Archives For Current Affairs

Afraid of Reporting the News

kinnon —  October 6, 2010 — 3 Comments

I confess that I was troubled by the coverage given to the small town “pastor” who thought burning the religious book of another religion was the “Christian” thing to do. When the Vatican, Canterbury and the White House all weighed in on his intended actions, it simply became surreal.

And the story, created by the media and fanned into fiery frenzy by those who despise anything that appears to be “fundamentalist” Christianity actually did cause loss of life – even though, once he used way more than his allotted 15 minutes of fame, the “pastor” de-ignited his intentions.

Newsweek, hardly a trusted source of information for me, made this comment,

…the news media may have to examine their role in this episode. News organizations may well need to ask what public good was served by giving minute-by-minute updates of the antics of a little-known preacher. Jones’s decision to burn holy books near his sparsely attended church became global news because, well, it was disseminated globally. By making it big news, the media had a hand in prompting the subsequent violence.

It was a story that was only worthy of coverage on the back pages of that “pastor’s” local, small city newspaper.

But what about the Molly Norris story?

“The what?,” you ask.

The Molly Norris story.

Norris was (and “was” is the operative word) the Seattle cartoonist, who in a moment of First Amendment exhilaration (and prompted by the South Park censored episode), thought it would be appropriate to create an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”.

I was peripherally aware of the story but it came into focus with this Mollie Z. post @ Get Religion, posted in mid-September. She comments,

So Norris shows some solidarity with these victimized cartoonists. Outrage ensued — protests, riots, you name it. She quickly backtracked and explained she didn’t mean to offend. Too late, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki declared, putting her on an execution hitlist.

I’ve watched as there has only been a light sprinkling of coverage of this story in the past three weeks.

When I think about the millions of pixels spilled on the Florida “pastor” story, I ask where the anger or simple concern is for Molly Norris. Proclaiming the fatwa, al-Awlaki says, “her proper abode is Hellfire.” He wants and expects her to be hunted down and executed.

Is this not a significant story?

She’s lost her livelihood and her identity – forced into hiding at her own expense – because she believed her First Amendment rights protected her as she dared challenge religious censorship – well, actually she backed down after suggesting the challenge. Yet, she will spend the rest of her days looking over her shoulder wondering whether she will see death stalking her.

But where is the media. Where are the bloggers and twitterers standing in solidarity with Molly – whether you agree or disagree with her once suggested day?

Where are the spiritual leaders and politicians stating that this response to Norris is outrageous?

They are all, predominantly, silent.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

UPDATE: (Before posting) This just popped up in Google Reader, Street Preaching is so Uncouth. Another Molly Z. post from Get Religion.

It is fascinating to me how much coverage the media devoted to the non-burn of the Koran in Florida compared to the actual “going ghost” of Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris or the actual arrest of four street evangelists in Dearborn. I would just love for someone who was involved in the coverage of the Koran burn threat to explain why they wrote eleventy billion stories on the Florida pastor and none on these other situations.

Fascinating or simply sad?

A Narcissist’s Fantasy

kinnon —  September 9, 2010 — 6 Comments

I thought of using a more provocative phrase in the title, but, as this is a family-oriented blog (yah, right, my family doesn't even read it) I thought it best to go with the above.

Twitter has it that the fool masquerading as a pastor in Florida (and yes, I'm well aware of Matthew 5:22) has decided not to burn Qur'ans. He no longer needs to. He's been given a world wide audience. The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, POTUS and thousands more have responded to him. This little man from the little "church" on the outskirts of a small Florida city has gained an audience of millions. It's every narcissist's fantasy come to fruition.

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As I smack the keys on my computer, composing this rant, there are 8,931 news articles about this clown at Google News (.ca) at 5:30PM EDT on Sep-09-10. It's all I can do not to use words that would make the WTF Church blush.

Eight thousand, nine hundred and thirty-one news articles.

