Dear Sharron Angle:

Please, read your history. Roger Williams, founder of what has morphed into your professed Baptist faith, said the state has no business legislating the first tablet of the Ten Commandments, those that address man’s relationship with God (Gaustad, 2005). If you don’t like Social Security, that’s fine, and there’s a reasonable conservative economic argument you can make; but don’t try to pin everything on your goals for a Christian theocracy.
Maybe, Mrs. Angle, you don’t consider yourself a Williams Baptist. In fact, I believe I’ve read some pieces that refer you you as Baptist, others Southern Baptist, and still others simply fundamentalist. Fair enough. Maybe you have a divine calling to establish a Church-run State for Jesus. I won’t argue with your experiences. Maybe your brand of Christianity has no problem with the melding of Church and State. But will you please listen to James Madison? “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?” Should Congress assemble in silence according to traditional Quaker practice? Or what if a Catholic wins the presidency? You’d get booted from the Senate, because women can’t hold spiritual authority. See what I’m getting at?
Please, keep up your faith. But remember that you seek to serve a diverse constituency that includes everything from Baha’i to Baptists, everything in between, and many nowhere in between. I will not vote for a theocracy, and I hope my fellow Nevadans won’t either. Grace and peace to you.
References
Gaustad, E.S. (2005). Roger Williams. New York: Oxford University Press.
Madison, J. (1819). Memorial and Remonstrance. Boston: Lincoln & Edmands.
Advertisement

Rauschenbusch

There is the more inducement to teach clearly on the social transmission and perpetuation of sin because the ethical and religious forces can really do something to check and prevent the transmission of sin along social channels, whereas the biological transmission of original sin, except for the possible influence of eugenics, seems to be beyond our influence.

Walter Rauschenbusch, A Theology for the Social Gospel, pp.67, 68

New writing project

I’ve taken up some independent contractor writing with a locals-focused website, Examiner.com.

They bring on writers in all sorts of areas… Health & Fitness, Politics, Economy, Relgion & Spirituality… everything category you’d expect to see in a weekend newspaper. The difference is it’s online and exculsively local.

So, I’m a Las Vegas outdoor recreation examiner. My page is here. Bookmark it, stop by every now and then. Digg it if you’re feeling especially charitiable ;)

Also, if you’re reading this, you’re probably somone whose opinion and feedback I value, so article feedback and suggestions are invited!

March

Made a habit to start using my lunch breaks effectively. Five days a week, I’m making about half an hour of progress through Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s fascinating. To say I think it will change the way I eat is an understatement.

I’m also coming close to finally finishing Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. His comments on what it means to be a student –a disciple– of Jesus strike a challenging balance between “wow that’s really profound” and “why aren’t I already doing that?”.

Behind on the podcasts, because my earbuds are out of comission. Totally gimpy reason– just missing the little foam cover on one bud. But it won’t stay in while riding my bike without it. And that 30 mins a day to and from work is prime podcast time. So what I’m saying is you still have plenty of time to recommend a new podcast for me to try to work into my rotation. Daily is great, but I’m open to weekly. Writer’s Almanac is daily, and I could supplement it with a weekly for Monday, a different one for Tuesday, another updated on Wednesdays, etc.

Family in town a lot recently. That’s been great. Lots of time spent out at Red Rocks. Pictures here. Dad’s coming at the end of March!

Considering a joint blog-through of a book sometime on the horizon…

Miscellanea

Each morning, riding my bicycle to work takes about 15 minutes. Heading one way, I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. It’s about 5 minutes, but I really like GK. I could add Lake Wobegon to fill the rest of the ride, I suppose… Anyway, I’m tendering suggestions for a podcast for the return trip. Something in the 15 minute window would be ideal.

I’d like to begin homebrewing sometime. By chance, anyone looking to get rid of a setup?

Anina and I are the proud owners of a 2009 Subaru Outback. Super happy. Pics here.

We have snow in Mt. Charleston, 30 miles away. Nice temperate weather here in the desert valley, and waist-deep snow a super-short drive away… Pics from this weekend.

Should I let Facebook be my Flickr? There’s the 60-pic limit per album, but it seems to be unlimited and free. Picasa and Flickr have great interfaces but I’m just not in a spot to pay for photo storage, given all the free alternatives out there. Thoughts?

evil spam

a post for the sake of posting…

R.I.P “There Are”

Anyone else notice this particular pronoun-verb pairing disappearing from the American vernacular?

In related news:

A book I want to read:

August Post #2

Just by posting today I’m surpassing my monthly totals for each June and July… Way. To. Go.

And so much for that “Time to Get Going Again” idea, huh? That’s ok, blogs aren’t about guilt trips. Besides, I don’t want to be a word-trader (see previous post). …well, maybe I concede there’s some sort of middle ground.

