Wizard imps and sweat-sock pimps

This probably means there’s no chance that LifeWay Christian Books will resume carrying The Blind Side.

This study could be fruitful if a follow-up explored the reasons for its findings. Instead, it will likely be fodder for more of the same feckless guilt-tripping that is a primary cause of its results.

Sometimes what love looks like is doing the paperwork. You don’t like to do paperwork? Exactly.

Scot McKnight provides a concise, helpful description of dominion theology.

Christian Piatt’s “Church Sign Epic Fails” series should not be used as a How-To Manual. In-group jokes don’t reach outsiders.

“The question of women’s ordination and the meaning of the texts on which the question is based remain a lively debate in some evangelical circles,” Craig Keener writes. “I did not resolve the debate with my book Paul, Women & Wives.” That’s true, but only because winning the argument conclusively isn’t the same as “resolving the debate” in those circles.

If one Christian uses this trick to avoid being asked to close in prayer, then he might indeed be “the worst Christian ever.” If most of us use this trick, then maybe the problem lies, instead, with the way we go about praying together.

This is a personal testimony. I like personal testimonies.

Do you hear the people sing?

I doubt that video will have much influence election-wise, but boy can those folks sing. Here’s a related non-electoral prediction: Hugh Jackman’s gonna win an Oscar.

The difference between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, I think, is the difference between the bishops and the nuns.

The Associated Press is only as good as its member newspapers, and they have laid off tens of thousands of reporters and editors. So expect a lot more of this sort of thing.

How to be a right-wing, bigoted, anti-Semitic politician, Step 1: Don’t be Jewish.


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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Bill Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League, said the
    hierarchy has made it clear that outlawing abortion and defending
    traditional marriage are the church’s top political priorities.

    So the Catholic Church has decided to plump for reinforcing traditional structures that entrench inequity, while Joe Biden has decided the opposite.

    Good to know.

  • PJ Evans

    So the Catholic Church has decided to plump for reinforcing traditional structures that entrench inequity

    It  tells me which VP pick I’d rather associate with. Hint to bishops: it isn’t the guy with ‘R’ after his name.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It  tells me which VP pick I’d rather associate with.


  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Bill Donohue only thinks he speaks for all Catholics.

  • reynard61

    “Bill Donohue only thinks he speaks for all Catholics.”

    From what I’ve read by and about him, a rather good argument could probably be made that he rarely; if ever; thinks at all.

  • Windjammer95
  • Tonio

    It’s outrageous that there’s even a question of women’s ordination. There shouldn’t be a gender requirement for any such position, no matter what Paul or anyone else wrote.

  • The_L1985

    Especially since Acts constantly lists Priscilla before her husband Aquila, implying that she was the more important person in the early church. Perhaps a presbytera

  • Lori

    How charmed am I by the fact that Paperwork Guy grocery shops with a spreadsheet? Pretty freakin’ charmed.

  • friendly reader

    I know I’m trying not to post on forums for the time being, but a short thing re: Les Miserable – if this is the teaser trailer, then I imagine they’ll use “One Day More” for the final one. Unless they want to save that epicness for the first time you watch the movie itself.

  • Jenny Islander

    I didn’t see where Sifl and Ollie came into the list of links . . . ?  What else could “sweat-sock pimps” be referring to?

  • Gotchaye

    Speaking as an atheist, I really can’t stand  this sort of sentiment from the American Atheists link:

    What AA is saying is that when it comes to deciding who to vote for, we ought to have some sense of what’s going on in these candidates’ minds. And if they believe in a religion that requires acceptance of the kind nonsense mentioned on the billboards, do we trust them to make good decisions in other areas?

    For a group that pays so much lip service to empiricism, they don’t do a very good job of looking around and noticing that religious identification doesn’t correlate very strongly with making good political decisions, especially after controlling for what the religious say about their political beliefs.

    Edit: The author doesn’t seem to be a member, but he’s sympathetic, and I’ve heard this sort of thing a lot.

  • We Must Dissent

    “Sometimes love looks like doing the paperwork” reminds me of Sugihara Chiune.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “If you are going to be intentional about sharing your faith, praying for others is a great way to start.”

