Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
“She’ll be here any minute.”
“I know. I know,” Cal responded. “Don’t worry too much, Betty.”
“But it’s the first home visit since little Sally’s dedication at the Toleration Fellowship.”
“Betty, we’ve had social coordinators over before.”
“I know, Cal, but they’re bound to be more thorough with families that have agreed to raise their children.....”
“You’d better watch those personal possessive pronouns,” Cal interrupted, “We’ve got to remember she’s just not ours alone anymore.”
“....in compliance with the wisdom of the Community, “ Betty finally got in edgewise.
“What are you so nervous about? It was your idea to join the Fellowship and to give the Community greater say over our domestic union.”
“I know. I know, Cal. It’s just that we had to join. You know that children not dedicated to the Fellowship can’t get into the better schools or qualify later on for jobs deemed essential to the Community interest.”
Cal thought she was overreacting. Sally was just a few months old. There was no rush to plan the baby’s life out for her at this very moment. There would be time for that later on, with the help and oversight of the Community of course.
The couple heard a knock at the door. Cal responded, “I’ll get it.” He figured his wife would be too much of a nervous wreck.
He opened the door. “Oh, hello,” Cal smiled, “Nice to see you again.” He figured this wouldn’t be too bad after all. “Catherine, isn’t it?” he asked, “Your Sibling Cecilia’s partner. We met at the Toleration Fellowship.”
Catherine looked up from her file folder and clipboard. “Yes, Mr. Witherspoon.” She studied her checklist. “I noticed the door was locked, so I knocked. So tell me, do you keep the doors locked all the time?”
“Uh, no. No. Old habit, I suppose.”
“Can be, sometimes.” Catherine marked her list. “Some people still have a tendency to do things as they did in the Before. But if you keep your doors locked too much, the Community might assume you have something to hide. Besides, now that you are overseeing a child, wouldn’t want to the little one to come to the conclusion that there is sometime or someplace where they are separate from the Community.”
Corrected, Cal politely nodded in compliance. “Your right. Won’t you please come in?”
The social coordinator stepped into the dwelling. Of their partnership, Cal thought Catherine must be the more serious of the two since Cecilia was more affable at least until that visitor left some old book on the pew at the Toleration Hall a few weeks ago. He had never seen someone usually as evenhanded as Cecilia get so angry in public.
But then again, Cal did not know her too well privately. He and Betty had only been attending the local Toleration Fellowship since being granted permission to move to Schauungtown about a year ago.
“Betty, the social coordinator is here.”
Betty came back into the room, having gone to get little Sally.
“Oh, hello, Catherine. Nice to see you.”
“You too, Betty.”
Cal noticed the exchange between Catherine and Betty had been a bit more amicable than his initial greeting with the social functionary. Cal guessed maybe because Betty had been spending more time at the Toleration Fellowship at a women’s group, he thought. Something about the indivisible goddess within or whatnot. He wasn’t really sure.
Most of the time, Cal didn’t get as involved with Fellowship activities as Betty usually did. He liked the services well enough. He enjoyed the sense of community they inspired and such, but he just didn’t have that much time free to dedicate to Fellowship activities.
Catherine fumbled through the papers stacked on her clipboard. “Ok. We can begin with an inspection of the offspring’s rejuvenation compartment.”
The awkwardness of the phraseology sent a shiver down Cal’s spine. Couldn’t she have called it “the baby’s room”? Cal supposed that would have denoted a degree of individuality and ownership a number thought enlightened minds had progressed beyond since the days of Before.
Of their domestic union, it was clear Catherine was by far the more clinical partner. Despite psychologically progressing beyond the perceptual confines of gender to obtain the recognition of “Sibling” within the Toleration Fellowship, at least Cecilia displayed a bit of warmth and emotion on occasion.
Betty clung to “the offspring” and said to Catherine, “This way, please.”
Catherine followed Betty and Cal in turn followed Catherine. They made their way through the dwelling to the baby’s room, er, rather the offspring’s rejuvenation compartment.
“Here we are,” Better beamed.
Catherine did not seem quite as enthusiastic. “This is unacceptable. It will simply have to be changed.”
“What?” Cal inquired.
Catherine repeated herself, “It will have to be changed.”
