Jan 08 2012

Random Blogging

Tag: books,food & drink,religion,whiningDonna B. @ 10:21 pm

My title is worthy of a creative award, don’t you think?


Reading a decent freebie Kindle murder mystery, I’m annoyed at the carelessness of the author. One night it’s moonless after a storm clears intimating a certain time of the month. The next night it’s a 3/4 moon. I feel mislead by the first description of the weather and lack of clarification of whether it was cloudy.

This one is better than some of the other free novels. At least the author manages to keep his characters’ names straight. I would have been happier with some waxing accuracy instead of waning. I would have been impressed had the author described it as a gibbous moon.


Via DrX, Buying the Body of Christ. In that excellent essay about how the communion wafer entered the capitalist marketplace, there’s a mention of a “Chasid Cup” which I didn’t find a link to but I did find the “Celecup” which also packages the grape juice and wafer together in easy single servings:

  • No Special Preparation Required
  • No Refrigeration Necessary
  • Three – Six Month extended shelf life
  • Time Saved During Church Services
  • Strict Hygienic Packaging Standards
  • Allows For Communion In a Variety of Settings
  • Can Be Transported Without Spillage
  • Sized For Standard Communion Trays

I think it’s “Time Saved During Church Services” that is really strange. “Andale, andale… we haven’t got all morning ya know!” Followed by an admonishment not to litter and maybe a reminder to help the arthritics who may not get theirs opened quickly enough.

Nothing above is meant to disparage Christianity, but I cannot imagine ever being comfortable or feeling worshipful in a church that used this product on a regular basis, especially one that used it to save time.


I’m not sure why my husband decided to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 year old Scotch for me, but I’m grateful. It is very nice. And it follows the Christmas gift of Samalens XO Armagnac from my sister. Y’all keep this up and I’m not going to be satisfied with box wines.


“So we let him sleep it off…”


Jan 14 2010

In Total Agreement

Tag: religion,stupidityDonna B. @ 2:43 pm

I am in total agreement with Robert Gibbs: Pat Robertson is utterly stupid.

“It never ceases to amaze, that in times of amazing human suffering, somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid,” Gibbs said. “But it, like clockwork, happens with some regularity.”

Robertson said:

Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. . . . They were under the heel of the French … and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’

…citing that as the reason for “God’s punishment” of Haiti by way of the devastating earthquake.

I’m with Eric of Classical Values:

IMHO, it’s a hell of a way to sell religion, but there must be people who want God to be like that (a sort of great terrorist in the sky, if you will) or else they wouldn’t be buying.

Frankly, I question the sanity — and the Christianity — of Pat Robertson, and his supporters.

Apr 24 2009

The Genesis Secret

The book is due out in the U.S. in a few days. I was fortunate to have been given a paperback of the UK release by my sister on her recent visit to the U.S. When she gave it to me, she warned “it’s gory and graphic, but I think you’ll like it.”

Gory it is. I’d give it a 10 on the gore scale as it is a book that contains chapters you might not want to read while eating. The methods of torture (not necessarily used to gain information, but used to prolong the suffering of death) aren’t new. They are likely accurate descriptions, which is more chilling than if they were made up.

What is distinctly NOT made up is the archaeology in the book. Gobekli Tepe definitely exists and the linkages between it’s location and biblical events are fairly well documented, extremely interesting, and intriguing.

Christian fundamentalists and young earth creationists are going to hate this book. While the link between Gobekli Tepe and the Yezedis is somewhat tenuous as presented, the idea of the evolution of ancient religions and myths is not. If Gobekli Tepe is “the Garden of Eden” of old, it’s certainly been upgraded many times.

It’s been well over a month since I read this book and I still find myself wondering about ideas and simple facts brought up in it. Whether you love it or hate it, this book will likely stay with you. 

Nov 25 2008

An Addition To The Blogroll

Tag: computers & internet,politics,religionDonna B. @ 8:07 pm

Secular Right has been added. It’s a brand new blog created for conservatives. I hope that it does not devolve into merely discussion of evolution and whether God exists. We’ve got Pharyngula for that. (You’ll notice there’s no link to Pharyngula — it’s not because of his beliefs, it’s because he has a nasty hateful way of presenting them, which has made him very popular in some circles.)

