Deborah Gyapong: November 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why the Tory didn't win in London

Many social conservatives had big hopes for Diane Haskett, the former mayor of London, Ontario, who came in third in the recent by-election in London in the seat held by Liberal Joe Fontana. The Liberal won, but the big story was how the new Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, came in second.

Haskett leapt into prominence several years ago after she was fined thousands of dollars for refusing to proclaim a gay pride day. This has been viewed as an extremely egregious violation of human rights, religious freedom and freedom of conscience---that you could be fined for what you did not do or you do not say. Terrible coercion, and Haskett stood up to it. As a protest, she ran for mayor again, but refused to campaign and won by a landslide.

Well...Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has some analysis over at on why she lost.

He wrote:

Dianne Haskett was overly managed by a team of strategists from Conservative Party headquarters. There were rumours well before the election that this is just what the party would do in the riding.

The negative outcome is a very important message for the Conservative Party. Voters in London-North-Centre weren't excited about Stephen Harper, but they might have become excited about Dianne Haskett. The only problem with the Haskett campaign is that the Conservative strategists were busy downplaying Dianne Haskett and emphasizing the Conservative Party.

And this:

The beginning of the end for Dianne was when she refused to answer the local Citizen Impact organization’s questionnaire. Every candidate, except Dianne, answered the questionnaire. Citizen Impact distributed the results of the questionnaire in 10,000 voters’ guides to London-North-Centre churches as a way of informing them about their issues of top concern.

Dianne is a believing Christian and her constituency was denied the opportunity to learn about her positions on crucial issues such as: abortion, euthanasia, marriage, informed consent, conscience legislation, child pornography and funding for special interest groups. Many Christians in London have indicated that they determine how they vote based on the results of the Citizen Impact voters' guide and Dianne 's positions on these questions were missing.

Dianne explicitly told a few persons who presented her with life and family issue questionnaires that the Conservative Party instructed her she was not allowed to sign questionnaires. It was as though they were embarrassed that Dianne was a Christian and a social conservative.

I shake my head in dismay. I wonder how many in the Harper government realize that much of their slim victory last time around was due to social conservatives who care deeply about issues such as marriage, euthanasia and abortion. Many Catholics who had never voted anything but Liberal came over to the Tories in the last election because they were galvanized by the marriage issue. Many of them are uncomfortable with fiscal conservatism and if these socially conservative issues are off the table, they will happily go back to the Liberals of the NDP without concern for their consciences.

Suzanne Fortin over at Big Blue Wave
has been trying to get the Tories attention about this refusal to allow their candidates to sign questionaires.

Jeanne Damoff on answering the call to write

My fellow Master's Artist Jeanne Damoff writes about calling and discerning God's will.

Curtis and Grace are in love. That's not enough to make a marriage work, but it tends to influence most decisions to marry. And that's not a bad thing. God often speaks through the desires of our hearts. He uses what we love--what energizes us--to guide us into His will. I'm not saying our hearts can always be trusted--they are, after all, deceitful above all things. But I do believe when we seek God's will as honestly as we know how, we can trust Him to move our hearts accordingly.

Taking up the pen isn't as life-changing as marriage, but it requires serious commitment. Ah, but what do we care? We're in love! Like most young newlyweds, we enter into the writing life with high hopes and colorful dreams. Our characters dance before us on a stage as enchanting as a Maurice Sendak illustration. Surely God is with us, we think, as we spin verbal straw into gold.

Father Raymond Gravel wins seat for the Bloc

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Father Raymond Gravel, a dissident Catholic priest and former teenaged prostitute, won a seat in Canada’s House of Commons in the Nov. 27 by-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Running for the separatist Bloc Quebecois, Father Gravel will fill the seat in the Repentigny, Quebec riding vacated by Bloc Member of Parliament (MP) Benoit Sauvageau, who died in a car crash in August.

Father Gravel’s candidacy created controversy earlier this fall when news reports stated he not only had his bishop’s permission but also a green light from the Vatican.

