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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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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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Nobody Puts Brody in a Corner

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in God, Homepage, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, That's Me in the Corner | 19 comments

As some of you know, I have been working on a novel called That’s Me in the Corner  for a few years now, off and on (once this Random House book is finished I will dedicate myself to this more seriously, with the hope of finishing it this year).  The protagonist, based loosely on me, is called Brody Graham (his Facebook page can be found here — please Like and Share!). He is a young man who is in the process of outgrowing the evangelical expression of Christianity that he grew up with and has become an official spokesman for.  I have been wondering lately whether Brody’s story should span more than just one volume (I know, typical of a writer to start his next novel before finishing his current one). If the first book ends, as it does, with Brody “losing...

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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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What Biebers Me: Ideological Xenophobia

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Books and Literature, Homelessness, Homepage, Justin Bieber, Money, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, Xenophobia | 6 comments

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that I have made a few changes around here, one of which is the new tagline: Culture / Politics / Religion / Bieber. Why “Bieber”? Well, I was  toying with the idea of actually writing a weekly post about the annoying little Canadian, but decided instead to treat the term “Bieber” as a kind of catch-all, as shorthand for anything that just gets on my nerves, irritates me, or makes me lose faith in humanity altogether. What Biebered me recently — that’s right, I verbed it — was a comment someone made when I posted a pic of a book I was reading about Daniel Suelo, a guy who has lived without earning or spending any money whatsoever for the last 14 years. The commenter (who’s a friend of mine who, I...

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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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Power, Piranha-Style

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Culture, Homepage, John, Money, Politics, Power, Protest, Rebellion | 13 comments

(By John Terranova) Sometimes animals behave in ways we humans would be wise to mimic. Piranhas, surprisingly, inspire me to recreate human society along their noble model. Let me explain. . . . Full gown piranhas are all of similar size. None get large enough to rule the others. Even as vicious predators “that will bite anything and everything” with razor-sharp teeth, they are reluctant to kill each other; instead, they “fight with raps of their tails.”[1] Likewise, rattlesnakes, rather than bite each other, wrestle. Both species may establish a pecking order, but they do not destroy each other. I have a theory about why they behave this way — a theory that could help make the human world more just. If one piranha, say the strongest one, were to turn his teeth upon a fellow piranha and kill...

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Elephants, Emperors, and Witchcraft

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Homepage, Noelle, Protest, Rebellion | 33 comments

(By Noelle)   The unnamed. It has ever been with me. In my mind, there was always an elephant in the room and the emperor was rarely clothed. As a little girl, the unnamed made me feel bulky and obtuse in a sea of dainty. Sharp and seen. Every absolute presented sent me spinning, and my juvenile mind would quickly begin to disassemble to reassemble to disassemble again. Every injustice I witnessed would burn inside until it surfaced as a rant, certainly not suited to fall from the lips of a child. What business does a little girl have asking so many questions? Why is every response an argument? My poor, poor mother. . . . At 13, the unnamed set its sights on a monster within my own four walls. “Stop what you do. It’s wounding” The response was the...

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