December 31, 2004

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:29 pm

This website has done us all the favor of providing a definitive (but slightly off-color) description of what it means to be a Lutheran.

Except they forgot to mention compulsive coffee drinking.

December 29, 2004

Site Upgrade Underway Completed

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 2:37 pm

I am migrating the content to an open source blog software package, WordPress. I realize other software such as Moveable Type are more popular, have more functionality, and are also free (at least for a base package), but I’m partial to the open source model.

I am currently migrating the postings, and will then worry about look and feel. So, it may take me a few days, but eventually I’ll get things back to where they were.

And no more complaints about the lack of permalinks.

Update: It’s pretty much there, although I’ll be tweaking it for awhile. The site now supports user registration and comments, so feel free to log in and let us all know what you think.

December 28, 2004

Asia Relief Efforts

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:39 pm

Please support the southeast Asia tsunami relief efforts. Donations can be made through the ELCA, the UMC, the UCC and the PCUSA. All of these church bodies coordinate their relief efforts through Action by Churches Together (ACT), and the UCC also participates in Church World Service (CWS).

Intelligent Design vs. Evolution

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:52 am

And now for a change of pace, there has been a lot of activity in the blogosphere lately about the Intelligent Design theory of the origin of humanity. The Washington Post ran an article about yet another battle to water down the teaching of evolution in Dover, PA. Hugh Hewitt blogged a critique of the article with links to Intelligent Design apologists here and here. Of course, there are many sources for the opposing viewpoint; one I still find well-argued is from Skeptics Magazine. (more…)

December 27, 2004

Concerned Women for America

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:03 pm

The LA Times ran a below-the-fold front page story on Concerned Women for America, an extremely conservative organization run by Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye, the author of the “Left Behind” series. One excerpt caught my eye:

The organization also has been a leader in the attack on “Kinsey,” the movie about the life of sex-research pioneer Alfred C. Kinsey. The “ultimate goal” of Kinsey and his followers, the group’s website says, has been “to normalize pedophilia, or ‘adult-child sex.’ ”

In the group’s view, Kinsey and the movie reflect much of what is deplorable in contemporary American life.

“The agenda of the left is to make religion strictly private and pornography public,” [Robert] Knight [director of CWFA’s in-house think tank] said. “And the people behind this agenda, more often than not, are homosexual activists.”

I have been feeling that there is too great a focus on gay rights to the exclusion of other areas of concern to Christians, say, homelessness, hunger, war and disease. But it’s statements like those above that show that gay rights is the current front in the fight against prejudice and hatred. While I commented recently that conservative language against gays is reminiscent of the segregationist language of the past, this quote sounds eerily like the anti-Semitic language regarding the supposed Jewish control of world finance or the media. Apparently the CWFA thinks that the courts’ legal decisions regarding the Establishment Clause and free speech rights vis-a-vis pornography are all engineered by a conspiracy of homosexual activists bent on making the world safe for pedophilia.

Once again, the reason conservatives are accused of being bigoted towards gays is because they sound bigoted.

Methodist Minister Appealing Defrocking

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:12 am

Elizabeth Stroud, the Methodist minister that went public with her lesbian relationship with her partner, is appealing the church court decision removing her from the ministry. The MSNBC story shed an interesting light on the ambivalence of the judge in the church trial:

[R]etired Bishop Joseph Yeakel, the judge who presided at her church trial…told Stroud “the day will come when the church apologizes for this decision.”


At the trial, Yeakel barred testimony from six Stroud witnesses who oppose the Methodist ban [on actively gay clergy], citing both legal and theological arguments.

I believe that Bishop Yeakel is representative of many in the church today – believing that things will be very different in twenty or thirty years, but for now, feeling constrained by the historical stands of the church.

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:24 pm

As we celebrate the miraculous arrival in our world of God in human form as our Lord and Savior, I hope that you and your family and friends have a blessed Christmas.

December 23, 2004

Merry Christmahannukwanzaa

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:25 pm

In this season of peace and goodwill, it’s ironic that many are fighting over the words “Merry Christmas” and symbols of the birth of the Prince of Peace. For some articles on the topic, see here, here and here. The issue seems to have two aspects: one is legal, the other personal. (more…)

December 21, 2004

ELCA Sexuality Task Force to Take a Stand

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:34 pm

The ELCA has announced that the recommendations of it’s Sexuality task force on homosexuality will be made public on January 13th. The task force has gone through a very methodical process of listening to all points of view within the church and then presenting these points of view in two study guides (Part 1 and Part 2.) These study guides have not taken sides, but seem to have been intended to show that all points of view have been heard and respected. (more…)

December 15, 2004

Deconstructing Richard Viguerie

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:25 pm

Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air program“>program, interviewed Richard Viguerie, the inventor of much of the conservatives’ media and fund-raising tactics over the last forty years and the so-called “funding father” of the conservative movement. Mr. Viguerie is promoting his new book, “America’s Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power.” Here are a few quotes (transcription is mine from the audio)”>audio) and my reactions. (more…)

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