On Oct. 31, Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier issued a statement Oct. 31 contradicting those reports, saying “no green light had been given by the Vatican.”

“The position of the church is clear: all priests must abstain from all militant engagement of politics,” he said. Bishop Lussier also noted that in exceptional circumstances priests can run for political office, but those conditions do not exist in Canada.

What journalists failed to report from the Pink Book launch

Kate over at Small Dead Animals providees the subtext:

"The current system favours women who are willing to earn their way to the top through intelligence, hard work, and initiative." Ms. Stronach said, speaking before reporters. "This is clearly discriminatory."

"Speaking as a member of the privileged underachiever community, I can personally testify that mediocrity would have stood in the way of my goals, had it not been for the support and extreme wealth of my family. I would never have headed my father's company, nor had a snowball's chance in Hell of becoming a Member of Parliament. In our current patriarchal system, these jobs almost always go to college graduates."

But what of women who don't have nepotism and cronyism to fall back on? Ms. Stronach was passionate, "I had the pleasure of meeting a number of ordinary, undermotivated women while conducting our interviews. Our group also met with several government funded advocacy groups that function as sheltered workshops for female underachievers. This raises grave concerns about their future - where are the women of SoW, for example, to go, should their budgets be slashed? They may be forced to seek employment in sectors that reward measurable performance - something for which they are fundamentally ill-suited."

Hat tip Relapsed Catholic.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This is unbelievable. But then again . . . prepare yourself.

The words "hide it under a bushel" come to mind. I'd been reading about the case of a cross erected in the Mojave -- it's two pipes welded together that comes to about six feet tall -- on top of a boulder to honor WWI veterans, and how the ACLU had sued (successfully so far) to have it removed. This post is not to discuss the facts of the case, but rather to simply show the cross to you in its present state.

There is video at the above link.

Hat tip Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic who says:

Note too that stories and photos like this (surprise!) work at cross purposes, so to speak, to the ACLU's desires: again and again, stuff like this turns people Christian, not the other way around. If "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church", surely the "pointless anti-Christian provocations of the ACLU" are now its accidental fertilizer.

Again and again, the ways of God confound the learned and render them abject fools. So don't be angered by the diabolical mischief documented in this photo. Instead, rejoice, for "He scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts."

Sounds like an author I want to read

Great interview over at Frontpage Magazine with Elizabeth Kantor about her new book
The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature.

If English literature disappears, there are serious implications for Western civilization. I know it sounds grandiose, maybe even a little paranoid, to say English professors are a threat to our civilization. But think about it: our culture isn't in our genes; it's learned. And one important way that Western culture used to be learned was from the great literature in English. Shakespeare was an essential part of what made educated Americans and citizens of the West. The disappearance of English literature ought to concern those of us who are aware that Western civilization is a source of freedom, not oppression.

Award-winning author Keith Clemons chooses self-publishing route

My Master's Artist post today:

Have you ever become so frustrated with rejection and the narrow parameters of CBA that you've thought of self-publishing? If you think that self-publishing automatically means an inferior product, think again. Did you know that Frank Peretti self-published his first novel?

Keith Clemons, an award-winning author based in Canada, decided to self-publish rather than go the conventional route. He didn't just go to some vanity press though; he created a publishing company.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reviews of the Pink Book rolling in

Phantom Observer slices and dices the Liberal women's caucus' Pink Book.

* No less than five pages at the beginning consist of introductory pages, each page written by a separate member or sub-group of the Committee. Belinda Stronach’s page is understandable, since she is the chair of the Women’s Caucus, but do we really need the other four? Especially since they all say the same thing, i.e. “read this important report”?
* Seven pages in the back are devoted to the Women’s Caucus directory, essentially listing contact numbers (and appropriate photos) for all the caucus members in the House and Senate. Hey, I’ll agree that a directory is a good idea for a reference source for parliamentarians, but the Liberals are trying to market this as a policy document, not a list of contacts. It doesn’t need to be here.
* Now at this point, if I told you that a blank page separated the introductions from the rest of the report, you’ll realize that I’ve managed to account for half of the document — 15 of 29 pages. Add in a preface that takes four pages, and you’ll realize that of those 29 pages, only 10 — just over a third — comprise the actual report.