“Why?” Betty whined. “We worked so hard on the baby’s room. Cal spent hours panting the room and it took me weeks to finish the lace curtains.”
“Hmph.” Catherine snapped. “Sorry to inconvenience you, but this compartment is in violation of Developmental Cognition Neutrality Standards.”
“What?” Cal questioned. Betty just looked on with a confused expression across her face.
“Developmental Cognition Neutrality Standards. The room will have to be altered to comply with the aesthetic provisions of those guidelines.”
“Redecorate? Why?” Betty asked.
Catherine removed a citation from her clipboard and handed copies to Cal and Betty. “It’s a violation of Developmental Cognition Neutrality Standards to decorate an offspring’s rejuvenation compartment in any way so as to influence gender perceptions. It is stipulated in the Concord Of Universal Community that each sentient must determine the conceptual state best suited for its own existence without interference or influence without reference to sufficient community oversight.”
“And that means.....?” Cal inquired.
The rejuvenation compartment will have to be repainted in a neutral color such as gray and the drapes replaced with a non-gender suggestive fabric without the lace. Furthermore, the stuffed animals are going to have to be removed also.”
Betty and Cal just looked at each other.
Catherine continued reading from and scribbling on her clipboard. “We might think the stuffed animals are cute, especially since we all grew up in the time of Before. But we have no way of knowing how these representations impact the esteem of fellow organisms unable to express themselves in the same manner as we do. We each have a duty to prevent anthropocentrist bias. These seemingly innocent depictions may actually cause the cognitively impressionable to come to the conclusion that animals exist for humyn benefit. In the time of Before, such ideas scarred countless generations and led to unmitigated ecological disaster. Praise be to the All and the Earth Mother that the Community helped us realize this.”
“Praise be to the Earth Mother.” Cal and Betty dutifully replied.
“Now.” Catherine looked down at her list. “I need to see inside your food preservation unit.”
Betty led Catherine to the kitchen. Cal remembered in the days of Before that such devices like Catherine wanted to see had been called “refrigerators” but thought they operated somewhat differently. Instead of placing the food in a temporal suppression field, lowered temperature had been used to deter decay.
Betty opened the unit. “Here we go.”
Catherine peeked inside, carefully noting the contents. “Where is it exactly do you procure your nutritional allotment?”
“Down at the market, just outside the Schauungtown boundary.”
“Yes, I imagine so.” Catherine replied, “I don’t know how much longer that place is going to be allowed to remain open. It is an affront to everything espoused by this community and others like it. The way some people go in there and buy whatever they want off the shelves as if they were living in the days of Before. Frankly, as upstanding members of the Community and the Toleration Fellowship, I am surprised either of you would allow such gastric pollutants in your nutritional preparation area. Do you realize how close you are to violating Community Dietary Guidelines? As a signatory association to the Concord of Universal Community, Schauungtown pledges to maximize the health of its residents. Having agreed to the Schauungtown Codicils each of you as residents freely recognize that those designated as qualified social coordinators posses expertise superior to that of the individual and that residents desiring to fulfill their communal obligations must comply with directives promulgated in all matters. Do I make myself clear?”
Betty and Cal simply nodded in agreement.
“Good,” Catherine beamed, “Then we shouldn’t have any troubles.” The bureaucrat flipped through her stack of papers once more, making checkmarks and scribbling down observations.
Betty and Cal looked on.
Catherine continued, “These are your copies.” She handed Betty a copy of the report. “Just be sure to implement these guidelines by the time of my next scheduled visit and everything should be satisfactory.”
Betty and Cal looked over the stack of papers. The domestic collective escorted Catherine towards the door.
The three of them stood at the entrance of the domicile. An awkward silence came over them as none wanted to yield to the other by being the first to enunciate the desire to be excused.
As they all looked up, down, and every which way to avoid making eye contact, someone walking down the street caught each their attention. The concern the individual evoked transcended any tension that had developed between the domestic collective and intrusive social coordinator.
Betty strained her neck to get a closer look. “Hey, is that....?”
Cal quickly responded to her inquiry, “Yes, I believe it is that guy who left that book behind at the Toleration Fellowship? I think it was called a Bibl.....”
