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Unlikely Quaker “Heroes?”

Did you know Annie Oakley was a Quaker? How about Joan Baez and James Dean? Well they were along with a few other surprising people says this Time article…

Annie Oakley – “The sharp-shooting female who was rumored to split playing cards edge-wise, then shoot through them a few times before they hit the ground, grew up a dirt-poor Quaker. In fact, her early skill with the gun came from having to hunt food for her impoverished family.”

What Richard Nixon and James Dean had in common –

Blog Entries The Political

The Obama Poster From Obey Giant


(From OBAMA – Obey Giant)

I’ve been debating whether to announce my choice for the presidential race, partly because I know we don’t all agree on who’s the best person for the job (and some more strongly than others), and partly because I hadn’t found an opportune time to say it. But after seeing this poster from I couldn’t help myself any longer. I recently talked to my friend Kevin about why I hadn’t said much about the candidates yet, and realized that some of it comes from my own desire to keep things at peace. There’s a part of me that loathes getting into heated arguments over things like this. But there is another, almost equally as strong, side of me that is extremely opinionated. A pleasant mixture!

Blog Entries Church in Mission

Quater Six: Halfway Through My Coursework

Studying With Dad

I can’t believe this is my sixth quarter of studies! I am almost exactly halfway done with my course work. I am just about finished with my 3rd tutorial (on theology of church and culture) and completed my 4,000 pages of reading for the class about 1.5 weeks ago. This past week I’ve been working on reviewing my notes and trying to figure out some kind of thesis and outline for the paper. So far I am still pretty dry on inspiration so I am going to turn to a more simple model of paper and do a summary of three thinkers and their insights into church and/or culture: James Wm. McClendon, John Howard Yoder and Slavoj Zizek. The basic point of my paper will be to mine the best of their works in a way that allows me make comparisons and map out how their work can be used for dealing with the questions for the topic at hand.

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What I Keep in My “Bag of Tricks” For School

Paul wrote a fun post about the things he carries in his bag for school, and since I have for quite some time carried a “bag of tricks” I thought I’d post what some of those tricks are now.

First, I have to openly admit/confess a) I am a bag person, it’s a small(?) obsession but one that is certainly something I’ve had to reckon with and b) I like gadgets. So for me bags and gadgets go together well. So basically I am acknowledging that I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to this stuff.

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Hipster Baby Essentials

Hipster Baby Gifts

Our good friend Amy, and Cindy Lou Who’s ((the psydonym for our daughter)) hipster life coach, from over at “i attack with love” created a one of a kind gift for our daughter the other day. You can read about the Hipster Baby care package here.

Blog Entries

Dress Down Friday | Guest Blogger Cate

How flattering to be the first DDF guest blogger! I’m afraid I might not measure up to some of Wess’ posts, but I’ll give it ago. I’m no theologian, so don’t be expecting anything on deconstruction or ‘The Light’; I’m much more interested in pop culture – it makes my brain hurt less. And this post is far wordier than most DDF posts, but oh well.

Anyhow, here we go:

Being that I work in movies & TV, I couldn’t not mention this week’s Oscar nominations. I was disappointed to see Into the Wild not get much recognition, but that disappointment was quickly replaced by my glee at seeing Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova of Once get a Best Song nomination for “Falling Slowly”.

I’m working on location in Vancouver, Canada for the next couple of months on a re-make of the 1951 movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. I’ve had time to do quite a bit of exploring and must say that the thing that’s struck me most (other than the fact that there’s a Starbucks every 12 yards, uh, meters) is the sheer beauty of this city. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of urban and natural landscape. Part of the beautiful urban landscape is the Christ Church Cathedral. Walking to church is a novelty for me, what with being an Angeleno and all, so it’s been fun.

Back in Los Angeles, it seems the artists have taken over the traffic islands. And also in LA, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart is open for business. Here’s the (not so) secret dealio: it’s the store front for 826 LA East, yet another chapter of the non-profit tutoring organization put together and run by those McSweeney’s people. A great organization and some super cool people to boot, so if you’re in LA and looking for a place to volunteer, look them up.

U2-3D was released on IMAX screens on Tuesday. I’ve got my ticket to see it this Saturday, and if this review is any indication, I’m gonna love it.

Speaking of music (and while I have the ear of the progressive Christian blogosphere), please allow me to pimp a couple of musicians you all should be listening to. Andy Zipf is awesome and you won’t really know the truth of his awesomeness until you catch him live – do so if you can. You can download a bunch of of his stuff for free here. The Gena Rowlands Band, fronted by Bob Massey, is another dose of awesomeness. Go here and listen to “Fuckups of the World Unite” (Wess, can I say that here?). It might not be work/church friendly, but it sure does make sense to me. And a few other songs can be downloaded for free here.