Sick of the barefoot and pregnant meme

Oh no! The Liberal women's caucus has discovered the secret Tory agenda--Stephen Harpers draconian plan for the "revenge of the cradle." I suppose the Liberals would rather all Canadian people behave like good Episcopalians.

Kathy Shaidle posted an SOS from the kitchen of the secret Tory breeding farm.

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal women’s caucus is accusing the Conservative government of trying to keep females “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”
They say the government is pursuing an ideological agenda that ignores women’s needs and cuts funding to those who need help the most.

The Liberal women have released a set of party policies aimed at what they say are the most pressing social and economic issues facing Canadian women, particularly working women and their families, caregivers and seniors.

They say that improving the social and economic equality of women is the driving force behind the first volume of what they’re calling their “Pink Book.”


Belinda Stronach, chair of the Liberal women’s caucus, says the recommendations are also aimed at countering what she describes as the Conservative government’s “attack” on women’s progress.


Judy Sgro says it’s not so much the dollars as the message the cuts send.

“I think Harper and his Conservative government, based on their policies, would clearly prefer women would stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and move us backwards 40 years,” she said.

Suzanne at Big Blue Wave doesn't find Judy Sgro's comments funny.

What she is doing is preying on popular prejudices to get her way.

That's called DEMAGOGUERY.

What that means is that you cannot trust that politician. That politician will say anything to get ahead.

This must be loudly denounced.

Judy Sgro is a DEMAGOGUE!

Meanwhile, what do you think of Belinda Stronach as a brunette?

Of course, I have nothing better to do than think about Belinda's hair.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one.

I was in QP today, and as much as I should blog about something profound and intelligent, I am choosing to obstain and blog about Belinda's hair.

She stood up to speak and I recognized the voice, but when I looked down to see her speaking I saw brown hair. I turned to my friend and asked, "Who's that?"

Seeing her with dark brown hair has never made me happier. Is she trying to change her image? Perhaps. Is she trying to appear more intelligent?

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Pope Appeals for Christian unity

The drive for unity does not mean that “ecclesial life must be rendered uniform and dull,” Pope Benedict said, noting that Paul’s discussion about the church being the “bride of Christ” points to the dynamic nature of the relationship between God and man.

“If there is one criterion that Paul holds dear it is that of mutual edification,” the pope said, adding that the Pauline Letters make clear that “love must be exchanged” and that “we must be passionately faithful to him.”

"In the final analysis, what is involved is a relationship of communion: vertically between Jesus Christ and all of us, but also horizontally among all those who identify themselves in the world by calling 'on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,'" the pope said.

Love among the ruins

Over at the Master's Artist I lament the loss of Tradition.

I grew up in the 1950s, and can still remember wearing little white gloves and Easter bonnets to church. The Catholic Mass was still in Latin and nuns wore habits. I didn't attend, but most of my friends did. They talked about confession. About Catechism classes. The questions seemed so stupid. My fifth grade teacher in public school read from the Bible every morning. I remember being so caught up in the stories she read that I couldn't wait to get to school on the day Moses was going to see God. How disappointed I was when he only saw his backside.

Why do heathens make the best Christian films?

Great piece from Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture, edited by Barbara Nicolosi. Thanks to the Catholic Education Resource Centre for the link.

The idea that Christians will go see films targeted at them has not been borne out by the marketplace. Christians, it turns out, see the same films as everyone else.

And what about the success of the Christian music and publishing industries? They have succeeded because they take advantage of an infrastructure of Christian bookstores, through which music and books targeted at Christian audiences can be sold. But there are no Christian movie theaters, and Providence Entertainment, the lone Christian distribution company, recently imploded. In other words, films targeting Christians have to compete with mainstream films for distribution and, if they make it to the cineplex, for audiences.

But Christian filmmakers seem to believe that they do not have to compete in the mainstream market. Thus, storytelling and production values end up taking a backseat to the movie's message. The films are merely bait to lure viewers to a homily or altar call, and this only ensures their failure.

