July 22, 2018

Saturday Ramblings, June 28, 2014

Welcome to the weekend, fellow imonkers.


Totally not racist

I’m always surprised by which Rambling items generate the most discussion. Last week it was the Patent Court throwing out the trademark of the Washington Redskins.  Some commentators wondered if Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo was next on the chopping block, and that may indeed be the case.  “It’s been offensive since day one,” Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache, told NBC News. “We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people.

Uruguayan futbol player Luis Suarez will miss the rest of the World Cup because of a four month suspension.  His crime: biting an opposing player on the shoulder, which is apparently apparently against the rules (this being soccer I’m really not sure). This is actually the third time in the last few years that Suarez has bitten another player on the field.  But hey, at least Suarez has sympathizers out there: 3cb

I think Ann Coulter was being serious.  I haven’t read her column before, so I could be wrong. And I hope I am.  Coulter published a piece with a very clear premise:” any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay. ” Okaaaaayyyy…..Ms. Coulter, what exactly are your arguments?

  1. Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer
  2. Liberal moms like soccer because it’s a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.
  3. No other “sport” ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer.
  4. The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare.
  5. You can’t use your hands in soccer…. What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs.
  6. I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer.
  7. It’s foreign.
  8. Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it’s European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren’t committing mass murder by guillotine.

These are all exact quotes by the way.  Really.  I promise.  Just click on the link, I swear she really said this. Her final point, by the way, is to make all the above rather irrelevant because “Soccer is not ‘catching on’…

And by the way, doesn’t the World Cup logo look like a face palm?  Were they thinking of Coulter when they designed it?


Did you know that  in New Mexico’s 400-year history with the Roman Catholic Church that no-one from the territory has been considered for Sainthood?  Until now.  The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Wednesday it is exploring sainthood for an Italian-born nun, Sister Blandina Segale. The sister was an educator and social worker, but was best known for tangling with Billy the Kid: “According to one story, she received a tip that The Kid was coming to her town to scalp the four doctors who had refused to treat his friend’s gunshot wound. Segale nursed the friend to health, and when Billy came to Trinidad, Colorado, to thank her, she asked him to abandon his violent plan. He agreed.”  Another story says The Kid and his gang attempted to rob a covered wagon. But when the  outlaw looked inside, he saw Segale, tipped his hat, and left.

The always-good-for-a-crazy-quote Pat Robertson gave his informed opinion of tattoos this week. He was asked it they were okay if they were of religious themes.  NO WAY, said the Patster: “It doesn’t make it okay because it’s religious, believe me. I mean, it could be a tattoo of some hoochie-cooch girl. It doesn’t really make any difference….Tattooing is heathen practice. It is not a Christian practice, to mar the body that [God] gave you. And you see people that have gone crazy on this, and their bodies are just filled with these things. It is a heathen practice, and it is prohibited in the Old Testament. So that fact that it’s Jesus doesn’t make a bit of difference.”  Now you know.  By the way, I like to think I am well-read, but what exactly is a “hoochie-cooch girl”?

A company called Faith Perceptions (no, that is not the name of a new line of Christian perfumes, but it should be) says it helps churches by: “1)consulting directly with churches to create a hospitality experience for guests; 2) training church leaders on how to engage and welcome new people, and; 3) market research”.  Part of the way the way they help create “hospitality experiences” (look it up in a concordance) is the Mystery Guest Program, in which they shell out $45 to non-churched people to attend your church and then rate it on a ten point scale in 16 categories.  They just published a summary of their findings over the past few years, based upon 13,000 mystery shoppers, I mean guests, visiting 4,200 churches. The summary breaks the churches down by size: Micro-churches (under 80 people) up to Mega-churches. You can read the whole summary at the link above, if you want, but what struck me was how little difference there was.  Smaller churches scored better on friendliness and atmosphere, while larger churches scored better on preaching skill and programs.  But most of categories showed differences less than one point between the highest and lowest groups.

The building will be in the heart of Berlin, and it will be a church, and a synagogue and a mosque.  It will be called, The House of One, and will be built where the first church in Berlin once stood.  The pastor: “Under one roof: one synagogue, one mosque, one church. We want to use these rooms for our own traditions and prayers. And together we want to use the room in the middle for dialogue and discussion and also for people without faith.”  What do you think, imonkers?  Great idea or great apostasy? _75635371_floorplanDo you remember the Chinese Billionaire who tried to buy the New York Times last year because, “I am very good at working with Jews”?  Well, he was in the Times this week, for an publicity stunt involving a lavish dinner for the homeless and a promise to give each of them in attendance $300 cash.  When the cash fell through, he was left performing a “very awkward” keroke version of We Are The World, while his audience began to revolt.

Glen Beck and his pal Rush have both called Pope Francis a Marxist.  The Economist is having none of it: Francis, according to the magazine, is actually a Leninist.  So there.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) made a lot of news at their convention. First, the convention voted to re-define marriage as simply being between two-people (Polygamists will have to wait) and to allow clergy to perform same-sex weddings.  Next, they voted to divest in three companies that do business in Israel, in order to protest Israeli policies.  Finally, they also voted on a proposal to “enter a two-year season of reflection upon the plight of children unwanted by human society, both born and not-yet born” and “denounce the practice of killing babies born live following an abortion procedure, such as was revealed in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia.”  No-brainer right?  78 percent voted against the proposal. *facepalm Jesus

Meditation, at least in the form of “mindfulness” is very big stuff right now.  But some people, instead of being helped by it, actually become more depressed, even suicidal. The Atlantic has a fascinating piece on this.

And the great Eli Wallach died Tuesday at 98.  Wallach acted for over six decades, but he will always be Tuco to me.  Here is the final scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with Sergio Leone’s magisterial directing skills being matched by the great score from Ennio Morricone.

