May 29, 2003

Blogging after all, working late

Blogging after all, working late tonight, listening to the Devils/Ducks game on NHL Radio, and putting in a quick post while I wait for a server to rebuild....

Just caught two stories, the first one being an excellent piece by Rod Dreher on The Godless Party. I think his analysis is spot-on, but I've seen another phenomenon, the Religious Left, those who elevate issues such as abortion to a religious fervor, and equate it with good, and religious conservatism as evil.

The other article is from The Register, The Internet is Dying, By Andrew Orlowski, where law professor Lawrence Lessig claims that the Internet is dying, due to FCC relaxation of media regulation. "Lessig argues that the relaxation of media controls for the latter-day robber barons bodes ill for open computer communications." But reading on in the article, he also says "Google has its own spam problems: a tiny number of webloggers and list-makers whose mindless hyperlinks degrade the value of its search results, and create the Web equivalent of TV static." So, in effect, he criticizes the Internet for two opposing forces, the concentration of control in the hands of a few, and the huge number of webloggers expressing diverse opinions. It seems to me that he's just disappointed that people don't seem to be interested in his point of view, and he's decided to blame the Internet. The Internet is extremely diverse, and I don't see anything changing that.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2003

Methodist Women's Magazine Chides Religious

Methodist Women's Magazine Chides Religious Conservatives. I saw this issue of Response magazine, and was disappointed that it was so critical of Christian conservatives. Not that it is wrong to disagree, but I didn't see any mention of the name of Jesus in the magazine. The UMW is apparently advocating a pro-abortion and anti-family liberal 'gospel', aligning itself with the leftist feminist agenda, much like the YWCA has done (as evidenced by the hiring of Patricia Ireland as their president). There is a different vision of what Christianity is among political groups of the left, a vision of social salvation through political transformation, a social gospel that has no need for Jesus or His Resurrection.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

Writing in the Weekly Standard,

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Rachel DiCarlo criticizes the political activism of the National Council of Churches. The NCC is an excellent example of what I, and apparently many other people, find distasteful about religion being used as a stalking-horse to promote social justice, which in the context of the NCC looks like socialism. Trouble is, that when you take God out of consideration, as socialist governments seem to do, socialism becomes an oppressive system which sacrifices broad classes of individuals for the sake of the common good.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

Haven't posted anything in a

Haven't posted anything in a few days; I was in Oklahoma last weekend to attend a memorial service for family. My mom grew up in a small town in western Oklahoma, and that's where I was. Small town America is really special; my pro-abortion state (New Jersey) is a lot different than Oklahoma, where I saw a picture of Jesus holding a new-born baby painted on the side of a downtown building in Elk City.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2003

Diane Knippers, the president of

Diane Knippers, the president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, addressing the October 2002 Confessing the Faith Conference, on the subject of Renewing the Church.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2003

This post is a personal

This post is a personal sort of Rubicon for me. A bunch of my former UU colleagues are going to strike me off their Christmas lists after they read this (heh!)

I left my former Unitarian Universalist congregation in 2000, largely due to political, not religious, concerns (I wasn't even a believer then, but I was moving there real fast). The next year they decided to adopt a Welcoming Congregation resolution, meaning they were going to actively adopt a pro-gay program. My leaving was not solely due to this policy, but I was bothered by witnessing a child dedication by two gay men who had adopted a baby daughter. My thought then was "how are they going to teach this daughter how to be a woman when she goes through adolescence? She isn't going to have a clue." I don't care what studies the gay-rights advocates put forth, I do not think that children of gay parents will grow up with the necessary education to interrelate with people of both sexes as they grow up. I think they will have problems caused by imcomplete parenting and exposure to homosexual activity. They will be miss an important element of what families with moms and dads will provide, namely the little things that only a mom or dad can each uniquely provide. I have no doubts that I will be labeled as a "homophobe" by UUs, including those from my former congregation. That's a cheap shot, designed to deflect attention from the ill effects that normalization of homosexuality will bring.

