cut on the bias

keeping an eye on the spins and weirdness of media, crime and everyday life

Friday, October 31, 2008

Say on, brother, say on

You really really really need to watch this. And send the link to everyone you know.

Part of the reason is because it's a black man who is a conservative and a follower of Christ who is speaking out against Obama with eloquence.

But the main reason is because he makes the clearest case in the shortest amount of time in the most entertaining way about why Obama is a horrible choice for everyone in this country.

And he makes a good case for voting for John McCain even if you think his conservatism is at best suspect. He actually mentions Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin.

I love this guy. He and his buddies are going on my link list. When I get around to editing HTML.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

More than you wanted to know

Over the years, I've written more blog posts than any sane person, and that has included starting more blogs than reason should have dictated. I'm not likely to post on the others with any regularity, if at all, but I've resurrected several in case some of my five regular readers would like to check them out. I'll put them on the link list to the right when I'm in the mood to mess with HTML.

The Quilting Corner - Yes, quilting. Although the photos have disappeared. I'll clean it up soon. You can tell I was early in the trend, since I actually have the URL.
The Saturday Ramble - These are some longer essay-type things, personal tales.
just because - Periodically I write fiction. This is older stuff and not my best. But fun. For me, anyway.
The Crime Resource Room - I had the great idea to do a blog that had vast quantities of information about crime on it. This is as far as it's gotten. So far. I say that like I may do better in the future. Hmmm...

I don't like the template I've got for the Crime Resource Room blog, but when you change the template you lose your link list. I'll have to take the time to make a copy of the link list HTML, change the template, and then put the list back. It'll happen.

So this is some of my online history. If I post more on these others, I'll put links here. Just in case you care :).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Conservatives stand on the shoulders of liberals

Edwin Leap is the blog of a emergency room physician who also writes columns for his hometown newspaper. He's a conservative who with his wife homeschools his kids. This column gives his views on the current election, including his belief that Christians were the original liberals.

I agree.


There are several possible posts I could write in response to his post and the comments left under it. I'll try to get to those this week.

Nobama from a Christian perspective

During the 2000 election, I asked a friend of mine at church who she was voting for. She said "Al Gore". I was shocked. She is a godly woman, faithful in her attendance but also in her life in general. She and her husband are the equivalent of a load-bearing wall for that congregation. Although we didn't discuss details I'm quite confident she holds the same views on moral issues as other conservative Christians. I asked her why she was voting for Al Gore. Her answer?

"I think he would be better for us black folks."

I didn't challenge her on her choice, because I got the distinct impression she was uncomfortable discussing it. But it has bothered me since then. Why would any Christian make a political decision on any basis other than the extent to which the candidate's moral and policy positions are in line with God's Word?

Today I received a copy of an email written by Huntley Brown, a concert musician who wrote the email in response to friends who asked him to vote for Obama. I checked the story on, as I always do for forwarded emails, and found that he had added comments there. He did not mean for his email to be sent out generally, and he's gotten a lot of flack for it. I'm sorry for that, but not surprised, because his attitude flies in the face of liberal identity politics. His message, in short: He votes for a candidate based on Christian principles, not because of the candidate's race.

I encourage you to read both the original email and his further comments.

Then ask yourself whether you make choices based on God's principles for us, or on earthly aspects of your physical self and context. In God's kingdom there is neither Jew nor Greek, rich or poor, black or white, Ethnicity 1 or Ethnicity 2.

As a side note, I'm not saying that in this election John McCain is a sterling example of a perfect candidate. He's not. The Republicans continue to slide away from Christian values in the party's platform. And in areas where the principles are not specifically addressed by God, the Republicans continue to shift toward more spending and more government, neither of which are politically conservative values. I'm disgusted with them. But the Democrats have put forward a candidate whose liberal and socialist creditentials are terrifying, and the Obama/Democrat platform is in many instances starkly unChristian. We need to reshape the Republican party. I just hope we don't have to do it in the very hostile environment a Dem presidency will foster, rather than the conparatively more open environment McCain would allow.

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Like a Jehovah's Witness being a phlebotomist

Here's the latest example of a really bizarre condition: A cleric of some sort who denies God. In this instance, it's a Catholic priest denying that Jesus was God and human at the same time on earth. And that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. And that the resurrection actually happened.

