Archive for category Technology

Shameful Revelation


Thank God, I will get a view of the Battle of Armageddon from the grand stand seats of the heavens. All who are born again will see the battle of Armageddon, but it will be from the skies (Carl McIntire, 1965)

What then should be the believer’s attitude to the destruction of the world by fire? First of all, he should welcome it and pray for its nearness (Robert Gromacki, 1970)

The world has one great war yet to endure…. The slaughter that will take place is too frightening to imagine. Just be thankful that you’re not going to be around (Chuck Smith, 1977)

The Tribulation will result in such bloodshed and destruction that any war up to that time will seem insignificant (Jerry Falwell, 1983)

Some day we may blow ourselves up with all the bombs…. But I still believe God’s going to be in control…. If He chooses to use nuclear war, then who am I to argue with that? (Charles Jones, 1986)

-from “God and Empire” by John Dominic Crossan

I’m sorry, but the Book of Revelation should never have been included in the Bible. There. I’ve said it. No more pussy-footing around. I’m no longer going to compromise, rationalizing that it needs to be read, as Augustine said,  ‘spiritually and not carnally’ (metaphorically and not literally).  I  think it would have been better never read at all.

Rather than underlining Jesus’ (and Paul’s) radical message of the just and peaceable Kingdom of God to be found right now and right here on this earth, Revelations depicts a kingdom somewhere “out there” that will some day come, but only after Jesus returns and and initiates the violent destruction of civilization.

In the Gospels, Jesus offers us a meal of bread and wine- hospitality, friendship, community. In Revelation he offers the birds of the air a meal made up of the flesh of millions of dead.

In the Gospels Jesus talks of his return AFTER a violent apocalypse but an apocalypse that is the result of man’s ‘worldly’ and violent way of life. His return does not precipitate this apocalypse but follows it, bringing the Kingdom’s non-violent redemptive power. Revelation, on the other hand, has Jesus accepting and adopting as his own modus operandi this ‘worldly’ violence, no matter how ‘other worldly’ it is portrayed.

In the Gospels he enters the Jerusalem  meekly,  on a donkey, pointedly lampooning the triumphal entry of the Roman governor.  In Revelation he is on a white charger, wielding sword and with a  blood soaked cape flowing about him.

Is it any wonder that this vision of a doomed and temporary earth violently destroyed by a blood-thirsty Messiah who then selectively redeems it has led to 20 centuries of Church sanctioned violence? Well, not when we realize that it didn’t take long for the Church to stop opposing violent empire and become violent empire. The Book of Revelations proved to be an excellent tool in furthering the worldly ideals and goals of empire.

Americans easily recognize that the fundamentalist theology of Islam, of a disposable world followed by paradise for the fortunate faithful, has eagerly led many to commit acts of horrific violence. But can’t we see that the contemporary dispensationalist theology of Rapture and Armageddon also leads to similar contempt for this world and a a similar eagerness for violent retribution?

It may seem extreme to make comparisons between the actions of radical Islamists and those of fundamentalist Christians, but their rhetoric is similar.  Violent actions no not always follow violent rhetoric but they are always preceded by violent rhetoric.

Perhaps there is some good ecclesiastical advice in this book, advice designed to help the early beleaguered Church to hold fast and resist the temptation to capitulate to empire. But by painting Jesus in heretically violent colors John only helped spur on the Church to become empire. Did Rome co-opt the Church or did the Church co-opt Rome?

How might have history been different, if the rhetoric of violent judgment penned by John of Patmos had never been linked to Jesus’ Gospel of peace and justice?

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One Poor Old Blogger’s Take on the Rich Young Ruler


the-rich-young-blogger

A certain blogger asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit internet peace.?”

“Why do you call me good?” the teacher answered. “No one is good—except Arianna alone (at least for this week).  You know the commandments:  ” Post daily,  reply to all comments,  leave numerous comments on other blogs,  link often and use lots of lists in your titles. ”

“All these I have kept since….well, at least for a year or so, now” he said.

When the teacher heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Remove any links to Technorati and never check your rating again. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a blogger of great pride.

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Not All Cats are Gray in the Dark


What will those wily Koreans think of next? First kimchee, then the Hyundai and now this. Jeesh! I’ll bet it cuts into their mousing percentages, though.

(Wait’ll Buddy sees this.) http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071212/sc_afp/healthscienceskoreacloning

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An Afraid New World


A New York Times headline today says;

SCIENTISTS USE MONKEY CLONES TO EXTRACT STEM CELLS

Not only is this the first time such cells have been produced in any animal other than a mouse, but the method, the researchers say, should also work in humans.

“We hope the technology will be useful for other labs that are working on human eggs and human cells,” the lead researcher of the group, Shoukhrat Mitalipov at Oregon Health and Science University in Beaverton, said in a telephone interview. “I am quite sure it will work in humans.”

Not everyone is happy about this development. Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center said:

“I certainly think that this represents a new threshold in the entire discussion,” said the Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. “At this point, it becomes essential to ask a question as a society: Are there ever going to be circumstances where it is morally justifiable to clone human beings?”

What do you think?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/science/15primate.html?ex=1352782800&en=64dd27c654844c3a&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss

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What Would Jesus Shave With?