Here's what some ministers in the UUA are doing to further their extremist gay-rights agenda: Some UU Clergy will not sign marriage licenses, and are encouraging gay-activist-ministers in other faiths to do likewise. This is real sad, discriminating against what is right to accomodate what is wrong. One thing my former congregation did before I left was to put up a "family wall" in one of their meeting rooms, where people were invited to bring in pictures of their family and put them on a wall celebrating families. They were in the middle of a big push to remind everybody that there lots of different kinds of families, including couples who weren't even married, and gay couples. One thing I remember them saying was something like "pictures of families headed by gay couples are especially welcome". My reaction to that was that my wife and I, as a heterosexual couple, were not especially welcome.

What Senator Santorum said recently was point-blank true, and extends to the concept of marriage as well. If the procreative nature of marriage is denied, and gay marriage becomes legally recognized, what reason would there be for not extending the legality of marriage to marrying one's own sister? or brother? or indeed, any number of people of either sex? Marriage will have no social meaning or value whatsoever.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:18 PM | Comments (3)

Rod Dreher comments on two

Rod Dreher comments on two kinds of segregation, one acceptable and the other not. It has everything to do with the inconsistencies inherent to political correctness.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

From yesterday's National Review Online,

From yesterday's National Review Online, Nelson Lund comments on the Senate's refusal to act on judicial nominations. Lund is correct in saying, "This idea — that the validity of judicial decisions depends on the merits of the policy outcomes to which they lead — is already the mainstream view in American law schools. Senate Democrats appear determined to ensure that it becomes the mainstream view among American judges as well. If they prevail, our judicial institutions will stop being courts in anything but name." For all effective purposes, our Constitution is a dead letter. Judges are chosen not to enforce the Constitution, but to implement activist ideals, especially since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade effectively created a new right, ex nihilo. It's time to change this outlook.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Also on IRD's website, United

Also on IRD's website, United Methodist Bishop Sprague Assails “Christo-Centric Exclusivism”.

From Paul's epistle to the Corinthians, on why the Resurrection is so important:

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NKJV

Paul says that if you don't believe in the Resurrection, then there's no point in even calling yourself a Christian, as the Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. Indeed, if the Resurrection never occured then Christianity is just a false religion offering no hope and no value to the world.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

Diane Knippers, president of Institute

Diane Knippers, president of Institute on Religion and Democracy, has written an open letter to the Reverend Franklin Graham supporting his ministry, Samaritan's Purse.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

Charles Colson presents another viewpoint

Charles Colson presents another viewpoint on the New York Times truth scandal.

I don't recall hearing it presented this way before, and it bears repeating, as it points out a flaw that reaches way beyond the New York Times and indeed beyond journalism itself. The recent scandal is usually presented as an affirmative action issue, or the fault of one person. Colson blames it on postmodernism, which denies the existence of capital-T Truth, saying, "If we say there is no truth, we shouldn’t be surprised when people make up stories and pass them off as if they actually happened."

Good point!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2003

I haven't talked about the

I haven't talked about the New York Times scandal. Everyone else has spoken so well on it. I appreciate Raines admitting this,

"Does that mean I personally favored Jayson?" he added, a moment later. "Not consciously. But you have a right to ask if I, as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave him one chance too many by not stopping his appointment to the sniper team. When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes."

I think it's safe to say that on issues on which it can be perceived that the NY Times is presenting only one side, such as global warming, gay issues, affirmative action, (basically anything having to do with religion or politics), the NY Times has lost its authority to tell us how things ought to be (not that it ever had that authority to begin with, but to some people it seemed to). I hear a lot of liberals use the phrase "According to the New York Times..." to justify their latest liberal point of view. I'm hoping to hear it less often now. Probably just wishful thinking on my part, however, as I saw it in an op-ed today. At least we can legitimately tell those who use it that you can't believe anything you read in the Times anymore. Deroy Murdock says it is also important to consider what the Times doesn't say.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Mark Byron discusses those who

Mark Byron discusses those who quote Scripture inaccurately.

