Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Don't know if anybody's watching but...

Like a bald, out of shape rock band, I'll be appearing in some other (blog) venue... check the Anglican blogosphere on Monday, March 19th (2012, that is, in case some future civilization runs across this).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amos 5:13

It is time for me to close the blog.

First and foremost, I am finally admitting that my life as I am living it is not
effective for things that matter most, and I need to take a calm look and ask God what changes are needed.

I have tried to respond to the special needs of my family and the needs of my parish by taking a second job that provides good health care for the former and reduces some budget pressure on the latter.

The net result is that neither my family nor my parish are well served by me as a person. I'm not available enough to either one in the personal, intangible ways that provide some of God's best stuff, and my stress annoys both family and parish. Tasks get done, errands get run, events get held. At the end of the day, most of that doesn't stand up to the question, "So what?" Blogging becomes a waste of time under such conditions.

"Seek first the kingdom of God," says Jesus, "and God will take care of the basic stuff." I need to get my priorities back in order. Too many concerns about too many things are shrivelling the fruit of the Spirit in my life.

And then there's the obvious problem of "niche." There's really not much to report about Episcopal/Anglican doings. Looking across the Episcopal/Anglican blogosphere, every day seems to be a slow news day. It's all been said. Continued commentary becomes self -... what? Self-serving? Self-deceiving? Self-absorbed? Anyway, there are facebook pages, tweets, blogs, websites and other media way out of proportion to the tiny Episcopal/Anglican presence in North America. If our action ever caught up with our words we might be dangerous.

I've met some great folks, in and out of church, by keeping up this blog. I certainly give thanks for that. Hope some good stuff came your way as a visitor here. I'll avoid the obligatory "sorry if anything hurt you," because relationships are not built or rebuilt by that kind of boilerplate. I will, however, confess that I've been the bad guy sometimes in stuff posted here.

God's peace be with you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JAMA needs 14 studies to find out what a South Dakotan in a driveway can tell ya


"An analysis of 14 previous heart studies in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that irregular bouts of physical activity can be a trigger for a heart attack or sudden death, while infrequent episodes of sexual activity increased the risk for just heart attacks. No studies looked at the association of sexual activity and sudden cardiac death."

Or as folks here have always warned me, there's a "heart attack season" when folks emerge from winter inactivity and overeating to shovel a bunch of heavy March snow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

South Dakota's Governor signs 3-day wait for abortion into law; activist lawsuits next

Daugaard signs 3-day wait for abortion into law

"The bill requires women to wait 72 hours between contacting an abortion provider and having an abortion. It also requires them to seek counseling with crisis pregnancy centers, groups that consult 'with women for the purpose of helping them keep their relationship with their unborn children,' before undergoing the procedure...

"...'I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,' Daugaard said. 'I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.'"

ACLU and Planned Parenthood threatened the state with lawsuit expenses if the Governor signed, and that's exactly what's next.

The hyperbole and emoting are well underway around the net and the news. I'm not linking to the commentary on this as folks on all "sides" can probably recite all the arguments from memory, and we all just aggravate one another.

It is truly hard to add anything of value to this debate - I understand the critique, even within Christian commentary - about churches seeming to line up on this or that "political" side or wallowing in single issue causes.

But I also react badly to the viciousness and, frankly, incoherence on the "choice side." People who are about social justice, "It takes a village to raise a child," (quotes are because it's someone else words I'm borrowing, not sarcasm) and science become libertarians, radical individualists and vulgar know-nothings on this one issue. I've seen their middle fingers on 41st Street here in Sioux Falls, absorbed their F-bombs, and seen the absolute crazy hate in their eyes.

Most of all, I stand aghast at the endless assertion of a "right" to abort that ignores any substantive discussion of when life begins, or when a couple's responsibility for pregnancy kicks in, or what form the community's responsibility to couples should take - a "right" defended in constant abstractions and evasions that stifle rather than support human understanding and relationship.

Look, I will be what the shorthand calls "pro-life" no matter what any particular law says. And there are plenty of other things that people like me preach, at which people - even church people - roll their eyes, walk away and do the opposite. Goes with the job.

Saddest thing? On something as basic as human love, bonding and life-giving, we are politicized and polarized, dehumanized in some really tragic ways. Elective abortion is just one symptom of the deep wounds in our culture. May we find the path to healing and wholeness - to life.

Some moral thoughts - and an example - from ESPN.com

When I was back in L.A. last year, I walked around the USC campus and even said a prayer over by Heritage Hall for Pat Haden, who had accepted the Athletic Director position with a clean up job in front of him.

I sent him a note to tell him he was in my prayers, and he sent a kind message in reply.

ESPN.com's Johnette Howard thinks that the example he's set deserves more attention and emulation, and says so in an editorial:

...In addition to practical moves like beefing up USC's compliance department and appointing a senior-level liaison (read: watchdog) over the football program and trouble-magnet coach Lane Kiffin, Haden embarked right away on a listening tour with coaches and athletes throughout the USC program. He has said it sparked a lot of introspection about his own life as a student-athlete, and he's made a concerted effort to stress to current athletes how they should look beyond the baseline or goal line and ahead to the rest of their lives.

"I'm embarrassed I can't speak a second language fluently," Haden told the New York Times in the same story in which Nikias spoke. "I should have taken advantage more of this international population here. I wish I would have done some research in one of the labs here. I wish I would have tried out for a play. Isn't that the point of the college experience -- getting outside your comfort zone? So I'm definitely going to encourage it."

If you think about it, what Haden is encouraging, really, is a departure from how athletes are too often apart from the rest of the academy, a theme that critics of big-time college sports have been harping on for years. Beneath Haden's message is a sort of Renaissance-man twist, an exhortation to find a higher purpose. And consider the possible implications: Couldn't it follow that if you could change student-athletes' view of themselves, and their consciousness of how they fit into the bigger world around them, it might change their ethos too?

Would jocks still feel so entitled and special if they got out of their bubble a little more and got some contradictory evidence that they really ain't all that in the grand scheme of things? Might they not be more humbled when presented with flesh-and-blood proof that, yes, they may be the latest guys who arrived at USC able to juke a linebacker or throw a tight spiral, but compared to someone as accomplished as Haden -- who did all that and so much more, yet still talks with genuine humility about what's left to achieve -- there's still so much more to strive for? So much that makes a meaningful life? Is the secret to a better NCAA insisting on, not retreating from, the idea of building better people?

That's an idealistic approach, all right. And so what? What does the NCAA or scandal-weary college sports fans have to lose? Haden's tone is better than all these coaches and administrations who throw up their hands and just agree, "College sports is broken, all right."

Other people may give lip service to reform, but so far, anyway, Haden and Nikias are trying to live it at one of the most sports-addled behemoths on the college map. It's early, granted. But the way Haden handled the O'Neill situation even though the Trojans risked missing the NCAA tournament underscored that USC is serious. So why not nominate Haden for an even bigger stage?

Haden for NCAA President.