Catherine interrupted Cal’s thought before he could finish it, “It’s that intolerant malcontent that spreads discord through divisive publications.”
The three looked on as the stranger rambled by and waved.
Catherine turned to the couple. “Remember what I said about not locking your doors?”
The couple nodded in response.
“Forget I ever said it.”
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
According to this Seattle Times article, JAG is being kicked off the air in part because much of its viewer ranks is pulled from the over 50 crowd.
Could that be because it is one of the few programs available that provides consistently quality narratives without resorting to outright sex or unnescessary violence? Even the show's cousin, NCIS, is a bit more bawdy in its presentation with having no qualms about flaying open a corpse for an autopsy and gratuitous potty dialouge between the characters.
Opposition to JAG is not so much about demographics as it is values and taste.
Monday, April 25, 2005
One of the accepted realities of college life is that students often have to shell out a significant wad of cash on nearly useless textbooks. This unpleasant reality is tempered by the hope that, if all goes well, students can sell the texts back to the campus bookstore for a pittance at the end of the semester.
However, a number of professors at the University of Maryland have disrupted what little market beauty remains in this transaction by erecting additional artificial barriers to free exchange by imposing their economic sensibilities onto where assigned texts can be acquired instead of leaving the decision up to the student.
At the University, students are usually able to purchase books at the Book Center conveniently located in the Student Union at the center of campus or at the Maryland Book Exchange prominently located among the businesses surrounding the college. Yet another establishment from which books can be procured is Vertigo Books.
Unlike the Book Center or Exchange, Vertigo is a small independent store. Thus, since it is metaphorically thumbing its nose at big business, according to the February 7, 2005 edition of the Diamondback, a number of liberal arts professors favor it over the competition by manipulating the book selection process so that the texts for their specific classes are only available at Vertigo.
Such a decision is more about the egos of the professors and stroking them than about the needs of the students. For even though the professors get that intangible buzz that usually accompanies giving the system the finger, this does little for the student and actually imposes a bit of a burden on students since Vertigo does not buy back books and the larger stores are able to sell at a lower price.
If students are going to get stuck with a book they’ll never use again at the end of the semester, they might as well take a gamble and try to find the book in the library and end up paying a fine if the semester lasts longer than their renewal privileges or try to find the book on Amazon.com. If buying books is now going to become a competition of values, students might as well actually show their support of those who actually keep the economy moving.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Friday, April 22, 2005
Over a decade has elapsed since The Contract With America catapulted Newt Gingrich to the forefront of American political discussion and the Republican Party into control of both houses of Congress. No longer confined by the restraints of public office, the former Speaker of the House now seeks to update and expand on this set of ideas in Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract With America.
Unlike the original Contract With America which dealt primarily with political and legislative issues, Winning The Future applies the outlook inspiring the book’s antecedent to a wider array of social and cultural concerns. Reflective of the personality of the author of both documents, Winning The Future is an eclectic synthesis of conservative commonsense, futuristic policy blather, and a reluctance to accept certain shortcomings inherent to human nature.
Winning The Future does a suburb job in examining the religious foundations of the United States. Gingrich uses his skill as an historian to trace recognition of this heritage from the Founding Fathers, through Abraham Lincoln, up to contemporary thinkers such as Samuel Huntington.
From there, Gingrich uses the issue of the role of religion in the United States as a springboard to discuss the need for judicial reform. Gingrich views the attack on religious freedom as evidence of how the judiciary has gotten out of control. Newt does this by pointing out a number of rulings from the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the activist legal philosophies of radical jurists such as Europhile Sandra Day O’Connor. He also offers suggestions on how the courts might be reigned in such as by impeaching judges going beyond the scope of the Constitution on the grounds of violating the Good Behavior Clause or by simply abolishing rogue judgeships all together.
While a number of the proposals contained within the pages of Winning The Future are steeped in conservative commonsense realism, some of those characterized by futuristic speculation are just plain goofy. For example, Gingrich is under the impression that centralizing and computerizing all health records will lead to some kind of twenty-first century medical Renaissance.
But doesn’t technology merely take on the characteristics and shortcomings of those employing it? A quack will always be a quack.
