Thursday, June 22, 2006

Enjoyable Hyperbole

We're really going to party now. This is the most wonderful day of my life. It's the finest hour in Ghana's history and we are united like never before.

You have made the whole Africa proud. Continue like that to proof to the rest of the world that Africa has played a great role to shape this world and deserves a respectable place in the football world championship. After all, the beginning of mankind has been traced by scientists to be in the East African Valley. Our hopes are high and we know that with more dermination you will reach far. Thank you very much for the great work done. The continent of Africa is behind you, forwards ever backwards never! Congratulations, Black Stars!

MyJoyOnline (Ghana)
"Ghana, Ghana. Thanks to him, thanks to him, let's give thanks to God because this ground he has loved and he does forever and his mercies are bountiful."

BBC (Streaming Audio of fan chants)
"Ghana goes gay".

The Guardian

Hmmm. I remember people feeling like this in England in 1966.

"He never married"

He never married.

Obituary of musical-comedy composer Julian Slade, Daily Telegraph June 22, 2006

I wonder why.


In England

In China

I suppose one solution would be to require papers to be handwritten.

Articles of Faith

One of the best religion blogs is Ruth Gledhill's Articles of Faith at The Times.

Proper Matter

Are women and gays proper matter for ordination?

A Times (London), June 22, 2006, correspondent digs up an interesting verse:

God instructed Moses to tell Aaron: “No man among your descendants for all time who has any physical defect is to come and present the food of his God. No man with a defect is to come, whether a blind man, a lame man, a man stunted or overgrown, a man deformed in foot or hand, or with misshapen brows or a film over his eye or a discharge from it, a man who has a scab or eruption or has had a testicle ruptured.”

I bet there is a bishop or two in the Anglican Communion with misshapen brows or filmy eyes.

Who Won the War?

Josh Marshall pulls up a survey of polls about public opinion in the US during WWII as part of a discussion about the current publics "failure" to maintain support.

The graph is here.

I've never seen it before, but it's very interesting in terms of considering the question who won world War II?

There seems to have been a huge flip in public opinion in November 1942 over whether the war could be won by the allies at all. What caused that flip was the victory of the Red Army at Stalingrad.

Apparently, the Red Army won the war.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Hair

Probably the worst hair in this World Cup belongs to the same person
who had it in the last World Cup, the Argentine midfielder Juan Pablo
Sorin. Our planet has millions of poodles who would come second to
Sorin in a poodle-lookalike competition. This was true four years ago
and it is still true today.

More at the London Review of Books

Gay Episcopalians

Are there any other kind, one might ask some days? Surely the Episcopal Church has some other issues to discuss at its triennial conventions?

On the whole this has been a great week for lesbian and gay people in Mainline American Protestantism. Presbyterians have essentially agreed to allow the ordination of open lesbians and gays, and Episcopalians have both elected a LGBT-friendly female leader and refused to bow to the demands of African bible-thumping conservatives to apologize for consecrating a gay man as a bishop, nor to definitively rule out ordaining another one.

The Episcopalians adopted a last minute resolution that "this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion." exercise restraint by not consenting...! This verbiage is hardly an insult to LGBTs, gives the Archbishop of Canterbury some cover, and really does nothing to stop the further gradual acceptance of LGBTs in society and the Church. They seem to have done nothing to stop more dioceses creating commitment ceremonies.

But some LGBT Episcopalians are going ballistic.

I'm a Roman Catholic, and intend to remain one. I think Fr. Jake and some other LGBT commentators seem more than a little bipolar (not in a technical sense) in their responses to the various resolutions.

TEC remains a very welcoming Church for LGBTs in most dioceses (not, however in Jacksonville FL, where I live). The final resolution is clearly a make-nice effort, not a rubbishing of LGBTs, and, if one thinks politically, quite a good way to make sure the breakaways, etc., remain marginalized.


The news of the killing of two American soldiers was horrible and disturbing [ no man is an island ] in a way I don't recall before. Sinister, and despite what you may read elsewhere, a complete betrayal of Islam.

Having opposed the war to begin with (I thought the US would mess up the aftermath), I still dont think the US should "cut and run," but I think it is increasingly likely that it will. I read in too many places today that this is "a war the US must not loose but cannot win". If that view becomes the concensus, the US public will force a withdrawal.

There is only so much evil people can confront.

A friend who has seen the beheading video of Nick Berg said that he "couldn't get it out of my mind for days....don't watch isn't good to...couldn't get his crying and screaming out of my mind...these people are very sick."

I found that I have become rather Calvinist, or Augustinian, about this. I don't think people who doe this are sick, I thinkthey are evil. But that does not mean incomprehensible: a good follower of St. Augustine and his view of fallen humanity would say that evil is more comprehensible to fallen humankind than good.

I want think that humanity is basically good, but I dont feel like that very much at the moment.

Perhaps western religious thought (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic is simply not adequate to address why people behave evilly. The first words read in a traditional Chinese education (from the Hundred Character Classic) were "Man is Good." Mencius, the second great name of the Confucian tradition noted that when normal people hear a baby cry, they will try to help. He argues that getting people to act evilly is like pushing water up a hill - it can be done, but is not natural.