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Yahoo News (where the media audience shot is from) refers to it as an "anti-Islam stunt that has whipped the national media in a frenzy." (Pedantic Note: a proper editor would have made that "…into a frenzy.")

Let's be honest, shall we. The "national media" whipped themselves into a frenzy. And thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the process. The stunt-pastor fit the narrative for many of them – evangelical Christians as simple-minded bigots. (And I'd debate whether this individual is an "evangelical" or understands what it means to be a Christian.)

The Yahoo News article acknowledges that this story should never have become national news – but then blames the coverage on "major officials and leaders."

Most journalists would probably agree that the rantings of a fanatical preacher in Florida shouldn't be front-page news across the United States and a lead story on national newscasts. However, the story appears to carry more weight as major officials and world leaders continue to weigh in. So after a few big names comment, and garner headlines, it then seems rational to ask the president of the United States — or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Gen. David Petraeus — for their thoughts on the overheated controversy. Although any mainstream political figure is going to condemn Jones, journalists will ask because the responses themselves make news. [emphasis added]

Notice that the writer attempts intellectual slight of hand – blaming the story's growth on anyone but the press – while telling us that journalists go after responses that "make news." And Hillary Clinton wants to blame it on "a media environment where "anybody with an iPhone, anybody with a blog, can put something out there which is outrageous"". Now, is that any way to talk about CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, the New York Times et al.

Trevin Wax nailed it in his post from earlier today,

The frustrating part of this story is the fact that it is a story. It tells us very little about how evangelicals view their Muslim neighbors and very much about the media’s willingness to seize any opportunity to create and maintain chaos.

Think about it. Is this church’s actions going to cause conflict between Muslims and Christians? Yes. But only because newspapers and TV talking heads blew up the story for the world to see.

Is the imagery of Koran-burning going to hurt the perception of American Christians in other parts of the world? Absolutely. But only because the news media has asked that question and seared that picture into our imagination. Even if the church decided to call off the bonfire, the damage is already done.

In a day of 24/7 news, journalists feel constant pressure to stay on top of stories like this, even if they are manufactured and promoted by other news outlets. How could they keep from reporting this story, especially when they had the chance to increase sympathy for Muslims, heap scorn on evangelicals, and cause conflict before September 11? It was the perfect story to accomplish all three tasks.

When I think about the obligatory condemnations coming from military commanders, politicians and leaders, I shake my head at how much time and energy has been wasted here. If Saddleback Church were burning books, you’d have a story. But traveling to the fringe and honoring such actions with this much media attention only exacerbates the problem and causes other fringe groups to try the same tactics.

(By the way, does anyone notice that whenever radical Muslims act out journalists are quick to remind us that most Muslims are not this way? And yet when fringe Christian groups do silly things, journalists use the occasion to take a swipe at evangelicals?)

Theologian William Black says this,

…the media are behaving like depraved addicts who are simply piling on as many hot-button words as possible (fundamentalists, koran-burning, outrage, Muslim extremist, 9/11, etcetera ad nauseum) without any seeming awareness that their so-called 'reporting' is in this case not part of the solution but part of the problem.

I wrote this in the comments section of Phoenix Preacher, earlier today

Real “agenda-less” editors would have said, “the man’s an attention-seeking lunatic. We should ignore him.”

Any violence triggered by this lunatic will be on the heads of the perpetrators and the media – not as if the perpetrators of said projected violence really need an excuse, however.

The media will probably respond with Billy Joel's words, "We didn't start the fire, it's been always burning, since the world's been turning." But the reality is that they fanned the ember rantings of a narcissist into a full-on forest fire of an international media story – with no thought to the consequences.

I'm finding it hard to post this week. I've begun a number of posts and abandoned them for good, or for a more appropriate time.

I'm still troubled by things from last week that need further discussion. I'm missing the sane voice of my good friend, Michael Spencer. (Please keep praying for Michael and his family.) And the Haiti Earthquake puts the brokenness of this world into forced focus.