And this is to say nothing of the dangers and abuses that will result from further centralizing the most sensitive of information in a single place that will probably be administered by the government or as callous healthcare administrators. If my rights and well being are to be violated, those doing so should at least have to work to earn the opportunity.
Despite his many insights, at various points Gingrich exhibits a flawed understanding of human nature that will cause his well-intentioned proposals to flounder in a manner similar to the Great Society programs the former Congressman has spent much of his political career claiming to stand against. For example, Gingrich touts a program called Earning By Learning he established that paid to $2.00 to children in public housing for every book they read.
While the costs of the program initially came out of Gringrich’s own pocket, who’s going to pick up the tab should the program go nationwide? Furthermore, why should such an entitlement be for the so-called underprivileged who already have access to the same reading material as everyone else but simply refuse to avail themselves of it?
Spending much of his time hobnobbing in elite government and media circles, Dr. Gingrich is also as mistaken about the nature of the immigrant hordes sweeping across America. Mired by his training as an historian, Gingrich assumes a model of immigration more fitting for the nineteenth century than the twenty-first.
Gingrich writes, “Nor am I concerned that a substantial number of new Americans are Hispanic. America has a long history of absorbing and blending people of many languages and backgrounds.” But for the most part, the vast majority of immigrants at that time were already steeped in a common Northern European (primarily Protestant) culture upon which American institutions were based.
Even more importantly, immigrants of that period wanted to be Americans and not to merely suckle off the supple federal teat while expressing nothing but contempt for the host nation gracious enough to even allow them into our midsts. If Gingrich finds Hispanics so charming, maybe they can pile into the house next door to his like they have in many middle class neighborhoods where they cram thirty of their kinsman and associates into a single family dwelling and have no qualms about guzzling booze on the public sidewalk.
Regardless of one’s opinion of Newt Gingrich as either a conservative visionary seeking to plot America’s course to the future, an egotistical fraud concerned for nothing but his own fame and fortune, or someone between the two extremes, Winning The Future will most definitely spark thought and discussion of the issues that will impact the nation in the coming years.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Friday, April 15, 2005
Thursday, April 14, 2005
A recent issue of Time magazine profiled a number of America’s most influential Evangelicals. Among those with acceptable conservative credentials included historian David Barton, constitutional attorney Jay Sekulow, and author Tim LaHaye.
However, one professional religionist quietly slipped onto the list promotes a severely watered down brand of Christianity more about accommodating the faith to trendy progressive causes rather than applying a Biblical perspective to the issues of the day. For whereas those profiled such as Barton, Sekulow, and LaHaye earned their places on the roster for their strong positions they have taken in regards to their respective areas of expertise, Brian McLaren’s claim to fame happens to be his spineless vacillation when confronted with matters requiring a distinctively Christian response proverbially separating the wheat from the chaff.
McLaren’s Time profile starts out detailing McLaren’s response to what this renowned cogitator thinks of gay marriage. To the inquiry he replied, “You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.”
What does that have to do with anything? For the true man of God, there is nothing to agonize over when formulating a response to such a clear cut issue.
The Bible is quite plain; marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. What does a pastor have to apologize for? A church committee did not invent marriage.
Should we sugarcoat those passages and doctrines others don’t like? I’m not too fond of taxes. Does that mean I should throw a fit until the preacher gives up on expounding the passages of Scripture extolling us to pay our taxes?
Better yet, does this mean we should downplay the monogamous nature of marriage for fear of alienating the practitioners of polygamy? More importantly, should pastors gloss over texts explicating the divinity of Jesus for fear of upsetting Jews or Muslims with their competing versions of monotheism? Just how far is the neutered church willing to take this new sacrament of hypertolerance?
Maybe we ought to toss out orthodox doctrine, traditional values, and good old common sense to replace them with a catechism and liturgy making community the highest arbiter of standards and values. For whereas Rev. McLaren laments the obligation of upholding the clearly delineated injunctions of the Bible, he certainly has few qualms about promulgating a religious creed bearing a startling resemblance to contemporary postmodern communitarianism.
A number of McLaren’s underlying beliefs are expounded in an article in the Summer 2003 edition of Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal titled “Emerging Values: The Next Generation Is Redefining Spiritual Formation, Community, And Mission”. McLaren suggests, instead of a traditional apologetic and systematic theology emphasizing the rational truths of the Christian faith, an approach focusing on feelings and outcomes.
