December 20, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 9.28.13

RamblerOh, what to do? What to do? I am a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. But I am also preparing for confirmation into the Catholic Church. So who do I have to root for today? I want to pull for the Sooners, but “Sooner” is a term for a law-breaking line jumper. And I like Notre Dame, mostly because so many others don’t. (If you haven’t figured out that I am an unrepentant contrarian by now, where have you been?) Yet they wear those horribly ugly gold helmets. I am open for suggestions, iMonks. Of course, later today I’ll be pulling for The Ohio State Buckeyes to beat Wisconsin like a rented mule. In the meantime, what say we ramble?

Outreach Magazine has released its list of the 100 Largest and the 100 Fastest Growing churches in America. Ed Stetzer notices some trends among these churches, although I’m not so sure that allowing a service aimed at young adults to branch off and become its own congregation can be considered “self-sacrifice.” I think most of these churches would simply see it as a good business move. And make no mistake. These churches are very much businesses. Look over the lists and tell me what you find in common among these churches, or rather what churches you see missing here.

Then there is Faith Street, an app to help you find a church in any of more than 3,000 cities in the U.S. Ok, I thought that might be a helpful thing. Then I read a little further. FaithStreet doesn’t make money unless people give to their local churches. Churches that use FaithStreet encourage attendees to give online, from which FaithStreet takes a cut. Am I the only one who is bothered by this?

Then there is this woman’s moaning and whining, sent to me by Rev. Randy. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Maybe we can start with how she can smell poverty as it has a distinct odor. Or how being poor is keeping you from fulfilling your spiritual assignments. Your turn.

Hats off to this school in Utah for standing up and doing the right thing. Sports are fine, but not at the expense of a greater education.

And a kick in the pants to this school for not doing the right thing. What is wrong with learning about other cultures, including their religions? Thoughts of yours?

A truck driver in Wisconsin has personally paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to put up billboards across his state with Christian messages on them. Two thoughts. I think there are lot worse things motorists could read or see on a billboard than “Jesus died for the sins of the world.” And truck drivers must be paid a lot more than I thought.

It seems it is your fault after all. Climate change, that is. A report shows that humans are the cause of climate change. Next up: Eating onions can give you bad breath.

After decades of decline, the number of American males studying to become Catholic priests is on the rise. There is no known connection, but Billy Graham’s grandson says sex scandals are greater in number among evangelicals than among Catholics.

Finally, Adam Palmer pointed me toward the New Yorker for this list of books and their modern subtitles. Why oh why did I not think of this myself? Ok iMonks, put on your creativity caps and come up with some more. I’ll start us off. The Grapes Of Wrath: Climate Change on the Prairie. 

Happy birthday wishes were wished this last week to H.G. Wells; Larry Hagman; Chuck Jones; Stephen King; Bill Murray; Debby Boone; John Coltraine; Leonard Cohen; Ray Charles; Bruce Springsteen; Jim Henson; Shel Silverstein; Will Smith; Jack LaLanne; Marty Robbins; and Pope Paul VI.

I could have chosen just about anyone on this list for our bonus video today. I think even Pope Paul VI did a mean cover of I Walk The Line. But I chose Leonard Cohen because I can. This is one of my favorite among many favorites. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e39UmEnqY8′]

Comments

  1. “Climate change” is the biggest scam ever perpetrated upon the human race.

    Another very recent report states the fact that NO warming at all has taken place in the last 15 years. So much for the Chicken Littles of the world.

    One more thing. I guess it was our fault…or the cavemen’s fault when the glaciers melted to form the Great Lakes, also. Those damned incandescent bulbs!

    • Of course it is. After all, what do scientists know? They are just in it for the money. Just walk through any university car park, and all the really good cars are owned by the climate scientists.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          To Kyle’s Moms, no act of vengeance is too petty against those who dare to deny their Righteous Cause (and their Moral Superiority). South Park is a documentary.

        • Actually, HUG, I posted the link because I think the video’s hysterical. I’d think it was funny even if I didn’t accept the validity of human-caused climate change.

      • Well, science studies definitely have the most and biggest buildings (except for the stadium, but that’s another subject) and resources on any major university campus. The big money goes to the science departments; the humanities have to beg for their budgets, sometimes justifying their appeals for support to the way their disciplines are congenial (rather than hostile) to the sciences. The sciences are the big academic guns on most major university campuses, no doubt, and stand at the end of a huge stream of incoming resources and money.

        Although I don’t agree with Steve about climate change, neither do I believe that scientists are not under the influence of the same biasing tendencies that the rest of the human race struggles with, especially when making projections about what will happen based on extremely complex and ambiguous models that leave more than enough room for personal and professional collective values to be read into them.

        Scientific method and peer review are great tools for understanding how things work, how they probably started, and where they might be going; but, especially in the respect to where they might be going, those tools are not commandeered by value neutral persons or communities, since value neutrality does not exist, and the scientific community is after all a human and biased community prone to using its tools and discoveries in the service of its own values, and interests.

        • My biggest concern with “climate change” (the most recent incarnation of the concept, as we have moved from global warming to the new coming ice age at LEAST three times in my lifetime…) is that it has become the Holy Grail of the atheistic faith called “Extreme Environmentalism”.

          I was a card-carrying member of the Sierra Club by fifth grade, adore the outdoors, and have always believed in reuse, recycle, repurpose as taught by my live-in grandmother (….use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!) The goal being stewardship of the resources God has given us dominion over. THIS is what I have always believed to be the definition of “environmentalism”.

          Fast forward a few decades, and we have a new religion by the same name, which denies the existence of a Creator, considers man a parasite on the pristine earth, and humans as lesser or perhaps equal value to all animals and plant life. The tenants further view ALL changes on this planet as the result of humans, who are the invaders and pillaging pests on the rest of the globe, and whose lives should be curtailed for the betterment of ANYTHING else that lives and the weather itself, the latter entirely due to mans’ actions. influence. Climate change is one of the main pillars of this religion, even though some of the high priests (Al Gore leaps to mind) do not change THEIR carbon footprint, but throw money at their own culpability in changing the world’s climate.

          It is the latter that I have issue with. Stewardship is important, with the earth as well as with our time, talent, and treasure. As a Christian, I FIRMLY believe that humans are much more important than any other creatures, made in the image and likeness of God Himself….and that sometimes our needs may take precedence over parts of nature, especially parts than can self-renew (most animals, trees, etc.) I do NOT believe that all climate change is related to man; much of it part of natural cycles. I feel that the jury is still out on what can and cannot be predicted and controlled, and resent that any failure to swallow the proclamations of the religion of Environmentalism make me an idiot or a Luddite.

          So no, I don’t follow the “conclusions” of the data that change regularly, nor do I discount the need to care for our only home in this life……and I will NEVER believe that saving a snail-darter or even an adorable seal is MORE important than saving a human life….

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > My biggest concern with “climate change” … is that it has become the Holy Grail of the atheistic faith

            Which has nothing to do with the validity of the scientific conclusions [conclusions with have serious economic and social consequences, and thus moral consequences]

            Who cares what some Dawkins wannabe makes of it; it is valid science or it is not. It is.

          • Brianthedad says:

            +1. Thanks for such a great response!

          • Pattie, belief in human-caused climate change is independent of theism or atheism. Lots of us believers in Christ also believe that pumping carbon fuel up from the innards of the earth and torching it off releases carbon. And heat.

            Jim Dobson is not among us.

          • Releases carbon dioxide, that is.

          • Katharina von Bora says:

            What you said, Pattie! So much!

            I live in a very environmentally conscious area and it can get downright frightening how this attitude makes people behave. It leads, naturally enough, towards aggressive anti-child and pro-abortion rhetoric too–to the point where someone felt comfortable enough to advise me to abort my second child SOLELY for the sake of “overpopulation” and “the environment.” (Of course I told them where they could stick that advice.) The idolatry couldn’t get clearer if it was emblazoned with “14 karats…MOO.”