Additional examples of Scripture being quoted inaccurately come from people who attempt to justify immoral behaviour by saying that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners. They forget to include the second part of Jesus' response to the adulterous woman, however: And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." John 8:11 NKJV

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

A Wonderful Day Amy and

A Wonderful Day

Amy and I went to a Marriage Encounters reunion today, and got to see many special people. Clay, Georianna, Brent, Carol, who presented at our weekend. Pam and Sam, who along with us are confronting health issues with their parents (mine are over for now, theirs are ongoing, they are in our prayers, and yours too, I ask), and several people who are associated with this fine program and continue to contribute with ongoing support at events like those held today. Thank you, and God bless you all. We were down in Delaware today, and I saw something very special on the wall of a church library I've never set foot in before today: 1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4given


Sports!
Congratulations to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a fabulous performance in winning the NHL Western Conference Finals! Spectacular goaltending from Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who constantly amazes but always gives credit to his teammates. Great talent and great attitude, wonderful to watch.

Congratulations too, to the Devils, who won today for a 3-1 lead, which I only got to watch on my VCR when I got back from Delaware about 8pm tonight, and thanks to all the people who didn't tell me the final outcome before I got to watch it!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2003

Jeff Jacoby writes about Israel's

Jeff Jacoby writes about Israel's unshakable allies.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."Genesis 12:3 ESV
Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

Paul Bond comments on peoples'

Paul Bond comments on peoples' reactions to anti-war celebrities in The Silent Majority Strikes Back.

The comments from people like Sean Penn that they are victims of censorship are ridiculous. People are free to see any movie or listen to any musician they wish. I'm not guilty of censorship for not buying a ticket to Sean Penn's latest movie anymore than I'm censoring the author of the book I didn't buy at the bookstore today because I wasn't interested in it. As for the claim that he's the victim of a blacklist, that's ridiculous too. The people who make movies are interested in making money. If they think they'll make more money if they hire someone other than Mr. Penn, they've got a right to make that choice. It only becomes censorship when someone else comes in and tells them they can't hire someone because of their views, or worse, when people get put in jail for their views, but last I heard Sean Penn's a free man. Criticism is not censorship.

Same thing goes for people participating in political protests. Counter-protestors are not opposed to free speech for anyone, they just want to be sure both sides are heard. Again, criticism is not censorship.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Vincent Carroll asks What's wrong

Vincent Carroll asks What's wrong with Christian groups helping Iraqis?

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

From today's reading, Jonah Goldberg

From today's reading, Jonah Goldberg talks about how Liberals twist privacy arguments. I guess this is so old lots of people don't like to hear about it anymore, but I always thought it was unjust in a very fundamental way that when Bob Packwood was forced to resign for his acts of sexual harassment, no one seemed to mind when his diaries were dragged into public view, yet when President Clinton was being investigated by Kenneth Starr, the Democrats complained real loud about the intrusive nature of the investigation. Bottom line is, if you're politically favored (meaning blessed by the liberal interest groups nowadays), you can get away with anything. Wish it were different, but that's the way it is.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2003

Mark Shea discusses the appearance

Mark Shea discusses the appearance of the Anti-Christ in reference to Kevin Jones's opinion that Bush is blasphemous (which is not the topic of this post).

Mark Shea is right. The Anti-Christ will not come appearing as evil, but will come in with irresistible political charisma. He will come in promising all kinds of wonderful things for the common good, and enough people will fall for it so that he comes into power relatively easily. Whenever I hear anyone use the phrase "the common good" I answer with "be careful what you wish for..".

