I have been watching, reading, and pouring over the events surrounding Wikileaks, wanting to write some sort of thoughtful commentary. But, as The Atlantic points out, this event has brought about some of the best journalism, political analysis, and writing we’ve seen in years and I find it difficult to try and say something newer or more insightful than those that are more knowledgeable of the past and have more time and acquaintance with the primary sources in question. With more of these leaked diplomatic cables being released every day, this coverage is literally non-stop. My productivity at worked has suffered because of the tangled web of links one can get caught in going from one story to the next to the next; I have at least a couple dozen quotes and links saved in my Evernote notetaking app in order to use in some future writing (or present).
But nevertheless, even among my friends who care about this situation, there appears to be some common misconceptions about this whole situation, leading them to direct their frustrations, diatribes, and anger in the wrong direction. I wish to clarify some of those here today. First, I must say on the outset that I am absolutely, entirely in favor of most all that Wikileaks has done and is doing. I think they are serving America’s longterm interest and the well-being of its citizenry far more than even our own federal government is doing. Do I think they have done everything perfectly and responsibly? No, but no four-year old media organization can be said to have done so. Wikileaks has (and will) make mistakes–its founder has even admitted that–but so will/has our federal government in its own “attempts” at serving the greater good. The only question remains: who do you think does more damage when they make those inevitable mistakes (the government or Wikileaks?), and therefore, who requires more scrutiny, responsibility, accountability, and fear of being out of control? I (as well as Glenn Greenwald and The Economist) wholeheartedly fear the results of a government out of control more than a Wikileaks out of control. But, in fact (as we move on to the misconceptions) ….
I have a new article up on Patrol Magazine (yeah, I know; it’s the first in a long while). Patrol recently changed up the philosophy and design of the site, making it much more of a blog-type format, as well as trying to focus more on consistently substantive and “Christianly” reflections on the world today. In the spirit of that, today was posted I review I wrote for Thomas Nelson Publishers on Jack Cashill‘s newest book, Popes & Bankers. Some of you may remember that while I was in the middle of reading the book, I wrote for Patrol about Cashill, and how I thought he was a propagandist, revisionist historian, and (frankly) crazy. I also mused about how it was that Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing house came to publish this particular book. This caused a response from someone involved in the nonfiction acquisitions process at Thomas Nelson that was involved in getting Popes & Bankers published. I get what he was saying at the time, but even now, after having finished the book, I stand by what I said. You can read the exchange below after the link and the break. Enjoy the review and leave your comments!
Review: “Popes & Bankers,” By Jack Cashill | Patrol Magazine
Here was the exchange:
After the amazing success of our first house show several months ago, we just had to have another one. Therefore tomorrow, Saturday, December 4th at 7pm in Philadelphia, we are having our second house show entitled The Birdhouse presents, Vol. 2: The Housecooling (Go to the Facebook event page for details and to RSVP). Our house, as a venue, is called “The Birdhouse” (it’s even on Foursquare). The show’s gonna be really, really good. This time around we have four main acts performing (with me doing a little intro set). Acts include:
- Chris Currie (formerly of Full Fathom Five) & friends
- Luke Bartolomeo (novelist, poet, and editor of the Monongahela Review)
- Heath Warner (also known as “Paul Warner” by day)
We will be recording this evening and putting online for free, just like the first show (Chris also played at that one, though just by himself). We will have some drinks and snacks, but feel free to bring a six pack, a bottle of wine, or some food (baked goods are always welcome!). See you there!
More than any show in recent memory, Mad Men has captivated me in such a way that I cannot stop watching it. I just started watching the show a couple of weeks ago and I’m on the last episode of Season 1. Now, I’m usually wary of something that receives non-stop praise and adoration like Mad Men has. I often wonder can a television show really be so good that it evokes responses like this? It’s hard for to imagine and hold in my mind the idea of something that can take hold of people so singularly and consistently that it leaves people in awe (I have a similar inability to imagine how a show like Dexter would fall in this category).
But I’m a believer now.
This morning I got an email from WordPress (the blogging platform I use) saying that in two weeks they will be retiring the blog theme that I have long used. They said they would be replacing it with the theme you see on the site right now. So, I went ahead and switched over early. It doesn’t look very different, but it does come with a lot of different options and the coding behind the site is sort of different so font sizes and element spacing is a bit different. It may take me a few days to fix the new issues and pick what settings I like and such, but I should be good to go pretty quickly. Secondly, the header you see at the top of the page is the new default header for this theme. Do you like it? I can easily go back to my original header which is the picture you see at the top of this particular blog post. Thanks for the feedback and the reading.
Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference
by Max Lucado
Thomas Nelson, 2010
My Rating: 3/5
Purchase at Amazon
“Social Justice” is all the rage right now. The swaths of American twentysomethings serious about their faith who have found Evangelicalism to have a heart inflamed for the wrong things, a head stuck in the wrong places, and absolutely no legs at all have tried to wrestle with and take seriously the call for God’s people to be not simply his “ambassadors” or “proclaimers”, but rather his very Hands, Feet, and Presence. Movements like Shane Claibourne’s The Simple Way here in Philadelphia and New Monasticism have shaken many from the fog of an (ultimately inadequate) purely intellectual faith into a faith that is firmly rooted in life. As Calvin put it, “For we cannot with propriety say, there is any knowledge of God, where there is no religion or piety.” In other words, the truest knowledge of God and His Gospel is found in its practice just as much (if not more) than in its content.
It only comes out for a few months out of the year, but when it does, I go kind of crazy. Seriously, it’s one of the best drinks I’ve ever had and every year it’s as good as the year before. No joke. Others agree. It’s so thick and creamy and not too “noggy”. It comes in two varieties: Original and Pumpkin Spice. The latter is good to at least try once in your life, but really, Original is where it’s at. Also, here’s a little secret: WaWa Egg Nog is really just Turkey Hill Egg Nog licensed for a WaWa bottle. So if there’s no WaWa around you and all you’ve got is Turkey Hill, that’s all you really need.
Every year my brother and I have a bonding moment over our mutual love for this fine delicacy. We almost grow physically ill while we’re home with our parents from ingesting so much dairy and egg whites. And it’s worth every bit of it. So drop by your Wawa today and pick up some of it to try. Or, if you are in Philadelphia and have never had it before, I’d be glad to buy you your first one.
As is now becoming a typical preface to the American twenty-something story, I was raised in an Evangelical family. It wasn’t until high school though that these ideas began affecting my soul. But, being in my watered-down southern Baptist experience, the spiritual appetites this “awakening” had produced were never satiated. I longed for the deeper things of God that I had only then, 16 years or so down this journey, realized were even there: a God that cared about far more than “consistent quiet times” and “witnessing to my friends”. A God whose call for me was not first and foremost to fight the modern-day vicars of Darwin (my public school science teachers), but a God whose call for me was a call for me – a deity far more interested in my enjoyment in Him rather than my service to Him – who sovereignly and independently called out for me through the fog of my emotionally turbulent, perpetually “emo” high school existence into a new, vibrant, and abundant emotionally turbulent, perpetually “emo” high school existence. Me and my crew of fellow impassioned “youth groupies” who met at the JAM House (Jesus And Me) every Wednesday night longed for growing miles deep when the church seemed far more interested in growing miles wide.
One of my dearest friends, Andrew Vogel, got married two weeks ago (p.s. He has an amazing blog). He had originally asked me to do this Scripture Reading at the wedding. But unfortunately, the drive from Philly to Newark, Ohio is a long one, and many variables can make for much delay, and indeed, this is what happened. (Amy and I went on to the rest of our plans: a wonderful visit to God’s country, Pittsburgh). Anyway, to add to the pain of this loss, this particular set of Scriptures that I was going to have the honor of reading just happens to be the best set of Scripture readings I’ve ever encountered for a wedding. No Song of Solomon or 1 Corinthians 13 here; just a proper and exegetically sound exploration of the sweeping story of God’s relationship with his own Bride. Therefore, I felt compelled to share these verses with you today. May they stir and woo you for Bridegroom for Whom your soul was made.
Andrew and Laura, I pray that this feeble attempt at publicly participating in the celebration of your union communicates the love and grace of our Lord to your hearts. May it bless you.
Every year, change.org sponsors its Blog Action Day, where they take an issue of world importance and try to get as many bloggers writing posts about as possible, hoping for a viral effect that can influence larger political structures. This year’s topic is global access to clean water. I had known this was an issue, and an issue of importance, but it wasn’t until I signed on to write this post and started researching it that I realized what all it entailed.
“Social Justice-y” issues are in style right now. As globalization and social media collide, our global neighbors are feeling ever and ever closer, and our awareness to global issues is rising. What’s your little pet issue? Women’s rights? Children’s rights? Animal right? Poverty? The Environment? Global conflict and wars? As the change.org website points out in its suggested post ideas page, this clean water access issue is a primary factor in all of the above areas. Unclean and unsafe water is the primary cause of 80% of all disease and it kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 90% of all of these deaths happen to children (source). Many global wars, including the conflict in Darfur can find their root in water access (source). The hours spent finding, carrying, and distributing water–and not going to school or working–are so numerous that it is a major source of poverty in the world (source). Indeed, there are even more implications for this most basic of issues, and they are well-catalogued on that “suggested post ideas” page, but these were the issues that struck me most.