religion in threads
October 19, 2004 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Crossing the Rubicon : I've said it.

I'll honor this - regardless of where it leads.
posted by troutfishing to Etiquette/Policy at 9:32 PM (123 comments total)

Could you clarify what it is? You want to go to konolia's church and speak in tongues?
posted by euphorb at 9:50 PM on October 19, 2004


I'll honor this - regardless of where it leads.

This is a much better definition of faith than most I see.
posted by weston at 9:52 PM on October 19, 2004


I guess he means that you'll know them by their fruits, or something. Isn't Rubicon something that the Transformers lived on or ate or something?
posted by interrobang at 9:52 PM on October 19, 2004


Rubicon.
posted by weston at 9:57 PM on October 19, 2004


It'd be pretty funny if you have a conversion experience. I don't think that profound religious experiences, this particular variety of an altered state of consciousness, are metaphysical...but I do think they're very "real". People discover God via psychoactive drugs. Don't be surprised to discover God by a profound group experience.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:05 PM on October 19, 2004


Actually the sacred holy-holy of the Transformers was called "The Matrix" as I recall, but it was about the size of a Rubik's Cube, and required at-least-as-complicated magic to solve/open. Uh, or something.

TroutFishing really puts the TF in WTF.
posted by scarabic at 10:05 PM on October 19, 2004


Yeah and if you get converted I'll give this religion a chance.
posted by geoff. at 10:27 PM on October 19, 2004


Trout, I think you've become inflamed and overwrought by your own rhetoric, and you are going a bit off the deep end now. The comment you've linked to makes no sense.
posted by taz at 11:07 PM on October 19, 2004


Whoa. [/keanu]

Or, what taz said.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:17 PM on October 19, 2004


as for me, I think troutfishing is double plus brilliant.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:03 AM on October 20, 2004


Can someone that saved up all the Ovaltine proof-of-purchases let me borrow their decoder ring so I can figure out what's going on here? Or do I need x-ray specs to make heads or tails of it?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:03 AM on October 20, 2004


It sounds like troutfishing took the red pill. Make sure he gets plenty of water and he will be back to normal within 48 hours.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:31 AM on October 20, 2004


If someone starts offering to cut off a hand, call me.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:38 AM on October 20, 2004


It'd be pretty funny if you have a conversion experience.

*Imagines a layer of charismatic/evangelical puffery slathered over trout's already dense style. Pees in terror.*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2004


OK. I've been biting my tongue from this sort of post for months now, but since you're standing in the front of the room waving your arms, I'll bite.

Troutfishing, you drive me fucking nuts. The thousand-word copy-paste posts that you repeat in multiple threads (I'm assuming you've got word documents on our hard drive with titles like "global warming boiletplate" and "dominionist boilerplate"). The strident, serial posting on the same issues over and over, followed by intense moderation of those same threads.

This isn't political; I probably agree with your stances more than I disagree. But the way you present everything fucking kills me. You're shrill, obnoxious, self-absorbed, and annoying. And you know what? You're hurting your own fucking cause, because you make it look like anyone who's interested in global warming is an obsessive, narcisstic, hectoring jackass.

I know, I know. No one's making me read your posts. And I generally don't. I'm not telling you to shut up. You have the right to be a jackass. But if you're going to wave your fucking hands around and attract attention to yourself, I'm going to exercise my right to remind you that this place is not about you.
posted by COBRA! at 8:43 AM on October 20, 2004


TF's either taken some really great drugs and is having a helluva ride, or he's connected some dots and recognized a pattern in US American politics vis a vis a deliberate takeover of the government by religious fundamentalists that should cause us all great concern.

I'm hoping for the drugs, because the alternative is too scary.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on October 20, 2004


Oh, and they ate "energon cubes."
posted by scarabic at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2004


it's a jeep thing.
posted by quonsar at 9:19 AM on October 20, 2004


fff, I'm willing to listen to everything the trout has to say and to seriously consider it. When he concludes a frantic, overstrung comment posting spree on his own thread with the nonsensical ultimate statement he refers to, plus makes it a point to draw attention to it in MeTa, I begin to feel foolish for applying so much credulous energy. (I'm not afraid of the truth, but I'm beginning to be a little afraid of troutfishing.)
posted by taz at 9:24 AM on October 20, 2004


ENERGON cubes, thank you, scarabic. That was driving me nuts.
posted by brownpau at 9:27 AM on October 20, 2004


he says he'll honor his comment, and I believe him.

troutfishing rocks my world.
without him this site would be massively less interesting.


