Saturday, November 28, 2009


'An insider confirming outside critics dispels the myth that classified information redeems a failed policy'

These men speak with moral authority and have my attention.

Roger Morris and George Kenney:
Matthew Hoh Speaks Grim Truth To Power


Friday, November 27, 2009


'Everything Iz st00pid'

Ecclesiastes 1, from The LOLcat Bible Project! OMG! I love it!

Everything Iz st00pid

1 Teh werdz ov teh preechur, teh son ov David, King of teh Jerusalem.2 "St00pid! St00pid!" Sez teh teechurcat. "Srsly st00pid. Everythingz st00pid."3 Wut man getz 4 laburz he toilz @ undur teh sunz?4 Generashun comez n generashun goez, still same lolcats.5 Sun rizez n setz, goez bak n rize agin.6 Teh wind blowz souf n norf, rownd n rownd, alwayz teh sayme.7 Seaz can has streemz, nevur fullz. Streemz go bak where comez frum.8 All tingz has DO NOT WANT, more den werdz sez. Lolrus never sez "enuf bucket, kthnx" or kitteh sez "dats good, enuff cheezburger."9 Has happen? Gunna be agin. Nuthing new undur teh sunz.10 Kitteh can not sez "OMFGZ sumthing new!" is jus REPOST!.11 New kittahz 4gitz old kittahz, new kittahz 4gitd bai even newer kittahz.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


2009 Thanksgiving Day prayer

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,

that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.

God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

-- Psalm 67 (NIV)

Happy Thanksgiving Day, y'all!


Thursday, November 19, 2009


The blood of war bleeds into the ground

Let us never, ever forget it. For most us, land is real estate, something to be bought and sold -- traded like cards. For most of the rest of the world, land is home.

Now, y'all can give me all the shit you want. But I guarandamntee you that I *get* what's going on with ancient Israel -- and maybe modern Israel, as wrong as it seems to be -- and Judah better than most of my lib brothers and sisters, if not y'all.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


'Sexual and Marital Metaphors in Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel'

I'm reading this book. I was so moved by some of the stuff I actually READ in Jeremiah -- Israel as cheating Zion, Yahweh as put-upon husband, chastening her by sexually humiliating her -- I wanted to read more.

In setting the stage, the author says that the historical-critical ideas of the metaphors as words or ideas that represent other actual words or firm ideas (the substitionary approach) is too restrictive for how the metaphors should be understood.

She asserts that a cognitive approach, that is, seeing metaphors as cognitive devices with the power to transform perception and reorient perspective, in preferred.

It's traditional exegesis versus feminist exegesis.

I'm thinking that calling these ancient images "metaphors" in the first place is too limiting, and that "allegory" gets closer to the kind of thing that transforms perception and reorients perspective.

An allegory is greater than the sum of its metaphors and similes.

Zion/Israel is always a female and Yahweh is always a male, and both are always in what we today would consider a dysfunctional relationship.

As allegory, though -- something with the power ro transform perception and reorient perspective -- what we have is a story about a relationship between a powerful persona and a much less powerful (but not totally powerless) persona, which is, in fact, the nature of the Covenant.

It eliminates the gender baggage, which puts the power differential is sharper focus.



Monday, November 16, 2009


How might a drop of holiness behave on the surface of a lake in God's holy Creation?

I do not necessarily doubt that Jesus walked on the water. It's just not necessary to my faith. I do not not believe it. ...

Play along now: Jesus's divinity = the "Godness" of God who poured God's self into Creation.

Jesus "loaned" that to the temporarily "holified" Peter, who lost it when he lost it, and he splashed through, but a patina of holiness lingered each time and smaller expressions of Peter bounced on the surface and splashed through, etc., until what was left, which was just Peter, sank.

Why not? ... Just ponderin' just how dim the glass is through which we look.

Check this out, and this ramblin; will make more sense:



"An atypical act of juvenile delinquency'

For liberty and justice for ALL.

And I'd like to thank these righty-rights -- -- for helping spread the news of this amazing little boy. Oh, but have a trash can or bucket handy if you read the comments.


