March 28, 2015

Saturday Ramblings, March 28, 2015

Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend.

52 Wagon

52 Wagon

Our good friends at Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Sexual Culture [they of the queering agriculture fame] have finally updated their seminar offerings.  First up is a study what a couple of video games say about Native American culture.

Close-reading Assassin’s Creed 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, this paper will consider how American Indian and Indigenous studies might intersect with videogame studies, especially at the sites of narrative, racial representations, and history. Examining how settler colonialism is reimagined through digital space, the paper will discuss how indigeneity might disrupt the historicities of code and play.

The date for that is April 7.  Mark your calendar.  After that, the next seminar is Queering Neural Citizenship: Lessons from autism and neurodiveristy.  Alas, no description yet available, and, silly me, I have no idea what neural citizenship is, let alone how to queer it. Maybe the graphic associated with the event will help:

Maybe not...

Maybe not…

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The Curse of Knowledge – Part 2

churchrowLast week I listed off some of theological beliefs that I had come to over the years, and described how that made if difficult for me to find a church. This week I wanted to respond to a number of the insightful comments that I received and carry on the conversation.  As usual my Fridays are busy, so be nice to each other!

The most perceptive comment (in my mind) came from Flatrocker:


Mike, In thinking and praying about this, my thoughts keep coming back to “so what if you find a new home?” What happens when the inevitable feelings of longing and shortfall return? What then? I know you are praying on this but in your search to find a home, what are you really – in your deepest heart – searching for? Beyond the reasons you gave above which feel so intellectual – and sterile and safe. What is it?

This is my greatest fear when it comes to finding a church. My father has a history of becoming unhappy in any church he goes to after just a few years. I am my Father’s son, and recognize the same trait in myself. That is one reason why I took as long to leave as I did. That thought is also reflected in my previous Pastor’s comment: “If we are not a good ‘fit’ for you, I wonder where you would ‘fit’.” What am I looking for? I am looking for a church that is active and visible in my community, or at the very least active and visible in a neighboring community. I am looking for a church that has a vision and a plan for reaching the community. I am looking for a church that loves to sing. I am looking for a church that reaches out to the margins of society. I am looking for a church where I could bring a friend and he would feel welcome.

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Merton on Humility


Lord, You have taught us to love humility, but we have not learned. We have learned only to love the outward surface of it — the humility that makes a person charming and attractive. We sometimes pause to think about these qualities, and we often pretend that we possess them, and that we have gained them by “practicing humility.”

If we were really humble, we would know to what an extent we are liars!

Teach me to bear a humility which shows me, without ceasing, that I am a liar and a fraud and that, even though this is so, I have an obligation to strive after truth, to be as true as I can, even though I will inevitably find all my truth half poisoned with deceit. This is the terrible thing about humility: that it is never fully successful. If it were only possible to be completely humble on this earth. But no, that is the trouble: You, Lord, were humble. But our humility consists in being proud and knowing all about it, and being crushed by the unbearable weight of it, and to be able to do so little about it.

• Thomas Merton
Thoughts In Solitude

A Desperate Measure?

Note from CM: We didn't have enough strong opinions expressed yesterday(!), so I thought I'd start a discussion on something that's happening here in the heart of the great Midwest. I don't normally devote much space to political … [Continue reading...]

Damaris Zehner: Some Thoughts on Artificial Birth Control

This is such a divisive topic.  I’ve tried for years to write about it and haven’t found the courage or the focus.  Here’s my claim:  I don’t like artificial birth control.  I think it is spiritually, physically, and socially … [Continue reading...]

Music Monday: There are years and there are Years (part 2: 2015)

In 2015, I'm looking forward to a great year in music. As I said last week, it would be hard to overestimate how much music means to me and how the songs and albums I listen to each year accompany and shape my life. Michael … [Continue reading...]

Sundays with Michael Spencer: March 22, 2015

Note from CM: We are drawing near to the fifth anniversary of Michael Spencer’s death. Each Sunday this year we are re-posting some of his encouraging, challenging words. The following is excerpted from a piece he wrote in March … [Continue reading...]

Saturday Ramblings, March 21, 2015

Hello imonks, and welcome to SPRING!!!!!  Ready to ramble? Last week's post just did not have enough silliness, so we are doubling up this week. You don't mind, do you? March Madness has begun! How's your bracket?  Yeah, … [Continue reading...]

The Curse of Knowledge

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17 - … [Continue reading...]

A Strange and Awesome Conclave

A Strange and Awesome Conclave Inside the kingdom of night I witnessed a strange trial. Three rabbis, all erudite and pious men, decided one winter evening to indict God for having allowed his children to be massacred. An awesome … [Continue reading...]