Dishonest Ratings & Childishness
I just wanted to inform the whole group and make it public that we have some members who are playing childish games with the member ratings. Patrick and possibly others have been systematically coming in and trying to take down Velarius - his points dropped by 6 or 8 in one evening and so when I saw that, I neutralized some of the negative scores and then I see where Patrick came in and systematically hit several of my posts to drop me down more than 10 pts over all. I presume that these childish games started when I confronted Patrick's obnoxious and combative posts in a thread and gave him a couple of negative points for being argumentative and attacking. The reason I gave Velarius a few points was because he showed genuine effort to be trying to dialogue (quite the opposite of Patrick even on a good day). So, I'm calling out this behavior and making in public for the whole forum to be aware of. To be honest, this reminds me of being on fundamentalist forums, not Catholic ones. In the past, Spero has always strived to be intellectually honest and fair. Is this where Spero is headed?
Is Joaquin Phoenix for real?
Is Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre behaviour just a hoax? Speculation grows after actor's spaced-out performance on US chat show
Actor Joaquin Phoenix stunned a US chat show host into awkward silence yesterday when he gave abrupt two and three-word answers and sat with his head bowed during the bizarre interview.Late Show - Where's Joaquin Phoenix? - 2/11/09
The Oscar-nominated star's behaviour has become increasingly erratic in the last few months leaving many speculating that it is all part of an elaborate hoax dreamed up with his brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who has been filming him for a documentary.
Nothing to say: Joaquin Phoenix appeared on chat show David Letterman but the interview was awkward as Phoenix offered only monosyllabic answers
The actor, 34, who is now sporting a huge beard, announced last month that he was quitting acting to become a rapper.
The decision took Hollywood by surprise as did his first hip-hop performance in Las Vegas in which he mumbled into the microphone before falling off stage.
Last month Entertainment Weekly quoted a friend of the actor who confirmed that Phoenix was playing a joke at the public's expense, claiming he told him 'It's a put-on. I'm going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it,'
But Phoenix hit back and angrily denied the claims.
'I can see how people might think it is shocking,' he said. 'But by saying my life is a joke or the thing that I love is a joke - well, that bothers me.'
(YouTube)Joaquin Phoenix Says He's Serious About His Music Career - with links to his performance
I think it's a hoax....but it's a pretty good one. Remember back when Andy Kaufman did his thing, that was awesome.
Obama creates faith-based office with wide mission
I thought this was very positive:Obama creates faith-based office with wide mission
WASHINGTON – Declaring that "there is a force for good greater than government," President Barack Obama on Thursday established a White House office of faith-based initiatives with a broader mission than the one overseen by his Republican predecessor. Obama said the new office, which he created by executive order, would reach out to organizations that provide help "no matter their religious or political beliefs."
Obama said the office would work with nonprofit organizations "both secular and faith-based" and would help them determine how to make a bigger impact in their cities, learn their obligations under the law and cut through government red tape.
In a time of economic crisis, the president said, it was important for the government to help distressed Americans but added that "the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone."
Obama said the top priority of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will be "making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete."
To lead the office, Obama appointed Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal minister who headed religious outreach for Obama's Senate office and his presidential campaign. He also named 25 religious and secular leaders to a new advisory board.
"The big picture is that President Obama believes faith-based and smaller secular neighborhood organizations can play a role in American renewal. They can work with the federal government to address big problems," DuBois said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're also going to make sure we have a keener eye toward the separation of church and state."
Obama said the office would also work to reach out overseas "to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world."
Christian Bale goes ballistic on movie set
What an idiot. I'd liked him up to this point.
One thing I did think was funny was a guy named RevoLucion did a remix on YouTube of his rant. (warning, explicit language) Love the remixes.
Which Church Father are you?
Which Church Father Are You? Quiz
You’re St. Justin Martyr!
You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.