Rather than just regard these perpetrators of atrocity as evil, perhaps we should regard them as unnatural.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Soccer and Religion

The Nike advertisement featuring Wayne Rooney covered in the "Cross St. George" in blood is remarkable.

Point of interest: the flag is in fact the "Flag of the Resurrection" (see lots of Byzantine and Medieval images of Christ carrying the flag at the resurrection for example by Piero de la Francesca here). St. George carries it because he is the "champion of Christ" (as in a champion in a tournement). Some Greek texts also have him as the "beloved" and "bridegroom" of Christ.

The Oldest Country

[From theMEDIEV-L list 6/20/06,

Lynne Puckett wrote:

Another quote, that may bear upon the way U.S. people think about history: "To Americans 100 years is a long time and to Europeans 100 miles is a great distance." - Unk

I think this is true, in a sense (if one excludes Russia from Europe), but I have to say that in terms of the "political present", Americans have a much lengthier sense than the British.

While one might cite Churchill or Attlee (more likely Beveridge), Harold Wilson, or Margaret Thatcher in a political discussion in modern Britain, I don't think anyone would cite as authoritative the opinions of Baldwin or Asquith, never mind the Duke of Wellington or Pitt the Younger. Occasionally, I suppose, the opinions of past political thinkers might be cited, but not without the awareness of a vast difference between when Locke, Smith, and co. lived and the present.

But American political discussion - this in a modern industrial continental world power - is obsessed with the opinions and ideal of rural politicians of the late 18th- and 19th- centuries, and such ideas are frequently (even if partially or anachronistically understood) put forward as positive support for a position. In a sense the American "political present" stretches well over 200 years, while in Britain it is 60 years at the most.

A comparable phenomenon is the American insistence that the United States is a young country. In fact, there are good grounds for considering it the oldest in the world. Every other part of the world has been conquered or gone through a revolution of some kind which has meant that the modern state occupying any given territory is less old than the USA. I suppose the UK might be considered older, but a) the current "United Kingdom" dates from 1801 (or perhaps 1927 when "UKGBNI" became the name of the state), and b) (more importantly), the series of constitutional, legal/judicial, and administrative reforms of the 19th century created a very different constitution. At the very least, the United States, since 1787, is the oldest state in a continuous constitutional form.

The Blessed?

Whatever happens to the women and the gays, there is always room in any organisation for a heterosexual male who does what the powerful want.

Andrew Brown, Fear and Loathing in Anglicanism, The Guardian, June 20 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's Tempting... consider becoming an Episcopalian.

Newly elected leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Monday she believed homosexuality was no sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.


Bavaria, Holland

For Dutch football fans it has become the summer's cult outfit. Over the past few months, a quarter of a million Holland supporters have bought themselves a pair of patriotic orange lederhosen - wearing them whenever Holland take to the pitch in the World Cup.
But when Holland fans turned up on Friday to watch their team play the Ivory Coast, wearing the garish trousers, officials from Fifa were not amused.
The lederhosen carry the name of a Dutch beer, Bavaria. The only problem is that the Dutch brewery which makes Bavaria is not an official World Cup sponsor. And so, in one of the most surreal incidents of the World Cup so far, stadium officials in Stuttgart made the supporters take their trousers off - leaving many of them to watch Holland's 2-1 victory in their underpants.

More at The Guardian


We know that the working classes do not eat strawberries because they do not eat any fruit or vegetables, which is why they are all so ugly and malformed. And we know that the upper classes have no need of the supermarket strawberry because they have vegetable gardens in which they grow their own.

The Times June 11 2006

The Split within Anglicanism

There may be two religions within Anglicanism: one side Anglo-catholic and liberal, the other Evangelical and conservative. The Episcopal Church in the US is clearly on one side. The real question is where does the Church of England want to be?

160 years ago the Evangelical movement in the CoE sent out missionaries, and the result is many of the churches we see in Africa and Asia. At the same time, Anglo-Catholics sent its troops into the East End and other urban areas, and transformed the religious practice of the Church of England. The result is the modern Church of England, Scottish Episcopal Church, and US Episcopal Church.

No Anglican bishop before Edward King of Lincoln, around 1900, wore a mitre for example. Anglo-Catholicism's ritual reforms became so normal that it is simply not realized how odd modern CoE services would appear to most Victorian-era Anglicans. It's also clear that very few of the remaining members of the Church of England are "Evangelical" in anything resembling what the word means in the US, Africa, or Asia.

The choice for the CoE is clear: it should stick with its American and Scottish sister churches.

Ref Daily Telegraph Leader, 6/19/2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

British Conservative Leader Urges Tax Breaks for Gays

The Observer, Sunday June 18, 2006

David Cameron is to cut one of the final ties with 'traditional' Tory values when he says that gay couples should receive tax breaks for getting married.

In a move that will cause consternation among the traditional wing of the party, Cameron will say that although the party believes in marriage, it is any type of marriage - heterosexual or gay.

Looks like the culture wars are pretty much over in the UK.