Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Round up

Once known as the breadbasket of a greater Russia, Ukraine is fast returning to the position, this time as the breadbasket of Europe.  Home to a large percentage of the world's richest type of soil, Ukraine's potential for agricultural expansion is promising.  But that won't happen if its current political problems, as explained here by George Weigel, aren't dealt with.  That is a distant hope because Ukraine has had its troubles since the collapse of the Soviet Union where it was one of the last places to find statues of Lenin untumbled.

Courtesy of the Art of Manliness, instruction on the perfectly prepared egg.  According to the fictional gourmand, Nero Wolfe, low and slow is the only way to make scrambled eggs.  He is right, of course, but better an imperfect egg than no egg at all, I say.

Ancient Faith Radio hosts podcasts from Frederica Mathewes-Green, everyone's favorite khouria.

Kathryn Jean Lopez gives us a reminder that there is something worth occupying, The Good Life.

Jim Tonkowich on Recovering the Lost Meaning of Marriage.

Ryan Anderson on the insufficiency of social justice theories that ignore Human Flourishing.

As the world anticipates the arrival of the 7 billionth one of us, an article from Reuters reminds us of the very real and dark prospects of depopulation and an Empty Planet.

Picture of the week, the start of my future legendary status:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekly Round-up

In an article that really hit a nerve with its subject, Sarah Flashing tells us What Biblical Womanhood is Not.  Then, in the latest interview, Evans is demoted from religion to entertainment.  But then, it is sometimes hard to tell what the difference is when it comes to the newly ended project.
 - filed under, THAT hit my last good nerve!

In God & the Genesis of Gender, Folke Olofsson gives us the trustworthy biblical design for man and woman.  You should read it and be blessed by these words of wisdom from a man who has lost more than most of us can know, and for simply holding fast against Swedish, ahem, progress.  You know, the kind of enlightened progress which forcibly removes a child from his parents and then prevents them from seeing him, all for the unforgivable crime of homeschooling him.
 - filed under, Intolerance, what intolerance?!

At turns funny and bittersweet, Jennifer Fulwiler reminds us of the things we are losing when we Redefine Marriage.  You might be surprised at the shared culture and wisdom we are losing.  Fulwiler is my favorite new (to me) blogger.
 - filed under, You used to do what?

SAHM Simcha Fischer cleans up after Amanda Marcotte's exploding head.
 - filed under, And you think MY brain has turned to mush?

And yes, Jennifer Fulwiler is a treasure you should become acquainted with.  The reason the Apron is the ultimate symbol of a culture of life is because the, "work of serving other is messy. Life is messy."
- filed under, I think it's time to expand my collection

Picture of the week (it really does explain quite a lot):

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Focus: Church Alliance for a new Sudan

It seems Sudan is never far from the headlines.  Darfur is probably the most well-known of the regions and most heartrending crisis in the American imagination.  For as long as I've known Faith McDonnell one region or another of Sudan seems to have been in the news.  The majority of these conflicts have been some variation of the Arab/Islamist rulers in Khartoum (or their proxies, such as the Ugandan LRA) waging war on Black Africans (who are primarily Christian or Animist). 

The world community pays little attention to these conflicts until a celebrity like Bono of U2 takes up the cause.  But those of us who are acquainted with Faith know that she is always on top of it, rarely misses a protest outside of the Sudanese Embassy in WDC and is tireless in her efforts to mobilize churches and their members to press Congress, the President and the State Department to formulate a coherent foreign policy response to Sudan.  This policy must include genocide prevention measures as well as strong support for the new government in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains.

The Church Alliance for a New Sudan, a program of the IRD, has partnered with the Sudanese Church since 1994.  Working with key leaders in Sudan and the United States, CANS assists these leaders with research, draft resolutions and testimony for asylum hearing of Sudanese refugees as well as working to educate members of Congress and the general public about Khartoum's plans to eradicate or convert the nonMuslim peoples of Sudan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekly Writing Reminder

P.D. James lives in the pantheon of the great writers of crime fiction. She is most famous for the creation of Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, who appears in over a dozen novels. One can read her books for both their diabolically clever plots and their cunning insights into human nature. And she possesses a literary finesse rare among genre writers.

5 Bits of Writing Advice
  1. Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.
  2. Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.
  3. Don't just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.
  4. Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.
  5. Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer—however happy, however tragic—is ever wasted.

Baroness James's delightful book, Talking About Detective Fiction, is the best thing I've read on the subject.

Thanks to Gotham Writer's Workshop for the great collection of advice from which this series is drawn.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A conversation? Not so much.

Dear Rachel Held Evans,

I'm a bit confused.  This week on one of your blog posts, you asked the following two questions:

Ever experience blogging fatigue?

What keeps you centered and patient and kind in a culture that seems to reward the most reactive?

These questions seemed to be sparked by criticisms of your Biblical Womanhood project, which criticisms appear to be more prevalent of late.  You also seem to be getting quite a bit of good exposure which should help your eventual book sales - interviews on NPR and the BBC are nothing to sneeze at, as we all know.  So, perhaps your sense of blogging fatigue is simply due to the recent flurry of activity and attention, which has been both positive and negative?