So why would you claim Christianity and become a leader in your denomination if you don't believe the basic tenets of the faith are true? What's the point? I am flummoxed. It's not as if there aren't a lot of other jobs he could do that aren't based on faith. The fundamental dishonesty of his entire life is breathtaking.

I'm genuinely puzzled.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Man, oh, man

A slim, neat woman cleans her sliding glass door. Her scruffy dazed husband wakes up from a nap (taken while his wife is cleaning house), runs into the door and is roundly mocked by two birds perched in a tree outside.


Oh, wait. Not funny. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

I like physical humor as well as the average woman, which is to say no where near as much as the average man (cf. The Three Stooges). But the physical humor isn't my concern here - it's the fact that this commercial is another example of men taking it on the chin in our society. It's reached high propaganda proportions, and is causing demonstrable harm.

Think of any comedic TV show. Can you name one where there is a ditzy woman but not a ditzy guy? Can you name one where the ditzier of the two main characters is a woman?

Think of the news media. How many times have you read about the "glass ceiling" for women, about how women earn less, about how women are the oppressed and men the oppressor?

The traditional family of a bread-winning husband and stay-at-home mom in a long-term first marriage raising children is now the minority family setting in our country. The value of having a true dad in the home helping to raise the children is often discounted. It is particularly bad in the black community, where there are more households headed by single mothers than there are traditional nuclear families. Efforts to point out how harmful that is to the father, the mother, the child, and the culture as a whole are again often dismissed or directly contested. But why should a man feel that he is more than a sperm donor if that is precisely how he's treated and perceived? If that's what he sees all around him from the time he's old enough to notice?

I have been increasingly upset about this cultural trend for a long time. I hear women say over and over, "Men are scum! Men are scum! Men are scum!" and then they wonder why no men will commit their futures to them. It is especially sad when a woman expects a man to nurture her, meet her needs, accommodate her dreams and career plans, but won't give him the same thing back. It is precisely that situation, reversed, that women have worked to change. The feminist camp counts the current situation as tremendous progress. It isn't. Instead, many women are conditioned to believe that they deserve traditional wooing and chivalry from a man as well as complete autonomy to pursue their own interests as if they were single. What's left for the man? Not much. But - and this is according to what I've heard from other women, from television, from fiction, from non-fiction, from magazines and newspapers - most men just want sex, food and 30 sports channels anyway, so why bother trying to go deeper?

It is a culture of women for whom men are mostly an accessory.

I'm fortunate that I've seen many wonderful marriages in my life - my grandparents, my parents, my siblings and their spouses, couples at church, others where the focus is partnership. Neither spouse is an accessory for the other. I find that men who have good marriages are very likely to treat all women respectfully and with appreciation for them as people. Unsurprisingly, they tend to raise sons who are successful in their careers, marriages, parenting and life in general. They raise sons who grow into whole men, with a sense of purpose, place and responsibility. And women who are happy in their marriages, truly honoring and appreciating their husbands, pass along to their daughters the foundations for true partnerships with the men in their lives. Girls learn to trust men because their fathers are trustworthy and value them. Boys learn to trust women because their mothers are trustworthy and value them.

What happens when a boy has no father in his home, just a man who has other children with different mothers, who drops in occasionally if at all and has to be forced by the court even to financially support him? What happens when he isn't trained to have different expectations of himself? What impact does it have when the majority of images of men he sees on television are either inept dullards, slick ladies' men, or violent criminals? I can tell you one thing that isn't happening - he isn't growing up respecting himself and his role as a man in this world.

What spurred me to climb on my soapbox was this article, an interview with Dr. Helen Smith. She is a forensic psychologist, and a clear-sighted woman. In the interview she discusses the impact of the feminist agenda playing out in our society today. It's not pretty. I encourage you to read it and send it along to others. One point that struck me particularly, which Dr. Smith quotes from another psychologist:

...most world rulers, presidents, prime ministers, most members of Congress and parliaments, most CEOs of major corporations, and so forth — these are mostly men. Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man. The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were were women.
Being a male in America in 2008 is not easy. Being a real man is even harder. We need to make sure that we as women give as much as we get in our relationships with the men in our lives - and that we say out loud how much we appreciate what they do and who they are.