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

Sports! Jean-Sebastien Giguere had an

Sports!
Jean-Sebastien Giguere had an absolutely fantastic performance last night in a 4-0 rout of the Minnesota Wild. It makes me wonder if the Ducks had effectively won the Western Conference championship when they beat the Dallas Stars in the previous round. If the NHL had not reseeded the field after the first round, the Ducks would have played the Wild in the second round, and the Stars would have played the Canucks. Given that scenario, assuming the Stars beat the Canucks, and the Ducks beat the Wild, we would then have the Ducks beating the Stars in the Western Finals. Instead, it looks very likely that the Ducks will beat the Wild to win the West (maybe even in a sweep - could we see four shutouts?), even though the Wild play tough when facing elimination.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2003

One last post tonight, about

One last post tonight, about the falcons, then I've gotta go see the Ducks (hockey!)

A lot of the time, Mariah covers her chicks up so they aren't exposed to the outside. I've noticed it's usually 48-55 degrees F in the box, and probably a bit chilly. I don't think falcons have any natural predators (they're at the top of the food chain in their environment), so I think it's mainly just protection from the cold. It's kindof touching though, as I'm looking at these eyesses and thinking of my Christian walk as a little bird growing up and hiding under the shadow of my mother's wings. God is often described as sheltering us under His wings (Ps 17), or later in life pushing us out of the nest, letting us fall, and catching us while we learn to fly (Deuteronomy 32). I don't think the falcons learn like that though, they just get it, and they better, for that Kodak building is really tall! I can't find it anymore, but last year, someone took a picture of the view looking down from the ledge, and it's a long way down. I bet those birds are pretty scared for their first takeoff. By the way, that first take-off will come in about six weeks, and it is a lot of fun to see them growing up till then.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

In National Review Online, Rabbi

In National Review Online, Rabbi Daniel Lapin discusses Mothers' Day, and says it was observed every day in his house, along with Fathers' Day. He also points out some ways of looking at it differently. He also suggests a different way to say grace. Very thoughtful essay, indeed.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

UM Bishop Asks for End

UM Bishop Asks for End to Theological "Profiling".

In her speech, Christopher faulted the need for profiling on "anxiety" and the need to consider people who differ from ourselves "an enemy to our closely held and self-created identities." She noted that this behavior is not the "exclusive property of one side or the other."

But indirectly, Christopher implied that conservatives might be more to blame for the profiling phenomenon. "Our focus on orthodoxy, handed-down doctrine, has submerged our orthopraxis, the practice of our faith," she said. Instead of ideology, she said the focus should be on "relationships with one another."


Bishop Christopher sounds like she would be real comfortable in a denomination with no religious creed and no respect for biblical doctrine or traditional discipline, such as the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Looking to the Bible, what does someone like the Apostle John say about "theological profiling?"


Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
1 John 2:18-23 NKJV

Sounds to me like John was quite a bit concerned about people knowing the truth and being able to reject those who denied that Jesus is the Christ. If that's theological profiling, then maybe more, not less, discernment is needed in the church.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

Christopher Johnson, Midwest Conservative Journal

Christopher Johnson, Midwest Conservative Journal links to a story in the Washington Post reporting that the Arlington-based Nature Conservancy sold scenic properties to its own trustees and is under Senate investigation.

I always thought that schemes by environmental groups like the Sierra Club to fight suburban sprawl were more to protect someone's view rather than the common good. Now here's real evidence that may indeed be the case. I don't particularly care for the lifestyle chosen for me by the visionaries at the Sierra Club. I don't want to live in an urban center, in a shared apartment, probably with a large number of loud obnoxious people who I would move far away from if I had my choice of where to live. Which brings me to my fundamental point. Government has no legitimate authority to tell me where to live or work.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Firearm industry wins major victory

Firearm industry wins major victory with common-sense verdict in NAACP case.

Great news, but note that the judge, not the jury, has the last word in this case, and he is not known for being objective.