I hope he runs for office -- and in Massachusetts, he'd probably get elected, too
posted by matteo at 10:02 AM on October 20, 2004


taz - I wasn't commenting for your benefit, but - unless you are one of those rare creatures, one utterly committed to a rationalist view of reality, then you surely leave - at least in your personal life - room for the irrational, intuitive and faith based elements of experience. I guess I need to adopt some new type of semaphore in my posting like :

! = My assertion is, I believe, empirically grounded
? = Comment not to be taken literally, as empiral fact - may be faith based, and/or include surrealist/Dadaist elements, poetry, or statements otherwise unclassifiable.
;) = Humour

But I'd just get caught up and - in the passion of the moment - forget to keep up with the symbols and - plus - they'd be a pretty weird affectation, like some sort of nervous tic.

Why be afraid of me ? I'm just a poster on Metafilter.
_________

fff- Good drugs would be nice. But, they wouldn't last - and then I'd just wake up again.

Jogging is nice though. Hiking too. Plus, I've really started to enjoy nature photography.

Also (my morning's data-mining catch) : some very interesting Google search terms - "Coalition on Revival" (What is COR? ), "The Great Commission", "Christian Strategic Services", "Equip" .

On COR : "An 11-page document from a COR-sponsored "Continental Congress on Christian World View III" held July 2-4, 1986, in Washington D.C. says, "The Coalition on Revival was called into existence as a catalyst to help unify and mobilize leadership in the Body of Christ to cause 'God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" This Manifesto-Covenant was signed by 60 of COR's Steering Committee members. They made "A Solemn Covenant" with God and each other to live by its terms until death, natural or martyred. COR signers made a public covenant with God to establish a theocracy in place of democracy. They admitted that the covenant is "a recruiting tool" to pool believers into an army. The other objective is to use the covenant as a means to "teach" (indoctrinate) believers with COR's brand of Christianity. (As we shall see later in this report, discipleship, according to COR, requires political activism. What COR requires of those who sign its covenant is to be willing to die in the attempt to establish a theonomic political state. This statement makes the COR Manifesto-Covenant more than just a covenant; it is a blood covenant, sworn to on the life of the signers; cf. Matt. 5:33-36.)"

If that sounds more than a little like a Chrisitian analogue of Al-Qaeda, that's because it is.

Other keep aspects of COR tactics include : strict (and constant) discipline, tightly defined lines of authority, and the use of cell-like structures. At the very periphery, this stuff bleeds over into Christian White Power territory (racism, guns, swaztikas and all) but COR is very scrupulous to disavow such ideologies. They want to appeal to the broadest possible audiences.

COR's founders are not fringe. And they have been busy little bees indeed. I don't take much at face vlue, but that statement above is, as far as I can determine, an accurate portrayal.

The "Great Commission" concept has long been a part of Christian Doctrine, but groups like COR have reinterpreted it to mean "The aggressive and - if necessary forceful - domination of nations of the Earth under a disciplined Christian leadership which enforces Biblical law."

I'll have to say one thing about these guys - they've got ambition.

This all sounds like a bad pulp novel waiting to be turned into the next bad Jerry Bruckheimer film and, if I had a steady intraveinous drip feed of especially good drugs, I might just be able to ignore it.

Or - if I were thoroughly unscrupulous - I'd mouth the words and join these asshats. Alas, I can't.
_____________

COBRA! - "I probably agree with your stances more than I disagree. But the way you present everything fucking kills me. You're shrill, obnoxious, self-absorbed, and annoying."

I also try to be polite and - in my own imperfect way - constructive.
posted by troutfishing at 10:09 AM on October 20, 2004


so, are you gonna play with snakes or no? (and we want proof) : >
posted by amberglow at 10:18 AM on October 20, 2004


Troutman, I love you. You're in my top 10 here, for real. But I don't know what you're talking about, and that's a first. Drop the dominion theology for a while. Your fans, including me, are worried about your manic-obsessive behavior of late. I don't care about anyone who just doesn't dig you... fuck 'em. But listen to the others: they're expressing confusion and concern.
posted by squirrel at 10:37 AM on October 20, 2004


we're *all* playing with snakes, and have been since eve first talked to one.
posted by namespan at 10:47 AM on October 20, 2004


The serpent was framed. God threw his voice.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2004


I will up the ante on amberglow's demand for proof: if you do this, do it respectfully, without pretense, and document it like crazy. Videocamera, bloggery, the whole nine yards. I expect a book or documentary or both.
posted by whatnot at 10:57 AM on October 20, 2004


Alright, Trout, correct me if I'm wrong, but in responding, presumably, to konolia pointing out that in the christian lingo, "war" doesn't always necessarily mean physical war, and stating that "evil forces can and do direct evil men", of all possible responses, you answer by saying " And do you think that I - as an asker of questions, as was Satan - am demonic ? / If so, I send you this challenge, as well : / Give me the word, and I'll be on a plane to your church - where I will learn to speak in tongues. / You, and your church members, will teach me to do this.

