Archive for February, 2009

28
Feb
09

No, Please! Tell Us What You Really Think

If you are looking for the perfect example from which to learn to write a “quirky, snide, and very thoughtless comment” to someone with whom you disagree – look no further. Sen Paul Koering’s aid seems to have the technique down to a fine science, and will gladly send you an example should you want to disagree with the senator on anything.

 News from the Minnesota Independent: Gay Republican responds to criticism: Same-sex marriage is a ‘pointless issue’

The office of state Sen. Paul Koering, a gay Republican representing a district near Brainerd, Minn., is responding by e-mail to criticisms over his decision not to vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act. The gist? Legislators can’t “waste their time” with “pointless legislation.”

The mass e-mail, penned by an impassioned Ken Swecker, Koering’s legislative assistant, concludes with a punchline that shows someone’s got their knickers in a wad over something. Swecker wrote: Continue reading ‘No, Please! Tell Us What You Really Think’

27
Feb
09

Is Hate a Mental Disorder?

We live in interesting times. Since the election of Barack Obama, hate groups have begun growing. Since the economy has tubed, hate groups have begun growing. Hate, it seems, flourishes whenever major change occurs or disaster strikes. According to a CNN article, “Growing Hate Groups Blame Obama, Economy“, hate proponents seem to think they have very rational grounds for their attitudes and actions. As a culture we seem to regard hate with varying degrees of disdain or apathy. Blatant racism is largely disdained, while blatant sexism is discouraged and heterosexism seemingly encouraged. All, however, are based on irrational fears and anti-social behavior. In what way are any to be considered normal responses? Continue reading ‘Is Hate a Mental Disorder?’

25
Feb
09

Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 4)

Continued from LEARNING TO THRIVE. Or return to INDEX.

LEARNING TO SWIM – I was in the big pool now.

In the week prior to starting at seminary, I had moved into an apartment on campus – completely furnished and outfitted from the generosity of my Liberty Church supporters – and I had finished up a six-month, 10-hour per week consulting gig at Sterling Commerce, a division of the telecom giant, SBC. I had hated the thought of returning to the business world, but the opportunity had cropped up within hours of deciding to go back to school. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 4)’

25
Feb
09

The Nature of Marriage

I would like to direct your attention to a discussion on Soulforce forums. The discussion is not primarily about same-sex marriage, although it does enter into the discussion, but about the nature of marriage in it’s most basic form. What is it that makes a marriage?

The post was started by 17 year-old Jennifer – one of my favorite 17 year-olds because of the depth of her thoughts and her gentle spirit. The answers have ranged from the almost, but not quite, mundane to purely and simply eloquent. One of my favorites is post #6 from u-dog, one of the other ministers on the boards. Jennifer’s inquiry began:

What is marriage? Continue reading ‘The Nature of Marriage’

23
Feb
09

Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 3)

“I remember picking up my sharpest tool, a drawknife, and resolutely deciding I wasn’t going into that hole. I was ready to die.” Continued from: Learning to Live.    Or go to INDEX.

LEARNING TO THRIVE

The rest of the memory seems more like the recollection of a hallucination, except with much more clarity. I remember, with no sense of time, being aware of all of the times I had hurt others, even in the smallest way. I was fully aware of all my sins, a concept with which I was totally unfamiliar. I had an overwhelming sense of sorrow and remorse while, at the same time, experienced the peace, calm and security of knowing I was all right. I knew, for the first time in my life, the feeling that came with a sense of forgiveness. It seemed as though the thickest, softest comforter imaginable had swallowed me. Accepting that unconditional forgiveness has continued to be a difficulty. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 3)’

23
Feb
09

Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1 – Learning to Learn. Or go to INDEX.

LEARNING TO LIVE

The first few years in Ohio were emotionally devastating for my mother. We lived in abject poverty even by our standards, my mother’s family proved to be more dysfunctional than our own, and work, except for the lowest paid positions, was tough for her to find. I began working before and after school to help out, lying about my age to avoid problems. I also found my missing childhood. My ‘toys’ were different than anyone had hoped, but they succeeded in dulling the pain. By sixteen I drank constantly, was addicted to speed, and had forced my mother to seek a community more conducive to a normal childhood. We moved to Newark, Ohio during my junior year. The school administrators were a little worried about my record, but seemed encouraged by my high grade point average. I graduated in possession of a full scholarship from OSU, twenty-five credits when seventeen were needed, damage from a heart attack I suffered during a speed overdose, and a new addiction to qualudes, which the doctor prescribed for “sleeping problems”. I also held the school record for drinking the most beers in a single sitting. Life was good. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 2)’

23
Feb
09

Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 1)

I was tempted to call this “Nobody’s Autobiography”, but thought that may be just too self-deprecating. I love autobiographies – not of famous people – just of ordinary people with ordinary lives. They reveal details about the individual to which most people can relate – rather than the larger-than-life situations of the rich or famous that, if digested, lead to hero worship and fantasy. A good autobiography, it seems to me, is less concerned with fact and more concerned with perception. It is entirely plausible, then, that an autobiography may not be factual down to the last jot and tiddle, but reveals truly how an individual perceives themselves and the memories of their lives. In that respect, it is a more accurate portrayal of someone’s life than an encyclopedia entry would be.