According to pentecostal historians, there are several giants of the faith that they credit with the modern pentecostal movement - supposedly God's final outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days as prophesied by Joel and the Book of Acts.
This phrase, 'God's Generals' became popular back in the 1990s when Roberts Liardon came out with his book and video series by that name:
I see there is even a website dedicated to church history from that point of view:
But is this an accurate portrayal of Christian/Pentecostal history or is it an extremely optimistic glossed over version?Video Series: "God’s Generals" by Roberts Liardon - An Analysis By Jackie Alnor
Roberts Liardon has done an unwitting service for the entire church of the 20th Century in his reconstruction of the rise of Pentecostalism in his 12-volume video series, "God’s Generals," and the book by the same title. Beginning in the mid 1800s with an eccentric preacher by the name of John Alexander Dowie, he follows the succession through many colorful Pentecostal healers ending in the 1960s with Kathryn Kuhlman.
"When I was a teenager the Lord spoke to me concerning the lives of His great 'generals,'" explains Liardon, "to know why they succeeded and if they failed, why they failed. So I spent most of my teenage years… talking to people who knew famous preachers."
Now his collection of testimonies, along with vintage film clips, help fill in some missing pieces for those of us attempting to see the big picture of how today’s various heretical movements achieved acceptability. Liardon’s narration connects some of the fringe ideas of the past to the latest "moves of God" in our time. He can really relate to these wolves in sheep's clothing since he himself is a deceiver. He is known for his own outrageous claims of out-of-body visits to heaven where he had water fights with "Jesus" in the River of Life.
Liardon chose to air all the dirty laundry of his heroes in his attempt to tell the whole story for the benefit of the final generation that he says we are today. "I write the story the way it really happened," he explained. "I don’t kind of sugar-coat it in any way. I tell you what they did; why they did it. And… make spiritual applications on '‘here’s what we can learn from their successes; here’s what we can learn from their failures…’ I believe in what they did. I understand the anointing."
What is interesting is how pentecostals justify all these great faillures of morality and ethics - for them, they are just pitfalls and setbacks to the greater 'anointing', which is supreme. Thus arch-heretics that deny the Trinity or claim to be angels or Elijah in the flesh or deny their children medical care and they die or commit fraud or have affairs and live in the lap of excessive luxury are seen as unfortunate, but often accompanies those with the greatest anointing.LocalPastor
has a great new series on YouTube that shows some examples of what kind of people these 'generals' really were. Are they heroes of the faith to emulate or are they a veritable Rogue's Gallery of what to avoid?
What Political Philosophy Best Matches You?
Since politics seem to be a hot topic, I thought it would be interesting to see where people at Spero ended up. This quiz is a little more nuanced than one we did a couple of years ago.
Where do you come in? Were there any surprises? Was it helpful to see which historic figures you were closest to?
Culture War or Faithful Citizens?
How can we as conscientious citizens best integrate and affect change in our culture?Religious Right May Be Fading, but Not the ‘Culture Wars’
By PETER STEINFELS
Sometimes stated outright and sometimes between the lines is the hope that the decline of the religious right will ease what Americans have come to know as the culture wars.Catholics for Obama
There is no question that many evangelical Christians and conservative Roman Catholics have grown disenchanted with both the political agenda and what they see as the strident style of the organized religious right. Some have been convinced, by their own Scriptures and by new leaders, that poverty, human rights, genocide, sex trafficking and global warming must be no less matters of Christian concern than abortion, homosexuality and embryonic stem-cell research. Even more have reacted against their faith being enlisted in partisan politics.
After years of enduring attacks from the religious right, a few may relish the opportunity for payback. Many more may simply have little patience for religious objections and little familiarity with religious allies as they press measures they care about deeply. And not a few may be in more agreement with Christopher Hitchens’s maxim that “religion poisons everything” than with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s or Mr. Obama’s public affirmations of faith.