    Telling them you’re praying for them, however, is a great way to tick them off.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    They want people talking about what Mormons and Christians actually believe because they know most people in both faiths will just try and distance themselves from what their holy books actually say.

    I dunno about Mormon holy books. But about the Bible, what on earth does he think he’s talking about? Okay, yeah, Paul Ryan probably will try to distance himself from all the feed the poor and love they neighbor stuff. Obama will distance himself from parts of Leviticus, which have only become important to certain sects in American Christianity in the last 50 years or so. But the New Testament already distances itself from the Old Testament in many ways, and the Old Testament contradicts itself and the New Testament contradicts itself. And he goes on to say:

    At least with Obama, we’ve seen instances where good policy (marriage equality, supporting safe and legal abortion, promoting contraception in Obamacare) trumps what many religious leaders want him to do.

    The Bible has nothing to say about abortion or contraception, and incredibly little to say about same-sex sexual relationships, and then only among men, and has one very popular story that has been popular and important for centuries that seems to encourage same-sex romantic relationships among women. Many religious leaders are pro-contraception, pro-marriage equality, and not anti-abortion. I’m seeing weasel words in that “what many religious leaders want him to do” phrase. Obama will also do what many religious leaders want him to do, and other religious leaders will be disappointed because Obama won’t go far enough down the equality-justice-environmentalism road.

    Jesus Flora Christ on a flaming pogo stick. The atheists who seem to think the Landover Baptist Church is real and that it speaks for all Christians, and that a certain type of Christianity is a synonym for “religion” give me a headache. Stop being on my side, you make my side look bad!

  • vsm


    has one very popular story that has been popular and important for
    centuries that seems to encourage same-sex romantic relationships among

    No love for David/Jonathan or Jesus/John?

  • PJ Evans

     well, see, those are about brotherly love. /’splaining

    It’s surprising what people won’t see when it hurts their other arguments.

  • Tricksterson

    Jesus and John probably.  Jonathan and David’s relationship is a lot more ambiguously gay.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Far as I recall the only woman in Jonathan’s life was his sister Michal. And David had wives and wives and wives (including Michal), but he also said his love for Jonathan surpassed his love for women. I do not see any ambiguity there at all–well, maybe if you insist that the story is gay or nothing, since David’s clearly bisexual, but the story is most decidedly queer. (Man I wish Kings had lasted long enough to show us that onscreen. Jack being explicitly gay, I’m sure we’d have gotten explicit David/Jack at some point.)

  • Madhabmatics

     Kings was awesome. Why couldn’t we have brought that back for another season instead of Chuck.


  • Lori

    and has one very popular story that has been popular and important for
    centuries that seems to encourage same-sex romantic relationships among

    Are you talking about Ruth and Naomi? That’s the one I’ve heard cited more than once and I’ve got to say, I sure as hell hope it’s not a story about two women in love. If the story is about a woman who had such a close mother/daughter relationship with her MIL that when both their husbands died she stayed with MIL rather than return to her family or origin it’s sort of sweet.

    If it’s about a woman in love with her MIL and then having that MIL marry her off to yet another man so that the two of them would be provided for it’s either depressing or seriously gross, depending on how you look at it.

    When people use the reading from Ruth in their wedding ceremonies it’s always a bit of a jolt to me. Like people who play “Evey Breath You Take” by The Police as “their song”. I want to ask, “Have you really thought that through?”

    (That said, I think it’s horribly sad that a whole group of people were denied their stories for so long that they were hungry enough to adopt anything that might be about them, no matter what sad or unfortunate implications the story had. I’m glad that now GLBTQ people have a chance to tell and to see much better stories about themselves.)

  • The_L1985

    “Every Breath You Take”

    You mean the stalker anthem?

  • Tricksterson

    Which apalls Sting when fans construe it in a positive, romantic way.  Which apparently a lot of them do.

  • Lori

    I saw an interview with him where he said that when people tell him they played Every Breath at their wedding he wants to respond, “Well, good luck to you in your marriage—you’re going to need it.”

