Archive for the ‘ MISC ’ Category

New Blog

So, I have decided I need a new blog –  I will explain in a couple days. Here is the new link. http://neosoulist.wordpress.com/

Perspective:Excitement

A.W. Tozer, in his book Of God and Man, writes;

If He is who and what the Christian message declares Him to be, then the thought of Him should be the most exciting, the most stimulating, to enter the human mind.

What Tozer calls us to is to first, see God as who God is not as who we have made God to be.  And to second,  be excited when we those real thoughts of God come into our life. Taking these words to heart is imperative for living a whole life. We, as Christians, want to be excited at the thought of God, but what often happens is that our minds and hearts are convoluted with negative thoughts about what we perceive God to be rather than who God is.  We sometimes get lost in thinking God is a divine police officer who is waiting behind the billboard so he can arrest us for speeding. Sometimes we see God as a cosmic vending machine who simply provides what we need in a non-relational way (and we then get upset, disappointed, or disillusioned when he does not respond with what we want when we push E7 = going to church or A5 = service). Both of these views – and many others – take the relational aspect of God away and are the product of the god our culture – and subsequently churches and theologies – have shaped. God is more than just relational, but God is also always relational. He does not turn off on trait for the sake of another, they are in a constant mix. Although God as judge may at a time be more potent than God is father, He is indeed both at once.

Another implicit value within Tozer’s words is the ability to listen and be aware of God.  Before we can be excited, we must listen. I cannot be excited about my relationships with my friends unless I am taking time to listen to them or to think and remember – listening to the past –  who they are. This is true in our relationship with God, we must remove the distractions, silence our hearts, and find excitement in the now and then presence of God.

Commentary: Ground Zero Mosque

I am sure most everyone has heard about the potential “mosque” near ground zero – in reality it is an islamic-based community center open to all peoples. Newt Gingrich and other primarily politically and socially conservative public figures have becoming increasingly outspoken about their disdain for this idea and claim that it is offensive and un-American – ignoring that 10 percent of those who died in the attacks were Muslim and that the American quilt consist of Muslims. Some have lighter opposition and simply do not want the mosque close to 9-11.

To speak truth, 9-11 was the result of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. The tragedy is terrorism not Islam. Yes, they were influenced by passages in the Koran, but it is kin to Christian slave owners proliferating modern slavery in colonial and early America. These Christians were inspired by and utilized the Bible as their defense. Slavery, not Christianity, was the issue. Now I am not making a plea for the theological correctness of Islam and I am not an unitarian. Arguments towards such ends are mere strawmen. I believe that the Christian faith, towards which I am unwaveringly committed by the redemption that is in Christ, is concerned with hospitality, even towards those who are quite different. Christianity is concerned with love, even towards – if not especially – towards those who do not know the love of Christ. Christianity is concerned with reconciliation. This reconciliation is perhaps the most potent of points. The terrorists want us to be like them, evil in its simplest, wants to beget more evil. Unjust war begets unjust war. Hatred begets hatred. oppression begets oppression. This is the cycle of sin of transgression. This is the reason why the Father God sent the Christ incarnate; to reconcile us to take us out of the cycle and put us back into right relationship with God. Allowing . . . welcoming, the Islamic center, is a picture of that reconciliation. It is not the full reconciliatory process which we receive through Christ  – to suggest that is blasphemous -,but it is a mirror of that ultimate reconciliation and a means for Christians to be Christ-like and to show the world who the Christ is and what the Christ has done for and offered us all.

Commentary:Farrakhan

I am not a particular supporter of Louis Farrakhan or his ideas, but I do believe he has some wisdom in this clip.

There are a hodgepodge of ideas in this clip, but what do you think about the main issue of influencing culture through hip-hop and his comments about the influence hip-hop culture has on the world?

Cutting Corners, Costing Safety

I get frustrated with buying things that are made in China Mexico or the like, but because EVERYTHING is made outside of the United States it is pretty much inevitable. I try to buy used goods or find things made ethically but it is difficult when the overwhelming norm is clothes made by underpaid workers (sometimes children), but ubiquitous and cheap for the U.S. consumer

There are a number of reason’s why I despise how much we outsource manufacturing, textiles etc. (reasons such as: jobs, social equality, justice, globalization, etc.), but now I have a new reason; safety.

WASHINGTON – June 14 – Key components of high-tech American “e-passports” are assembled at a manufacturing plant in Thailand with precious little security, according to inspection reports obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

The U.S. Government Printing Office, the agency charged with producing the new e-Passports, has been warned repeatedly since 2006 by its own security officer that the Thai manufacturing site posed a “potential long term risk to the USG (U.S. government’s) interests,” according to the reports.