*updated at 9:15 a.m.: I need to be more fair to the PCUSA.  The amendment about children born alive also included a couple other policies that tilted pro-life.  You can read the full text here.


  1. Ann Coulter really needs to put the crack pipe down. I say this as a devoted republican.

    • She seems to overlook a few things. American pro sport leagues are heavy with bureaucracy and heavily managed by their respective commissioners, etc.. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all employ a draft, in which the lesser performing teams with the worst records have first choice of the best players vs the better performing teams. The NFL, NBA, and NHL have salary caps negotiated by unions. MLB has a luxury tax. Smells like “socialism” to me…….

    • Coulter is generally wry and sarcastic, as the comments on soccer clearly demonstrate. Don’t like her? Don’t read her.

      • Wry and sarcastic, I get. THIS is not that. I think Ms. Counter has had a massive overdose of a bad mix of uncut Randianism mixed with unverified ‘Muricanism, and should go into detox right away.

        • Should be “unpurified”. A thousand curses on autocorrect!!!

        • Dan Crawford says:

          When I read Coutler, I think a “liitle learning is not a dangerous thing, it is a profound ignorance”.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          My take on Coulter is she is cynical and manipulative. Her biography makes it unlikely that she is as stupid as she pretends to be. She is playing down to the rubes

          As for “wry and sarcastic,” this is essentially the dodge that Rush Limbaugh used for years. He arose as a major political player some two decades ago. Whenever he said something particularly egregious, the defense was that he is just an entertainer. In both cases it is the “just joking” defense: if called out for something you said, claim that it was just a joke. This put the onus on the person calling you out, for not having a sense of humor.

          • Robert F says:

            In the cases of Coulter and Limbaugh, the phrase “wry and sarcastic” has a decidedly social Darwinian implication.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Whenever he said something particularly egregious, the defense was that he is just an entertainer. In both cases it is the “just joking” defense: if called out for something you said, claim that it was just a joke. This put the onus on the person calling you out, for not having a sense of humor.

            And THAT is a standard tactic of a schoolyard bully.
            Shifting all the blame to the victim with
            “What’s the matter? CAN’T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”

          • Robert F says:

            Spot on, HUG: it’s rhetorical bullying.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            Humor is NOT a shield that excuses one from being abusive, ignorant, divisive, crass, unwise, or simply wrong.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > “What’s the matter? CAN’T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”

            HUG gets all my plus points for today.

          • I suppose the left, as represented by Jon Stewart, Bill Maher etc. are never guilty of rhetorical bullying.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            *MY* side never is, Paul.
            *YOURS* always is.

            “In the Devil’s Theology, the most important thing is to Be Absolutely Right and to prove everyone else to Be Absolutely Wrong. This does not lead to peace among men.”
            — Thomas Merton, “Moral Theology of the Devil”

          • Paul, of course you are right, which is why I’ve pretty much given up on listening to any of the smart-asses that comment on the news these days. That includes any and all cable news as well.

          • Brianthedad says:

            Yes. Chap Mike, that’s the better path. I stopped watching the news and listening to national talk radio a few years back. Now I limit myself to local talk radio to follow the local news and events. I even listen to NPR news and commentary. (Gasp! I only have a few friends I share that with. 🙂 I suppose that is national talk radio, but even if I disagree with the subject or opinion, it’s usually done in an irenic and thoughtful way.

          • He arose as a major political player some two decades ago. Whenever he said something particularly egregious, the defense was that he is just an entertainer.

            I used to listen to him in the 80s when Regan was the President He WAS funny. But after Bush 41 took office that started to change. And then with Clinton he became just plain mean.

            And I have some very very very liberal friends who thought he was funny back then also.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            If you’re talking about Limbaugh, when I first heard of him back in the late Eighties the guy actually did have a sense of humor about his shtick. (“I got flushed by Rush” and all that.) Then when I ran across him again in the late 2000s, there was NO sense of humor, just total obnoxious Important Message.

            I figure they guy listened to his own PR too much. And his adoring Dittoheads. Entropy set in, and what started as “Conservatism as Theater” (Wm F Buckley’s description) became “I AM THE ONE TRUE WAY!”

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            The first time I heard Limbaugh was just as he was becoming a national figure. I had never heard of him. I happened upon him while driving one day. I thought that he was doing a parody of the right-wing blowhard, like Stephen Colbert does today. I also thought he did it very well, having the schtick down cold. Then it gradually dawned on me that he was serious, or rather, that under the outer layer of humor he was serious. I listened to him for a couple of days to be sure, then found a different station. I was already out of my right-wing blowhard phase by then.

            Then there were the left-wing blowhards. Pacifica Radio was their forum of choice. I never lived in an area where I got Pacifica Radio, but I fondly remember listening to it on a drive once. They were having a panel discussion on the topic of whether or not the President should be impeached. (This would be George H. W. Bush, but that hardly matters.) I listened for quite some time waiting for someone to raise what exactly his crimes or misdemeanors were the might merit impeachment, but that never happened. It clearly wasn’t considered relevant to the discussion.

            I consider right-wing blowhards and left-wing blowhards functionally equivalent, except that the left-wing blowhards hold no influence in American political discourse. They are a circus side show. Right-wing blowhards, on the other hand, old a great deal of influence. This has not always been true, and it will not always be true. I might will see the day when left-wing blowhards are a genuine factor, and if I don’t I expect my children will. But here and now, what people mean when they talk about the left is actually the center, or even center-right.