  • vsm

    If we read it as a love story, it’s not like Naomi is taking advantage of Ruth’s love for her to ensure herself a nicer lifestyle, since Ruth is in the same boat as her. One of them pretty much had to marry, and it was probably easier for the younger Ruth. I’m willing to see it as a story of two crafty women who managed to play the system.

    From a more meta POV, the Book of Ruth is pro-David propaganda that tries to explain how it’s actually totally great how the bossman is part Moabite, and whoever came up with Ruth’s speech overdid it a bit. Still, shipping is fun.

  • Lori

    “Ruth marries again because one of them has to and it’s easier for her than Naomi” is the version I find depressing. Realistic, but depressing. The other way of looking at is is that the gross one.

    I’m the biggest shipper that ever shipped, but I just don’t find shipping Ruth & Naomi fun. I confess that’s partially because in-law love affairs kind of trip my ick button (even though in this context it wouldn’t be the same as a modern situation), but the “go out and get us a beard to pay the bills” aspect doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy either. For me, the lesbian love story idea only works well if one only reads 4 verses of the story, but there are 3 other chapters in the book.

    I’m just going to stay in the propaganda + overkill corner and pretend that Naomi was the loving mom that Ruth didn’t have when she was growing up (I have a whole backstory for this) and that Boaz was her HEA, not what she put up with so that she & her secret lover could survive.

  • vsm

    Even if you don’t read Naomi and Ruth as lovers, Boaz comes across as more of a meal ticket than Ruth’s one true love. Ruth still seduces him at Naomi’s suggestion to get the two women a home, and the narrative never mentions Ruth actually liking him. He’s also a rich old man who’s desperate enough that he considers Ruth’s seduction attempt proof of her kind nature. You know, because she didn’t go after a young rich guy (3:10). So either way Ruth’s most likely married to a man she doesn’t love, but at least in the shipping scenario she gets to enjoy herself with her scheming ex-mother-in-law.

  • Lori

    And people wonder why I’m not a fan of Bible stories. Desperate older man or scheming ex-MIL is not my idea of a good choice.

  • vsm

     That story does kind of take a nosedive after the first chapter, yes.

  • http://veleda-k.livejournal.com/ Veleda K

     Oh man, yes, this.

    Okay, I get it, it’s human nature to want things to be easy. So some atheists are going to choose to put all their energy into mocking Creationists rather than engaging critically with a variety of believers. And mocking Creationists is fun and cathartic! But the atheists I’ve encountered pride themselves on using facts, logic, and reason. And acting like all of religion is encapsulated in Fundamentalist Christianity is factually incorrect.

    I get the defense that people are reacting to what’s being presenting as mainstream Christianity. “This is the Christianity that has power, and this is what we’re assured is ‘real’ Christianity.”  I really do understand that, and it’s behind some of my reactions to Christianity. But it’s not correct. And if someone is going to crow that they use facts and the other side doesn’t, then it behooves them to get their facts -straight-. Also, just accepting that James Dobson and Ken Ham represent the entirety of Christianity doesn’t exactly display stunning critical thinking skills.  Because why examine all the evidence when you can just have a Fundamentalist Christian tell you what’s true? Isn’t that what atheism is all about?

    So, yeah, very much with you on wanting these people off my side.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    it’s human nature to want things to be easy. So some atheists are going
    to choose to put all their energy into mocking Creationists rather than
    engaging critically with a variety of believers. 

    (nods) True. But it’s not just laziness. In fact, I suspect it’s not primarily laziness.

    It’s also human nature, when we’ve been traumatized, to focus our attention disproportionately on the thing that caused our trauma and behave like it’s far more pervasive and important than we would have without the trauma. And a lot of self-identified atheists have been traumatized by a particular kind of religious thinking.

    I find it helpful to remind myself of the pattern explicitly when I’m dealing with a particularly strident instance of the “demonize the opposition” behavior.

    Of course, this sort of post-traumatic behavior isn’t at all restricted to religion. We encounter this sort of demonization about religion, gender, class, sexuality, race, political parties, all kinds of stuff. And, of course, when it comes to areas where I’ve suffered (which religion mostly is not), it’s a lot harder for me to stay aware of the pattern rather than participate in it, just like it is for everyone else.

