[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

As the fall semester begins, I am again enjoying the “virtual office hours” videos regularly posted by history professor/blogger John Fea, who teaches at Messiah College. This year, Dr. Fea is teaching a seminar class on the history of evangelical Christianity in America — they’re reading some terrific books, and the discussions in Fea’s brief, large-man-at-a-small-desk videos are informative and fun.

His second episode for the class — “What is an evangelical?” — gives a good five-minute summary of the various ways people who study religion have tried to define this elusive, slippery category. Fea surveys the religious temperaments of the famous “Bebbington quadrilateral,” and discusses the boundary-defining cultural aspects that came to shape evangelicalism in the 20th century.

The really helpful bit just now, for me, was this important reminder:

Evangelicalism has a certain trans-denominational quality. You can find an evangelical in just about every Protestant denomination. … So an evangelical is not necessarily associated with a denomination, like a Methodist or an Episcopalian or a Baptist, but throughout 18th-, 19th-, 20th-, 21st-century America, evangelicals who embrace the quadrilateral can be found just about anywhere.

This “trans-denominational quality” is why attempts to define or describe evangelicalism have to resort to things like the religious temperaments or emphases of Bebbington. A theological or doctrinal definition won’t work — it would either be so vague as to be meaningless, or else it would inevitably exclude some group or groups that it shouldn’t be excluding.

This is why the tribal gatekeepers of white evangelicalism in America cannot and do not concern themselves with doctrine. They like to employ the rhetoric of doctrinal purity and of heresy hunters, going on about “orthodoxy” or “traditional Christianity” or what is or is not “biblical,” but the substance of their gatekeeping can never be theology or doctrine.

A generation ago, tribal gatekeepers tended to focus more on certain behaviors — drinking, dancing, playing cards, going to movies, etc. You can still find all those tribal indicators listed in old student handbooks from evangelical schools, but apart from the hard-core fundies, no one really takes them seriously anymore. They’re dancing at Wheaton. Professors at Moody can drink.

But those old tribal markers have been replaced by political tribal identifiers — all distinctly partisan. Over the past generation, all those student handbooks and statements of faith have been rewritten to reflect this. Gatekeepers no longer care about drinking and dancing. What they care about now is abortion, abortion, abortion and same-sex marriage.

LydiaBeanThat is, again, a New Thing. It was a change in the criteria used by tribal gatekeepers and thus it became a change in core tribal identity — a change in how the tribe identifies itself to itself.

That’s enormously important. American evangelicals changed the way they answer the question “Who do we say that we are?” And that means, inevitably, that they have also — consciously or not — changed the way they answer the question “Who do you say that I am?

For Christians, that’s a rather important question. Changing our answer to that bedrock question shouldn’t be something that happens without serious, conscious consideration. And yet that’s what happened.

How did that happen? Where did that change come from?

Dr. Lydia Bean suggests one answer in her book The Politics of Evangelical Identity: Local Churches and Partisan Divides in the United States and Canada. Bean, formerly a sociology professor at Baylor, studied local congregations in Buffalo, N.Y., and in Hamilton, Ontario to understand “Why Canadian Evangelicals Are Different.”

And they are different. They are, shockingly to some here in the U.S., not Republicans. Canada, it turns out, doesn’t have Republicans. And yet they still have white evangelicals. How can this be?

Canada’s white evangelicals, like their American counterparts, tend to be more conservative, but not nearly as partisan. Their identity — their sense of self, of who they are — is not defined by partisan politics the way it is here in America.

(I should note that the discussion of Bean’s book I’m linking to here involves a bit of transparent nepotism. But we shouldn’t fault the author for her father’s enthusiastic recommendation. What makes this awkward here is that I’ll be quoting from Alan Bean as he summarizes the argument of Lydia Bean.)

Alan Bean writes:

American evangelicals have engineered a highly partisan and politicized religion rooted in narratives of Christian nationalism and visions of national revival that results in an almost Manichean drama pitting good against evil. Economic and political forms of conservatism have taken on a sacred quality by being associated with the intimate “identity-work” of congregational life. …

Religious identity has become “so closely intertwined with partisanship,” [Lydia] Bean says, that it has become “socially impossible for evangelicals to identify with the Democratic Party.”