By the way, if the NAACP succeeds in putting gun manufacturers out of business, then how are inner-city folks, who are disproportionately black and victims of crime, supposed to defend themselves from criminals? Has the NAACP thought about who they're supposedly standing up for?

Reminds meof how the NAACP is against school vouchers, but most blacks, at least those in Washington (including the mayor) are for them.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

Here's a link to a

Here's a link to a discussion board where someone has graciously posted some webcam photos from the Kodak webcam showing all the hatching activity going on in the falcon scrape near the top of the Kodak building in Rochester NY. They're called eyesses, by the way, as I learned this morning.

Here's another link to a webpage describing the life cycle of a falcon, using actual photos from previous years at the same nest box (or 'scrape').

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

The falcon chicks are hatching!!

The falcon chicks are hatching!!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2003

Dave Berg, a segment producer

Dave Berg, a segment producer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, writes for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Commentary: Anti-War Protestants

(Saw this link yesterday, and wanted to note it last night, but forgot. Just noticed that The Corner on National Review Online also links to it today. Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Boulet.)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

The Dunker Journal links to

The Dunker Journal links to an article where astronomers put an exact date and time of Jesus' crucifixion, basing it on the fact that a solar eclipse is noted as occuring in the year 33 A.D. They (the astronomers) also note that Jesus was crucified on the day after the first night with a full moon following the vernal equinox. What's wrong with this scenario? Solar eclipses only occur when the moon is new, it is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur when the moon is full. I would think astronomers would know better than to make simple errors like this. The Dunker Journal is correct in noting that it was a supernatural occurence, there is no natural explanation for the darkness that occured that day.

Update: And, yes, the moon was full when Jesus was crucified. It wouldn't have been Passover otherwise.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

Over at blogs4God, MeanDean notes

Over at blogs4God, MeanDean notes that IBM has bought the Episcopal Church. Who would've thunk it? Actually, I was thinking it would be more likely to be bought by PepsiCola, then they could change the signs on the buildings without buying any new letters!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2003

World Magazine discusses the importance

World Magazine discusses the importance of free speech, and wonders why it is honored for everybody except Christians. Free speech, for some

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

David Heddle talks about predestination

David Heddle talks about predestination on his blog's anniversary. The more I read David's work, the more I think he's right, even though I am a member of a denomination that officially disagrees with this doctrine (I'm a United Methodist). However, I think that David will agree with me that every individual needs to make a decision of faith, and to make what looks like, at least from our human perspective, an act of repentance. God may call us to repent, and that calling may be irresistable, but we still have to do it. When the Apostles told their listeners how to be saved, they said to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ". When I was younger, I understood predestination to mean that nothing was required; that people who made not even one repentant prayer might wind up in heaven, and people who loved the Lord dearly might wind up being damned. I think David would tell me that that was a misunderstanding, that God's call inclines one's own heart to make that first prayer. At least, that's how I see it now. Another way of looking at it is fishing: Is it the skill of the fisherman, or the foolishness of the fish, that results in its capture? Arminians think it's the fishes own fault, while Calvinists look to the skill of the fisherman.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

There's been a lot of

There's been a lot of talk today about the National Association of Evangelical's criticism of certain ministers' denunciations of Islam. Here's the link from the Institute on Religion and Democracy:Evangelical Leaders Meet to Discuss Christian-Muslim Relations. And another link from Christianity Today's Weblog.

Also, the Institute on Religion and Democracy has release a guide for Muslim-Christian dialog.

One thing the IRD author, Alan Wisdom, notes is that it is appropriate and necessary to "Give testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is our duty to do so. Ultimately, Christ himself is the greatest blessing that we could offer to our Muslim interlocutors. The 2002 Oxford Consultation on the Future of Anglicanism noted helpfully: “Saint Paul uses dialogue and Saint Luke uses dialogomai to describe evangelism. It may involve arguing, explaining, proving, proclaiming and persuading (Acts 17:1-4, 17)” (see www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk for the consultation reports). It is our hope that numbers of Muslims would be persuaded by the testimony of Christians whom they encounter."

