Thursday, June 28, 2007

FARM 21 Bill

Just found this; it is an excellent alternative to the current farm bill:

Riled up and stuff

First, happy Irenaeus day to everyone! Here's a bit about our buddy Irey from the Daily Office website:

Irenaeus maintained that the Gospel message is for everyone. He was perhaps the first to speak of the Church as "Catholic" (universal). In using this term, he made three contrasts:

1. He contrasted the over-all church with the single local congregation, so that one spoke of the Church in Ephesus, but also of the Catholic Church, of which the Churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Antioch, etc. were local branches or chapters.

2. He contrasted Christianity with Judaism, in that the task of Judaism was to preserve the knowledge of the one God by establishing a solid national base for it among a single people, but the task of Christianity was to set out from that base to preach the Truth to all nations.

3. He contrasted Christianity with Gnosticism, in that the Gnostics claimed to have a message only for the few with the right aptitudes and temperaments, whereas the Christian Gospel was to be proclaimed to all [persons] everywhere.

What a guy.

But I've gotten all riled up this morning reading a story in the paper entitled "Bush warns against children's health plan". The gist of it is that Bush thinks that a move toward universal healthcare for children is a move toward government-run healthcare for everybody.

Oh, no! What a tragedy that would be!! You mean that insurance companies would be forced to cover whoever needed care? Even if that care cut into their bottom line?? What a terrible state of affairs!!

Seriously, I have such a problem with this. Why? Because I am one of the people who is not able to get health coverage on my own. I don't qualify because I have depression. Now since that's an ongoing thing with me, it's maybe somewhat understandable (although all I need for it is medication, I don't even need doctor visits). But I have read documented cases of people denied insurance because, say, they once had an operation 10 years before. Now that is stupid. Or they have a condition like mine, or like diabetes, that is ongoing.

Now help me out here - if you have a condition that is ongoing doesn't that mean you actually need the health care? Like, more than the healthy people who get coverage? Ah, you see, we start to understand that it's not about actually helping sick's about making money. And you can't make money insuring sick people. Only healthy ones. Which means you're not actually doing anything but taking a very safe risk and lots of cash from people who most likely won't use your services. Nice racket.

Anyway, Bush calls this push for children's insurance a "step toward a government takeover of medicine" (quoting the story, not him) "His bottom line: Government healthcare programs should focus on the poor and near-poor, not on middle class families."

Ah, because as we all know the middle-class has so much extra cash sitting around to pay super-high premiums. Or is the idea that middle-class people will only work for huge companies that cover healthcare? So no middle-class people are allowed to be self-employed? Or students? I guess once you become self-employed or a student you drop to "near-poor," huh?

Bush's solution for the middle class is to mess with the tax code. Ah, yes, the answer is always in the tax code. That way, the majority of us will never know what happened and not realize what we need to do to take advantage of it. Smart. Keeps those big insurance companies in the black.

He's so worried that Democrats want "to take incremental steps down the path to government-run healthcare for every American" (quoting Bush). Well, gee, yeah, that sounds pretty dandy to me. I could actually maybe have some choice in my healthcare, instead of only getting the crappy insurance that will cover a deviant like me? What a concept.

Bush says it eliminate choice and competition. Excuse me, but at the moment, I have no choice. There is no competition over me. A huge number of us never get a choice to begin with because nobody with cover us. Please. I think eliminating the insurance companies' choice to not cover me would be the proper choice to eliminate! Making them compete over me is what I want. Again, we see only concern that the businesses have choices. Not the consumers. Not the sick, I should say.

Bush says that government-run healthcare would "result in rationing, inefficiency, and long waiting lines." Did he ever think that maybe the reason the lines are so short is because only a few people can get health insurance?? Yeah, sure, if you eliminate healthcare for millions of us, those lines are sure gonna be short! Only the wealthy and the employed-with-benefits waiting in that queue. And that group keeps shrinking.

Then there's the whole middle-class that he's so concerned with, and a lot of those people are waiting in long lines b/c they can only afford HMO coverage. I remember when I had an HMO for years, depending on which part of the city I was living in (and thus which office I visited), I could have to wait 6 weeks for an appointment. 6 weeks! Now, some of the offices could do same-week or same-day, and of course this was all for checkup appointments (illness usually got you in faster). But come on, a 6-week wait - and phone center people who laugh at you if you ask for anything earlier - is pretty much a "long waiting line" I think. I don't see how it could get much worse, Mr. Bush.

