It's a common joke, but...
And no, this is not how I plan to react in the unlikely event that I ever receive tenure anywhere.
Special thanks to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for the awesome comic.
Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.
""So now it's Nick, is it? Well, he and I [Buck] are not close enough for that familiarity, and I don't provide female companionship even to my friends."
I can't even provide female companionship for myself. They won't talk to me and keep asking to change seats on the airline. I think they're playing hard to get.
Rayford and Chloe watched for Buck until the last minute the next morning, but they could no longer save a seat for him when the sanctuary and the balcony filled. When Bruce gave his message, Chloe nudged her father and pointed out the window, down onto the walk before the front door. There, in a small crowd listening to an external speaker, was Buck.
Rayford raised a celebratory fist and whispered to Chloe, "Wonder what you're going to pray for this morning?"
It isn't that I [Buck] didn't want to say good-bye. But I don't.
I'll be back for bureau business and maybe just to see you, if you'll allow it.
You are a lovely person, Chloe, and I was moved to tears by your story.
Would you [Chloe] do something I [Buck] have never asked anyone to do for me before?
Would you pray for me? I will call you soon. I promise. Buck.
Buck felt more alone than ever on the flight home. He was in coach on a full plane, but he knew no one.
He [Buck] read several sections from the Bible Bruce had gien him and had marked for him, prompting the woman next to him to ask questions.
Bruce Barnes had sounded convinced that if Nicolae Carpathia were the Antichrist, Buck ran the danger of being mentally overcome, brainwashed, hypnotized, or worse.
He slung his bag over his shoulder, tempted to take the gun from his bedside table but knowing he would never get it through the metal detectors.
He decided that becoming a believer could not be for the purpose of having a good luck charm. That would cheapen it. Surely God didn't work that way.
There was only one reason to make the transaction, he decided- if he truly believed he could be forgiven and become one of God's people.
It only made sense that if God made people, he would want to communicate with them, to connect with them.
No, what he [Buck] feared, he knew, was not mortal danger. At least not now, not here. The closer he got to the conference room, the more he was repelled by a sense of evil, as if personified in that place. Almost without thinking, Buck found himself silently praying, God, be with me. Protect me.
He felt no sense of relief. If anything, his thoughts of God made his recognition of evil more intense. [emphasis original]
While no special feeling had come with Buck's decision, he had a heightened sensitivity that something was happening here. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that the Antichrist of the Bible was in this room. And despite all he knew about Stonagal and what the man had engineered in England and despite the ill feeling that came over him as he obserbed his smugness, Buck sensed the truest, deepest, darkest spirit of evil as he watched Carpathia take his place. Nicolae waited till everyone was seated, then rose with pseudodignity.
"Gentlemen... and lady," he [Carpathia] began, "this is an important moment. In a few minutes we will greet the press and introduce those of you who shall be entrusted to lead the new world order into a golden era. The global village has become united, and we face the greatest task and the greatest opportunity ever bestowed upon humankind."
Labels: Left Behind
The two small graves lie in the southeastern section of the old cemetery, near a stand of pine. They are surrounded by the resting places of other infants, many of whom never received first names: here is a placard denoting Baby Girl White, and another for Baby Boy Morris. Only a few life spans are commemorated, and many of these are shockingly short: weeks, days and even hours. Russ Briggs comes here often; he cannot stay away. "Those two, right there, those are my boys," he says, his voice cracking. "I could have saved them, but I let them die."
Briggs doesn't know for sure what killed his sons, but he believes that "if there had been an incubator, or modern medicine, I know they would have made it." So might many of the children surrounding them. Recently the Portland exurb of Oregon City has been shaken by what appears to be an ongoing horror in its midst. In June, Oregon state medical examiner Larry Lewman stated suspicions about the cemetery's owners, the 1,200-member Followers of Christ church. Over 10 years, he alleges, the faith-healing congregation's avoidance of doctors and hospitals may have cost the lives of 25 children, some under excruciating circumstances. A series by the Oregonian newspaper announced that of 78 minors buried in the graveyard over 35 years, 21 "probably would have lived with medical intervention, often as simple as antibiotics." If so, the cemetery may represent one of the largest concentrations of faith-healing-related fatalities in decades. [emphasis added]
A report in the April issue of the professional journal Pediatrics documented 140 child deaths "from religion-motivated medical neglect" between 1975 and 1995, attributed to 23 religious denominations in 34 states. Its co-author, Texas critical-care pediatrician Seth Asser, believes there are hundreds of similar, unreported fatalities. "Kids die from accidental deployment of air bags, and you get hearings in Congress," says Asser. "But this goes on, and dozens die, and people think there's no problem because the deaths happen one at a time. Yet the kids who die suffer horribly. This is Jonestown in slow motion."
