Saturday, December 22, 2007

O Happy Day

In the spirit of this holiday season (which some people say is sacred though I spent my day at a party hosted in a comic-book shop), I offer a ray of hope for our country's future: the BBC reports that hell-and-brimstone evangelicals in Kansas are losing interest in what the headline calls “Bible bashing.”

The article starts with some background about Kansas in general and Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps in particular, and then says this:

The point is that Pastor Phelps and his followers are not much liked by anyone inside or outside Kansas. The "burning at the stake" wing of America's Christian churches - the wing that stresses vengeance over love - is in trouble.

The gentle, Nativity-scene crowd are the ones on the up.

Mr Phelps still grabs horrified attention from foreigners and Americans alike but most religious Kansans (and that means most Kansans) are becoming steadily less aggressive: not less religious but less intolerant.

Opinion polls suggest that younger evangelical Christians are falling out of love with the "big causes" their churches have championed in recent years, in particular with opposing abortion and supporting the Iraq war.

The story goes on to discuss another preacher who lost his megachurch in Wichita and has been reduced to renting hotel conference rooms:

You would expect the Rev Fox in God-fearing Kansas, to be preaching in a mega-church, an establishment big enough to cope with the crowds.

And until recently he was: the Immanuel Baptist Church near the centre of town was his.

It was easily spotted because of the huge, tubular, white cross, 100ft (30 metres) high and heated from the inside so that it does not freeze and topple over.

But the Rev Fox's cross is all that is left of his ministry at the old place.

He tells me it was time to move on but most locals think he was thrown out for being too dogmatic, too extreme, even in Wichita.

To see Rev Fox in action, I had to go to the Best Western hotel out among the tattier motels and gas stations on the far outskirts of town.

Karma! And the bit about the younger crowd drifting away from the values of their parents is heartening, too.

30 Comments:

Blogger JMR said...

The "burning at the stake" wing of America's Christian churches - the wing that stresses vengeance over love - is in trouble. The gentle, Nativity-scene crowd are the ones on the up.

I hope this trend hits the mosques soon - very soon. (minus the nativity scene)

7:45 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

You know, growing up I was no great fan of John Lennon. However, in "Imagine", his "no religion" comment is pretty much spot on.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

A Moose,
The bit about imagining "no possessions" always bothered me. Only a multi-millionaire liberal twit from a country infected with socialism could write a lyric that asinine. Then he has the balls to collect royalties for his songwriting and he moves to America to escape paying the high British taxes.

Perhaps he was a bit prophetic, though: "Instant Karma's gonna get you..."

To get on topic, everyone has a religion. I used to worship man's intellect as the ultimate. God, what hubris. Today, I know God. I have encountered His Holy Spirit.

Of course, even without that, there is Jennifer, (I'm not worthy.)

Merry Christmas Moose and to all who idolize Jennifer and her Feral Genius.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Of course, even without that, there is Jennifer,

Dammit, Nostar, now you've done caused my very expensive Peppermint Mocha to be liberally sprayed all over my desk, as well as coating the insides of my nasal passages!

Only a multi-millionaire liberal twit from a country infected with socialism could write a lyric that asinine

Yeah, well, there is that too. Refer to my "no great fan" comment and note that I limited my agreement to only one specific line.

To get on topic, everyone has a religion. I used to worship man's intellect as the ultimate.

And even athiests seem to worship athiesm, or at least the concept of the FSM as an idea.

Merry Christmas Moose and to all who idolize Jennifer and her Feral Genius.

And to all a good night :)

5:10 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Only a multi-millionaire liberal twit from a country infected with socialism could write a lyric that asinine. Then he has the balls to collect royalties for his songwriting and he moves to America to escape paying the high British taxes.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a law stating that anyone who professes a fondness for socialism has their tax rate tripled (but gets a rent-free house in a section 8 neighborhood to live in), so they can literally put their money where their mouth is. I knew a guy like that in college: he favored socialized medicine, free education, free housing, a guaranteed national income (to be fair, I also favored those things IIRC, with the flaming stupidity of youth); thing is, he simultaneously complained that taxes were too high, and he was broke after going into the hole to the IRS for five figures' worth of unpaid taxes.

The beginning of the end of our friendship came when I said something like "Yeah, racism's wrong, but I think judging people on their individual merits would be a better step toward getting rid of it than keeping affirmative action programs," and he told me, in all seriousness, that since Rush Limbaugh also opposes AA, and Rush is a selfish intolerant prick, that makes me a selfish intolerant prick as well.

