Saturday, November 02, 2002

Note to Scheduler, Notre Dame: Never put BC on the schedule for the week following the 'Noles. Also, go back to the navy jerseys.

On the other hand, the Irish did beat Pitt.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Ancient Religions, Ancient Practices. Heh, now we learn that the traditions of that ancient pagan holiday, Halloween, stretch all the way back to the 20th Century. Sort of like Wicca.
Just War. I'm not sure how I missed this essay by Jean Bethke Elshtain on the first go around. Oh yeah, I was traveling that week.
Not Here. From now on this is a ketchup-free zone. And a Billy Joe McGuffrey -free zone.

[No links -- if I did, I'd be violating that policy. If you don't know what I'm talking about be thankful.]

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Still More Riffing on the conservative songs thing. There are some really great pro-life songs out there -- most are not well known. Surprise!

Staying away from the songs already mentioned (Bodies, Unborn Child) there was one done by Gary Paxton The Big "A" = The Big "M".

You Can't Be Too Strong - Graham Parker on the album Squeezing out Sparks.

Galactic Cowboys had a great one: If I Were a Killer ("If I were a killer, I'd say I do it for the poor")

Then there's the very poignant song by Kathy Troccoli "A Baby's Prayer"
I can hear her talking with a friend
I think it's all about me
Oh how she can't have a baby now
My mommy doesn't see

That I feel her breathe, I know her voice
Her blood it flows through my heart
God you know my greatest wish is that
We'd never be apart

CHORUS: But if I should die before I wake
I pray her soul you'll keep
Forgive her Lord - she doesn't know
That you gave life to me

(you can hear it here).

My last noteable song is "I Am Human" by Andy McCarroll and the Moral Support. This was on Zionic Bonds -- the only album ever done by this group, which is too bad because it was terrific punk, even if it was Christian.

Some others:
Baby Doe - Steve Taylor, on the Meltdown album.
Planned Parenthood by Lust Control (good luck finding anything from them).
Slaughter of the Innocent by Undercover.
Boo'd Yesterday there were two things that refocused my attention on the upcoming umm, holiday(?). First, I saw Mark Byron's thoughts on Halloween. Second, we were "Boo'd."

Needless to say that amidst the concerns about the sniper, we'd pretty much forgotten this was nearly upon us.

Why's Halloween a problem? Why is Mark getting so worked up about it? Well, the Scriptures provide:
…do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the LORD. …You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
-Deuteronomy 18:10b-13 (NLT)
and further we are instructed to "do not imitate what is evil but what is good." (3 John 1:11)

See also, Leviticus 20:6-7, II Timothy 2:15, 20-22. (I've tried staying away from verses like I Thes 5:22 that presuppose Halloween is, on its face, evil.)

[In some respects, I believe a lot of the discussion of the evils of Halloween can be traced back to an article written by the former rector of my current church, John W. Howe: "What is Happy about Halloween?" Christianity Today (October 21, 1977, -- not online).]

So does that mean those of us who follow the Christ must completely ignore or shun Halloween?

As you no doubt guess, my answer is no. Like this writer, "I am reluctant to give up what was one of the highlights of my childhood calendar to the Great Impostor and Chief of Liars for no reason except that some of his servants claim it as his." (Anderson M. Rearick III)

The jist of Rearick's argument is that we should mock the prideful Satan:
Should the forces of evil be mocked? Should Satan be laughed at? He most certainly should be. At the beginning of The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis includes two telling quotations, the first from Martin Luther: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."

The second comes from Thomas More: "The devil … the proud spirit cannot endure to be mocked."

The one thing Satan cannot bear is to be a source of laughter. His pride is undermined by his own knowledge that his infernal rebellion against God is in reality an absurd farce. Hating laughter, he demands to be taken seriously. Indeed, I would say that those Christians who spend the night of October 31 filled with concern over what evils might be (and sometimes are) taking place are doing the very thing Lucifer wants them to do. By giving him this respect, such believers are giving his authority credence.

Not all believers should celebrate Halloween. For those who have been redeemed from the occult, Halloween in its foolishness may contain what was for them deadly seriousness. While their souls were in deadly peril, however, what they experienced were lies and illusions.

It is understandable that they look with horror upon what once enslaved them. Such sensitivity may be appropriate for them, but it is not appropriate for the majority of Christians. Holding their opinions as appropriate for most believers is like having a former bulimic dictate how Christians should regard church hot-plate socials.

Christians should instead celebrate Halloween with gusto. If we follow the traditional formula of having a good time at his expense, Satan flees.
I agree -- let's turn this into a day -- be creative about it -- where that insignificant worm, who's head has been crushed -- is mocked. He's a loser.

Oh, and being boo'd? It seems to be a fairly new tradition -- someone leaves a bag of candy at the front door with a note indicating you've been "boo'd" (another variation) and that you have 24 hours to boo someone else. You get a sheet of paper to stick in your front window indicating you've been boo'd (tagged) already.

We're going to do it and we'll think of some way to mock the Liar.

Monday, October 28, 2002

The Man Who Caught the Sniper. I noticed this passage at the very end of a news article about the man who identified the sniper and called the report in to the police:
One television station reported that Mr. Lantz and others had previously held a prayer vigil asking that police capture the sniper.
In today's CT Weblog, we are provided with more details:
On October 17, dozens of truck drivers from around the country gathered at a rural Kentucky truck stop. There, they prayed that the sniper would be caught. What they didn't know was that one of them would do it.

