And Another Thing…

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So did I miss anything?

Okay, as usual things did not turn as I had planned, so allow me to explain and  recap.

When I started blogging in 2007 I was working nights to get through grad school.  A large part of my job was being there in case anything happened. If nothing happened (which was the case way more often than not) then my primary responsibility was to stay awake. How I did it was up to me. My school work and Netflix subscription were not enough to fill my shifts, so I took to blogging. I had ample time to research, think, and carefully craft my blog. However, I finished school in May of last year and got a new job two months later that I anticipated would be fairly demanding. Being somewhat vain about my writing and expecting to not have the time that I wanted to put into it, I decided to retire the blog and gleefully announced my intention of doing so in July.

It turns out that I was right about the new job. In fact, it went beyond demanding into the realm of the vicious. The only way I could have handled everything that was thrown at me was to be in two places at once. I never knew when I was going to get to go home and I had energy for nothing beyond work. What’s more, I did very little truly therapeutic work; most of it was putting out fires (figuratively speaking, of course) and cleaning up messes caused by my more personality-disordered clients. In March I learned of an opportunity in the same agency, different division, where not only the hours were more consistent but the focus was on therapy and intensive treatment rather than case management. I put my hat in the ring and managed to score the job. I am now a therapist at a residential facility for people dually-diagnosed with chronic mental illness and substance addiction. It is a far better fit, I am getting the supervision I need for licensure, and my commute never takes more than 30 minutes (it used to be over an hour).

The new job has a weird schedule (no nights though) which leaves some “me time” during the work week. I could think of a lot to do with this time, but I found that I missed blogging. What’s more, to my surprise, more than a few people told me that they missed my blog. Never one to let an ego-stroke go unappreciated, I began to consider getting back into the blogosphere.

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Filed under: Faith and Religion, Society, , , , , ,

Two Announcements

Announcement One

Yesterday I was offered, and accepted, a new job – same employer (the county community services board), different location, and a raise by three pay grades. The job certainly looks interesting and challenging: I will be the primary therapist and case manager for adults with chronic mental illnesses, providing treatment to them and their families in their homes and in the community. I will be part of a multidisciplinary team consisting of doctors, day support/vocational rehabilitation, and advocates providing services.

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If a blog could die from neglect…

…this one would be buried. My reasons are not that different from others whose blogs suffer from similar negligence, except that I finished freakin’ grad school!!!

But more on that later.

If anyone is wondering, i’ll get back soon, I promise.

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While I Was Out

I got caught up on a couple of things at my internship and the instructor for the only class I am taking cancelled one of our major assignments, so here I am. What’s more, hundreds many a handful a couple of my beloved readers have written to ask when I plan to return, so here I find myself. What did I miss? Well: This twitter thing has caught on something fierce, a development which I absolutely did not expect. I won’t be taking this up, however. I can’t imagine that my life is that interesting minute by minute, even to me. I’m sure that I missed blogging on some other things, but for the life of me I can’t think of them right now. Consider this an invitation to do an open thread in the comments.

Books

I recently finished Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler. I think whether or not this book is for you will depend on your response to the title, because it delivers exactly what the title promises: an action-packed post-apocalyptic satire set in a future US where the most powerful business, bordering on a fiefdom, is a strip bar franchise. The humor is dark but the characters are endearing. Right now I am reading L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker. So far, it is a good read with an interesting plot and believable characters. More after I finish it (maybe).

 TV

Battlestar Galactica came to its eagerly anticipated ending, and the results were interesting: neither the GREATEST ENDING OF ALL TIME as some critics have trumpeted nor a complete failure as other critics insist. Spoilers below:

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Filed under: Books, Faith and Religion, Geek Stuff, Movies, Music, Politics, School, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Other things

I will be the first to admit that my posting in 2009 has been sporadic at best, and it’s about to get non-existent for a while, due to other more important things.  Frankly, with what I know about how busy some of the bloggers that I read are, I don’t know how they find time to consistently produce quality work.

No matter though. There are books and articles to be read, assignment due dates are approaching, internship projects are underway, I am aggressively hunting a job, and blogging (and reading and commenting on others’ blogs) is something that I simply don’t have time for.