(But I draw the line at watching The Three Stooges. Hey, everyone has their limits.)

Dr. Helen has her own blog, and also posts columns on Pajamas Media. She is happily married to Glenn Reynolds, a UT-Knoxville law professor who is a major blogosphere celebrity for his Instapundit blog. From what I can see, they're a good example of a dual career marriage that works because they see themselves as partners in life, not battling to prove who is more important or whose work is more valuable. I don't agree with them all the time, but I do a lot, and I learn a lot from them. I recommend them both.

I like you, I really like you

I enjoy being around people. Most everyone has interesting stories, and perspectives I've not had or even thought of. Conversation can be great.

But then, sometimes, not so much.

Confession time: I'm an introvert. Very introverted. Bordering on hermit introverted at times. Two things save me from terminal introversion: an intense curiosity about people and the world, and moderately manic moods.

If I have a defined purpose, I can be be comfortable in nearly any group of people. That is a fortunate remnant of my journalist days. But put me in a group where I'm supposed to just strike up conversations randomly, especially with people I don't know, and I'm promptly in a deep smother. Ack! What do I say? Who do I talk to? How many seconds until I reveal that I am utterly inept and boring? Yeesh. Just toss me out a window now and put us both out of my misery.

Yes, yes, I can randomly strike up conversations without collapsing or hyperventilating. But I'm cringing inside.

I agree that at least part of the reason is social anxiety, the same emotion that causes us to dream ourselves into the most humiliating of circumstances during that extended prone time period known as "rest" or "sleep". Ha! Try to rest while you're just now realizing your skirt hem is tucked into the top of your panty hose just as you walk onto a stage to give a speech. More terrifying than a Stephen King novel!

But another major part of the reason is that I'm introverted. The best definition I've seen for the introversion/extraversion difference is this: Think of your personality as a battery. If you're an introvert, being around people drains you and you need to be alone to recharge. If you're an extravert, being alone drains you and you need to be with people to recharge.

So if I'm visiting you, or we're at a social gathering at the same time, don't take offense if I disappear periodically. I like you, I really like you! But I have to recharge. I even have to do it at my parents' house. I did it growing up, and I do it now. I just go into a room by myself and read, or work on the computer, or - occasionally - stare out the window and think of nothing at all.

When I'm recharged, I'll come out. And no, that's not a threat. It's a promise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A restful night? Yeah, right.

My friend Elizabeth, a grad student at Auburn who is an excellent writer, has started her own blog, shelizabeth. If you need a pick-me-up (or just a chuckle!), go read her latest post. It involves parents, a cat, dishes and a furious drive-off. Don't worry - it's not the cat that drives off.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's not about race - Part II

I still think there is a solid chance that McCain will win. In fact, if I had to lay money on it, I'd take McCain. How much of that is wishful thinking? I don't know. But I don't think even most of it is.

However, there is also a good possibility that Obama will win. He's got a lot of people buffaloed. I think an Obama presidency would be a very bad thing for this country. I think he thinks he's a lot smarter than he is, which is always dangerous. Deeply arrogant people who also think more highly of their skills than evidence warrants* generally make big mistakes. And Obama as President Obama will be on greased skids to a downfall. For our sake, I hope it isn't irreparable.

The purpose of this post, though, is to make this point: Regardless of how Obama does, if he's elected, his success or failure won't be because he's black. Yes, his race informs his views. But race is not a pivotal or causal factor in a person's capabilities, temperment and ego.

I'm concerned that if Obama becomes president and makes a mess of it, as I think he would, it would sour the electorate on black candidates for a while. That would be a shame. There are a lot of men and women who are black, Hispanic, etc., who would be - and are - wonderful leaders for our country. In fact, I think that judging Obama on his race rather than his behaviors, leadership (or lack thereof) and political philosophies (the real ones, not the win-this-election ones) is what got us in to this position.

Race needs to come off the table. It just isn't important as a selection criteria. We're moving ever closer to a time when that will be accepted practice, and I hope it's fully realized soon. In the meantime, I hope that Obama's presidency, if it occurs, doesn't do more harm than good.

