SHOW ME YOUR AUGUST!
The moon-Venus conjunction just before dawn this morning (it was better yesterday).
1) Everybody's misery is an opportunity for somebody to make money. The New York Times reports today that investors are buying up the tax liens of homeowners who have fallen behind on property taxes. Then they jack up the interest rates and charge service fees. "It beats the heck out of any certificate of deposit," said Howard Liggett, executive director of the National Tax Lien Association.
2) As MPR's Marty Moylan reports, leaders of the country's largest Lutheran denomination -- the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- are in Minneapolis this week. The big issue is whether gays should be allowed in the pulpit. Here are some links to follow along. Here's the Assembly's Web site. Here's live video (there's a session today from 8-11 a.m.). Here's archived video. Here's the Twitter hashtag feed.
3) From the Devil-You-Know Department. Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai has quietly put into effect the Shiite Personal Status Law, the New York Times' The Lede blog reports. "... Shiite men in Afghanistan now have the legal right to starve their wives if their sexual demands are not met and that Shiite women must obtain permission from their husbands to even leave their houses, 'except in extreme circumstances.'" Why would the person backed by the United States do such a thing? He's in a tough re-election fight and he needs the support of Sheik Muhammad Asif Mohseni, the country's most powerful Shiite cleric.
Not much coverage on this from U.S. media but Al Jazeera covered it last April.
4) Can a blind man be a Major League Baseball radio announcer? You bet. One is.
5) For the last few years, it often seems the only things being built in downtown St. Paul are parking ramps. If so many people need to come downtown, why can't retail flourish there? Light-rail is threatening to displace parking on University Ave., so officials and business owners are trying to come up with a solution. The ease of parking, Slate.com suggests today, may be a big barrier to efforts to getting people to try other modes of transportation.
If car parking is often overshadowed in traffic talk, bicycle parking is even more obscure. For many people in the United States it might be hard to imagine what there is to talk about. Why don't you just stick it in the garage? Or: Isn't that what street signs and trees are for? But as the share of trips made by bicycle has grown in recent years--in Portland, Ore., for example, bicycle use has grown nearly 150 percent since 1990, and an estimated 5 percent of people bike to work--new attention is being paid to what happens to those bicycles when they are not in motion.
Some cities are making big efforts to give people an option of where to put their bikes when they bike to work, something other than just chaining it to a traffic sign.
A Minneapolis musician named Derryl M. Jenkins has accused Minneapolis police of unjustly attacking him during a traffic stop last February. Police say that Jenkins resisted arrest and that they used the force necessary to subdue him. Jenkins and his lawyer have released squad-car video footage of the incident. What do you see in the video?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
I'm having coffee this morning with an unemployed woman in St. Louis Park for another installment the News Cut series, "The Unemployed." I hope to have something posted here early this afternoon. Want to tell me your story of unemployment? Contact me.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) First hour: Evangelical Lutherans are gathering in Minneapolis to consider whether to permit gay and lesbian ministers to lead churches if they are in a committed relationship. Midmorning discusses the tension this issue has created regarding inclusion and unity among other mainline Protestant churches. Second hour: Personal finance columnist Sandra Block gives tips on paying for education and solutions to personal finance woes for non-students like.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Howard Gleckman, author of "Caring for Our Parents" and Kathryn Roberts of Ecumen will discuss long-term care. Second hour: Robert Wright of the New America Foundation, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about his book, "The Evolution of God."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Sir Ben Kingsley. Second hour: TV shows. What's new, what's old in the new TV season.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Another look at end-of-life care. Dr. David Casarett of the University of Pennsylvania talks through the rhetoric. Elizabeth Shogren asks a great question: How green is green electricity?(6 Comments)
Budde: Change rarely happens in any societal organization through intellectual argument. Change happens... kind of from the ground up, and it's very rare that those who have an established world view based on argument, change their mind on intellect alone. It's lived practice that changes hearts that ultimately lends itself to a new interpretation of what God is doing in the world.
It seems to me a very naive understanding of how change really does occur to say that we all need to get together in a room and argue this out because it's by lived experience and seeing how people that we thought are very different from us just as the early Christians who were Jewish tried to grabbed reality that Gentiles were being accepted into the communion called the church. That didn't happen because they thought it out; it happened because they saw lives transformed and people that they thought so different from them coming to know Christ in the same way that they did...
Harmon: Let me say this: First of all she's very gutsy to call into the program given the position she occupies so good for her; I sense some courage there. I don't disagree. I'm one of the so-called traditionalists who agrees that this is an important question that has to be wrestled with and I certainly agree that it's a theological question that has to be wrestled through in people's own lives and people's own experiences.
But I don't want the experience to drive the theology in such a way that the primary sources and their meaning is compromised.
Buddie: I'm not disagreeing with that, either, except that I think it is very dangerous to take our understanding of marriage and fidelity in relationships and try to imagine that even what Jesus was saying when he spoke the words that you quoted earlier because understandings of marriage in that time and that eras is very different from how people may experience marriage today. And to imagine that Jesus was speaking to the kind of realities that we are addressing now in same-gender, lifelong, committed relationships is just a huge distortion of the Palestinian world view that he was addressing.
He was addressing property issues. He was addressing men treating women like property and disposing of them at will and calling for a more egalitarian and respectful way that -- and loving way -- that men and women were to deal with one another. This is a time when women were treated like chattel and to have that idea of marriage held up to the standard that God calls us to now is, I think, is trying to take any view of order which was true in the Biblical era and make that standard for us now. It flies in the face of everything we know about now about how the Holy Spirit moves and works with us over time.
Harmon: This is exactly the kind of argument I think we need to have, by the way. The difficult here is the context that becomes the trump card, notice in her remarks, is the modern context. And so the Biblical context in the ancient world gets derated and we somehow suddenly know better how the Holy Spirit works in this modern era.
What's so crucial to point out is there is such a thing as the history of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit works through the church, especially the church globally and the church historically through time. And the church historically through time that has always understood that this kind of behavior is out of bounds and marriage is the context and what's the height of the arrogance is that you impose this new understanding on the shoulders of the all the Christians we now understand, all the Christians around the world who haven't been persuaded by these arguments.
Buddie: We don't have to persuade every one... this is not an argument to have everyone see the world as we see it, or everyone to practice the faith as we practice it. To allow for a way of inclusion and a way for those people in our communities and in our churches who hunger for Christian community. Who hunger to live out their life-long vows to each other in the context of the church, and not prohibit them from doing that when they feel deep in their bones that this is who God has created them to be, and it just seems to me you can allow for that kind of generosity of spirit, which is exactly what the General Convention asks for -- generosity of spirit, and to let the Holy Spirit sort this out. If it's of God, it will thrive. If it's not, it will die away, but to undercut that process and deny so many people to live as Christians, seems to me an unnecessarily restrictive and cruel thing to do.
Harmon: It's amazing how the desires that people have seem to trump things. And the problem is Christianity is about taking desires -- some of which are good but some of which are really out of whack because we're created in God's image, but we're fallen -- and channeling them in the right way. See, that's the question: Is this the proper place for these desires to be channeled or not, and historically and globally the church has said "no" and the church in America unilaterally and the church in Canada to a lesser extent, is simply imposing the practice of this theology without making the case for it.
"I can't help but to think what the #CWA09 would be like if debate opened up about the wisdom of the Vikings signing Favre."(15 Comments)