Epiphany: One of us

If you look at the calendar for the coming week you'll see this word written in on Thursday: "Epiphany." That seems strange. Epiphanies don't seem like the sort of thing one can schedule ahead of time and plan for like that. "Good meeting, Jim, let's meet again tomorrow to finish up." "Fine, just let me check my ... Oh, no, sorry. Thursday's no good. I've got an epiphany Thursday." "Hmm, well how about Friday?" "Depends, Bob. … [Read more...]

Jackie at the crossroads

So you're sitting around with a group of friends talking, the conversation skipping cheerfully from one topic to another, turning eventually, somehow, to a discussion of the best and worst public restrooms you've each encountered.Your friend Jackie says that she is terrified of the bathrooms at the airport. Because of the spiders.Most of the group hasn't heard about the spiders, so Jackie explains. There're these poisonous spiders from South America that stow away on … [Read more...]

‘The politics of envy’

JB: Let the one who has two tunics share with the one who has none.RWT: That's what I'm talking about! That's the politics of envy.JB: I don't see what envy has --RWT: I've got two tunics and you've just got one and now you envy me!JB: I used to have two tunics --RWT: And you lost one and now you're envious!JB: No, actually I gave one to a man who had none.RWT: Aha! Because he was envious!JB: He wasn't envious, he was shivering.RWT: Shivering ... with … [Read more...]

Charleston and Billings

The day of the big vote came and, as an intern, I was assigned the task of checking off delegates' names after they had voted.This was a Baptist gathering -- the biennial convention of the convention -- so the vote was largely symbolic. Baptists don't have a formal hierarchy. We don't really even have "denominations" per se. But Baptist churches are loosely organized in conventions where we work out the ways we cooperate on collective efforts like the commissioning of … [Read more...]

Scissors for Hitler

STEP ONE: Someone claims to be deeply offended that members of some minority are being treated just like members of the majority are. Equality under the law is portrayed as an attack on the majority, an insult and an affront to their way of life.Left-handed children need to assimilate. Our schools are bending over backwards to accommodate these children and America can't afford to do that. My family, like most real Americans, is right-handed. I don't see why our taxes should be … [Read more...]

Insincere bigotry

The Liar Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, appeared on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday morning. I refer to the Liar Tony Perkins as "the Liar Tony Perkins" because the Liar Tony Perkins lies. A lot. He lies professionally in order to convince the fearfully credulous to send him more money. And that, of course, is what the Liar Tony Perkins was doing Sunday morning on Face the Nation. He was lying. The delicious thing on this particular Sunday morning -- unlike the Sunday … [Read more...]

Vampires & crosses

It's a well-established fact that vampires can't abide crosses. There seems to be some confusion, however, as to why this is so. I should note here, before we go on, that I believe in vampire stories. I don't mean that I believe these stories are "literally" true -- they're not that kind of story. But I believe they are true stories -- stories by which we tell ourselves true things so that we do not forget them.Vampire stories tell us, for example, that any of us … [Read more...]

The Long March of the Koalas

It has been brought to my attention that Ken Ham, the man behind the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis, is originally from Australia and not the United States. So when I wrote last week of America as "the land of P.T. Barnum and Ken Ham" the general point about hucksterism here in the U.S. was correct, but technically ...Wait, hold on -- Australia?You can't be a young-earth creationist and be from Australia. I think if you're a young-earth creationist, you're not … [Read more...]