The problem here is that I am "on your side"; I'm playing on the same team, so it alarms me when my teammate suddenly begins to sound crazier than the other side. What kind of statement is this? If it only remained part of the original thread, I wouldn't really think twice about it - people get carried away. But you specifically came here to point it out, and I find that baffling. And now you come to defend it, and accuse me (moi?!) of simply not having enough poety in my soul to "get" you. As I said before, I think you are overexcited... and about to make some really bad judgements concerning your frequent flyer miles.
posted by taz at 10:59 AM on October 20, 2004


This is why I love the internet. It never even occured to me that Rubicon was anything but a name (like florida or john) of an off road trail. Here it is with all this deep booky meaning.
posted by Mitheral at 11:00 AM on October 20, 2004


The serpent was framed. God threw his voice.

allright, we're all playing with God's ventriloquist snakes.
posted by namespan at 11:07 AM on October 20, 2004


I'm down with the GVS.
posted by squirrel at 11:15 AM on October 20, 2004


Moe: [slowly] It's not so bad, Homer. They... go in through your nose and... they let you keep the piece of brain they cut out. Look! [holds up a jar with a piece of brain in it] Ooh! Hello! Hello there! Who's that big man there? Who's that?
posted by picea at 11:17 AM on October 20, 2004


Yes... energon cubes. They will be mine.
posted by Galvatron at 11:31 AM on October 20, 2004


Well, that was a few corners short of a timecube.
posted by darukaru at 11:40 AM on October 20, 2004


I think the good trout has a noggin that does not only function in a linear pattern but goes tangential and then tangential to the tangentials and then the trout stream of consciousness takes over and the trout feels that others can follow the intricate synapse dance of his and understand about what he is talking.

But most of the time not me.
posted by sciurus at 12:09 PM on October 20, 2004


scirius - I didn't expect many to get that one, but I'm rather surprised if you don't grasp my rather explicitly laid out point below - The religious right, comin atcha! Now!

That's simple enough, no ?

amberglow - I don't think Konolia's sect handles snakes. They just speak in tongues. The snake handlers are another, distinct group - I believe.

squirrel - I am manic depressive, sure. And George W. Bush has a two way hotline to God and talks with the big guy in the sky every day (so he says), and consults with apocalyptic preachers on US-Israel policy......and you're worried about my sanity ? I very much appreciate the concern but think it would be better directed elsewhere.

All I can do is keep posting material.

Like : "Bush 'Faith-Based' Agenda Spreading In Federal Government, Report Finds" and "Americans United Files Request For Public Records On New 'Faith-Based' Prison In Florida"

Faith based prisons. Faith based birth control (preaching abstinence).

You know, the Director of Public Health for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas (as of four or five years ago - maybe he's moved on to a different position by now ) was espousing the medieval notion - not commonly held since about the 12th Century - that women could not get pregnant, regardless of intercourse, unless they really wanted a baby.

Guess what ? This bizarre sort of medieval, Earth-is-flat theology is barreling straight at you. Don't believe me ? Fine. Check it out for yourself.

As far as my weird sounding challenge to Konolia - I'm mad. This involves my own family, and I'm pissed off at the growing power of the religious right in it's crusade to impose theocracy in America. On me. I take that king of personally. Y'all can simply keep your hands over your ears, shouting LA LA LA LA over and over, or get some edumacation about this.
____________

Here's a nice collection of mainstream articles on the rise of the religious right in America, and this piece (heavily hyperlinked) by Maureen Farrell does a nice cover too.

"Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power: US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy." – The Guardian, April 20, 2004

"Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move." – The Village Voice, May 18, 2004


Soon after Dick Cheney told Sen. Pat Leahy to "go f**k himself," the Republican National Committee feigned outrage over actor Alec Baldwin’s assertion that the GOP has been "hijacked" by "fundamentalist wackos." While the word "wackos" is indeed jarring, there are few suitable descriptions for the Harry-Potter-fearing, Armageddon-embracing, End-of-Days experts the White House reportedly cavorts with.