You can find me commenting 140 characters at a time on Twitter: @kinnon. You will also find brighter Kinnon lights in the Twitterverse if you follow @liamkinnon and @kailikinnon – Imbi's and my oldest and youngest, respectively.

A couple of quick comments then.

First, the BHT's illustrious Matthew Johnson (Twitter: @revmhj) tweeted about this post from Oak Leaf Church, Selfish Christians. Matthew liked it. I didn't and commented there. Discipleship has got to be the biggest problem in the Western Church (and probably the Church universal.) This story, More U.S. Christians mix in 'Eastern,' New Age beliefs, in USA Today from last December (that I believe Ed Stetzer pointed to) strongly makes that point.

The second comment is about Mark Driscoll's Tweet (Twitter: @PastorMark) about his plans coming together to go to Haiti with a film crew "to help raise awareness & money for the church there." Now, I don't want to question Mark's heart in any way. But I do need to ask the question of why it's necessary for anyone, other than those who are going to work on the ground, to take a camera crew to Haiti right now?

There are probably more than 50 crews already there. Producing more tragic visual impact than one could ever possibly need. Do you really need to be there to raise awareness? (Look at this post of Jordon Cooper's alone.)

Resources are already so scarce, does Haiti need any more attention-tourists arriving at this point to tell anymore stories of the horror and trauma? (@TimmyBrewster points to the fact that the FAA is not allowing anymore planes into Haiti as there is no where to put them and no fuel available for them. UPDATE: Moments after I posted this @NPRNews says aid flights have resumed.) World Vision, World Concern, the Red Cross, Oxfam and every other credible agency is there working there tails off – with people shooting what's going on. And every network is covering this tragedy as the biggest story of this still young new decade.

I doubt another "film crew" is necessary.

UPDATE: And one final thing. If you want to give X% of sales this month to Haiti, that's very cool. But do you need to make it part of your marketing communications. I find that kinda "gross" in the words of @jaredcwilson.

Quelle linquage

kinnon —  August 22, 2009 — 3 Comments

Links to the linksters:

Jamie Arpin-Riccisome great links.

Brent “Brother Maynard” Toderashalways engaging links

Brad Boydstonthe link master

And

Put Jason Coker into your RSS feed. The brother’s a thinker (and far more articulate than the writer of this humble pixel pushedness.)

Read John Armstrong’s series, Reformed Christianity and the Christian Church, Part One, Two, Three & Four – TR Watchbloggers may just have massive coronaries.

I Confess…

kinnon —  August 22, 2009 — 2 Comments

…I kinda like the thought of a God who gets pissed with certain things and decides to give'em a little wake up call – a tornado here, an earthquake there, a little calamity to express His point.

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Of course, it helps when God and I agree on what things / people / ideas He should be pissed with. I'm rather with cartooned Calvin, though. God keeps forgetting to consult with me, first.

Now I need to state that I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well and still messing with His creation. More clearly, I am a believer in the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit and the active engagement of the Spirit in our lives in ways we can barely understand.

It helps that I experienced total and complete freedom from a smoking habit I couldn't beat after three friends prayed for me (six months after I was married, and a year after I began lying to Imbi about having quit – part of the freedom came in me having to ask her to forgive me for lying to her – things were a little frosty for more than a few hours).

I also experienced my neck being healed from damage that occurred when I was hit by a car as a kid. This after small group prayer during a church service – where all I wanted was freedom from the constant pain when whiplash exacerbated the damage. (Before and after x-rays do exist somewhere – I wasn't smart enough to get copies at the time. There's a lot more to this story if you are ever interested – just to note that when I was 26, a resident at St. Michael's Hospital, a certain Dr. Mah told me I had degenerative disk disease and would be in a wheel chair by today.)

But.

I've also experienced a gazillion times more apparently negative answers to requests for temporal intervention into the lives of acquaintances, friends, family and yes, even more requests from me, for me.