I’ve spent the past few weeks in the employment of a company called AppleOne. It’s a temp agency. I don’t think companies like this are below me, but I never imagined working for one. It’s been interesting. My first assignment was holding cue cards for a video that the local teachers’ union was making for all the new hires. Easy. Observed a little bit about union politics and whatnot in the discussions between shoots.

Random info: Listening to the Crowes, B.B. King, O.A.R, and SRV right now.

The next assignment was the Las Vegas location of Barney’s New York. My fellow males, think Macy’s and then go up the retail food chain about 15 levels. Fancy stuff. It’s inside the shoppes in the Palazzo/Venetian here on the Strip. I worked in the shipping/receiving area. Very reminiscent of a job I had at Macy’s in Monterey during high school. Open tons of boxes of incoming merchandise. Sort it. Hang/fold garments. Prep some for the floor, some for storage. And actually, I spent most of my time organizing the storage space there. SO in need of it! I think that the most pleasant surprise was a reminder that the salespeople were mere mortals like us in shipping/receiving. I guess I was assuming them to be as snotty as the stereotype of their clientele, those who have enough money to shop at Barney’s. How’s that for judging?

Tomorrow I’ll be starting with The Apollo Group, specifically the University of Phoenix. The branch here in Las Vegas, that is. Apparently the world’s largest private university. I could see that. My job will be that of an enrollment counselor. Following up and meeting with prospective students who have contacted the university to express interest. No cold calls, thank heavens! Those that know me wouldn’t say I’m right at home in a classic sales position. I’ll be on contract with the university (henceforth UPX) for the first three months, still employed by AppleOne. Then after that time, if both UPX and I think it’s a good fit, I’ll move over to being a permanent employee with them. Now I know that some people have plenty of dirt on UPX… I’ve read it. Pressure for overly aggressive tactics with prospective students. A special “boiler room” for underperforming enrollment reps. Numbers-based pay incentives. From what I can tell, a mix of these types of things happened at various UPX branches, and they got called out on it, and it’s not going on anymore. So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I am absolutely in favor of adults getting serious about education, no matter where they’re at in life. Also, I could really stand to improve my “sales” toolchest. The simple skill of asking people to do something. My struggle here is part of what killed me with my work in Durango. Couldn’t just directly ask people to volunteer with the youth ministry stuff. Couldn’t sell involvement. And if I’m serious about getting back in to pastoral work, I’ll be better prepared for it by being a better salesman.

I just started the coals on the grill. And I must begin tending to myriad culinary preparations. BBQ chicken sandwiches tonight.

A Monk in the Blogosphere

What does this mean for bloggers, especially those of us who type so much about faith?

XXIX

A certain brother came, once, to Abbot Theodore of Pherme, and spent three days begging him to let him hear a word. The Abbot however did not answer him, and he went off sad. So a disciple said to Abbot Theodore: Father, why did you not speak to him? Now he has gone off sad! The elder replied: Believe me, I spoke no word to him because he is a trader in words, and seeks to glory in the words of another.

From The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton ed.

Time to get going again

Not a single post in June. Oops.

The rumor is true: I did resign from my youth ministry position in Durango. No burnt bridges… I still have a very supportive group of friends back in Colorado. There’s a lot to discuss about what precipitated that change, and it will surely come up in a future post. Actually, I think that’s part of the reason I’ve put off writing here for a while. Felt like I was in the middle of something so huge that I couldn’t blog and not write about all the resignation/moving to Vegas stuff.

Rumor #2: Indeed, I am living in Las Vegas. Close to both sets of Nina’s parents, and a much cheaper plane flight out of McCarran to go see my parents. (Durango was upwards of $400/person for roundtrip almost anywhere.) Also, Nina’s best friend from high school lives here, so it’s good to have a little bit of a preexisting support network. The focus for us being in Las Vegas is to get plenty of quality time together, enabling us to build the kind of foundation our marriage needs for being able to get back working in a church full-time.

Speaking of work, we’re searching. Part of the reason for choosing Vegas to relocate to is its relatively un-recessing economy. There are still plenty of jobs that need to be snapped up here. I’m on the waiting list for my background check to clear with Clark County Parks and Recreation, for a temporary summer position. It would just be something to bring in a little extra money over the summer, but the cool part about it is that it would get my foot in the door for one of the two new full-time positions they just got funding for.  My backup plan, by virtue of timing and desire, is an electrician apprenticeship. The construction trades in Las Vegas aren’t slowing down at all. I probably passed the aptitude test that I took a while back, and as soon as I confirm that I passed, I’ll be able to schedule an appointment for an interview to get into the program. However, I have good reason to believe that this appointment won’t be any sooner than September or October. And I will need to be working somewhere before that…

Over the past couple years, my work provided a lot of theological springboards and whatnot for blog fodder. Now, I’m a still hoping to read and write a lot, but it’ll be totally on my own time. No worries though, I should have a lot more time for myself with this new work/home-balance arrangement.

A board game is calling me. And I must answer.

More later.

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.” -GK