The sweeping concerns ranged from the political instability of Thailand and difficulty in getting security background checks for factory workers to poor police protection.  And that country is just one of several serious vulnerabilities to the e-Passport production system flagged recently by the agency’s internal watchdog.

Read More

Really? We are outsourcing our national security? Now, I am not a national security fanatic, I actually think we are pretty neurotic and arrogant about some of our thoughts/ideas behind national security. However, passports are valuable tools that do protect the “borders”, if you will, and regulate who is inside the country and who is not. Moreover, it offers freedom for Americans in that they can travel abroad and arrive back home without much frustration. What bewilders me is the fact this move was probably made to save money. The federal press can pay workers less in Thailand than they could in Huntington, Indiana (where I just moved from).

So capitalism wins again – this time by influencing the philosophy of our government – and what matters is not people or even safety, it is saving and making money.

To be honest though, all Americans are  partially to blame. Think about passports costing $20 more than they do now – which there would be some increase if they were made in the U.S. – people would be complaining all the time. Just as our desire for cheap goods helps to drive the negative capitalistic chain via Wal-Mart, Gap etc., it drives the federal government’s desire to save money and offer an inexpensive passport.

So just as with anything, we are all involved.

*The irony is that having passports made in the U.S. would create more jobs for Americans.

Commentary: Why the Vuvuzela Horn should stay

There has been a ton of push-back against the utilization of the Vuvuzela Horn by fans at the South African hosted World Cup. If you don’t know what a Vuvuzela is, watch below.

There are several reasons the Vuvuzela’s should stay:

–  Vuvuzela’s are apart of South African football culture. If the games were in England, Brazil, Mexico etc. there would be elements of each nation’s soccer culture. We can’t be so ethnocentric as to not allow a nation to express themselves. When FIFA made the decision for the 2010 World Cup to be in South African they knew the culture and what was coming.

– The sound is a response of the joy that is in South Africa – and Africa as a  whole – because the World Cup is actually in Africa.

– Players will get accustomed to the Vuvuzelas. It is annoying but so was/is the wave, drums at games, marching bands, crowd cheers etc.

– Vuvuzelas make the experience unique, everyone will look back and remember when the Vuvuzela was released on the world of soccer. Perhaps they will even become apart of the broader sport culture and add to the multi-culture that is Football/Soccer/Futbol.

– International Soccer has struggled with issues of racism towards Black players and teams. Banning Vuvuzela’s would only add fuel to the fire, but supporting the horns -and a Black culture.

Thankfully, FIFA feels the same way I – and many folks – do. A couple days ago the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, commented on a tweet:

I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound. I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country? Article

As said on Around the Horn, “There is an inalienable right to horn.”

Return of bloggin

I apologize for not blogging recently; I have just finished graduate school and am now planning to move to Santa Barbara for a Resident Director position at Westmont College (more on this later). I am going to try to start up the blog again however; my wife and I will be traveling out to California on Thursday and will be going to Taiwan (where my wife’s extended family lives) at the end of June.  For organization sake, when I do start into blogging consistently I am going to “limit” myself within four broad categories.

Art for the Soul – I have done a couple of these already. Basically, I am going to post a music video, art work, poem, lyrics, etc. and either talk about the significance to our lives or simply post the artwork and leave it for interpretation/discussion.

Media Reviews – Think book reviews, but I am going to expand to albums and movies.  Most will probably be over newer works, but I will probably bring up some books, movies, and albums that I am revisiting.  Some works may even be discussed multiple times at various angles. It all depends on how I feel and how much time I have.  *

Commentary – These will be my discussion on news and current events. It may be about immigration, church relations, multiculturalism, economics, urban development, higher education (my current career) etc.

Perspective – While in the commentary I will point out specific events in society and culture, the perspective section will focus on things that have happened in my life or something, outside of the news, that has made me think. These may be simple one-liners, or they may be longer blog posts; it all depends.

To those who have read my blog in the past, thank you for the support. To those who randomly or just recently discovered my blog, welcome. Feel free to go back and scan through old posts and comment if you wish to. To all, don’t just read, respond, I want to know if you like or don’t like my thoughts and perspective. Getting, respectful, pushback on ideas is how we grow.

*I am very far past due on several reviews of books I was supposed to write so in the next week or so I will be posting reviews of the following: Friendship at the Margins, Between Allah & Jesus, Education for Human Flourishing, and maybe a couple others.