He [Larry Lewman, Oregon State Medical Examiner] says one shocking case was that of Alex Dale Morris, a four-year-old who complained of fever in February 1989. Fellow Followers laid hands on Alex, anointed him with oil and prayed over him for 46 days. On Day 44, a police officer acting on a tip paid a call but left after the boy himself claimed good health. Alex died two days later; his autopsy revealed an infection had filled one entire side of his chest with pus. Basic antibiotics, says Lewman, could have saved him.
The death Gustafson considered prosecuting was of Bo Phillips, 11, last February. Bo suffered a diabetic crisis and was treated with liquids, prayer and anointings. County sheriff's detective Jeff Green recalls arriving at the Phillips house to find 200 or more church members. Bo's body "was lying in bed, covered with a sheet. His eyes were sunk into his head, and his face was completely yellow. The suffering that boy must have endured..." Bo's parents, says Green, were devastated, but "I kept asking the father why he let the boy die, and the answer boiled down to what he told me flat out: 'It was my choice.'"
The woman, identified in court files as Jane Doe, was 20 when she went to the former Rum Jungle bar in May 2004 and was filmed by a "Girls Gone Wild" video photographer. Now married, the mother of two girls and living in the St. Charles area, Doe sued in 2008 after a friend of her husband's reported that she was in one of the videos.
Stephen Evans of St. Louis, her lawyer, argued Thursday that Doe never gave consent — and even could be heard in original footage saying "no" when asked to show her breasts shortly before another woman suddenly pulled Doe's top down. Evans said the company usually gets women to sign consent forms or give verbal consent with cameras rolling.
"Other girls said it was OK. Not one other one said, 'No, no,'" Evans said. "She is entitled to go out with friends and have a good time and not have her top pulled down and get that in a video."
A St. Louis Circuit Court jury deliberated 90 minutes before ruling against the woman, 26, on the third day of the trial. Lawyers on both sides argued the key issue was consent, with her side saying she absolutely refused to give it and the defense claiming she silently approved by taking part in the party.
But Patrick O'Brien, the jury foreman, told a reporter later that an 11-member majority decided that Doe had in effect consented by being in the bar and dancing for the photographer. In a trial such as this one, agreement by nine of 12 jurors is enough for a verdict.
"Through her actions, she gave implied consent," O'Brien said. "She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing."
A Beavercreek couple who left their infant daughter's fate to God rather than seek medical treatment for a mass that grew over her left eye will face charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment.
Prosecutors revealed Thursday during a custody hearing that a grand jury has indicted Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, members of Oregon City's Followers of Christ church.
The Wylands' 7-month-old daughter, Alayna, was placed in state custody earlier this month after child-welfare workers received a tip about the untreated and ballooning growth. Doctors said that the condition could cause permanent damage or loss of vision.
The Wylands and their church reject medical care in favor of faith-healing -- anointing with oil, laying on of hands, prayer and fasting. The parents testified at a juvenile court hearing last week that they never considered getting medical attention for Alayna.
According to court documents, Rebecca Wyland anointed Alayna with oil each time she changed the girl's diaper and wiped away the yellow discharge that seeped daily from the baby's left eye.
Alayna had a small mark over her left eye at birth.
The area started swelling, and the fast-growing mass of blood vessels, known as a hemangioma, eventually caused her eye to swell shut and pushed the eyeball down and outward and started eroding the eye socket bone around the eye.
It's rare to see a child with an advanced hemangioma because the condition typically is treated as soon as it's detected, said a doctor who testified at a hearing before Van Dyk last week.
Wyland's first wife, Monique, died of breast cancer in 2006. She had not sought or received medical treatment for the condition, said Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner who signed the death certificate.
Yeah, What Mr. Troll said. Who's been with you through thick and thin, even posting with a 104 degree fever?(did it show?) Who else would submit such timeless gems as:
"He had a sense of destiny tinged with fear."
Marinated in the bilious sauce of his tortured soul.
"We don't know how much pondering time we have."
Because it's pandering time.
Who? Nobody, that's who. I don't come here just because it's the only place on the net where I haven't been banned. I should get like 12 votes. Maybe 13.
Anxiously awaiting your reply,
Your friend scripto
(Although if the rest of the series is like this I think we get the picture - something by Beck, Palin or even Ayn Rand might be fun. As long as it was equally retarded in its own special way)
Buck spent Saturday holed up in the otherwise empty Chicago bureau office, getting a head start on his article on the theory behind the disappearances.