      • Oscar…Oscar…Oscar, we read Coulter so we can write, “I think Ms. Counter has had a massive overdose of a bad mix of uncut Randianism mixed with unverified ‘Muricanism, and should go into detox right away” or “ she is cynical and manipulative” or “Ann is an attention-monger and this outburst is getting her attention”. We need Coulter to write in order to reveal our wonderful insights into who she is and how we would never stoop to her level.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Wry and sarcastic? In this case she was factually wrong on numerous issues. Perhaps her particular brand of “humor” is unavailable to those who graduated from middle school.

    • Re: Ms. Coulter. Would someone please explain that Adam’s Apple?

    • I’m going to be charitable and assume the Ann Coulter article is meant as a joke, rather than really serious “Soccer is destroying the moral fibre of the nation”.

      At least there were historical and political reasons for the GAA to instigate a ban on foreign games.

      As for some of the points she raises, yes, I tend to agree that Association Football as it has been introduced into the U.S.A. has been tailored to appeal to Americans, so that explains such things as “co-ed” teams and the phenomenon of “soccer moms”. The U.S. sports market is huge, and FIFA very much want a slice of the pie.

      But as to the rest of it?

      (1) No place for individual achievement? We’ve seen teams at this particular tournament relying on one star player to work the magic; Ronaldo on his own couldn’t drag Portugal all the way through. The reason Uruguay are so indignant over Suárez is precisely because he’s the star player they are (or were) expecting to win matches for them. Argentina have already relied on Messi to win for them and bring them through. Pele, George Best, Maradona, Cruyff and ‘Total Football’, Platini – the list goes on of stars past and present!

      (2) Not athletic? Match fitness tells; when your team’s legs give out in the last dying minutes and they can’t run the length of the pitch, you will be beaten. There is a place for both silky skills and sheer physical power on a team (unfortunately, often when the opposition can’t cope on skill and ability with the star striker, the instructions all too often are to the defender to go out, mark his man, and kick the shins off him). It’s not so much about raw strength as American football and (possibly) baseball are, but explosive bursts of pace and general ‘nippiness’ where quickness of reflexes count are vital.

      And what about goalkeepers? Bert Trautmann played out the last seventeen minutes of the 1956 F.A. Cup final with a broken neck! The conventional wisdom is that goalies are (have to be) crazy.

      (3) You can’t use your hands. No, you can’t. Which is why there are games such as Rugby Football (both League and Union), Gaelic Football, and Australian Rules Football where you can use your hands, if you want to play those.

      (4) Nil-all draws. Yes, those happen (occasionally). Again, this is why there are the options for replays or to decide the match in extra time or going to penalty kicks. “Solving” the problem by “We’ll make every touch of the ball count as fifty points so games will end 500-345 and the spectators will think they’re exciting” hasn’t as yet made its appeal known to football fans.

      The current World Cup has been great so far. The ‘giants’ such as Portugal and Spain and Italy (and, ahem, England – excuse my poorly-stifled laughter here) who were expected to do well are on the plane home. Smaller teams have done really well, including the U.S.A. which played a great match to win against Ghana and did a creditable job against Germany (and that’s not being condescending; Germany have an unglamorous but steady, patient style of winning matches by crushing the opposition). Your lot are through to the Group of Sixteen while Gianluigi Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo will have to follow it on the TV at home.

      • Brianthedad says:

        I’ve enjoyed following the Cup. I haven’t actually watched any since most of the matches I was interested in were when I was working. No shutting down for the national team playing here. The one game I was not working for was the portugal game. Alas, I was at a minor league baseball game with my family. There’s a ‘murcan sport for ya! But I followed it on the FIFA app. Fun to pull for your country.

        some of the coulter points were funny, got to give her that. but yes, I agree, much of it comes strictly from viewing everything through the conservative vs. liberal lens. She actually may believe some of it, but she also knows what sells.

      • Christiane says:

        Hi MARTHA,

        Coulter and Limbaugh are purposefully over-the-top and they make a lot of money pandering to their ‘base’ . . . a lot of Coulter’s stuff is designed to get a reaction from the left, which thrills the right-wing, and she is become a very rich lady from her efforts. Limbaugh . . . one unsavory character for sure and the right-wing all eat it all up relishing every word . . .

        most sane people here do see the extremism of these two entertainers, as you have seen Coulter as a joke . . . but among her base, people are enthralled and take her words to heart as gospel . . .

        Martha, my country is very divided from complex reasons that extend into the past, but the ‘pundits’ on the left and the right have stirred the pot to boiling so that it is difficult to find areas of civil dialogue about the nation’s serious problems here in ‘Murica’ . . . very difficult, but there are enough American people left who try and volunteer and strive to do the right, so I am able to have hope. It’s a country where you don’t have to look far to find good folks.
        I wish for better. My homeland is very dear to me and I hate the deep divisions that have come to us here where the dynamic of opposites can be so volatile and uncivil. I sometimes wonder where it will all lead . . .

      • No, Martha, Ann Coulter is not joking. As Christiane said, Coulter is stirring the pot and reaping the profit$, but there may be an ideological twist to her pox on soccer (the true, ‘murican word for futbol). What about this:

        1. Soccer is for Euroweenies (got that term from you yourself, Martha) and for Hispanics, many of whom Coulter fears are in our country illegally and therefore should not be allowed to enjoy soccer (futbol) as penance for their sin of hoping for a better future. Like Coulter’s ancestors.

        2. Sarah Palin did not refer to herself as a “soccer mom” but as a “hockey mom.” Soccer is for Euroweenies and illegal Hispanics. So there. 🙂

        • So hockey is an American sport? 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            It is if you’re in the Great Lakes area. It’s even big out here in SoCal, where there’s no natural ice except in the high mountains in winter.

          • It is when Alaska becomes (to the conservative fringe, at least) the de facto seat of U.S. government, and Sarah Palin the chief executive and commander-in-chief of all that she sees.