Even with the built-in distributions system of Christian bookstores, the Christian music and publishing industries figured out after a few years that they had to develop products that were just as good as mainstream books and music in order to succeed. Christian filmmakers will have to do this and more. To compete in the mainstream market, they will have to appeal not only to Christians but also to mainstream audiences.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Religious leaders sign historic Declaration on Marriage

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – More than 40 religious leaders from all the major faiths, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have signed an historic “Declaration on Marriage,” affirming its crucial role as a heterosexual social institution for the procreation and nurturing of children.

In advance of a promised vote in the Canadian Parliament, the religious leaders urged politicians to reopen the debate on marriage in a way that treats all sides respectfully.

“Marriage is a most important state in life, because on it depends the future of the human race,” said Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais, speaking in French at a news conference Nov. 9. Marriage not only guarantees the procreation of offspring, but the best quality of upbringing, he said.

Archbishop Gervais recognized the hatred and bigotry people with same-sex attractions face and said the church requires the avoidance of any unjust discrimination against them.

“I completely support this teaching,” he said. “But let’s call marriage what it is – marriage, and this other reality another designation.”

Mark Steyn on the state as patriarch

Mark Steyn gives an interview about his book America Alone to Right Wing News. (via Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic.

Essentially I think a lot of it is to do really with the kind of re-organization of society in which the state has a primacy that was once reserved for individuals of the family.

That's to say if the state basically becomes your patriarch -- if the state becomes the one who looks after your elderly parents in old age, takes them off your hands, and so frees you up not to have to look after boring old granddad once he's getting into his 90's and he's incontinent and he doesn't remember anybody's name. If they just say, " Well, we'll house him, look after him, you can get on with your life," it's not such a big step then to decide that if you do without grandparents, you can also do without grandchildren -- so essentially the all powerful state has severed man from the primal impulses including the survival impulse and that's a very bizarre situation and if as people say, "How can that be," I look at it the other way. I say, "Well, why should it not be?"

I mean this idea that it's normal for the state to be as big as it is in advanced social democratic societies is something that would have seemed incredible to anyone a hundred years ago. I mean, I remember being struck by - on September 11th - and I was writing a column a couple of days afterwards and, you know, we're all done with our initial reaction, so you're trying to think a couple of days ahead and find a new angle on it, and I happen to just notice that it was more or less (a hundred years after the) assassination of President McKinley. I was thinking, well, maybe I could tie these two things together, these two big traumatizing events and, you know, bookending the century, whatever - you know, just peck, peck, peck - we journalists always are going to peck.

So I sort of rummaged around the clippings of President McKinley's assassination and realized that while people were upset about it, they essentially regarded it as the removal of a remote figure who played a peripheral part in their lives. To that point for most people in most parts of the U.S. the federal government did not impinge on their life in any way.

So when people talk about the modern social democratic state, you know, cradle to grave entitlements, we should understand that it is, in effect, a huge experimental departure from the normal course of human history - and the experiment as we can see in almost every other country apart from the U.S. has failed.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Muslims have a right to firm and humble witness for Jesus Christ says Pope

Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to engage in "firm and humble" dialogue with Muslims, in an address to bishops from Germany, which has a sizable Muslim minority.

Pope Benedict said Catholics should manifest their beliefs with the same conviction as Muslims, who "are attached with great seriousness to their convictions and their religious rites."

The pope, who will travel to mainly Muslim Turkey at the end of the month, said Muslims "have the right to our firm and humble witness for Jesus Christ."

Via Dhimmiwatch and Drudge.

A longer version of the story is found at Catholic Online here.

An "interview" on the strategy behind Rumsfeld's resignation

Thanks to Egyptian Sandmonkey for a link to this "interview" with Donald Rumsfeld about the real reasons for his resignation, among them the fact that he was able to dominate the news cycle during the day the Democrats won both Houses of Congress and set up a trap for the Democrats that will backfire on them in 2008.

