Daily Archives: 20 Dec 2010

‘Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer’: A Film

Stephen Smuts has the info about a film set to be released in 2011, ‘Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer‘.  Unlike Stephen, however, I am not quite so thrilled.  First, any film that has the title ‘Mysteries’ in it is automatically suspect since it obliquely intimates that some mystical truth will be revealed.  Blah.  It sounds likes the same sort of thing one might do with the so called (and profoundly theologically bankrupt nonsense) Prayer of Jabez.

Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer focuses on the prayer, Kyrie Eleison (“Lord Have mercy”) that is thought to have been first practiced by the Apostles. Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University, and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer. Their film and companion book from HarperOne retraces their steps and beyond, bringing the wisdom of both ancient saints and modern Christian sages to worldwide audiences.

The second problem, as indicated above, is the little phrase ‘thought to have been practiced’ etc. Here we go- rank speculation to commence in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, …

It may all turn out to be quite good. But given my natural dis-trust of all things ‘mystical’ I’ll have to see it to believe it’s worthwhile and not the sort of fare the History Channel tosses the unsuspecting uninformed masses.

[As an aside, the fact that HarperOne (Murdoch’s company) is doing the companion book makes me even less comfortable. HarperOne publishes some awful nonsense in quest of profits and isn’t nearly as interested in real scholarship as Harper-Collins was before it was taken over by the Fox News loon.  Add to that a columnist from Beliefnet (where they really believe in festooning their site with adverts) and, well… one can’t help but feel that the driving factor will be the dollar].

Total Depravity: Disney’s Teen ‘Idols’

Image representing The Walt Disney Company as ...

Depravity's Clearinghouse

Disney churns out twisted teens at the same pace it does poor singers and bad actors.  As the fun folk at the Book of Terrible remind us-

Vanessa Hudgens sent nude pictures of herself into cyberspace. Demi Lovato’s been beating up backup singers and cutting herself. Miley Cyrus has been hitting the bong. Granted, the substance in question was Salvia, or Salvia divinorum, a hallucinogrenic plant that users say offers a high similar to that of LSD and marijuana, but the public perception stays the same. It’s not 90210 or Gossip Girl – it’s life at the Disney teen idol camp. The Disney Publicity Wheel has spun out of control. Again. Celebrities fall prey to the same demons as “normal people”, but there’s one glaring difference, especially with a monster corporation like The House of Mouse – kids worship these people!

Read the whole terrible thing and then ask yourself, what is it about Disney that combines a so called ‘family’ image and the disintegration of real family values. I think it’s because the Disney/ABC conglomerate is led by the totally depraved who value profit over anything else so if they leave the oozing corpses of cast off druggie former teen stars on the ash heap it’s ok with them.

Hey it’s Winter in Australia Too!

It’s supposed to be Summer down there but it’s winter… they’ve gotten snow! (Better them than Britain- or me).

It may be summertime “down under,” but instead of sunshine and warm breezes, Australia has been hit with severe weather conditions, including unseasonable flooding and even a snowstorm, the BBC is reporting. Dozens of residents were evacuated from their homes in the remote town of Carnarvon, some 900 kilometers north of Perth, after a staggering 30 centimeters of rain caused what the Telegraph has called the region’s worst flooding in 50 years, damaging crops and cattle stations. Meanwhile, residents in east coast states New South Wales and Victoria experienced a rare “White Christmas”-style start to their holiday week, after a cold spell left up to 10 centimeters of snow covering many of the area’s ski resorts, which are usually snow-free this time of year.

And do you know WHY God is punishing the Aussies with the Devil’s Dandruff? No, not because they drink like Germans or swear like Kiwis or barbecue unclean shrimp on the barbie like Philistines. It’s because Mark Stevens has abandoned his blog and joined Near Emmaus. That’s right. Aussies are suffering for Mark’s sins!  I hope he’s happy now.

Germanic People Should Run the World…

Not because they’re the master race or any of that wretched stupidity.  But because they know how to do things on time.  That’s all.  They’re efficient.  The Swiss, the Austrians, the Germans… give those guys a task and you can depend on it being done on time and efficiently.  God bless the Germanics.  Give the Germanics control of travel and no one would ever be late anywhere.

[Provoked by the previous post on Heathrow’s inefficiency. Besides, it’s a fantastic tune that one. And finally, another post will boost my rankings and so annoy McGrath, Halcomb, and the always angry angry atheists. So it’s really a trifecta.]

Really Heathrow, Even our Little Airport Can Handle 4 Inches of Snow…

So why can’t you?

Chagrined British officials promised an inquiry into the failure to clear the remnants of a storm that dumped five inches over parts of England Saturday morning. Other European airports rebounded from weekend snowfall and resumed close to normal flight schedules by Monday.  “It can’t be beyond the wit of man surely to find the shovels, the diggers, the snowplows or whatever it takes to clear the snow out from under the planes, to get the planes moving and to have more than one runway going,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said as British Airways canceled its Monday short-haul schedule from Heathrow.

He’s not the only one really annoyed.  Imagine the annoyance of actual travelers.  Maybe the Germans need to take over operations.

Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, was clear of snow and ice but officials canceled about 300 of 1,340 flights because of problems elsewhere in Europe.

Let’s hope Manchester is more adeptly managed.  Get it together Britain, you only have 13 days to get back to normal.

Thank Heaven, The Pedophile Greaves is in Jail

Joel has the good news, the very good news, that the pedophile writer Phillip Greaves has landed in jail-

The sick, twisted, vile wretch is finally arrested and in jail:  A Colorado man who self-published a book called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct” now faces obscenity charges in Polk County.  On Monday morning, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd announced Phillip R. Greaves II was arrested in Pueblo, Colorado on charges out of Polk County. Greaves, 47, is charged with distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors, a third degree felony.