            And it matters very much that this is what the movement has made of the “science.” (Science has great value, but I reject the way people use the mere word “science” to shut down a conversation…that is, frankly, anti-scientific!) Especially when this environmental panic attack is taking up residence in the mainline churches and the evangelical left and the poisonous rhetoric is seeping into our theology…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Climate change is one of the main pillars of this religion, even though some of the high priests (Al Gore leaps to mind) do not change THEIR carbon footprint, but throw money at their own culpability in changing the world’s climate.

            It’s called buying INDULGENCES.

            “When coin in Tetzel’s coffer rings…”

          • Katharina, speaking of Jim Dobson: you may be making his case for him.

            But, as I said above, lots of believing Christians, pro-life and pro-family, do believe that humans, through our greed and sin, are shamelessly squandering resources and polluting the earth that God provided us. And it may very well be heating up as a result.

            I think some of the believing Christians who also believe in human sin-related climate change are on the board of Focus on the Family. They fired Dr. Dobson.

          • And speaking of Al Gore, it could be that people are afraid of climate science because they’re afraid Al Gore might end up in the White House.

            Relax. He ain’t.

          • Katharina von Bora says:

            Ted, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. Some kind of evangelical insider baseball. And I am not worried about Al Gore being elected…that ship has long since sailed.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Pattie: The results of the data regarding climate change will always show some variance, but the conclusions haven’t changed. I have yet to see enough of a variance in the conclusions drawn by researchers of climate change to discredit their findings. I have seen reports issued by agencies who have tried to assert themselves as legitimate scientific organizations, but they have little to no standing within the greater scientific community.

            Katharina: I’m not sure why a scientific study shouldn’t shut down a debate. If I have evidence and the other guy has a handful of Bible verses and the willpower to ignore decades of research, then the other guy came to the table with no cards to play.

          • Katharina von Bora says:

            Because science is based on inquiry, not orthodoxy. Questioning sources and re-investigating in the face of new data is what science does.

            Saying “shut up because I have the special knowledge and you don’t” is what gnostics do.

            None of this is simple or cut and dried. Trying to predict something as vast as global climate projected over time has a tremendous margin of error. Trying to establish causality when there are so many variables is nearly impossible. I am not a “denier,” but I am not a “believer” either.

            A study should contribute to a debate, but if it shuts it down, we’re not doing science anymore. We’re dealing with a belief system, or politics.

            Anyhow, going around screaming at people to panic isn’t what rationally-minded people do in a crisis, either.

          • Human arrogance (that we were given “dominion” over the Earth) is exactly the problem. That is why Christianity must die, in order that the Earth may live. There is no heaven, only Earth. Any tree has more of a claim on our allegiance than your cursed patriarchal sky god.

        • Matthew James says:

          What you wrote, is a perfect example of why the science departments make sure the humanities never have any funding! Hehe.

      • Shaggy2Hope says:

        Scientists can’t explain magnets either.

    • One of the great successes of science education is that we have taught a populace that most breakthroughs in science seem to come in the face of conventional wisdom, whether it’s the geocentric theory of the solar system proposed by Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler all the way through Darwin and Lamarck to Einstein and later. So there is a fundamental distrust of majority opinion.

      It doesn’t help that in our lifetime, majority opinion warned us of global cooling in the 70’s due to pollution. Couple that with the Environmental Disaster of the Week and the impression created in the press is that there are a bunch of Chicken Littles out there warning us the sky is falling. Throw in political agendas and entrenched commercial interests and it’s no wonder the public is just a little jaded, particularly given the fact that even if we completely halted all greenhouse emissions today, we wouldn’t see an effect on the climate for years to come, and if we did see an effect, it isn’t guaranteed to be positive. The combination of alarmism, cronyism, and ineffectiveness make it hard to get worked up about the issue. And I believe we have western journalism, rather than science, to thank for that trifecta.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > or the cavemen’s fault when the glaciers melted to form the Great Lakes

      No, not really. Your science is out of date. Glaciation did not form the great lakes, as even I was taught in school. Well, except for rising sea-levels which filled what is now the lakes. What was the lakes existed as a region of unbelievably massive canyon lands and low moors long prior to the glacial maximum.

      Only a few weeks ago I was over what is [was] the largest waterfall on earth [just northeast of the top of the Bruce penninsula]. It dwarfed the current Niagara falls as a massive river thundered down some 300+ feet into the canyons of the Huron. The [now ~80ft deep] submarine drop off is so severe that it disturbs the surface currents to a degree that as one passes over the ‘falls’ you can hear the captain gunning the ships engines to break through the rip currents. It would be awesome to dive to the edge and stand there atop that cataract, but the currents would make that both difficult and dangerous. Maybe someday…

      • Where were you Adam?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Diving out of Tobermorey. The falls is near the ‘wreck’ of the Niagara II [which was sunk deliberately as a staged training site, so not really a “wreck”]. The submerged falls are between the harbor and the Niagara II.

          • Love that area. Friend of mine was a Dr. up there for 10 years and owned the house 5 over from the lighthouse.

          • Ah, here is the info from the government of Canada website:

            The term “submerged waterfall” has generated much confusion. How can you have a waterfall when no water is falling? Some 10, 000 to 5000 years ago, the melting glaciers were creating the structure of today’s Great Lakes. Water levels have had many major ups and downs, and much of what now lies underwater between the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island was dry land, except for rivers and “gigantic” waterfalls. Water from the west (Lake Huron) actually drained to the east (Georgian Bay) through at least two large rivers, through the present day North Bay area and down the Ottawa River to the Atlantic Ocean. One of these rivers was located near Middle Island. That portion of the Niagara Escarpment, while submerged today, was exposed and the river plummeted over this portion of the cliff creating at first a “waterfall” and later eroding to become an enormous set of rapids some 800 metres (2640 feet) long, 1000 metres (3300 feet) wide and with a drop of 40 metres (132 feet). It likely carried as much or more water than Niagara Falls does today. Sadly, however (for our tourism potential) the glaciers continued to melt, water levels increased, land forms rebounded and the Great Lakes (as we know them) were formed. Our “waterfall”, now submerged under the waters of Georgian Bay, is lost to sight but continues to aid scientists in their reconstruction of the geological history of this area.

    • Steve, I’m not trying to be rude here, but the fact that you would cite temperature change in the last fifteen years shows that you have no clue whatsoever how statistical modeling works. Of course there is significant short-term variance – just like in the stock market. In the several million years of climate data being tabulated, fifteen years is a blip. What kind of odd international cabal of conspiracy theories is necessary for thousands of scientists across multiple disciplines to work together to fabricate something like this? I find your bargaining position highly dubious.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But We Must All Mortify Ourselves and Repent of Our SINS Against THE PLAAAAAANET! Before THE PLAAAAAANET Is Angry!

        And all the Kyle’s Moms run around in circles screaming, Proud of the fact that they now have a New Righteous CAUSE to force down the throats of all the unwashed stupid sheeple. “DO YOU BE-LEEEEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING????????”

        Just like GLOBAL! COOLING! in the 1970s. “One spring, the winter snows Will Not Melt. THAT IS HOW *IT* WILL BEGIN!!!!!!!”

        Just like all the other 5,280 Urgent Causes WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT NOW!!!!!!!!

        • +1

        • -1

        • +1

          Nothing in particular against Tom Cruise, but I never cared for “Captain Planet,” either. Lame-o superhero show.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And we’ve got a lot of Captain Planet wanna-bes trying to climb into positions of power these days.

            To the point that the term for a wagging-finger moral lecture from Obvious Moral Superiority no longer refernces a Church Lady, but is called a “Captain Planet Lecture”.