Rummy: Yes. Very much so. You see most of the complaining from the Democrats has fallen into two camps. Either they think that I haven't listened to my generals and that hundreds of thousands of more troops are needed or they advocate a running away from Iraq except they keep calling that strategy "redeployment". The hearings will put those people on the spot to explain exactly where they stand. Do they want to cut and run or do they plan to budget for hundreds of thousands of new troops? Can you picture Ted Kennedy stuttering his way out of that?

ALR: I think I'm starting to get it. The hearings are normally about a candidate's qualifications but nobody will be checking Bob Gates resume. Instead they will be pumping him for what he thinks about you and the job you have done in Iraq.

Rummy: Exactly. You know the President wasn't going to select a successor who was either going to cut and run or add hundreds of thousands of new troops but by the Senator's questions we get to see where they stand. When it comes time to vote on Bob Gates by that time his confirmation will be a referendum on the war. A vote for Bob Gates will be a vote for staying the course. A vote against Bob Gates could be spun as a vote that keeps me in office longer and to many on the left I'm the ultimate bogeyman. Its a lose-lose for any Democratic Senator who plans to run in 2008.

Sandmonkey writes:

I have to say, that american politics may not be the most functional one to follow, but it's definitely the most entertaining!

Check out his blog. Some interesting perspectives from Egypt on goings-on inside the country as well.

Gateway Pundit offers a different perspective on Iraq

Gateway Pundit has some interesting statistical comparisons that give a different perspective on Iraq, especially when casualty rates among American soldiers are compared with say murder rates in Brazil or casualty rates among French police officers.

He writes:

How did the democrats get the rest of America to believe that ousting Saddam Hussein and building a free democracy in the Middle East was a bad thing?

How did they manage to get America to believe that Iraq is Vietnam, a quagmire, a civil war?

Make sure you take a trip over to look at the graphs and the story links. Most interesting.

I wonder what a graph would look like showing the number of Americans who die every day in car accidents. What if the front page of every newspaper and the lead story of every TV newscast led with a horrific picture of a motor vehicle accident? What would happen to our risk assessment of driving our cars? If the MSM wanted to get a wholesale move to rail transportation, it might want to take up that kind of story selection and placement.

Covering the bomb blasts of the Jihadist and Saddamist insurgencies has produced just the megaphone effect they need. No wonder they are cheering now that the Democrats have won.

At exactly 11:15 a.m. I happened on this . . .

Over at Michael D. O'Brien's site...

Consecration of the United States to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary

On Saturday, November 11, at 12:00 pm, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, a historic event will take place for our country: the consecration of the United States to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Presiding at the Mass will be Papal Nuncio, His Excellency, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, in the company of American bishops as well as the signatures of the numerous bishops who have signed the consecration form that will re-consecrate America to the Immaculate Conception, the U.S. National Patroness.

For those who cannot be physically present, we invite you to be spiritually united by joining in the Rosary between 11:15 am and 12:00 pm Eastern Time, and we also include below the consecration form to be used.

Prayer for Renewal of Consecration
To Our Patroness of the United States of America
The Immaculate Conception

Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as Your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as Your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.

Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners — on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon, save us from degeneration, disaster and war. Protect us from all harm. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your Son in the depths of your heart, be our Advocate. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson reviews Mark Steyn's new book

Of course, our appeasement is not because we are weak — indeed, the economy and military of the United States are stronger than ever. Rather we are petrified that the use of massive force against such enemies will not only cost us blood and treasure, and perhaps a notch or two off the good life, but also will shatter all our easy falsities about who we are — refined children of the Enlightenment whose logic and largess surely can uplift misguided others who are only in need of our reason and tolerance.

Steyn is merciless to these self-appointed moralists, safe inside the citadel of Western freedom, economic propriety, and the United States military, who, from the very ramparts they damn, praise the enemy ramming the gates below.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Ted Haggard conundrum

Would you have discerned anything off about this guy watching and listening to this video?

