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Trying these shoes on for size — nah!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a little semi-private laughing at myself via Madam Secretary ]

I’ve been having some private chuckles watching season 1 of Madam Secretary, and I’m betting Dr Henry McCord, the religion professor / NSA guy, doesn’t have to beg his friends for copies of their journal papers the way I do, lol.

Here are some screengrabs:

argue with religion prof

I’m afraid you may sometimes feel much the same when I forcefeed my own equivalent on you all.

And then there’s this:

not an expert on apocalyptic lit Madame Secretary s 1 e 18 ~25'

He’s good on Aquinas and reads Arabic to boot. That’s impressive.

But it’s true you know, religion professors don’t necessarily know apocalyptic, and apocalyptic specialists don’t necessarily know the full range of apocalyptic expressions across continents and centuries. At which point, may I recommend:

  • Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth: the Varieties of the Millennial Experience
  • **

    I was impressed that the show, in covering a “cult” situation in season 1 episode 18, showed knowledge not only for Jonestown and Waco, but more specifically of scholars of religion Phillip Arnold and James Tabor‘s contact with David Koresh, which had the potential to resolve the Waco situation in ways the FBI’s dismissal of theology as “Bible-babble” sadly ruled out:

    Henry McCord: You know, in Waco, Koresh was at an absolute standoff with the FBI until a couple of religious scholars got him talking about his beliefs, the Bible, and then that’s when he was ready to come out peacefully.

    Elizabeth McCord: So scholars almost saved the day at Waco, huh?

    Henry McCord: Okay. There’s no way of telling how that might have turned out.

    Spot on.

    And while we’re on this topic, may I recommend:

  • Nancy T. Ammerman, Waco, Federal Law Enforcement, and Scholars of Religion
  • James Tabor & Eugene Gallagher, Why Waco?
  • Jayne Docherty, Learning Lessons from Waco: When Parties Bring Their Gods to the Negotiation Table
  • **

    Okay, I can’t walk in Dr McCord’s shoes, but I’d happily follow his footsteps a little farther — once Season 2 arrives on Netflix.


    For a little unintended current political input:

    ethics cant be trumped

    An irresistible use of DoubleQuotes

    Saturday, April 16th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — and yes, they are a-changin’ — or not? ]

    h/t @pmarca.


    I’d probably have reversed the order here, so cause was followed by effect — but maybe I’m just being too “stick in the mud / stuck in the box” conventional.

    Fine work.

    Kalamazoo shooting: an interesting use of the wild DoubleQuote

    Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — comparisons may or may not be invidious ]


    Okay, that’s a compare and contrast situation, with the implication that one victim is less well-treated than the other. Hpw well is it borne out?

    CBS News showed a photo of seven victims:

    8 victims 7 photos

    — along with a caption that spoke of six dead and two wounded:

    Kalamazoo shooting victims

    A dedicated teacher who mentored numerous students, a gardener who enjoyed sharing what she grew, and a high school senior who always had a smile on his face are among the victims of a weekend shooting rampage in western Michigan authorities said was carried out by Jason Dalton, 45, Feb. 20, 2016. All told, six people were killed and one was left in critical condition. Four of them were killed in two vehicles outside of a restaurant, while a father and son were shot at a car dealership.

    Dalton admitted “his involvement in these incidents,” according to Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting, and was charged Feb. 22, 2016, with six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in the series of random shootings.

    Here’s a look at the victims…

    — with individual photos, again, of seven, and no photo of Tiana Carruthers.

    Is color the issue here?


    Then from CNN we have Kalamazoo victims were car shopping, enjoying a night out:

    The two victims who survived

    One woman was wounded when the first shooting occurred. Tiana Carruthers was in an apartment complex with her three children, police said, and is expected to recover.

    Abigail, the girl shot at the Cracker Barrel, is still on a ventilator, critically ill, according to Dr. Aaron Lane-Davies. He told CNN affiliate WOOD that Abigail’s heart had stopped and doctors at Bronson Methodist Hospital got it beating again.