I was so shocked I had time to blink twice before responding: "So the only way a person can be 'tolerant' is if everything she says agrees with you?"

Quite the learning experience, that.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Whoa! Further irony alert: the guy's tax problems stemmed from when he was a landlord; he had one of those old mansions subdivided into apartments, made money renting them, but didn't pay taxes on his income.

And here's what he told me: "Jennifer, if you ever become a landlady, DO NOT rent to section 8 people." He gave me various good reasons, like if they trash your place you're only given X dollars for repairs which usually cost you 10X dollars, but at the time it didn't occur to me to say "Under your socialized plan, every apartment in the country would be section 8."

8:03 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I was so shocked I had time to blink twice before responding: "So the only way a person can be 'tolerant' is if everything she says agrees with you?"

Hold on a minute!! Who let the Ghost of Threads Past in here, it ain't midnight yet!

Sec 8 is locally administered, varies by locality. Here, isn't so bad, I have three units in Sect 8, not a problem. There is a waiting list for literally years to get on the Sec 8 list, though, so people are very careful to not jeaprodize their benifits.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

If I weren't such a cheap bastard, I'd send each and everyone of y'all one of those free electronic xmas cards my ISP makes available.
;-)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

9:01 PM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

Years ago, 28 years to exact, I got a vasectomy. My lead guitarist's inlaws managed a section 8 apartment complex. He wanted to introduce to me to a cute young thing that lived in the apartments. She had made it known that she was looking to get knock up so she would qualify for more welfare and a bigger apartment.

My buddy figured that it might be six months to a year before she realized I was shooting blanks. He also said I should think of it as a patriotic act. Before I could wrestle with the moral implications of boffing under false pretenses for a noble cause, I fell in love. Infidelity is not justifiable, even in service to one's country.

Within a year, she had her third kid and the 3 bed, two bath apartment.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I fell in love. Infidelity is not justifiable, even in service to one's country.

Presumably not with Section 8 girl?

8:39 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Painful induced wince in the gut Yikes. I'm neither a man nor someone who wants kids, but I'm thinking that even if I fell into both categories I wouldn't want my co-parent to be someone in it solely for the welfare benefits.

(indistinct Scroogelike mumble about welfare, totally inappropriate for this time of year) Merry Christmas. God bless us every one. Something about a goose. Etc.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Years ago, 28 years to exact, I got a vasectomy.

Twenty-eight years ago? Wouldn't that make you at least about the same age as our charming friend from the previous thread? (I use the term "friend" advisedly.) What is this - the nursing home blog? ;-)

============

...God bless us every one. Something about a goose. Etc.

Would that be "goose" as in xmas goose, as in full of stuff as?

============

Anyone get anything good for xmas?

10:05 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I got something so unexpected I hadn't fully even realized it has been invented yet: a portable GPS doohickey that tells me where I am and knows exactly how to get to wherever I'm going, which is often two facts more than I know at any moment. Ha! If I'd had that GPS during the snowstorm, it wouldn't have been so hard for me to get home.

It looks like a tiny flat-screen TV, only about four inches wide.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

...a portable GPS doohickey that tells me where I am and knows exactly how to get to wherever I'm going,...

Cool! As much as nine years ago a friend of mine had a portable GPS device he carried in his truck, but it was larger than you describe. It would tell him where he was but not where he was going. I think we'll be seeing many more gadgets based on global positioning satellite technology. I know someone who works in the admin. office of one of the local schools who says the laptops they use have a tracking device built into them to keep people from stealing them or pawning them. There are also clocks you can get now that keep time and temperature by means of satellite signals.

I didn't get one of those fancy metal detectors, but if you had one to go with your "doohickey" maybe you could locate Moose's store of gold. :-)

Speaking of precious metals - you do know that you can buy something known as junk silver coins, if you wish to invest in silver? You can also buy smaller gold coins of common date and less than uncirculated condition, although gold prices are up pretty high right now. Moose is right - there ain't nothing that feels as good in your hand as a one ounce gold coin. There was a time, many years ago when I had twenty-five twenties and several sovereigns - well over two troy pounds of gold. But alas, those were sold long ago in the 70's. Think what they'd be worth today!

