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Showing posts from June 28, 2020

Michael Bolton Rules

There had been a fashion for a while to appreciate Michael Bolton ironically, and he's a good sport about it, so you can almost imagine the comedy gold that results. But I was growing up listening to the radio during the peak Michael Bolton time; he's great, as far as I'm concerned. He sings, and I feel things. I guess somebody more "woke" than me will go on about how "blue-eyed soul" is cultural appropriation. And maybe it is. I spent a good portion of my childhood and adolescent years appreciating Black culture. I'm still kind of doing that, to be honest. I digress. An old friend announced his engagement yesterday on social media. I said I was "Michael Bolton on Dancing with the Stars" excited, which is a lot. You can blame Tommy Mottolla and Walter Afanasieff, I guess. It was in the air; what can you do? He'll never be my absolute favorite, but I like and love so much music that this doesn't say much. I'm a big fan. I'

Checking In On "Changed My Mind," With Luke T. Harrington (Jason Kettinger, AKA, Me)

There's no way I'm listening to this. [No way, I agree.--ed.] I suppose I could still publicize it, though. Do you recall if I said anything offensive? [The amount of time you can talk is offensive enough.--ed.] I had fun, though! [You always have fun at other people's expense.--ed.] I guess I can't argue with that. I hope this episode doesn't start brawls in the streets, or lead to the cancellation of Luke's podcast. Although if it did, I would be morbidly pleased with myself. [Wait until the Reformed watch-bloggers get a hold of this!--ed.] I know, right? Then again, they'll probably just blame the resulting social chaos on Jason Stellman. [Touche.--ed.]

He Is Also A Son Of Abraham

One interesting thing about the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 can get overlooked. The leaders of the people are once again muttering, asking in their hearts--and maybe out loud--if Jesus knows that he is welcoming a sinner. Jesus answers by saying that salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. It was the social system that put this into doubt, not any confusion about the man's identity. So many times, we are confronted with the temptation to exclude someone from the mercy of God, because they don't appear to deserve it. However, does anyone deserve it? Suppose Jesus just came over to your house. He simply invited himself. I doubt we would feel worthy, but it is the quality of faith to welcome him. A faith that lives is a faith that desires Jesus. That desire is shot through with hope, because hope disregards unworthiness, in order to seek communion. They tell us in spiritual discernment to ask God to let the good desires grow. That principal desir

For Me, Or Against Me

I realized the other day that I don't recognize a middle ground on this. You're either for me, or against me. We all have disappointments and disagreements with those we love; most of that just rolls off, either with time, or experience. But if I have a doubt about whether someone cares about me--no matter the motivation--it's just over. I can remember being trained in evangelism when I was young, and we would often talk about not making people into "projects". The trouble was, I think we actually did a lot of what we said we did not want to do. I definitely work with the notion of "insider/outsider." You can give me advice, criticism, or whatever you like, but you better be an insider. You had better know your place. We all do this, even if we don't talk about it. But I'm getting to the point where I say exactly what I think, even if it sounds "arrogant" or any other words somebody would like to use. It's funny to say this no

Joyful Commemoration Is Affirmation

You get a lot of "first openly gay" or "first openly…" something in the popular culture today. I think there is a Christian tendency to try to celebrate that, as if we want to signal, "well, we're not the kind of Christians who would tie Matthew Shepard to a fence and beat him to death." As if telling someone that homosexual relations are contrary to God's law is equivalent to murder. It is actually a gift for someone to tell you that you are a sinner, and that you need to turn around. There are lots of hateful people in the world, who can get an issue right, but with the wrong heart. That is true. But we are hopelessly na├»ve, if we don't think and recognize that "first openly gay" language is an invitation to celebration. It forms a liturgy of affirmation. It forms a counter-liturgy of alternate practices pertaining to the human body. The best you'll ever get from me, in response to the homosexuality of some famous person is, &

Abolish The Death Penalty

Rather than seemingly argue endlessly about just how systemically racist the justice system is, my insight is this: Death is its highest penalty. If the system is unjust, it will be enforcing its highest penalty unjustly. We can’t undo it, once it’s done. Let’s take the whole thing off the table. We still need to address the destruction of people by extralegal means. And indeed, perhaps there is a disturbing reservoir of white support for police violence, precisely because the legal machinery of death doesn’t move fast enough. Nevertheless, it’s a counter-liturgy of death, and it’s past time to end it. I should not have to say this, but let’s end abortion, too. We either believe in redemption, and the abundant life, or we keep religion as an heirloom, and a trinket. Choose you this day.