This is a good thing, as it all leads towards May 15th when I will walk across the stage in Richmond cackling maniacally in my silly cap and gown and bring this stage of my life to an end. When things slow down and I can give this little hobby the attention that I wish to, i’ll start up again.  Until then, keep on bloggin’ in the free world.

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Reciprocity

It’s a common courtesy in the blogosphere to provide links to those who link to you, so I want to make sure that I am reciprocating those who have done me the courtesy (charity?) of linking their very good blogs to my very average blog. I will be adding these to a blogroll here on the front page instead of the links page. I have listed the links that I know of below the fold. If you link to AAT and your blog is not on the list below, drop me a comment and I will link up accordingly. Obviously, if your blog is private I will not link to it. Thanks for your help. Read the rest of this entry »

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Picking the Right Fights

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) Education Corporation whose purpose it is to become the first-in-mind champion of Christian religious liberty, domestically and internationally, and a national clearing house and first line of response to anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination. The CADC will work constructively to advance a robust religious liberty in public opinion and policy so that Christians everywhere might fulfill their biblical duties to God and neighbor; to proclaim and to live out the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of the Word of God.The CADC will respond in the media to attacks by any individual person or groups of persons, institutions, or nations that defame and /or discriminate against Christ, Christianity, the Holy Bible, Christian churches and institutions, Christian individuals, and Christian leaders.

– From the mission statement of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission

The CADC has released a list of the seven worst anti-Christian events of 2007. I will list them below in bold (as printed in the Austin-American Statesman) with my own thoughts on each one following in normal print.

1.) Colorado Church Murders – “You Christians brought this on yourselves I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill. … God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die. …” Posted by a troubled young man, Matthew Murray, 10 hours after killing two at the Arvada missionary base and two hours before killing two at a Colorado Springs church. Churches used to be considered sanctuaries, but now they are targets for the hateful and the deranged. The CADC calls on every church to be prepared to use deadly force, if necessary, to protect their congregations.

Okay, it should go without saying that an armed maniac attacking a church building with the intent of killing people qualifies as persecution. However, does this constitute a trend in society or a tragic incident of one very disturbed individual acting out his delusions? Should we respond with armed security or prayers for the families of the perpetrator and his victims?  I think that the behavior of our Amish friends in Lancaster, PA in response to the massacre at West Nickel Mines School provides an example.

2.) Federal Hate Crimes Bill – The 2007 Federal Hate Crimes Bill, which threatens religious liberties and lays the groundwork for “thought crime,” which has no place in American law and violates the concept of equal protection under the law. As has occurred in other nations, these laws pave the way for Christians to be silenced and even arrested because they believe that homosexual acts are sinful. It is totalitarian regimes that punish thoughts, not free societies. Thomas Jefferson declares that “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions.”

Personally, I have a problem with the concept of a “hate crime” because we cannot legislate attitudes. Hate is sinful and ignorant, but a sinful and ignorant attitude is not a crime.  However, this law explicitly addresses acts of violence directed at minorities (specifically homosexuals), not statements about their behavior. In fact, there is a clause in the bill which prohibits banning any speech that is protected under the First Amendment. In other words, this bill will not prohibit any religious group from teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful.

3.) Violence on San Francisco Church – In September, Christians in San Francisco spoke out against a blasphemous anti-Christian advertisement for the Folsom Street Fair, a perverted “fair” for the sadomasochistic, leather fetish community. The ad mimics the classic Christian painting of Christ at the Last Supper. In the ad, Christ and the 12 Disciples are portrayed as sexual deviants provocatively posed before a table of sex toys.

Nasty? Offensive? Despicable? Absolutely. But violent? I don’t think so. And does making a fuss over it accomplish anything other than drawing more attention to it?  I am going to leave it to God to square this one.

4.) Attack on Jerry Falwell – CNN reached a new low when Anderson Cooper invited Christopher Hitchens, editor of Vanity Fair Magazine, on his show the day of Jerry Falwell’s death to make critical remarks about Falwell. Hitchens made the most reprehensible and offensive remarks one can imagine against a Christian minister, Jerry Falwell, even on the day of his death. Christopher Hitchens called Falwell “a little toad … a horrible little person…an evil old man… a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud…an actual danger to democracy, to culture, to civilization.”