"So now it's Nick, is it? Well, he and I [Buck] are not close enough for that familiarity, and I don't provide female companionship even to my friends."
"Have you [Steve] run into any schools of thought that link him [Carpathia] to end-times events in the Bible?"
Steve Plank did not respond.
"Well, have you? Anybody that thinks he might fill the bill for one of the villains of the book of Revelation?"
Steve said nothing.
"Buck, I have a two-word answer for you. Are you ready?"
"Are you tellin' me that-?"
"Don't say the name, Buck! You never know who's listening."
"What I [Buck] want to know is this: If you think I should stay off the ferry, is it because of the guy behind the wheel, or because of the guy who supplies the fuel?"
"The latter," Steve said without hesitation.
Buck circled Stonagal. "Then you don't think the guy behind the wheel is even aware of what the fuel distributor does in his behalf."
"Can you [Steve] tell me who you really work for?"
"I work for who it appears to you I work for."
What in the world did that mean? Carpathia or Stonagal? How could he get Steve to say on a phone from within the Plaza that might be bugged?
"You work for the Romanian businessman?"
Buck nearly kicked himself. That could be either Carpathia or Stonagal. "You do?" he said, hoping for more.
"My boss moves mountains, doesn't he?" Steve said.
"He sure does," Buck said, circling Carpathia this time.
"And you're [Steve] telling me straight up that the other issue I raised is dangerous but also hogwash."
"Total roll in the muck."
"And I shouldn't even broach the subject with him, in spite of the fact that I'm a writer who covers all the bases and asks the tough questions?"
"If I thought you would consider mentioning it, I could not encourage the interview or the story."
"Boy, it didn't take long for you to become a company man."
"I can't discuss the private matters [from his conversation with Buck]," Bruce said, "but only one thing stands in the way of my being convinced that this Carpathia guy is the Antichrist. I can't make it compute geographically. Almost every end-times writer I respect believes the Antichrist will come out of Western Europe, or maybe Greece or Italy or Turkey."
"I [Bruce] guess I thought he [Carpathia] was from a mountainous region, you know, because of his name."
"His name?" Buck repeated, doodling it on his legal pad.
"You know, being named after the Carpathian Mountains and all. Or does that name mean something else over there?"
Buck sat up straight and it hit him! Steve had been trying to tell him he worked for Stonagal and not Carpathia. And of course all the new U.N. delegates would feel beholden to Stonagal because he had introduced them to Carpathia. Maybe Stonagal was the Antichrist! Where had his lineage begun?
"Well," Buck said, trying to concentrate, "maybe he was named after the mountains, but he was born in Cluj and his ancestry, way back, is Roman. That accounts for the blonde hair and blue eyes."
"Because you [Hattie] don't strike me [Buck] as that kind of girl."
"First, I'm not a girl. I'm almost as old as you are, and I don't need a parent or a legal guardian."
"I'm talking as a friend."
My [Buck's] boss moves mountains, Steve had said. Carpathia is a mountain. Stonagal is the mover and shaker behind him. Steve thinks he's really wired in deep. He's not only press secretary to the man Hattie Durham correctly called the most powerful man on earth, but Steve is also actually in league with the man behind the man. [emphasis original]
Buck wondered what Rayford or Chloe would do it they knew Hattie had been invited to New York to be Carpathia's companion for a few days. In the end, he decided it was none of his, or their, business.
Labels: Left Behind
The censorability of a concept, movement or ideology is its vulnerability of being censored by its opponents.
In his fight against British imperialism, Mahatma Gandhi described the life cycle of successful civil disobedience: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Mikey Weinstein, the 55-year-old founder of the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), likes to quote it, knowing full well he's crossed the line into a bloody-knuckle brawl. Over the past year, Weinstein and his organization have recorded a tremendous string of victories in the fight against Christian supremacists inside the armed forces.
In January, the MRFF broke the story on the Pentagon's Jesus Rifles, where rifle scopes used in Afghanistan and Iraq were embossed with New Testament verses. In April, he got the military to rescind its invitation to the Reverend Franklin Graham to speak at May's National Prayer Day because of Islamophobic remarks. Most shockingly, MRFF received its second nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in late October. These high-profile victories have earned him the enmity of the hardcore Christian Right and the mentally unstable. And the crazies are getting crazier. Weinstein and his family are bombarded with hate mail, from the grammatically incorrect and easy to dismiss - "I hope all your kids turn out gay as hell, take it in the ass, and get aids and die!!!!" - to the kind of threats that immediately make you leap out of your chair and double-check that the doors and windows are locked. (MRFF has referred multiple death threats on Mikey, his family, and MRFF employees to the FBI.)