Sunday, November 15, 2009


OK, so we need some prayer concentrated right here, 15 miles north of Oklahoma City, please

For healing and health, or at least some relief. Dr. ER's physical. My mental.

Prayers. Happy thoughts. Karma. Warm feelings. Disruptors. Photon torpedoes. Whatever ya got.

I swear to God, I do not know what to believe about prayer. "Does it work"? Well, not like a freaking gumball machine, no. And God is no Santa Claus in the sky.

But we need some help here. Not that we need any more than we've been needing for quite awhile now, but there's a timing issue. Dr. ER has work to do, and can't. And she's getting on a plane Tuesday to go to Ohio to see her sister and niecelets, and the trip along could have her down for a week. I'm driving up next week to get her, and the trip back, even without a plane trip and a week in an unfamiliar sleeping environment, could have her down for a month. And there's that work to do.

"Life is prayer," one of you told me. I like it. Right now, this life, mine, is asking to borrow some of your lives, in a "Life is prayer" sense.

Faith is trust -- and I throw myself into the Cosmos and trust God, not to DO for me, or us, but to BE with me, and us.

Hope is not optimism, thank God. Because I'm not optimistic, and it would suck to be hopeless, too. Hope, resting in faith, propels me into the life before me, which, itself, is gift and grace.

Love is the single most audacious thing Jesus asks of us, and the single hardest thing he demands of us. Lord help me in Love, with Love, and to Love, because the greatest of these is Love.



Thursday, November 12, 2009


Artemis, Epictetus, Zeus and Jesus -- help, y'all!

I have to get a fictional character I've created for a class converted to Christ, in three pages, by Saturday.

He's 50 years old, an educated freedman living in Ephesus. The year is about 90 C.E. At age 15, he became totally devoted to Artemis, in direct response to the threat Paul's preaching brought to the local silver trade and the Ephesus economy in general.

I think I'm going to have his patron, his former master who is almost as close as a brother -- they're about the same age and grew up together -- killed off somehow, and somehow tie my guy's personal business fortunes to that.

That oughta soften him up some for conversion -- BUT, an overnight leap from Artemis to Jesus seems unlikely.

My guy has been exposed to Stoic thinking over the years and has heard Epictetus teach in Rome (although I can't mention any historic figures at all in my narrative). He has a good idea of Zeus as "king of the gods," even as he contrinues to embrace his "hometown" goddess, Artemis of Ephesus, even though he now lives in Rome (I think I'll have him suddenly homeless, too).

Question: Do y'all think that might have prepared his mind to be ready to convert to Christ, once his heart had been broken and his dreams dashed? He never has embraced Stoicism; he has only thought about it for years, as he remained devoted to Artemis.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009


A Democratic president at war

IF we're going to stay at war in Afghanistan, then I want my president to send as much of our treasure and our materiel into Afghanistan as the previous president sent into Iraq. Or more.

President Obama is rejecting the options put before him? Good.

Send more than the generals are asking for. A lot more. Get it over with.

The Republican Party so hates government it can't even use it for the legitimate power of a legitimate war.

Send a Democrat to finish a Republican war. Again.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


God and His Wife?

"Asherah and the God of the Early Israelites."

Fascinating, especially for those who imagine God as both/neither male-female.


Monday, November 09, 2009


Pissed-off redneck feminist bitch theologian with Queer Theory tendencies

Dudes, if I were a chick, the headline might describe me -- after deeply readin' Isaiah for the first time.

Holy misogynistic metaphor!

God hiked his estranged Zion's skirt up to show her female parts, in sexual humiliation? Did God then force His way with her to punish her/redeem her?

And then He apologized later?



Sunday, November 08, 2009


'I stood still, I forgot who I was'

"The Dark Night"

By St. John of the Cross (excerpt, version by Robert Bly)

In the delicious night,
In privacy, where no one saw me,
Nor did I see one thing,
I had no light or guide
But the fire that burned inside my chest.

That fire showed me
The way more clearly than the blaze of noon
To where, waiting for me,
Was the One I knew so well,
In that place where no one ever is.