Now please, excuse an ol' sailor while I go watch the The Pirates of the Carribean - something I haven't seen before.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

portable GPS doohickey that tells me where I am and knows exactly how to get to wherever I'm going, which is often two facts more than I know at any moment.

I have one built in to the vehicle. Thought it was an expensive toy, initially, now I'll not buy a car without the functionality again (not that it has to be built in, but at least a portable unit). I also have two handheld units.

I didn't get one of those fancy metal detectors, but if you had one to go with your "doohickey" maybe you could locate Moose's store of gold. :-)

Nah, gold ain't magnetic, and I know a bit about faraday cages myself ;>. You can check out www.geocaching.com to get some practice though. I think I have 14 or 15 caches out there.

Moose is right - there ain't nothing that feels as good in your hand as a one ounce gold coin.

Unless it's the hindquarters of a fine young lady that..uh..wait a minute, did I say that out loud? It brings a whole different meaning to: Would that be "goose" as in xmas goose

4:59 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Wouldn't that make you at least about the same age as our charming friend from the previous thread?

"Ghost of threads past"

6:53 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

"Ghost of threads past"


Speaking of which I see that the "Ghost" has returned to us to "troll" the former fool-tide carols - lol lol lol lol lol...lol lol lol lol. ♪♫♪♫

7:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Yeah, I noticed that too. I don't think the poor man has anything better to do over the holidays.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous A moose said...

Yeah, I noticed that too. I don't think the poor man has anything better to do over the holidays.

Damn, and here I was telling you in the spirit of the season to delete all the posts on that thread as he seemed to be behaving himself.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, Moose, I just think it's adorable the way you're all trusting and everything.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Oh, Moose, I just think it's adorable the way you're all trusting and everything.

I know. I'd rather it be that way, though, than the other. I was told once I shouldn't be a landlord, I was too nice.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

I was 25 when I got "fixed". I'm only 53, which is now the new 35, dontcha know?

Besides, you are as young as you feel. Of course, the last time I tried to feel 21, I got my face slapped and I was 86ed from the bar.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I was 25 when I got "fixed".

Wow, young for that decision, especially if you didn't have kids earlier. I was around 33 and had already had 3. They gave me a seriously long series of questions about it, too.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

Moose,
I hadn't had kids. I was questioned repeatedly as well. As I told them all, "Every girlfriend I every had, except for the 18 year old) already had kids and none of them needed anymore." Besides, I didn't want to have any ugly kids.

The ironic thing is, that most people think my 11 step daughter is mine biologically. (Similar crooked teeth and smile, but nobody thinks she is ugly.)

Now I paid $375 to have it done. Then I met my first wife (the one I married instead of boffing the section 8 bimbo). My wife had two boys and had been fixed. Between my two marriages I got "lucky" 3 times. My second wife had two daughters and was fixed too. Since that marriage ended, i have been celebate.

Using my economic and accounting knowledge, I think it safe to say that at $125 a pop, getting a vasectomy wasn't a good investment for me.

Now a round of golf is a better deal for me. On a per stroke basis, it cost me 28% less than a par golfer. Maybe I should figure the sex on a per stroke basis as well. Nah, I'm good, but I'm not that good.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous A moose said...

I think it safe to say that at $125 a pop, getting a vasectomy wasn't a good investment for me.

Not questioning the value judgement, that's an individual worth statement. Having a hard time with the math though, unless the three times betwixt marraiges were the three at $125/ea.

Now when I was betwixt marraiges, I did a bit better, I guess buddha smiled upon my then sparsely populated (now deserted) scalp.

Spelling nazi have a ball, too tired to think about it now but I'm sure I screwed up a few there.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

I was 25 when I got "fixed". I'm only 53, which is now the new 35, dontcha know?

Well for what it's worth, I'm fifty-seven, never got fixed, never had any kids, and never married. I don't feel like fifty-seven and when I think about it I still find it hard to believe I'm this old. I haven't lived half the life that most people have by my age. Beats hell out of the alternative though.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Beats hell out of the alternative though.

I know, you could be 43, with three kids about to enter college, and still have no hair.

I'm just sayin...

4:43 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

That's not the alternative I had in mind, Moose.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

That's not the alternative I had in mind, Moose.

Wasn't what I had in mind either, dammit.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Number 6 said...

The Kansas City Airport is not in Kansas. The smug sniffing at us Midwestern rubes loses all credibility after that.
I'm stunned that anyone is surprised to find that Midwesterners hate the WBC.

9:21 AM  

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