There is an ego trip involved in posting an autobiography, I suppose. I mean, why would I think anyone would care? Well, I am supposing there are others out there like me, who find the famous boring and the mundane interesting. I also think that, while we are each individual, there are commonalities to people’s stories that give cause for community building and empathy. Anyway, as egomaniacal as it may or may not seem, the following portions are the snippets of my life thus far that I consider integral to who and what I am at this moment in time. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 1)’

20
Feb
09

Brooding on Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The meaning of the word “poor” in Greek means one who has nothing and is completely empty. Was Jesus saying the economically poor are blessed? No, for there is no inherent spirituality in poverty. Poverty in itself is not blessed, because the poor can be as arrogant and as ungodly and as lost as the wealthy and powerful. So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means that the poor are those who realize that they can never achieve salvation on their own and instead put their complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

The poor in spirit are those who are not self-assertive, self-reliant, self-confident, self-centered, self-righteous or self-sufficient. The poor in spirit are not baptized in the waters of self-aggrandizement. Continue reading ‘Brooding on Beatitudes’

20
Feb
09

A Worthy Woman

Jesus didn’t invent the parable – he may have perfected it, but he didn’t invent it. The book of Ruth is, in its entirety, an Old Testament parable as critical of Jewish culture as Jesus was in his day. The Book of Ruth isn’t just a story with a nice moral, but is just as “in your face” to the Jewish culture as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Ruth, as a Moabite, was unacceptable in Jewish society. Racism was alive and well back then, too. Deuteronomy, Ezra and Nehemiah all tell how Moabites were ostracized – barred from being part of Jewish society. And it all went back to the time of Moses, when the men of Israel blamed their promiscuity on the women of Moab. Sound familiar – well, if they weren’t here, we wouldn’t have sinned. They’re the problem.

How is this story critical of that attitude?

Continue reading ‘A Worthy Woman’

20
Feb
09

ELCA Wrestles out its Conscience

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is not alone in its efforts to find a suitable middle ground in the debate over sexuality. There! That’s some surprising news, eh? The ELCA is on the verge of proffering its won solution to the internal squabbles over basic rights for an entire class of candidates for ministry and the populations they may represent. The “Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality” does essentially the same things as the PC(USA)’s G-6.0106b Amendment 08B – establishes local authority to discriminate or not. It is not an ideal solution, by a long stretch, but a awkward step forward. Continue reading ‘ELCA Wrestles out its Conscience’

18
Feb
09

An Ethical Analysis of Date Rape

When young and, unfortunately, privy to the aftermath of rape I was given to understand it as the outcome of errant behavior on the part of the female (thankfully I had no knowledge or concept of a male being raped). This view, obviously seriously flawed by today’s standards, reflected the opinions extant in the culture in which I lived. During the last decade I have become increasingly aware of incidents of date rape, acts of aggressive sex with resistant partners, stemming from some males’ selfish desires to satisfy sexual urges in spite of rejection. Continue reading ‘An Ethical Analysis of Date Rape’

17
Feb
09

But, How Do I Know I Will Possess It?

The Reading:  Genesis 15:1-12,17-18

Setting The Theme:

God cut a covenant with Abram. While I realize much can be made of the nature of this covenant, I also know that I am addressing people who have already wrestled with these implications. Some have expounded on the unilateral nature of this covenant – that God is the only participant. Some have gone further and said that God has taken all the risk of the penalty – an utterly humiliating death – for both parties in the contract. From there it is not difficult to see the trail being blazed to Christ on the cross.

If I had the definitive answer to this conundrum, I think I would still be unlikely to change the minds of many people. Since I don’t have the answer, I am not even going to try.

The reason for the covenant is rather more interesting. What prompted it? Continue reading ‘But, How Do I Know I Will Possess It?’

17
Feb
09

I Just Can’t Resist

BBC News – Wierd Alien Life Forms “May Exist Among Us” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7893414.stm

This is news? I’ll let the article speak for itself – resist the urge to “pun” this into the ground, much the same a Leo Kottke does with a sweet melody. Oh, the one-liners that exist in this article alone. Do I have the self-control? Continue reading ‘I Just Can’t Resist’

16
Feb
09

The Nature of God and Salvation in Mormon Tradition

With the LDS church being under some fire for their role in California’s Prop 8, I thought it might be useful to examine some of the theology behind LDS. I am now curious as to how evangelical Christians and Catholics reconcile the theological differences to form an alliance of the kind it took to wage the war. See what you think.

OVERARCHING QUESTION

“The questions that arose for me are hardly easy ones to ask or to address. The Mormons’ concept of the nature of God seems problematic, as does the relationship between God and humanity. Ultimately, however, the question that repeatedly surfaced was whether the Fall of humankind was integral to God’s plan of salvation – in the Mormon understanding, did God intentionally engineer and/or participate in the Fall and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? If so, what does this say about the nature of God?”

Continue reading ‘The Nature of God and Salvation in Mormon Tradition’

16
Feb
09

Two Poles are Better than One

cropped-al-blog-header-3.jpg

In response to some inquiries that have been made about my rather cryptic title for this blog, I am going to unveil at least some of my thoughts behind the choice, and ponder further on the possibilities.

Gestalt – The obvious and, of course, most pedestrian assumption would be that it is based purely and simply on the fact that I am Bipolar. While, admittedly, that gave some impetous to choosing the moniker “Ministry From Two Poles”, it does not explain the rest of the name, “… or Preaching From Both Ends”, or the choice of header art. Continue reading ‘Two Poles are Better than One’




... or, preaching from both ends

WELL, HELLO! YOU’RE HERE.

That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

Readers since Jan 2009

  • 126,161 posts read

Archives