It is low class to speak ill of the recently departed, especially on the day of their passing. But do we expect anything different from Hitchens, the author of a recent religion-basing bestseller called God is Not Great?  Somehow, I doubt that Falwell is terribly concerned, wherever he may be.  And is an attack on Falwell really an attack on the whole of Christendom?  Hitchens may have meant it as such, and the CADC may take it as such, but somehow the faith has survived both his little screed and his comments on CNN.

5.) CNN’s “God’s Warriors” and HBO’s “Friends of God” – Two biased, anti-Christian documentaries were produced and aired. One by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra, “Friends of God” on HBO and the other by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “God’s Warriors.” At least they tried to act as if they wanted to be fair. Of course, they failed. Evangelicals are almost 100 million strong and very diverse but are reduced to clichéd caricatures or are portrayed as the moral equivalents of Islamic terrorists.

The Lord already has this one covered:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

– Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

6.) John Edwards’s Campaign Bloggers who called Christian supporters of President Bush his “wing nut Christofascist base.” One asked, ‘What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit,’ to which she replied, ‘You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.’ They posed the thoughtful question of religious conservatives, “What don’t you lousy %#*@!+# understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?”

Yes, these comments are thoughtless and tacky, more reflective of the authors than of their intended targets. These comments are directed at Bush supporters, not all Christians.  By their response, it would appear that the CADC thinks that all Christians must be Bush supporters. Not so, folks. Besides, do these comments really contain anything new?  Stereotyping anyone who raises questions about abortion as a misogynist is a classic ad hominem distraction used by abortion advocates to confuse the issue.

7.) “Golden Compass,” the movie – Phillip Pullman’s atheistic answer to C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” series, because destroying the church and killing God in the mind of every child is the best revenge. Why be damned alone when you can take a few million souls with you and get rich on the proceeds?

It’s a movie, kids; and apparently not a terribly successful one with critics or with the public.  According to the Rotten Tomatoes website, it has only scored a 42% positive rating among the nation’s film critics and has taken in $48,413,000.  While that may seem like a lot of money, it is less than half of the film’s estimated budget of $150 million.

However, suppose it had been a hit. Would that really matter in the big scheme of things? Anyone whose faith is undermined by a single film (or even a trilogy of films) has far more serious problems than offended sensibilities.

__________

I have to say that I believe that the faith is bigger than any of these events.  The gospel has survived far worse, and continues to thrive despite real persecution throughout parts of Africa and Asia and most of the Muslim world.  Are we American Christians so thin-skinned and spoiled that we have to play the victim card every time somebody disagrees with us, insults us, or ridicules our beliefs?  I don’t like it any more than anybody else does; but Jesus said that this would happen, and he didn’t give a special exception for Americans.  No, I am not trivializing the shootings in Colorado, but I believe that the CADC is trivializing those tragic events when they compare the loss of human life to the making of a movie, a blog post by a couple of ignoramuses, or a gay parody of a painting.

Believers, we need to pick our fights. And I submit to you that some of the things that we should be fighting against are the authentic persecutions being carried out against our brothers and sisters around the world, the fact that millions die every day without hearing the gospel, false teachers (read: televangelists and anyone else who exploits the faith for personal gain), and the rampant poverty and preventable suffering abroad in and in our own backyards.  Let those who oppose the faith have their little books, movies, and blogs. The gospel will outlast us all.

Jesus said it best:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'”

– John 15:18-25 (NIV)

Filed under: Faith and Religion, , , , , , , , ,

Blogrollin’ on the River

There are too many blogs and sites out there that I think are worth checking out, so I have dropped the blogroll and the links from the column on this page and created a separate page for your perusal. From now on, just click on the Links tab under the title of this page. Happy browsing.

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Two more quick hits

Now your computer can tell you who to vote for! This site has a questionnaire that you can fill out and then ranks all of the candidates in both parties according to how they line up with your answers. I won’t share my results or ask anyone else to. I will advise that you take it no more seriously than anything else that you get off of the internet.

The picture below cracked me up. Don’t blog if you can’t have a sense of humor about it. Thanks to Jason for the photo.

blogging-poster.jpg

Filed under: Politics, Quick Hits, , ,

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