OK, I know that argument over what would Jesus drive has pretty much fizzled out. And good riddance! It tended to be divisive and distracting. But I think a good point was put out there that perhaps, just maybe, we are a nation of addicted consumers and this addiction is not really a good thing for us or the planet.

I was reminded of this when I opened up my jar of Maxwell House instant coffee (too lazy to brew on work days). The lid had this really nifty rubberized non-slip yellow band around it that felt real cool when you turned it with your bare hand. (I don’t always wear gloves in the kitchen). I don’t think it made it any easier to open but it was called the E Z Grip Lid. I got to wondering – did this help to sell coffee? And why? Have the number of coffee jar opening accidents been drastically reduced? I could visualize Maxwell House lids flying out of housewive’s hands, smashing into their husband’s foreheads, blood pouring onto the dinette. Good to the last drop, indeed.

maxwell house

I was outraged! How much does it cost Kraft foods to make this special lid? How much more does it cost the consumer? Is the production detrimental to the environment? Are the lids being made in Chinese sweatshops? I was ready to take this case up with Kraft themselves but then I found out… that….apparently…..it… is… helpful for folks with arthritis. Makes it easier for them to shut the jar tight and then reopen it. Keeps the coffee fresher. (sigh)

But I couldn’t let this energy, this momentum, this thirst for justice go to waste. I needed a cause and I needed a cause just like this; trivial enough to not require any real thought but a threat that was wide spread enough that I could rant about it on my blog. Let me see….let me see…..

Aha! It was right under my nose all along! Well, maybe not my nose, but the noses of millions of American men – Super Razors! Something called the Razor Wars has been raging for some time now between shaving titans Gillette and Schick. Outside the mundane K-Mart world of those who use disposable razors, unknown to those reactionaries who still use their grandfather’s safety razors and completely foreign to the German loving OCD types and their electric rotating knife shavers is a world of action, excitement, sexual tension and space age technology; the domain of the Non Disposable Razor, or NDR for those of us in the know.

I remember when the first double bladed NDR came out. “What can they be thinking of?!” I thought. Trying it out with trepidation I found that yes indeed, it did shave much closer. You see, the first blade lifts the hair follicle out while the second blade cuts much closer to the skin – in fact so close that it cut the beard below the skin! Zounds!

This was great until my neck and face became a war zone of festering in-grown hair pustules (you’re not eating are you? sorry). Besides that, the double blades had the added advantage of allowing me make dual shaving cuts on my face that were in perfectly parallel lines. Ouch! So I grew a beard. Now not all of you out there may have the testosterone necessary to do this – that’s right, you guys who still have full heads of hair. But for me, it wasn’t a problem.

So from the sidelines I watched the shaving armament companies gear up for a war of escalating razor speed and power. The handles became rubberized with contour ribbing for a more sure grip ( The reported cases of emergency room nose re-attachments dropped 70% in the first year alone!) Then a third blade was added for more speed and an even closer shave. It seemed that the limits of shaving performance had been met.

But then, after years of R&D and million of dollars invested Schick unveiled its outrageous answer to power shaving – the four bladed Quattro. Named after a four wheel drive German automobile in honor of the company’s founder, Audi Schick, the Quattro blew away the competition. Men that bought the Quattro claimed that it was so fast that they could make it to work at least 20 minutes earlier than men using inferior razors, and that was after a coffee and donut at Krispy Kreme. (Yes, sadly this market demographic does not frequent Starbucks). Now it was just a matter of time. Schick could sit back, catch up on the “Lost” episodes they missed while developing the Quattro and just wait for Gillette to fold.

But Gillette not only didn’t lie down and die peacefully they took a bold gamble, one so risky that it could either mean great rewards or…..a truly disposable razor company. Bringing in the best scientists that Germany had to offer (hey, I detect a pattern here!) and, using night vision goggles under the cover of darkness, the tech crews devised and produced the Mother of All Razors – The Fusion! With five blades, ( Five Blades?! This baby was shaving so close it was scraping the bone!) contoured rubberized pistol grips, an 8X10 Zeiss scope, 14 round turbo mag with AWD and chrome tip dual exhausts – this was a razor to be reckoned with. (Unfortunately, due to the need for an early pre-Christmas release it only came equipped with drum brakes and there is a company advisory against shaving too fast near the jugular. Vented discs should be installed on the ’08 model.) An extremely expensive piece of machinery, Gillette is hoping to recoup some of their costs by opening it up to the foreign market. Interestingly both Saudi Arabia and Israel have put in advance orders for the Fusion while Gillette plans to send advisers overseas to help train the Arabs on the technicalities of high performance shaving.

My concern is this; are we serving the Kingdom by spending our hard earned money (well maybe not that hard earned, I have done a little blogging at work lately, I do need to stop that) on dangerous, expensive and resource exploiting performance razors? Why can’t we just shave with the old fashioned straight razor – it can be used over and over again and it has so many more uses than just shaving faces. If we are uncertain about this we should just ask ourselves: What Would Jesus Shave With? I think the answer is pretty clear.

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STUDY GROUP QUESTIONS:

How much speed can you get out of a NDR, anyway?

Should real men have smooth faces like girls?

How fast is too fast? Where are you going?

Why are bearded men sexier?

Does it really help you get girls? I mean really?

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