Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Have Recipes to share?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Brothers Warner

I am watching the long version of a documentary on the Warner Brothers by Cass Warner Sperling, The Brothers Warner, and I'm being recalled to history as ethical text. Harry Warner was a great man in many ways, and he insisted on following his moral conscience in his film-making. In 1934 he pulled Warner Brothers out of the highly profitable German market. 1934. Years before anyone else dared to put their profits on the line.

I was impressed by this but I was more impressed by his thwarted attempt to make a movie called Concentration Camp that same year. Though most people never suspected the extent of the horrors of these camps, people knew the basic outline of what was happening, but ignored it in favor of ease. They never made the movie becasue they were censored by the production board. In fact the production board refused to let them make any anti NAZI films before Confessions of a Nazi Spy in 1939.

My personality profile places me firmly in the group of people who have no particular desire for change, or challenges to the status quo. When it comes to most issues, I feel only an ambivalence toward such things because my focus is on relationships with people and fighting the man inevitably means putting relationships at risk. Oddly, I am more comfortable with personal change and I enjoy moving between cultures and sub-cultures for the same reason: I see intercultural movement as relational in nature and adapt quickly because it fosters relationship.

Now, I think I should apply the insights of theological hermeneutics (or perhaps the hermeneutic of suspicion) to the ethical reading of history. In the story of the prodigal son, we must read ourselves as the inhospitable older brother, in Anna Karenina we must read ourselves in the degenerate cast, in the Gospels we must read ourselves on the side of the murderers of Jesus, in Gulliver's Travels we must be both the Yahoos and the transformed Gulliver (but not the Houyhnhnms). If I read the ethical text of history with this suspicion of self, I must come to the conclusion that I would be an isolationist; therefore, I must beware of my tendencies and fight them even though my position seems perfectly logical to me.

Does that constitute advocacy of actions against logic in the name of ethics?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hello Christians, You Need to Read This:

"If Vanier is correct that within France within the next few years there will be no children born with Down Syndrome because they will all have been aborted, then something is deeply wrong with our society. As my friend John, who has Down Syndrome, puts it, 'That doesn't make us feel very welcome, does it.' And he's right. Stanley Hauerwas correctly points out . . . that one of the real dangers for people with disabilities in Western cultures is compassion . . . How odd"
What was the scene in heaven like when God chose those people with disabilities to incarnate. Did his voice boom through Heaven, "Who shall I send and who will go for us?" A humble soul squeaks, " here am I . . . send me"

"Go and show this people who I am, show them that my power is made perfect in weakness. Give flesh to Jesus in the lives of his people."

"How long, O Lord?"

"Until they have driven you from the Earth."

Couldn't this be considered genocide? Killing a type of people because of their genetic material? That is the same reasoning that led to the dehumanization of native peoples all over the world, and aren't we ashamed of that? Have we only relented and stopped heedlessly killing "primitives" because we were wrong about their intellectual capacities? One major excuse for American slavery was that black people could not become civilized, that they lacked the same capacities as people of European descent. Was their argument right? Is it okay to devalue people because of diminished capacities? Are they less "human" than us? What about sentience? People with mental disabilities are, in my experience, capable of feeling as deeply as anyone else. And self-awareness? Arguing this way is stupid and wrong-minded; the truth is that we do not kill from right-minded good will, but for misguided compassion, from self-interest, and from fear.

We reflect on the horror we would feel to have our capacities diminished, but we do not ask those who actually live in those bodies if they wished that they had not had a chance to live. Instead we let our instinctual fear of difference drive us. We let our fear of having to give too much of ourselves, of having to be burdened with people made in God's image who are less able.

I am misguided, selfish, and terrified too.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

My Favorite New Books

I am about to start even more hours at my second job until August. Please pray for me: I need the extra hours so that I can afford to do all the stuff I need to do when I finish my thesis, but the deadline is coming up and I need time to write too. So, I'm keeping my warehouse job until August (or so I have planned) so I can save more, but I'll need a lot of blessings to help after that.

Here are my favorite new books:

A Patristic Greek Reader
A Patristic Greek Reader by Rodney A. Whitacre is helping me get my Patristic Greek into better shape so that I can be more accurate with Epiphanius.

