7 things @ 11 o’clock (11.25)

1. “And the gates of that city were as azure, and as lapis lazuli, and Ichabod revealed that he had been friends with Benjamin Franklin, whose name was not Benjamin Franklin at all, but Nostradamus, and that he had discovered a method for turning wheat into jam, which was not as useful an alchemy as he had originally hoped but you had to admit was kind of interesting.”

2. Here ya go:

3. Oy, what are they teaching these kids at Harvard? The Harvard Ichthus, a “journal of Christian thought,” published this sentence: “The Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die.”

I couldn’t afford Harvard, but the school I went to had heard of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire hung criminals on crosses. Crucified means killed by the Roman Empire. Jesus was crucified. Jesus was killed by the Roman Empire. Period.

The confusion (and internalized anti-Semitism) of this Harvard student parallels a similar confusion represented by that movie poster above. The book of Revelation, like the crucifixion, is bound to be confusing if you’re looking at it without seeing the empire at work.

4. Alexander Hamilton (the guy on the $10 bill) didn’t think much of legislative rules that could be twisted into something like the routine-filibuster trainwreck of the past five years.

In Federalist No. 22 (via) Hamilton explains that democracy ought to mean the majority opinion carries the day, not the opinion of an obstructionist minority:

To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser.… The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security. But its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority. In those emergencies of a nation, in which the goodness or badness, the weakness or strength of its government, is of the greatest importance, there is commonly a necessity for action. The public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.

5. I wasn’t the only one who was appalled by the nasty attacks on the poor disguised as “financial advice” in the “20 Things Rich People Do Every Day” nonsense promoted by Dave Ramsey. Rod the Rogue Demon Hunter also weighs in with “20 Things the Working Poor Do Every Day.”

Rod also links back to this thoughtful post from John Slattery: “A Theological History of Private Property.” Summarizing Slattery (and St. Ambrose), Rod writes, “the history of private property rights cannot be neatly severed from the history of enslaving other persons.”

6. Michael Kimmel: “America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

So, who are they really, these hundred thousand white supremacists? They’re every white guy who believed that this land was his land, was made for you and me. They’re every down-on-his-luck guy who just wanted to live a decent life but got stepped on, every character in a Bruce Springsteen or Merle Haggard song, every cop, soldier, auto mechanic, steelworker, and construction worker in America’s small towns who can’t make ends meet and wonders why everyone else is getting a break except him. But instead of becoming Tom Joad, a left-leaning populist, they take a hard right turn, ultimately supporting the very people who have dispossessed them.

7. Okra and Ecclesiastes: In Friday’s Left Behind post, we discussed tribalistic Country songs — those odes to dirt roads, trucks, and real ‘murkans that come across as less of a celebration of country living than as an accusation against everyone and everything else. Grant Peeples takes the form of such songs and plays with it constructively in “My People Come From the Dirt,” which includes one of the best explanations I’ve heard of this phenomenon: “pride is the only card left to play when it comes to saving face.”

YouTube Preview Image

(That link to Peeples’ website features more of his music, including a nifty rendition of “Things Have Changed” with Ruthie Foster.)

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:
  • SororAyin

    Your cats beg? Mine just make demands.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I don’t know what this is, but I know THIS isn’t “begging.” XD

  • Fusina

    Err, well, they sit and stare pointedly at me for about fifteen minutes. Then one or more get on their hind legs and dig their front claws into my leg. So technically, I guess they are demanding. But the stare–it is very intense.

  • SororAyin

    What did he title it in 2000?

  • Dash1

    It’s the next sentence that interest me: “We do acknowledge that many of the claims of Christianity are offensive to those who do not believe it, but we think that much of the offense that has resulted from this article is not the offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for that we apologize.”

    I don’t know who the editorial writer thought his audience was. The “offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ” is essentially a piece of evangelical technical terminology, so to speak, referring to the idea that people will be offended by Christianity itself. I don’t know how many people not from the evangelical community would recognize it as an evangelical phrase. And then there’s the fact that “for that we apologize” means “we wouldn’t apologize for any offense we decided was due to your objecting to how we present our religion.”

  • Lorehead

    I think it’s a loose paraphrase of Paul’s “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel,” or something like that? But it’s intentionally vague about what exactly it’s apologizing for. Not for anything that they consider part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do they or do they not believe that the Jews, as a nation, are responsible for the death of Jesus? That we remain so today? That this is why we deserved the Holocaust? Are any of these things part of what they consider the gospel of Jesus Christ that they refuse to apologize for, or not, and since they were willing to publish them in the first place, why not say so?

  • Dash1

    About the notion of offense, there are several verses along the same lines (Matthew 11:6, Galatians 5:11). The “offense of the gospel,” as I recall from my long-ago evangelical days, was that people didn’t like being told that they were sinners and going to hell (go figure!). It had nothing to do with attitudes towards the Jews.

    As to whether evangelicals/fundamentalists believe that Jews as a nation are responsible for the death of Jesus, I think that depends which evangelical or fundamentalist you ask. I don’t think any would regard it as an essential part of the gospel, but there are certainly some that see it as in the Bible and therefore true.

    However, the whole “therefore the Holocaust was deserved” thing is something I’ve never heard before, and I spend a certain amount of time with evangelicals.
    And yes, it was an act of idiocy to publish the stupid thing, and an act of idiocy to issue that incredibly stupid no-pology.

  • Lorehead

    I’d heard it before, and the “Why us?” article endorsed it. But anyway, I admit I don’t value the opinion of the editors of the Harvard Ichthus; publishing it and then publishing that non-apology apology just reflects poorly on them.

  • Lorehead

    Oh, in a follow-up e-mail with a reporter from The Boston Globe, editor Aaron Gyde did say, “As a staff, we would not argue that the fact some Jews were involved in the death of Jesus merits the persecution they have suffered over the past 2,000 years.”

    That’s a strange formulation, “As a staff.” It seems to imply that some members of the staff might argue exactly that, as individuals.

  • Fanraeth

    I like Fitz-Simmons and Coulson is awesome, but May and Ward are boring and Skye is yet another Quirky Female Hacker, except with the quirk de-emphasized enough that she isn’t very interesting.

  • http://batman-news.com Jim Roberts

    After the last episode, I’m hoping May is going to become interesting. Hero with Feet of Clay is something Joss does VERY well (Hello, Angel and Spike), and if she’s getting that storyline, I’m pleased.

    In this same episode, Skye didn’t even touch a computer and I actually found her kind of interesting – I mean, not great, but I wasn’t actively wishing for her to be off the screen.

    Ward is just awful. You could replace him with a German Shepherd and you’d actually get MORE emotional range.

    Agreed very much on the others.

  • Daniel

    Zardoz!