Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last week I was in Kansas, checking on the news from the New York Times website, when my niece and her friend came in to see what I was up to. When I explained and said that it was so exciting, the president would be nominating a new Supreme Court justice. They looked at me like I was crazy - and I of course, explained why I found it so exciting. But hey, they're ten - the most information they get regarding the SCOTUS is a paragraph or two during social studies class. They'll get there.
And now we have a nominee - Sonia Sotomayor. I was a little surprised - I had my own favorite candidates (not that it matters, since I'm not president) but I haven't read all the articles about it yet, so maybe her nomination will prove me wrong in my favorite candidates and give me something to think about. And it IS exciting to have a female nominee and the first Hispanic nominated as well.
Did any of you have favorite candidates - was the choice a surprise?
That sounds kind of like homework - but it's so exciting, at least to me - I want to know, what are your thoughts?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases

No one liked Mr. Deity? Seriously? Well, okay, then...

I found this one another blog and wanted to post it here, cause I thought, well, everyone needs guides!

A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases
By Daniel Florien on May 29, 2008 in Articles, Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus.

“Save sex for marriage.”
Translation: “If I can’t have consequence-free sex, neither can you.”
Acceptable Response: “I pledge myself! Give me a promise ring!”
Unacceptable Response: “So how did that work out for you?” Or, “Where exactly does the Bible say that?”

“All you need to do to go to heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.”
Translation: “You’re going to burn in hell if you don’t say this prayer, little boy.”
Acceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, thank you for coming into my heart and saving me…”
Unacceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, where in the Bible do you tell us to ask you into our hearts? That seems kind weird. And why did the ancient world think the heart was the kidney? Hello? Can you hear me? I guess this is just a one-way intercom. How can I know if you’re still around if you don’t say anything back? Okay, if you’re really there, appear to me right now in person like you did to Paul.” Or, “What exactly does Jesus do in my blood-pumping organ?”

Translation: “Say ‘amen’ back to me!”
Acceptable Response: “Amen” or “Preach it!” combined with vigorous head nodding.
Unacceptable Response: “No!” Or, “Hmm…. That doesn’t sound right.”

“What can I pray for you about?”
Translation: “Any juicy tidbits about your life I can spread through the prayer gossip grapevine?”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks for asking. You’re so kind. My wife is having an affair, my brother is a drunk, and my dog can’t control his sexual desires.”
Unacceptable Response: “Have you ever kept a prayer journal to see if you get more unanswered prayers than answered ones, or if your unasked prayers get answered just as much?”

“I’m not a racist, but…”
Translation: “I’m a racist asshole who attends an all-white church and is uncomfortable around most black people. I love racist jokes and am about to tell you a good one.”
Acceptable Response: Laugher followed by telling a slightly more racist joke.
Unacceptable Response: “You’re a hypocritical racist asshole.”

“God is in control.”
Translation: “I only believe this about overwhelming situations. The rest of the time, I believe things are up to us and I act that way.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.” Sometimes followed by an anecdote about some unexplained or coincidental experience that you attribute to God.
Unacceptable Response: “If God’s in control, then relax and don’t do anything about it! In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all ever, right? But that’s not right, and people still have to do everything, so what does it mean for God to be in control and why does it matter?”

“I believe this because the Bible says so.”
Translation: “I have no clue about the history of that big book I’m in love with, and I don’t care either, because it’s God’s Word, and if God said it, it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “It also says to kill homosexuals.” They might heartily agree to that one, which in case the unacceptable response becomes, “It also says to kill your children when they talk back. Have your children ever talked back?” Or, “Explain to me the authorship and transmission of the Bible, and why you think it’s God’s Word.” Or especially, “Jesus said to give anything to those who ask of you – and not only to give what they ask, but more. So please give me your wallet and your car.”

“What’s God doing in your life?”
Translation: “I’m getting ready to judge you.”
Acceptable Response: “I’m conquering pride and lust!” Or, “Oh, Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus my beautiful King and Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “God’s been teaching me about how much evidence there is for evolution.”

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Translation: “I’m a flaming fundamentalist.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “That’s a relief, because I’m a homosexual transvestite in an interracial relationship.”

“We’re in the end times.”
Translation: “My pastor said we’re living in the end times.”
Acceptable Response: “God will punish America for our sins!” Or, “America isn’t mentioned in the Bible because we’re going to crumble soon!”
Unacceptable Response: “Did you know that out of the millions of times Christians have claimed this throughout history, they’ve always been wrong?” Or, “If you’re so confident, I’m sure you’ll be confident in putting some significant money towards a bet on that.”