Nevertheless, you frequently express the wish to have a conversation.  Even a better conversation. So I responded to those questions with a bit of past and thoroughly unpleasant history of mine.  I couldn't help thinking there is probably more negative feedback than things like this which we've seen on the Internet.  All the same, I seriously doubt that you have had someone try to get you fired from your one job and only source of income, as has happened to me.  I also doubt that you have been threatened with physical violence of a particular sort, as you now know I have.

I hope then, that you will forgive me for being confused given the above, as to why you would not only delete my comment but then prevent me from making any further comments on your blog.  You, and everyone who knows me, already know that I stand immovable against the feminism you promote in the church.  But why should that prevent us from having an honest and frank conversation?  Pushback and tough questions build strength and assurance.  This is something to which I have deliberately subjected myself because I know the surety and deep strength that result from not just asking questions myself, but from being challenged by the tough answers and sometimes tougher questions that come in return.

Questions and conversations can be the way to true faith.  But with St. Augustine, we must recognize that we cannot seek to understand in order to believe.  On the contrary, we believe in order to understand.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the Mad Genuis of Mirth: Princess Bride Reunion

This was worth watching George Stephanopolous:

Monday Merriment

Since it's past midnight over on the Atlantic coast and I was hoping to get some reading done before bedtime arrives - and - since Friday Focus was late, I figure it's appropriate that Monday Merriment comes a bit early this week.

This little ditty has a classic in the making "Who's on First" feeling, but needs a few more responses to make it really zing.  ht: Silouan

Friday Focus: The Vice President Understands 15,000,00 Pigs in the Slaughterhouse?

Several weeks ago the Vice-Gaffer said he "fully" understood China's One-child policy.  Horrible and stupid and ignorant and just plain evil as that was, I couldn't gin up the excitement to say much about it at the time.  When it comes to abortion we already know Mr. Biden is a moral troglodyte.  Is this what Biden understands?:

"About one hour later, the van stopped in the hospital. As soon as I was drug out of the van, I saw hundreds of pregnant moms there — all of them just like pigs in the slaughterhouse. Immediately I was drug into a special room, and without any preliminary medical examination, one nurse did an oxytocin injection intravenously. Then I was put into a room with several other moms."

Or this?:

"I could hear the sound of the scissors cutting the body of my baby in my womb. … I preferred to die together with my baby at that moment. …"

Those quotes are from the testimony of "Wuijan", who spoke before the Tom Lantos Human rights Commission of the House of Representatives in late 2009.  During her stay in the hospital for the abortion, which took well over 24 hours, Wuijan was told there were over 10,000 forced abortions in her county, not the country, but just her county alone.  If her county is typical, that means 15,000,000 forced abortions in China a year (there are 1,464 counties in mainland China). 

Wuijan's crime was not becoming pregnant with her 2nd, 3rd or 4th child.  No.  Her "crime" was failing to possess the required "permit for pregnancy"!

One child?  Not without a permit.

Weekly Round-Up

National Review reports on a study published in The Lancet which found that a form of birth control in common use in Africa DOUBLES the risk of HIV infection. (registration required to read The Lancet article)
 - file this under: Ideology trumps science (again)
 - crossfiled under: Could it possibly be more obvious that birth control is bad for women?

In The Pink Ribbon's Dark Side, Matthew Hanley notes that, "Indefensibly, however, most awareness efforts fail to feature some factors known to reduce breast cancer risk: having children, avoiding induced abortions, and refraining from oral contraceptives (OC)." 
 - filed under: Rubicon, what Rubicon?

Discovery of the week: Alfred the Great Society (ht: Fr. Bill) which takes note of the real problem with the Slutwalk , (the negation of female sexuality). And while I disagree with the police officer who told women not to wear short skirts because it made them easy targets - I am equally in disagreement with my blogging sisters who find no connection between the two.  Whatever else it accomplishes, the objectification of women and the general coarsening of society are certain not conducive to reducing the possibility of rape.
 - filed under: Cheap tarts do not a good society make

In a rather unexpected but spot on use of a whovianism, Rev. Richard Umbers makes the connection between Euthenasia, Utilitarians and, yes, Daleks
 - filed under: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Picture of the week (ht: Greg Kandra, the Deacon's Bench):

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Year of the Farce

Today is October 1.  In my cruise around the internet this morning, I realized it is the day Rachel Held Evans gets her hair cut and that the curtain has come down on the farce that was her "biblical womanhood" project.

In the meantime, in homes all over this country -- thankfully, homes that are far, far too numerous to name -- women who will never get the recognition that Mrs. Evans is getting, women who will never be interviewed on BBC, NPR or mentioned on Oprah's blog, women who will ever get an advanced book contract or be featured as the "New Voice" at a Soularize conference, women that you will never hear about from a blog post or a tweet, are wiping poopy bottoms and washing diapers, cleaning spit-up from their Sunday best, making dinner for nine (and that's just her own household) and doing the fifteenth load of laundry for the week while also ironing their husband's work shirts and creating a home for him to come home to that is more than a house and much more than a place where they all lay their heads down at night.

These anonymous women are doing kingdom-building work.  These are the mothers whose children will rise up and call her blessed.  These are the wives whose husbands will praise them, saying they surpass all other women.

The childless Evans has no one who will rise up and call her blessed. Even as a "mother in Israel" or a spiritual mother, she has led those who follow her into rebellion and not repentance.

Here endeth the year of the farce.