The key here is this notion of identification. Identity is the thing that tribal gatekeepers are in the business of protecting, defining and defending. To identify as anything other than Republican is to be identified as an outsider — as no longer a part of the tribe. To fail to identify as a Republican means your identity will be redefined as no longer evangelical.

Hence the current popularity of the term “post-evangelical.” I’m an evangelical Christian and also a Democrat, I say. No you’re not, say the tribal gatekeepers. If you’re a Democrat then you are, henceforth, a post-evangelical.

This is not a doctrinal or theological category. Nor does it have anything at all to do with the temperaments of the Bebbington quadrilateral. “Post-evangelical” is a partisan political category. It is, roughly, a synonym for born-again white Protestants who vote for Democrats.

And just as “Who do we say that we are?” has been redefined and re-answered according to partisan political criteria, those same Republican criteria have redefined and re-answered that more essential question of “Who do you say that I am?”

Flesh and blood hath not revealed this new answer unto American evangelicalism, but neither did it come from Heaven.

Alan Bean writes:

Beginning in the 1940s, [Lydia] Bean argues, religious and political elites worked out a form of Christian nationalism that created a fearsome symmetry between conservative theology, small-government politics and laissez-faire economics.

In other words, “evangelicalism became bundled with small-government conservatism through a historical process of partisan coalition-building.” “The Christian Right,” [Lydia] Bean argues, “has not just ‘represented’ the values and policy priorities of evangelicals; it has served as an internal movement to shape what these values and policy priorities should be.”

Ding. Yes. The religious right — anti-integrationism transmuted into a surrogate anti-abortionism — did not arise as a political manifestation of the agenda favored by a “moral majority” of evangelicals, it reshaped evangelical identity to circumscribe everything and anything other than support for its political agenda.

American evangelicals, [Lydia] Bean discovered, didn’t reason from religious principles to conservative political and economic views; they imbibed their partisan religious views from the environment that engulfed them on all sides.

The species of religion [Lydia] Bean encountered in the American evangelical churches she studied was a marriage of convenience that had been cobbled together by conservative think tanks and para-church ministries.  This movement was heavily reliant upon culture war captains, congregational opinion leaders who imbibed this new nationalistic religion outside the cloistered world of established evangelical life and carried it back to their congregations.

But regardless of whether culture war captains picked up their new partisan world view from the anti-abortion movement or a Focus on the Family conference, they were immersed in all the symbols, songs and therapeutic messaging they grew up with in their churches.

… This constant interplay between prayer for person issues and prayer for the nation lent a sacred aspect to the fight against abortion.  This explains the central place of anti-abortion rhetoric within the Christian Right.  According to [Lydia] Bean,

Abortion has become sacred for rank-and-file evangelicals because it strengthens a sense of cultural tension with their environment.  Understood as a spiritual drama between good and evil, the pro-life cause helps Christians to define their moral and social boundaries against the world.

“The world,” in this case, being the evil side of that “spiritual drama between good and evil.” You know, the Satanic baby-killers.

Alan Bean summarizes one implication of his daughter’s research:

Until we can create new forms of religious community in which solidarity with the poor, creation care and racial reconciliation become sacred through integration into the everyday community life of real congregations, we can’t compete with the Christian Right.

He worries that this seems “unrealistic,” but I’m more hopeful. I think those new forms of religious community are already here, and they’re growing — maybe not in “real congregations,” but certainly in virtual ones. And because those communities recognize the sacredness of care for others and for justice, they can offer a better, truer, more compelling answer to that bedrock question of “Who do you say that I am?”

[syndicated profile] stealingcommas_feed

Posted by chris the cynic

“Well?” Surge asked impatiently.

Kim didn't look up from the console she was using, “The facility is bigger than anything I ever intended, but the basics haven't changed.”

“So, can you get us out?” Ryan asked in a demanding tone.


“How?” Surge asked.

“Can you still generate plasma?” Kim asked Shego.