McLaren predicts, “Christians in the emerging culture may look back to our doctrinal structures...as we look back on medieval cathedrals: possessing real beauty that should be preserved, but now largely vacant, not inhabited anymore or used much anymore, more tourist attraction than holy place.” He continues, “If Christianity isn’t the quest for (or defense of) the perfect belief system (‘the church of the last detail’) then what’s left? In the emerging culture, I believe it will be ‘Christianity as a way of life’ or ‘Christianity as a path of spiritual formation’.”
In other words, clearly defined beliefs are a crock and a waste of time. McLaren says as much in the following: “I was giving, thanks to C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Josh McDowell, my best apologetics informed replies, and I wasn’t getting through. My Liar-Lunatic-Or-Lord arguments...and water tight belief system didn’t enhance the credibility of the Gospel...rather, they made the Gospel seem less credible, maybe even a little cheap and shallow.”
Interesting how Pastor McLaren enunciates his disapproval for propositional truth in the form of propositions. Note he did not relay the impression through extrasensory emotional transference or through some rambling narrative where the only conclusions are those the listeners draw for themselves in the finest traditions of the postmodernism McLaren has enthusiastically embraced.
While the fruits of the Christian faith are important as they are signs of a life well led in Jesus Christ, given the choice between feelings and proper beliefs, proper beliefs must take precedence over good feelings since feelings must arise from beliefs since proper beliefs won’t necessarily arise from good feelings.
McLaren’s tendency to elevate the ends of Christianity over the means is evident in regards to his attitude towards two popular movies --- “Hotel Rwanda” and “The Passion of Christ” ---- he reviewed in Sojourner’s Magazine. The review --- appearing in the rag renowned as a mouthpiece of the Religious Left --- hopes to convince readers as to which film is the more spiritually efficacious.
In a move reminiscent of the Neo-Orthodoxy of Karl Barth and the like, McLaren aesthetically as well as ethically places ephemeral existential considerations over the concrete reality of historic fact. According to McLaren, “Hotel Rwanda” is actually a “more Christian” movie than “The Passion Of Christ”.
From what I have been able to gather since I have seen neither film, “Hotel Rwanda” is about an individual who tries to save lives during the African Massacres of the 1990’s whereas “The Passion Of Christ” is an attempt to cinematically depict the sufferings of the Messiah as He died upon the cross for the sins of those who would accept Him as Savior.
How can one movie possibly depicting Christian values be “more Christian” than another that actually --- despite legitimate criticisms raised by sensitive Protestants to certain Catholic elements within the picture --- is a reenactment of the events that brought Christianity into existence? For if Jesus did not die and rise from the dead, why should we even bother with good deeds to begin with?
As John Warwick Montgomery often jokes, who’s heard of a Unitarian leper colony? I Corinthians 5:19 says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” But then I don’t think the words of Scripture carry all that much weight with McLaren and his sect since emotions seem to take precedence.
Without fidelity to these fundamental events and creeds of the Christian faith as expressions of history as actual as the signing of Declaration of Independence or the Allies landing at Normandy, this world religion under consideration degenerates into an amorphous psychobabble that ends up lavishing undue power upon those in positions of authority and imbuing this world with a kingdom of God quality once reserved for heaven itself.
As beings existing amidst the flow of history, events such as the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and their depiction in the words of the Bible connect the individual directly with the Almighty. But when the temporal emphasis of the faith is altered from its primary concern of the individual and salvation to that of the group and its propagation, adherents are forced to placate a constantly expanding intermediary body standing between themselves and God if they desire to continue their status as upstanding members of the fellowship in question.
Usually, this new loyalty is placed in the community and the pastor as the personification of this abstract authority that is not to be questioned and existing beyond many of the rules the remainder of us regular clods are expected to adhere to as less advanced members of the spiritual hierarchy.
It is not enough to live by the principles of the Bible by loving the Lord, taking care of one’s family, and otherwise staying out of trouble. Rather, one must confess the darkest recesses of one’s soul to the encounter group as it meanders about in ethical confusion as the facilitator guides them to a predetermined outcome not necessarily having anything whatsoever to do with the Bible or traditional Christian concerns.