  • http://veleda-k.livejournal.com/ Veleda K

     That’s fair. I agree with you on the trauma point, as I think it defines much of my own response to Christianity, as as my automatic defensiveness towards other groups.

    But I still feel that if someone is going to claim that they acts only on facts and are guided only by reason and logic, then they should actually -act- that way. (Much in the same way that if someone claims their religion is all about love, then they should treat people lovingly. A lot of people seem to be missing some very important memos.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Well… I agree and I disagree.

    I mean, sure, I agree that it’s inconsistent to claim we are guided only by reason and logic, and then act based on emotion. And I agree that it’s inconsistent to claim we are guided by love, and then act without love. Absolutely.

    OTOH, given that we’re human, it’s a foregone conclusion that we’re going to act based on irrational bias sometimes, and that we’re going to act without love sometimes. So mostly I feel that taking people seriously when they make claims like that is unkind. The kind thing to do, IMO, is treat it as a hyperbolic way of expressing the idea that reason, or love, or whatever, is very important.

    I’m reminded of an epic tantrum my nephew threw when he was little, in which he announced with great intensity “Nobody needs to love me any more! I don’t love anybody!” To my lasting shame, I responded by bursting out laughing and telling him I didn’t believe him. It was true, but it wasn’t kind. By focusing on his words, I’d completely ignored his suffering, perhaps even added to it. Of course, none of that changes the fact that what he’d said wasn’t even remotely true. It’s just that the truth of his statement wasn’t really the most important thing going on.

    I guess I feel the same way about the sorts of people you mention here. Sure, when they make extreme claims like that, they’re saying something false. But it’s not at all clear to me that the falseness is the most important thing to focus on.

  • http://veleda-k.livejournal.com/ Veleda K

     See, I think that falseness is exactly what needs to be focused on, because these people are claiming superiority based on said falseness.

    If you’ve debated with Fundamentalist Christians or their ilk, you’ve probably been told that belief in God is necessary for morality. Christians are just better people than atheists. Only Christians can be truly moral.

    And then of course, they behave in hateful, cruel, and blatantly immoral ways. Fred spends the majority of this blog exposing them for the liars they are. You can’t claim the moral high ground if you spend all of your time oppressing anybody who isn’t exactly like you.

    On the other side, we have the jerk atheists. They like facts, reason, and logic, and they will tell you at length just how much they like these things. This kind of atheist isn’t merely content to not believe in God. They want to stop other people from believing in religion. Because, they claim, religion is irrational and illogical. Believing in a sacred text or listening to one’s religious leader proves lack of critical thinking skills. Atheism is simply the smarter option. Atheists believe in facts, which makes them superior to Christians.

    So, when those same atheists make judgements without bothering to learn all the facts, when they only acknowledge the facts that fit their preconceptions, when they take the word of a demagogue without examining his words critically or doing research to see if he’s telling the truth, then we have a problem.

    It’s not about human failing. It’s about smug superiority based on hypocrisy. If you’re going to tell me that you’re more moral or more intelligent than I am, you’d better back it up. If not, I’m going to call it for the BS it is.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    See, I think that falseness is exactly what needs to be focused on, because these people are claiming superiority based on said falseness.

    The passive voice here allows for a number of interpretations, so I’m not quite sure what you mean.

    What I will say is I don’t think the falseness is what I need to be focusing on, and I do not encourage others to focus on it.  If you think that I ought to focus on it, I’m interested in your reasons why I ought to do that.

    Regardless, yes, I’ve had conversations with people who believe religious faith, or Christian faith, or their particular denomination’s faith, is necessary for morality… and with people who believe that all of these things are incompatible with morality. With people who believe that that Christians are just better than atheists, or that Jews are better than Christians, or that Christians are better than Jews, or atheists are both, or whatever.

    I agree that all of the things you describe here happen, often frequently, and that it often causes suffering.

    It’s not about human failing. It’s about smug superiority based on hypocrisy.

    (shrug) To my mind, smug superiority based on hypocrisy is a human failing. And, yes, calling people on the bullshit of it is one way to engage with it.

  • arcseconds

    Why does every close personal friendship have to be sexual in nature?