Nov 16 2008

Religion, Ancestry, and Gays

Tag: computers & internet,genealogy,legalities,religionDonna B. @ 2:19 am

One of the internet sites I actually pay to use is Ancestry.com. I haven’t looked into the ownership, but I suspect it is supported, if not owned by the Mormon church.

Census records are public domain, but indexes and databases derived from them are not. It takes an incredible amount of work to digitize and index the census records. I am grateful that it has been done and is accessible in a format that allows me to track my family’s history easily.

I said easily, not perfectly. There are a lot of areas where Ancestry.com can improve; their search engine is #1.

Keep that in mind while I’m telling you that I’ve never been a fan of the Mormon church and actually got kicked out of their education classes when I was 14 because I asked ‘uncomfortable’ questions.

Forgive me, I’d just read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I was also a bit of a jerk. It hit home when my good friend was no longer allowed to associate with me and that damped a lot of fire in my protest. I wondered if I’d inadvertantly done harm where none was intended.

In some ways, it would be fine with me if all organized religion were to disappear. Much human blood has been shed for what I see as minute theological differences. But I’d be a bit of a hypocrite for taking advantage of the work of an organized religion for my personal needs (and paying them for the privilege) wouldn’t I?

One of the few persons that I have shared the deepest, darkest, and brightest moments of my life with was a gay man who shared the same with me. Our friendship was short because he could not flourish in a small town environment in the early 1970s. I miss him because it’s not easy to find that kind of friendship regardless of gender. He’s the girlfriend I have never quite had since.

So… I am left wondering if I am betraying his friendship by financially supporting a church whose theology I have never accepted and which uses those finances to support an agenda that might hurt my friend.

At the same time, I wonder why any gay or lesbian person would want to participate in a religious sacrament that specifically excludes them, or to subscribe to a theology that classifies their desire and love for another human being as a sin.  

Marriage and committment are a state of mind. Frankly, one does not need a paper or a ring to love and commit. That these symbols are relevant is a desire to proclaim such, not a requirement for their existence. These symbols are not meaningless, far from it. But they do not have to be issued by the state.

The real sticking point for me is that without some changes in laws, homosexual partners do not have protection from spousal abuse. That is where I think the state needs to intervene. Homosexuality does not confer one with sainthood, and there are those, both male and female, who are abused by their partners, but not welcome at domestic abuse shelters because of their gender and/or sexual orientation.

For a rambling essay with random thoughts, this is a pretty good one, eh?

I’m not ready to boycott Ancestry.com because of the Mormon church’s stand on marriage. I may disagree, but I’m willing to to pay for a service I consider valuable. (Don’t raise the price, I could change my mind.)

I am ready to say that if you do not agree with a particular religion, do not join that church. We hear so often that this country was founded because people wanted to have freedom of religion. That includes not joining any religion. So don’t join. Establish your own. I won’t join if I disagree. But we can still be friends, can’t we?

UPDATE: a commenter corrects me:

Donna, you are completely incorrect about Ancestry.com being owned by the LDS Church. I know because I am an employee of Ancestry’s parent corporation, The Generations Network (www.tgn.com) which is in turn owned by Spectrum Equity Investors.


May 26 2008

An Antidote to Rev. Wright

Tag: music,religionDonna B. @ 9:49 pm

From Evening Palaver, Some history and a song.

As Wintley Phipps introduces the song, contrast his interpretation of the Christian message with Jeremiah Wright’s. Where one is divisive, the other is inclusive, and not just for the sake of inclusion, but because of the theoretical basis for that inclusion: that each and every human is equal in God’s eyes, that there remains no division based on strength or weakness, goodness or evil, only grace.

And that, if nothing else, is amazing.

Go listen.

While you’re there, check out this version too.

Mar 18 2008

Obama Has Spoken

Tag: 2008,politics,religionDonna B. @ 5:08 pm

I did not hear the speech, but have read the transcript. Twice, so far.

He has salvaged his campaign. He hasn’t yet convinced me to vote for him should he survive Hillary at the convention. He is still far too liberal lefty socialist.

You can watch the speech on his website.