            Like Yertle the turtle.

            I’m sorry. That was unkind. I like Yertle.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Repeat the statement about hockey north of the 49th, and all preconceived ideas about friendly Canadians will dissapear.

    • dumb ox says:

      Anything that could be construed as leading to a collective interest, understanding, celebration or effort – especially global in nature – is a slippery slope to tyranny. Of course, a collective global effort to fight a war of false pretense which lines the pockets of Republicans, that’s perfectly acceptable.

      • Christiane says:

        they made billions . . .
        the human costs ? . . . I will never forget when our troops first went to Iraq how they wrote home asking their parents to send supplies over so they could line their humvees with stronger protection against roadside bombs
        and Rumsfeld said ‘we go to war with the army we have’ . . . may God forgive us our foolish ways

      • Beware the soccer moms: slippery slopes to tyranny.

  2. cermak_rd says:

    Hmm, if you mash up the Suarez and Coulter stories, it is clear that someone is courting injury (bite marks) by playing the game.

    But Ann is an attention-monger and this outburst is getting her attention, which is her goal, so good for her?

    Oh and about the metric system. I am a liberal. I don’t love it because its European. I love it because its logical, used by all the sciences (even in the US) and is a worldwide standard.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      And makes log functions a hell of a lot easier.

    • Brianthedad says:

      Metric? Meh. It’s what you get used to. Published Moments of inertia for steel beams are large unwieldy numbers in the metric system. There are other examples. When you work with a particular system, you get a feel for correct answers being in a certain range. You may not know the answer, but you get a feel for when something is out of whack. And everything is standardized to our system already. Stuff has to mate up with existing stuff. Pipes, for example. There are two hundred years’ worth of iron pipes in use underground in some cities, most cast to a standard. 8-inch iron pipe isn’t exactly 8-inches diameter. But you know what it is. And when the local DOT went metric for a while, it was a pain, and not exactly logical to see a callout for 205.2 mm pipe. Hey, when we do international work, we do it. Otherwise, why the hassle?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I remember the Seventies, when “METRIC NOW!” types duked it out with “STOP METRIC MADNESS!” types all over the media. One of the common jokes on TV at that point was to take a proverb such as “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” and translate all the units into metric to about five decimal places.

        Thing is, in the contemporary US metric is associated with scientific precision, not everyday informal use. In fiction, my standard is “Metric for SF, pre-Metric for fantasy”. With the caveat that in SF even after going metric, traditional unit names will still exist informally, attached to their nearest metric equivalent — “foot” for 30cm, “pound” for half a kilo, “pint” for half a liter, etc.

        Coulter does get one thing right: Metric system was invented in France during the French Revolution. Which included a mania for decimal everything (including 10-hour days, 100-minute hours, 100-second minutes, and 10-day weeks on the New Calendar starting with Year One of the Revolution). The association with the French Revolution (and England’s rival across the channel in general) is why the Anglosphere was the last to go metric.

        • Christiane says:

          Ages ago, when the metric system was being considered for the US, someone thought that it would be a great idea to teach it using popular practical items . . . like a Coke or Pepsi bottle. And so the two-liter bottle came into wide-spread use and no one complained for a while and it stuck. Not long after, the anti-metric campaign surfaced with a paranoid vengeance and the practical integration of the metric system into the daily lives of Americans was halted

          . . . but the two-liter bottle of soda remains . . . a reminder that once, someone in our country had a great idea until a remnant of fringe isolationist exclusivity took over and things ‘international’ were touted as threatening to ‘Murica’

          • I want anyone who’s anti-metric to work on physics problems using feet, inches, pounds (slugs), gallons, oz., etc…

            They’ll either be in denial or agree that there may be something to this metric thing after all.

          • Brianthedad says:

            acceleration of gravity is 9.81 m/s2. Standard atmosphere in pascals. Speed of light. Seconds in an hour/day/year. All non 10 based. Constants foul them all up. Yes, slugs are ridiculous, but it’s what you learn and are comfortable with. Ft-lbs gallons per minute, CFS. Use them daily. It’d be different if I was a particle physicist, granted.

  3. God has a son, and like you if you are a dad, He doesn’t like people ignoring or disrespecting his son, or pretending his son doesn’t exist. That’s why I won’t be in Berlin, holding hands with Sikhs or Jainists (or Presbyterians) and singing Kumbaya in the moonlight.

  4. cermak_rd says:

    How could you have failed to report on this story which involves both the Cubs and Lutheranism:


  5. “Okla” means ‘red’…and “humma” means ‘people’ (Oklahoma) in the native tongue of the Choctaw.

    So I guess we need to change the name of the state if we can find a small group of offended humma.

    And just what is up with the city of Los Angeles?

    Messengers of God? Come on. Give me a break. There must be a gaggle of atheists who object to that.

    • I am offended by Procter and Gamble’s mascot ‘Mr Clean’ – it is demeaning and offensive to bald guys (of which I will probably soon be one). And I’m sure that someone at PETA is offended by team names such as the ‘Tigers’ or ‘Lions’, since it is dehumanizing (or ‘de-animalizing’) and plays on negative stereotypes (you know, all that violent killing stuff they supposedly do). And that Pilgrim’s Pride logo (with a pilgrim in it) must be offensive to some Puritans (and perhaps Amish or Mennonites, since he looks kind of like one of them), and perhaps to New Englander’s in general. It is exploitation of a stereotype at its worst!

    • Robert F says:

      Oh no, here we go again….

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Seriously, Steve, we went a few rounds on your ridiculousness last week, and you had no legitimate response. If you want to dredge it up again for giggles, go ahead, but it’s really a waste of time, since you didn’t have a real response last week, either.