So basically, what I'm seeing here is that people in the President's situation (government-covered and/or wealthy and/or businesspeople) are pretty much the only folks hurt by government-run healthcare. And unfortunately, they are in power. So the rest of us get by however we can.

Bush's answer is to increase access to private insurance. But even if I had access to it (which I don't b/c of said condition), I couldn't afford the premiums. So that's kind of a dead end.

I'm sorry to get so political this morning. I know I've been raging activist mode lately. It's just that this particular issue gets under my skin so much because I have been affected, I've been one of those people who can't get insured. And I remember how wonderful it was to be covered, even by a stinky HMO that has hurt other people, and to be able to go in and get whatever I needed (within reason - I know this HMO has denied care to lots of cases). But for me, where I'm at in life and health, it was perfect. And I kind of think that's how the government program could be. Of course, some people may abuse it. But hopefully it would settle down and eventually people would use it just when they need it. It would sure help empty out emergency rooms (which are used as doctor's offices for the uninsured, since they are required by law to treat whoever comes in, no matter how minor).

I just think more and more that our stubborn holding on to a private system is not right. I guess I'm kind of advertising Michael Moore's new flick, here. But there is something to the fact that most industrialized nations provide universal healthcare. I guess we could keep private insurance for the rich, and they could get the better care that they expect. I'd just be happy if I could qualify for basic care on my own. Having lived a couple years relying on Planned Parenthood and county mental health (yikes), I know how important it is to level this field a little bit. And I am grateful that I get to have real insurance again thanks to J's new job. But I know I'm leaving a lot of folks in the clinics, and for them I will continue to speak.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Church & School in Mourning

A woman who just graduated from Fuller has been killed in a car accident along with three members of her youth group (a fifth unidentified person died as well, in another car). Her husband is in critical condition. I know they have a child but have had conflicting reports on the gender and age (but he/she is a toddler). I didn't know her, but this is a tragedy for our campus and especially for that poor church, which lost four teenagers and the youth sponsor (the husband is the youth pastor). Really awful. Please lift up this family and church in your prayers.

More info here:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A sweet film

I had the privilege of watching a very sweet film recently, called Eve & the Fire Horse. It won a special jury prize at Sundance and it looks like Roger Ebert and several notable critics loved it; so I don’t know how much my opinion actually adds to the conversation, but I thought I’d tell you about it anyway, because it hasn’t got US distribution so they’re hoping for a word-of-mouth campaign.

It’s about a Chinese girl growing up in the 70’s in Canada, and how her religious identity shifts as her upbringing comes into contact with new ideas. She has been raised in traditional Chinese (to honor her ancestors, the intricacies of luck) and Buddhist ways. But her sister becomes enraptured with Catholicism (after reading a book given to her by, of all people, the Jehovah’s Witnesses!), and brings Eve along for the ride.

Eve has a very active imagination, and the film often shows her fantasies. In one particularly poignant sequence, she imagines Jesus and the Buddha dancing together, in a beautiful image of interfaith cooperation that I can’t get out of my head. The best part of the scene is her reaction, which is unbridled laughter and joy at seeing this connection between them – her old deity and her new. The imaginary sequences reminded me of those in Millions, another of my favorite flicks about childhood and religion.

As time goes on, her sister digs in her heels and the fantasies begin to reflect a less tolerant viewpoint. This isn’t to rag on Christianity, but (as far as I could tell) is the way the little girl’s mind understands what she’s learning about the less loving side of the religion (and indeed, she is learning from her rather confused sister - who knows just enough to be dangerous, a pretty intolerant nun, and Sunday School “friends” who turn on her – no wonder she has a sour taste in her mouth!). In the end, not to give too much away, I think both religions come off looking good, with the sister finding true happiness and transcendence in Catholicism, and Buddhism continuing to be practiced by the family at large. Eve just wants to find love and acceptance by her family, which seems to be her religious quest.

