Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for some brunch? Let’s start with some lighter fare.
First, some sporting news. Congratulations to the New England Patriots for another [yawn] Super Bowl win. After the game the Patriots [yawn] were congratulated by Donald Trump. And the Falcons got a card from Hillary saying, “Welcome to my world, fellas.”
Of course, the Falcons were ahead by 25 points in the third quarter. Then their defense left with Mark Wahlberg, and the Brady Bunch came storming back. I don’t think Atlanta has been that burned since 1864.
Hey, did you know that Pope Francis sent a personalized video message in Spanish, addressing the players? The message was played on the jumbotrons in the stadium, with over 70,000 people watching.
In the video, Pope Francis said sporting events like the Super Bowl are “symbolic of peace” because it can show that it’s possible to build a “world of encounter and of peace.” He added that participation in sports teaches people to go beyond their own self-interests besides sacrifice and fidelity to rules. The Pope then invoked his blessing upon the match saying he hoped it would be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity for the world.
Tom Brady had some fine passes in the game, but nothing like this football pass for 564,664 yards:
As you may have remembered (unless you are a man) this Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. So for our male readers, we are here to help out. Because we know you haven’t bought a present for your special someone yet, have you? So, just in time for two-day shipping, here are some actual gifts you can buy for your girl on Amazon:
- A Quart of Wolf Urine. Because sometimes the quality of the wolf urine at Walmart is just not up to her standards, and milking the wolves yourself is too much of a hassle.
- Uranium Ore. Men, do you want you wife to have to buy her Uranium from a van-full of sketchy Libyans in the mall parking lot? Do ya? I didn’t think so!
- Birth Control is Sinful in the Christian Marriages and also Robbing God of Priesthood Children!! Mixing profound theology with creative grammar, this book will remind her of her purpose in your marriage (“Keep those Priesthood Children coming!”)
- Mr. Sniffles Egg Seperator. Just trust me on this one: she will love it!
- A Duck Press. Are you tired of seeing her getting delicious duck juice all over the trash compactor? Now you can buy her, for a mere $2,100, a dedicated duck press. The reviews on the product mention that one should only use it on dead ducks (good to know).
- Farting Fanny Piggy Bank. Women just love flatulence humor. And now you can get her to save money, too. Every time she drops a coin in the slot she will be rewarded!
- Land Cruiser/Tank. Just imagine how much more effective her Black Friday shopping will be with this baby!
All right, enough of this nonsense.
After over 60 years, a new Dead Sea Scroll Cave has been discovered. This would be the 12th. Although the cave has been looted at some point, and any scrolls removed, it is still a very important find. Some manuscript scraps were found, along with six jars identical to the jars found in several of the other Qumran caves. These ceramic jars were designed to contain scrolls. There is speculation that they have also found a 13th cave, which is still sealed (and thus unlooted) which may contain scrolls.
Over 100 evangelical leaders have signed onto a letter published in a full-page ad in Wednesday’s edition of The Washington Post that signals their opposition to President Donald Trump’s moratorium on refugee resettlement. Signers included Max Lucado, Tim Keller, and Ed Stetzer
“As Christian pastors and leaders, we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugee resettlement. Our care for the oppressed and suffering is rooted in the call of Jesus to ‘love our neighbor as we love ourselves,'” the evangelical leaders wrote in an open letter to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that was published on Page A18. “In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus makes it clear that our ‘neighbor’ includes the stranger and anyone fleeing persecution and violence, regardless of their faith or country.”
And then there’s this: Lifeway Christian Store will no longer sell a music CD because it includes the word “penis”. Here is the offending lyric from rapper Sho Baraka:
I was an insecure boy who just thought he was a genius
But always pissed off, that’s because I thought with my penis
It’s all strategic, I’m just asking us the reason
Share my faith on the track, I’m just exorcising demons.
Now, to be fair, it is very difficult to rhyme with “genius”. And Baraka says that the retailer has a double standard. Other books sold on their shelves use anatomical references. For instance, “Sheet Music,” a sex manual intended for Christian couples, contains 45 uses of the word “penis,” along with euphemisms like “Mr. Happy.”
Heterodox Academy is a coalition of 400 professors who desire to promote thought diversity and free speech. They just finished a long study on “speaker dis-invitation”, that is, where a campus speaker is not allowed to give the speech they had been invited for. This mainly occurs for political reasons, of course. Students or faculty find the speakers viewpoints disqualify them from presenting. But what is interesting is where the dis-invitations are coming from. The study noted that
…”from 2000 to 2009, speaker disinvitation attempts from the left of the speaker and from the right of the speaker were roughly equal.”
“Yet, from 2010 onward there is a noticeable increase in disinvitations attempts from the left of the speaker, relative to disinvitation attempts from the right of the speaker.”
“When disinvitation attempts are unsuccessful, moderate and substantial event disruptions are almost exclusively from the left of the speaker.”
Who says the New York Times doesn’t get or care about religion? Well, researching for this column, I went to their “Religion and Belief” archives, and found a whopping one whole article for the month of February, and that article really wasn’t about religion at all (it chronicled Steve Bannon’s respect for an Italian political philosopher). Apparently “all the news that’s fit to print” does not include something so obscure and rare as religious practice.