Both of these musicians are part of Brewing Culture, something I know next to nothing about and only found upon googling both of their names, but it looks pretty interesting.

Lastly, I’d be remiss to not mention the untimely passing of Heath Ledger. His death has upset me more than I would have expected, probably because his perfect performance in Brokeback Mountain was more than enough to endear him to me. I can’t think of any other performance that so heartbreakingly displayed the sheer agony of what it means for a human to not be allowed or able to fully love and be loved. The Annie Proulx short story the movie was based on can be read here, it’s well worth your time.

And that’s that. Many thanks to Wess for inviting me and should you so desire, you can catch me blogging about nothing specific over at Cate’s Musings.

Blog Entries

Guest Bloggers on Gathering in Light

All of you regular readers know I’ve been doing a segment called Dress Down Friday. The basic point is to do a little show-n-tell from around the web on fridays. It’s been a way to have a little fun and ease into the weekend. It’s been a year since I started the segment and I thought it’d be fun to invite some friends to guest blog the next month of Dress Down Fridays. Those who will be joining me are Cate, Ben, Josh and Holly. Thanks for reading this past year and enjoy our guests!


Does Jesus Have Anything to Do With Our Politics?

Well the political world is in a frenzy these days, everyone’s making speculations, mud is being thrown in every direction and some of us are picking sides (The first and last link are somewhat unrelated to the larger topic, I just posted them for fun). And I keep wondering if Jesus has anything to do with this? I mean, as Christians we have particular values we think are super important right? But when it comes down to it, it seems like we often vote more on our ideologies than on virtues and practices we find in the life of Jesus. I think this is the point “Marvin Bloom” may be trying to make (see first link above). And in a way it’s hard to keep playing the game of pretending we’ve got it all figured out (a point I take away from the last link above).

I ran across this quote the other day and it got me thinking about all this:

For Christians, a great tension therefore exists in our day between the gospel and ideology, betewen following Jesus and serving idols. The countrast is razor-sharp. There was only one way that Christ could conquer the powers of this world and make ‘a public spectale of them:’ he did not seek his own well-being, he distanced hiself form every pursuit of power, and he prefered to obey God’s commands rather than to look after his own idenity as the Song of God (phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:15).

Many of use as Christians have systematically suppressed this knowledge of the Savior. We have selected our own goals, delivered ourselves over to various ideologies, and thus have unwittingly worshipped demonic powers. We have built our own empire rather than serving God’s kingdom. Following that course has been the deepest cause of our political fragmentation. It has been the ruin of the Christian church (Goudzwaard et al, Hope In Troubled Times, 128).

If we ran down our particular voting blocks could we make clear connections to how we vote and the life of Jesus. Or have we built our own empires of ideology when it comes to these issues? Short of asking you “How you think Jesus would vote?” Do you think he has anything to do with it at all? Are the issues so unrelated that his life is somewhat irrelevant? Or do you see it as having some effect but not across the board? I personally wonder about it, not just for my own consistency but also for the church? Does Jesus have anything to do with our politics? Or is that the wrong question to be asking?


Homo Sacer and Civilized Racism?


In Slavoj Zizek’s book on September 11, “Welcome to the Desert of The Real,” he discusses the idea behind Homo sacer, in order to describe the kind of racism we often find within our society today. The Homo sacer:

is an obscure figure of Roman law: a person who is banned, may be killed by anybody, but may not be sacrificed in a religious ritual. The person is excluded from all civil rights, while his/her life is deemed “holy” in a negative sense (wikipedia).

Another way of looking at it, which is the way Agamben uses the designation. Here the Homo sacer is a person who is a legal exile, one who may live among the people but has no legal rights. An easy example of this from Scripture would be Cain, who in Genesis 4 is made to be a wanderer and fugitive on the Earth. He is marked so that he cannot be killed – whether it is for religious vengeance or otherwise, but he is left with no community or law to protect him. And we don’t (typically) feel sorry for him, he is after all guilty! Right?!

Blog Entries

Dress Down Friday | Save Time In Ultimate Reality


  1. AJ asks what do you call your church? It’s a good question.
  2. The iPhone popularity is spreading.
  3. If you haven’t seen the Moleskine Project website, you really should check it out. There is some great Moleskine artwork there.
  4. Finally, Ultimate Reality is here.
  5. Here are some great tips for saving time in School.
  6. Here’s a really great organization (created by a Fuller Student) that’s looking to stop human trafficking.
  7. I enjoyed reading these two articles (One and Two) engaging with Caputo’s newest book, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?
  8. Steve Jobs got it wrong this time.
  9. Check out the latest update of the Quaker blogging community’s website,
  10. Good news folks, Obama gets that crucial “Bicycle Swing Vote,” and while you’re at it check out the .pdf of his “Blueprint for Change.”