I really enjoyed the slice of childhood life, especially all the Christian foibles that the girls encounter. I remember all the awkward conversations with friends, trying to convert them; inviting friends to church only to see them become more popular than I was; practicing good deeds; even pretend baptizing (I clearly remember “baptizing” my siblings in a pool once). I assume the Buddhist elements are as accurate.

The best part, of course, is the blending of the two in Eve’s life. It touches not only on themes of religious tolerance (and not) and getting by in a pluralist society, but also a great deal on the immigrant experience. It would be a wonderful film to show a comparative religions class – there is a lot of ritual action and some great dialogue that could spark discussion. I would recommend it for children, too, as a conversation-starter about religions.

The film has some humor, a lot of pathos, and lots of difficult stuff happens – both on a large scale and also small kid stuff, like teasing. I really highly recommend it. Right now, it looks like you can’t rent it, but check for updates. You can order it off the website starting July 24th. If you have a good use for it (e.g. a church screening, a class, etc.), they will probably send you a complimentary dvd. I plan to share it with as many people as I can (of course, if you’re local to me, I’m happy to loan it to you).

Hope you get a chance to check it out – it’s really worth watching.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Time to write to congress - Farm Bill under review!

I just found out that the Farm Bill is being "marked up" (looked at, worked on, voted on) in the next couple of weeks in the House of Reps first and then Senate. PLEASE take 2 minutes to write your elected reps about this. It is SO important!! I've made a little list of why:

Who is affected by or has a stake in the Farm Bill?
United States farmers
Farm subsidies are only for 5 crops, none of which are fruits/veggies (corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, and cotton); 10% of farms (corporations, really, which have bought up multiple family farms and can produce at vastly higher yields) receive over 70% of the subsidies; 2/3 of US farmers do not receive any subsidies at all; if a farmer plants a non-top-5 crop he loses ALL subsidies; the overproduction of these crops affects the land, our health and the world...
Subsistence farmers around the world
Our subsidized crops, already ruled illegal by a number of international courts, drive down international prices so that farmers cannot compete in their own markets.
Recipients of food stamps and school lunches
Both are covered by this bill; 35 million Americans cannot feed their families without the stamps, which amount to $1/meal/person ($21/week - can you eat on that?).
Anyone who pays health insurance premiums
Raised by the growing number of diabetics and obese people, a problem created and exacerbated by processed, non-diversified diet and non-sugar sweeteners.
Anyone who pays taxes
Might as well decide how your money is spent - the health costs in Medicare alone are worth consideration.
Rural communities
The first and ongoing casualty of corporatizing farming.
People who care about the poor in our country and around the world
People concerned about immigration problems
For instance, the lack of farming income in Mexico drives people north; people cannot afford to make tortillas any longer and are eating ramen. Bye bye, culture.
People who wish to eat more heathily, or locally, or organically
People who wish to eat something other than processed food now & then, and maybe something not sweetened with corn syrup
(which the body recognizes as alcohol not sugar)
Like happy cows? Feedlots would not exist without the corn glut (not to mention meat would taste better and be more sustainable).
The earth and its resources
land, water, petroleum, global warming, diversification of crops, wetland restoration, alternative fuels, etc. etc.

Got a pet cause? It's probably affected by the farm bill!

Write Congress today! The crucial time is by July 4!! After this, it's another 5 years before the Bill is reviewed again!

Here is a simple, 2-minute sample letter:

And you can look up your congresspersons' info here: (enter zip code in left side search box)
This site gives you all your elected reps, state and federal.

Note that we are shooting for handwritten letters, not emails, because they have far greater impact. Write to the DISTRICT office, not to Washington, so it arrives in time (DC mail is held a month for security). Write to House of Representatives AND Senators. The most important thing to ask for is a reduction in subsidies in favor of more conservation and stronger nutrition programs. Lots more info, and a nifty movie, can be found at

Thanks for your consideration. This is so important!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lots of good stuff

Thanks for your patience while I enjoy some vacation time. It's been really good. Occasionally I get stressed; I have a lot to do in these 2 weeks off - like a zillion books to read and movies to watch and people waiting on stuff from me. But I'm trying to not do too much. And to take quality time for sitting in the park, dreaming of PhD programs, and today, visiting my hubby's class. It's Socrates day. Can't miss that. Plus it's fun to heckle him.