      • His response was fine, Marcus. When anyone disagrees with you, you think it “isn’t real.”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          This is a mater of LAW; and lawyers and courts have decided it “isn’t real”.

          If you want to change Copyright, Trademark, and Patent law – then that is a fine discussion. But this is a non-topic under current law – this is a long established thing.

          And I’ll be happy to support you in changing the law. That is a different conversation.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          When someone disagrees with me, Clark, I anticipate a real discussion that includes arguments which stand on more than slippery slope fallacies.

          And I never claimed that Steve’s arguments were not “real”; I used words like “risible,” “ridiculous,” and “wrong.” I also claimed that he had the opportunity to address my arguments last week and declined, so the resurrection of the same hollow argument was a waste of time, unless he has something meaningful to add. And he doesn’t.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Feel free to go back to last week’s convos. He didn’t respond to any of my rebuttals, so he didn’t have a “real” response. He didn’t have any response, actually.

          • Trouble is that I’m at work a lot and often don’t have time to go back and read or respond to everything.

            Oftentimes I just put out the other side of the argument, because in these times that sometimes doesn’t happen.

            I hope that no one was offended because that is the worst thing that can happen to us thin- skinned (can I say that? – it had the word skin in it…and also the word ‘thin’ )

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            With all due respect to your schedule, you’re still dredging up an argument that isn’t really destined to go anywhere, because the argument you presented was less of an actual argument, and more of a red herring/straw man/slippery slope distraction. There were plainly errant statements that were easily refutable through a basic Web search, and a dismissive take towards a very legitimate concern which led to the loss of the trademark. It’s the sheer flippancy that I find offensive, not the fact that you happen to disagree with me.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:
  6. “House of One”? Well, at least the weekends are booked up: Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews, and Sunday for Christians. Don’t bet on any dialog though.

    • How do you know they won’t talk to each other? It’s Germany… not Iraq. I assume they will schedule get-togethers in that center space. Are you saying nobody will show for those? I’d assume that the people who make the effort to go to the separate parts will probably go to those as well, or am I missing something in your last line there? (I ask all this not necessarily to defend this idea as right – it may not be)

      • Have you ever seen two Baptists “dialog” about Calvinism? I’m with Oscar. I’m not holding my breath. On the other hand, a local restaurant has a mural I dearly love. It’s also on their home page as a thumnail. See: http://nazarethdeli.com/

        • Danielle says:

          Baptists who like to debate calvinism would never occupy a shared space meant to foster dialog and mutual respect.

          The sort of people who would show up at a building designed to promote dialog well most likely be open to dialog.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Have you ever seen two Baptists “dialog” about Calvinism?

          Two Baptists, three “DIE, HERETIC!”s?

      • cermak_rd says:

        I would imagine the regular attenders at the House of One will be me likely to rub shoulders with those of the different faiths as a result of this design. I don’t imagine the dialogue is going to involve trying to dialogue the Christian belief in Jesus away, for instance, but rather for the religions to dialogue perhaps on how their various faith traditions can be of service to humanity (a common theme found in both Judaism and Christianity, not sure about Islam as I have’t studied it).

        I like the idea of using the dialogue room for non-believers, too. I’m wondering what sorts of services will be offered there? Non-believers are common in Germany so the Abrahamic faiths have an interest in building trust and relationships with the non-believing community.

        • Robert F says:

          Doing good deeds is one of the central disciplines in the practice of Islam, and is in fact indispensable, since on the Day of Judgement, Islam asserts that we shall be judged by our deeds; those good deeds include serving humanity.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Shared worship space isn’t exactly a new idea. There are three (that I know about) Interfaith Centers in Columbia, Maryland. One houses two groups: St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, and St. John United (Methodist/Presbyterian) Church. Another has Bet Aviv, The Columbia Baptist Fellowship, The Columbia Jewish Congregation, Columbia United Christian Church, and another gathering of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church. The third is home to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Christ United Methodist Church, the Shalom Aleicham Congregation, Grace Christian Ministries, Muslim Friday Prayers, and the Sri Sathya Saibaba Center. In addition, it houses Cradlerock Center Children’s Daycare. And yet Columbia is strangely free of religious riots.

  7. Robert F says:

    Re: the House of One: Won’t Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc., feel snubbed?

    • Isn’t it jus a tiny, little bit of an issue in treating “Christians” as a monolithic group……and as Robert has pointed out, also a boatload of non-Abrahamic religions totally left out in the cold.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Well the Christian room is actually like the Tardis – the doors open into a labyrinth of interconnected rooms, one for each of the 20,000 Christian denominations. Once they successfully dialogue with their differences, they will join the other faiths in the main room. That should happen several million years after the Millennium.

    • Christiane says:

      just add some more wings for them . . . gosh, if you think about the ‘wings’ as ‘rooms’ and the central area as ‘the hall way’, then it is not so different an idea from C.S. Lewis’ famous example of denominations in separate rooms but coming out to meet with each other in a main hall from time to time . . .

      I can see it as a ‘good thing’ if it could be kept from manipulation and control by people having an agenda for their own ‘doctrines’ . . . and who also have NO respect for the dignity of persons from different faiths who are people of good will

      the idea works well for people who want their own identity preserved but who want to try to understand and cooperate with others in areas of mutual interests and need . . .

      the idea does NOT work well for fundamentalists who are destructive of those who do not share their values and beliefs . . . they normally practice exclusion and likely would not wish to part in something that involved dialogue for mutual understanding and cooperation . . .