As a demonstration Shego lit her right hand. She also flipped Kim off.

"Perfect," Kim nodded. Then she moved away from the computer console and said, “Come here.”

Kim knelt and pried a small panel off the wall. Inside was a very orderly, very incomprehensible, array of wires and devices.

“See that blue box,” she pointed. When Shego touched it she said, “Yes, that's it. First I need you to slice that end of the main cable free.”

Shego easily cut it with a glowing finger. Kim then tugged the slack out of some of the interior wires, and stripped the wires on the edge of the open panel. She rewired them and then stepped back.

“Now,” she said to Shego. “Send as much energy as you can through the cable.”

“And this accomplishes what?” Shego asked.

“Power; we need power,” Kim said.

“I believe cooperation is in our best interest,” Drakken said.

“Doctor Dimwit,” Shego said. “I don't care what you believe or that you seem to have gotten a more cheerful disposition. I've got a five hundred year old hangover like you wouldn't believe.” Shego lit her hands regardless. They flared so brightly the others had to turn away.

Kim examined a monitor and said, “You're doing it, Shego. Just a few more ergs.”

“Yay, me,” Shego said flatly. “I'm still holding out for an explanation.”

“We all are, Shego,” Drakken said.

“Speak for yourself,” Surge said. “I just want to make it out alive, I could care less if anyone explains how.”

The chatter devolved into three shouting matches. Through it all Shego kept her plasma going.

Finally Kim said, “That should be enough.”

After a few keystrokes, a door that had formerly been closed, a door that by now they all knew they had to get through if they were ever going to leave, suddenly beeped active.

“Finally,” Ryan said, rushing for the door.

“Wait!” Kim shouted.

Ryan opened the door anyway, there was a flash of light and then he fell back into the room.

The most disconcerting thing wasn't the hole clean through his chest. It wasn't the smell of burnt flesh. It was his eyes. His still open, but very dead, eyes.

Shego pulled the body clear of the door. Drakken vomited. Then he closed Ryan's eyes.

Surge seemed to be trying to stop herself from hyperventillating.

Amy was just standing there in shock.

Hawk and Henry didn't seem to have processed what had happened yet.

Horatio closed the door.

Blok was the first to speak: “There's nothing you could do,” he said to Kim.

“I could have--” Kim started.

“You tried to warn him,” Blok said.

“I could have warned everyone beforehand,” Kim said. “I was just so caught up in solving the problem that I didn't think... And now...”

“Nine people are still alive,” Hawk said. “Focus on that. We have nine people who need a way out.”

“He's right,” Shego said. “The problem isn't solved yet.”

Kim took a deep breath and then said, “Blok, you're up.”

“What do you need?”

“Getting power back on has given us what we need to get out but it's also reactivated the security systems,” Kim said.

“Obviously,” Shego said.

“You're the only one that the security can't stop,” Kim told Blok. “Through that door are more holding areas just like the ones you all came out of and at the end of those is a security room. You can shut down the security systems with the push of a button.”

“I'm not good with electronics,” Blok admitted.

“This will be simple. Press a button, nothing more,” Kim said.

“Ok, which button?”

“When you get to the end of the holding areas you'll be in a small room with a console that looks almost exactly like this.” She gestured to the console she'd been using.

“That has a lot of buttons.”

“None of them matter,” Kim said. “The buttons that do matter will be here,” Kim pointed to an empty spot above the keyboard. “There will be a blue one, a green one, a yellow one, and a red one. All you have to do is press the blue one.”

“Just press the blue button?” Blok said uncertainly.

“It's just that simple,” Kim said. “The hard part is getting to it. Any of the rest of us would probably die, you should be able to take any punishment the security system can dish out.”

“Should?” Shego asked suspiciously.

“Should,” Kim said. Then, turning her attention from everyone but Blok, added, “So don't take your time. It's a straight line, just keep on running through the holding areas and going through the doors at the ends until you find yourself in a room that isn't a holding area.”

“And then hit the blue button?” Blok asked.

“Yes,” Kim said.

Blok stood in front of the door, transformed to his stone form and said, “I'm ready.”

