Onward Evangelical Soldiers3 comments
picture12 Feb 2004 @ 02:54
Art is frozen Zen.

---R.H. Blyth

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

---Franz Kafka

The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present.


The "Left Behind" series, novels whose plots revolve around the Rapture now number 40 million in print. (Photo: leftbehind.com/CBS)

Let me say at the outset that my main problem with the current and prevalent Evangelicals has to do with theology rather than politics. They have the right to yearn for a state grounded in their principles, and the mainstream has the right to send them back to their pews---which is what we're going to do. I want neither George Bush NOR the Dalai Lama as my emperor.

My theological problem involves what I judge to be the major thrust of prayer among Evangelicals. I find the literal reading of Biblical material as silly as a literal reading of Mother Goose. I do not think of the Bible as a fairy tale, but I do know what a parable is and what it isn't. It ain't a New York Times editorial---or at least oughtn't to be (most of the time). Jesus taught with parables, not news items or States of the Union speeches. Prayer becomes distorted in a literal perception of parable and scripture.

I believe Evangelicals use prayer as an appeal to God to do stuff for them...and as a ritual of gratitude when they think the tasks have been righteously performed. I believe this is magical thinking...and I find much of magic in what Evangelicals do. The very air and atmosphere of a Pentecostal meeting is magical: the circle, the hands-holding and waving, the chanting (whether in tongues or not), the public emotional convulsion of being born again, the healings. The power here is magic...which is perfectly OK, as long as it is recognized and celebrated as such.  More >

 How Much Hope Do You Swallow Per Day?6 comments
picture2 Feb 2004 @ 01:38
New Year's first snow---ah---
just barely enough to tilt
the daffodil


I too when dead
want to be near this stone marker---
the withered pampas grass.


After ecstasy,
the laundry.

---Zen Saying

Medicine Man of the Cheyenne
Howard Terpning
[American Painter, Born 1927]

The current issue of the New Yorker magazine features an investigative article entitled "MIRACLE IN A BOTTLE
Dietary supplements are unregulated, some are unsafe—and Americans can’t get enough of them."
Mr. Specter's credentials are listed at the bottom---in case you want to check his ingredients first.

Issue of 2004-02-02
Posted 2004-01-26
One day last September, as Britney Spears was about to board a flight to Los Angeles from London, a rectangular blue bottle fell out of her purse. She quickly stuffed it back in, but not before the paparazzi recorded the event. Neither Spears nor her spokesman was willing to comment on the contents of the bottle, but the next morning London’s Daily Express published a page of pictures under the headline “exclusive: pop princess spotted at airport with pot of slimming tablets.” Spears was apparently carrying Zantrex-3, one of the most popular weight-loss supplements currently sold in the United States. The pill, which retails at about fifty dollars for a month’s supply, contains a huge dose of caffeine, some green tea, and three common South American herbs that also act as stimulants. It hit the U.S. market last March and has had a success that would be hard to overstate. Millions of bottles have been sold, and during the Christmas season it was displayed in the windows of the nation’s largest chain of vitamin shops, G.N.C. (It is so highly sought after that many of the stores keep it in locked cabinets.) Zantrex-3 is also sold at CVS, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, and other chains, and over the telephone and on the Internet. If you type “Zantrex” into Google, more than a hundred thousand citations will appear. At any moment, there are scores of people auctioning the stuff on eBay.  More >

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