Case in point: On May 25, the 5th floor of the Dallas County Courthouse was cleared so Mikey's lawyer, Randy Mathis, could take the deposition of Rev. Jim Ammerman while six deputy sheriffs stood guard, rotating in and out of the jury room. In his 30 years of practicing law, Mathis never saw this type of security for a deposition unless the person being deposed was already a prisoner of the state. Spokeswoman Kim Leach for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department confirmed extra security was provided, but could not provide details except to say the judge had requested it because of a "security issue." One possible reason for the extra security is that Ammerman is batshit crazy, a man who holds so many wild and dangerous beliefs he can be seen as the grandfather of the craziest fringes of the Tea Party movement. To be clear, Ammerman, who will turn 85 in late July, is not the threat. It's those who listen to his conspiratorial screeds, according to Mikey and Bonnie.
A former Navy pilot, Green Beret, and Army chaplain who rose to the rank of full colonel, Ammerman is an early purveyor of the One World Government ideology that believes foreign troops are knowingly stationed in U.S. national parks, and that former President Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are members of the Illuminati - a secret society determined to install a one-world government. As he stated in his deposition, he also believes there are 125 FEMA-built concentration camps inside the United States with more in construction right now.
What's striking about all this is that Ammerman's organization is currently one of the U.S. military's largest ecclesiastical endorsing agencies for chaplains. As President and Director of the Chaplaincy of the Full Gospel Churches, he currently endorses 270 Pentecostal chaplains across all branches of the military. Ammerman's tinfoil-hat beliefs, however, have brought scrutiny before - from the Pentagon, itself. In September 1997, Lt. Gen. Normand G. Lezy of the USAF ordered an investigation of Ammerman and his endorsing organization for using military chaplains "as agents to collect and convey military intelligence information for Mr. Ammerman's political purposes." The two other reasons Lezy gave for opening an investigation were no less inflammatory: Rev. Ammerman's encouragement of groups with "supremacist viewpoints" and his repeated suggestions that a military coup of the United States was imminent.
MRFF receives multitudes of thank you's from veterans and service members serving across the globe. One thank you came from a U.S. Navy veteran, a self described "religious Jew," who described extreme religious coercion during hospital stays at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2007. "During two hospitalizations, despite my written and verbal instructions to the contrary, the hospital staff was not content to just refuse to contact my rabbi," wrote Akiva David Miller, now the director veterans affairs for MRFF, "they sent a proselytizing Protestant chaplain in to see me - while I was bedridden and wired to a heart monitor - to tell me that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews too, and that my only hope was salvation through Jesus Christ." Miller and his rabbi protested and the medical center retaliated by discontinuing Miller's care. When they cut of his pain medication, Miller asked his doctor why. His response: "You're a religious Jew. Why don't you try prayer or meditation?" Miller contacted MRFF. Mikey flew out to Des Moines and held a press conference that launched a full investigation that confirmed Miller's discrimination. And with the help of his old boss Ross Perot, Mikey got Miller care at the Dallas V.A. Medical Center.
Atheist hypocrisy, or file under "You-gotta-be-kiddin-me?" So they DO believe in God after all...at least to the point where they think a hairdryer - yes, a hairdryer - can "de-baptize" someone. [emphasis original]
American atheists lined up to be "de-baptized" in a ritual using a hair dryer, according to a report Friday on U.S. late-night news program "Nightline."
Leading atheist Edwin Kagin blasted his fellow non-believers with the hair dryer to symbolically dry up the holy water sprinkled on their heads in days past. The styling tool was emblazoned with a label reading "Reason and Truth."
Kagin believes parents are wrong to baptize their children before they are able to make their own choices, even slamming some religious education as "child abuse." He said the blast of hot air was a way for adults to undo what their parents had done. [emphasis added]
Did genuine humor exist prior to Christianity?
