Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's Choice of Biden is Machiavellian

I'm paging through Machiavelli's Discourses, and came across this quote, which seems so applicable. The chapter title alone says it all:

On how a ruler who wants to reform an old system of government in a free state must keep at least a veneer of the older institutions

They Might Be Giants Podcast (this one is especially funny!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A letter from Barack to Yours Truly

Clint --

I have some important news that I want to make official.

I've chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.

Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois -- the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.

I'm excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of us can't do this alone. We need your help to keep building this movement for change.

Please let Joe know that you're glad he's part of our team. Share your personal welcome note and we'll make sure he gets it:

Thanks for your support,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bonhoeffer on Marriage

“Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher quality and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance…In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are in a link in the chain of the generations which God causes to come and to pass away to His glory, and calls into His kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility toward the world and mankind…Marriage is more than something personal…

God gives you Christ as the foundation of your marriage. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7). In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.

--Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Saddleback Forum Video & Transcript: Obama / McCain with Rick Warren � Kingdom People

Saddleback Forum Video & Transcript: Obama / McCain with Rick Warren � Kingdom People

The fact that Warren hosted these interviews is complex on so many cultural, political, and religious levels that I hardly know where to begin... Some questions that come to mind:

1. What does it say about our culture that Rick Warren, senior pastor of a prominent mega-church, and famous for his book The Purpose Driven Life, was the host of one of the first tete-a-tetes between McCain and Obama?

2. Why in a Christian setting did they speak individually with Warren rather than in a debate setting?

3. If not Rick Warren, then who else in America would have been most suited to first host such a dialogue? Oprah? Jay Leno? A newscaster?

I have not yet analyzed the interviews themselves... right now I'm providing "meta" comments. I'll be reading the transcript (which is nicely provided at the link in addition to the video footage).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

friend me on Facebook

Clint is wondering how many people who read this blog are on Facebook. So "friend" me if you are. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What I Talk About When I Talk About Haruki Murakami

Well, I don't actually talk about Haruki Murakami all that much, but we read his overly long novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, in our book group a few months back, and I've often been intrigued by his novels if always not immediately drawn into them.

On the other hand, his new memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir seemed impossibly perfect, and is shaping up to be so. The book is simply his reflections on running and writing, with autobiographical information thrown in along the way. Right now, I'm reading the chapter on Tips on Becoming a Running Novelist, ironic because in the foreward he already confessed that his reflections are "personal lessons I've learned through actually putting my own body in motion, and tehereby discovering that suffering [as opposed to pain] is optional. They may not be lessons you can generalize, but that's because what's presented here is me, the kind of person I am."

Also appreciated this:

"I'm often asked what I think about as I run. Usually the people who ask this have never run long distances themselves. I always ponder the question. What exactly do I think about when I'm running? I don't have a clue... I don't think much of anything worth mentioning. I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void... essentially I'm not thinking of a thing. All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade voide, my own nostalgic silence."

I often tell people that I write sermons when I write. This is true, and may indicate one way Murakami and I are different. But part of writing sermons (or anything else for that matter) has to do first of all with getting into the body, getting into silence a bit, so that actual discovery can occur. Running gets you out of the ordinary words, and if you are running hard enough, you can't actually think about anything other than "wow, my lungs are chugging, wow, my legs are burning, when can I stop." Slower jogging is actually conducive to contemplation, but if you run for a LONG time, say two hours or more, only some segments of that are productive for actual composition or thinking. Sometimes you kind of just disappear into the run, emerging minutes later wondering where you are.

The Lutherans Song by Lost and Found

YouTube - The Lutherans Song by Lost and Found

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Confirmation Service Learning

Let's say you were planning a spring 2009 confirmation program with a focus on experiencing and living the life of discipleship. What does it mean to follow Jesus? We would try to practice what we promise during the confirmation liturgy, specifically practical examples of working to serve all people, following the example of Jesus Christ, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

If you were planning such a program, what events, guest speakers, trips, hand outs, movies, books, resources, etc., would you include? Think as widely as you would like. I've brainstormed the following so far:

Serving at a soup kitchen, preparing care packages for college youth, guest presenters from Lutheran Social Service and Lutheran Refugee Service ministry sites, volunteering with disaster relief, visiting area ministries that work for justice and peace, assembling health and hospice kits, visiting area nursing homes, learning about multicultural ministries and other religious traditions, handing out a packet with information about relief services, and especially services for kids, in the area. Maybe a packet with information about our major peace and justice organizations, like LOGA, LWR, global missions, LDR, LIRS, etc.

What have I left out? What would you want your own child to learn in such a program? What would you want to teach or do?