  8. Robert F says:

    Re: the dark side of mindfulness: This is no shocker. Whatever the particular validity of the examples cited in the linked article, for time immemorial, every major religious contemplative/meditative tradition has insisted that those who embark on the path of meditative practices need an experienced and sensitive guide to help them along the path. Such techniques are known to put one in touch with deep and powerful and repressed contents in the psyche, some of it not so pleasant, and sometimes dangerous to mental and physical health when released suddenly into the conscious mind. This is powerful stuff, without even taking into account the question of whether such techniques also put one in touch with powerful “external” spiritual realities, both good and bad.

    But modernism, in its hubris and ignorance and arrogance, puts aside such warnings of traditional wisdom, and insists that it is perfectly safe to learn such techniques from a book, or an app, or 3-hour instructive session with an essentially amateur instructor in a group class setting. It’s like playing with psychological/spiritual dynamite. The traditions have warned us, but, adolescents that we are, we moderns blithely go into these things expecting nothing but what we want from them, totally dismissive of traditional caution signs. No surprise, then, when such negative experiences start to be noticed.

    • Robert F says:

      And once the psyche has been opened in this way, it’s nearly impossible to close again. It’s a bad trip that never completely ends, that keeps erupting into everyday experience, like post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ve been there, and I know whereof I speak. Don’t embark on this path unless you’re serious about confronting the demons that it MAY (notice, I’m not saying that everyone goes through this, in the case of those of you out there who have had no such negative experience from your contemplative practice) let out of their cages, a confrontation that, if it occurs, will take years of time and enormous inner and even material resources.

      • @Robert…..thanks for reminding us all of who rules THIS earth, and how much enjoyment he gets from distorting every good gift from the Father into something perverted and evil. This is the fourth or fifth warning about Lucifer and his workers that I have seen in the last week or two. He gets SOOOOO much traction and advantage from those who ignore his presence.

        • Robert F says:

          Pattie, although I appreciate what you are saying, I do not believe that Satan rules this earth: Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth. Satan rules an illusion of earth, and an illusion of heaven for that matter, and seeks to draw people into that illusion, so that they become endlessly caught up in unreality, as he is and wishes to make everybody and everything. Remember what Jesus called him: the father of lies. He rules nothing but lies.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And one of those unrealities is seeing DEMONS!!!!! under every bed.

            Remember that Lewis quote from the preface to Screwtape Letters, about the two errors “regarding the race of Devils.”

          • Robert F says:

            HUG, I agree with you. See my comment below.

          • i read the article a few days ago, and it seems to me that those quoted had untreated (possibly undiagnosed) psychological problems prior to beginning whatever practice they engaged in, which likely had little/nothing to do w/the actual definition of mindfulness per se.

            the human problems – and very human errors – alluded to in the article are what’s behind this, not some crazy spiritual warfare scenario.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Pattie, you’re over-spiritualizing. You sound too much like a Spiritual Warfare fanboy living in a Frank Peretti novel and finding it all Very Exciting.

          There can be natural explanations for this as well; there’s a lot of garbage and dark side in the human psyche without invoking SATAN! and digging deep and breaking containment on that dark side will do damage.

          After run-ins and horror stories about Spiritual Warfare fanboys, I tend to exhaust natural explanations before going to paranormal ones.

          • Robert F says:

            Yes, this is why I stressed the totally human component of the “dark side” of mindfulness. We don’t need to look for a demon under every rock of negative experience and phenomenon, especially since we are Christians, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

            Having said that, I do believe, based on my own experience and the testimony of Christian Scripture and tradition, that non-human malignant spiritual beings exist, including Satan, and that they exploit natural human weaknesses. But the primary way to deal with this is to work on the human problems from the human side, with the help of God, of course; becoming obsessed with the Satanic only plays into the hands of all the lies, and the fear.

          • Robert, I’m not assuming that most people do more w/mindfulness than consciously trying to keep their awareness anchored in the present moment for longer than 10-15 minutes a day, if that is Evan doable.

            That’s not what you’re thinking about when the term comes up, I’d bet, and certainly isn’t the same thing as hours of sitting meditation per day. However, it is pretty consonant w/some forms of prayer accepted in the older liturgical churches.

            I seriously doubt that most people who claim to be able to teach meditative techniques have had any competent instruction or guidance themselves, which further adds to the confusion on this subject.

          • Robert F says:

            No doubt, most people who practice meditation of any kind do it as little more than a relaxation technique; not much ventured, not much gained or lost. But the linked article was referring specifically to people who had immersed themselves in intensive mindfulness and meditative practices, and you might be surprised to learn just how many people practice with just such great seriousness and earnestness; a minority, no doubt, but a sizable and growing, and committed, minority.

          • Robert F says:

            Daisy, I am very reluctant to look to Hollywood/the entertainment industry for substantiation of anything, especially the reality of the demonic; although the entertainment industry does itself exhibit a Satanic skill for conjuring illusions, we must remember that one cannot use Satan to drive out Satan (okay, a bit of hyperbole there, but not much).

          • Robert – no, I don’t find it surprising. What *does* trouble me is the at in which it can exacerbate serious problems in some people, coupled w/a chronic lack of awareness in the therapeutic community.

            I wonder how many people have run into similar issues due to their practice of some xtian meditative techniques? My home nch is that there *are* plenty of these folks, but again, nobody’s talking about it or doing anything to really help. At least, that’s the sense I get,.

          • Robert F says:

            numo: To my mind, an interesting sidebar: the Atlantic articles mention of the fact that some psychotherapists are becoming aware of how psycho-therapeutic treatment itself can exacerbate existing mental health problems in a minority of cases.

            Some years ago I read an article about a study that suggested that certain psychological illness untreated in the “Third World,” due to lack of resources, showed a higher rate of spontaneous amelioration when tracked over time than the same illnesses treated in wealthier nations by psychotherapy in combination with the use of powerful prescription medications, which not only sometimes got worse but were complicated by drug side-effects and dependence.

