Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bright Eyes

I downloaded a free song off of iTunes last night and am recommending it to you. It's from Bright Eyes, "When the President Talks to God." It brings up so many interesting issues about how different Christians can all claim to have access to the same access to God but come to completely different conclusions. It's also a rather stinging indictment of President Bush. So go on to iTunes and download it for free (at least for the moment). While you're there, check out the newest Switchfoot album, "The Beautiful Letdown."

Here are the lyrics. I couldn't find the correct lyrics on any lyrics site, so I went ahead and edited them down myself.

when the president talks to god
are the conversations brief or long
does he ask to rape our women's' rights
or to send poor farm kids off to die
does god suggest an oil hike
when the president talks to god

when the president talks to god
are the consonants all hard or soft
does he resolute all down the line
is every issue black or white
does what god say ever change his mind
when the president talks to god

when the president talks to god
does he fake that drawl or merely nod
agree which convicts should be killed
which prisons should be built and filled
which voter fraud must be concealed
when the president talks to god

when the president talks to god
I wonder which one plays the better cop
we should find some jobs. the ghetto's broke
no, they're lazy, George, I say we don't
just give 'em more liquor stores and dirty coke
that's what god recommends

when the president talks to god
do they drink near beer and go play golf
when they pick which country should we invade
which Muslim souls still can be saved
yeah I guess god just calls a spade a spade
when the president talks to god

when the president talks to god
does he ever think that maybe he's not
that that voice is just inside his head
when he kneels next to the presidential bed
does he ever smell his own bullshit
when the president talks to god
I doubt it
I doubt it

Friday, January 21, 2005

In the House of Sophia

I'm on my way to class this morning: Women, Poverty, and Power. It wasn't a class I was planning on taking. At the last minute this term, I dropped Hebrew and I need to fill the hole in my schedule, so I added Religious Identity in Antiquity and this class. You know, I like the think of myself as a pretty progressive guy, but I've never actually taken any kind of women's studies class before, and I am woefully unknowledgable about feminist theory, etc. I have to admit that I was quite uncomfortable and even a bit frightened after the first class. All but one other student in the class is a woman, and he is an African American man, so I definitely feel like the oppressor. Plus, the one other man in the class speaks quite a bit and usually gets jumped on. I felt like everyone else in the room had this huge body of knowledge and experience with which I was completely unfamiliar.

Like I said, I just felt uncomfortable. Why, because I'm used to being priviledged. I'm used to being the one in the position of knowing. Our society makes it that way. I felt speechless. To me, that's okay. I have for quite a while thought we who are in priviledged positions should just sit down and shut up for a while. But of course, the feminist movement is one that is experienced in empowering people to speak, and so I can't much get away with just being silent. I did speak last week; I waited until discussion rolled around to something I know something about: the Marxist critique of capitalism. What a cop out.

Anyway, it's good that I be uncomfortable, I think. I hope I don't inhibit other people's experience, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get through without making a fool of myself.

Sci-fi adoption and ancient grammars

I've made a few comments before about the adoption process that my wife and I are working though (she better than I), and we got another interesting piece of news today. We've run into some snags because we live in a house with a couple of other Iliff students and a preofessional social worker. Apparently some countries don't think that anything other than a single family dwelling is safe for children. Anyway, we found out today that in addition to the fingerprints, criminal background check, and individual interview that each of our housemates will have to go through, they will also have to submit to a retinal scan. I'm all for protecting children, but seriously, a retina scan. Whatever... got to love the post-9-11 world.... ugh!

Read something interesting the other day in my Matthew class with Rev. Dr. Richard Valentasis. It was an ancient Greek guide for writing used by elementary school students in the time of the writing of the Bible. It lists the exact forms to be used for several types of writings and arguments. One of them is characterization. In this form, one tells a narrative about someone, usually a historical person. The intersting thing is that according to this ancient manuel, it doesn't have to be true, in the way we would think of true. It's perfectly okay to tell of an event "as it might have happened" based on general knowledge of the person's character. In other words, according to the standards of the day, gospel writers would have been completely in bounds if they wrote a totally made up story about Jesus so long as it was consistent with what was known about Jesus character and how he might have responded in a similar situation. What do you think? Interesting information or dangerous herasy?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Back to the ordinary

My five-week break from Iliff is now over. I'm back in class. Trying to get back to being a student again. It actually fealt really good to get back to that first class.

I dropped a class this week. It's a little against my nature. It was Hebrew II, I didn't really enjoy Hebrew I very much. I just didn't really like the way that the professor was presenting it. I'll take it again somewhere else. I feel good about the decision, even though I had been really looking forward to learning Hebrew this year.

In its place I'm taking two classes. The first is called Religious Identity in Antiquity, dealing with interaction between Jewish and Christian communities during the first couple centuries CE. The other is called Women, Power, and Poverty, and is taught by one of the favorite professors from the Social Work School at neighboring University of Denver.

We just got PlayStation2 and have been playing Karioke Revolution quite a bit. It's quite a fun activity to do with a group of people. My favorite song so far is Meant to Live by Switchfoot.

I should say my evening prayers and go to bed. And should probably do some of this huge amount of reading that I have. Shalom.