samedi, septembre 06, 2008

God's Pipeline?

It is another sign of how quickly change is occuring that YouTube has become, within a couple of years, an accepted way to share information, comedy, and highly embarrassing moments.

As well as being another milestone in the a. democratization and/or b.dumbing-down of the way we absorb information, YouTube offers a place to see politicians at their best and worst.

In Sarah Palin's address to the young leaders at her former church in Wasilla, now available on YouTube, she brings an evangelical perspective to her job as Governor that is, frankly, going to seem very odd to secularists and liberal Jews and Protestants.

How many of them had ever heard the words "a servant's heart" used to describe a public official?

And what about her hope that building an Alaskan pipeline be part of God's will?

I have to admit that I struggle with that idea. I'm not totally sure why. I do believe that God desires to know us and for us to want to know God. But does He ump every choice we make?

To drag Him into political decisions seems to blur the line between the Kingdom of God and the worldly powers in a way that runs the risk of blurring the line between His will and ours.

The thought of having a woman who has this particular perspective as Vice President would be a fascinating opportunity to see an evangelical, a real evangelical, in a powerful position. But, given that she is such an unknown, it seems like a tremendous risk to me.

Or is that my lack of faith?

jeudi, septembre 04, 2008

Trash talk

We are a masochistic bunch in the media.

Let me change that. Those of us who cover school board meetings, or high school basketball, or grimy boro politics and get paid $30,000 a year for doing so have got to be a little sick.

Or maybe we actually like what we do-and think we are doing something useful.

Yes, we make mistakes on the job. So do you. We don't put ourselves, generally, on a pedestal, and expect you to worship us. And when we make a mistake, you, the public, call it to our attention. Then our editors force us to apologize.

I wonder what actually happened to Peggy Noonan, a member of the conservative "elite" media-or is it only the liberals who are "elite"? Yesterday, while talking into a mike she thought was dead, she make some comments about the Republican Convention and McCain's pick for VP, Sarah Palin.

Within hours, the "populist elite media" made sure her comments were on the Internet for everyone to exegete.

See the link above to see if you can figure out what the heck she thought she was saying. My own instinct in this kind of situation is that the less you say, the more people tend to believe you.

I feel a little sorry for Noonan. God forbid she was caught off message. But I also think that even during the next couple of months, when the Republicans bid fair to refight the culture wars for all they are worth in November, it's helpful to remember that even loyalists occasionally ask questions.

Newsflash, Peggy-your elite friends on the liberal side do too. Miked or unmiked.

mardi, septembre 02, 2008

From the " You don't get it" file

Look below to see excerpts from a column in the WaPo today by Dana Milbank. Check out the link above to read about some real life conversations going on among women.

Apparently Steve Schmidt, senior advisor to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, doesn't know too many mothers.

You must really think women are awfully stupid, Mr. Schmidt.

You, and the scores of pundits who think that arguing that a guy would never get a question about how Governor Palin will balance work and kids means that it isn't a fair question. The mothers of America happen to know how hard it is to get out of the house in the morning and the office in the afternoon. Lots of us also have long ago put aside our aspirations to take one for the team and act like Superwoman.

So no, we aren't insulted-this is a conversation we've been having for a long time. It's nice that you are finally tuning in.

If we held men to the same high standards of parenting that we do mothers, they would be asked if they can be effective parents and govern a city, or a state, or the United States.

That's why we have parental leave and ongoing demand for respite care-because being faithful to your job and your family is really hard sometime.

And to pretend it isn't, or that the choices are not sometimes agonizing-well, Mr. Schmidt, that's insulting. It's particularly insulting to women. But it's not particularly flattering to men.

"Schmidt, ambushed as he strolled through the media area, got progressively angrier as the mob around him grew. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times asked about the feasibility of Palin being a vice president with "a new baby herself, and now she's about to be a new grandmother trying to support a daughter giving birth to her own child."
Schmidt replied: "Frankly, I can't imagine that question being asked of a man. A lot of women will find it offensive."
Jackie Calmes, also of the Times, asked Schmidt whether he worried about "turning off some of the women you wanted to appeal to, who will question the judgment of Senator McCain and Governor Palin that they would subject a 17-year-old's pregnancy out of wedlock to international attention."
"They have asked for privacy," said Schmidt, whose colleagues had just sent out the news release announcing the pregnancy."

lundi, septembre 01, 2008

Re-imaging Dad

When I was young, I used to hear that pop song "take your passion and make it happen" and think-oh, how romantic. Now that I'm err... older, I realize that making it happen is sheer hard work.

Sometimes they start with a compliment. Sometimes the first approach is banal-I love your profile. The mating dance may also involve sexual innuendo-what is it you wear to bed? But if you get past that (and I'm losing patience with innuendo as an opening move), the conversation almost inevitably turns to children.

Custody. Arguments with the ex-spouse. Dinners in diners and hour long drives to school plays.

And what I've found, as I've spoke to divorced and separated dads, has saddened me.

Again and again, I've met fathers who seem adrift on an ocean of loss and confusion. Honestly, I don't know if they had a great working definition of dadhood before the divorce agreement. All I see is the quest for activities to fill those suddenly empty nights. Some attempt to recast their lives as part-time dads-the playboy, the workaholic, the swinger.

These are by no means the only dads I met. Some are genuinely at peace. Some have decent enough relationships with their ex-spouse that they put their kids first. Some have decided that the rocky journey towards authentic parenthood can be a joyful one, too.

But it's the vision of those decent, wry, dog-paddling dads that impelled me to seek out a colleague, another minister with counseling expertise, and create a course for area fathers.

" Spirited Fatherhood" which begins this October, is a short course in grieving one definition of dadhood- the one that disappeared when the nuclear family did, and celebrating a new one.

In tandem with my friend, a pastoral counselor who is himself divorced, we will try to help guys re-image and recreate fatherhood in the rubble-and liberate them to claim the inner dad they truly were meant to be. Scary, huh?

I'm excited-but boy is this a lot of work! There's SO much I don't know. However I am positive of one thing- our students will also be our teachers.