However, he also says it is inappropriate and damaging to "Attempt to meld Christianity and Islam, pretending that they have the same basic teachings and that the differences between the two are merely trivial points of theology."

There are many other points, recommended reading.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

Susan Konig laments irresponsible parenting

Susan Konig laments irresponsible parenting and asks why more moms can't be like her own. Very fine tribute to the power of righteous parenting. Parents who love their kids set limits for them the same way we keep our pets inside or in our yards. Bad things can happen when you mix youth, freedom, and a lack of responsibility. Actually just put any two of those three together and bad things can happen.

Lee Anne Millinger also laments the inability of parents to teach their children about knowing God. She's right. Sunday school is inadequate for teaching children to pray, to read the Bible, and other basic things to know about Christianity. Even if it's something as simple as a family devotional at breakfast (what we did in our home), children need to be taught to pray, and to emphasize that it be done daily, not just at church.

I'm particularly glad for the influence my Mom and Dad had in my life, even after I went down a false path, I was able to see the wisdom offered by what they taught me while I was growing up. When I decided to turn around, I knew what to do, I didn't have to consult anyone or go buy a book, all I had to do was counter my unwillingness. The Proverbs say, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) It doesn't say the going will always be easy, but I do think it means if you want your children to go down the right path, the best time to start teaching them is right now.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2003

This is an interesting link

This is an interesting link to an opinion piece by LTJG Eric Johnson, CCPO USNR, who writes about Unitarian Universalists and their reaction to the war in Iraq. The article is worthy of comment because Chaplain Johnson is a Unitarian Universalist minister who serves in our armed forces, and the UUA was opposed to the Iraq war. The article is extremely noteworthy because Chaplain Johnson is critical of UUs' response to the war, and his opinion was published on the homepage of the UUA between May 2 and May 7 (The link is to an archived copy, the homepage was just replaced today).

I was rather critical of many anti-war forums, including one in my former UU congregation, where they paid lip service to respecting all points of view, and then had moderators from only one side, notably speakers from Princeton University who were against the war. Guys, if you claim to support a free and open exchange of ideas, and to respect all points of view, you should let both sides speak from the main microphone. Of course, when you associate with groups like ANSWER, which is known to control who speaks at their rallies (they wouldn't even let Rabbi Michael Lerner speak), I guess free speech is not the most important criteria to observe.

Anyway, credit is due to the UUA for printing such a self-critical viewpoint. I am impressed, even though, as Chaplain Johnson notes, I am one former-Unitarian Universalist who got tired of being in a politically liberal church. I was especially peeved when the General Assembly Faith in Action sermon contained quotations from Michael Moore as if his allegations were legitimate talking points for social activism. That was about a year before I left the organization in fact.

I don't know if Chaplain Johnson is painting a reasonable picture of a possible future of the UUA when he says,

"Ours must be a religious community where all find unification with what is good and right in themselves, with ones inherent worth and dignity, where all are welcome, not just those with the requisite politically liberal credentials. We should leave no one outside the community, this basket which cradles our religious faith."

It certainly sounds nice, but I believe all churches have creeds, including those that deny they do. In the case of the UUA, which claims to have no religious creed, they have simply replaced a religious creed with a political one. It is renewed each year at their General Assembly, and there is no room for political conservatism in this creed, notwithstanding fine people like Chaplain Johnson who are attempting to inject common sense and decency into this organization.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

I'm back! It's been too

I'm back!

It's been too long since I last posted. I'm going to get in some quick thoughts here over lunch, and then again later tonight.

Just got excused from jury duty. I can't comment on anything in the courtroom, but I think it's safe to say that I thought it was interesting that the TV set in the Jury Assembly Room was tuned to Fox News, and this is in Trenton NJ! I got to hear about ten minutes of President Bush's speech on Tuesday morning before I heard the clerk read a list of names (including mine) and was then shipped off to another building to undergo a rigorous jury-selection process, from which I was excused about two hours later, and was then sent home, and have not been called for again. Interesting, and I would've loved to have served (maybe too eager).