* Some people are deeply arrogant but also extremely competent. Surgeons, concert pianists and Olympic-level athletes come to mind. Their confidence is part of what allows them to do very difficult tasks with great success. I think Obama has the arrogance without the competence.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

This is so wrong...

... on so many levels.

But I love it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On prejudice

The presidential race has again brought prejudice into the forefront of public discussion. I know there are people who are prejudiced. In fact, I suspect that the only person who isn't prejudiced is a dead person. People who vote for Obama because he's black, regardless of his political views, are prejudiced. People who vote against Obama because he's black, regardless of his political views, are prejudiced. Ditto people who vote for or against the Republican ticket because the VP candidate is a woman. Those are characteristics, not character.

I try hard - some would say too hard (hello, Alan!) - not to be prejudiced. I do make value judgments, but (I hope) based on value assessments, not observations of characteristics. I could get into a detailed discussion of it all, but I'm not going to. I'm sure you're thankful.

What I do want to comment on is a concept underlying prejudice-in-practice that makes me very very edgy. That is: permission. Or, perhaps more accurately, the necessary inference that if someone is the object of prejudice on a systemic basis, that person requires permission from those in control of the society to be able to do certain things. Or any thing, really.

I am a white woman. I didn't choose to be born white, or female, or an American, for that matter. But I think all three things are pretty cool. I like knowing about my Caucasian ancestors' history, the history of their countries and the way they came to be a part of the US. I like being a woman, and all that entails. I like being an American, and consider it both a blessing and a privilege. I'm proud of the history of the US. And I'm proud to be from Appalachia, and to be a Southerner. Being proud of those things doesn't mean that I think I'm better than anyone who isn't one or more of those things. I hope everyone can find pleasure and pride in their race, sex and country. It's part of what makes us unique individuals.

At a certain time in this country, my Irish ancestors were treated very poorly. And many opportunities available to women weren't open to them until relatively recently. But I do not feel that I need to ask permission for anything I want to do. I don't need to get someone's approval to work in any kind of job; I just need the skills to do the work and the character to be a good employee. I don't need someone to sign off before I work toward a specific educational goal; I just need the capability, money and will to do it. And it's no one's business where I go, when I go, and why I go, as long as it isn't illegal. I don't need anyone's permission.

But I get the sense that in this country some people believe that black people collectively need permission from white people collectively to succeed. I think some of both white and black people believe that. It isn't stated, and there's no Bureau of Permissions to apply to for the go-ahead. But some black people feel that barrier is there, and some white and black people think other white people are putting the barrier there. So they tilt at the barrier endlessly, with great frustration and anger and sadness and at times a sense of impotence. And maybe there are a few remaining vestiges of a barrier in places, just as there are still barriers between East and West Germany even though the Berlin Wall came down nearly two decades ago.

But I think that in today's society, there aren't permission barriers anymore, not in a pervasive sense. I think any one of any race can go, do and succeed in any way they want to, as long as they meet the relevant skill/financial threshold for that endeavor. Race per se is not the issue any more.

What the issue is now is the sense that permissions are needed. The sense that someone you don't even know is holding you back because of something you can't and shouldn't even wish to change has to be extremely frustrating and angering. I get that. But how do you convince someone that the barrier isn't there? That they don't need anyone's permission? I don't know. But it needs to happen.

And that brings me to a personal note. As a white person, I feel to some degree blamed every time I read about the prejudice some black people feel they face. It makes me highly annoyed. I don't oppress anyone. I don't want to oppress anyone. I want to put up a huge sign that says, YOU DON'T NEED MY PERMISSION. I am neither less nor more than they are. I don't like being regarded with collective suspicion that I feel something I don't feel but can't prove I don't feel without making such a big deal of not feeling it that it becomes apparently self-evident that I feel it after all because why would I make such a big deal of denying it if I didn't actually feel it somewhere deep down and am ashamed/embarrassed about it?

It makes me feel very sympathetic toward men who don't care one way or another what choices a woman makes about her life, other than ordinary human moral choices, but are held loudly and angrily to account for their non-proven and often non-existent patriarchal attitudes.

