I’ve moved this weblog, so much mothballed it’s hard to stand the smell, to a different platform. I’m pillaging the content for other places, trying to create very focused content-oriented sites rather than this sprawl. But I think that I’ll be reworking this, too.
It’s Calvin’s 500th birthday (more or less), right?
Cassandra, doomed to be right and never listened to, from The Fall of Troy, Book XII, “How the Wooden Horse Was Fashioned, and Brought into Troy By Her People “.
By Quintus (A. S. Way, tr.).
ne heart was steadfast, and one soul clear-eyed,
Cassandra. Never her words were unfulfilled;
Yet was their utter truth, by Fate’s decree,
Ever as idle wind in the hearers’ ears,
That no bar to Troy’s ruin might be set.
She saw those evil portents all through Troy
Conspiring to one end; loud rang her cry,
As roars a lioness that mid the brakes
A hunter has stabbed or shot, whereat her heart
Maddens, and down the long hills rolls her roar,
And her might waxes tenfold; so with heart
Aflame with prophecy came she forth her bower.
Over her snowy shoulders tossed her hair
Streaming far down, and wildly blazed her eyes.
Her neck writhed, like a sapling in the wind
Shaken, as moaned and shrieked that noble maid:
“O wretches! into the Land of Darkness now
We are passing; for all round us full of fire
And blood and dismal moan the city is.
Everywhere portents of calamity
Gods show: destruction yawns before your feet.
Fools! ye know not your doom: still ye rejoice
With one consent in madness, who to Troy
Have brought the Argive Horse where ruin lurks!
Oh, ye believe not me, though ne’er so loud
I cry! The Erinyes and the ruthless Fates,
For Helen’s spousals madly wroth, through Troy
Dart on wild wings. And ye, ye are banqueting there
In your last feast, on meats befouled with gore,
When now your feet are on the Path of Ghosts!”
Historical transcription. Listed as labeled. Nothing more is known about the recording except that Mike R. may have been from Dallas.
Would you stand?
There’s a peer responsibility, says the LORD, that’s coming to you by my hand and not by your own, simply because I am making you to mind the business of some others that would consider you as a busybody, minding your business and not your own. The LORD says, It’s my mind, it’s my business, to enter into that relationship. Being as it is, says the LORD, there’s trouble on every hand, even death and destruction, says the LORD, ahead of those you know. In many ways I’m calling you in, to be faithful as a brother. Faithful are the wounds of a friend but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. The LORD says, I want you to be willing to confront in a brand new way those that you know and perceive are in the trouble that leads to death. The LORD says, It’s a responsibility but I’m growing you up in the next three months. And in such ways I will do a quick work of righteousness, that in the midst of it, that in the midst of it, the LORD says, find within your heart a reason for rejoicing, a reason for knowing that the LORD has taken interest to develop that which He has planted within your heart, even Himself.
The LORD says it’s time for you to see that no longer will you be led by deductive reasoning, situation ethics; you will be led by my Spirit. And as the reasoning of your senses, being trained discerning good and evil, the LORD says, exercise your right in the scripture and discern whether I approve or disapprove. For I will cause you to know in the tone of your heart, my good pleasure or my displeasure. Move accordingly.
another note for my longer work at the work blog on power and church structure, and their effects on democracy
I’ve been looking at the blogs of the Emergent-y (I no longer know what to call the Movement) young pastors. They’re always interesting because they a) are so earnest (which is great) and b) want to tackle important issues (which is also great). Sometimes they veer off into weirdness or simply bad thinking (not so great) but that’s no different than anyone else. At least they are trying to create something rather than just moan.
One of them, lofitribe — gotta mean something but I’m flummoxed — has been of interest lately because Shawn writes about leadership. Since church governance, leadership and the rise of the Despot Leader in Evangelical Churches is my current concern, I have been looking at what young minister types are saying about the issue.
They’re terribly confused on it, most of them. They’re biggest problem is that they look to management gurus for some of their understanding, or worse look to Church Gurus who look to Management Gurus who frankly didn’t know what they were doing in the first place. There are a few decent management gurus and most of them are hard ignored or entirely misinterpreted.
But one of the things Shawn links to is an interesting video of John Crowder. Crowder’s schtick is “high on Jesus” and he’s as entertaining as Otis, Mayberry’s lovable town drunk, if Otis had been the lead character and carried a loaded pistol along with that fifth jug. He’s less interesting than that other famous whisky-swilling media preacher, Dr. Gene Scott, but only because he’s so much less intelligent than Scott was. Crowder’s cute for about three minutes and then he’s just another annoying carny who hasn’t got anything to actually say.
Lots of young Evangelicals link to him because he’s so hot in young Christian circles these days. So Shawn linking to him isn’t all that interesting.
What’s fascinating, and what none of the comments seemed to capture (from my skim), is the way he nails an issue with his title:
Why is that brilliant? Because he’s pointing to important to leadership, even if he doesn’t quite understand it himself.
In 2007, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life published their U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. It contains much that is interesting, but it lacks longitudinal data since this is the first time they’ve done it. Bummer.
One of the interesting findings is that 30% of adults in the States who were raised Catholic have left the RC. It is being maintained primarily by Latino immigrants, who will soon make up the majority of the church. This may have lasting political ramifications for a group which is strongly segmented according to immigrant group (Irish and Poles don’t mix in Chicago, for example).
