Slice of Psychosis

churchlady1.jpg A while back in an earlier post of mine, I linked to the “Slice of Laodicia” website and it’s commentary on the band I play in. It was pretty funny and also a big relief that the author doesn’t like my band. I would be much more troubled if she had a positive reaction to anything I’m associated with.

Anyway, Adam over at Pomomusings has posted an audio clip of this woman on her radio show talking about how African-American Gospel music is “trash”. The lady is pretty classy. It’s worth heading over to Adam’s blog and check it out. She is truly the real-life inspiration of Dana Carvey’s character “Church Lady”.

Unreal…..she actually looks like the Church Lady….


Jesus Was An Only Son


The other day I was watching Bruce Springsteen’s VH1 Storytellers episode on MHD. Usually, the “Storytellers” format is really uncomfortable and cheesy in my opinion, but the Boss was the exception. It was truly riviting to listen in to what Springsteen had to share about his songs and where they come from. In particular, his performance of his song from the “Devils and Dust” album titled “Jesus Was An Only Son” really moved me. It is an incredible narration of the death of Jesus and the relationship between Jesus, the son, and Mary, his mother. I highly recommend this episode and it is available on DVD.

Click here to listen to the audio of his performance of “Jesus Was An Only Son”. First he performs the song and then afterwards he goes through the song line by line to share his thoughts on the lyrics.

Torture Is A Moral Issue


Our Christian President is currently challenging the standards set by the Geneva Convention in regards to the treatment of prisoners in the war on terrorism. Although the Supreme Court ruled that his system of treating detainees since the beginning of the war on terrorism was illegal, he is pressing for Congress to legistlate around the Supreme Courts ruling in order to allow his illegal programs to continue. It is unfortunate that our President, who is a Christian, has misunderstood the teachings of Jesus in a way that makes him believe that torturing our enemies in this war on terror is acceptable. In Article 3 of the Geneva convention, it stipulates against “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment of prisoners and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.” Bush has called the language used in this article “vague” and not clear enough in order for our intelligence officers to know where the legal limit is in regards to “tough interrogation” techniques. Maybe I’m wrong here, but the only reason the language in Article 3 would be called “vague” is because the President wants to extend beyond where the current standard is currently set. If he were not interested in torturing prisoners, then there would be no reason to characterize the Geneva Convention’s language as “vague” and in need of revision.

There are a lot of moral questions we face today, especially as Christians in the midst of this struggle for national security. How we treat our enemies will shape what kind of nation we are. I pray that the religous community in this country will recognize the importance of this issue and speak out for peace even in the face of danger.

Check out the National Religious Campaign Against Torture website and, if you are moved, endorse their statement against the use of torture by the United States. Here is the statement:

Torture Is A Moral Issue
A Statement of the
National Religious Campaign against Torture

Please join the over 6500 people who
have already endorsed this statement.

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved –policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.

Torture and inhumane treatment have long been banned by U.S. treaty obligations, and are punishable by criminal statute. Recent developments, however, have created new uncertainties. By reaffirming the ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as torture, the McCain amendment, now signed into law, is a step in the right direction. Yet its implementation remains unclear.

The President’s signing statement, which he issued when he signed the McCain Amendment into law, implies that the President does not believe he is bound by the amendment in his role as commander in chief. The possibility remains open that inhumane methods of interrogation will continue.

Furthermore, in a troubling development, for the first time in our nation’s history, legislation has now been signed into law that effectively permits evidence obtained by torture to be used in a court of law. The military tribunals that are trying some terrorist suspects are now expressly permitted to consider information obtained under coercive interrogation techniques, including degrading and inhumane techniques and torture.

We urge Congress and the President to remove all ambiguities by prohibiting:

-Exemptions from the human rights standards of international law for any arm of our government.
-The practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspects are apprehended and flown to countries that use torture as a means of interrogation.
-Any disconnection of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” from the ban against “torture” so as to permit inhumane interrogation.
-The existence of secret U.S. prisons around the world.
-Any denial of Red Cross access to detainees held by our government overseas.
-We also call for an independent investigation of the severe human rights abuses at U.S. installations like Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now –without exceptions.

More worthwhile articles on this subject:

“Long Time Standing” – Andrew Sullivan
“How Bush Rules” – Think Progress
“Bush’s Fight with Congress over Torture Defines Our Character”

“Whatever it takes”


A few nights ago, my wife and I went to see the newly released movie “The Last Kiss” starring Zach Braff. While I would probably give the entire movie an ok rating, it’s worth seeing for one scene. The scene is between Zach Braff’s character who has found himself in extreme relational hardships with his pregnant girlfriend and Tom Wilkinson’s character who is the father of the girlfriend.

Braff is looking to Wilkinson’s character for some kind of guidance and support. Wilkinson’s character, who has had his own marrital challenges in his 30-year marriage, tell’s Braff exactly what he need’s to do. “There is one thing you need to do,” says the Dad, “whatever it takes.” In a movie filled with relational confusion and uncertainty, this scene and more specifically, this one line, provides a clarity that by this point in the film is greatly needed. To “do whatever it takes” is not an easy challenge but it serves as an open invitiation to make our relationships with those closest to us of paramount importance. It forces us to consider a scenario where it’s “not about us”. It places the relationship above the priority of what’s “in it for us”. Although it’s a very simply suggestion, It’s a line I will never forget and because of it, my perspective on relationships has been changed for the better.

Halliburton CEO Superbowl Party in Iraq

This story in the L.A. Times almost made me throw-up on my laptop.

If American tax-payers are going to be billed for a fancy Super Bowl party, it could at least have been for the soldiers who are in harms way. I guess this what you ask for when handing out no-bid contracts to big corporations for the reconstruction of a country you’ve just bombed to bits. Gotta love the “spreading of democracy”!

(HT: TPM Muckraker)

Pharisees are us

John Ortberg, pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in northern California, has written a great article at the Christian Century website. It’s very much worth your time to check out. Money quote:

There is a self-righteousness in me that does not want to die. There is something inside me that is not bothered when others are excluded, that wants others to be excluded, that feels more special when I’m on the inside and somebody else is not. There was something in me—even when I was young—that enjoyed looking at the flannelgraph and thinking about how much wiser and more loved by God I was than those foolish, exclusive Pharisees.