I probably would not have warmed too much to him. I would have shrugged. Nothing hit me as particularly profound or spiritual. Nothing hit me as false either. In retrospect, though, Haggard makes it sound too easy. And, if the allegations are true, and it seems he has admitted they are, it was not that easy. Underneath all this great family tableau was a huge lie.

Interesting how in some ways it is all about him and how great his family is and how wonderful their meals are together. As if this is the fruit of a good Christian life. If your faith is such that God's blessings and rewards are a sign of your deep faith, then maybe all the more reason to focus on the blessings as proof and hide aspects that might be unseemly. It becomes image, image, image....outward things.

Interesting to look at a few other clips as well. He has a huge smile, but it stays on even when his eyes stop smiling.

Doug Cryer of the Evangelical Fellowship has a good post on Haggard here.

Ted Haggard's confession is here:

But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.

For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I've sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn't a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry.

The whole thing is sad.

Monday, November 06, 2006

No country immune to evils of human trafficking says nun

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Human trafficking is a widespread social evil and no country is immune, including Canada, said an Italian nun whose efforts in Italy have helped set 5,000 women free from the sex-slave trade.

Human trafficking is “the new slavery of the 21st Century,” said Sister Eugenia Bonetti, who has coordinated anti-trafficking strategies in Rome and Turin with a team of 200 religious sisters who have opened their homes to young women fleeing captivity.

The modern slavery is far worse because it involves the “emptying of the dignity of the person,” leaving the women with no hope, no life, and a deep sense of guilt, even though they have been forced into prostitution, Sister Bonetti, an international expert in human trafficking, said.

The globalized market for sexual exploitation has made all countries complicit in the trade as either countries of origin, transit or destination. “No country is safe. We are all included,” she said.

The root cause in countries of origin is “utter poverty,” lack of jobs and gender inequality, she said. Traffickers lure women through promises of jobs because they have no means for survival, she said.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dr. Sanity on memory and insight

Another great post that shows why Dr. Sanity is one of my daily stops.

Memory is absolutely essential for the ability to develop insight. If you cannot remember events and their antecedents or their consequences, then you would be unable to put these events into any kind of context or perspective. If you forget how you thought or felt about these events yesterday, then you cannot easily review the process of how your thinking or feelings altered or consider why.

This line of thought has some interesting socio-political implications. For example, by altering the "memory" of a people or a nation (i.e., distorting the historical narrative), you could easily alter the context of events, manipulate emotions about those events, and inevitably control or limit the development of psychological insight in the population at large. If, for example, you have repeated the meme that "Saddam had no WMD's and no ties to terrorism" often enough so that people believed that it was fact (despite a decade of evidence--and memory--to the contrary); then you might actually believe that it was reasonable to float the idea that "Bush made Saddam's WMD program information available to Iran". Those who are able to retain memory for the past and reflect on the absurdity of this claim can only laugh at such self-delusion.

You can see how "forgetting" --whether a deliberate or unintentional process--could easily lead to rampant psychological denial , projection and any number of primative or immature psychological defenses.

She also writes:

Insight can also sometimes be quite devastating, particularly when it forces you to rethink your assumptions or dearly-held beliefs or ideology. There are many situations where achieving insight and understanding the motives behind one's behavior (as well as what one can and cannot control) could generate deserved guilt and shame. By doing so, insight, while painful, can be productive and initiate a change in behavior for the good.

This post makes me think of the Jews and how they have been able to maintain the memory of what God has done for their nation by retelling it over and over to their children and children's children. It also underscores how important it is as Christians to live inside the Christian story so that one can maintain a memory that gives meaning to all individual memories and also provides that necessary mirror for the painful insights that generate conviction and repentance.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pure poetry from the Ragamuffin Diva

Claudia Mair Burney is an author to watch. Her first novel Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man was a great read, humorous, witty, fun, boundary-pushing....and full of insight.

This is from a recent post at her Ragamuffin Diva blog.