I'm not dealing right now with social barriers like poverty and poor education. That's for another post. I'm just dealing with all this miasma around this election about race and prejudice. So, for the record:

Hey, Obama - YOU DON'T NEED MY PERMISSION. And neither does anyone else.

What if Obama wins?

I didn't watch the debate tonight. I know I will vote for McCain, and I couldn't bear to look at Obama. He is so liberal, and would be so terrible for our country. But if he wins... will it be God's will?

As always that's a difficult call. It's not for me to say that God chose a specific outcome in any context, although I often feel His hand in things. I do know that He's keeping an eye on things, and isn't going to let this world move out of His control. However, He lets us choose our own paths, as long as they don't conflict with His ultimate purpose. It makes me think of Israel begging God to let them have a king. He did, even though He warned them first that it would be a bad thing. They got what they wanted, and the consequences of it too, which they didn't want quite so much. And God used that choice to bring about His goal in that instance, which was the lineage of Christ. How would God have effected Christ's kingly lineage if the children of Israel didn't ask for a king? I don't know. I just know that God works it out the way it needs to be, regardless of the choices we make.

And He has a long perspective. It was hundreds of years after Saul was anointed before Christ was born. But God was working His plan long before Saul, and continues to work His plan long after Christ's time on earth. The span of my life on earth compared to God's view of time eclipses even the comparison of a one-celled amoeba to all the vastness of the world's oceans.

So how would an Obama presidency fit with God's plan? I don't know that it does, one way or another. If it happens, it could just be one of those blips on the surface of time that matters to those alive in that place in that time but otherwise has no particular meaning. It could be that God is allowing the US to suffer a correction because of the continual downward spiral into godlessness. And it could be that God sees a positive value that I can't see, because of my limitations.

I think Obama would be very bad for our nation, with his cavalier attitude toward the Constitution and his hard-left ideologies. I think McCain would keep the nation more in harmony with the founders' intent, and with the principles of conservatism, although he is by no means a true conservative himself. I think the nation will be a freer place to live under McCain.

But I'm not praying for McCain to win. I'm not praying for Obama to lose. I'm praying that God will bring about what is best for this country in this election. And if Obama wins, then I will accept that what is best for this country isn't what I see as best for us right now. And I won't succumb to "Obama-rage". I will accord his office with the respect it deserves.

But I'm hoping Obama doesn't win.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blinding me with science

Science and religion continue to have an uneasy relationship in our society. Many people of faith feel as though scientists are working hard to undermine belief in God. Many scientists believe people of faith are hanging on to outmoded beliefs in the face of clear scientific evidence that those beliefs are at best misguided and at worst bizarre and dangerous fantasies.

They're both right - kind of.

You don't have to look far to find the scientific skepticism. A good example of its tone is this column in Scientific American; I don't endorse Stein's film, but the debunking of it exposes a lot of anger and condescension on the part of the columnist. The scientists' concerns typically fall into two related categories.

First, they believe that saying "God created it that way" in response to any natural evidence or occurence closes the opportunity for close, detailed investigation. They are concerned - with some justification - that people who believe in God will see some scientific findings as in direct conflict with God's teachings. Ultimately, their fear is that believers will try to shut down scientific exploration because it can be seen as a challenge to God's Word and thus His sovereignty.

Second, they think it's stupid. They are trained to see the universe as a naturally occurring physical environment that is completely knowable given enough time and proper instrumentation. By definition, a belief system that posits a supernatural role in this environment is in conflict. Only people unwilling to or incapable of understanding the wholly natural origin, development and future of the universe would be true believers in God and the Bible as His Word. (By "true believers", I'm making a distinction between those who believe the Bible is literal, and those who call themselves religious while also saying the current scientific interpretations of our knowledge of the universe are also correct.)

Christians tend to be stung by the condescension, and angered that their intelligence is summarily impugned. Some Christians also think that certain scientific findings directly contradict the Bible, and thus must be incorrect. And there is a considerable degree of frustration that they do not usually have the expertise to directly dispute the conclusions scientists place on their findings. Those Christians with scientific expertise can and do make strong cases against apparently anti-God conclusions, but they can't cover everything.