Hawk hit the button to open the door while carefully avoiding putting himself in the path of the defenses in the next room.

Block disappeared through the door, which Hawk quickly closed behind him.

“What now?” Amy asked.

“Now we wait,” Kim said, returning to her console.

“Princess, I've been out for a day and haven't eaten. I'm cranky, I'm pissed off, and I'm not in the mood to wait,” Shego said.

“I'm happy you made it,” Kim said.

“Yay,” Shego said in a voice that indicated anything but joy.

“We can monitor his progress from here,” Kim said, indicating the console. “He's making good time.”

“In lunar gravity his stone form probably weighs about as much as the average human,” Drakken said. “He's still got as much mass to move to fight inertia, but when it comes to gravity he's never had it so easy before.”

“Fascinating,” Shego said, again in a voice that indicated her feelings didn't match her words.

“Is he holding up?” Surge asked.

“Impossible to tell,” Kim said, “but he's not slowing down.”

“So how did they get you, Princess?” Shego asked.

“They stabbed me in the back,” Kim said. “Literally and figuratively.”

“I know the feeling,” Shego said.

“I tried to give you a way out,” Kim said. “You wouldn't take it.”

“You're blaming this on me?” Shego shouted.

“No,” Kim told her, looking down. “And I'm happy to see you again.”

“And we wouldn't have gotten this far without you, Shego,” Amy added.

“Hooray for me,” Shego huffed.

“Let's remember we're all here together now,” Drakken suggested.

“What did they do to him?” Shego asked.

“What?” Kim responded, confused.

“Since when is Dr. D all for making nice with Kim Possible?” Shego asked.

Kim returned to her console. She quickly pulled up Drakken's file, read it over, and said, “Nothing.”

Shego just gave her a look.

“Well, nothing they didn't do to the rest of us,” Kim said. “It looks like they had some ham handed attempts at mind control but the cryo beds hardwired programming stopped any of them from working. He just got the equivalent of therapy sessions.”

“Five hundred years of them,” Hawk said.

“Well they don't seem to have affected the rest of us much,” Kim said.

“You do know I'm standing here while you talk about me, right?” Drakken asked.

“Sorry, Drakken,” Kim said.

“Actually I find it fascinating,” Drakken said, “and I do confess that I care much less about the people who laughed at me at university.”

“Yay, therapy,” Shego said with much sarcasm.

There was a beep on the console.

“The security system should be off,” Kim said, then she looked around for something to throw into the next room to trip the motion sensors.

Shego realized what Kim was doing and casually cut a piece of metal from the wall with a plasma encased finger.

Kim opened the door and Shego tossed it in. Nothing happened.

“So...” Surge said.

“Dr. D, why don't you go in there and check?” Shego said.

“Not funny, Shego,” Kim said. Then she walked into the room herself. Nothing happened. “It's safe.”

The eight of them made their way through the holding areas, trying not to look at the cry beds and their deceased occupants, until they reached Blok.

“Good work,” Kim said.

“It was nothing,” Blok said.

“How long until we're free?” Surge asked.

“Now is when we find out,” Kim said. Approaching the console. “This is a guard station so we have more control from here.”

After a few silent moments she showed the others a map of the lunar surface.

“We're here,” Kim pointed to one of two structures on the map. “There's not much here. Cryo beds, a few storage closets, and a tapped out power plant. We need to get here,” she pointed at another point on the map.

“That's a long way through a vacuum,” Hawk said.

“It's the only way,” Kim said. “This facility is just a prison, that one is an actual base. A base for people who would travel back to earth.”

“So... transportation?” Surge asked.

“Hopefully, but we have to get there first,” Kim said. The map zoomed in to show just the prison, “This is a warehouse of all the possessions they took from prisoners,” she pointed at one room back the way they had come, “we'll stop there first.”

“Kimmie, that door doesn't open,” Shego said. “I don't think it's locked; it just doesn't open.”

“It will now that it has power,” Kim responded. Shego shrugged. Kim continued, “Once we've got our stuff back, we'll head out,” she pointed to an exit in the section none had been in yet. “There are space suits here,” she pointed at a storage locker. “If we're lucky there will be a vehicle.”