Rev. McLaren shows his true colors regarding these matters in relation to environmental policy and philosophy as it serves as an excellent example of how McLaren’s aberrant theology will disrupt the life of the individual if his ideas gain influence among Christians and the broader culture.
Since the highest ethical good in McLaren’s worldview is the community, individual prerogatives and aspirations are seen as the bane and downfall of the natural world. McLaren in a Match 2004 Sojourner’s article titled “Consider the Turtles of the Field” chides that as a society we must move beyond concepts such as private ownership and free enterprise. Instead, those espousing so-called “kingdom values” must embrace the communal, hold property in common, and forsake the notion of “mine”.
Such revolutionary postures go beyond a concern about the greed and corruption endemic to the super rich such as multinational corporations, political figures, media personalities, and (dare we say) megachurch potentates. McLaren is far more interested in destroying the traditional American way of life.
Interestingly, this ecclesiastical milksop who won’t even take a stand one way or the other regarding sodomite matrimony characterizes the American nuclear family as a “waste of resources” and unworthy of the attention it receives in popular Evangelical thought. McLaren hopes extended families and “intentional households” (think glorified communes) will be the wave of the future.
One wonders if Pastor McLaren’s will be as keen on the share and share alike and the what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine outlook when the additional men he invites to reside at his compound have intentions on his wife? Or as most experiments in communalized domesticity end up, will Rev. McLaren be the only one permitted to relish the benefits of the community property if you catch my drift? Jonestown or Waco, anyone?
Refusing to confine his religious perceptions to the parameters of the texts and doctrines he finds stifling, Pastor McLaren refuses to realize that notions of property, privacy, and “mine” are not so much necessarily about greed as about establishing some kind of system that provides some degree of protection against the sin nature while allowing mankind the opportunity to enjoy what good remains in him as a creature made in God’s image. Rev. McLaren might not like the notion of private property, but it’s the only thing that prevents someone else from moving into his house when he is not there or permits him to seek legal recourse if someone bashes him in the head and snatches his car when stopped at a traffic light.
Through an examination of his environmental philosophy, one gets the impression that Rev. McLaren is not so much for nature as he is against the individual finding joy and purpose apart form considerable social control. It seems Rev. McLaren gets a bit of a kick getting into the business of others over which there is no Biblical mandate for doing so.
McLaren’s antipathy towards individual liberty is particularly evident in his opinion of the automobile and contemporary living arrangements. Of these foundational components of our material existence, McLaren writes, “The effects of caring will have to change our systems that depend on fossil fuels and...housing systems that maximize human impact through suburban sprawl [and] farming systems that violate rather than steward land.” Somehow I don’t imagine a bigshot like Rev. McLaren bicycles wherever he goes, lives in a thatched hut or in an inner city slum as most urban planners suggest, or nibbles on pine bark.
One wonders what this naive preacher is willing to give up. Apparently not quite as much as the rest of us not having reached his pinnacle of spiritual advancement must for the cause as has been characteristic of leftist revolutionary movements throughout history. For while the rest of us are to be ashamed for owning an automobile, dwelling in the suburbs, and having back decks instead of front porches (since these shelter the individual from the prying eyes of nosey neighbors operating under the mandate of “authentic community”), McLaren and his disciples have built their own little ecclesiastical fiefdom that can only be accessed by the very technologies this Luddite cleric rails against.
Living in the same “watershed” --- this being McLaren’s primary geographical identity --- as this theological crackpot, I have personally seen McLaren’s ivory tower (Cedar Ridge Community Church) and I can assure you it is sufficiently out in what use to be the countryside that he’s not going to draw the crowds he longs to fawn over him without considerable automobiling to this neighborhood of half-million dollar homes many sufficiently spaced far enough away from each other to prevent unwanted interaction between the occupants. But I guess gathering at the feet of this guru might qualify as one of those rare instances where use of the automobile might still be justified.
Nor does it seem to have stopped McLaren from trotting around the globe to spread his views and to indoctrinate others. But then again, when you think you are the best thing to hit religion since Jesus Christ, why should you let a little thing like a consistent environmental philosophy stand in your way?