My fear is that this speech is going to do more dividing than uniting. He’s not painted a nice picture of either race and offered no strategy for bringing them closer other than proposing common enemies which, as President, he will do something about:

…we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Mar 17 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Tag: religion,seasonsDonna B. @ 4:10 am

In Irish, the day is Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig, according to Wikipedia. No pronunciation guide given. Since today is part of Holy Week, I’m actually 2 days late with this post. For me, that’s like being a week early.

Jan 16 2008

Mysterious Ways

Tag: fiction,humor,politics,religionDonna B. @ 8:26 pm

Mysterious Ways

Lightning can strike twice, in the same way, if not the same place.

October 30, 2005 AP WACO, Texas

A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged, a church employee said.

The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water up to his shoulder in a baptismal at University Baptist Church when he was electrocuted, said Jamie Dudley, a church business administrator and wife of another pastor there.

The woman Lake was baptizing was not injured, Dudley said.

A little over a decade ago, a similar accident happened during a time when the author of the following story was pondering on religiosity and crime entering politics.


By Stuart Wood

Associated Press 2/23/94 – LAROSE, La. – A public address system or faulty heating elements are suspected of causing the electrocution of a minister in a baptismal pool.

The Rev. John Allen, head pastor of Victory Life church at Lockport, was shocked Sunday afternoon as he prepared to baptize about 15 people.

He died shortly after church members pulled him from the waist-deep baptism tank at Christian Fellowship church, which was being used because his own church did not have a large-enough pool, investigators said.

Now, this event was no doubt profoundly traumatic to the family and congregation of Reverend Allen and the premises liability carrier of the invitor church, but is also caused great consternation within St. Peter’s massive intake facility at the Pearly Gates when the case was assigned to the Political Section, which is presently headed by St. Nicolo di Bernardo. The former prince stormed, diplomatically of course, into the former fisherman’s sanctum later that Sunday afternoon:

“Peter, there’s some things we gotta talk.” With his usual misdirection, di Bernardo continued, “First, I get no answer about fixing up the longitudes so Sarajevo and the Palestine got different time zones. You should hear the crazy exemptions and dispensations they want, like they all went to Harvard Law School and Yale Divinity before they got whacked. If you’re gonna move California anyway, couldn’t you put Bosnia over around Iceland someplace? The paperwork is all over the place, and I gotta have more staff.”

St. Peter was accustomed to these outbursts, but was always, or more precisely, eternally, chagrined by the vulgar demise of language exhibited by his Latinate deputy, a recent devotee of Puzo.

“Well then,” said St. Peter, as he was putting the final tiny minute knot on the tiny little fly clamped in the miniature vise in the middle of his vast desk, “You should have some good staff candidates right on hand there. You’ve got to learn patience, Nicolo. Did I ever tell about the time I was on the upper Snake in Idaho and waited fourteen years to catch Ol’Bigtail? Why, you’ve never seen such a battle. First, he takes the leader upstream about four miles and –“

“Patience! I got patience! I’m just finishing up the last old Nazis, except I don’t see why we gotta come down so hard, I mean – well, nevermind. I just get through with them and I’m getting a bunch of neo ones. Amateur city—just kinda venom and ignorance in peanut shells with SCUD rockets and nerve gas.” Nicolo paused to catch his breath.

“Plus, and this is the big one I can’t figure out and how come we need to talk. You’re giving me this preacher from Louisiana. I run the Political section, so how come I got him? He never ran for any office sinecure.” Nicolo used his Latin when he could. “He never even took the bar exam. He’s probably a nice guy, probably should go over to Premature & Unexplainable.”

Peter is silent, contemplating the elaborate dark brown, red, tan, yellow, maroon, and white fly shining in the brilliant starlight of his limitless office, thinking maybe some green. Nicolo, no mean contemplator himself, suddenly understands, or thinks he does.

“Oh no, oh please don’t give me political and religious correctness. You’re not gonna give me this guy because he was maybe supposed to baptize sixteen people. You’re not gonna me give Oral Roberts just because he was a couple of million short. Or Tim or Jimmy or Tammy or Katy or Larry or Jerry and… and all the James’. Come on, this ain’t political, except maybe the swindling part, and has gotta go to Theological Errors and Omission. I can’t handle it. We’re not set up to do any more TV makeup.”