            “Wheel of Morality, turn, turn, turn,
            Tell us the Lesson That We Must Learn.”
            — Animaniacs

        • HUG, did you ever read a story by Rod Serling about the earth heating up? We were getting closer to the sun in that case, but in the end (literally) it turned out to be the feverish dream of the protagonist, whose temperature was high from getting sick because the earth was, in fact, getting farther from the sun and it was COLD.

          I’m bringing this up because you’re a sci-fi fan and also because I don’t want to argue with you.

        • Katharina von Bora says:

          +1 also.

          I wish I could adequately describe to those who are older what it was like being a KID growing up with this stuff in my face from day one. We were guilt tripped in first grade that if we didn’t force our parents to turn off the water while they were brushing their teeth, little kids in Africa soon would not have enough to drink. Guilt tripped about recycling. Guilt tripped that all the cute animals in the zoo were soon to disappear forever and ever and ever because we were greedy little carbon-generating monsters who had to have our juice boxes and our electric heaters. Made to feel bad and selfish about wanting to grow up and have a big family like our parents and teachers had enjoyed. Made to panic that the OZONE LAYER! OZONE LAYERRRRR! (haven’t heard about that one in a few years…) was kaput because of our selfish need for AC on hot days, and we soon would be wearing shorts in January and gasping for air. Seriously.

          By the time we got to our teen years we had to either tune it out or go mad. This constant state of panic and blame–I mean how do you think it sounds to rant to a powerless 9 year old about “OVERPOPULATION! TOO MANY KIDS!”? You have to either question it, admit you are essentially powerless and shrug, or become a fanatic.

          And you have to admit, they shot their credibility to hell and back. Lions are still around. Some of the animals considered doomed when I was 5 have bounced back, no prob. Haven’t heard about the ozone in years. Haven’t been swallowed up by the ocean. Haven’t been forced to live in a biodome (remember that?) or stacked up 100 stories high wall to wall. Still can find fresh air and open space. Still have to wear a coat in the winter. They overstated the claims and scared everyone, not even sparing little kids…and now they look like doomsday preachers the day after the alleged “apocalypse” that never eventuated. Better set a new date and try again!

          • The ozone layer got fixed (altough given the long life of CFCs it will be decades before it is back at 1980 levels) because a lot of effort was spent educating governments on the problem, and then a international treaty was created with enforcement mechanisms that limit CFC emissions. You don’t notice this because after lots of effort replacements were found for most of the CFC compounds that worked nearly as well. But if the “it’s all a lie” faction had won the day, it could if turned into a real catastrophe. As always the environmental movements success get rebranded as false alarms.

        • - 1 from me as well.

          You always cite “Kyle’s Mom”-types on this issue, and yet, I doubt many people who are concerned about global warming are anything at all like that.

        • You only talk this way, because you do not expect to live long enough to see the fruits of your denial. But there is such a thing as karma, that will crawl up to bite you on the Jesus. Mother Nature is not mocked. Your sky god will not save you.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “What kind of odd international cabal of conspiracy theories is necessary for thousands of scientists across multiple disciplines to work together to fabricate something like this?”

        And insurance companies. Don’t forget them. They have serious skin the game. They have for several years now been working on the basis of global climate change being real. Any insurance company that didn’t believe it is real would have a golden opportunity to swoop in and gain market share by undercutting the competition.

    • Susan Paxton says:

      From reading your posts, I can tell that your world is black and white and very, very small.

    • I don’t think Steve should be allowed to get the first comment in on Saturday mornings anymore…

    • Breaking news! The Society to Prove Humans Case Climate Change has just released a report that says, wait for it… humans cause climate change. Details at 11.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        My father was an architect. In his later career, usually a project manager.

        When Environmental Impact Reports became mandatory, a lot of consulting firms sprang up specifically to write them for developers and businesses. As a project manager, my father had to deal with a few of them. According to him, the first thing the contractor/consultant would ask was “Is this to be Pro or Anti?” And then they’d write it All Pro or All Anti, whatever you paid them. Expert witnesses, expert citations, science-to-order. Like a legal brief for prosecution or defense, and just as one-sided. All for their consulting fee, and they charged a lot.

    • I think Jeff is the real troll on this blog. He mentioned climate change and then disappeared.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Now that most people have vented their feelings, let me say something. Note though, I’m not a climatologist – I’m a geologist. Therefore, I know that cycles of warming and cooling have happened – for billions of years. We have been warming since the peak of the last ice age – 20 000-odd years ago. But there has been marked increase in global temperatures, with a sharper overall increase, since the mid-20th century – http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201201-201212.png

      It is important to understand that many natural processes, and climate is a very good example of this, are non-linear in nature. Therefore shorter term predictions in particular are very risky. Short-term changes can be expected.

      Furthermore, as with most, nay all, scientific reporting, the media gets it wrong. I particularly hate it when every storm, every strong wind, every hurricane and drought, are suddenly the fault of “climate change”. First, the terminology is wrong – the climate has always been changing. Secondly, like overall temperature increases, we would need to see if the number of hurricanes per season has increased over say a 150 year period. But this shoddy reporting, and alarmist nonsense by sensationalist reporters and the ignorance of the general public is not an argument against anthropomorphic climate change.

      And to be honest, those, like Steve, who react predictably every time the subject comes up – are they any less bound to an “orthodoxy” than the alarmists? I don’t see rational argument and careful consideration of the evidence and the nuances of the subject – just a rather regrettable, predictable ramble…

  2. Vega Magnus says:

    Do what I have done and give up on college sports. Nothing but corruption and horribly misplaced priorities.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      +1 Of course, if you never cared in the first place ‘giving up’ is easy. ;) I feel the exact same way about high-school sports; public schools should not be permitted to fund sports programs. Local governments can form inter-mural leagues with separate funding and competely divorced from the schools; and public school employees should be bared from being coaches in those leagues. The level of favoritism, and the blind eye turned toward even outright savagery towards less favored students, granted to ‘student athletes’ is disgusting.

      • I’d vote for you for school board, Adam!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          He’d never make it. Think of all the Al Bundys sitting in their trailers imagining themselves as Great Football Stars. That’s the constituency.

          Try the REAL issues which get the parental units marching for The Cause. Like Homosexuality, EVIL-ution, Homosexuality, Prayer in Schools, and Homosexuality. THAT”s what gets you on the school board in a grass-roots swell.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            It is true that is the case in many places. Even more sadly is the racial currents in school politics that infect the region where I live. I do not recall a hubub about Evolution or prayer here in a long time.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Well, that’s one! :)

      • Great ideas… I’m all for them (at the collegiate level as well) I’m with Vega as well in being done with college sports. Problem is, it’s now ‘american’ tradition…meanwhile the rest of the world has been doing it right for probably centuries by now. Why is america so exceptionally….stupid?

        • “Why is america so exceptionally….stupid?” My, my! How intolerant of you! Aren’t ALL culture of equal value? After all, that’s what our schools are teaching our children, and our universities are “discovering” through “research”. ;)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            All Cultures are Equal
            But Some are more Equal than Others

            And ALL Other Cultures are More Equal than Ours.
            (ANGST! ANGST! ANGST! Am I not Multi-Culti?)

      • When my kids were in high school, I went to a few basketball & football games and was always depressed when I came home. Parents screaming, cursing, and yelling, kids mulling around NOT watching the game, and a whole lotta people reliving their high school years. Coaches have been fired, athletes let off the hook for underage drinking (and more) to the point the whole thing is tainted. Our town even had an incident in which one of the basketball stars was being stalked by a near middle-aged woman. And by 5th grade, if a kid isn’t very athletically gifted, no one wants him or her on the team. Christian schools are no better, often worse.

        • Unless someone can prove me otherwise, that seems to be mostly an american phenomenon (mixing edu and sports to such an extent) AND it’s less than wise (often harmful to boot)
          Hence “why are americans so exceptionally stupid?” – does that mean everything they do is that bad – of course not – but when it comes to sports, education and young people – america has no wisdom or common sense in this area and should be looking to other nations for how to do it…but that would require some humility…another thing americans have little time for…

        • My father-in-law is a principal at a private Christian school and one of the top concerns of the parent is getting sports front and center at the school. I really don’t ‘know what private schools act as if public schools dumb down everything. Many private schools are public schools with an hour a day bible class and a prayer in the morning. I guess they think that that early morning prayer just makes you smarter.