        • hmm, to me it looks like it’s largely about vast parts of the population who need decent psych evaluation and ongoing treatment being both undiagnosed and woefully uncared-for. that is dark, no question, but it’s human actions/inaction, not demonic.

          the real world isn’t like a Frank Perretti novel.

          • Robert F says:

            I agree with what you say about undiagnosed mental illness being central to what’s happening in the cases cited in the linked article. But I don’t believe that human psychology is totally explicable in term of, or can be totally subsumed under, naturalistic categories; if I did, I would be a materialist, not a theist, not a Christian.

            I also believe that undiagnosed, incipient mental illness is far more widespread than generally believed, and that mental health itself is an approximate rather than clearly defined state. Mindfulness sometimes plumbs the conscious mind into depths that some are not ready to swim, triggering unmanageable trauma in people who might otherwise be able to approximate normal psychological health and functioning.

            We’ll have to disagree on this; you go with your experience and best wisdom, and I’ll go with mine.

          • Robert F says:

            “…the real world isn’t like a Frank Perretti novel.” But it is like a Georges Bernanos novel.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I’ve been there, and I know whereof I speak. Don’t embark on this path unless you’re serious about confronting the demons that it MAY (notice, I’m not saying that everyone goes through this, in the case of those of you out there who have had no such negative experience from your contemplative practice) let out of their cages…

        That sounds like Lovecraftia, where even finding out about the Mythos drives you mad, and immersing yourself in it….

        • Actually, there’s a lot of documentation of these problems in Buddhist texts that date way, way back. Of course, the terms used are different, as are many understandings of causes, but serious problems were both noted/documented early on.

          I think we tend to want to dwell on the superficial positive effects of most anything that appears to be a cure-all, if only because our minds just don’t want to accept anything other than the “happy shiny” narrative.

    • Robert F says:

      According to the article, the main delivery system for Buddhist mindfulness in the U.S. is not Buddhism, but “science and medicine”! Which means that the techniques and practices are being given outside the framework of close instruction by an experienced guide, and outside the framework of a religious community and context that would offer stability and meaning to help the meditator on their path. Again, the hubris of modernity.

      • It’s presented as self-help, and too much literature out there is of the instruction manual type.

        As w/many other things, it doesn’t work that way.

  9. Robert F says:

    I suppose babies born alive after an abortion procedure are just not worthy of life, in the eyes of the PCUSA; “life unworthy for life,” they might say. This is the way the “culture of death” (please remember that it was a Pope, not a fundegelical, who popularized this term) makes “culture war.”

    • Daniel Jepsen says:

      Please see my asterisk update at the end of the article, which I put up later than your comment. I think I wasn’t being totally fair to the PCUSA. However, I still don’t see why this would be voted down.

      • Robert F says:

        So the proposal was part of a package deal? I think that does modify the way it should be interpreted, but, like you, I still don’t really see why it would be voted down.

    • Danielle says:

      Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have any insider knowledge, nor do I have any dog in any fight in the PCUSA. But I am willing to bet that the resolution was intended to open up a dialog on abortion. To this, they attached language on far less controversial points: killing babies already born, and caring for orphans. The measure was voted down, because PCUSA didn’t want to open up a broad debate on abortion. But insodoing, they open themselves up to the charge of voting against protecting living, screaming babies and orphans.

      I have no idea what actually happened, but this kind of game happens frequently in politics. And “The National Review” article implies that my guess may not be far off. They money quote is this unassuming little gem: “There was more to the motion, which supported a pro-life perspective.”

      If the resolution authors really wanted a simple resolution condemning Gosnell to pass, they could have written a simple resolution condemning Gosnell.

      • Robert F says:

        True, Danielle. I guess it is an old political trick, isn’t it? Make your opponents look bad by attaching a morally unambiguous proposal to a package that is not so morally unambiguous, and when they inevitably vote against the package, call them names.

        I withdraw my initial, somewhat (intentionally, I confess) provocative remark.

  10. Coulter hates the left and abhors immigration. Hence, her diatribe on soccer. Coulter’s inexplicable hatred of the Other is one reason why we should Never Trust Ann Coulter – at ANY Age, a new book available at http://www.coulterwatch.com/never.pdf.

    • Wow. People just don’t get Ann Coulter. Besides, what’s wrong with hating:
      1) A philosophy responsible for more than 100 million murders in the 20th century,
      2) The invasion of my homeland by an army of belligerents, and
      3) A stupid game enjoyed by rioters and murderers around the globe?

      • Sundown says:

        Regarding your 3rd point, you are way off. Gridiron football (aka American Football) is much more correlated with violent behavior. I’m not saying that soccer has no violent players… but if you seriously think soccer is this violent, explain Leonard Little, Aaron Hernandez, and O J Simpson.

        • Christiane says:

          you forgot Vick . . .

        • Rick Ro. says:

          I think Clark is referring to the FANS in #3, not the players. Yes, the PLAY in American football is more violent physically, but the fans tend not to riot and kill each other after playoff games and the Super Bowl. International football (aka soccer) seems to instigate much more post-game fan violence than American football.

          • Clark should be more concerned about spectator violence at boxing matches. The last time I went to a fight, a hockey game broke out.

  11. in reference to the coulter piece: why is individualism such a pillar of truth for americans? individualism as we practice it is dehumanizing. additionally, i was thinking about why soccer is more fun to watch in a group than alone, while many popular sports in the states are just as easily watched alone. i dont know why, but there seems to be something inherently communal about soccer that american sports dont share — except maybe football with the tailgaiting and all.

    ps: i don’t even like soccer aside from the world cup, but i LOVE the world cup.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      I have no idea what Coulter was going on about individualism and soccer. For starters, individualism is far easier to foster in soccer, than in American Football for example. Just try being Tom Brady without a left tackle. In soccer, on the other hand, individual stars are larger than individual clubs all the time. I mean, you have stars who are called by a single name and everyone knows who you mean. Messi, Ronaldo, Robin – bottom line, Coulter knows nothing about soccer, and wanted to make sure that everyone else knows how little she knows.

