Book review: The Gospel According to the Beatles

gospel according to beatlesIn March 2015, the youth director of our church is putting on a musical review based on The Gospel According to the Beatles, which will feature The Daughter. This compelled me to buy and read the book. Author Steve Turner, as the book sleeve, informs me, has been writing about pop music for over three decades. This is, and I don’t want it to come off as a pejorative, a scholarly book, well-researched Continue reading

Why the Hobby Lobby decision is bad for people of faith

FaithFlagsI’ve actually written my responses to all of you folks who participated in Ask Roger Anything this past round. And the rest of you people can STILL ASK.

But I’ve bumped my responses back a couple days to answer Arthur; I even postponed my answer to Arthur’s earlier question, so it’s his own fault. He wrote, in response to this post about the US Supreme Court case regarding a store chain, Hobby Lobby, providing contraceptive care:

I’d really like to see you expand on how YOU see this ruling as bad for people of faith. Do you see this case alone as being bad for religion and/or religious people, or is it the ideology behind it? In either case, what bad effects do you personally expect to see or fear may happen?

The answer is all of the above. Next! OK, I guess I’ll expand on this.
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Methodist church in Oneonta stands for LGBT rights; Karen Oliveto to speak May 17, 18

I was reading the website of the First United Methodist Church in Oneonta, NY. It’s a pretty special place whose motto is: Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors. It is A Reconciling Congregation, which, in UMC parlance, means to “create full inclusion of all God’s children regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” I should note that my parents-in-law are member of the churchs.

The congregation did something rather remarkable, especially if you understand church polity. It held a:

Special Church Conference on Sunday, March 16… to discuss a resolution presented to the congregation by the Recon­ciling Ministries team of our church… After two hours of discussion, listening, amendments, voting, and tears, the special session of church conference voted to pass an amended resolution. It reads:

RESOLVED, that First United Methodist Church of Oneonta, New York will withhold 40% of its remaining apportionment from the Upper New York An­nual Conference in 2014 Continue reading

May Rambling #1: Depression; and ABCW’s Leslie gets married

music.clockMy April was much better than my March, but between blog connectivity problems (more anon), and back pain that kept me out of work for a couple days, followed by four days out of town for work training, which compressed other tasks, I didn’t a chance to update the April Rambling since April 17. Moreover, I discovered some links from as much as two years ago I was GOING to use but they fell through the cracks. Meaning that I’ll do another one at the end of the month. Always said that if blogging got too hard, I would not do it. And this, comparatively, is the easy post I need right now.

An article about depression I was going to include in a different blog post. Some of the earlier posts from this blog I liked too. The blogger also linked to the TEDx talk Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share. “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.” When I imagine many people’s understanding of depression, I think of that famous scene in the movie Continue reading

Proposed Arizona legislation supports Sharia law

It’s quite the irony: Arizona was one of the states that had introduced legislation banning Sharia law, which is the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion; this usually understood to refer to Islam in our country.

Yet with the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1062, passed by both houses of the AZ legislature, the legislature may have inadvertently opened the door for Sharia law in the state.
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The no-sex zone

“According to a fascinating and bewildering investigation in the Guardian by Abigail Haworth Japanese young people are losing interest not just in marriage but in romantic relationships. “Some have even given up on sex. The national press is calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or celibacy syndrome.” This is, of course, having a terrible impact on the nation’s birth rate.

Reading this, naturally, the first thing I think of is the song Turning Japanese by the Vapors, which has the lines:
No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark
Everyone around me is a total stranger
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone Ranger
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What a Christian can learn from a Muslim about Jesus, by way of Dostoevsky

I’ve got to read this book!

You may not know the name Reza Aslan, but you might have heard about the controversy about an interview that FOX News religion report Lauren Green did with him about his book Zealot, about the life of Jesus. She questioned how a Muslim could write about Jesus, and he kept repeating his extensive credentials as a religious scholar. The storm over her amateurish piece helped the sales of his book reach #1 on the New York Times best seller list.

More interesting to me was this interview with John Oliver of The Daily Show. Aslan is addressing the Christian POV, though not focused on the Christ aspect of Jesus. Aslan disputes the notion of Jesus Continue reading

R is for Roger, redux

As I’ve undoubtedly noted, the name Roger comes from the Germanic roots meaning spear bearer, specifically “famous with the spear.”

When you think of the first name Roger, who are the first people you think of? (I mean besides me, of course.) That was the question in this segment of the TV show Family Feud; I’m sorry it is incomplete.

Here’s a list of celebrities whose first names are Roger. The ones that immediately came to mind are some Continue reading

March Rambling, about ME – oh, and other things

I may have mentioned (once or twice?) that it was my birthday this month. Thank you for the 70-odd comments (some VERY odd) on Facebook, and a couple tweets, not to mention comments at this blog. Dustbury cited my March 8, day after my birthday, post.

I won second prize in Pret-A-Vivre’s Oscar game. Thanks!

But the person who best got into the “celebrate Roger” spirit has to be Continue reading

K is for Killing

My church, First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. The church donated some artifacts to the Albany Institute of History & Art, itself founded in 1791. The Institute has an exhibit, ongoing through April 17, showing some of the church history over the years.

Some of the church members included John Jay, eventually the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury; and Aaron Burr, third Vice-President of United States, and the first NOT to go on to become President.

After Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804, Continue reading