Wanna see an 8K time-lapse of the seasons in Norway? Trust me, you do.
Wednesday was National Kite Flying Day. Yes, that’s right, February 8 is the day we are encouraged to got out and fly a kite. Isn’t this like having National Snowball Fight Day on July 20th? Trump keeps talking about fixing America, right? START HERE, Donald!
Robert F, take note. The Enterprise-Tocsin, a weekly newspaper based in Indianola, Miss., has been turning some of its police reports into haiku. Why? There is no “why” in Haiku, silly. Here are some examples; others can be found on their twitter feed.
In wrong lane, running from cops
Will this end safely?
Ice machine open
Many quarters disappear
Cold drinks ill-gotten.
Quickly escalates Sunday
Raw meat strewn on floor.
Sosnovka, a small village in Siberia, had no church. Resident Alexander Batyokhtin fixed that. At least until spring. Alexnder spent nearly two months building a village church entirely out of snow. He worked on the chapel every day, even when temperatures plunged below minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and used 424 cubic feet of snow to make it. The video takes less than a minute:
You REALLY don’t want to view these pictures of Spring fashion trends for men. Just . . . don’t.
87 Million for “Wrongful Births”? The Sunday Times reports the National Health Service paid that amount to more than 16 families in the past five years after a High Court judge ruled that doctors had been negligent in their cases.
Most of the cases involved problems with antenatal screening and doctors’ failure to detect abnormalities or inform parents about the risks of their baby having a disability. All of the cases said they would have had abortions if they had known about their child’s disabilities before birth. The claims included children with Down syndrome, microcephaly and a wide range of other conditions, according to the reports.
The Christian Institute reports more about one of the cases:
The mother had undergone ten ultrasounds during the course of her pregnancy, but two doctors were found to have failed to carry out their duties correctly in two of them.
The couple’s daughter is now eight years old and has microcephaly, which affects the size of her head.
Her mother would have aborted her if she was aware of the condition, but says she loves her deeply now.
“But…but… Jesus wants me to be wealthy…” A unemployed Lakeland, Florida, man faces a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000 after making a $7 billion fraudulent wire transfer because Jesus Christ chose him to be wealthy, according to court documents. The defendent, John Haskew, argued that Jesus Christ created wealth for everyone. Using this scheme, Haskew believed that he could obtain the wealth “that Jesus Christ created for him and that belonged to him.” . The article notes that Haskew’s excuse earned him several eye rolls from law enforcement authorities, who apparently had never heard of Creflo Dollar.
- Policeman dressed as giraffe takes down ‘shoplifter’ fleeing from TK Maxx
- Too much self-tanning lotion? Orange gator puzzles residents
- Why Men Get More Lint in Their Belly Buttons Than Women
- POLICE: HOUSTON WOMAN SHOOTS BOYFRIEND IN FIGHT OVER COLD TACO
- Aquarium tank holding 13 sharks BURSTS – flooding the city’s nearby streets
- Doctors Pull Live Cockroach From Woman’s Skull After Complaints of ‘Crawling Sensation’
I found out this week I have a disease. Or sin. Or social condition. I’m not really sure how it’s supposed to be classified. And you may have it also. It’s called, “Amatonormativity”. It’s symptom? The person with Amatonormativity feels that romantic relationships should primarily be between only two people at a time. Or, as Carrie Jenkins helpfully explains in The Week:
Amatonormativity is a name for the attitude that privileges lives based around a focal monogamous romantic relationship. What gets called “romantic” isn’t just about classification; it’s about marking out those relationships and lives we value most…
Our ideals of “romantic” love regulate not just our expectations about sex but also our conceptions of family and the nature of parenthood.
Ultimately, what we call “romantic” is a philosophical issue that touches on the core of who we (think we) are, and what we value. I believe that the “romantic-ness” of romantic love is largely socially constructed, and as such malleable. We collectively write the “script” that determines the shape of the privileged (“romantic”) relationship style. This script has changed, and will continue to change.
As you may sense, this “privileging” of monogamy bothers Jenkins greatly:
We must get beyond this. We need to question the limits we have placed on what counts as a “romantic” relationship. Freedom to love — the right to choose one’s own relationships without fear, shame or secrecy — is critical, not just for individuals but for us all collectively. Non-conformity is the mechanism that reshapes the social construct to better represent who we are, and who we want to be. Instead of forcing our relationships to conform to what society thinks love is, we could force the image of love to conform to the realities of our relationships.
But it won’t be easy. If the love of a polyamorous triad is seen as “romantic” and hence as valuable as the love of a monogamous couple, then the triad should have the same social and legal privileges as the couple. How could we deny them the right to be co-parents? How could we defend the legal or financial benefits of monogamous marriage, or the lack of legal recourse for anyone fired for being polyamorous? These are the privileges by which we signal to monogamous couples and nuclear family units that theirs are the most socially valuable social configurations.
The battle for same-sex marriage is so 2014. Now we are moving onto bigger (literally) things. After all, if we re-define marriage to include “polyamorous triads” by what logic should we stop at the “triad” part? What could go wrong?
Well, friends, that’s it for this week. I leave you with Variations on a Shaker Hymn, part of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. Enjoy!