And while the Guardian used the more colorful term "bonkers" to describe this mindset, regardless what one calls it, a palpable stench of weirdness fills the air. After uncovering notes proving that White House staffers were "taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists," the Village Voice announced, "apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios."

Baldwin or no Baldwin, does any of this sound normal to you?"


Normal ? Or wacked out ?
posted by troutfishing at 12:29 PM on October 20, 2004


I rest my case.
posted by troutfishing at 12:33 PM on October 20, 2004


Trout: Please say, here and now, in simple easy to understand language, what you're trying to tell us. Preferably in 5 lines or less. I respect your sentiment...well, actually I'm not sure I do, since I don't know what the sentiment is :)

Please tell us clearly what you're talking about. What line did you cross? What are you going to do?
posted by unreason at 12:33 PM on October 20, 2004


All I can do is keep posting material.

No, there's another option. To consider that after a few giant screes, everybody has gotten your point who will ever get it, and stop posting that set of material.

Though I admit I'm looking forward to hearing about the next conspiracy that's taking over the US government in a month or two. My money's on Cthulhu-worshippers or the Flintstone Kids -- ten million strong AND GROWING.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:40 PM on October 20, 2004


Trout, trout, trout, I just got the most fantastic idea. You're gonna love this. Ready? Why... don't... you... Start Your Own Blog???

I know, I know, these Great Ideas always seem so obvious in retrospect.
posted by soyjoy at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2004


Backs out of thread s-l-o-w-l-y...... and once out of immediate danger, runs like hell.
posted by orange swan at 12:51 PM on October 20, 2004


Troutfishing, are you really bipolar?


Anyway, here we go. Manna Church of Fayetteville, NC.

Hey, we could make it a Mefi meetup. There's a coffee bar inside. As first time visitors you get a free beverage (coupon in visitor packet.) But there is also a Starbucks around the corner if you would all prefer.
posted by konolia at 12:53 PM on October 20, 2004


I can tell you what Trout is trying to tell y'all and I'll emphasize the most important words:
There is an organized and active religious right movement in the USA that has explicitly stated its goal to change the US from a democratic government to a theocratic one by ensuring that only religiously-aligned people are filling government positions at all levels as those positions become available.

It's an orchestrated attempt to thwart democracy by taking advantage of the absymally poor elector turnouts, and by creating systems that discourage contrary voters from turning out.

And it's working, vis a vis George Bush and his religious right administration and judicial appointments.

Sounds crackpot, but the more Trout digs, the more obvious it becomes. These people are doing it publically, without shame or fear of recrimination.

Trout should blog it. It sounds like a very important issue that the electorate really needs to comprehend.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:02 PM on October 20, 2004


My money's on Cthulhu-worshippers or the Flintstone Kids -- ten million strong AND GROWING.

!

You just redeemed this entire thread, ROU! Well done.

"We are Trout Fish Comments. Ten million LONG and BO-RING..."
posted by dhoyt at 1:03 PM on October 20, 2004


what was that ? - I think a formation of constipated, farting geese just flew overhead.

fff- that's a great summary, thanks. let me add a piece :

___________________________________________

Although elements within the religious right do advocate deception in the pursuit of political power (and some advocate violence as well), thinking of the rise of the religious right as merely based on deception is highly misleading.

The architects of the growth of the religious right, and of it's drift towards a new theology which commands adherents to work towards seizing government power, accomplished this mainly through a massive media effort : through religious media - enormous religious television broadcasting networks, religious newspapers, church information networks...

Much of the religious right consumes media which secular Americans rarely see or - if they do see it - dismiss as nutty and ridiculous. But the Christian right in America lives in an almost completely parallel culture which includes it's own music, books, TV, radio, print media, magazines.... on and on. And the cultural messages there are very, very different from those of secular culture.

So, this is NOT a smoke and mirrors movement. There has been, in reality, a seismic political and religious shift in the US over the past three decades, and so Americans who do not want to live in a theocracy in the near future had damn well better wake up.

______________________________________________

unreason - What am I going to do ? - at the moment, I'm going to take my dog out for a run.