It's been a struggle for me at times too. As a Christian, I believe in God, and in the Bible as His Word. I also believe it is a reliable historical document, not a collection of legends, folk sayings and fairytales. The scientific things that we are capable of measuring that the Bible speaks on have proven true. But every day science is learning new things, which are presented as further proof of the solely physical nature of our universe.

I have worried and fretted and thought about this a lot. As a trained social scientist, I understand about empirical research, about probability, about action and reaction and cause and effect and preponderance of evidence. But I believe the Bible. What's an intelligent, unintimidated, non-fearful true Christian to do?

My answer is simple but really really difficult: Learn to live with confident uncertainty.

When we look at science over its history, we find many instances where findings at the time felt very threatening to believers, but are now fully integrated into our daily lives with no threat at all to faith. Two examples will show what I mean.

In his excellent book, Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, author Peter Bernstein explores how the principles of probability were discovered and understood. When theorists began to point out that future events could be predicted with some accuracy using the theories of probability, the religious at the time were furious and rejecting. They felt that life was guided by God, and any effort to predict something was using magic, trying to limit God or second-guessing Him. Now, risk assessment - wholly dependent on probability analysis - is a fixture in our society, from weather forecasts to using SATs as a basis for college admission to planning a church's annual budget for a new year based on contributions from the previous year.

And those of us who paid attention in history and science classes know that Galileo was tried for his belief that the Sun was the center of the universe rather than the earth. The idea was popularized by Copernicus some 60 years earlier without significant uproar, but the Roman Catholic Church was seriously up in arms about it by 1600 because it was supposedly "against Holy Scripture". At least one man was even executed for believing it. Now it raises no eyebrows at all to believe that the earth rotates around the Sun rather than vice versa - although we also don't believe the sun is the center of the universe, just our solar system.

From my studying and thinking about this, I've come to the conclusion that it's not in any way "against God" to believe in the findings of science. They are what they are: descriptions of how the universe works to the extent we're able to discover it now. If you believe in God, how can any knowledge about His creation be threatening? It is, rather, a fascinating window into the complexity and wonder of His amazing mind. Every bit of scientific knowledge strengthens my faith in God and my belief in His ability to do anything He chooses.

It also deepens my desire to know more, and to figure out how the intricacies of our universe work together to accomplish... something. Did God create this complexity for a practical reason? Does human life in some manner depend on the existence of twirling galaxies millions of light years away? Or did God put all this complexity in place for social and aethetic reasons - to give us something to see, something to experience and admire and explore, to learn more about Him and His majesty?

Science has made certain conclusions about what they find, and that's a necessary part of the scientific process. A conclusion leads you to a theory of causation or effect, and that leads you to more questions that you can test in scientific ways. The theories of Charles Darwin gave the scientific revolution of the 1800s the power to break the shackles of religious limitations on their work, and they did just that. And they fear that any crack in their denial of a supernatural involvement will lead to those shackles being reimposed. It's a valid concern in that some religious people do feel threatened by science. But it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because science does not wish to be limited by religious beliefs, its practitioners shun and deride religious belief in scientific contexts. Because religious people see that derision and shunning, some suspect there is ill intent on the part of the scientists. That suspicion and frustration lead them to loudly denounce scientists. That makes scientists in turn say, "See? We were right to be concerned!" and, their theory supported, they become even more philosophically opposed to any possible relationship between God and science. Thus, religious people who are concerned about the philosophical intent of scientists become suspicious even of the scientific findings themselves.

And that's a mistake. If it exists in this world, then God had a hand in it. Therefore, anything we learn about it cannot be a threat to God and His authority. We as Christians should not shun science; we should embrace it in all its confusing complexities as continuing information about the mind and purpose of God, revelations about His power and might. We don't have to understand why, or how, or when.

One major struggle I have is with the timing of the origin of the earth. Some Bible scholars say that based on genealogies and other Bible-based tools, the earth cannot be older than about 8,000 years. However, scientists have tests that indicate the earth is many millions, if not billions, of years old. Some of that is based on the estimated amount of time evolution would take to progress from non-life to a single-celled life to a diversity and complexity of life as we have it today. However, some of it is based on known values of degradation of various chemicals or minerals, and their relative presence in various places in the world. How do you reconcile the two views?

