Weekend Update 01-29-11

I was intrigued by this article in our local paper. I sought out the blog mentioned in it and have added it to my RSS reader. The sort of childhood spiritual formation I experienced, not really any religion — but exposed to a great many things, is not one I hear or read much about. But statistically we know that starting with the baby boomers and continuing on to the present, a lot of people who raised in one particular religious tradition have stepped away from it in adulthood and to one extent or another explored other things. And though I would be among the oldest of the group raised by such parents, I know there have to be many more out there today. Hopefully, rather than simply seeking “the universal spiritual questions threading through every religion,” they will allow each religion to fully express itself to them and encounter the religion for what it actually is. I’ve never felt it’s respectful to a religion and those who follow it to take from it only what you like and treat the rest as though it did not exist or was of lesser importance. For those of us with more pluralistic formation, it’s very easy to build an understanding of religions that revolves around our personal likes and dislikes rather than a deeper grasp of the religion itself. It’s very easy for us to treat the world religions like our personal smorgasbord. And that is not true respect. As someone who has now delved somewhat deeply into Christianity, I’ll also note that the categories of Eastern and Western Christianity are a more natural division for the exploration of Christian history, belief, and practice than the categories of pre- and post-Reformation, but that’s a relatively minor quibble, I suppose. I look forward to reading the story of their journey with interest.

LaVonne Neff has an excellent post-SOTU post on American exceptionalism. Worth reading.

This column by Robert Reich is a good read. Personally, I don’t really see much difference between President Obama and mainstream Republican presidents of the past. If anything, he seems to be a little to the right of most of them in a lot of things. Of course, the modern Republican party has become so radicalized, I’m not sure Bush Sr, an Eisenhower, or even a Reagan could be nominated and elected today. If I were politically minded and in a position where such things mattered, I would tend to let the Republican newbies in the House trample roughshod in their cuts of programs and benefits the American people highly support and then present myself as coming to their rescue against those evil Congressmen. But I’m not politically minded, so I’m sure nothing like that will actually happen.

The Celiac Nurse asks the sorts of questions that immediately sprang to my mind when I read about the recent hydrolyzed wheat study for patients with celiac disease.

I wanted to share this video because she struck me as a very brave and well-spoken young woman.

The segment below from the Daily Show, rebutting O’Reilly on the use of Nazi comparisons on Fox, was hilarious and well-played. The Nazis mastered the use of propaganda in such an astonishingly thorough and evil way that they are tempting targets for comparison. I was tempted myself to call Politifact’s Lie of the Year the Republican Party’s version of the Big Lie last year. However, while I think it was despicable opportunism, and was carefully orchestrated propaganda by a political machine, it really wasn’t in the same category. Very few things are and such comparisons trivialize the evil perpetrated by the Nazis.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill O’Reilly Defends His Nazi Analogies
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

I am amazed, though, that Republicans can make their propaganda work when they don’t even try to hide their duplicity. After ranting about “protecting” Medicare in order to entice votes, they are of course looking to pay off the private health insurance industry that pretty much owns them body and soul. And they can do it all out in the open with virtually no political cost. Of course, given that a lot of that support came from people carrying signs like “Keep the government out of my Medicare!” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Finally, just because I love the song and have long liked Prince, here’s an impressive guitar solo by him on an ensemble performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

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