But to answer your question - I got pissed off : I starting digging into journalism concerning the rise of the religious right in America, and what I discovered - far more extreme than what I expected to find - forced me to conclude that I needed to figure out how to do my own little bit to help beat back that movement - or I would actually find myself living in a theocracy. But, as I said, don't believe me. Check out those two links above - they are decent entry points to this subject.

Faze - well, that was different material I posted, actually.

Anyway, um.....I guess you think US/Israel policy should be determined by the apocalyptic religious right ? Or that in some areas, US government science policy is now being influenced by religious fundamentalists who base their positions on a literalist reading of the Bible ?

Are you into "Faith Based" prisons and birth control technologies (just keep your legs crossed, ladies) ?

Are those things cool with you ? If they are, then I'd have to guess that you're rooting for American theocracy.

But such a theocracy isn't OK by me - if I wanted that sort of reality (or unreality, as it were) I'd move to Taliban controlled areas of Afghanistan.
________

soyjoy - I always get hung up on the technical aspects. And I find daily compulsory blogging tedious.
posted by troutfishing at 1:26 PM on October 20, 2004


"Manna Church... a vision to change the world." Yeah, that sounds benign. Personally, I'm glad troutfishing is bringing all this into the light of day. Now, what do we do about it?
posted by Dean King at 1:26 PM on October 20, 2004


There's a coffee bar inside. As first time visitors you get a free beverage (coupon in visitor packet.)

That's a joke, right?
posted by euphorb at 1:30 PM on October 20, 2004


Troutman, I love you. You're in my top 10 here, for real. But I don't know what you're talking about, and that's a first. ... I don't care about anyone who just doesn't dig you... fuck 'em.

Not having any particular pre-existing opinion on TF, I don't know which side of the fuck fence I fall on, but as this thread progresses I am leaning toward a "crazy, soon to be banned" reading. Is "flying out to konolia's church to speak in tongues" supposed to be synonymous with "losing one's shit on the site and being suspended by Matt," ala bunnyfire?
posted by scarabic at 1:34 PM on October 20, 2004


Sounds crackpot, but the more Trout digs, the more obvious it becomes.

See, my take is, "It may or may not exist, but the more crap he dumps on the screen, the less I believe it." I know it's at least 6 months until respected old-school news sources are retro cool, but I'd love to see some info that doesn't look like it came from a street corner pamphlet.
posted by yerfatma at 1:35 PM on October 20, 2004


Now, what do we do about it?

I've got it!!! Why don't you all post lots and lots about it on MetaFilter? That should fix everything.

Disaster averted, just in time, too!
posted by timeistight at 1:40 PM on October 20, 2004


There's a coffee bar inside. As first time visitors you get a free beverage (coupon in visitor packet.)

That's a joke, right?


No, not at all. They sell Pepsi products and snacks too.
posted by konolia at 1:48 PM on October 20, 2004


I rest my case.

If only that had been true.

Sounds crackpot, but the more Trout digs, the more obvious it becomes.

I assumed that was sarcasm.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:49 PM on October 20, 2004


konolia,
it sounds like a very nice church. If only I was Christian..

now, if they had Coke products I'd run screaming..
posted by dness2 at 2:22 PM on October 20, 2004


scarabic - the spectacle has been cancelled. You can go home now. As for your comment - wouldn't that amount to "unexpected expressions smacking of overt religiousity will be banned ?"

yerfatma - Like Rolling Stone ? The NYT ? The Washington Times ? ABC News ? Pray tell, please, which sources meet your stringent standards for journalistic veracity.....and I'll produce, more likely than not, articles on the religious right to support my case.

"In his aptly titled Jan. 28, 2004 Rolling Stone cover story, "Reverend Doomsday," Robert Dreyfuss explains: "It might seem unlikely that the commander in chief would take his marching orders directly from on high -- unless you understand the views of the Rev. Timothy LaHaye, one of the most influential leaders of the Christian right, and a man who played a quiet but pivotal role in putting George W. Bush in the White House."

LaHaye, you may recall, is co-author of the various Left Behind series, which, to date, has sold a reported whopping 60 million copies. A "strict biblical reconstructionist" who takes the Bible as "God's literal truth," LaHaye believes that Armageddon will be unleashed from "the Antichrist's headquarters in Babylon" (i.e. Iraq).

"Of course, there have always been preachers on the margins of the religious right thundering on about the end of the world," Dreyfuss writes. "But it's doubtful that such a fanatic believer has ever had such a direct pipeline to the White House."