          Sigh…

  3. In re: going to a mosque and a hindu temple. I don’t get the fuss (well, I do but I’d rather I didn’t.) I went to a very Jesuit university that had (and has) a massive liberal arts requirement that includes world religions. I think the idea was learning about the world and others in the world so you could be better rounded and be of better service.

    • Cedric Klein says:

      That was a private university for adults, not a public school for teens. Ideally, such field trips & inter-cultural studies would be great but depending on the local powers that be, they are prone to go into one extreme or the other- kowtowing to the status quo or giving the finger to the status quo.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree. But isn’t there really three categories: university, high-school, and primary school. High-school should certainly be a place for some degree of truly civic [as in the elements and mechanisms of a civil society] education. Many students will not go on to university, high-school is societies only shot at introducing many students to a larger world. That education can [and must] include much more than just culture and religion. In working in a couple FIRST programs we had many inner-city students who had never been inside a machine shop or manufacturing facility, let alone a corporate office. Watching a bunch of low-hanging-pants too-cool teens stare wide-eyed at the CNC operator[of their own racial background] in blue-jeans and a Tupac T say “Yea, I make about $29 an hour”. Right there, at that moment, their world exploded!!! It is all one and the same thing – your little world is not THE WORLD, there are possibilities out there you are completely oblivious to. That realization is HUGE.

        • That Other Jean says:

          This post makes me wish that we had a “like” button, because I couldn’t agree more.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          Well said.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          “your little world is not THE WORLD, there are possibilities out there you are completely oblivious to. That realization is HUGE.”

          And, to complete the thought, there are two types of people: those who think that bringing kids to this realization is the point of education, and those who want to prevent (they would say “protect”) kids from this realization.

          • I had a parent of a fourth-grader tell me in so many words that he didn’t want her learning anything he didn’t know. I had mentioned the word evolution in science class.

          • Damaris, that is tragic. Most of what I “know” (at least in my line of work) is already obsolete. If I insisted that only what I “know” gets passed on to my kids, how backward would that have taken them?

  4. Today, I can detect the same odor that was in Mrs. Christina’s house in many homes. My husband and I share the belief that there is a distinct odor that accompanies poverty and lack.

    Pretty sure Jesus didn’t smell like Irish Spring during his time on Earth….

    What does this crowd think of this quote from the article on church growth trends? The speaker is the head pastor of a church.

    The role of the pastor is to reproduce spiritual sons in the Lord. They are our ministry,” Lawson says. “My first ministry is my staff, and my ministry is to help equip them for the purpose that God has for them.

    (what about the rest of the congregation? and shouldn’t a pastor be just as much (or more) a counselor as a coach?)

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I don’t even know where to begin with this. Maybe we can start with how she can smell poverty as it has a distinct odor. Or how being poor is keeping you from fulfilling your spiritual assignments. Your turn.

    How about her “Spirit of Poverty”, the cause of that “distinct odor”. Like smelling-out witches, so this woman smells out DEMONS by their aroma. After all, if you’re poor, You Must Have a DEMON in you. (Just like how light bulbs burn out because of the DEMONS. Start with the tongues…

    P.S. My writing partner told me about a woman he’d read recently in Charisma Magazine. Since October is upon us, the “Devil’s Holiday” War on Halloween is ramping up again. This woman was making magick amulets (inscribed with the name JESUS) to ward off the Halloween DEMONS. (At least we only have one month of Halloween Satanic Panic, Hell Houses, Tribulation Trails, Trunk or Treat, Reformation Days, and Christian Harvest Festivals before the War on Christmas kicks off.)

    • Poverty is caused by demons which cause poor people to develop habits like not paying their car insurance.

      Could it possibly be that poor people don’t regularly pay their car insurance because – gasp! – they haven’t got enough money to pay all their bills and they’d prefer to chance driving without insurance and spending that money on food?

      Yes, poverty has a smell. It’s called “living in damp, dirty houses, having to wear old clothes, not being able to paint and decorate and spend money on fripperies, having to walk everywhere in all kinds of weathers” and more.

      What kills me about that is that she has some good points – a lot of poor people who have lived in bad conditions for generations weren’t taught basic life skills, do get depressed and used to living in rundown conditions, and can use help and advice, and that’s it’s part of the Christian life to do that – the Seven Corporal and Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy.

      Then she goes on to say poor people get used to living with empty fridges and only having milk once a week, as though it’s a choice they make, as though they’re just too careless and complacent to do the grocery shopping. If you have a choice between “pay the rent and keep a roof over my/the family’s heads this week” or “fill the fridge”, then maybe you decide you need a house more than you need a pound of steak (that packet of noodles in the back of the cupboard is still good, after all).

      This is the mean-sided other side of the coin of the Prosperity Gospel: God wants you to be rich and happy, and if you’re not, it’s your own fault and you’re demon-possessed, to boot.

      Then

      • I had the same thoughts, Martha. There is a good point in what she says about dealing with the mindset of generational poverty — but I don’t think she ought to be the one doing it. Her insistence on expressing every one of her opinions and actions in Biblespeak is what really annoys me — “The spirit of poverty,” “I’ve ministered in this area,” “without transformation of the mind, there will be no transition to the next level.” What??! Ultimately she’s the pharisee praying next to the tax collector in the temple (and, having pointed that out, so am I).

      • That Other Jean says:

        A hundred years ago, “the smell of poverty” included boiled cabbage and damp wool–cheap food, no place to bathe, and nowhere to get really warm and dry in winter. Today, it’s more likely to be ramen noodles and unwashed clothes, because there’s no money for better food or the laundromat. No demons necessary.

      • Dan Crawford says:

        Thank you, Martha. The more I read this woman’s rant, the more I wanted to tell her she hasn’t a clue. I am reminded of the politician who when asked during the never-ending presidential campaign of 2012 what he would say to a young man who had cancer but had no insurance, replied: “Prepare to die.” He campaigned as a “pro-life” Christian.

      • This is the mean-sided other side of the coin of the Prosperity Gospel: God wants you to be rich and happy, and if you’re not, it’s your own fault and you’re demon-possessed, to boot.

        They do the same thing with other areas of life. I used to have clinical depression for years and years and still have anxiety to a degree, and they will tell you that you’re not praying hard enough, not tithing regularly, not having enough faith.

        God warns believers from blaming the victim like that in the book of Job in the Old Testament, but today’s Word of Faithers (as well as some fundy Baptists and Neo Calvinists) do the same exact thing.

    • Headless, how I know we’re coming up to Hallowe’en is because the shops have the Christmas confectionery in stock now :-)

    • Cedric Klein says:

      Hey, I participated in my Church’s (Assembly of God) Trunk or Treat last year. I decked out my trunk with little rubber bats & plastic skeletons. No one said a word against it & the kids wanted the bats & skeletons almost more than they did the candy. It did my heart good.

  6. Marcus Johnson says:

    I have always found the climate change naysayers to be a bit of a hoot, only because it requires such a suspense of basic logic. It seems only natural that if chemicals are released into the air, and those chemicals build in density because they have nowhere else to go, the resulting effect would impact the climate (and if those chemicals are unhealthy, then that climate change would be negative). I have often considered bringing some of my naysayers homies into a house with a fireplace, closing the flue and windows, and lighting a fire, then saying, “Let’s just see if this is going to have a negative impact on our health.”

    Or is that going over the top, just a little?

    Granted, anyone can commission a scientific study nowadays, and I wouldn’t be so naive as to say that there is no political motive behind many of them. In addition, the political rhetoric, as well as some of the initiatives, generated by advocates of climate change awareness, can go insanely left of center. But to dismiss the basic logic that underscores their message and is evidenced by their studies, seem more than just a little insane.