One suspects what McLaren and his cronies really suffer from is good old-fashioned liberal guilt of a similar strain that wracked Phil Donahue when he’d ring his hands in despair that he had been fortunate enough to have been born an American. Yet instead of allowing such a realization to inspire a life of humility and non-ostentatiousness, when those of this attitude come to power they seek to assuage their own burdened souls by extracting the penance from the hides over whom they exercise authority.
The goal of the Emergent Church movement is liberation from what it classifies as the antiquated dogmas and traditions of Christianity. And while the church must always remain vigilant to ensure certain ecclesiastical accretions are not elevated to the level of revelation handed down from on high, what this movement under consideration seeks to replace accepted orthodoxy with is a religious paradigm that undermines individuality and imposes a reliance on community that conditions churchgoers to pliantly take their place in the emerging global order.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Sunday, April 10, 2005
In going on to his eternal reward, the last profundity Pope John Paul II conveyed to the world was no matter how good we might be as individuals death will eventually come to embrace us all. And as we all stop for a moment to ponder our earthly demises, it is only natural to consider the ultimate disposition of our physical remains. But whereas those of the Pope’s will always be properly honored as befitting someone of his stature, often the remainder of us don’t get even the minimal respect we deserve as human beings having once walked this earth as creatures made in the image of God.
My family went to the Fort Lincoln Cemetery in suburban Maryland on Easter Sunday to pay respects to my mother’s brother interned there. It would be an understatement to say we were in for an “Easter surprise” we would never forget.
Traditionally, cemeteries are noted for their meticulous upkeep in order to facilitate reflection and put the visitor’s mind at ease. However, from the conditions prevailing at this memorial garden, one would be safe to say local junkyards, garbage dumps, and sewage treatment plants receive more conscientious care.
We were first unsettled by the unsightly mud tracks left behind from the grass being torn up from having been driven over by a heavy piece of equipment. However, the extent of the damage went much further.
Grave markers were bent, indicating they had been carelessly run over by the same mechanical behemoth that had trod the grass asunder. Some memorial plaques were torn out of the ground and a number of headstones knocked over. Vases were either damaged and or missing from their respective sites. Other graves were obstructed by caked on mud, obscuring the record of their occupants ever having walked the earth.
This damage was not confined to one block of the premises but was rather endemic throughout the property. Do cemetery administrators plan to contact the families of those whose graves they have defiled, apologize for their shoddy workmanship, and make repairs or restitution as the honorable would? Or are they gambling their transgressions will go unnoticed since cemetery visitation is itself a dying tradition with the upcoming generation preferring those gaudy roadside cross displays and stuffed animal shrines.
Though the souls of the departed resting at this site do not reside there, their resting places should be respected just the same. This cemetery is named after the 16th President of the United States. His spirit does not reside at the memorial erected a few short miles away in Washington in his honor, but the structure is respected nonetheless. If death is the great equalizer, ought not the resting places of each person be treated with the same kind of dignity?
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Friday, April 08, 2005
Where is the outcry from the-man's law-must-be-obeyed-at-all-costs crowd in this case of an 81-year-old being starved to death against her expressed wishes?
Must be part of the same crowd I had a run in with at Free Republic.
If you value life and don't think celebrities are more important than the rest of, maybe you ought to take a look at the chilling responses to my post about an elderly women being kicked out of a trauma ward to make room for Michael Jackson.
Monday, April 04, 2005
For the past decade or so, celebrity watchers have speculated whether Michael Jackson is simply a freak or something significantly more dangerous such as a pedophile. However, it now seems the judicial stakes have gotten higher as Jackson’s shenanigans may have contributed to the death of an unsuspecting bystander.
Upon admitting the king of pop to the hospital for allegedly exhibiting symptoms of the flu, hospital officials at the Marian Medical Center in Santa Monica, California bumped a 74 year old grandmother on a ventilator suffering cardiac arrest from the trauma ward to make room for Michael Jackson.
Mrs. Ruiz had to be rolled out of the room assisted by a hand-pumped ventilator. Michael Jackson was able to walk in under his own power with a tummy ache and the chills. One does not have to be Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or Bones McCoy to diagnose which case was the actual medical emergency.
