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So Now What?

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Culture War, Donald Trump, Homepage, Politics, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Rebellion | 0 comments

So that happened, and my side lost. (Well technically, my side lost when the DNC conspired against Bernie in order to coronate an establishment moderate hawk, but I digress.) So what now?  On the one hand I could stomp my feet, wring my hands on social media, or join one of the very secessionist movements like #Calexit that I mock when they originate in places like Mississippi. (But then, California is the sixth largest economy in the world while Mississippi’s entire cash reserve can fit in one of the state’s ubiquitous double-wides. And Mississippexit doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue.) Or—and try to stick with me here—I can just accept that democracy doesn’t always go my way. I mean, the Left had their guy in office for eight years (although he was never my guy). How did we respond...

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Careful What You’re Thankful For

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in America, Football, God, Homepage, Humanity, Love, Protest, Thanksgiving | 2 comments

Like many of you, I will be spending the day with friends, family, and people I love. I’ll be eating turkey, having some good slash awkward conversations with plenty of eye-rolling, and watching a guy run the ball up the middle for a loss of yardage instead of just going around the defenders like he should’ve done.  Like many of you, I have a lot for which to be thankful. And like almost all of you, my giving-of-thanks should be mingled with a touch of grief, especially insofar as what I am thankful for falls under the rubric of The American Dream. To come at this by way of illustration, is it right for the child of a jewel thief to thank God for his Xbox? Sure, he may believe that it is God who is the ultimate Source...

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Fake Plastic Selves

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Culture, G.K. Chesterton, God, Homepage, Humanity, Masks, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, Thomas Merton, Worldviews | 19 comments

One of the most unfortunate phrases in the English language is “He’s only human.” The assumption lurking behind it is that humanity is akin to weakness, like a crutch, and is therefore something to be ashamed of. I touch on this in the book I am currently writing: A proper Christology reminds us that receiving heavenly grace does not force upon us an entirely new operating system or delete everything on our human hard drive, but affirms all the good stuff that we have downloaded previously (even providing the occasional update when necessary).   I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s response to those who would seek to dismiss the Church’s liturgical feasts and festivals due to their being of pagan cultic origin: “They might as well say that our legs are of pagan origin. Nobody ever disputed that humanity was...

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Racism: For Whites Only?

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in America, Culture War, Homepage, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Racism | 14 comments

In Drunk Ex-Pastors podcast #8, one of the topics we discuss is racism. Jason brings up a quote from the first season of MTV’s The Real World  where Kevin Powell (a black cast member) is accused of racism and in response says, “Black people cannot be racist. We don’t have the power to control. . . .” At first hearing, I dismissed Kevin’s statement as ignorant. After all, racism, to me (a white male), means considering someone to be inferior in some way simply because of their race. While this is a  valid definition of racism, it’s not the only  definition of racism and not even the main  definition. A quick search through the various definitions of racism will show that racism also  has to do with the exercise of power. The first definition for “racism” on is...

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Extremism, Flowers, and the Powers that Be

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in America, Anarchy, Culture War, Homepage, Politics, Pop Culture, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Racism, Rebellion, Worldviews, Xenophobia | 15 comments

If you take a strong position on some issue, or on cultural/political matters in general, it is easy to label those on the other side as “extremists” or “reactionaries” (while failing to see that they might be passing the exact same judgment on you). For example, I remember when the O.J. Simpson verdict was about to be read, the police in Los Angeles were out in full force, decked out in riot gear, ready for the worst. But when the jury decided to acquit, the cops breathed a sigh of relief, packed up their tear gas and rubber bullets, and went home. Being very evangelical and somewhat racist at the time, I said, “Hey, wait! Why aren’t the police going to stay out and deal with the inevitable white-people riots and looting and whathaveyou? Oh, that’s right: white people don’t...

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Police and Wannabe Soldiers

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in America, Culture War, Homepage, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Racism, Rebellion | 0 comments

Piggybacking on our latest podcast, I thought I’d post this clip from John Oliver’s HBO show, Last Week Tonight. In it he addresses the shooting of Michael Brown and chides the Ferguson Police Department and mayor’s office both for their deplorable handling of the situation, but also for ridiculous weapon-envy: “The police are troublingly dressed like they’re about to launch an assault on Fallujah. . . . The police are NOT soldiers, so why, in. . . Ferguson, are they wearing f***ing camo? They are northwest of St. Louis, not northwest of the Amazon! If they want to blend in with their surroundings, they should be dressed as a Dollar Store.” You can stream or download the podcast below.    ...

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The Art of Asking

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Amanda, God, Homepage, Humanity, Protest, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, Rob Bell | 18 comments

By Amanda I have a special place in my heart for heretics and oddballs, misfits and malcontents. Always have. I remember the first time I saw the movie Joan of Arc, I thought she was amazing, not necessarily because I thought she was right, but because she  thought she was right and at the very least, sincere. It wasn’t just a petty argument she was waging, it was war. And ultimately she was alone with her principles, burning at the stake. That takes huevos. Those who question, who rock the boat, who ask “why?” are always burned at the stake in one way or another. I remember one of our (my and my husband’s) first years working with youth kids at a church, we had a “fellowship night” — basically a night where we hang out with each other...

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Eating the Food that Your Food Eats

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Food, Homepage, Jason, Power, Protest, Rebellion | 13 comments

Lately I have been thinking a lot about food.  I’m about halfway through Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, in which the author argues that “Nutritionism” has taught us to be rather reductionistic about how we think about the whole eating thing. We think too much about nutrients  like fats, carbs, and proteins, with actual food  being relegated to mere neutral and non-descript conduits by which those nutrients are delivered to our bodies. In addition to thinking about nutrients rather than foods, we think about foods to the exclusion of diets, and diets to the exclusion of an overall lifestyle.  I’ve also recently watched the documentaries Forks Over Knives  and Vegucated, both of which are streamable on Netflix.  All this to say, I’ve decided to dabble a bit in Veganism. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Veganism isn’t something you can ‘dabble’ in. It’s...

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Nostalgia: It Ain’t What It Used To Be

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Homepage, Humanity, Jason, Moderation, Pop Culture, Protest, Technology, The Beatles, TV | 11 comments

Here’s the thing about me: I am really, really nostalgic, and one of the effects of this has always been that hearing songs from my past has a profound impact on me. I can often be whisked back to my youth in a moment and recall things that I haven’t thought about in years, just from the opening bars of an erstwhile forgotten tune. But the internet is ruining it all. . . . You see, back before the days of filesharing and high-speed downloading, the only way I’d hear a song like “Lips Like Sugar” or “Lovecats” was if KROQ were doing one of those ’80s Lunch Hours or something. I’d be driving around and one of those songs would come on the radio, and I would be instantly transported back to grade school or junior high, remembering...

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The Discontent of Injustice

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Homelessness, Homepage, Humanity, Power, Protest, Sky | 5 comments

By Sky   Now comes the spring of our discontent, made furious by injustice done at Capricorn’s end. The death of an innocent, lawmen’s hands bloody red, now more than two summers gone. Out of a Court of Orange, twelve of our own, scattered like sheep, blind to defend what they saw. Lawless legionaries, swords drawn, come to spill Abel’s blood.  Where mothers walk and children play,  Pilate’s Pavement cries out still to us this day. Dusk of the 13th, January 2014; the breaking news broke my heart: The two ex-Fullerton police officers were declared not guilty of the murder of Kelly Thomas. A brief recap: Thomas (37), a homeless man, was tasered twice in the face, beaten with fists and batons, pistol-whipped, piled-on by six officers, and suffocated, which led to a five day coma. His last words...

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