    • +1

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      +1

      And is not the core of Conservative philosophy to be risk averse? That even is there is a *reasonable possibility* that negative climactic changes could be the result of doing X, Y, and Z that we should consider A, B & C instead? That is conservatism. Do not change things because there will be unintended consequences, things operate a certain way due to potentially unknown and unknowable substructures. Therefore unknowable causalities exist; be risk averse and averse to change without compelling motivation.

      The lower-c conservative attitude towards climate science is incoherent.

    • What gets me most about climate change is that it could be true and could not be true. But how do we re-act to the possibility? I grew up and was schooled through an attempt at college in a strongly dutch, christian reformed community (possibly similar to Mule’s, I had many acquaintances from his mid-western area). The only responsibility concerning resources is financial. I had professor who had to defend himself against the students when he said the focus on ‘most stuff for the least money’ was seriously misplaced. As a students we had grown up with the mentality that what is good for the wallet is what is good, period. And wow, I have noticed the same mentality with out change. I honestly just don’t get it.

      Of course, as I am hunting and pecking this out, I realize that miss ‘smell of poverty’ would fit in very well in this community. All of God’s blessing can be viewed in the pocketbook (or maybe in some other manner quickly at the end of the sermon as an afterthought that doesn’t even tie in with the last 30 minutes of how god wants you to be healthy wealthy and wise). Notice how God only loves and blesses those who appear to be successful beautiful clean nice happy middle-class americans? The message I have heard too many times is that if you apply the bibles principles to your job you will be successful and the company you work for will shower you with ‘Gods blessings’. So, that means that when my wife got laid off after 12 years she obviously was being un-biblical and not a godly employee. Or does the ‘concept’ and logic only work in a certain direction? (OK, the proper answer is that we are being ‘led’ to no longer maintain vehicles, do all shopping at the bargain bin, and wonder if we can keep the house. There is a special calling you are being prepared for, these times are lessons that are preparing you for that ‘mission’. I gotta stop or I’lll explode with sarcasm! Thanks for letting me rant.)

      • The hardest thing for me in dealing with a past (thank God!) period of unemployment (because my long term place of employment no longer existed) was hearing all the well meaning Christians who either told me not to worry about (easy to say when you ARE employed) or told me to follow God’s plans and principles and the blessings would come. Wait! I thought I WAS following God’s plans and principles when I lost my job. At a time in my life when I needed Christian care and concern, I was pushed further away, because obviously my lack of funds was my own fault.

        • I would suggest that the libertarian ideology and its views of money and wealth have replaced God’s ‘economy’ in many or most of our churches…In my experience as well, this idea that it’s your fault if your lacking funds is nearly universal – now.

          • So true, Andrew. Our church’s readings today were about helping the poor and words of caution to the rich, but I rarely see that played out in Christian reality any more. It’s now perfectly ok to be rich as long as you give some token amount to church. But give a poor person money??? They’ll just waste it, we all know, and that is why they are poor.

    • I take it that the argument is not if it exists or not, but what is the cause. The liberals say climate change is all man made, and the conservatives disagree with the extent of it.

      I’m a right winger, Republican, and conservative.

      To everyone in this conversation:
      Please just remember when criticizing right wing views you do not like, that there are fairly regular readers here (such as myself) who are right wing.

      I see the same thing at TWW, where most readers tend to be anti YEC, who don’t seem to remember or care that some of the particiopants are YEC, such as myself…

      Then I see in comments by some people that anti Global Climate Changers, YEC, (or whomever the favorite whipping boy is), get insulted in all sorts of ways; we are supposedly hicks, anti science, idiots, puppy killers, etc.

      I think people can be a little more charitable in how they discuss the issues. You do have YECs and anti GCCs reading these conversations.

      I generally am not interested in debating these particular subjects myself, but I do scroll down the comments and get tired of being depicted as a moron simply for views I hold or because I don’t fully agree with yours.

      I’ve pointed this out before in older threads here (and at TWW) on YEC (where everyone is vilifying or ridiculing YECs), but it never seems to do any good.

      You do have people who disagree reading this stuff, but maybe choose to only lurk, not post… if you are concerned about them leaving the Christian faith (like I’ve been close to doing), you might want to tone down the insults or mockery of your opposition. Seeing Christians unfairly or needlessly mock people who share similar beliefs to mine (whether it’s YEC or whatever) turns me off to Christianity even more than I am already.

      • Daisy, I understand your feelings and am sorry if I’ve ever given cause for offense. I find myself feeling the same way about iMonk comments, but on other topics than this one, ones where I disagree with the most vocal commenters. Oddly, I notice that the comment threads I agree with generally seem objective and factual to me, but the threads I don’t agree with seem vituperative and opinionated. I suspect in both cases no one is addressing me personally. (Given our delight in tangents, most of the time no one is addressing me personally even when I wrote the original article!) So please don’t feel attacked — tomorrow you may find affirmation here from the same people who currently seem threatening.

      • I’m a Southern Baptist conservative who believes in evolution, sells wine for a living, and who tries to take care of the environment the way half broke people do–limited driving, no flying, going to farm stands. Nobody likes me because I don’t fit in a little box they’ve made for me. I do get offended by comments made here about Republicans because we are not walking around in lockstep singing Nazi show tunes while beating up gay people. Stereotypes of any kind are absolutely ridiculous.

        • After I wrote this I went to another website and found out a Vanity Fair editor has started a twitter hashtag called #peopletheGOPhate. National media outlet. Very nice.

  7. Regarding “Why Are Christians Broke”: well, since the Good Book says the love of money is the root of all evil, and is prone to connect the acquisition of large amounts of wealth with corrupt practices, and Jesus tells us to give the shirt off our back to anyone who asks, the better question might be Why Aren’t Christians Broke?

    And there is also a distinct odor that can be detected in the homes of those who hoard wealth (most of us); it arises from the presence of filthy lucre.

    • I find the “Why are Christian Broke” article very troubling. It seems to reflect a complete disconnect with the way our Lord approached the rich and poor in the gospels. His words of judgement and warning were almost always directed against the wealthy and privileged; in the New Testament, it’s the wealthy who have to beware their wealth, since love of money is the root of all evil, and there is even a sense in which the New Testament requires the wealthy to justify the possession of their wealth by using it for the furtherance of the Kingdom.

      When Jesus speaks about the widow giving her last mite, he doesn’t tell his disciples: See this woman; all her life she has been under bondage to spirits of poverty, and now she has nothing left but this one mite, which she has foolishly and unwisely put in the charity box, a decision which reflects her lack of prudence and understanding and her slavery to oppressive economic spirits. Be not like her.

      How has this message of Jesus been turned upside-down, so that now Christians view the New Testament, and the Bible in general, as a guidebook for successful and affluent living?

      How awful!

      • David Cornwell says:

        Many times I’ve thought about just how easy it would be to tipped over into total poverty, without a means to feed those I love (including me). I’m retired now, so have a little more cushion, but medical costs could still send me into ruin very quickly.

        There have been times when a week or two without a job could have cost me my car, perhaps my home, disconnected utilities and on and on. Find yourself it that situation and see just how difficult it is to extricate yourself from it. For instance a large deposit may be required to reconnect, in addition to back payments. Or if you rent and are kicked out, a new landlord may be difficult to come by.

        Use food stamps and notice the disapproving look of those behind you in line. Need a prescription filled for whatever condition you may have and find out at the pharmacy that for some reason the insurance won’t pay, or the price has gone up unannounced.

        Or lose a job and feel the total helplessness that grips at your very soul.