From the sound of it, all Michael had --- if he was sick at all --- was a case of the nerves. Normally, one might tell him to take it like a man, but in Jackson’s case the sentiment really wouldn’t apply.
It is pretty safe to conclude that Mrs. Ruiz was a victim of the pernicious disease of celebrity favoritism. Those blinded by glitz, glamour, or even large wads of money will respond someone as important as Michael Jackson deserves preferential treatment.
But more importantly, more important on whose scale? If anything, Jackson’s social utility might actually be less than the average patient.
Mrs. Ruiz was the mother of eight children, the grandmother of twenty-four, and the great-grandmother of twenty-six. According to her daughter, she “was the heart of the family.” Apart from grabbing his crotch and now apparently those of underage minors, what has Michael Jackson accomplished of similar lasting value? When you come down to it, hasn’t the average janitor or sanitation engineer contributed more to the upkeep of society than this sicko?
Anyone who has had a loved one in dire need of medical attention does not want this precious resource allocated in such an ephemeral manner as to whom is more subjectively impressive in the eyes of medical personnel. Unless Michael Jackson needed a plastic tube shoved down his throat in order to breath, he should have been forced to wait four or five hours in the emergency room like everyone else.
Those with a level of compassion below that of even Mr. Spock will calculate in a disturbingly dispassionate manner that Mrs. Ruiz was passing away anyway and should not have been made a priority. Even so, Mrs. Ruiz should not have been forced to endure Michael Jackson’s histrionics and compelled to take on a supporting role in his neverending drama.
The Ruiz family should have been made a priority at the hospital and allowed to concentrate on comforting their matriarch and emotionally preparing themselves for her pending departure from this world. Instead, they were made to feel lower than the medical waste dropped on the operating room floor as those gathered around this ailing woman were crowded into a cramped room and others barred from being at the side of their loved one so that Michael Jackson might have his tizzy in luxurious privacy.
Throughout much of his adult life, Michael Jackson has lived in a bizarre fantasy world that has lately gone beyond private amusement rides and an undue attraction to chimpanzees. Now, because of his refusal to live in the real word and his insatiable need for attention, a woman has died and one of life’s most grievous events has been made all the more unbearable for a family that before now had nothing whatsoever to do with this lamentable saga.
It is about time Michael Jackson was held accountable for his actions. Perhaps the courts should be used to punish him for something he’s actually done rather than for shadowy allegations that cannot be proven one way or the other, and, even if true, are as much the fault of the parents allowing such violations to take place as one does not have to be a practicing psychologist to see that Michael Jackson is not right in the head.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins
Globalists in the Vatican often lecture U.S. policymakers why it is America's moral obligation to accept unbridled immigration. Let's see how these European elitists like it when their own institutions are overrun by these Third World revolutionary types and told they must alter their cultures to accomodate these interlopers.
Friday, April 01, 2005
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Scott Peterson was hardly in the Big House for an hour before he received his first marriage proposal --- and no, it was not from his cellmate. Rather, it came from prison groupies on the outside romantically attracted to the dregs of humanity.
So basically, the moral of the story is that nice guys really do finish last and all the whining about the need for men to be more sensitive is a crock. Seems what many women want deep down is to be treated like a piece of trash.
Perhaps the incarcerated would no longer be quite so attractive if we established the social expectation that women gravitating to these kinds of men get what they deserve in terms of abuse and maltreatment since at this point in the criminal justice process it's not like they do not know what these animals are capable of.
All joking aside, these women are free to throw their lives away if the want; but worthy of more concentrated policy reflection are those prisons that allow inmates to wed and those that allow conjugal visits.
Why should these convicts be allowed to enjoy the privileges of human companionship and family life? Their victims no longer can.
And speaking of family life, what happens when one of these women end up in the family way? Since the fathers are unable to provide for their progeny, does this mean the offspring will end up on the public dole just like dear daddy?
Thus, those who of us who can barely afford to get married and have children end up paying for those refusing to pull their own weight and don't deserve to have a wife and family. And if you are Christian you have to put up with Chuck Colson haranguing you why it's somehow your fault these children are without proper fatherly guidance.
Prison is not suppose to be enjoyable. If those guilty of the most heinous deeds wanted to enjoy romance and family, they should have considered that before shooting or hacking someone to death.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins