Friday, October 24, 2008

A Place In Hell

Here, she is quoting Madeline Albright who said "There's a place in hell reserved for women who don't HELP other women." Sarah says SUPPORT in place of the real term HELP. There is a difference in the context of what she says from the original quote, for sure.

Also madam, you cannot call yourself ProLife. You are for war.

I will be at the Obama rally in Grant Park on election night. Go Blue!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Satan Ate My Candy Corns!

Yawn. I covered this last year, but here we go again:

Firstly, I assume few Christian children do intensive in-depth research on the origins of Halloween and internally debate the pros and cons of participating in such an event because it may counter their core belief system, weakening their fragile spiritual structure.

Kids want to dress up and get candy. Some adults do, too, myself included - and my spirituality has never been put in peril because I want to play.

Those who do feel this holiday is a representation of evil will avoid it because there are already defensive cracks of insecurity in their spirituality, I think. A person's true spiritual wall is going to be too strong to crack under 24 hours of trick-or-treating and clown masks. Sorry, but it's true.

Halloween, perhaps once seriously mired in the idea of supernatural creepies and fear of evil beings, has (sensitive Christians look away) EVOLVED. The Halloween of TODAY is a lighthearted time of fun, dress-up and parties. Just as Christians ONCE took on the task of converting people through the INQUISITION, conversions no longer go the way of "believe or die". It is SOCIAL EVOLUTION - recognize it! Apply it. It works.

Secondly, the origin Christmas itself has roots in pagan ritual as well.

[According to Wikipedia] The birth of Christ is observed on December 25, which was the winter solstice upon establishment of the Julian Calendar. Banned by the Catholic Church in its infancy as a pagan practice stemming out of the Sol Invictus celebrations,[10] Christian churches eventually recognized the sustained practices as a Christian festival in various cultures within the past several hundred years, allowing much of the folklore and traditions of local pagan festivals to be preserved.

So, pick and choose if you may, but be aware that many traditions celebrated today are not 100% Christian-Created.

Thirdly, the assumptions placed on those who practice Wicca in this article are out and out JUDGING. Not your place to judge, Christian. Let those who practice their religion do so in peace, whether you agree with it or not, they are not hurting anyone. BACK OFF! I am a faithful Christian and I can tell you there are not enough stones to cast at Christians for all the ignorant assumptions and judging THEY do. So, judge not lest ye be judged. Do I really need to start quoting? "Love one another as I have loved you." --John 15:12

Now, for the deconstruction of the Pastor's bullet points in this article:

-- there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10);

This "Pastor" cites Ephesians and writes this article with reference to "the devil" and "satan" as if s/he is a physical being who is going to walk through the door, open the fridge, maybe grab a beer and pop it open. But, really, "the devil" and "satan" are verbs - and everyone has these verbs in them. We are not perfect and blaming a being called "satan" ["satan" made me do it] is a ridiculous deflection of moral responsibility. "Satan" is a very easy to swallow, easy to understand package containing the concept of that which is the opposite of Christ.

God is no idiot. He inspired the scribes of the bible to teach what evil is by embodying a character that represented it. This is an easy lesson that the mostly uneducated populace of the day can understand. As a Universalist, I believe that if there exists such a being called "satan" or "Lucifer", that he too will be saved in the end. Because if God wins, evil will cease to exist. It's just logic. And I believe God WILL win.

-- life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4);

Darkness, as defined in the bible, is not necessarily the literal absence of light, but rather the wrong and hurtful things that people do to one another that amplify antiChristian ideals. What has this to do with Halloween? The Pastor has not made a solid argument that Halloween will lead to violence, nor has he given examples of Halloweens past when an onslaught of violence has resulted. I have a hard time taking his argument seriously. Darkness...Dark colors? Dark outside? Think Halloween is not of Christ? Look harder. There is fellowship and community in Halloween parties and joy in giving candy to children. Children share their candy with each other and parents spend time with their children. People use their God-given creative gifts to create costumes and some trick-or-treaters take collections for UNICEF and other people-helping organizations. Look harder, Pastor. You are blind to many aspects of God in the "evil" celebration of Halloween.

-- those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.

Name for me a mere five people who are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded through Halloween. Yeah. I didn't think so. That's where you are mixing up Hollywood movies with real life.

Spiritually sound Christians are able to celebrate Halloween and distinguish between that which is simply traditional and fun and that which is spiritually harmful. Believers can participate without being affected by the silly notion that to dress up as the Boogeyman is to somehow approve of or wish for Boogeymen...nonsense, sir.

Speaking of silly - check out this ridiculous Chick Publication to laugh at more "Evils" of Halloween - this time in a poorly-drawn comic-book-like format.

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone. Look out for each other, lots of love and God Bless!


Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
By Pastor Eric Watt - Guest Writer – 10/22/08 – What about Halloween? Should you and I be involved in the celebration of Halloween? Finding the answer to this question has been an interesting journey in itself. I interviewed several people and then researched what many leading Christian writers, authors and spokesmen have written about the subject. I also searched various websites like,, and to read what others might be saying. What I found was an agreement on the origins of Halloween, but a mixture of recommendations about allowing our children to participate in this super-charged media driven holiday. The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of summer sacrifices to gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions. But what about today? Perhaps we can still learn from history. In the fourth century, Christians attempted to co-opt the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints the day before Halloween. This was a conscious attempt to provide an alternative and re-focus the day away from ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches and other “haunted” experiences. Since that time many Christians have decided to allow their children to dress in more “innocent” costumes of pumpkins, princesses, Superman or as a cowboy. Part of this is due to the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to “avoid” Halloween. Just before reaching a conclusion on the subject, I was struck with the thought that I ought to further my search and find out what Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, has to say about Halloween. Perhaps they viewed the day as a simple fun and innocent neighborhood activity? “Shock” is the only word to describe what I found. Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca. In fact, it is one of two high and holy days for them. The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day. There is no question in my mind that to those who believe and follow the practices of witchcraft, Halloween represents an opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world. So after discovering this, what is a reasonable conclusion? As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries. My suggestion? Christians should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that:

-- there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10);
-- life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4); and
-- those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.

To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past -- and present -- have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.

Too, rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Will It Blend?

I don't believe God is a Republican...or a Democrat. I also am a strong proponent of the separation of Church and State, of course.

I also do not believe people's prayers act as "the hand that moves the hand of God". I believe prayer is intended to be that spiritual conversation which brings one closer to God, not a means of lobbying to God for favors...especially of who will win the White House in November.

The article below is one that, as a Christian, I find embarrassing, here is an excerpt of the prayer spoken before a McCain rally:

"I would also pray Lord that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their God -- whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah -- that his [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons."

Exposing his ignorance, the Reverend gets the context all wrong: Hindu is not a 'God' is a religion and Buddhism is, by some, not practiced or recognized as a religion per se, but rather a way of life modeled after Buddha, not in WORSHIP of Buddha. And Allah means God. Apparently, the Reverend feels Allah is not another word for God --the same God spoken of. And he obviously has not studied world religions very closely.

But it gets worse...

"And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day."

Heck, this speech is almost Palin-esque in verbal diahrrea silliness...

This is humorous in that one is praying to God for God to save His own reputation. LOL. This is one of the most ridiculous statements ever. I picture God patting the speaker on the head with a gigantic ethereal hand and saying in a deep sarcastic voice, "Thanks for your concern but I can take care of Myself."

This type of unthinking Christian is inevitably the contradictory type, one who will say "God is in total control" and out of the other side of his mouth say "I have free will". A contradictory statement often heard in churches which confuses many. Look, I believe God is in total control. I absolutely believe in predestination. All I believe we can earnestly do is pray for strength for the journey and wisdom to recognize Him in all beings and treat all beings as a loving God would want us to.

Politics is a divisive often is religion, but mixing the two tends to really splatter ignorance all over the kitchen walls. It just gets gross and sticky.

On a slightly separate subject - there is a fun website called Will It Blend - where many items are blended, i.e. an iPod, CDs, etc. in an industrial blender.
Check it out here.


John McCain rally in Iowa marked by partisan prayer

L.A. – 10/13/08

Rev. Arnold Conrad, in delivering an invocation at a rally today for John McCain in Davenport, Iowa, apparently didn't get the word from the candidate about elevating the tone at such gatherings.

Conrad, who appeared before the crowd before McCain had arrived, offered a prayer that seemed to urge divine intervention to prevent Barack Obama from winning the presidential election -- and cast the outcome as a referendum on differing religions.

The Times' Maeve Reston was at the event, and she passed along the key passage from Conrad's words:

I would also pray Lord that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their God -- whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah -- that his [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons.

And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.

Oh Lord, we just commit this time to you, move among us, make your presence very well felt as we are gathered here today in Jesus's name I pray.

Some in the crowd greeted the prayer with applause.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I read a news story that disturbed me a little bit and made me unusually sad. A man in Canada was walking with his dog along a trail when a mama bear saw him and attacked. He was bitten and injured but managed to use his one good arm to pick up a small log and beat the bear over the head. He kept beating her until she was on the ground and blood was coming out of her nose. She died and the man ran to get medical attention.

Why am I so sad over this? It hurts my heart. I feel awful for the man. I feel awful for the bear. I want to give hugs to both the man and the bear. Both parties were simply acting on their natural instincts. Neither was wrong in their actions…so strange that the scales can tip neither in favor of right nor wrong when an incident like this is classified simply as “unfortunate”.

It feels like the imperfection of this world amplified when two creatures meet and only one walks away. And anther totally uninvolved creature (myself) feels pain over even hearing about the incident. It’s a trifecta of anguish. Or is it a prime example of the perfection of God’s nature for two creatures to act precisely as they were programmed to act and for me to feel the way I do about it. Sad to my core.

All that happens (in this case, this "unfortunate" incident) does so to serve God’s purpose – the purpose of being reminded how imperfect this world is, so we can perhaps appreciate the perfection of the next world. The fragile, the flawed, the fleeting – all must be this way so that the pendulum can swing the other way into a world of the strong, the perfect, and the permanent.

I would like to imagine in the next realm, the man and the bear will meet again on a stretch of ethereal road and give each other a big hug and roll around laughing and playing - like a kid hugging a giant teddy bear.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.

--Isaiah 11:6

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Vatican: A House of Sand and Fog

I think of the Monty Python song "Always look on the bright side of life (whistling)..." when I see little tidbits like this. What about making lemonade out of lemons or finding something positive in this debacle...nope. Instead you have more criticisms out of Rome. Because, as accountants and economists, they have the answers. If you are going to point out mistakes, be sure you don't also embody those mistakes.

[As you see here in this photo, the Pope is dressed in priceless linens, sporting a gold staff and jeweled headpiece just like Jesus used to wear...oh wait.]

I don't think it is any place of the Vatican to criticise the unfortunate situation that is happening. After all, ask them if they'd be willing to set the ultimate example and give away the majority of their wealth to the poor. Hmm. That's what I thought.

"You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

--Matthew 7:5

In this article - the last line in fact - am I reading this as an insinuation that the U.S. is only to blame? "nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture"...maybe I'm reading that wrong ...

The current economic crisis is a shame and there are always people and administrations that need to be held accountable. It really does suck. But for the head of the Catholic Church to say that those who think that "concrete things we can touch are the surest reality" are deceiving themselves calls to mind for me a portion of the Gospel of Thomas (one of the gospels left out of the modern bible) in which Jesus said (paraphrased):

"The Kingdom of God is within you and all around you" and "Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

Those who believe God is housed in churches of stone available for contact only on Sunday mornings are truly deceived.

The people, families and institutions affected by this unstable economy are experiencing, in no uncertain terms, humility. Humility is an instrument of God. Good will come out of this - people downsize, simplify and get back to the basics of what really matters in life - each other. As much as it sucks and hurts, good will come out of this. Why do we need irrelevant sideline coaches like the Pope to point out, once again, what you all are doing wrong?

Jesus would pitch in and help out and encourage each of us to help one another during these hard times. To share the burden... not point fingers. At least, that's the God I believe in.


Pope criticises pursuit of wealth

BBC News - October 6, 2008

The global financial crisis is proof that the pursuit of money and success is pointless, Pope Benedict XVI has told a meeting of bishops in Rome. The head of the Roman Catholic Church said that the disappearance of money as banks collapsed showed that wealth meant "nothing". The Pope said that people should instead base their lives on God's word. Those who think that "concrete things we can touch are the surest reality" are deceiving themselves, he said. The crisis in the financial industry has seen billions of dollars wiped off the value of shares, and a number of seemingly untouchable banking institutions have been taken over, nationalised, or have collapsed. Speaking to the bishops assembled at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said those who seek "success, career or money are building on sand". When he opened the Synod on Sunday, the Pope attacked modern culture, saying that "nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture".

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Streets & Hallways

I was walking home from work yesterday. A car parked on the street had a sticker in the back window. It simply read:

Love Wins

I thought it was a cool statement. And I agree. In the end I believe it does.

Here's a sad reality, though. I've been holding onto a bumper sticker of my own for a long time.

This is it:

Like 9 months I've had this sticker. We recently bought a BMW sport utility vehicle and now my husband and I are afraid that, living in Chicago and making frequent trips to the suburbs and even rural Illinois might invite someone who may or may not be a redneck who disagrees with the peaceful message of my bumper sticker (and is likely uneducated) to take a key to my car. It is expensive to get something like that fixed ...perhaps not just once...but over and over? I am not up for testing this out. Unfortunately, our fear prevailed and we left it off. I love this bumper sticker's message. I just wish I could be certain that its message wouldn't be too overwhelming for some folk.

Here's something else I wanted to touch upon:

I once read (and had heard other places before) that monks and nuns, when walking down a hallway, always walk on the side, near one wall or the other....they never walk right down the middle of the hallway because they think that is a display of vanity. While this behavior is not outlined in the bible, I can only imagine it was something concocted in the middle ages.

You exist and you take up room. That's what happens when you live. Why should I loathe that I exist? Their avoidance of the center appears almost as an apology for their existence. So, in the spirit of believing that God loves me, so I should, therefore, love myself - and take care of myself - and believe in myself and have confidence, I make it a point to walk right down the center of any hallway I come across.

Take that, monks and nuns!