        A couple of weeks ago I was leaving the church parking lot, across the street from the church, and a woman in a decent looking car approached me and told me a story about a desperate need for medication, and she didn’t have the money. She had the prescriptions with her for proof. She needed around $20 to get it filled, but didn’t have it. She was diabetic. Now, I know, she may have been conning me. Maybe I’m an easy mark. But I really don’t care. I did believe her. But, I only had $2.00 with me in cash, which I gave to her. I told her to go in the church and talk to someone there. I probably could have done more to help by taking her into the church myself. But– I had to hurry.

        I’ll tell you, we better be careful how we judge the poor. And then let the rich totally off the hook.

        • My wife and I are almost there, David. It’s scary. We’ve been on the edge for years. The stress is terrible.

        • David Cornwell says:

          In retrospect I think how I could have handled the situation with this lady. I could have gone to the pharmacy with her and paid for her meds. But, I was in a hurry for personal reasons, which now I can’t even remember. It’s easier just to dismiss someone.

          Robert F, your situation makes me very sad. So sorry. I can only imagine the stress.

        • ” I’ll tell you, we better be careful how we judge the poor. And then let the rich totally off the hook.”

          Hi DAVID,
          I read your comment and thought how many ‘helps’ that a certain political party has given to the rich and to the corporate world in the form of tax breaks and special protections from accountability. The recent presidential election high-lighted the contempt of that party for the poor in a way that was unmistakable. At least, it’s ‘out there’ about the contempt.

          • Careful, you don’t want to offend Daisy.

            Remember, some of the readers here think it’s perfectly OK to show contempt for the poor and favoritism to the rich.

          • And if I brought up certain subjects in sunday school etc I could hear that contempt every sunday morning if I wanted to. That contempt is almost a point of doctrine in many of our churches… Oh it doesn’t “sound” like contempt – it’s veiled of course – but its odor can’t be hidden…

            If one believes in a God of justice and smiting – the american church and its misuse of money (temples of entertainment) and it’s worship of money (prosperity gospel – word of faithers) are someday going to be mightily chastised…. and I hope I can graciously surrender to it because I’m guilty as well…

  8. I believe human produced disastrous climate change is happening and going to accelerate. I also believe that not much will be done about it, because any effectual policy of change would involve enormous, immediate economic dislocations that would cause untold, immediate human suffering.

    Developed wealthy nations are not about to voluntarily give up their affluence. Poorer underdeveloped nations are not about to give up their projects of development. To sustain or develop affluence requires huge amounts of inexpensive energy production; inexpensive energy production, and arguably production of huge amounts of energy even with a higher price tag, inevitably causes massive environmental degradation (I know there are those who will point to things like wind farms and say that there are eco-friendly alternative energy sources that will do the job; but I’m not sure that: 1) they are capable of producing the large amounts of energy needed; 2) they will be affordable for the huge world population we have; 3) they won’t have disastrous environmental side-effects themselves, as an example the huge tracts of land that have been developed by the currently existing wind farms, which don’t even begin to address the massive demand for energy the entire global population requires) .

    This will continue in the future, unless we are all forced by some turn of events, forced perhaps by some as yet non-existent world government, to make the changes deemed necessary, which will introduce a different kind of nightmare. I think it’s not unwarranted to hazard a projection and say that in the not too distant future, our world will appear very similar to the one depicted in the dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner, grim, grey, urbanized, densely populated, ugly, lightless. A global Dark Satanic Mill.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Hey, I know the feeling, Robert F.

      I have learned, though, when talking about my position on climate change, to use the word “accept” instead of “believe,” as in, “I accept that human produced disastrous climate change is happening and going to accelerate.” It feels inappropriate to talk about proven theories in terms of belief, as in “I believe that 2 plus 2 equals 4,” or, “I believe that gravity is real.” For some reason, the climate change naysayers I have come into contact with choose do deal with my assertions about climate change as “beliefs,” personally held convictions that exist in my head and can be changed with the right argument. Have you discovered the same thing?

    • How to “cure” the problem of climate change? You DON’T! How will the world survive the dislocation and the disasters that will inevitably follow? The exact same way humanity has survived every other natural disaster in the past: adapt or die.

      There is absolutely NOTHING that can be done to change what is happening TODAY, and very LITTLE that can be done to change what will happen in the next generation. A ball THIS large (climate change, that is) has great momentum and will necessarily roll to wherever it is inclined till it loses that momentum. We may be able to slow that momentum ever so slightly but it is the human ability to adapt and survive that will see this thing out. Many will not survive, the rich will be the ones who prosper and the poor will do what the poor always do, die. In the end a newer paradigm will emerge and a newer way of life will begin, but we will not be here to see it.

      Wringing our hands and haranguing others will not make us happy or feel secure. This is the way of the world, But Jesus gave us the way to peace with God, something that climate can never change. Take heart in THAT!

    • Robert F – +1

    • “I think it’s not unwarranted to hazard a projection and say that in the not too distant future, our world will appear very similar to the one depicted in the dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner, grim, grey, urbanized, densely populated, ugly, lightless. A global Dark Satanic Mill.”

      I’m thinking more along the lines of “The Hunger Games.” The glorious Capital is already in place and well populated with thugs and miscreants.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And D.C. has the bling and social whirl of Panem. All Righteous, all showing how Correct and Conscious you are, faux simplicity and concern and compassion and Correctness that it may be seen by Men. All completely isolated from the commoners outside the Beltway.

        I’ve told Eagle that D.C. should just change their name to Panem and start hosting the Hunger Games.

        • Nah – D.C. is mostly policy wonk types, and extremely unstylish/uninterested in fashion (both men and women).

          Besides that… much of D.C. is black: from rich to poor.

          Yes, there’s a very high-price spread A-Party circuit (also a B-Party circuit) and you can read about that in The Washingtonian (local magazine), but most people are just trying to make a halfway decent living.

        • @HUG…..the upper crust women already look like they are winning in the Hunger Games, insofar as one could sustain deep cuts from brushing up against their prominent bones…..

  9. Re, the Outreach Top 100 list: Does anyone know if similar data exists for Canada?

  10. Wait a min – I didn’t see Ed Young Jr. on either list! I guess sex doesn’t sell as well as we all hoped…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Time for another Seven Day Sex Challenge delivered from the Bed-In on the Megachurch roof!

  11. That “Why Christians Are Broke” article…yeesh. I don’t know whether to point and laugh, or get angry. I do find it comforting, though, how few of the commenters on that article are buying what she’s selling.

  12. I do experience that same thing. But my experience is that most people are climate change naysayer, not in what they say but in their lifestyles (me included). It’s hard to argue with others when you are doing the same thing they are.

    I choose to call it a belief, not because I don’t accept there is strong, trustworthy evidence for it, but because it is not self-evidently obvious, such as 2 plus 2 equals 4 (which is not a scientifically established truth, but a logical fact), on the one hand, and it relies on extraordinarily complex models and projections that require extremely sophisticated interpretation about things that I have no expertise in and that are almost arcane, on the other; my own belief is based on the distillation and integration of that interpretation that the consensus of the scientific community has made (I think that peer review and scientific methodology make it difficult for lies to have a very long life in that community, so I trust that they are not involved in some vast fraudulent enterprise intended to sell a bill of goods to the rest of us; note, its the method, and not the character of scientists as a group, that tends toward truth), combined with my own belief that what happens in the microcosm reflects what is happening in the macrocosm: if a stream can be fouled up by human pollution, then it only stands to reason that all the waterways can be fouled up the same way, given enough pollution over a long enough period of time.

    And from what I can see, we’ve reached the point where that’s exactly what’s happening. Now, there is no question that we cannot ruin nature. The earth is just a small pinpoint in the vast creation, and what happens here will be absorbed into the ongoing life, and death, of the universe. In that sense, when the deniers say that nature is self-adjusting and can balance man-made depredations, they are correct; but their frame of reference is incorrect. The earth can be made uninhabitable for human life and other more developed forms of life by human activity, perhaps for all life, although that’s a harder point to make. Nature will sweep whatever we throw off balance into the cosmos, but where would that leave us and most of the animal kingdom? Dead and gone.

