Tuesday, March 27, 2007

can't wrap my mind around it ...

Brandon's parents visited over the weekend (yay! Fun times!), and on their last night in New England, they took us to dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant (not "very nice" in the sense of super expensive--it was reasonable--but "very niee" in that the service was friendly and professional, the food varied and flavorful, etc.).

We were maybe midway through our meal when a young couple sat down in the next booth over. Because of the acoustics of the room, their voices carried pretty well to where I was sitting and I noticed they both were casually using very critical, negativistic intonation. I think the guy was saying something about how he'd been disappointed by the food the last time he'd been there--or he might have been talking about a different restaurant--I don't know.

Anyway, later on, we were finishing up our meal and there was a lull in our conversation, so the words of the lady in the next booth sailed clearly and plainly to my ears. "I finally found a place scripture that proves my point that gays are going straight to hell." I think those were her exact words. I'm not quite sure if she said "place in scripture" or "scripture verse" or something else, but the rest I am almost certain is verbatim. Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well, in real life, it sounded even worse because of her inflection.

So, I started making all kinds of incredulous, horrified faces, and Brandon and his parents remained quiet. The lady went on, saying something about people that challenge her view, or maybe that she has had doubts--questioning, does God really *want* gays to go to hell? But then there it was, plain as day in scripture. "Yes," she affirmed, "God does want them to go to hell. It was like Jesus talking to me."

And the guy agreed. He said something like "You know, people actually *left* my chruch because my father said that gays are going to hell." Can you believe that? I think he went on to say something about how it's what the Bible plainly teaches, etc.

Anyway ... Of course I know lots of people who think it's *very* important and *very* clear in scripture that homosexuality is a sin. And I've met a couple people who are paranoid and borderline hysterical about a monstrous regiment of homosexuals taking over the country, infiltrating the schools and turning innocent little children into budding gays and lesbians. But I really can't imagine any of them saying what that lady at the restaurant said, the way she said it. I think most people who consider homosexual acts sinful are well meaning. This lady just seemed filled with spite--and she was convinced that God shared her hatred of this particular people group.

Anyway, I don't have anything profound to say about it. I don't know what to make of it, since it's so foreign to my own way of thinking. It's a sin I can't even understand because I've never been tempted quite the same way. If I ever have the chance to have meaningful conversation with someone like that, perhaps I will find out what is analogous in my own experience. In the meantime, I'm mostly just horrified and saddened.

Friday, March 16, 2007

thoughts on An Inconvenient Truth

We went to a free showing of Al Gore's movie at the library the other day. It was good. Not good in the sense of being high cinematic quality, but good in the sense it's good that the movie was made and that so many ppl. have seen it and become aware of the seriousness of global warming.

Some thoughts: Mr. Gore may be reimagining himself as an environmentalist now, but he's still a politician at heart. His film is alot like a political speech in that, selling his cause=selling himself. Some of the autobiographical stuff didn't really seem integral to the film. The part about his sister dying of lung cancer was very appropriate, I thought, but not so much the story of his son's car accident injuries or the agonizing events of the 2000 presidential election.

And there were some points he didn't explain fully--for example, there were a few graphs that he didn't clearly explain before talking about their implications. And he didn't really address the objection that the changes we need to make in our way of life in order to slow down global warming will be detrimental to the economy. He just sort of said "Well, if we *don't* make these changes, we'll be *totally* screwed--so there's no need to even discuss whether there will be economic repercussions."

I was also surprised at how optimistic he was that we can "beat" this thing. It may also have to do with his political training--you have to give people hope. No one likes a doomsayer. I'm glad he made it clear that global warming does not spell the end of the world, but it probably does mean further natural disasters which will result in the death and suffering of billions of people.

And it does seem intuitive that the luxurient, comfortable, materialistic American lifestyle is not sustainable. It's intuitive in an abstract sense. Not so much in terms of imagining the destruction of America as I know it within my lifetime. It's almost impossible to imagine that, but it certainly could happen. Maybe it's likely.

Friday, March 9, 2007

comfort from a strange source

So, I've been reading the blog of Fuller's president, Richard Mouw. I am impressed by his thoughtful (=careful, clear headed, sober) and loving way of taking on pop culture and trying to see through the eyes of Christ. But recently I started getting an alarming vibe--something telling me that even though he's a reasonable fellow, he might be coming from a more conservative standpoint than I'd expected.

"Brandon! This is terrible!" I shared my growing sense of panic. I do *not* want to drive all the freakin' way across the country *again*, only to find the seminary is, *again* so conservative I can't respect my professors' understanding of the Old Testament. But, Brandon reassured me, the president of Fuller is only an administrator. I don't know if he teaches classes, too, or not, but it seems true at Whitworth, and is certain at San Francisco Theological Seminary, that the president is more conservative than the profs. So, I went online and found this article:


And I felt *much* better about my choice of school. (-:

It's an article by a fundamentalist who is *way* out there--like, at certain points in the article not even making sense in his/her article about how Fuller is a hotbed of liberal apostacy. He or she sounds like the kind of person that, if he/she hadn't found religion, probably would be talking about how fluoridation of public drinking water is a government conspiracy.

Incidentally, one of my profs. in community college thought that about fluoridation. Brandon, being a Dr. Strangelove fan, particularly appreciated that small factoid.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I got my acceptance letter from Fuller today! Yay! I would have thought they'd've joined the 21st century by now and sent me an email. Oh well.

I'm excited, but at the same time ... I was just reading a blog of a Fuller student--about some book he's reading for a class--and he was reflecting on the relationship between the Church and the World, and mentioned Niehbur. We went over Niehbur's ideas about "Christ and Culture" in Core 350 at Whitworth. I kind of remember it. But it certainly wasn't life-changing.

It kind of worries me, because I feel like the sorts of theological subjects they teach in seminary can't be "crammed." I would imagine they have to be learned slowly, through practice and experience.

Then again, I probably didn't get much out of the Core 350 class because it was Core. Horrible, horrible Core which everyone has to take, so the classes are huge and the teaching style is mechanized. Ugh. Presumably, that type of experience will not be repeated, now that I'm studying at a graduate level.