"Not long after the Christian rightists staged their coup, the president of the Alamo City Republican Women's club just gave up and quit. "The so-called Christian activists have finally gained control," she explained in her resignation letter, "and the Grand Old Party is more religious cult than political organization." - WITH GOD AS THEIR CO-PILOT Joe Conason, writing Playboy , reportiong on the 1993 takeover of the Texas Republican Party by the religious right.
posted by troutfishing at 2:32 PM on October 20, 2004


[ That last sentence was a bit garbled there. Life got in the way of Metafilter for a bit. ]
posted by troutfishing at 3:13 PM on October 20, 2004


Holy fuck I hope your life wasn't too mangled by the collision

;)
posted by scarabic at 3:52 PM on October 20, 2004


nothing superglue can't fix
posted by troutfishing at 4:13 PM on October 20, 2004


Okay good - now, I'm trying to keep up. This is what I know:

1) You're going to North Carolina - can't wait to see the pics.
2) George W. is a religious nut - couldn't agree more.

Not sure what the connection is, between the two - but I am SO on board. Whooowoooo!!
posted by scarabic at 4:19 PM on October 20, 2004


Careful, troutfishing...the last person to post nonsensical garbage to the site was (quite reasonably) given a timeout. I think you're knocking on the door.
posted by rushmc at 4:55 PM on October 20, 2004


Full disclosure: I only believe in the Washington Times. I need unbiased news. I hope you expose the vast shithead conspiracy you're chasing after, but beware the nagging influence of ego. Look at the phrasing of this post. Pretend someone else wrote it. Now ask yourself, "Who the fuck cares?"
posted by yerfatma at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2004


rushmc - "nonsensical" is a rather loaded term, don't you think ? Isn't that a value judgement ? And to repeat what I said to scarabic, "unexpected expressions [ nonsensical to many ] smacking of overt religiousity [ especially when combined with impetuous wagers ] will be banned ?"

But - advice well taken. I'll chill out, maybe make a few "cute" posts about bonsai kittens.....

yerfatma - now you're making sense. Ok. Still - a "conspiracy" openly declared isn't actually a conspiracy, is it ?
posted by troutfishing at 5:24 PM on October 20, 2004


I don't see trout's posts and comments as being deserving of a timeout. Whether or not this meta post was appropriate - that is arguable. No-one has been abused by the thread. Let's put it in perspective. Trout's got some big concerns, which seem to have some basis in fact. He has every right to be uptight, and to post on that.

It'll all come out in the wash.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:52 PM on October 20, 2004


I can fully appreciate trout's concern.

The religious right is brewing up to take managerial control of the USA and force two things: its citizens to live by fundamentalist "Christian" values and to accelerate the coming of Armageddon.

Neither one of those is an appetizing future for the country.

It's going to happen if secularists don't get aware and get politically active in countering it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on October 20, 2004


FFF, if you think the "Christian Right" is monolithic....well, wanna buy a bridge?

Granted, you can't tell us apart because we all look alike and all.....(/mild goodnatured sarcasm)
posted by konolia at 6:11 PM on October 20, 2004


konolia, would you be ok with running the US on Christian principles? Changing our law, etc to more closely match God's laws? Do you think that would be fine?
posted by amberglow at 6:31 PM on October 20, 2004


Amberglow, I see nothing wrong with the Constitution we already have. I mean, I don't think you want to make murder or theft legal, do you? Those are Christian principles.. (I mean, having murder and theft illegal of course.)

Frankly, every "special interest group" tries to get its people elected so as to have things their way. Liberals, conservatives, treehuggers, libertarians, trade unionists, so on and so forth.

But in the interest of full disclosure I suppose I should tell you that my husband is on the ballot this next election (for a local/state office.)
posted by konolia at 6:41 PM on October 20, 2004


Konolia, making murder and theft illegal aren't "Christian principles" any more than they're "Jewish principles" or "Hindu principles" or "Islamic principles" or "Confucian principles" or "Zoroastrian principles" or "Caodaist principles" or any other sect's principles.

There are plenty of Christians (self included) who go to church and who nonetheless believe strongly in the separation of church and state. Just saying.