Ron Lantz, a 61-year-old trucker from Ludlow, Ky., heard the radio description of the car that police were looking last Wednesday and recognized the vehicle when stopping for the night. He called 911.

"I'm no hero. I just want people to think what I did is what I should have done," said Lantz, the men's ministry director at the Central Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wright, Ky. "It could have been any one of us."

Lantz has said he will give any reward money to the families of victims.
See Weblog for all the links.
Hymns I am becoming to appreciate as I get older. More riffing on the pop hits:

1. Precious Lord, Take My Hand, And Help Me Up

2. It Is Well with My Soul, But My Knees Hurt

3. Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seeing

4. Just a Slower Walk with Thee

5. Count Your Many Birthdays, Name Them One by One

6. Go Tell It on the Mountain, But Speak Up

7. Give Me the Old Timers' Religion

8. Blessed Insurance

9. Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, I've Forgotten Where I Parked
More Riffing. There have been a ton of songs that have a political bent or theme to them -- but I'm never sure whether you can say one is more conservative or liberal. Take, for example, Bread's "This Isn't What The Governmeant" which is either a variation on Taxman or a rip-off. Is it an anti-tax song? or an anti-millionaire song? or anti-Vietnam war? Maybe its Taxman crossed with Fortunate Son.

Similarly, Ben Domenech sees Bruce Cockburn's If I Had A Rocket Launcher as a Conservative Song - despite the fact that it was pro-Sandinista, anti-contra piece. This is underscored on the album with his paean to the Sandinistas "Nicaragua"
you're the best of what we are --
don't let them stop you now
An effective, if unintentional rejoinder to Rocket Launcher might be Steve Taylor's "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good"

And, in the spirit of continued riffing, one really shouldn't overlook some of Taylor's songs which occasionally mesh with conservative values and movements. For example, his Over My Dead Body, written in Warsaw in 1984 is a wonderful contrast to the Leninist Cockburn:
After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
Our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun

You plant your missiles while our people wait in line for bread
You hang an army tank above us by a bloody thread
You bought our government they crawl like bleating sheep to you
We know from history that human life is cheap to you

Over my dead body redemption draweth nigh
Over my dead body I hear a battle cry
Try and blow out the fire--you're fanning the flames
We're gonna rise up from the ashes 'til we're ashes again

You make a mockery of all that we hold sacred here
you drive us underground in hopes that we will disappear
we seek our sanctuary where the altar candle burns
our dignity's a legacy the cross of Jesus reaffirms

After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
Our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
Rise up my brothers don't despair the Iron Curtain's rod
Someday we'll draw the string assisted by the hand of God

I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun
You made a memory--the memory will multiply
You may kill the body but the spirit--it will never die
[The liner notes indicate this song was "Dedicated to the memory of Grzegorz Przemyk, a Polish youth killed by government police in Warsaw, May, 1983"]

Finally, since my stream of consciousness has jumped to dwell on the incomparable Steve Taylor, consider his rejoinder to the Bob Jones conservatives, which, as I indicated below, are at the very best inconsistent:
We don't need no colour code
We don't need no colour code
Take your rules and hit the road
We don't need no colour code
Judgment Day is goin' down
Better burn your cap and gown

White man speak with forked tongue
White supremists eat their young
Bigotry is on the loose
Ignorance is no excuse
I know Jesus loves that man
Even with a Greenville tan
Riffing on the Conservative Pop Hits, which, for some reason causes me to think of Charles Dickens -- was he a liberal or a conservative? How about this passage from Chapter 10 of Little Dorrit:
The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be--what it was.

It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn't been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true that the debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, uniformly tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have a considerable stroke of work to do, and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such session, virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several laborious months been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, How not to do it, and you have found out; and with the blessing of Providence upon the harvest (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. All this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went beyond it.

Because the Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion. Because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him. It was this spirit of national efficiency in the Circumlocution Office that had gradually led to its having something to do with everything. Mechanicians, natural philosophers, soldiers, sailors, petitioners, memorialists, people with grievances, people who wanted to prevent grievances, people who wanted to redress grievances, jobbing people, jobbed people, people who couldn't get rewarded for merit, and people who couldn't get punished for demerit, were all indiscriminately tucked up under the foolscap paper of the Circumlocution Office.

Numbers of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unfortunates with wrongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and they had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony had passed safely through other public departments; who, according to rule, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the other; got referred at last to the Circumlocution Office, and never reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries minuted upon them, commissioners gabbled about them, clerks registered, entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they melted away. In short, all the business of the country went through the Circumlocution Office, except the business that never came out of it; and its name was Legion.
Of course, it continues. You can read more on line here.

More: Chesterton on Little Dorrit.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Cover Watch. I prefer the Newsweek cover although I like the web's choice of a headline "Descent into Evil" over the actual cover title "The Sick World of the Sniper." Time's cover features the world going to pot. Errr, I mean "The Politics of Pot" or "How the people who brought you medical marijuana have set their sights on lifting the ban for everyone." So, in twenty years, tobacco will be banned and Maui Wowie will be sponsoring the World Series?