I don't. That's my answer. I heard a sermon once by Aude McKee advising against "whittling on God's end of the stick". There are many applications for that advice, but in this instance I take it to mean that I don't have to reconcile every scientific finding with my understanding of God's Word. Just as we understand now that probability analysis and a sun-centric system of orbiting planets are not threats to God's sovereignity, at some point in the future humans will understand the role of current discoveries in God's created universe. I see enough in today's world, and in God's Word, to know my belief is justified and appropriate. I don't have to explain how everything in the physical world works to feel that confidence, just as I don't have to see heaven to know it's there.

As for scientists? Well, in a world where exploration of the physical world is neutral, there's no need for traumatic fear on anyone's side. It is what it is. Now, go try to figure it out. Just keep me posted. I want to know more about how great my God is.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

A scary fish tale

Catfish scare me.

I like to eat them. I like to catch them. But they scare me.

I think it's the big mouths. When you catch a bass or a bluegill, their mouths don't seem large enough to nip more than your finger. A catfish looks like he could chomp your arm and like it. Also, catfish tend to be one of the larger fishes commonly caught by amateurs like me, so an arm-chomping big fish is, well, scary.

Imagine my horror at discovering the goonch, which not only looks like a catfish on steriods, but has actually eaten people. They think. No, really.

I think I'll stick with the pay lake version. It's scary enough.

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She's got legs!

A photographer crept behind Sarah Palin at a rally yesterday and took a photo of the audience. The photo shows Palin's legs from just below the knees down, and as much of the audience as you can see around and between her legs. It doesn't look particularly startling to me; if Fox News hadn't asked if it were sexist, I wouldn't have thought about it. I might have wondered if the guy in the front row was trying to look up her skirt.

Fox News asks if the photographer would take this photo of Joe Biden - the implication being: No, because he's a man. As a former news photographer myself, I would say: No, because men wear slacks and you can't get a cool silhouette around them. You probably wouldn't be able to see the audience at all. So the question falls flat on process.

The better question is: Would the photographer take the same photo of Hillary Clinton? As far as I know, none did when she was running. But she always wore slacks. Same problem as with men - no useful angle to use. Let's suppose, though, that Clinton did wear a skirt at some point. Would a photo be taken in a similar pose? I think so, if the photographer had the shot. Would the media use it?

Ahhhh.... there's the question. I think they wouldn't. Not because they thought it sexist. Not because they didn't want to portray Hillary in this feminine way.

They wouldn't because Hillary has thick ankles.

This is about a fun angle and a nice asthetic, people! And I have no problem with it at all.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm just saying, is all

Yes, it appears that I am blogging again. I don't know how much or what about, but at least occasionally about all manner of things. It's good to be back.

Lipstick on a liberal

This post is a response I wrote to this blog post.

I'm a southern woman with a graduate degree, no husband and no children. My world is very different from Sarah Palin's. But I think she's great. She's smart, she's got a sense of humor, she loves being both a wife and mother, and she isn't afraid of being both very feminine and very competent in her work. She is a well-rounded woman who hasn't given up any aspect of herself to succeed at the top level of her field. She's having a fabulous time running for VP, and that delight is part of her charm. She is neither jaded nor pretending to be one of the "big men" - she's just herself.

I agree with those who see the dislike of Palin as somewhat rooted in an urban liberal vibe. Certainly policy differences are legitimate regardless of the gender of the candidate and voter. But dissing her for her accent? Please. A lot of very smart people speak similarly, some of them even Democrats. Those who object are showing a bias against rural and southern people. And dissing her for not respecting the "advancements" of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and the NOW gang? Yes, they advocated important changes in industrial and business realms, but the truly important changes were championed by conservative women as well and would have come eventually without the attendant harm of the rest of the NOW political agenda. But they were not the first, and their telling of the history of women is short-sighted. I come from eastern Kentucky, and all four of my grandparents had college degrees by the mid 1960s. My female ancestors, mostly farmers, worked side by side with their husbands on the farm. They got to stop to breastfeed their babies too. They earned money. They were respected. They could handle almost any problem that came along. They pre-dated NOW.

And Sarah Palin reminds me of them. She is a type of woman familiar to rural southerners and midwesterners. She isn't so familiar to urbanites. And therein lies the dig.