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Monday, April 18, 2005

Rapture Monday: Watch the quotation marks

Posted by: Hammer / 2:55 PM

The Rapture Index is unchanged at 152, "fasten your seat belts". Despite what the Rapturists say, I'm beginning to think that the world might not be coming to an imminent end. The "Prophetic Top Ten" includes such items as "natural disasters", "unrest in the Middle East", and "apostasy in the church". Has there ever been a time free of natural disasters, unrest in the Middle East, and apostasy in the church? After the weekend I had (the floor refinishing debacle including the television that wouldn't turn on, the dog rolling in dead fox at grandma's house, the girls melting down because their cousin had a meeting, the forgetting of the yogurt two times, the late naps, the power outage with no flashlight in sight, and finally the new Civic losing a brake caliper bolt a $140 tow charge away -- for starters ) it's clear that any god who does exist is not nearly done toying with me yet.

Of course, my petty concerns are of little consequence when it's clear that Bush is getting bad advice:

To me, perhaps the most interesting presentation I heard was one of the lectures by Bill Koenig, an accredited White House correspondent. In addition to overseeing his Internet news service, he writes a weekly 12-page news report called "Koenig's Eye View from the White House," which focuses on world news that is biblically relevant and White House news from a Christian perspective. His behind-the-scenes information was fascinating, giving the Tulsa conference audience an inside look at how the White House press corps works. ...

The most pertinent of Koenig’s information involved his concern for President George W. Bush’s advisors on the matter of Israel and Bible prophecy. Koenig said that the present Bush White House had a number of top aides whom he believed were truly Christian people. He said, however, that all but perhaps one or two of them are in churches that hold to replacement theology. Replacement theology is the belief that the Church (all saved during the Church Age) has been given all the promises that Israel would have received, had those people accepted their Messiah at the time Jesus offered himself to fulfill that role. This is crucial, because it is logical to conclude that those advisors offer erroneous advice to the President in matters involving the US dealing with Israel. We can see some of the results of that faulty advice just this past week, as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited President Bush at his Texas home. Although the White House spin was that the meeting was the best to date between the two leaders, the president expressed his displeasure with Sharon’s allowing settlements in areas of the West Bank that Bush said are critical to keeping the Roadmap to Peace on track.

Yes, it's very logical to conclude the Bush is getting bad advice because he doesn't have enough advisers on his staff who are convinced that the end times are at hand.

E L C Gay?

Oh, those crazy Lutherans:
A conservative minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) is denouncing a proposal that would allow homosexuals to become pastors in the denomination if they prove they are in a so-called "lifelong, committed, and faithful same-sex relationship."

The ELCA currently has a ban on non-celibate homosexual pastors, but its Church Council recently voted that exceptions to the policy be made to permit the ordination of active homosexuals. The resolution now goes before the ELCA's governing church body, or Churchwide Assembly, which meets this August in Orlando, Florida.

First, I love those quotation marks. Agape uses quotation marks in place of a rolling of the eyes, a derisive sneer, or a world-weary sigh. The idea that a gay couple could have a lifelong, committed, faithful relationship scores high on each "quotation mark" axis.

"Active homosexuals" -- and, here I'm using quotation marks to indicate that I'm using a direct quote -- is fun language, too. I don't think of myself as an "active heterosexual", but that's the toll 12 years of marriage takes. Oops. Eleven. It just seems like 12 blissful years. Moving on. So, homosexuals can join the ELCA clergy is they promise to abstain from the sodomy. Heterosexuals, of course, need not take any such pledge. And believe you me, Lutherans get it on. (No, they really don't. Lutherans mostly believe in getting together once a week and doing the same thing in the same order, with a little variation as possible. I imagine the hymns for Easter, '08 have already been selected. By the time I was confirmed a Lutheran, I had the service more or less memorized. You'll find more change in Donald Trump's wallet than in the Lutheran order of worship.) "Active" means two things in this context: one, the supposedly repugnant nature of homosexual intercourse, and, two, the insidious recruiting all homosexuals are constantly engaged in.

A couple paragraphs down in the same article comes this note "Unfortunately, he notes, the individuals who want to change standards within the church tend to be more politically active than those who want to preserve things as they are." Yep. Fundamentalists are really avoiding politics these days. It's beneath them.

Let me underscore the point about the quotation marks with a second example:

Homosexual Episcopal bishop Vicki Gene Robinson was the keynote speaker at an "interfaith prayer breakfast" on Friday morning sponsored by the nation's largest abortion provider. The New Hampshire bishop used the opportunity to praise Planned Parenthood for its efforts -- and to go on the attack against America.
See, if there's a gay bishop or a pro-choice group involved, interfaith prayer breakfasts become "interfaith prayer breakfasts". Although I think "interfaith prayer" breakfasts is better. Homosexuals and pro-choice folks eat, right?

The fundamentalist ethos

It might not be fair to lump all fundamentalists into the same stew, but this statement from Jane Jimenez seems to sum up the wrong-headedness of the movement:
America's heart can be best be known by making a list of the beliefs and behaviors we oppose, by cataloguing the great offenses that make us angry.
There's no greater glory to God, you see, then making a list of what pisses you off. Jeebus, blogging itself is mostly about what makes people angry. I guess that means I'm doing to the Lord's work. Screw you, Jane, but I'll see you in heaven!