“And if we're not?” Surge asked, unable to keep the fear from her voice.

“If not then we'll have to walk.”

“It's over two miles to the other facility,” Hawk said.

“There's no other choice,” Kim said. “Unless you wait here and die of hypoxia we need to reach the other facility.”

“You always were a ray of sunshine,” Shego said flatly.

The group headed back the way they had come. Someone gasped as they passed Ryan's body, but no one, not even the one who had done it, was sure who.

The door to the “Personal Effects Vault” was made of thick and heavy metal. Drakken shuddered to think what it must have cost to move it to the moon. Shego looked ruefully at melted sections where she'd tried to force her way through earlier, before she decided to conserve her plasma.

Kim just smiled.

It was Horatio who tapped in the code to open the door.


The vault again drove home how many had been left to die on Luna-1. It seemed to stretch on forever. Nothing but numbered boxes on shelves.

“Dehumanizing, isn't it?” Shego said.

“What?” Blok asked.

“They couldn't even be bothered to use our names,” Shego said. “Just … cell numbers.” She pulled a box off the shelf and opened it. “This is me. Zero-Zero-One-A. That's all I was to them. A serial number.”

“I'm used to being a specimen number,” Hawk said.

“Things got a lot worse after you guys left the scene,” Henry added. “In the end we were worth less than nothing.”

“That explains why they'd rather see us die than be released,” Shego said as she rummaged through the box.

When everyone started to look for their own belongings, Kim said, “You don't have to limit yourselves to just your things. No one else is going to be using this stuff.”

“I daresay most of them would appreciate their things being used to help those who opposed putting them into this death trap,” Drakken said.

Kim collapsed.

Shego was the first to her side, “You ok?” she asked while helping the young woman up. Soon everyone was around her.

Kim mumbled something too softly for it to be heard.

“What was that, Red?” Blok asked.

“It was never supposed to be a death trap!” Kim shouted. Then she started sobbing. “It was supposed to be a more humane solution than current prisons. No abuse, no gangs, no violence. Everyone kept safe and the only side effect would be people working out their issues in their sleep.” The sobbing turned to dry heaves. “Everyone was supposed to win.”

“Kim,” Shego said, a hard edge in her voice, “You didn't do this. Cyclops did. She overrode your fail safes to kill all those people. None of this is on you.” Shego paused for a moment. “If you give up on us now, though, that will be on you.”

Kim looked up at Shego and said, “Sorry.”

“Everyone's stressed,” Shego said.

“I'm sorry for everything.”

“Get us back to earth alive and you can consider yourself forgiven,” Shego said in a softer voice.

Amy had already started looking through her box, and Kim pulled the next box in line off the shelf without even looking at the number. She figured the numbering scheme was simple. The first prisoner, put in cryo before the prison even existed, was Shego. The second was Amy. Kim herself was the third. She'd be 003-A.

When she opened the box all that was in it was her wristwatch.

“Too bad, Kimmie, looks like you're stuck with that fashion disaster,” Shego said, gesturing at Kim's all white clothing. The expected sarcasm was there, but possibly also a bit of sympathy.

“Actually, I may have found some help,” Kim said, hope returning to her voice.

“We've been here for centuries, what do you think that little--” Shego started.

The device chirped.

Kim hit one of the buttons and for a moment very small writing appeared on the watchface. “Spankin',” Kim said, then she hit one button twice.

“So what did you just do, princess?” Shego asked.

“I found out that my car is still online, and the AI is booting up. I told her to come here once all systems are online.”

“You told you car to come to the moon?” Surge asked.

“I've seen it,” Blok said. “It does fly.”

“And it could reach us on Mars if it needed to,” Kim said.

“Except no one gassed it up in a very long time,” Shego said.

“Jade doesn't run on gas,” Kim said, “and she's been in a kind of mechanical stasis since GJ turned on me.” Kim's voice turned dark, “Telling her to go into it and wait for me was the last thing I managed to do before GJ took me down.” Then her voice returned to a more matter of fact tone: “Unless something very heavy fell on her Jade can get to us without difficulty.”