Speaking of him, we got the most wonderful, PTL-worthy news. He got his contract from Azusa Pacific and his title is...wait for it...Assistant Professor!!! Now, we were hoping for Visiting Instructor or maybe Visiting Asst. Prof, but never thought he'd get a real actual title that implies actual professorhood. What a thrill! And he's not even a PhD yet!

The salary is way generous, beyond what we'd hoped, and the very very very best part is full benefits - health, dental, vision and a host of other fun perks (like money for hosting students at home, for professional dues, etc.). I can't believe we're going to have real health insurance again - pinch me! I am so excited - and so very very grateful to God. I knew if we held out things would get better again. I will be able to get my psycho meds - and I don't have to go to Planned Parenthood anymore! (interestingly, the first thing we both said was, "Let's get pregnant!" but then we both freaked out about that and it went away)

My other favorite part is that one of his first reactions was to say, "I've gotta finish my dissertation fast" - because he doesn't want to go down from this ranking, and this is a great rank to have on the CV, so his next job needs to be the same or better. That means, finish the PhD asap. I love that he's got this motivation now. Wouldn't it be totally cool if we both graduated next summer? It's also our 10-year wedding anniversary. That, my friends, will be cause for a freaking humongous party.

So that's happy news. Also I've been reading my books for the world religions class, and learning tons. I really enjoyed learning the basics of Hinduism - what a cool system they have. It's so very mystical. Really quite quite similar to what we studied in mystical theo this last quarter. Yesterday I started on Islam. That was not as happy. All the Muslims I know are really great, peaceful people, and they believe their religion is peaceful, so I took their word for it. But then I read about Muhammed's life, and he was quite the rabble rouser. He'd go attack people all the time. Big-time warrior. So that upset me, because I wish he was a peaceful man. But he doesn't seem to have been.

I would very much love to hear from any Muslims about reconciling this. I want to have a positive view of Islam, but from what I've read so far I'm nervous that it is not a very peaceful religion, which means it doesn't fit my ideals for religion. The book I'm reading (Islam in Context by Riddell and Cotterell) tries to put a positive spin on everything, explaining that raiding caravans and war between cities was quite culturally appropriate at that time. But it seems like violence has always been part of culture, and the really great religious leaders - Jesus, the Buddha come to mind - reject violence no matter how entrenched it may be.

I don't love what I'm learning so far about Islam, and that makes me sad. Because I really want to believe it's a great religion. But it can't be rooted in disrespect for human life and be truly great. I want to be corrected on this.

Finally, I watched the first season of HBO's "Rome" - what a totally fun history geek show! Now, it can get draggy, but on the DVDs they have a special feature called "All Roads Lead to Rome" that you can turn on, and it pops up little historical facts throughout the show. So I watched them all with that feature on, and I learned tons while enjoying the drama. It also makes you appreciate the incredibly specific historical accuracy that went into the show. They do so much that you'd not even catch without the popup. Their treatment of the religious life is especially fascinating to me - and very accurate, as far as I've studied. The very first episode had a Tauranbulum (sp?) which was a sacrifice of a bull over a pit in which a person sits and is drenched in the blood, to wash away sins. It's one of my favorite old rituals - such an interesting comparison to Christianity.

Anyway, I heartily recommend it to those who are interested in the time period. I guess I should mention that it would be rated R or even NC-17 if it were a movie - there is language, really gory violence, and tons and tons of sex. But I guess they were having tons of sex back then. So it's all accurate, it's just a matter of are you ready to see what Roman culture was really like, in all its debauchery.

And I watched Deliver Us from Evil, a documentary about an abusive priest. It was one of the most difficult docus I've seen, and also incredibly important. It really, really upset me - it was so horrible to watch the ongoing destructions of the victims and their families, and the priest himself. But even as I wanted to turn away, I knew it was vitally important to be aware of this. I hadn't realized the extent to which this issues permeates all the levels of the church - all the way to the top. The main message of the film is that any institution is dangerous when it puts the institution above the people. And I agree with that. Also I didn't realize what a total pig Mahony is. I met him once and always kind of respected him, but no more. Ugh.

So there's some stuff for you to watch (when you're not guiltily pleasuring yourself with "So you think you can dance" - I know I am). Happy to hear from you about any and all of the stuff in this post. I know it's a lot - I've been away and there's much to tell!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Check this out

Just had to share this too!