Perhaps this entry could be clarified: is there a particular form of humor that the author had in mind? There are examples of jokes, riddles, puns, comic figurines/images, anthropoligical notes of humorous conversations, etc. from both pre-Christian times and from post-Christian 'first contacts' with cultures that had had no previous exposure to Christianity.--Brossa 09:37, 8 February 2009 (EST)
Brossa: Can you provide some? --AbnerY 21:51, 8 February 2009 (EST)
I'd like to see Brossa's alleged examples also.--Andy Schlafly 23:49, 8 February 2009 (EST)
How about Greek and Roman comedy? that way predated Christianity. Andy, what kind of claim are you making here? on what basis would you allege that humor does not predate Christianity? it seems pretty far-fetched. I'd like to see some evidence. --DaveClark
You misunderstand what a Greek "comedy" was. It was not a humorous performance as meant by the term today (after the onset of Christianity).--Andy Schlafly 08:32, 9 February 2009 (EST)
Yes. It was. The intention was to make people laugh. Otherwise, what on earth do you mean by "humor"? Also.. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7536918.stm KimSell 09:02, 9 February 2009 (EST)
Aschlafly is right in saying that the term "comedy" did not mean exactly what it does today, but KimSell is right that the works of playwrights such as Aristophanes certainly included humorous elements such as wordplay, farce and grotesque exaggeration (often surprisingly coarse by our standards). I'd also cite the episode where the children mocked Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24 as an example, albeit fairly base, of pre-Christian humor.--CPalmer 09:10, 9 February 2009 (EST)
As a side-note, in the past there have been bitter disputes where people have taken the polar opposite position to Mr Schlafly, ie that all humor is un-Christian. This is touched on in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, which I recommend.--CPalmer 09:21, 9 February 2009 (EST)
The pre-Christian examples don't withstand scrutiny. Mockery or crude comments are not quality humor, and may not be humor at all.--Andy Schlafly 09:23, 9 February 2009 (EST)
What struck me most about this episode was that the authors used the word "effect" correctly. I don't know what that struck me, but it did.
Two hours after the Steeles had left, Buck Williams parked his rental car in front of New Hope Village Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He had a sense of destiny tinged with fear.
Who would this Bruce Barnes be? What would he look like? And would he be able to detect a non-Christian at a glance?
Buck sat in the car, his head in his hands.
He had always liked the serendipity of life, but he processed it through a grid of logic, attacked it from a perspective of order.
But nothing had prepared him for the disappearances or for the violent deaths of his friends.
It had been a long time since Buck had been in a church. This one seemed innocuous enough, fairly new and modern, neat and efficient. He and the young pastor met in a modest office.
"Your friends, the Steeles, told me you might call," Barnes said.
Buck was struck by his honesty. In the world in which Buck moved, he might have kept that information to himself, that edge. But he realized that the pastor had no interest in an edge. There was nothing to hide here. In essence, Buck was looking for information and Bruce was interested in providing it.
"I want to tell you right off," Bruce said, "that I am aware of your work and respect your talent. But to be frank, I no longer have time for the pleasantries and small talk that used to characterize my work. We live in perilous times. I have a message and an answer for people genuinely seeking. I tell everyone in advance that I have quit apologizing for what I'm going to say. If that's a ground rule you can live with, I have all the time you need."
"Not that long ago I [Buck] would never have set foot in a place like this or dreamed anything intellectually worthwhile could come out of here.
"Nobody can force you or badger you into this, Mr. Williams, but I must also say again that we live in perilous times. We don't know how much pondering time we have."
"You [Bruce] sound like Chloe Steele."
"And she sounds like her father," Bruce said, smiling.
"But I [Bruce] have enough energy to go to midnight if you do."
"I'm all yours." [Buck replied]
Bruce spent the next several hours giving Buck a crash course in prophecy and the end times.
But when Bruce got to the parts about the great one-world religion that would spring up, the lying, so-called peacemaker who would bring bloodshed through war, the Antichrist who would divide the world into ten kingdoms, Buck's blood ran cold.
Buck told him what had happened at the U.N. Bruce paled. "That's why we've been hearing all those clicking sounds on my answering machine," Bruce said. "I turned the ringer off on the phone, so the only way you can tell when a call comes in is by the clicking on the answering machine. People are calling to let me know. They do that a lot."
"Why not? Most of us did. Self-effacing, interested in the welfare of the people, humble, not looking for power or leadership."
"Yes, but it appears that all these long-range agreements he has been conceded will take months or years to effect. Now he has to show some potency."
"But if Carpathia is the Antichrist, do you [Buck] want to face him without God?"
"Mr. Williams, you have to do what you have to do, but I'm pleading with you. If you go into that meeting without God in your life, you will be in mortal and spiritual danger."
He told Buck about his conversation with the Steeles and how they had collectively come up with the idea of a Tribulation Force. "It's a band of serious-minded people who will boldly oppose the Antichrist."
The Tribulation Force stirred something deep within Buck. It took him back to his earliest days as a writer, when he believed he had the power to change the world.
The next day the core group enthusiastically and emotionally welcomed its newest member, Chloe Steele. They spent much of the day studying the news and trying to determine the likelihood of Nicolae Carpathia's being the Antichrist. No one could argue otherwise.
Bruce told the story of Buck Williams, without using his name or mentioning his connection with Rayford and Chloe. Chloe cried silently as the group prayed for his safety and for his soul.
Labels: Left Behind