“That's your plan?” Shego asked.

“No.” Kim said. “That's my backup plan. The primary plan remains the same. We take whatever is useful from this room, get to the exit, and make our way to the lunar base.”

The group again separated, everyone searching for their own belongings. Shego and Amy found spots to change into their own clothes. Kim randomly opened boxes and looked inside to see if she could find anything useful.


They could have searched the vault for ages, but none of them wanted to stay longer than they had to. It quickly became apparent that weapons and advanced technology had not been stored with other personal effects so the only truly useful items they found were things that had been overlooked, like Kim's watch.

When they left Surge was dressed in her own clothes, the t-shirt and jeans typical of a woman in her early twenties in 2018, and a long coat: a duster enhanced with nanotechnology to heat or cool its occupant and change color and texture. Currently she had it in pink suede.

Drakken was in his usual blue suit.

Amy was in her standard getup, this turtleneck two tone purple, but instead of her own glasses she'd found a pair that could shift to match her prescription, zoom, and show various non-visible spectra.

Shego hadn't located anything of particular use in any of the other boxes, but she surprised everyone but not changing into her jumpsuit but instead a simple tank top with green slacks.

Hawk took none of his own clothes, they were just what he had thrown on while fleeing
Global Justice. He'd found a dress shirt and trousers that he deemed “passable”.

Blok was wearing beat up jeans, a black tank top, and a red leather vest that honored his favorite fictional gang.

Horatio and Henry both wore unremarkable t-shirts and jeans, though Horatio's t-shirt seemed like it might be fitted for a woman. Henry had found a navigational wristband. It had a compass, had a GPS receiver, contained maps of the entire planet, and promised to be able to preform celestial navigation via stored star charts. All of it was useless when one wasn't on the earth, of course.

Newly equipped they all headed back to the guard station.

Kim returned to the console and started typing in commands, “I'm trying to channel oxygen out of the areas we're leaving and into the ones we'll be traveling through,” she explained. “But there's not a lot to work with.”

The trip to the airlock was uneventful. The space suits were in the locker like Kim had said. There were more than they needed and Shego scavenged extra oxygen canisters from the unnecessary ones.

“Once we're in the suits we need to keep our breathing even and take it slow,” Kim said. “If there isn't transportation outside we'll need to walk two miles.”

“Hop.” Hawk said.

“What?” Kim asked.

“The low gravity combined with the loose regolith on the lunar surface makes walking difficult at best,” Hawk said.

“It's hard enough to walk in here,” Surge complained. They all knew it was true, not one of them hadn't had difficulty with pushing off the ground too hard.

“Astronauts found that the best way to move around is to hop,” Hawk told everyone.

“Ok, if there's no transportation we'll need to hop a long way,” Kim said. “It's important that we conserve our air if we're going to make it. Once the suits are on I recommend the only talking we do is to confirm that the suits are working. After that: silence.”

When they were in the spacesuits and could hear each other only through the built in raidos Kim said, “Kim; suit secure.”

“It works,” Shego said.

“Drakken. Suit is working.”

“Surge. I'm still breathing.”

“Blok. I'm good.”

“Hawk. I'm cool.”

"Oh, the air tickles my nose," Amy said.

Shego rolled her eyes.

“Horatio; suit intact.”

"Henry. I'm fine."

Shego looked at Kim then said, "Okay, we did roll call. Can we go now?"

"Everyone grab a spare tank," Kim said, then opened walked to the airlock.

The computer in the airlock had information the internal computers didn't.

“Damn, no transportation,” Kim said. "Don't forget. Stay calm, breathe evenly, and we should be fine."

When everyone was piled into the airlock, Kim shut the interior door and opened the exterior door. It was their first glimpse of where they truly were.

The barren gray moonscape stretched in all directions. Kim oriented herself toward the other facility, but couldn't see anything but more moon.

She knew, intellectually, that it was because the horizon on the moon was closer, making the facility a half mile over the horizon instead of nearly a mile closer than the horizon as it would be on earth. She knew that. But it still felt hopeless to step out onto the moon's surface when she couldn't even see where she was going.