Oh night, sweet guider,
Oh night more marvelous than dawn!
Oh night which joins
The lover and the beloved
So that the lover and beloved change bodies!

In my chest full of flowers,
Flowering wholly and only for Him,
There He remained sleeping;
I cared for Him there,
And the fan of the high cedars cooled Him.

The wind played with
His hair, and that wind from the high
Towers struck me on the neck
With its sober hand;
Sight, taste, touch, hearing stopped.

I stood still, I forgot who I was,
My face leaning against Him,
Everything stopped, abandoned me,
My worldliness was gone, forgotten
Among the white lilies.


Sermon text this morning at church, the last of 10 Sundays of sermons from "Ten Poems to Change Your Life." Next Sunday, we return to regular programming. :-)


Thursday, November 05, 2009


Hidden hymns and singin' for supper

In In the Beginning Was the Meal (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 2009), Hal Taussig's discussion of the hymns embedded in John and in some of the New Testament letters is an eye-opener.

I knew there were snippets of hymns in the Scriptures. But to imagine the entertainment/worship time of the earliest Christian plenary meals as being a time of singing those hymns as a way of transmitting and firming up early theology and Christology -- well, I just find that very exciting.

It also helps me to see the Gospels themselves as liturgy, not only meant to be read aloud but sung, acted out and performed. The letters, parts of them, too.

And this all helps balance out the historical reality that the festive meal was not a "Christian" institution, by showing that the early Christians *made* it their own.

Lovin' all my books this semester, but Taussig's is the one I recommend for the regulars around here.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Thoughts on Transsexual Jesus?

I guess it depends, partly, on what your definition of "transsexual" is.

Transsexual Jesus.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009


On Baal and Anat

Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin, Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, “Stories of Baal and Anat,” 263-274.

Circa 1400 B.C.E. Six broken clay tablets in the Ugaritic language in cuneiform script, discovered in Syria in 1930-1933 by French archeologists.

The people of Ugarit told the stories of Baal and Anat to mourn the death of Baal at the end of the dry season and to celebrate his resurrection at the start of the rainy season, which compares to Ezek 8:14. In the stories, El and Baal are depicted much as the Bible portrays Yahweh, with the divine patrons of both Ugarit and Israel sharing many of the same titles (Psalms 68:5), with both battling seas and death (Psalms 29), and building temples and being seen as enthroned in the heavens (Isaiah 6:1, Daniel 7:9). The Ugararitic Ahirat appears in the Bible as Asherah, as do Yamm, Mot and Mt. Zaphon (Isaiah 14:13).

Stories include Anat’s celebration of the grape harvest with a bloody battle, with slaves preparing her for battle with cosmetics, a depiction of her as a lover, warrior and farmer; Baal’s complain to Anat that, with no sanctuary of his own, he has to lie in the House of El; Yamm the Sea’s and Nahar the River’s questioning of Baal’s right to a sanctuary and then warring with Baal, whose storms bring rain while Yamm and Nahar’s floods destroy life; Baal’s defeat of Yamm and the Holy Ones’ proclamation of him as ruler of the divine assembly; and Baal’s tricking of Death by feeding Mot his own brothers after Mot threatens to consume humanity.

So what? To me, these stories cause the lore of ancient Israel to resonate with cultural authenticity. That the various people of the region had comparable concepts of gods, although different names, indicates similar world views despite different political circumstances. God, as we know God, was given credit or blame for many of the same things Israel’s neighbors credited or blamed their gods for.



Renewed appreciation for the KJV

I've been unfairly critical of the King James Version lately. It's not the KJV that is flawed; for its time, it was the bee's knees.

It's what people do with it today that deserves my reproach.

That is all.


Sunday, November 01, 2009


Still life: Setting the Open Table

On All Saints Sunday.

In most United Church of Christ local churches, the Communion Table is "open to all Christians who wish to know the presence of Christ and to share in the community of God's people." (Book of Worship). Some visitors from churches which believe communion should only be celebrated among Christians who are in full doctrinal agreement might not choose to participate. Their decision should be respected.

More on Communion in the United Church of Christ.


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