Interfaith Statement on Global Warming

Good stuff. Our presiding bishop (she of the former career in oceanology) had a strong hand in writing it. I love saying "she."

Hey, the search for my next step is going very well. I've had a couple fruitful meetings with my mentors. One of them, upon hearing of my ambition to work as a dean of religious life in a secular university, told me to "run as far from Fuller as possible." Not that Fuller is bad - he said "it's a great place to be running from" - but because I need secular street cred and all my degrees are from Evangelical institutions, I gotta get out of this ghetto. My other mentor pointed out that I really bring a unique perspective to this sort of position and to interfaith work in general, because of my Ev b.g. Very few Evs are much interested in interfaith dialogue, and I can literally speak their language. So hopefully I can be something of a bridge builder between Evs and the other religions. I know that younger people (college age) are way more tolerant and curious of other rels, so it seems like I will relate to them more closely in this regard.

Anyway, I got a few tips on places/people to look at for PhD programs, and I also emailed a foodie listserv that I'm on. Interestingly, one of the people I was to look up wound up being at a university in Canada, and the first response for my listserv posting came from the director of the pgm at the same university. I found that awfully serendipitous. Am having some fun correspondence with him (at Wilfred Laurier U in Waterloo, Canada) and also with a guy at IU (Indiana) who is starting up a food studies concentration in anthropology. It's great to find there are several scholars working on this. It not only affirms to me that this area of study is legit, but it's just nice to find other food geeks. Also, visiting bookstores affirms to me that this is an extremely popular area of study right now and the general public seems to have caught on to it at the same time or even before the academy. That's rare. But I'm glad we're all catching on.

Gotta run. J needs the computer to go teach. Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


If you weren't off fast food already, check this out!


Well, as if I didn't have enough to do (meeting with 2 people re: my future, researching phd programs furiously - exhausting! - packing for my trip), I've been "tagged" in a blog game. But I'm a good blogger and will play.

Here are the rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

And I guess here are my random facts and/or habits (which are gonna be short!):
1. I was born at home, not in the hospital, and on purpose. My parents were hippies and not into medication or machines, so they did it at home. I believe my mom sat on a what looks like a lawn chair with the bottom mostly removed, and let gravity do the trick. Not only was it pretty easy for her (and I was her first), but they all felt good enough to take me to a party that night (after I was born around noon). Says a lot for natural method, huh?

2. Like the person who tagged me on this, I also am a former theater junkie. It's my BA and something I did from basically birth 'til now. What's weird is that I completely don't feel like I miss it. I guess liturgy has filled the hole. I still enjoy going to a theatre, though, because there's this smell and a presence there that anyone who's trod the boards can recognize. In high school I was hot shit, but by college I was put in my place (despite being a theater major, I wasn't cast in one play for anything substantial - the director really played favorites. That was pretty painful). I think my favorite theater experiences were the summer plays I did at the local outdoor arena, where we did Greek and Shakespeare. The Greek was in mask, and it was tons of fun. At the end of the summer we always did a Greek comedy rewritten with contemporary jokes. It always ended with a chase and everybody falling down. Great, great fun.

3. Shoot I'm never going to make 8 if I ramble like this. OK, let's see. I'm developing arthritis that's gotten bad enough that it wakes me up sometimes. So I'm trying out glucosamine supplements. They seem to be working. Also I have a horrible skin condition that makes me itch constantly. I'm really self-conscious about it but I don't know if other people notice.

4. One habit I wish I had was a regular discipline of prayer. I am going to work on this during my 2 weeks off after the vacation. Try to get into something that will stick. But I've never made anything stick for very long. I'm too fidgety.

5. I have probably talked about this before but I'm obsessed with India. My first encounters were with Bollywood films, which I dearly love (and own many), and with the food. But the more I study the culture and the religion the harder I fall. My biggest dream is to get a Fulbright to study in India for a year or so, learning about their ritual life.

6. My husband and I read cookbooks, food studies, food magazines, and grocery shop together for fun. We argue about recipes. We discuss the minutest food trivia. We dream of the day when we'll have a real kitchen again. Yes, I am fortunate that my little hobby is shared by him.