Commissioner Gordon's Origin

Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:40 pm
cyberghostface: (Batman & Robin)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily
With Gotham premiering today I figured some of you might find this amusing. From Dorkly.

Read more... )

September 22nd, 2014

Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:55 pm
[syndicated profile] widdershins_feed

Posted by Kate


Sorry to leave you in there an extra week, guys.

Guest week was awesome, thank you to Francesca, Beejazz, Elliwiny, Pascalle, Duckpuncher, Stretch, and Helia! I’ve removed the guest comics from the archive to let the story flow better, but they’re all in the fanart gallery right here, along with a few extras that I hadn’t put up there yet.

Jump Start--Hi Fi Cluster

Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:07 pm
skjam: Ghost cat in a fez (fez)
[personal profile] skjam posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Hi folks!

Continuing on from last week's post, it's time for another Shonen Jump Jump Start entry. If you missed last week, The online Shonen Jump is now going to include the first three chapters of every new series that appears in the print Shounen Jump Weekly. Last time it was martial arts in Judos.

This week is Hi-Fi Cluster by Ippei Goto. 14 pages of 55. (I'm posting these after the next issue comes out, so if you subscribe online, you already saw this last week.) There's some discussion of disability issues.

Love and Bravery )

Your thoughts and comments?

Religion and justice: Two corruptions

Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:08 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

(This is originally from the footnote to a post here five years ago. I’m re-posting it here today so it will be easier to find for future reference, and because it may be useful to find for future reference.)

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Consider again that parable Jesus told about the beggar Lazarus and the callous rich man. That parable describes a common phenomenon, almost a microcosm of this unfair, unjust world. The actual, real world we live in is filled with precisely this sort of situation. Lazarus’ life was an unending stream of misery — cold, hunger, physical pain, neglect and loneliness. The self-centered rich man, on the other hand, had the best food, the best house, the finest clothes and all the friends money could buy. And he didn’t give a rip about Lazarus.

That doesn’t seem fair. It isn’t fair. We want to see such unfairness corrected. The world seems wrong and we want to see it made or remade right.

Every religion worth anything addresses this dilemma in two ways. First by requiring that its adherents practice both charity and justice here in this life. And second by extending the hope that such unfairness will ultimately be rectified, if not in this world, then in the next.

When religion goes awry or becomes corrupt, it often results from or results in an emphasis on one of those two aspects to the neglect of the other.

Corruption A: Emphasize the hope for eschatological justice to the neglect of justice in this world and you end up with the “pie in the sky when you die” opiate used to justify every oppressive caste system from Bombay to Alabama.

Corruption B: Emphasize justice in this world to the neglect of the hope for eschatological justice and you begin thinking that you can impose perfect, infallible justice here in the temporal realm — an idea that quickly gallops off into oppressive theocracy of one form or another.

Our history books and newspapers are so full of examples of both of those errors that it can be tempting to think that maybe religion itself is the problem. If we could just stamp out religion, we could end oppression and establish perfect justice. See again Corruption B above.

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
This week, a sampling of -- well, I was going to say pre-20th century female poets, but a couple earliest 20th century poems from prorogated Victorians snuck into the basket. But all more than a century old, anyway.

To the Fair Clarinda, Who Made Love to Me, Imagined More Than Woman

Fair lovely maid, or if that title be
Too weak, too feminine for nobler thee,
Permit a name that more approaches truth:
And let me call thee, lovely charming youth.
This last will justify my soft complaint,
While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
And without blushes I the youth pursue,
When so much beauteous woman is in view,
Against thy charms we struggle but in vain
With thy deluding form thou giv’st us pain,
While the bright nymph betrays us to the swain.
In pity to our sex sure thou wert sent,
That we might love, and yet be innocent:
For sure no crime with thee we can commit;
Or if we should—thy form excuses it.
For who, that gathers fairest flowers believes
A snake lies hid beneath the fragrant leaves.

