Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dumpster Diving

Everybody go check out my beautiful wife Amy's article on dumpster diving over at Relevant.

"As far as dumpsters go, the one I was standing in didn’t smell all that bad. My garbage can in my kitchen has produced worse smells.

It’s midnight on a chilly spring night in North Carolina. A young woman, dressed in dark jeans and a hooded sweatshirt hops a short chain link into a nearby alley and scrambles up the side of an open dumpster. Sounds of rustling emerge as she sorts through newspapers, bulging trash bags and bins of produce.

Are we watching a scene from an afternoon special? A documentary on the dangers of street living? A burglary in progress?

None of the above. The scene I just described took place behind a suburban strip mall. The girl involved? A graduate student from Duke University. She was participating in a practice that has become more and more popular..."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Biblical Curse Generator

"Behold, thou shalt be as welcome as a fart in the queen's bedchamber, O ye plaything of Beelzebub!"

Thanks, Ship of Fools. Go here for more.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christian Utilitarianism, and Mourning

Everybody go read this thoughtful and poignant reflection on how the church has unfortunately absorbed our culture's utilitarian ethics. Daniel Salinas' daughter, Karis, was born with cerebral palsy, and he writes about his experience with the well-intentioned but totally inadequate response of Christian community:

"We thought that we would find compassion, understanding, empathy, help, rest, and a friendly hand in the Christian community, but instead we found the same utilitarian ethics as in the secular world. For most believers, including the majority of our family members, there were two options: Either God heals her, or God takes her away. They posed questions like: What sense does it make to live like that? Isn’t it better that God takes her away instead of letting her suffer here? Innocent questions, yes, but behind these questions we saw the same arguments that secular scholars have proposed....

Death is our enemy. But in our case, for most of the believers who came to comfort us, our daughter’s death was the best thing that could have happened to her and to us. For those people, she was better off dead. They were not that blunt, but the message was clear: She is better off now, no more suffering, no more pain.

That was too much for us to bear. Would anyone in their right mind say that to parents who are burying their seven-year-old “normal child”? Yes, Karis lived with much pain and suffering, but how much better to search for ways to alleviate the pain and not celebrate death. Does our God not care about life, all life? Are we not supposed to promote life? So then, why did our fellow Christians keep telling us that it was better for our daughter to die?"

We need desperately to rethink how and why we value people, and how we can support and love those with special challenges of all kinds. Go check out L'Arche for a great example of this.

And also very importantly, we need to learn how to grieve with people. There's a very simple answer we should remember when we're tempted to avoid those in mourning by claiming "we don't know what to say": don't say anything. Take a cue from Job's 3 friends. When they first show up to comfort him after the loss of his family, they sit in silence with him for a week. It's only when they open their mouths that they get into trouble. So if someone is mourning or grieving, and you want to offer them a platitude about God being in control, or how every cloud has a silver lining, or how really, it's better this way...just shut the hell up and be there.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Flotsam & Jetsam: Post-Resurrection Edition

...Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"

"They took my Master," she said, "and I don't know where they put him." After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him. Jesus spoke to her, "Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?" She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, "Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him."

Jesus said, "Mary."

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" meaning "Teacher!"

Jesus said, "Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: "I saw the Master!" And she told them everything he said to her.

Hope you had a great Easter weekend like we did. Back to blogging.

1. This guy gets it.

2. These jurors don't. Right before Good Friday?

3. That sucks.
fail owned pwned pictures

4. This looks neat, but isn't that amount of ambient electricity a problem?

5. Legos!

6. You never thought about it from the goombas' perspective, did you?
via Offworld

7. Appropriately rescued on Easter. But what do we do about piracy in Somalia, which is basically ungoverned?

8. Mike Morrell posts an excerpt from Peter Rollins' new book. I plan to get it.

9. Speaking of Rollins, and since it's Easter-time, here's a quote from him, when accused of denying Jesus' Resurrection:

Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.