So. Thursday morning. I'm j-keying thru Google Reader. I think it was Challies who pointed to John Piper's commentary on tornados in Minneapolis providing attempted input into the ELCA convention. Based on my history here, you're probably thinking my first thought was, "Now, how stupid was that!" But no. Not even close. (My opinion on the ELCA issue(s) would be quite similar to that of my friend, Jared Wilson – a blog topic for another time.)

If you've had nothing better to do this week and have been following along with Darryl Dash et moi, you know we've been having a blog conversation about the Sovereignty of God. (Apparently, I started it with my recent Piper I35 comments and Darryl decided to get serious about it – joined by others like Jason Coker, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, and two of my favourite Reformed-leaning pastors, Ken Davis & Dan MacDonald.) Its been a good conversation (which isn't yet over as Triple D has more posts coming up. Posts are here, here, here and here.)

Darryl and I are good friends – even if I'm Arminian Wesleyan prevenient gracian apparently semi-pelagian a Greg Boyd fan a heretic and he's Reformed. Early that morning, after the Challies link, I dropped him a note with other examples of where I thought God might have decided to make a point – I won't embarrass myself further here by citing them. I was siding with JP on this one. And. I was wrong.

My iPastor, the iMonk and Greg Boyd effectively convicted me of how stupid I am. (Not a shock to a certain segment of blogdom who occasionally drop by to remind me of that.)

tornadoDamageVaughnAug09.jpg

Well, they and the weather system that decided to do significant damage to Southern Ontario. This whilst the dog and I were alone at our cottage on an Island in Lake Simcoe. (And yes, I was doing a lot of repenting. So anything that happened was the dog's fault – all she was doing was cuddling tightly to me – although at one point I was pretty sure she was praying – eyes closed, paws crossed, head bowed – well, okay, she was sleeping… but still.)

Now. It's quite possible God is ticked with us here in Ontario. He knows there's plenty of reason to be – heck, in my life alone.

But scripture does tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust. Jesus, in the Luke passage Pastor Piper quotes, says, "...those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die."

The point of this post – we, like the cartoon Calvin, want a God who intervenes where we want Him to intervene. Well, at least I seem to – I shouldn't speak for the rest of you. I do believe He intervenes where He chooses. I also believe that He created a natural order in the cosmos, that was fundamentally disturbed by the Fall – the consequence – broken people, living in a broken world – that yes, God is Sovereign over – but not the instigator of every calamity that befalls us – tornadoes or no tornadoes.

And yes, we all must repent for the end is near. The end of this post, that is.

“Who is my neighbour?” A trap set for Jesus by an “expert of the law”. A trap that prompted the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Samaritan’s were dogs according to proper Jews (in the 1st Century.) Yet Jesus used a parable of a good samaritan to both shock and teach the “expert of the law” and those gathered to hear him. Jesus challenged his hearers, not just by the story, but by the central character in the story – one who a proper Jew would see as unclean; one who was not to be associated with. (Jesus breaks this barrier down again with the Samaritan woman at the well.)

This synchroblog is the brainchild of my friend, Wendy Gritter. Bridging the Gap is the name of a DVD resource produced by New Direction, an NGO that Wendy leads. It is also the name of New Direction’s blog. New Direction seeks to create conversation between a community that has felt rejected by those who profess Christ as their Lord. Wendy says this,

The culture wars surrounding the topic of homosexuality have sucked up tremendous resources, have left devastated casualties in their wake, and continue to perpetuate polarization and enmity – most clearly seen in the divide between the Christian community and the gay community. The diversity and divisiveness surrounding gay issues is staggering. Even the above statement needs to be unpacked. The sense of polarization is not simply between the Christian community and the gay community as if both of those communities were completely monolithic and mutually exclusive. Rather, we see fractures within the Christian community and disagreements within the gay community. In the midst of this wasteland are gay Christians – a diverse group of people too – who often find very little safe harbour on either side of the divide.

I live in Toronto. A city that has the second highest LGBT population in North America, after San Francisco. And this is Gay Pride Week in my city. An event that brings upwards of a million people together to celebrate the freedom to live their lifestyle.

This is a tough week for many Christ followers. Many of us experience revulsion at the sexual antics that go on at the Pride Parade. We don’t have the tools to deal with the event – or even believe those tools are necessary. But many of the folk who participate in Pride Week are my neighbours. How do I respond? More appropriately, how would Jesus have me respond?

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” is shopworn and virtually useless. Are we called to judge and despise a community that has grown out of one aspect of sexual brokenness in our society? Or are we challenged to be neighbours? Are we challenged to befriend and engage in conversations? I would say we are. In fact, I would say we must!

I would also add that too many of us have what seems to be a low view of the Holy Spirit. We see it as our responsibility to judge and demand change from those we decide are filled with sin. (Our own mirrors must be broken.)

“Those people” must change before we will even consider engaging with them. We don’t acknowledge that the Holy Spirit has the ability to change what needs to be changed in the lives of others – or, for that matter, our own. And we demand that other’s change must take place according to both our prescription and our timetable.

And we wonder why there is this great divide between a community that defines itself by its sexual orientation(s) and one that defines itself by its commitment to Christ. (And yes, some folk are in both camps.)

UPDATE: Though I subscribe to Challies in Google Reader (sometimes just to get my low blood pressure up), author/blogger/bon vivant Jared Wilson was the one who turned me on to this Challies interview with John Bell. John and Ian Clary are two of the Theology Pub attenders that Imbi and I also hang out with. They co-pastor New City Baptist Church in downtown T-Dot. Would I use John’s approach? Probably not. But John is there in relationship doing his best to tell folk about Jesus – am I in any place to judge him?

The ever gracious Triple D also has a very good post.

UPDATE 2: And Triple D refers to the Challies post as well, (in Bridging the Gap Part Two) and concludes that post with a great Ed Dobson quote. In case you didn’t know, Ed Dobson is the pastor who helped launch Rob Bell. (Although the story gets told in a different manner in Bell’s Velvet Elvis.)

A Real Prophet, Clay Shirky

kinnon —  June 19, 2009 — 2 Comments

In the previous post, I ranted about the twisted prophets of profit. In this post, let me point to a contemporary prophet who I’ve pointed to numerous times before, Clay Shirky.

Video link

Random Links

kinnon —  May 23, 2009 — 2 Comments

Read this poem from John Frye, Passion.

My ‘gator Sis, Peggy knocks it outta the park with the Next-Wave cover story. (And Jonathan Brink’s comment on a comment had me laughing out loud – which hurt ‘cuz I have a headache. Bad Jonathan. JB recommends watching BoD NTW here.)

My iPastor, TommyMertonHead, is doing a series on The Jesus Disconnect. Please read it.

My 18 year old daughter, Kaili is in South Africa doing short-term volunteer work at an HIV/AIDS orphanage (and wants to stay on longer – please pray for discernment on this.) You can follow her story here. (She’s volunteering along with her best-buddy, Robyn.)

Is this “truth” or just marketing fiction; Derek Webb’s Stockholm Syndrome.

Ed Brenegar and Bob Sutton both recommend this book, In Pursuit of Elegance. I’m ordering it for the Kinnon designers, Imbi, Kaili and Rylan. Note that Ed B has a week of book reviews up at his blog. Please read them all.

Speaking of Kinnons, Liam’s blog is always worth a read – with some lively discussion in the comments. Liam is once again a permanent resident of Toronto. There’s a lot more music happening in the studio these days.

Nashville, the Silicon Valley of the music biz according to Richard Florida.

I love Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools blog.

Grant McCracken quotes A.O. Scott on Dan Brown (as I tweeted last night):

I have not read the novel by Dan Brown on which [Angels & Demons] is based. I have come to believe that to do so would be a sin against my faith, not in the Church of Rome but in the English language, a noble and beleaguered institution against which Mr. Brown practices vile and unspeakable blasphemy.

I like this blog, a lot.

John Stackhouse on Seminary. Read Will Willimon, too – here, here and here. (I’m married to a recent seminary grad – with a Master’s in Theological Studies – and now I’m off to continue editing her documentary on the church in the 21st century – my headache having abated whilst typing this post with one hand while lying on my bed.)

One of my loyal subjects readers accused me of ornery hubris last week. I would suggest that’s better than cognitive dissonance. But it’s still sinful. And I will repent. Eventually.

But. In the spirit of “more teapot”, I continue.

A Little Less Honesty, If You Don’t Mind

I heard Paul Young speak @ Refresh last week. Paul wrote a little book that some of you might have read, The Condo The Shack. Unfortunately his little book has fallen precipitously on the New York Times Best Seller List. Where it once occupied the Numero Uno position on said list for more months than certain of the brethren care to admit, it has sadly fallen to the Numero Dos position – further proof that G_d is not behind it. If He were, of course it would have remained at the Numero Uno position. Forever! (7.5 Million Copies in print in English, in case you were wondering.)

Now, of course, Paul is a heretic. At least that’s the opinion of a number of prominent people in the evangellyfish community. (One or two actually read the book.) I even heard it from a sister at St. Paul’s this past Sunday.

Paul’s primary heresy; portraying G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman. We all know that G_d, the Father is a white male, with white hair and a white beard. (Does He wear a red suit? I can’t remember.) G_d, the Father could never be a breakfast-baking, big black woman. Especially since that person plays the Oracle in the Matrix and she bakes cookies. At least Paul Young’s G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman doesn’t smoke.

What’s really odd to me is how many of these prominent evangellyfishes all loved the Matrix and wanted to claim it as a Christian parable. But. When Paul Young dares allow G_d, the Father to materialize as a breakfast-baking, big black woman, HERESY!

However. I’m not convinced that’s really the reason all these white folk (predominantly) think Paul’s a heretic. (Paul Young. Not the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul is only a heretic in certain circles. Which is truly a new perspective.) I think they are frightened by Paul’s transparency.

Last Wednesday night, Wm. Paul Young stood in front of an audience that filled one of the large theatres @ the University of Toronto MedSci building and, metaphorically, stripped naked. (Thank you for doing it metaphorically, Paul.) He revealed himself. As completely as anyone I’ve ever heard.

He must have missed the memo on how Christian males were supposed to be strong and silent. You know. That woman’s voice in 10CC’s I’m Not in Love half-whispering, “big boys don’t cry, big boys don’t cry.” Still waters run deep and all that stuff.

Paul spoke of massive personal failure. And eleven years of healing. And radical transparency with his wife as part of that healing. How frakin’ scary is that? And he did it again on the CBC’s The Hour. Radical Transparency. I think he even scared Strombo.

The only other male I know who is almost as publicly transparent is the Internet Monk. And Michael gets almost as much flak as Paul. He may even have been called a heretic a time or two.

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What’s so scary about transparency? Every-freaking-thing!

If I dare to be transparent, then you’ll know just how broken I am. And that will never do. You’ll know I don’t have it together. I’m not that great of a Christian. (Those who read my blog know that about me already.) I’m not much of a father. Or a husband. Or even a friend.

My brokenness will reveal me as a sinner. And I need you to know me as a saint.

Honestly, honesty is overrated. It’s all about the facade. The one with the best facade wins! (I’m not sure what we win, but…) But enough about me.

I Found This Humourous in a Sad Sort of Way

I heard some other good speakers last week. One quoted a friend of mine on the importance of community in missional engagement with culture. What was funny was the friend quoted hasn’t been engaged in any real Christian community for the better part of a decade. But. At least he’s being quoted. Maybe that’s better than community. In a brokenness kind of way.

And Over the Weekend Obama Got A Doctorate from Notre Dame and Spoke Lots of Words

All the nice people said nice things about the President speaking at Notre Dame and how good it was him receiving an honourary doctorate. The mean, nasty people questioned why the most radically Pro-Abortion president in history would be so honoured by a Catholic university. (The mean, nasty people were in agreement with the mean, nasty American Catholic bishops who in this one area are at least attempting to be consistent.)

No doubt about it, the President has got himself some very good Teleprompter™ programmers – the many words were well put together. But. At the end of the day. President Barack Obama is still the most radically Pro-Abortion president ever elected. With a real desire for us all to be nice when we talk about it.

And speaking of those nice people, being the mean, nasty person that I am (which is part of my brokenness, of course) I can’t help but point out how the Usual Suspects marched in lock step with the President in his appointment of completely pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. [HT]

It’s pure Orwellian doublespeak to suggest her “record demonstrates a commitment to results rather than rhetoric on life issues.” Can the “evangelicals” who wrote this statement explain to me how their position on abortion is functionally any different than that of incoming Episcopal Divinity School president, Katherine Ragsdale. I mean, really.

Speaking of Episcopalians

The Presiding Litigator with her Teleological Degree in Marine Biology continues her Blitzkrieg through Episcopal Church Canons whilst bringing suits against any diocese who dares challenge her new position as TEC’s Pope. The former bishop of the smallest, fastest-shrinking Diocese in the USofA claims, “all your base are belong to us” and “sure Jesus might be one of the most bestest ways to God, but you must be some kind of Neanderthal to suggest he’s the only way.” 815 later issued a statement to Neanderthals apologizing for any suggestion that they weren’t as bright as all the people wandering the corridors of the National Office.

Finally A Fish and A Marxist

TommyMertonHead pointed to a very good blog post at the NYT by Stanley Fish that led me down the rabbit hole to a lecture series on Religion and Science by Terry Eagleton delivered a year ago at Yale. Eagleton’s well known as a Marxist Theorist and is one of the funniest essayists I’ve read or heard in a rather long time. He has great fun at the expense of his conflated character, Ditchkins. (Dawkins and Hitchens as one.)

Oh. And This Before I Go

In light of last week’s meanness from me, I thought you might like to know that I was ordained near the turn of the Millennium at a predominantly African-American church in Pittsburgh. You may call me Pastor Bill, if you must. 🙂 Though I’d prefer to be known as Bishop.

Green Beer?

kinnon —  March 17, 2009 — 2 Comments

Yep. It’s St. Paddy’s day. Which means, of course, certain people… drink green beer? How does that work, exactly?

Rewind 1600 hundred years. It is sometime in the early 5th century. A man from what we know call Wales, captured by Irish raiders, makes his way back to the verdant green isle after six years, enslaved. He later returns to the land of a many of my ancestors to share the Good News. Legend has Patrick banishing snakes from the island. (Though that didn’t stop lots of them from leading churches elsewhere.)

Between the myth and the man lies a story of a man committed to sharing his faith, no matter the personal cost. His work had such a lasting impact on Ireland that he is later named one of the patron saints of that always gorgeous, often troubled island. And March 17th is celebrated in his name – a national holiday in Ireland and an excuse to drink green beer in much of the rest of the Irish-infected world.

My last name is Irish. (Either a derivative of MacKinnon, or a misspelling of Keenan or Kennedy.) I ofttimes claim my celtic heritage. The reality is that I’m probably half-English, a quarter-English Jew, and a quarter Irish – making me a typical Canadian mutt. And as that mutt, I raise a glass to Patrick – an early model of the missionary life. There will be no green beer for me. I’d never put dye in a glass of Guinness. But I may just wander down to Allen’s on the Danforth and enjoy the sights and sounds of those hungry for a home they’ve never known – whether from Ireland or not.