“He is risen!”
Translation: “It’s Easter! Let’s eat!”
Acceptable Response: “He is risen indeed!”
Unacceptable Response: “Where? I don’t see him.” Or, “Do you have any evidence for that statement?” Or especially, “Like yeast?”

“Jesus loves you.”
Translation: “Jesus does, but I don’t.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “If that were true, why doesn’t he tell me himself?”

“Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”
Translation: “This is the question they told me to ask in my evangelism class.”
Acceptable Response: “To heaven to see my sweet, precious Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “How can you know that before you’re actually dead?”

“What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”
Translation: “I’ve got you now, sinner!”
Acceptable Response: “Please forgive me! I was so fracking stupid! How blind of me not to see you in everything you created!”
Possibly Acceptable Response: “Oops.”
Unacceptable Response: “If you wanted me to believe in you, why didn’t you show some kind of evidence? Why create everything through the painful process of evolution? Why did you let your creation suffer through hunger, neglect, disease, and war? Why incarnate yourself and then commit deicide/suicide? Why were you so bloodthirsty in the early years? If you’re God, you’re not a very good one.” Or, “Which one?”
[Thanks, Steve, for the last response.]

“Thank you Jesus!”
Translation: “It’s easier to thank Jesus than the people who deserve it.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen!”
Unacceptable Response: “I’m not Jesus.” Or, “You’re welcome.”

“Have you found Jesus?”
Translation: “Are you also a Jesus-lover, or must I convert you?”
Acceptable Response: “I’ve been walking with the Lord since I was two years old, Praise Gawd!”
Unacceptable Response: “I didn’t know he was missing.” (source)

“I’ll pray for you”
Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or, “I’ll think for you.” Or especially, “Liar.”
[Inspired by Richard, Gdad, and Wazza.]

“Lord willing…”
Translation: “The Bible says somewhere to say this, and I feel uber-spiritual whenever I do.”
Acceptable Response: “…”
Unacceptable Response: “How would you know if it’s the Lord stopping you, or just your laziness?”
[Inspired by Polly.]

“Here’s my testimony…”
Translation: “I was a guilt-ridden sinner until I hit rock-bottom and then believed in Jesus and my sins were forgiven!”
Acceptable Response: “That’s a great story, how can I have my sins forgiven and go to heaven?”
Unacceptable Response: “The reason you’re telling your story is because it’s impossible for me to say you didn’t have that experience. Unfortunately, people have religious experiences all the time, and many of them have nothing to do with Jesus. Your story is nice, but it’s easier to fool yourself than you might think. You don’t know the truth about God and Jesus and the Bible through an emotional experience, but through evidence, and you’ll find that lacking.”

“It’s a miracle!”
Translation: “My brain can’t comprehend how this could happen without the God of the Universe getting involved, so it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Exactly! How else could they have called when you were thinking of them, except for God to control them like a puppet to impress you?”
Unacceptable Response: “Maybe, but could you prove it?” Or, “Would this really be impossible without God?” Or especially, “It seems you don’t understand probability theory. Let me explain.”
[Inspired by Brian.]

“It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”
Translation: “I don’t really understand atheism or how it’s possible not to believe in a god.”
Acceptable Response: “That’s right, brother. Denying God is like denying gravity.”
Unacceptable Response: “Believing in something without evidence takes faith. Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence.”

“Atheism is a religion.”
Translation: “Atheism is a religion because everyone believes there is a god, right?”
Acceptable Response: “They know there is a God and they reject him and hate him! They will burn in hell forever!”
Unacceptable Response: ”Calling ‘atheism’ a religion is like calling ‘bald’ a hair color.” (Don Hirschberg) Or, “If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.” (Mystyk)

“It’s a mystery.”
Translation: “It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but that’s what the Bible says.”
Acceptable Response: “And when has the Bible ever steered us wrong?”
Unacceptable Response: ”If every hard question ends with mystery, how can you be so confident you are right?”

“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”
Translation: “I hope he doesn’t ask if I attend church every week.”
Acceptable Response: ”Yep, it’s all about the big J.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Can’t every religion claim they are about a relationship with God?” Or, “If you’re not a religion, why do you attend church, read the Bible, believe in orthodoxy, and are trying to convert me?”