      • ha. that’s actually a good point about football. despite the fact that the argument was kind of wrong-headed, the underlying assumption that individualism is good and best and communal life is bad and the worst is what bothers me.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          No, you’re totally right. Her philosophy and values remind me of something I might dredge up from the septic tank. But I thought it only fair to point out that her facts are also wrong. As usual.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > why is individualism such a pillar of truth for americans?

      It isn’t.

      It is a fundamental virtue, if not The Fundamental Virtue, of “Americans” [capital-A].

      What Ann frequently describes as Un-American often accurately describes Me. I’m completely totally 100% comfortable with that. I am a citizen of the United States Of America, a legal reality not to be confused with being an “American”. Americans do not like, or approve of, most of their fellow citizens.

      The key to understanding the likes of Ann – what he says is ultimately *very* coherent – is to carefully disambiguate terms. She is a smart girl, she knows exactly what she is saying, and she is only talking to Americans – who understand her clearly.

  12. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.
    > Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer

    The statement is CRAZY; but there is a lot of truth about perspective buried in there.

    Individualism == GOOD; Community == EVIL; this is a base-line meme underlying a lot of political/social rage and division.

    Ann encapsulates it better than almost anyone.

    • ha! adam, we said the same thing. i didn’t see yours til after i posted.

    • additionally, i am confused as to why individualism is somehow seen as the most christian of virtues by those in that camp. there is an old orthodox saying : we are saved together, but damned alone. individualism is not only dehumanizing, it is anti-christian.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Because those in that camp inherited the label of Christian – and being hyper-individualists – have the right to define it in any way they like – you have no right to tell them any different. They inherited it, it is their label, you have no right to take it from them. It doesn’t have anything to do with Theological or Historical Christianity; trying to relate it with those is fallacious.

        I know I reference it all the time – but this is a good example of Thin vs. Thick identity [Miroslav Volf]. It is about owning and attributing labels, not about theological or historical coherency. The culture wars are not a War Of Ideas, they are a War Of Identity – ‘what can I call myself’.

      • dumb ox says:

        Because it’s better to die alone than to live in community, because community equals collectivism, and collectivism equals communism.

      • dumb ox says:

        Because obsession with self is at the heart of the sinful nature.

  13. It’s about time the Catholic Church recognizes someone for sainthood from New Mexico (my hometown and current residence). Two Saints have been recognized from Hawaii. There are many stories involving the Church and the Wild West. Some good, some bad. I like envisioning some of the first Bishops of the Diocese riding horseback through the vast untamed land to attend to the needs of the flock (the Diocese originally included modern-day NM, AZ, and CO).

  14. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > in which they shell out $45 to non-churched people to attend your church

    Why would you want non-churched people to visit your church and rate it on a survey?

    (a) The institutional church exists, obviously, for the churched. It would make more sense to poll them.
    (a.1.) Unless you are of the school that belies a church service is an evangelical event – in which case you should poll who is actually in your church. You are almost certainly wrong.
    (b) Who is the “non-churched”? That is a huge massive unbelievably huge umbrella – how do you know that their opinion is relevant to anyone else? That the numbers move so little leads me to believe the aggregated opinions of all those non-churched [whoever they are] essentially wash out, leaving you with an opinion that may be nobody’s opinion.
    (c) How many do they send it? 10, 100, 1,000? How do you get to a statistically relevant sample size? Correlated to church size or the size of the community within the church’s commute radius?

    The only relevant “faith perception” to me is that of someone I know. Someone else may have a perception but (a) it isn’t a result of me, or probably ‘my church’, and (b) there is likely very little I can do about it – as I don’t know them.

    “24% of mystery guests do not identify with any formal denomination”
    “80% of mystery guests were “unchurched” (meaning they don’t have a church home) ”

    Wait… so 76% of guests DO identity with a Formal Denomination, yet only 20% have a “church home”.

    Also meaning 20% of these “unchurched” guests DO have “church home”?

    Bah, this is nothing but numbers stew.

  15. Dana Ames says:

    Re the House of One:

    In times past, there used to be houses of worship of different faiths situated near one another in the Middle East. There actually were periods in history in which people were not making war on each other (though much of this was because the Muslims had already conquered, and the reason they “let the others alone” was that the others submitted to dhimmi status and paid tribute). The “central meeting place” was simply the town square.

    Jerusalem, Nazareth, Alexandria and Dura-Europos come to mind.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The way the “House of One” is arranged, they just roofed over the town square between the mosque, church, and shul and called it one building.

  16. Robert F says:

    The Lament of Billy the Kid:

    “I fought the nun and the
    nun won,
    I fought the nun and the
    nun won…”

    • Danielle says:


      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        It’s a little-known rule of Catholicism that now all New Mexico Catholics will be required to name their little girls “Blandina” if they were born on her saint’s day.

  17. Faulty O-Ring says:

    “Hootchie cootchie,” if memory serves, was the name of the song which the belly dancer “Little Egypt” made famous at the 1893 World’s Fair. (The audience would sing along–lyrics were distributed.) Back then, watching a belly dancer was about like going to a strip club today.

    “Hootchie kootchie” is meant to sound vaguely Indian (like “Rann of Kutch”). You probably know the tune. It’s the one that goes “There’s a place in France, where the naked women dance…”

  18. Ann Coulter totally ruined hating soccer for me.