Troutfishing, I admire your passion. However, your recent posting frenzy reminds me of Mark Twain's story about hearing a missionary's sermon:

Fifteen or twenty years ago I had an experience I shall never forget. I got into a church which was crowded by a sweltering and panting multitude. The city missionary of our town--Hartford--made a telling appeal for help....I remember on that occasion in the Hartford church the collection was being taken up. The appeal had so stirred me that I could hardly wait for the hat or plate to come my way. I had four hundred dollars in my pocket, and I was anxious to drop it in the plate and wanted to borrow more. But the plate was so long in coming my way that the fever-heat of beneficence was going down lower and lower--going down at the rate of a hundred dollars a minute. The plate was passed too late. When it finally came to me, my enthusiasm had gone down so much that I kept my four hundred dollars--and stole a dime from the plate.

The longer your posts on this topic get, the less likely they are to actually reach anyone. I know you're really worried about this. I'm really worried about a lot of things in this world, but I don't make interminable FPPs about them every blessed day.

Less can be more, and more can be an enormous turnoff.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:48 PM on October 20, 2004


Amberglow, I see nothing wrong with the Constitution we already have.
Well then, why vote for people who want to amend it to discriminate against me? And what about abortion? It's legal, but certainly not ok or in keeping with Christian beliefs. Or teaching evolution? There are tons of things that are legal yet aren't ok to Christians.
posted by amberglow at 6:57 PM on October 20, 2004


If rushmc is thinking of the same recent timeout-giving I am, it began small and became a problem as it became more frequent and prominent on the site. Multiple AskMe questions were made, but the coup de grace was a navel-gazing MeTa thread.

I'm certainly not calling for TroutTimeOut, nor is anyone else here. Just pointing out a similarity between this thread and others that eventually led to a timeout. No one wants to see anyone else go down that road.
posted by scarabic at 7:08 PM on October 20, 2004


Manna Church vision statements include:

"...a church who [which] aggressively pursues the advancement of the Kingdom of God on every front and in every place."

It uses "cell groups" to organize and evangelize. "Cell groups are gatherings of at least three people who meet regularly for a variety of purposes..." Does that language sound familiar? It should: Al Queda uses a cell group structure to reach its believers globally, too.

I've read most of the Manna Church's site and, frankly, it sounds like a rocking good way to help people who desire a religionist sort of life. It's supportive, focused, and empowering for those that find power outside themselves.

Peachy-keen. Seems a little MLMish, which certainly bodes well for its founder's future income. And it sounds like some of the cell group stuff could well involve revealing personal details of troubles and strife that could be later used in blackmailish sorts of ways, ala Scientology's use of same. Definitely not my cup of tea, and indeed it repulses me on a personal level, but I can see how it can work for some people.

The problem, however, ultimately comes down to its stated goal: "the advancement of the Kingdom of God on every front," which includes in the political realm. The religionist right wants the force of government backing its morals. It wants the government guns -- the legal system and the police and army that back that system -- to force people to abide by their moral code.

Sorry, but I don't swing that way. The religionists must keep their moral beliefs from infringing on my rights. Anything less is tantamount to Talibanesque rule.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:08 PM on October 20, 2004


fff - passionately spoken ( you have my email ) and - for the record - I would trust Konolia with an awful lot. But I do have differences of opinion.

Sidhedevil - Ahh..... thank you~!

Constructive criticism. I deeply appreciate that.

* remembers quietude, stillness, snow on pine boughs *
posted by troutfishing at 7:15 PM on October 20, 2004


Amberglow, teaching evolution is just great for the majority of Christians. Please don't let a small subset of the world's largest religious tradition co-opt the name. The only people who oppose the teaching of evolution are fundamentalist Evangelical Christians, and not all of them at that.

Troutfishing, I'm glad you took my comment in the spirit in which it was intended. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need you to save your strength for the long haul.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:21 PM on October 20, 2004


...a theocracy isn't OK by me

Good on ya, troutfishing. We agree on the matter, and I share your dread and concern.

Now... please remind me of the purpose of this MetaTalk thread.

Many of us agree with your views, but this thread is the equivalent of bursting into a city council meeting yelling about coyotes attacking your herd.

Point of order, sir. This is MetaTalk, not your personal blog. Regardless of the strength of your argument, you have bandied it in an aggressive way. Please explain yourself.
posted by squirrel at 7:26 PM on October 20, 2004


I know, Sidhe, but those Christians running for office (at every level, from schoolboards up) and calling for these things are the ones we worry about. There's no reconciling or compromise for them. They want to change our laws to suit their beliefs. I've said it before, but you other Christians (the majority, i believe) better start speaking up and out about your brethren who are trying to make this some Christian Nation. I don't hear you guys at all on this, except for comments like konolia's in trout's threads, pooh-poohing and dismissing.
posted by amberglow at 7:27 PM on October 20, 2004


I'm completely baffled. I find trout's concern about a theocratic takeover understandable (though his "never use one word when you can use 5,000" style is counterproductive), and I even share it to some extent. But... but...