“God always answers prayer.”
Translation: “He just usually answers no…”
Acceptable Response: ”God knows best.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Jesus said if you ask anything in his name you’ll receive it. He also said if you have even the smallest amount of faith, like a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Does that fit with your experience?” (Inspired by Jack D)

“Have you made your peace with God?”
Translation: “Are you a Jesus-lover like me?”
Acceptable Response: ”Of course, Jesus is my best friend! He’s filled my soul with gladness and joy, brother.”
Unacceptable Response: ”I wasn’t aware we were quarreling.” (Paul Bogan) Or, “It’s hard to make peace with someone who never calls you back.”

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Grappling with Evil .... and Disasters ....

I got the idea to post these from the humanist blog I read..Very funny...I'm only gonna do a few, maybe five or six...I'll keep putting them on throughout the week...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sometimes I'm Right

I'm signed up for a ListServ to bring me news from the intellectual freedom group in ALA. There's an actual name for it that escapes me at the moment. At any rate, every day I get news articles sent to my inbox of books that people want taken out of libraries or put in a different section, etc. Since we talk a lot about this in many of my classes, and since I'll be working as a librarian fairly soon, I think it's good to know what books cause people to get angry (almost all of them, depending on the people involved) and how to address that. But this particular challenge is kind of unique so I thought I'd post it. Many of the people who challenge books do so for a religious reason - their particular religious reason - and usually they're just sort of surprised at the placement of a certain book. But in my head I have a lot of trouble dividing the concerned people (who just want to be taken seriously and be listened to) and the people who, in my opinion, would have been far happier being alive during Hitler's book burning parties, or the Dark Ages, or some thing like that. I usually talk myself out of thinking that way. But this morning - I got THIS in my inbox.
Sometimes, I'm right.

Publication: APD - West Bend Daily News;
Date: May 2, 2009;
Section: Front Page;
Page: A1

Christian rights group joins library fray
Suit by Milwaukee chapter singles out ‘Baby BeBop’ for complaint
By DWAYNE BUTLER Daily News Staff

The Milwaukee branch of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) has filed a legal claim that says a book that is available in the West Bend Community Memorial Library is offensive.

Robert C. Braun of West Allis, Joseph Kogelmann of Milwaukee, Robert Brough of West Bend and the Rev. Cleveland Eden of Milwaukee, representing the Milwaukeebased group, filed the claim with the city of West Bend clerk's office.

Named in the claim are the city of West Bend, Mayor Kristine Deiss, the West Bend Library Board and Library Director Michael Tyree. The group is seeking $30,000 per plaintiff, Deiss’ resignation and a racist book be removed and publicly burned or destroyed as a deterrent to repeating the offensive conduct, the claim states.

Pursuant to section 893.80 of the Wisconsin state statutes, the claim says the Library is engaged in having books on display that the plaintiffs consider to be obscene or racial in content and promote violence. The plaintiffs question why a taxpayer funded library makes literature available that has damaged the plaintiffs, the claim states.

The book in question is “Baby Be-Bop,” by Francesca Lia Block, and should be removed from the Library, which is in the vicinity of a school, the claim states. It describes the book as being “explicitly vulgar, racial (sic) and anti-Christian.”

The plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, say their mental and emotional well-being were damaged by the book at the Library, the claim states.

In the claim, they cite Wisconsin’s sexual morality law. Under the law, obscene material is a publication or recording that:
“The average person, applying community standards, would find appeals to the prurient interest if taken as a whole.”
“Under contemporary com- munity standards, describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way.”
“Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value, if taken as a whole.”

The claim states that specific words used in the book are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people. The claim says the words can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.

The plaintiffs have also requested in the claim that West Bend City Attorney Mary Shanning could commission a grand jury to investigate whether the book should be declared obscene and inappropriate since it uses racial language that offends the plaintiffs' Christian beliefs.

The plaintiffs believe the book should be kept out of the Library and constitutes a hate crime, and they feel the book is inappropriate for the elderly and their minor grandchildren, and degrades the community, the claim states.

“We don't want it put in a section for adults,” said Braun, who is the president of the CCLU branch. “We're saying its inappropriate to have it in the library, and we want it out or destroyed.”

Assistant City Attorney/Director of Human Resources Warren Kraft said Friday the claim has been referred to Tyree and the Library Board for their review. Because the claim involves a financial request, Kraft said the city's insurance carrier has received a copy of the claim. He said the carrier will evaluate the claim and conduct an investigation into its circumstances and then make a recommendation to the city whether to allow or disallow all or part of the claim.