    • Robert, I pretty much agree with what you are saying, but except for making the world a radioactive cinder, I don’t think we have the capability of making the earth uninhabitable for ALL life, We MAY make it so for HUMAN life, but the Great Extinction that eliminated dinosaurs from the earth ALSO gave rise to mammalian dominance. Life has a way of surviving. Maybe not human, but life never the less.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      >I do experience that same thing. But my experience is that most people are climate change naysayer,
      >not in what they say but in their lifestyles (me included). It’s hard to argue with others when you are
      >doing the same thing they are.

      Not really.

      First: I *accept*, based on substantiated scientific evidence, human driven climate change; I do not *believe* in human driven climate change.

      Second: I do not make massive life-style changes based on that acceptable. Because all the cardon-footprint green-energy eat-organic foo foo is just that – it is crap. It is like pitching in pennies to build a mission to mars. An individual’s tweency weency changes, if that matter at all [which is doubtful in most cases], certainly do not matter in any even insignifiant sense. Climate change is an large, massive, scale problem – any real-world solution, with a whelps chance in a super-nova of denting the problem, needs to be at scale as well. Anything else and we might as well just kick back and watch the oceans both rise and die [which is the likely outcome as at-scale solutions seem as politically impossible as colonists eating an ice-cream cones on Mars by 2017].

      Aside: I use public transporation and I recycle, etc… but I do so because there are other, substantial, reasons for doing so; the near-term rewards of which can be realized on an individual or at least a community level. If there is any hope it is in the now rapid rise of urbanization and hyper-urbanization [cities uses dramatically fewer resources and produce dramatically less waste per cap than lower density spaces]. One can only hope that [now quite rapid] trend can manage to make a significant impact before it just doesn’t matter; but even that is a bet with long odds.

      • 1) In order to accept a proposition, one must first understand it and then believe it.

        2) If what you’re saying about lifestyle changes being ineffectual in the face of the need for changes made at scale level is true, then niceties of argument and terminology in the attempt to dialogue with deniers is also ineffectual in addressing the problem, since a changed opinion wouldn’t be worth a hill of beans.

        3) I agree with you about urbanization, although many suburbanites might find the idea counter-intuitive and resist it.

        • Brianthedad says:

          We exurb and rural folk might also take issue. I think, perhaps, that the loss of community (ironic, huh?), along with the problems of urbanization, might outweigh the economies of scale. One of the bulletin board items at the top of the imonk page age addresses this,

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > I think, perhaps, that the loss of community (ironic, huh?),

            What loss of community? This is a presumption, there are ample opportunities for community in urban areas. That is simply people’s choice. Now, for a long time urban areas were very poorly designed and facilitated ghettoization – this contributed to the creation of suburban sprawl in the first place. The new urban areas are designed very differently with emphasis with access, walkability, and green spaces.

            > along with the problems of urbanization

            Which would be? [not that urbanization does not have any].

            > One of the bulletin board items at the top o

            Yea, I’ve read that. It definitely reflects some specific socioeconomic biases.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > 1) In order to accept a proposition, one must first understand it and then believe it.

          I do not think so. I find believing [something one choices to do with a less than concrete argument or in the face of incomplete data] to accepting a proposition based on heap loads of concurrent data provided by multiple credible sources. Even if you doubt some of the sources, they are all agreeing on something; one must consider that intellectually, or one is simply dishonest.

          >2) If what you’re saying about lifestyle changes being ineffectual in the face of the
          >need for changes made at scale level is true, then niceties of argument and
          >terminology in the attempt to dialogue with deniers is also ineffectual in
          >addressing the problem, since a changed opinion wouldn’t be worth a hill of beans.

          (a) I do not believe you will change a deniers mind. I’ve spent a lot of time trying. For many there is a no difference between belief and intellectual-acceptance. Arguments and evidence cannot move a committed believer. If someone is a denier, at this point in the game, they do so out of belief; they have no evidence, and they do not care about evidence. It is important in a debate to recognize the futility of arguing a point which the other side CANNOT ACCEPT. For them Climate science is bogus, point blank, there is nothing to discuss. Shrug and move on. Something might change their position someday. It will not be argument or debate.

          (b) A changed opinion matters because
          (b.1.) truth is valuable, in its own right. ideas are held in the minds of souls, and souls and everything about them matters. This I *believe*.
          (b.2.) any scant hope of an at-scale solution rises imperceptibly whenever a denier abandons their belief.

          >3) I agree with you about urbanization, although many suburbanites might find the idea
          >counter-intuitive and resist it

          Mmm, some. Not many. The numbers are clear. A good thing has happened – urban sprawl has stopped cold. Property prices in suburbs are not returning from crash levels at the same rates as urban property prices.

          Some people will resist the trend – as long as they can afford it [suburbs in many places are going to start to see steep declines in services and quality of services or face *real* tax increases]. They’ll believe when the street doesn’t get fixed and the snow plow doesn’t arrive [some places have already told residents – you want services like snow removal? figure it out].

          And some suburbs are fine, they can be reasonably managed. And they are appropriate places for some people to live. They just need to own their true cost of operation. What is hopelessly unsustainable is the vast tracks of low-density suburbs; they just economically do not work, they are thousands and thousands of miles of paved roads, curbs, storm drains, water systems,…. to support a scant capita per square mile. Building them was heavily subsidized [and do not let a developer tell you otherwise], now they are 10, 20, 30.. years old and need maintenance or overhaul.

          The baby boomers are aging, retiring and driving less. Less driving = urban [you cannot do it anywhere else]. America passed peak-diven-miles-per-capita in 2004, the decline has been steady and sustained ever since. Less driving equals less pollution [a lot less as cars account for a healthy share of emissions]. It has fallen from 900 miles per month to 820 miles per month … across millions of people. At the other end of the age spectrum the change is even more radical; driving has declined 23% for those under 34 since 2001. 23% is a gob-smack number statistically. A telling number in that data is that younger people are significantly less likely to even have a driver’s license – which is a real sea-change for American culture. I suggest siting back and paying attention to advertisements aimed at younger people – note in the adds what they are not doing [driving] and what they are doing [riding, walking]. If you watch for awhile I think you’ll be shocked, and think back to what was on TV when we were young and pretty [or at least less frumpy, or not, ahh, youth]. The best thing to do given the political situation is to support cities [whatever one you are in] in building the infrastructure and policies to support this trend, to make it a viable choice in as many places as possible. That can help turn the tide – albeit indirectly – and bite into the climate pie. Offering people better and more-affordable life styles is an easier sell than changing people’s minds about things that they either do not care about, have time for, or simply – do not believe in.

          • I’m unwilling to attribute the amount of bad faith to all deniers that you do.

          • I do know that the municipal funds that would be necessary to keep the extensive network of streets that the suburbs require to function just do not exist; increasingly, local roads will go unmaintained, unless taxes in suburban municipalities are raised significantly, which would have the effect of making suburbs less and less affordable and attractive to people.

            Apparently, this was something never taken into account when the suburbs were being developed after WWII; or maybe they just thought there would be enough money raised through municipal taxation to cover it. But there isn’t enough.

  13. Actually, Oscar, I did agree in my comment with what you say about it being unlikely that we could destroy all life on this planet; as you say, life is very tenacious.

    Even if we had a major nuclear disaster or war, it’s entirely possible, even likely, that insect and aquatic and microscopic life would find a way to survive. Some species would not only adapt but become dependent on the new radioactive climate; this has already happened in the water around the atolls where our underwater nuclear weapons tests were conducted.

    In the long run, of course, the entire universe is hurtling toward heat death by way of entropy; the balance of nature is not absolute. In fact, all of nature, earth and everything else, is listing ever so slowly toward the grave. Ultimately, as Christians, our hope is not in ensuring that the earth exists forever, or even that we exist forever. Only God can do either one of those.