7. Ah, here's a good one. We have a crate of 75 horror films sitting here in the living room right now. J came home with them one day and announced that he'd been shopping. After he picked me up off the floor, he said he'd just checked them out from the library. Anyway, they cover everything from the silent pictures through the Universal and Hammer monster movies on through the slasher flics and more recent supernatural stuff (exorcism and demons and stuff). I used to hate horror movies. Now I'm getting such an education on them that I'm starting to appreciate them on a whole different level. We even checked out the "torture porn" stuff but it was stupid. Incidentally, this is all for a class he's teaching on the Philosophy of Horror this fall (at Biola U, no less!).

8. Oh, wow, the end already! Thank goodness. OK, let's write one more big dream: I want a plot of earth so badly. I want a vegetable garden, and maybe some fruit trees and flowers. Definitely herbs. If I am ever blessed with a house, I believe I will turn my front yard into rows of crops. I so want to be a farmer. Well, part-time, anyway. I want to dabble. I want to grow my own food - I feel like it's incredibly important for me to be in touch with the earth. So there's one more thing.

OK, here is who I will tag:
1. episcosours
2. Scott
3. Eric
4. Father Jake
5. Dylan
6. Rachel
7. Barry
8. Jeanette

Friday, June 08, 2007

Foodie Links

Here's some stuff I've been checking out (finally have time to catch up on my web reading!): - I so wish this was in LA - a bit extreme, but a good premise

Not food a good idea:

And just 'cause it's cute:

Another quarter done!

So I finished up yesterday morning but spent the rest of the day in some kind of haze and the LAST thing I could have stood was more time at the computer, so that's why you're just now hearing about this. But yes, I am done. Thanks be to God. And you know, I don't think my final paper turned out all that bad, either.

I wrote about Thomas Merton as a case study for the debate on the possibility of universal religious experience. I tried to show how his mystical theology was informed by Zen principles, and then how Zen actually solves some of the issues in mystical theology (the subject/object dichotomy, the kataphatic vs. apophatic schools), and finally I suggested that Zen could be called a "mega-religion" (per the definition of d'Aquili & Newberg, this is something that can be lain overtop any religious system and work for it). Dunno if my thesis was successful, but I did really enjoy outlining Merton's gradual transformation from anti-pluralist to Zen devotee. Good times.

I also want to share some notes from a few weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of attending a small group session with a visiting scholar, Lester Ruth (he's at Asbury and buddies with Todd, my mentor). He had some really great things to say about worship, so I shall now give you my notes and commentary:

Ruth prefers the term "Democratic Pragmatic" to describe worship in most Evangelical churches today (as opposed to words like "contemporary" or "frontier style"). This is because the worship style is primarily based on whatever "works" (pragmatic). The definition of what "works" in a democratic society is whatever brings in numbers (democratic). Thus, we have this current "contemporary praise" style, because (I guess) that brings in numbers (it does make people feel good). I like this term.

In this style, music now holds the mediating place between us and God (has taken it away from Christ).

An idea to bring more Scripture into service: during song transitions, tell the stories of Bible characters who could sing the song you've just done or the one coming up. Why only pray or introduce a song? Why not tie it into the larger cosmic story of God's work among people? This will take it out of the me-focus by placing that morning's music in the larger context of worship throughout the ages.

Once Ruth met Stanley Hauerwas, and Hauerwas rather incredulously asked him: "How will you teach liturgy to Evangelicals?" Ruth replied that the classic ways of worship actually love God more profoundly than what they are used to.

Augustine: the body is not separated from the Head when it prays. Head's still on. That means Jesus prays with us. Can you imagine the prayer you are saying on Jesus' lips? (can't get too mushy if you are praying with Jesus' words)

An interesting (if limited) metaphor for worship: a chatroom already going on. We log in, using Jesus' username, to join the chat between God and all people. We can come with confidence, not worrying about how well are "doing" worship. We're part of the chat.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Speak your mind on immigration

The News Media and Immigration Attitudes

This survey is designed to help us understand what Americans like you think about immigration and the news media. We are very interested in your thoughts on this matter and greatly appreciate your participation. Click here to take the survey:

(editorial note: this survey is run by one of my readers who has asked me to post it)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Funny stuff

OK, this is about the funniest thing I've seen in a while (and a freaking clever marketing ploy):
Cows Unite

Now if you want to join, give me the network credit, OK? Just send me your email addy and I'll send you an invitation (my email's on my profile page). If just three of you sign up, I get "cool bovine paraphenalia" - and what girl wouldn't love that?