God willing, he will stay there for the rest of his life.

Southern Seminary’s Pandering and iPads

This came in the mail.  It speaks for itself.

Advertise a video for a conference being hosted by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (where Al Mohler is president, you know, ‘Mr Ethics’), and you could win an iPad!

Let’s all sing the theme song of the Seminary together:  ‘Bribe them in, bribe them in, bribe them in from the fields of sin.  Bribe them in, bribe them in, bribe the wandering ones to Jesus’.  (Sung to the tune of ‘Bring them in’).

What Allowed Abuse?

Pope Clement I

Here’s what happened in the Catholic Church which allowed abuse to take place (in case the Holy Father needs some input in his quest for answers) –

1- Single males disallowed marriage will discover some sexual outlet.

2- Cohabiting with other males (as also happens in prisons) makes sexual encounters with other males more likely.

3- Interest in younger children is pathological.  Priests not properly screened may see the Priesthood as an opportunity to fulfill their predatory desires.

4- Molested altar boys will sometimes become molesting priests- so that a vicious cycle is set in motion.

So if the church wishes to bring an end to child molestation by members of its clergy (so far as such is humanly possible) it need merely

1- Allow priests to marry.

2- Change the way Clerics are educated so that seminarians aren’t imprisoned with other males in dorms.

3- Do a far better job of weeding out pedophiles during the screening process.

4- The moment a boy is discovered to have been molested, get him counseling and remove the abuser from the Priesthood forever.  Don’t reassign him.  Don’t allow him to enter counseling in hopes that he will turn around.  Once a molester, always a molester.

If the Church is serious about defeating the dilemma of molestation, there are some things, simple things, it can do.

Well How Dare They?

Those scary wicked Christmas trees in public places, how dare they make poor besotted benighted slighted lonely sad ridiculous insane people feel ‘excluded‘?

Christmas trees should be removed from public places to avoid making non-Christians feel “excluded”, scientists have suggested.

I’d prefer that angry atheists be removed from public places because they make me feel annoyed.  Isn’t that the same thing as feeling excluded?

Seriously some people need to get a grip.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, found non-Christians feel less self-assured and have fewer positive feelings if a Christmas tree was in the room.  The scientists conducted the study using 77 Christians and 57 non-believers, including Buddhists and Sikhs.

That’s one huge sample…  and that’s some ‘science’.  Good grief.

Bibliobloggers and their Christmas Trees…

Whether Tim or anyone else likes it or not…

Now That’s Straight Talk

Isaiah 29

13 The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;
14 so I will again do
amazing things with this people,
shocking and amazing.
The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.
15 Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the LORD,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?

Near Emmaus, Group Blogs, and the Future of Blogging

Mark Stevens is joining the group blog Near Emmaus. Starting the first of the year, Mark is going to join Brian and the others over there (who have chosen a somewhat strange blog name- since the disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t even know who Jesus was until he was gone and it was too late… sort of like churches which name themselves ‘Corinth’ Baptist or ‘Corinth’ Methodist. Don’t they know how messed up the church at Corinth was? But I digress).

I’m actually glad to see Mark joining the work over at the oddly named ‘we’re on the road with Jesus but we don’t know him- how doofy are we’ blog (ok that’s humor. Gosh, having to explain everything in these dark anti-West days is becoming stressful). Group blogs are the future of blogging. Here’s why:

1- few are willing to invest the effort and time to do it properly as individuals whilst a group can actually manage to provide content. And sometimes that content can even be interesting.

2- group blogs provide a wider perspective. Since there are several persons there are several perspectives. This allows, of course, various ‘voices’ to be heard at one locale.

And finally, 3- group blogs are more likely to survive blog Armageddon (Blogmageddon)(copyright Jim West- this term may not be used without the express written permission of its inventor). And what’s Blogmageddon? That’s when the blogger dies or quits or is killed by an angry mob of lesser bloggers or blogger wannabe’s.

Ok my cheekiness aside, group blogs actually will be the predominant model of the not too distant future precisely because of the reasons above (stripped of the sarcasm). So I think Mark has made a smart move.

I, on the other hand, won’t be group blogging. I tend not to play well with others…

A Shocking Report on Banking Misconduct

Wells Fargo record $3 billion profit

I was simply shocked when I listened to this report on NPR this morning. Read the whole thing of course to get all the details. What I found so disturbing, and so unethical (and hence, important theologically)(and apparently you have to make such things explicit so that some with less wit than others understand the connection), was this-

The couple paid $584,000 for the house and made no down payment. Instead, they borrowed the entire amount. But after Solon and Familia fell behind on their monthly mortgage payments, Wells Fargo, the loan servicer, foreclosed on the property. A year ago, the couple moved out and sought help from Nadine Cohen, an attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services. Earlier this month, Cohen found out that Wells Fargo auctioned off the house to a private investor for $115,000 — a fraction of the original price. “I think the bank could have offered them a modification of their loan for twice that amount,” Cohen says. “But the bank would not do that. They would rather see the homeowner displaced from their home with their children, and then sell it to an investor for $115,000. Two weeks after that sale, the investor who bought the home flipped the property to another investor for $270,000, making a profit of $155,000. “Everybody has made money off the backs of low-income homeowners,” Cohen says. “The broker made money, the investor made money, the servicer makes money, and the homeowners lose out.””

That’s really unethical. It’s depraved. Wells Fargo isn’t the only bank acting that way though. I sure hope Wiki Leaks divulges big bank ‘cables’ soon so that their misdeeds become subject to the light of day. Then Americans will know what kind of scoundrels really run things in the US.