    But it is our responsibility to live in a way that honors what God has created, and that makes careful and sober use of everything: this we have not done. Ironically, it’s science as applied in technology that has accelerated and exponentially increased our misuse of the planet; since science has provided the means for the deterioration, only science can develop the means for addressing it, from a human perspective.

    • Ok Robert. You stated “this we have not done” about careful and sober use, but are you speaking of Christians in particular, or mankind in general. Mankind, being in rebellion against God, has no such responsibility, being under no code other than whatever they allow to be important, a purely subjective morality. We can see this in developing nations whose only goal is to become as prosperous as western nations (see: China and India), hence their greater disregard for carbon emissions and general pollution. This is why I am pessimistic about the “World Community” getting their act together to forestall disaster. Someone HAS to lose, but which peoples are willing to offer themselves?

      • Oscar,
        My theology is not the same as yours, so my view of the responsibility of all humanity before God is different. I believe all humanity is responsible before God, and answerable to God, and that we as human beings are constitutionally formed to live into this responsibility as it relates directly to God, to other human beings and to the rest of creation.

        Even among the most secular human beings you will often find the recognition that we have responsibility to each other as human beings in community; conversely, there are Christian people who are very deficient in recognizing the mutuality involved in being human. God is the only judge of the heart.

        To the degree that those developing nations are trying to develop their economies in the interest of making a more human and humane life for their citizens, they are honoring the image of God that each human being carries; you can hardly blame them for wanting what we refuse to give up.

        I do not expect the much to be done about this issue by the so-called World Community; but if someone must lose, why shouldn’t it be those among whom we find ourselves rather than others? Certainly, I’m not interested in sacrificing anyone else so that I and mine may flourish.

  14. “A Tale of Two Cities: A Cautionary Tale for One-Percenters.”

    “Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Games Children Play.”

    “Star Wars: Crappy Dads and the Damage They Cause.”

    • Love Wins: But It Doesn’t Win Over My Critics
      I Kissed Dating Goodbye: More Rules To Keep You Safe
      Left Behind: Decent Plot and Realistic Characterizations Raptured Too

      • Nice ones, Rick.

        The Brothers Karamazov: Death to Dad

        The Call of the Wild: Getting to Alpha

        The Scarlett Letter: 50 Shades of Red

        Plato’s the Republic: Solving Democracy’s Problems

        The Lord of the Rings: How to Win over Nasty Neighbors

        Moby Dick: Deadly Obsessions

        The Divine Comedy: What your friends will be doing in Hell

        Frankenstein: Taming your Inner Monsters

        The Picture of Dorian Gray: How to Stay Young Forever

  15. Vega Magnus says:
  16. Am I the only one who is bothered by this?

    No. And that truck driver is clearly not a Calvinist.

  17. Jeff – Do you have some posts explaining why you’ve decided to become Catholic? Thanks. :)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      The fish fries during Lent are awesome! Seriously, the parish [St. Alphonsus] church near my house – that is the best @^$&*@*(@ fried fish in the entire city. People wait in line for hours, Catholic and not, to get in there.

      I [whom an not Jeff] have been trending that direction for awhile; and I cannot deny that a simple [superficial?] reason is they just have more fun, OMG so much for fun than the Evangelicals. The atmosphere is both austere and serious, and so much more relaxed. Evangelicalism seems so frenetic, even panicy, by comparison; a culture with a siege mentality.

      • I’ve been to some fun Catholic fish fries myself. I’m so old, I even went when they couldn’t eat meat on Fridays. :)

  18. As for climate change and man-made disasters: Here is arguably the most evil man of the 20th century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley,_Jr.

    • Katharina von Bora says:

      Right, you know, a mechanical engineer who didn’t fully understand the implications of his inventions…clearly more evil than genocidal mass murderers and totalitarian despots.

      If basic intellectual mediocrity and low grade avarice is all it takes to be “the most evil” of an entire era, there’s going to be some stiff competition…

      • Agree with you, Katharina; and besides, if we had to give such an accolade to anyone, I think it should be Kerkule, the German chemist who had the dream that allowed him to invent the synthetic molecular structure that we call plastic, without which much of what we now call reality would not exist.

        • Katharina von Bora says:

          The world would be more pristine, I guess, if there were no plastic (though there would still be coal and wood smoke, among other things). A lot of us would not be alive, however. I guess to a strict environmentalist that is a good thing. I disagree. I like this world that has more disabled people, elderly people, weak babies who grow to thrive because of scientific advances. I like it better than some imagined empty pure meadow.

          • Katharina,
            I just meant to make a little joke. Without modern medical science, many of us wouldn’t have survived infancy. I’m not an Earth Firster.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            I think what you are actually opposed to is not Environmentalism, but Luddism. The two can certainly be entangled; but no more intrinsically so than Christianity and Racism, or Christianity and Free-Market-Libertarianism. It is important to see two things as two things and not one thing just because they overlap somewhere.

            Yes, Luddism is prevalent. It is also very very stupid, and appluaded by people who are [in my no humble at all opinion] very very ignorant. We are currently having “ArtPrize” where I live – it is an enormous [some say the world’s largest] art show. Luddism is front-and-center. Lots of ‘profound’ pieces made of out recycled materials or just trash; clearly that is the hip thing [it ceased to be anything like profound years ago after hundreds of people did it, but….].

            Luddism is so easily answered – “So, have you ever taken antibiotics? You should refuse them from now on.” It is a mistake to let such foolishness damage the rest of the discussion.

          • Katharina von Bora says:

            Why then, Adam, did environmentalists push to make the basic asthma inhalers that I and a severely asthmatic friend both depend on to be able to breathe, illegal? Based on the tiny, token amount of CFCs they release. Compared to the impact from big corporations, it is nothing. But it’s easier to sell taking the life-saving medication out of the hands of those who need it than it is to do something that makes a real impact, and we have to DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! DO ANYTHING! PANIC! about the environment, so there we go. Now our medication is half as effective and five times more expensive–no exaggeration.

            You’re no true scotsmanning here. There are plenty of environmentalists who hate the weak. It’s part of the ideology.

  19. What if all the largest churches laid down their “brands” and united as one church? What could we accomplish in Jesus’ name?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Keep working on that; let us know how it goes. :)

      Honestly, I do not think it would accomplish much. The different brands do not bother me. Humans form communities and institutions, that is what humans do. If the local Baptist church wanted to organize a weekend to clean up the trash from the bus stops – I’d be right there, I’m sure we’d have a good time. I know some baptists who come to the Catholic fish fries during Lent. The animosity on a local level is greatly exaggerated. The big chiefs of some camps beat the drums – I pretty much think it doesn’t matter, almost nobody is paying attention to them. Some communities are aggressively factional, but they are few and ever fewer – just wait them out.

  20. There are actually some grains of truth in the Charisma article… I mean, I don’t think it does any good to tie everything to demonic or unclean spirits, but I actually think she does have some points about people be blinded to their living conditions. I can think of people my parents helped growing up – they would spend days moving them into new apartments, and within a few weeks, their apartments would be filthy again. I always wondered growing up how people couldn’t notice it. This isn’t to blame the victim or anything, but I think that there are plenty of poor people who are where they because of their own decisions and laziness. That might not be a politically correct opinion here, but oh well

    That’s not to say the prosperity gospel will save anyone. All it does is make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The thing that sickens me is seeing wealthy pastors actively exploit poor people. That really pisses me off.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The thing that sickens me is seeing wealthy pastors actively exploit poor people. That really pisses me off.

      Didn’t it also piss off a string of Jewish prophets and a certain Rabbi from Nazareth?

    • Vega Magnus says:

      Yeah, I’m sure that there are plenty of lazy poor people, but the issue is when people paint all of them with the same brush and treat them badly because of it.

      • And there are also a lot of lazy rich people. They just don’t get villified for it, because it never shows.