Sometimes when you least expect it, when your own dreams tell you how unpretty you are (not to mention you have bad dental hygiene)... Sometimes when your hair is standing on your head and you want to look like a prima donna but you only look like Don King... Sometimes when you are too tired, and sad, and sick and you know He hasn't, but you feel like God has forgotten you, and doesn't hear your dumb prayer about getting your hair done because for Heaven's sakes, people are dying of AIDS wholesale in Africa, and of what value in this world is feeling pretty...

Sometimes you tiptoe to love with rounded shoulders and your heart in a gazillion pieces in the palm of your hand, and you hand over your wrecked heart to God, and before the pieces fall in to His grasp, you peek at the image--the eikon--of your own smiling face in God's palm, and it's the only face you see there.

I hope to have Claudia drop by for a blog tour interview.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why Hillary's voice will keep her from the White House

From Hugh Hewitt's Radio Blogger.

But there's something about Hillary that is an immediate disqualifier with millions and millions of voters, mostly male.

That voice. That shrill campaign voice. It returned Saturday morning. If you missed it, I have preserved the quality of the audio to near-CD quality. It should be played far and wide for the next two years.



I want you to put the headphones on, close your eyes, maybe turn the lights out, and imagine the beautiful Rose Garden with a podium set up. Imagime President Hillary giving a press conference from this serene, historic backdrop, and have her sound like this.

I'm telling you, there are millions of American males who are going to hear that and say no way. They were married to that. They went out with someone like that. They are married to someone like that now. But regardless of their marital/dating status now, they sure aren't going to voluntarily vote for someone that sounds like that. Shrill nagging from a female politician will go over like nails on a chalkboard to most guys, and Hillary can't win solely on the female vote.

Think about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a minute. What do you think his reaction would be to hearing a threat from President Hillary in a voice like that? What about Kim Jong Il?

Heh heh heh. A lot of women hate that nagging, hectoring tone too.

At least she keeps her voice in a low register. We used to have a cabinet minister in Canada who sounded like she'd inhaled helium when she started yelling in the House of Commons during Question Period.

It's the tone of the Nanny State.

I hate false rage and foaming invective whether it is from a woman or a man.

On theology and romance

Two good posts to check out over at The Master's Artist.

Lisa Samson writes about the relationship of one's theology to the depth of one's fiction.

She writes:

How we view God and His plan for His kingdom may well be blinding us to the depths to which we can go in our writing. In short, our theology, not just our craft and our stories, may be the first area in need of overhaul in order to increase our profundity, our depth. For years we have been fed the notion that our spiritual life is about our own peace and fulfillment, our own "personal relationship" with God. Perhaps the most broken aspect of our theology, however, what may seize up our creativity and hinder us from deep spiritual insight, is the therapeutism touted as theology these days: that God only wants us to be wealthy, healthy and happy, that Christ died so we could be free from any pain and discomfort and if we're not, we're not being blessed or we don't have enough faith. Honestly, I fight against this sort of blessing thermometer in my own soul all the time. If I was doing the right thing, surely everything would be better. If I was wise and prudent, surely I'd be experiencing an abundance of professional and monetary blessings: great sales, speaking engagements, not being thrown in to the general criticism stew of the broadbrush critics of CBA. (Sorry, that just had to come out folks!)

So I ask myself more and more these days: Does my writing reflect the hard work of the gospel life in all its complexities, where the answer from Above might be . . . more pain? More sadness? More sharing in Christ's sufferings? More taking up crosses? More thorns, more nails, more spittle dripping off our cheeks and noses?

And today, Jeanne Damoff has an important reflection on the romance genre.

God is the greatest Romancer of all, but His plot points don't fit the genre mold. He calls and woos His bride. When she loses interest in Him and goes after other lovers, He waits. Oh, how patiently He waits! And he even promises a happy ending. But the story world is broken, and there's only one way to reach happily ever after. The Lover must die for His beloved. And then He leaves--a long physical separation during which the bride learns obedience through suffering. She groans within herself, longing for a redemption of her body that will not come this side of death.

No candlelit dinners. No dancing under the stars. No gazing into the eyes.


Sometimes the end of the book isn't the end of the story. Sometimes, when Love is making the promises, it's only the beginning.