Right now I'm a calf. I want to be a Heifer! Ha ha ha ha ha!! This just brings me joy. I must be really punchy.

And to my animal rights buds, I know it's not ideal to drink cow milk, but not many people are going to give it up, so let's at least make it better with that in mind, OK?

Good news

My dad got a job! Thanks be to God! It's really so wonderful. He's going to have full benefits and a salary and everything. He's been in and out of work for 2 or 3 years now, so this is a huge relief for him. Plus he's very excited about the position, and it actually is commensurate with his experience and education (rather than entry-level, which is mostly what is offered to 62-year-olds who have to start over these days).

I'm just so pleased for him. He called all excited and saying how now they could come visit, which I think it really sweet. Plus it will keep me from having to make another trip to the Midwest! Yay!

Monday, June 04, 2007

One down!

One final paper to go. One doctoral seminar paper, that is. It'll be OK.

You may or may not notice, but it's come to my attention that there is an ethical issue surrounding me posting my schoolwork on here. And I'm totally stupid for not seeing that. I greatly appreciate it being gently mentioned to me today, finally (and I'm not speaking here of one particular paper and a dear fellow student - it's not b/c of you, honey).

I will keep posting sermons because they're usually quite contextual, and besides, if you're stealing sermons, you've got major issues. But I'm not going to post papers anymore.

And geez, wish somebody would have pointed out to me how ridiculous this was earlier! I'm just too trusting. It would never occur to me to look online for a paper, so I forget that others would. I also wouldn't think so much of my work that I'd imagine someone wanting to steal it, but I guess there are desperate times in which any finished work at all is better than turning in nothing.

Next time, gentle readers, alert me when I'm doing something naively stupid! Remember the SWAT team incident? I could get myself killed!

And now a post from...somebody else

(hey gimme a break, it's finals week - and it's still just as valid even if I didn't write it!)

Dear friend,

Martin Luther King Jr. famously warned that "a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." Yet despite King's caution, we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a disastrous war in Iraq, while 37 millionAmericans are living in poverty and 3 billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day.

This election season, we can answer Jesus' call to care for the"least of these" by demanding that candidates go on the recordwith real plans for addressing poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

Will you join me in sending a message to the presidential candidates by signing a pledge to Vote Out Poverty in 2008?


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Quite a show

So there is this amazing convocation on Monday: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama will join Jim Wallis live on CNN for Faith Guiding Our Votes: A Presidential Forum on Faith, Values, and Poverty. More info here.

I've never known of a forum - televised, no less - that is directly intended to deal with poverty and includes three major pres candidates. Sojourners definitely scored a big one.

Sigh, unfortunately I don't have cable (seeing how I'm trying to live simply and in solidarity with these very poor people...) so I won't get to see it. But I still wanted to recommend it. Here's hoping it will show up on YouTube. And I might check out the live blogging during it.

You can even vote on a question to be asked here. Cool.

Friday, June 01, 2007

More Recommendations

Now this is a commencement speech I'd pay money to have heard. What a fabulous piece of writing.

Goes along with the movie I watched some of last night, The Ground Truth, which I only recommend to you if you have not become convinced that this war sucks and our military is somehow about something more honorable than training killers. This film is a record of the soldiers themselves quite bluntly admitting that that is all it is about and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive. I only watched about the first half hour, though, because it was too brutal for me to continue (the soldiers took cameras to Iraq and talk about all the horrible things they did). I already believe what the film is trying to show me, which is that war is pretty much bad for everybody involved (except those at the top, theorizing about life & death or economics or politics). But if you know someone who is still defending this war or doesn't actually realize what soldiers go through, have them check this one out.

On a happier note, I'm also quite pleased to report how surprised I've been by checking out Gilmore Girls. I know, I'm late to that party. But it's so sharp and witty. I laugh out loud. I really wasn't expecting it to be so clever. And Lauren Graham is simply fantastic. I went in expecting not much but have been pleasantly surprised. So it's making for fine procrastination/breaks during my paper writing.