Thou beauteous wonder of a different kind,
Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis joined;
When ere the manly part of thee, would plead
Thou tempts us with the image of the maid,
While we the noblest passions do extend
The love to Hermes, Aphrodite the friend.

source: Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. Paul Salzman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Some Days

Sep. 22nd, 2014 04:43 pm
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Posted by eyeteeth

Some Days

Hey, my friend Midge has a comic too. It’s about cats, like in the first panel there. And it’s a lot cheerier than my comic usually is! You should check it out.

[syndicated profile] photoshop_disasters_feed

Posted by vernons

A good (font) family is made up of all sorts of weights, shapes, and mildly amusing icons.



For just a few hours more, you can pick up the complete Eveleth Letterpress Font Family. As vintage as your dad’s underwear and as distressed as a single mother, this metaphor for fonts got a little disturbing, so we’re going to jump ship on it.

Sixteen fonts that include numerous icons, emblems, and shapes, and all sorts of customization options, and it’s all over 80% off. Check it out here.

Hurry, this deal is a limited time offer. 

The post DEAL – FINALLY, A (FONT) FAMILY’S LOVE FOR LESS THAN $10 appeared first on PSD : Photoshop Disasters .

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Posted by Fred Clark

Via Internet Monk, I learn that R.C. Sproul’s white Reformed Ligonier Ministries is embarking on a new short-term study course on the subject of “Persevering in the Christian Life,” with a focus on “Christ’s call to endure persecution and suffering faithfully.” This study excursion is part of Ligonier’s “2015 Caribbean Study Cruise.” Participants will suffer faithfully for Jesus at stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten before wrapping things up with a “Farewell Reception in Pharaoh’s Palace.”


Pharaoh’s Palace aboard the Freedom of the Seas is an ideal nightspot for live music, dancing, and faithfully suffering persecution for Christ.

Alas, that bit about Pharaoh’s Palace doesn’t mean Sproul has suddenly adopted a liberationist theology. That’s just the name of a Vegas-glitz ballroom on the Promenade Deck of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.

Amanda Marcotte and Libby Anne both point out that atheism doesn’t need its own version of Mark Driscoll, thanks anyway.

• “For five years now, America’s teen birth rate has plummeted at an unprecedented rate, falling faster and faster. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of babies born to teens annually fell by 38.4 percent, according to research firm Demographic Intelligence. This drop occurred in tandem with steep declines in the abortion rate. That suggests that the drop isn’t the product of more teenagers terminating pregnancies. More simply, fewer girls are getting pregnant.”

• “People need to be alarmed,” says Travis Weber of the Family Research Council. The larger context of that statement had something or other to do with marriage equality, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, etc. But that sentence also stands alone as a summary of the mission, agenda and philosophy of FRC and the rest of the religious right: “People need to be alarmed.” Perpetually.

• Luxury cruises on which the elect savor their pretend persecution are one example of the church. The Rev. Margaret Kelly and the church of Shobi’s Temple provides another example:

“This is where everybody’s at,” said Shobi’s Table volunteer Maurice Tribbett. “I come from the same place these people do. I used to be a gang member. I used to be a drug addict. I used to be homeless.”

“We come to them. It’s kind of meeting people where they’re at, spiritually, physically and emotionally,” said Tribbett’s wife, Mary Magill-Tribbett.

You don’t have to be sober to get a meal at the truck. You don’t have stick around for a service.

“I’m not bothered if people just want to eat and run and don’t want any religion,” Kelly said. “It’s a gift from Christ, but it’s not staring you in the face. This is a free lunch because Jesus is free.”

… But after giving out about 140 calzones, Kelly asks the handful of people still gathered on the sidewalk around the truck, “Shall we do some religion?”

• The West Chester University Golden Rams women’s rugby team begins its season 1-0.

Crab City Infinity+1

Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:18 am
[syndicated profile] multiversescenes_feed

Posted by jon


We’re back in Crab City for a fourth day, and I think at this point we’re committed to seeing this thing through to the end, no matter what. Complaints? Line up on the right.

Are you enjoying the strip? Please consider becoming a Patreon patron! A buck or more a month from you helps keep the comics flowing.


Gutters #536

Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:34 am


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