    There’s a difference in the severity of the injuries suffered by the two survivors. Does that perhaps explain the discrepancy between the two sums raised on their respective behalfs?

    The richest possible knowledge of context is important in drawing conclusions from comparisons, a reminder — to myself at least — that all DoubleQuotes deserve critical appraisal.


    Also of possible interest in this instance, from the Kalamazoon County DA’s office:

    Crime Victim Rights Grant

    The federal Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) ushered in a new era in crime victim assistance in America. In response to findings and recommendations issued by the Presidents Task Force on Victims of Crime and the Attorney Generals Task Force on Violent Crime, VOCA established the first significant national program in support of crime victim services. Under VOCA, federal funding is available to every state to support crime victim assistance and compensation programs. Support for the Crime Victims Fund created by VOCA is derived from federal criminal fines and forfeitures.

    For over 20 years, the Kalamazoo County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has used various forms of grant funding to provide these mandated services to victims. This practice has permitted our local Kalamazoo County dollars to be used to fund other mandated services for which there is no grant funding available.


    Erdogan: Truth as casualty

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — truth can still be a casualty, even when not at war ]

    That was January 15th.

    It didn’t take too long for Erdogan to get around to projecting onto Biden precisely the sort of thing he was in fact doing himself.

    Here’s January 23rd:

    Psychology — psyche — be thou my muse!

    Politics as a cabinet of curiosities

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — see for yourselves — with a theological chaser, for what it’s worth ]

    I’ve been amused, educated, annoyed and entertained by political videos this week. Samples of what’s out there:

    Ted Cruz endorsed by a Wild Man:

    How Donald Trump talks, #1 — edited for emphasis:

    How Trump talks, #2 — analyzed for (Fascinatingly efficient) technique:

    ** ** **

    And perhaps most bizarre of all, Ted Cruz critiqued by Kathleen Parker:

    Cruz had said:

    If we awaken and energize the body of Christ– if Christians and people of faith come out and vote our values– we will win and we will turn the country around.

    Parker comments:

    One observation. I don’t know… this seems to have slipped through the cracks a little bit but Ted Cruz said something that I found rather astonishing. He said, you know, “It’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me.” I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz. I know so many people who were offended by that comment. And you know if you want to talk about grandiosity and messianic self-imagery I think he makes Ted Cruz makes Donald Trump look rather sort of like a gentle little lamb.

    For the record, Paul makes it explicit in I Corinthians 12. 27 that the members of the Christian community have become the “body of Christ”:

    Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

    Parker exposes an ignorance of basic Christian doctrine, and in her lack of cultural awareness betrays the weak point of a journalism that lacks religious insight — a topic near and dear to me.


    It is clear that the Christ of the gospels anticipated the breaking of his body and spilling of his blood at the crucifixion, breaking bread which he termed “my body” and sharing a cup of wine at the Last Supper, inviting his disciples to eat and drink and thus partake of him, with a poetic precision that entailed their corporately digesting him and incorporating himself and his mission, body and mind, in themselves.

    Yet while this is the record given in the three Synoptic gospels at Matt. 26. 26-29, Mark 14. 22-25 and Luke 22. 17-20, and indeed the foundation of the Eucharist, John’s gospel makes no mention of it. In its place, John offers the great prayer of union — this is my personal reading: I can’t speak for others, and I’m a poet first and foremost — which says in high poetry (John 17. 21-24) what the synoptics have expressed in metaphor:

    That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

    And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

    Thus as Alan Watts puts it:

    When there is dismemberment in the beginning there is remembrance at the end — that the fulfillment or consummation of the cosmic game is the discovery of what was covered and the recollection of what was scattered.

    Thus the body is broken, blood spilled — but not before body and blood have been shared, ingested, digested — and where his single physical body was, the church — body of the bodies of his followers — remains, to perpetuate his task.

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