    Given that heterosexuality is statistically more prevalent and more normatively enforced (especially in the past)  and given that most societies most of the time have had fairly strict gender roles, is it really that surprising that some people should find that they enjoy sex and romance with the other  sex, but only find close friendship and mutual understanding and shared interests with the same?

  • EllieMurasaki

    And given that same enforcement of heterosexuality and gender roles, is it really that surprising that some people, when they see a story about a relationship that appears to break one or both of those as they do in their own lives, claim that story as about one of their own?

  • arcseconds

    No, it isn’t surprising.  I agree with the final paragraph of Lori’s comment.  And I have a lot of sympathy. 

    And some close same-sex relationships that we read about probably were sexual in nature.

    None of that makes closeness reliable evidence of a sexual dimension to a relationship.

    (It’s not reliable in the case of opposite sex friendships, either. )

    Also, these days such speculation is indulged by straight people quite freely, too.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    If one Christian uses this trick to avoid being asked to close in prayer, then he might indeed be “the worst Christian ever.” If most of us use this trick, then maybe the problem lies, instead, with the way we go about praying together.

    I’ve used several of the tricks mentioned at this link.

    When the boyfriend and I first got together he used to ask/suggest that I say grace (so that we’d end up alternating) but quickly realised that if I was given the choice I’d never pray out loud – so now he just says grace every time.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    At least half my choir (myself included) do this when the director asks for a volunteer to lead prayer. It baffles her that she doesn’t get many volunteers – we sing in front of the whole congregation but turn shy in front of our fellow choristers? Surely we know how to pray, since we’re expressing that in our singing? 

    For me at least, singing is easy – I combine my feelings with someone else’s words – but coming up with the words themselves is awkward.

  • the gal on the phone

    Bit off topic, but frankly, I am more than a little envious of the people who post all over the place about dynamic teaching nuns who changed their lives.  I guess I was a little too early for that, or too Midwestern.  Some of the nuns who taught me were kinder than others, some were stricter, but it was pretty much a united front as to our values.  We sang Joe Wise hymns and sometimes someone played a guitar, but let a girl serve Mass?  Discuss current events with an open mind?  Tolerate even the smallest deviation from the norm?  Didn’t happen.

  • Tonio

    The Gleanings article uses terms that imply that those evangelical churchgoers are doing something wrong, as if their silence is a failure. I could just as easily spin it the other way -the poll respondents are showing respect for others by refusing to act like salespeople and by treating others’ religious beliefs as none of their business.

  • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

    Okay, I give up.  What does “YNATKC” mean?  Acronymic?  Of what?

  • Beroli

     “You’re not allowed to kill civilians.”

  • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

    Generally, that would be applicable.  I’ve convinced that at least 4 million Japanese civilians would have been killed, or committed suicide, had there been a ground invasion of Japan by Allied troops, to end World War II.  Is a party at war allowed to take war action that would reduce the civilian death toll by an order of magnitude?  Or is it assumed that, since they are just collateral damage, deaths to civilians should not be minimized? 

  • LouisDoench

    One issue. David Silverman at American Atheists has stated openly that they intend their billboard campaigns to be provocative, at times outlandishly so, in order to push the overton window wider. Sure, folks will get pissed at AA, but the local FIG bus campaign will look a lot milder in comparison.

    It may be a bad plan, ymmv, but there is a plan.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino


    What is this crap?

    Smells like a Swift Boating all over again. How fast can these dickheads be discredited so they don’t damage Obama?

  • gocart mozart

    Wizard imps and sweat-sock pimps
    Intersteller mongrel nymps
    Rex said that lady left him limp
    Love’s like that, sure it is. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Republicans threatening armed revolution should Obama win.

    This, unlike the Jeffersonian quote, is not offered in good faith against a government that has legitimately overstepped its bounds. (>_<)

  • Madhabmatics

     Look on the bright side, since they all like to “keep their powder dry” they are probably going to attempt their coup with muskets!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Obama seems to be taking the fight to the Repubs now.

    Be moar populist, please :D

    (Al Gore, for one, proved that the strategy does work. I do believe his polling numbers began surging after he started bashing the drug companies and the way Bush’s tax cuts were skewed to the rich.)