August 2012 Archives

This is my new favorite place to hang out in my free time: Winter Is Coming Fan Forum.

house Baratheon of dragonstone.png
It's a different Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin's famous series) fan forum than others in that it centers more around the HBO TV Show Game of Thrones than the books themselves. However, most of the contributors have read the novels; whether before or after seeing the television show. So there are discussions about the novels, speculation about upcoming books, as well as discussions of Seasons 1 and 2 and speculation on casting and scripting of Season 3 and beyond. 

And those of us who have read the books are not book purists. It's okay to like some of the changes that the TV show has made from the books. I happen to like some characters, like Charles Dance's Tywin Lannister, for instance much better than I did in the book. 

Anyway, this post is in hopes of getting some Google juice going for them.

UPDATE 09/12/2012: The site now has a new, independent URL: Winter is Coming Geeks

I had thought that upon the completion of a sermon I would be transcribing it and posting right here to my blog.  Alas, that is not to be the case with Sunday morning's sermon, on John 6.56-69.

Here it is for you to listen.

Scandalous Gospel

While I had some reasonable hashed out notes for it, complete with intending to make points and driving the final message home, in the course of  preaching that did not occur.

Vicar Cary.jpg

Here are some things that took place:

  1. Having the attention deficit issues I have, I normally take medication on days when I particularly need my concentration. I get by most of the time without, as it the mediation I take can be easily abused, and I'm not comfortable taking daily. But it really helps me on occasions that require me to be at my best. I forgot to take it on Sunday morning.
  2. Furthermore, I was nervous. My first sermon before a congregation about whom I knew virtually nothing. I wanted to impress. I forgot to let go and let God.
  3. I forgot the most memorable piece of advice from Preaching class; when I'm anxious, to squeeze my sphincter muscle a few times and that will release some of the tension.

 And so...

  1. From the very start, I forgot the prayer I wanted to open my sermon with. That in itself help to throw me off further.
  2. I referred to Jesus' feeding of the 3,000; not 5,000
  3. In describing what is meant by "Eat my flesh and drink my blood," I somehow unintentionally insinuated that the sacraments are symbolic. That's contrary to my beliefs as well as Lutheran piety in general.
  4. One important point that I wanted to make, was that there is a perception that Christians are conservative, judgmental, and anti-gay; that we don't want to be perceived that way, and that it can be "scandalous" to admit that we are Christians as a result of it; but we should strive to do so anyway. Somehow this point got lost and came across as telling people not to be so judgmental, antigay and conservative.

All in all, however, I was told that it was a reasonable first sermon, about par with any preacher going on internship. I have done better, and I know I can do better than this, so the only way is from here is up.   

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Official "Vote NO on Prop 8" logo

Official "Vote NO on Prop 8" logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It's being appealed to the Supreme Court, but a judge recently ordered the case closed. Does this mean that marriage licenses are now going to be permitted? Does this mean that there will be a window in which Michael and I can get legally hitched?

The trial court judge in California who has taken over hearing the federal court case challenging Proposition 8, the state's amendment limiting marriages to one man and one woman, ordered the case closed today -- which would allow same-sex couples to marry in California

More at BREAKING: Trial Judge Orders Prop 8 Case Closed



UDPATE: Correction (from the article) "A stay, or hold, of the case pending the Supreme Court's decision was granted by the Ninth Circuit, contrary to what was reported in an earlier version of this story"

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What a horrible event to take place at the Family Research Council today. An apparently deranged person arrived with a gun, with what intent, nobody knows, and shot a security guard in the arm. Thank the Lord nobody was killed. My prayers go out for a full recovery to the victim.

The Family Research Council is an anti-gay organization who has lately been campaigning fervently against gay marriage. The shooter apparently had Chik-fil-A restaurant information. The evidence so far points to the shooter reacting against the FRC's antigay stance.

I always feel hurt hardest when the reaction to such events come out, especially when it hits this close to home. The FRC is a despicable organization that consistently resorts to faulty research to support its antigay campaigning; the kind of campaigning that leads to marginalization of LGBT people, the suppression of LGBT rights, and indirectly, violence against us. I wish they would go out of business, and have their doors battered, never to be heard from again! 

But violence against people is reprehensible. It is a blessing nobody was killed, and yet, someone was shot because he worked for this organization. He is being labeled a "hero" by media outlets for preventing others from being killed. I can certainly understand why.

The politicization of this shooting by antigay talking heads is despicable. However, I imagine that other recent shootings, such as the one near Texas A&M, and the one at the Sikh Temple were also politicized by bloggers and media, from a different "wing", because of those shooters' political leanings. 

It must be stated, however, that just because some person shoots a guard at the headquarters of an organization that is a documented hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center does not make the SPLC culpable for the shooting, or the FRC any less of a hate group.

The Family Research Council has published over several years false reports that link male homosexuality with pedophilia. This constitutes defamation of an entire group of people by way of lying about them. Defamation of a group of people results in increased violence against them and further repression of rights. This makes the Family Research Council a "Hate Group." 

In no reality can is the Southern Poverty Law Center, by establishing legitimate credentials that outline what a "Hate Groups" is and by the Family Research Council meeting those credentials be constituted as defamation or libel on the part of the SPLC. There is therefore no logical conclusion that could be reached that places the burden of this crime on the Southern Poverty Law Center. The people who would do that are not being driven, however, by logic--only by anti-gay politics. It benefits them to continue to be dishonest in order to push a dishonest agenda; a pretense of victimization that in no way resembles Christ or Christian behavior.

(Edited to removed "mentally-deranged" from sixth paragraph, there's no evidence to back this up and it does not change the shooter's culpability regardless). 
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I started this post a couple of weeks ago, and in light of today's events at the Family Research Council, I feel it appropriate to continue it today.

This has now happened twice that I have been in online discussions, when talking about oppression, some person of privilege turns around and says, "well I am being oppressed," and then goes and pulls out the dictionary definition and says, see! Definition 2 applies. 

This is intellectual dishonesty. 

Now, just to be clear. We are having a conversation about a systemic and ongoing withholding and subversion of rights for a group of people, say, for instance, some generic ethnic "race" of people who have been enslaved (let's call them Purple), periodically lynched, disenfranchised, forced into lesser accommodations, by a dominant culture in some generic Western superpower, primarily due to the power structure being held by another ethnic "race" of people (who, in fact, invented the whole concept of "race" we'll refer to them as Fuchsia). I use the term "oppression"; it should be fairly obvious that we are talking about definition 1 of this term: "the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner." 

Say, now, that the discussion involves a boycott by Purples of a business owned by a Fuchsia who has made major donations to a notorious racist, anti-Purple organizations that has been labeled a Hate Organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Say a decrease of business occurs as a result of that boycott, or at the very least, reduction of public approval of that business. 

It is intellectual dishonesty at that point to say that the business owner is also suffering from oppression, because you've decided to go look up oppression on the internet and discovered definition 4: "the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc."  That is a psychological state; and has nothing to do with the use of the term "oppression" that we have described earlier. 

In fact, choosing to use that term diminishes the discussion as well as the suffering of the people as a whole. In diminishing the suffering of the people who are receiving oppression (def 1), you are made yourself an oppressor of those people.

Sorry if that gives you oppression (def 4). See a therapist for that. I cannot help you.
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