A friend of mine called what happened at Mars Hill a great example of how the new emphasis on authority and community gets it wrong, sliding into authoritarianism that is not biblical. I’ll have to get him to talk more on it, since his thoughts would be relevant.
The Times covered the controversy thus:
Cameron, Helen. 2003. “Decline of the Church in England as a Local Membership Organization: Predicting the Nature of Civil Society in 2050″. Grace Davie, Linda Woodhead, Paul Heelas (ed.), In Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures (pp. -119). Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing
Cameron believes that the local church, a state-funded institution in some ways, will continue to see large-scale declines in “membership”. She uses Evers’s triangular model of society with “Volunteer Organizations” in the middle as her framework for understanding church membership’s future. (She notes its similarity to David Billis’s model, saying that he focuses more on the organization side, which is true.)
This came out on Sept 4, but this is the first time I have seen it. I was basing my earlier post that Gov. Palin is most like Spiro Agnew of any other modern vice presidential candidate on the similarity of their experience. Jack Shafer wrote for Slate that
she’ll play the role of Spiro Agnew to McCain’s Nixon, dismissing reporters’ tough questions as effete, impudent, sacrilegious, snobby, intrusive, unpatriotic, hostile, disrespectful, chauvinistic, “East Coast,” unfair, unbalanced, liberal, biased, trivial, hypothetical, elitist, and as partisan attempts to lasso her with a “gotcha.”
Recently, someone commented on another blog that Palin has less experience than any Vice Presidential candidate for a major party in the modern era. I suggested that this is wrong: Sprio Agnew (US Vice President from 1969 to 1973) had the same type of experience!1
Both Gov. Palin and Vice President Agnew were involved in “city” government only before becoming governor.2
Both served only two years as governor before becoming the Republican VP candidate.
Both are running with a candidate who reinvented himself after running eight years prior. (That could be most candidates.)
And the big finale! . . .
If Alaska were a US city, according to the 2006 Census numbers it would rank in size (~670,000) close to Baltimore County (~750,000)3, where Spiro Agnew cut his guilty, guilty, guilty teeth taking money from strangers!
How They’re Not Alike
Mayor Palin served two years longer than County Executive Agnew did.
Back in 1970, when Agnew was County Executive of Baltimore County (1962 – 1966), it had a growing population of between 500-600,000 (estimated from US Census: should exclude City of Baltimore). When Palin served as mayor, Wasilla had a growing population of 6-10,000, or about 1% of Baltimore County forty years ago.
Alaska has a budget of around US$4.4 billion, with another US$2 billion or so in surplus money. Maryland currently has a budget of $30 billion. I don’t think there is any surplus.4,5
Maryland had had a population around 3.9 million when Agnew was governor. Alaska’s current population today is about 1/6 of that.
Alaska is much larger in geographical area than either Baltimore County or Maryland. Maryland is about 2% of Alaska’s size.
Let’s also note another comparison that might fit. Calvin Collidge didn’t have much more experience than Palin does when he accepted the Republican Party Vice Presidential candidacy. (He was Governor of Massachusetts for two years, but Lt. Gov. for three before that.) He was a bit older than she, at 50. He ended up assuming the presidency with the death of the corrupt Harding. He was also popular with his constituency, but not quite the conservative.
Collidge might be a reasonable comparison, but his extra years as an elected official of a large state (3.85 million in 1920, or around 4% of the US total) make it less of a fit.
Here’s another: When Gov. Wilson assumed the office of President, he had been Governor of New Jersey for two years (1911-1913). Before that he was president of Princeton University.
Of course, most Republicans will join me in my lack of admiration for the 28th president. Still, he was a competent executive until his stroke in 1919. He certainly got things done, even if I don’t think they were all for the best.
That was so much fun that I’m going to look for a comparison to Sen. Biden. Hmmmm…. Sen. Johnson comes to mind quickly, doesn’t it? That doesn’t bode well for Sen. Obama if he wins. Of course, Obama resembles McGovern a bit but Biden as Sargent Shriver?
Joseph Taylor Robinson? “Cactus Jack” Garner, maybe?
I also made the comparison with Gov. Theodore Roosevelt of New York, who had only served two years before becoming the Republican candidate for Vice President. But he had already served in Washington as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under McKinley so I didn’t think it was as close. He did do some trust busting, which might be compared to some of Palin’s actions taxing big oil.
Agnew was the executive of Baltimore County and not Baltimore. They’re separate governmental bodies and areas. But it’s like a city. Wasillia would have been classified a village growing into town status if it were in Ohio. So it’s a wash between them on definitions.
Estimates from US Census data.
Even I’m too lazy to find Maryland’s 1968 budget in the archives somewhere, adjust to 2006 dollars, and then make a comparison.
Okay, apparently I’m not too busy to chase mindless details. Maryland’s budget for 1968-1969 was $1.16 billion (“Maryland’s Budget Provides for Few New Programs”, Washington Post, March 23, 1968; pp. B2). Adjusted for inflation, that’s a little bigger (around US$6.8B in 2006 dollars) than Alaska’s current budget + surplus.
Today in 1991, Latvia declared their independence from the Soviet Union. Congratulations, Latvia, on 17 years of rugged survival in a dog-eat-dog world!
May you have a long and lustrous future as an independent nation, especially so that Dawn can get back.