanin' the grill is about the best shot I've stumbled across in a long time. Bailey just oozes sweetness.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Pitiful and pitifuler

Pitiful. They've taken a good thing -- helping people -- and dolled it up to make it seem like something it's not.

I got an oversized postcard in the mail, to "current resident," with a pic of a bunch of $100 bills and big red letters that say "$10,000.00 Holiday Giveaway ... Why? Just because we want to!"

Gag. Save the postage. Give away the money. Shut up.

Pitifuler. EL, in the middle of a whiny post about how nobody ever "witnesses" to him, admits:

"I should admit here and now that my position doesn't allow me to do the same either, despite the owner being Christian. We are a place of business, and can't afford to offend anyone."

Note: I shamed EL and Neil over there for backbiting and gossiping about me and Geoffrey when we weren't present. EL's post is fair game: He put it up for comment.

To wit:

Makes me want to puke. For a couple of reasons. One, it's the pinnacle of hypocrsy for you to even HAVE an opinion about how I or anyone else lives out their Christian faith if you are so timid in your own! Two, the mere fact that you can divorce "witnessing" from the rest of your life is astounding to me. It really IS all about what you know with you, isn't it?

People who know me know I am a Christian, a Democrat, from a small town, have an interest in history -- and many other things, NOT because I dropped a tract on their desk, or "witnessed" to them about being a Democrat, or announced at a service that I'm from rural Oklahoma, or because I tried to "win" their "soul." They know these things about me because I live them, talk about them, shape my world view by them and never hide my light under any bushel no matter what that light is.

Gah! Gah again!


Sunday, November 04, 2007


'Beyond the Bones of Jesus'

I've been meaning to put this up since last Easter, when the James Cameron "documentary" was all over the news. I figured somebody would eventually put it online. No? Then allow me -- with a hearty AMEN.


By Robin Meyers
Senior Minister
Mayflower Congregational-UCC Church
(From the March 14, 2007, Oklahoma Gazette)

In case there is anyone out there who hasn't heard yet, filmmaker James Cameron, who gave us such believable movies as "Titanic," has made a new documentary called "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." In it, he claims that several "ossuaries" or limestone tombs unearthed by construction workers in Jerusalem in 1980 once contained the bones of Jesus, Mary, members of Jesus' family, and his son Judah by Mary Magdalene, who had a tomb of her own.

If true, this would contradict the claim that Jesus was bodily resurrected, as most Christians believe -- and that, therefore, Easter is a myth and Christianity is a lie. In the post-"DaVinci Code" world, there is big money to be made in the myth-busting business.

The only problem is, the validity of these claims notwithstanding, Cameron's project will produce what the media always gives us when it practices theology without a license: all heat and no light. Those who base their faith on a physical Resurrection will condemn it, and those who don't, or who are hostile to all religion, will use it to cast doubt on what they have already judged to be ancient superstition. Are you with us, or against us?

Not long ago it was the Shroud of Turin that was reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, his visage imprinted on the cloth as he was raised from the dead. Millions claimed that this was finally "proof" of the Resurrection, until the cloth was carbon-dated and found to be from the 11th or 12th century. The faithful regrouped, and the nonbelievers scoffed.

Now comes the latest effort to disprove the Resurrection by the doscovery of tombs inscribed with what were common names in first-century Palestine, but whose appearance together is said to be against great odds. The "discovery" of the tomb reputed to be that of Mary Magdalene is the weakest link, but if you are making a movie, this is irresistible.

What Cameron and his ilk don't realize is that Christians are not a bipolar monolith consumed by endless arguments over "dueling artifacts." Some of us understand Easter as a spiritual phenomenon, not a physical one, and we wouldn't care is someone found the entire skeleton of Jesus -- we would still believe that Easter is real and that God raised Jesus from the dead.

We are not interested in magic, or in special effects, or in the disassembling and reassembling of molecules -- as if Easter were some first-century version of "Beam me up, Scotty!" Instead we are heirs to the story of how ordinary, clueless, even cowardly disciples experienced the mysterious presence of Jesus after his execution, and it transformed them into new human beings. In response to this mystery, they formed communities that welcomed everyone, and dared to say that he was the Son of God, not Caeser. They ceased all animal sacrifice, believing that God no longer needed to be bargained with, and ultimately gave their lives in service to an alternative community where the only creed was "Jesus Christ is Lord."

What, I ask, is a box of bones compared to that? Perhaps if we could stop confusing faith with magic for just one moment, we might turn our attention to something more important than miracles as the suspension of natural law -- like the Sermon on the Mount, or nonviolence, or peace and justice.

Then, every time we act like true disciples in the world, the Resurrection becomes present tense, not past tense. And every time the church acts like the body of Christ in the world, it becomes self-evident that he lives.


Friday, November 02, 2007


A blog post

So I don't skip a day.

Loooong. Day. Gooood day.

Keynote speaker tonight was Rennard Strickland. Good stuff.


Thursday, November 01, 2007


ER, like his great-great-grandpa ER before him in the 1870s, heads for Indian Territory

Land Run types are newcomers compared with the R's.

(Gone to Little Dixie!)

"Oklahoma Centennial: Sixty-Seven Nations and Counting."


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