Revelations

I didn't watch any of the Revelations miniseries. Just couldn't bring myself to do it. MovieMinistry.com was upset that the story wasn't factually accurate:
The Second Coming of Christ is a doctrine of the Church. Christians should not allow mini-series makers to usurp the Church's prerogative to explain it. If the television explanation of eschatology in Revelations is lacking, then Christians can and should use it as an open door for correction. Even bad TV can be put to good purposes. But in order to do so, Christians will have to mute the shock and indignation, open their Bibles, and patiently teach.
Pharyngula sums up this way:
"The authors of the best-selling "Left Behind" end-times thriller series call the new apocalyptic NBC mini series "unbiblical" and "weird." Jerry Jenkins, novelist of the "Left Behind" series, which has sold 62 million copies since its debut in 1995, said "Revelations" is "a mishmash of myth, silliness, and misrepresentations of Scripture." I've got a band-aid. Do you think that's adequate treatment for brain matter geysering out of the top of one's cranium?

Lure or be pure?

Look out, 17, there's a new teen tome in town:

Don't let the pretty girl fool you. This tract is hard core:

The author of a new magazine-style book for teenage girls says she wants young girls to find a spiritual foundation to counter the world's harmful influences.

TeenVirtue looks like the latest teen fashion magazine. It is glossy and upbeat, contains quizzes, and talks about boys; but it also provides scripture and deep spiritual truths. Vicki Courtney, author of TeenVirtue, says her daughter was a major factor in the design of the book. ...

This first edition of TeenVirtue takes several of the significant issues that young girls face and puts them into "bite-size" articles, tackling topics like beauty, boys, sex, friends and family, and having a solid relationship with Christ. Courtney chose the book's magazine-style format in the hopes of encouraging Christian girls to bring it to school with them and share it with their non-Christian friends.

The author emphasizes the fact that every article in the book is based on biblical truth, including a section that reflects on why each person is here in this world and presents a clear gospel message. She has been gratified to see the publication already proving relevant to girls, and many young readers and their parents already responding to it.

Screwed

I'm not a gay man, but I was excited by the following disclaimer:

CAUTION: The following article contains descriptions that are unsuitable for young readers.

But it's all a tease. The story's got no sexy talk in it at all:

Cable Biggies Bringing Homosexual Networks into America's Homes

Officials with the American Family Association say they expect a massive public outcry to erupt over the recent announcement that two homosexual cable networks will soon be widely available, compliments of some major cable carriers that provide services to millions of American homes. As a result, homosexual-oriented programming will be available around the clock for the first time. ...

"It's going to come as a shock when their children are scanning or flipping channels on the way to Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel and run across LOGO," the researcher says. He anticipates children happening across programming that "will probably [depict] two men kissing -- or at least having the kind of sexual content that you can get on the regular networks, like NBC or CBS, except that it will be of the homosexual variety."

Actually, DirecTV has offered "here", a gay-themed pay-per-view channel, for months. DirecTV, of course, is owned by staunch conservative Rupert Murdoch. Damn those conservatives forcing gay sex down our throats!

Reality

I've got a question for this writer:
I admit I don't understand how deeply soccer is rooted in European -- and parts of South American -- culture. Even the most insufferable fans in America are saints compared to their foreign counterparts. We have our share of William Ligues, but there exists no collective fanaticism that drives Americans to mobbish criminality.

This means, I hope, that this country's Christian heritage hasn't been completely eradicated. There is a sense of civility even among Red Sox and Yankees fans (compared to, say, Liverpool and Juventus fans). It's quite ironic, in fact, that those countries who call America "unenlightened" are the same ones whose citizens engage in psychotic behavior at a sporting event. Is it any coincidence that those who abhor moral moorings are the same ones who become uncontrollably violent over the silliest of things?

I'll concede that European soccer fans are a lot more violent at events than American sports fans. Wisconsin Badger fans were rowdy enough to kill a woman with a ripped up bench a couple decades ago. Ten years ago students stormed the field and several people were trampled and seriously injured. Minnesota nice went out the window when the men's hockey team won a national championship -- bonfires and small scale riots were the order of the day. How about the Piston Pacer game from earlier this season? Gary Sheffield more recently? How about Detroit's history? One person died after the Tigers won the 1984 World Series. Seven died after the Pistons won the 1990 NBA title.

I don't know whether Europeans are more moral than Americans or vice versa, but to pretend that there is a special civility in American sport based on religious conviction, but I did promise a question. Here it is: "What's the weather like up your own ass?" (Apologies to Steven v Stephen)

4 Comments:

Couple things. Three actually. I think you should have comments after each section of Rapture Monday rather than just at the end. Um, "forcing gay sex down our throats"? I'm not sure I would have phrased it quite that way. Thne again maybe it was intentional in which case that's pretty funny. And third, but not least, why do these sorts of people get treated in the main stream media with any more respect than the folks who claim to have been abducted by UFO's?

By Anonymous jambo, at 10:02 PM  

I think Teen Virtue should advertise at this site http://www.infinitydog.com/technicalvirgin/

By Anonymous Ba Ha Ha, at 6:46 AM  

I thought "technical virgins" would be virgins as a result of computer obsessions, not just young folks who will engage in any sexual act so long as they remain "technically" a virgin. Sadly, I did not see "shinshee shinshee" on the list of approved activities.
Jambo -- the right wing is obsessed with odd sexual metaphors whenever discussing gay rights. I'm following their practice.
I'll see what I can do about breaking up Rapture Monday...I've got some ideas.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:04 AM  

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