I just bought a new book, Praying God's Word, by Beth Moore. It looks promising, using God's Word as a template for prayer looks like a real powerful way to pray. In fact, I took an Internet quiz, "Which Book of the Bible are You?" and my answer was Psalms, and I think it's because for the most part, I already pray the Bible. In fact, almost all the Bible memorization I do is in the book of Psalms. I often use the examples of praise found therein verbatim in my prayer.



Sports!
Congratulations to the Anaheim Might Ducks (who beat my favorite team from the West), New Jersey Devils (my favorite team - yea!!!), and the Ottawa Senators, and whoever wins tonight's game (I will not stay up to see who wins), and I am not looking forward to seeing a West Coast team in the Stanley Cup Finals, as West Coast weeknight games are practically impossible for us over on the East Coast to watch live. If I'm lucky, the TV guys will make the games start at 6 PDT, so I can watch the Devils and Ducks duke it out at a tolerable time. Unless it's the Wild, which I am completely ambivalent about, except I think they have the league's best logo.



Joshua Claybourn talks about Halliburton, Vice President Cheney, and Iraq, and wonders what the big deal is. I agree, and would like to offer an extension of his remarks. Anything a corporation (or any company bigger than a street vendor) makes money, they become a target of those who think it is immoral to make a profit. The Unitarian Universalist Association's magazine, UU World, has just put out an issue completely dedicated to corporation-bashing, and has a completely horrid picture (could've been lifted from an anti-globalization protest for all I know, or the artist got their idea from one, most likely) on the front. What anti-corporates don't understand however, is that corporations are people too, or at least groups of people, and I don't think the Constitution says anything about people losing their rights when they decide to work together. Or if so, I'd like to know why the UUA-World folks seem to single out some organizations, corporations, for such derision, and not others, such as labor unions, or unelected & unaccountable NonGovernmentalOrganizations (NGOs).

For those who complain about companies who make money, just one question: Why don't you invest in the company and stop complaining?



By the way, regarding my blogging of The Pilgrim's Progress: I'm going to put that project on hold for now. I think I'll restart it after Memorial Day (will be traveling to Oklahoma to be with family)

UPDATED: Rewrote the wording in the section about praying God's Word to remove redundant wording - writing quickly with little or no proofreading has its drawbacks.
ALSO: Regarding the Stanley Cup playoffs, revisiting my prior predictions: Dallas vs. Detroit in West Final - hah? The Mighty Ducks proved me wrong there! I did get the Eastern Final result right. I think the Mighty Ducks are for real, and will win the West, but they won't win the Cup, not this year. The Stanley Cup will return to New Jersey next month.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2003

Loss and Reevaluation I'm back

Loss and Reevaluation

I'm back from Texas. For several years, I've been wondering how long I would be enjoying the lives of my parents. Last week we lost my mom to cancer. There was a lot of grief and sadness, but it was tempered by knowing that her wishes for the end of her life were fulfilled. I feel a lot better now, but I'm not going to touch the blog till next week. I'm thinking about where I want to go with it right now, and my heart just isn't in it right now. I'm also behind at work, have jury duty coming up (which may interfere with blogging), and I'm just plain tired right now. I've lost all momentum for finishing the Pilgrim's Progress, and I don't know how I would handle the last chapter's passings (though after my feelings settle down I think I'll give it another go - sorry for putting it off so long).

On the other side of life, some falcon chicks are about to hatch, so look over on the left where I have a Birdcam 2003 link. I know it's pretty boring just watching Mariah and Kaver incubate their eggs, but once they hatch it gets a lot more interesting. That should be any day now. After hatching, they will be flying in six weeks.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)