When it comes to religion and politics, the culture is at a strange conjuncture. Over the last four years, a growing stream of evangelicals, including a former president, Jimmy Carter, have published books calling for a broader, kinder, gentler religious public agenda than the religious right’s. Just as the message has apparently been heard, it has encountered a counterwave of books arguing that religion is totally unfit, not merely for public life, but for personal life as well.
If the latter surge finds any receptive audience, it is much more likely to be among liberal Democrats than among Republicans. If a Democratic administration is not watchful, it could set off another of the overreactions to overreactions that have marred American politics.
Catholics contribute to sweeping victory for Obama
Across America, Catholics voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama’s new solutions to old problems, favoring him 54% to 45%. They voted for reconciliation, and against the politics of blame. Creativity and common ground won the election for Barack Obama, and the Catholic drive for "peace at all levels of our lives" will be better fulfilled as a result. . . .
Pope Benedict sends congratulations to President-elect Obama
Pope Benedict XVI sent Barack Obama a personal note last Wednesday, saying he would pray for God's blessings on the American people and on the new president-elect after his historic victory, "so that with all people of good will, a world of peace, solidarity and justice can be built." . . .
. . . The message assures Obama of his prayers so that God will assist him in his great responsibilities for American and the world, Lombardi said.
The Vatican clearly has differences with some of Obama's positions, such as his support of legalized abortion. On the other hand the Vatican, like Obama, opposed the Iraq war.
US Catholic leaders speak out on historic presidential election
Wrote Cardinal George on the eve of the Bishops' meeting in Baltimore, "The people of our country have entrusted you with a great responsibility. As Catholic Bishops, we offer our prayers that God give you strength and wisdom to meet the coming challenges. Our country is confronting many uncertainties...We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person." more »
Please Read: US Catholic Bishops' "Faithful Citizenship"
Catholics across America are standing up to policies and practices of a second Bush Administration that profoundly violate Catholic ethics. Click to expand »
"Now more than ever, we must stand up for our enduring principles and values. We can't lie low while the Republican Party tries to pass itself off as the party of 'moral values,' at the very time when it shortchanges America's children, neglects the nation's needy, and leaves America with trillions of dollars in debt for future generations to pay off. We must not give the time of day to a party that mobilizes the hateful reactionary forces of bigotry, greed, and fear and tries to win elections by fomenting irreconcilable divisions in our people." - Senator Edward M. Kennedy
What concerns me about the cultural warrior approach currently adopted by many conservatives is that in the game of all or nothing politics, we will end up with.....nothing.
Using songs without artist's consent?
Should artist's songs be used contrary to their wishes?Gretchen Peters donates royalties from "Independence Day" to Planned Parenthood
But when the GOP used "Independence Day" to usher Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin to the stage after the debate in St. Louis, Peters realized the party was truly perverting the chorus of her composition to suit their agenda and it was high time for Peters to make her feelings known.MUSIC GROUP HEART TO RNC: Stop Using Our Song!
"Independence Day," written by Peters, was a hit for country singer Martina McBride in 1994. The lyrics tell the story of a woman's response to domestic abuse from the point of view of her daughter.
"The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their Vice Presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony," Peters says. "They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women's rights back decades. I've decided to donate the royalties from 'Independence Day' during this election cycle to Planned Parenthood, in Sarah Palin's name. I hope with the additional income provided by the McCain/Palin campaign, Planned Parenthood will be able to help many more women in need."
Heart, artists of the song Barracuda, which was played for Sarah Palin during the RNC, are not happy about the song being used.
In an e-mail statement the group states: “The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored.”
Sounds like a reasonable request. Too bad it wasn’t granted!
After McCain finished his speech last night, it was played again when Palin took the stage. Heart’s Nancy Wilson told EW, “I think it’s completely unfair to be so misrepresented. I feel completely f—ed over.”
She and sister Ann Wilson then e-mailed the following statement:
“Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”
Remember to set your clocks back!