A Reader's Hebrew Bible
I don't currently need the Greek version of this except in Hebrews (but that is mostly because I'm not a big fan of Hebrews (it's my least favorite biblical book) so I don't read it as often as the others, but I do need A Reader's Hebrew Bible by A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith so that I can follow along in church even though my Hebrew is not half as good as my Greek. Now if only I had one for Latin.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

103.4 AM

So, TANK has a fever. I discovered this, and a much lower fever of my own, at about 3 AM. What a fever means to him is that he wants to play harder and all the time especially when he should be sleeping. What it means to me is that I need to work harder to keep up with him.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Art of Presentation

My friend, Chris, and his wife, Ally, are ministers in Brazil. I was reading their blog and noticed the fine art of presentation at work: Chris is preaching in two towns blah- blah- blah . . . he's starting a new certificate program for people there blah- blah- blah . . . so-and-so was baptized blah- blah- blah . . . Two gunmen broke into our home and robbed us . . .

We also need to share something unpleasant that happened at the beginning of March. As we were arriving home after going to the mall on Saturday with Junior and Patricia and Ally’s other sister Priscila and her husband Jefferson, and Liduina, Ally’s mom, two guys pulled up to our house and held us at gunpoint. They forced us into the kitchen floor after taking all our wallets, cash, and wedding rings. One searched the house looking for cash while the other held us in the kitchen at gunpoint with their .22 revolver. After going through the house they began taking the microwave, TV, stereo, DVD player, and anything else they could find.
They continued to threaten us and ask for more cash. Patricia remembered her purse was in our bedroom and went in to get it, followed by the older one. She soon returned to the kitchen and joined us on the floor.

When Jonathan and Stephanie began to cry, the one with the gun began to threaten to shoot them in the head if they didn't shut up. Ally and Liduina did a great job keeping the kids calm. Jefferson at that point began to cry and moan as if he were really scared in order to take his attention off the kids. Jefferson is a trained actor, and did a great job. He then convinced them that there was a purse in his car. He led one outside to the cars, which were still parked outside the house with the gate open, all the while holding his hands in the air and begging the thief not to shoot. Even though he had no gun, he didn't think to ask Jefferson to stop. Jefferson opened all the car doors and let the guy search both vehicles, and then they returned inside. The one who was holding us with the gun told us that if we didn't give them more money in 30 seconds he would shoot someone.

Suddenly we heard scuffling noises and someone shouted “Police!” and I grabbed Ally and the kids and we all hit the deck in case there was going to be a shootout. The guy with the gun threw it on the ground and was tackled by two officers. Jefferson and Junior shouted that there was another, and the police searched the house and found him in our bedroom, unable to escape through the bars on the window.

The police took them into the living room and beat them for a few minutes before taking them to the cars. We began to calm down slowly. Liduina has high blood pressure and was suffering a lot. We made her lie down and tried to keep her calm.
We began to tell the police what had happened and what had been taken. They went to the thieves’ car and found everything there, plus a stash of cocaine the thieves had been using. One of them was 19 years old, the other 17.

The police beat them outside again after the youngest one told them he was a minor and would get off without doing time. Then they drove them off to the police station, followed by Jefferson and Junior who would make statements and bring the evidence home again. They arrived at about 5 am and told us the outcome. Both would go to jail for 2-4 years, one in Juvenile in São Vicente or Santos and the other in prison in Guarujá. Because they were caught in the act, in Brazil, there is no trial or wait time. The next day they stood before the judge and then were shipped off.
God was with us through the whole ordeal, which lasted about 45 minutes. We were amazed that the police arrived and caught them in the act, which is a very rare thing in Brazil. We asked them how they knew, and they told us that one of the neighbors was an angel and called them. As it turned out, the neighbors across the street heard the robbers yelling and saw what happened from the beginning, and called the police the whole time that we were held inside. Their names are Roberto and Elizabete. We believe that God will use what happened to bring us closer to this couple. They are wonderful neighbors and have a daughter that is 2 years old who is partially blind. We hope that through our growing relationship that we can help them see that God has a plan for everyone, o matter what the circumstance. We are forever in their debt for the help they gave us.

As we tried to calm down afterward, we realized how much God had been in control even as we feared the worst. Even though police procedure in a case like that is to wait outside and either negotiate or catch the bad guys, we were told later by one of the two officers who are evangelicals that when he saw the guy with the gun through our front window, they decided that they couldn't wait. They were very quick, secure, and professional. I don't think we could have had a better response even if we were in the states. Later the two christian officers came back by the house to make sure we were OK and answer any questions or concerns we had.

We continue to recover, and try to go on.

We were very blessed in that things ended up about as well as they could in a bad situation like that. Bad things happen to good and bad people alike, but the difference is that God is with those who believe in Him and in His power.
Wow! I am so relieved that they are all right, but they should have at least led with a teaser.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bizarre Similarities

Which one is the preacher, which the fighter?

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