“Actually we’re thinking of washing our hands, as it were, on Mr. Robert’s situation. But I’m sorry, Nicolo, we’ve seen this coming for a while,” Peter said. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to move Religion over to Politics in Louisiana and all the other states, just like it always has been in the rest of the world.”

“What! You can’t do this! What about the big noble experiment? Separation of Church from three equal branches of State? For the People. Life, liberty and the purfuit of happineff (the Prince had read only the original). I thought you guys even helped with the weather in Philly and that First Amendment thing.”

“No, not really, but we thought it a fairly good earthly human effort, along with the Fourth and Fifth.”

“The Fifth, the Fourth! This is a hint, right? You’re gonna give me Crime in America, too?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. It appears that both Crime and Religion in America, at least temporarily, have become entirely Political subjects because the politicians need the diversion. They’re quaintly American, three strikes and all that. Ross Perot paraphrasing a coin, and vice versa. The Supreme Court taking medical evidence. The Second Amendment and the ATF. Penumbras of privacy. Fascinating. I remember Ol’ Bigtail was hiding under the penumbra of this huge blue spruce, but I came up there just before daylight and –

“No!”, the Prince screamed, “No! This is impossible. I can’t take on drive-bys and carjackings and embezzlement.”

“Nicolo, please sit down. I almost regret to tell you the rest of the changes. Human corporeal health is also now Political. You will of course be sharing that with the Pure Avarice & Greed people and their Corporate Iniquity group, but it’s your primary classification job. SIT DOWN, Nicolo, you look like you’re having a stroke.

St. Peter paused here, to allow St. Nicolo time to regain his composure. “Yes, you will have to deal with Religion, Crime, and Health Care Reform, which if it’s to work will logically have to include premiums from worker’s comp, liability, and even RTD’s and AMTRAK.

“There is, however, good news in that THE BOSS has decided to give you a break on a couple major items. First, the universal health insurance premiums on your new staff are going to be off-budget.” Peter usually got a chuckle from the other department heads with this one, but the Prince remained morose.

“What could THE BOSS possibly do? This is a disaster for the Political Department. Diseases and car wrecks aren’t political. It’s stretched too thin. We’re gonna have to totally reorganize. You could at least move legislators and judges over to Heinous and Unforgivable.”

“Okay, that’s definitely in the works. Especially in Texas. But we’ll need to discuss that later,’ Peter said. “We recognize your problems. The other good news is that in order to compensate fully for these added complications, we’ve decided to turn the first six months of Denver International Airport operations over to the Unsolved Mysteries Section. I know that one has been costing sleep.”

Prince Machiavelli, relieved and jubilant, tried to express his thanks by washing St. Peter’s feet, but he was deterred by the Saint’s L.L. Bean hip-length wading boots. He left happy anyway, ruminating to himself, thinking, lemmesee, I need ol’ Abe. He suspended habeas corpus. Then I’ll sober up Senator Joe, who just barely made the cut, and check out this free speech and association and Fifth Amendment stuff. He was unsure on religion. Machiavelli had experienced a partial epiphany in his later years and had gained his position not entirely through simony. He generally agreed with Adlai Stevenson, who found St. Paul appealing but Vincent Peale appalling. He would have to ponder that appointment. But AMTRAK. All right. The Prince would have to make some extremely long distance phone calls to the Duce, but those little trenos would hereinafter run, into whatever, on time.

Dec 15 2007

Does a secular society exclude religion?

Tag: politics,religionDonna B. @ 11:00 pm

No. Does not “secular” basically mean “not religious” rather than “atheist”? A secular society has a place for everyone, from the most faithfully regigious (of any creed) to the most unreligious atheist.

A secular society is the one I want to live in.

Whether I believe in a Supreme Being of the Jewish, Christian, or Islamic faiths matters not, it is the human organization and interpretation of religion that I distrust. I certainly do not want someone else’s interpretation of religion to inform my government.

I agree with Roger Cohen. “Where Kennedy said he believed in a “president whose religious views are his own private affair, Romney pleged not to “separate us from our religious heritage.”"