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS METATALK POST ABOUT???

Sorry to shout, but the psychedelic fog in here is affecting my brain.
posted by languagehat at 7:36 PM on October 20, 2004


squirrel - amidst all of the random jabber bandied about on Metafilter (amidst the considerable substance ) you wouldn't grant me this, an issue of deep faith ?

Point of faith order, sir.


Or is Metafilter to be preserved as a secular zoo, a curio amidst wider societal changes ?
_______

konolia - you have my respect for your civility.

I have to ask you about a few theological questions which demarcate why I cannot call myself a Christian (at least in the way I believe you define what it is to be a Christian)

2 Kings 2:23-24

"The question of the apparently ruthless attitudes of the Israelites toward Canaanites is a perplexing one in Scripture. -1- The problem is compounded by the passages in which God is pictured as commanding the extermination of certain peoples, including the slaughter of women and children. Dealing with this issue can be quite complicated...."

So this is your literal God ? And, where stands Jesus in this picture, and his message of forgiveness and redemption ?

Are the Old and New Testaments to be weighted equally ? And - if so -can you call yourself, rightfully, a Christian ? If so, do you keep a Kosher kitchen ?

I feel compelled to a contextual interpretation.
posted by troutfishing at 7:38 PM on October 20, 2004


trout, it is late, and if you will email me that same query so I have time to think about it before I forget it (bipolar can do that to you..) Those are good honest and fair questions and we discussed some of them when I was in Bible school.

There is a place in the New Testament where Jesus declared all foods clean....He was the fulfillment of the OT law...and yes, I know that bears a lot more explanation and detail. God used a lot of pictorial imagery in the OT, a lot of symbolism. It is really quite fascinating.

As to the slaughter of men, women and children, those societies were incredibly vile beyond anything that any of us could imagine. God judged them accordingly. But I personally do not believe the innocent children in those societies went to Hell. I do not understand some of what God commanded in the OT, but I do know God, and I know His character, and I know that whatever He does is for ultimate good and ultimate right, and is done in ultimate love. Please note I said ultimate. And no, again, I do not understand it all.

As for all those subversive cell groups in my church, a couple of them center around....quilting. Also biking, regular bible studies, etcetera. Heck, even choir is considered a small group. When you have almost 3000 members this is the only way to have real personal contact with others in the church. You know, people to bring you soup when you are sick, stuff like that. Which reminds me, since I quit choir, I really should go find another group to bother.
posted by konolia at 8:06 PM on October 20, 2004


...amidst all of the random jabber bandied about on MetaFilter... you wouldn't grant me this, an issue of deep faith?

Point of faith order, sir.


My faith in your stands untouched, Troutfishing; but my faith is neither the engine nor the guide of MetaTalk. So, no, I won't grant you this bizarre, out-of-place rant about your otherwise reasonable concerns here in MetaTalk. Your declarations of faith are wanted and needed in MetaFilter threads to which they apply, and in your excellent posts.

But they're inappropriate as the genesis of a MetaTalk thread. You could save yourself a lot of face here by just owning up to this fact here and now. Apologize and redeem yourself, or extend this discussion of theology and secularism in a context that undermines your argument.
posted by squirrel at 8:07 PM on October 20, 2004


...amidst all of the random jabber bandied about on MetaFilter... you wouldn't grant me this, an issue of deep faith?

Point of faith order, sir.


My faith in you stands untouched, Troutfishing; but my faith is neither the engine nor the guide of MetaTalk. So, no, I won't grant you this bizarre, out-of-place rant about your otherwise reasonable concerns here in MetaTalk. Your declarations of faith are wanted and needed in MetaFilter threads to which they apply, and in your excellent posts.

But they're inappropriate as the genesis of a MetaTalk thread. You could save yourself a lot of face here by just owning up to this fact here and now. Apologize and redeem yourself, or extend this discussion of theology and secularism in a context that undermines your argument.
posted by squirrel at 8:08 PM on October 20, 2004


Oops... double! See if you can spot the five differences, kids! (Okay, there's only one)
posted by squirrel at 8:10 PM on October 20, 2004


Peachy-keen. Seems a little MLMish, which certainly bodes well for its founder's future income

He gets a salary, set by the elders.(Actually, I mean the senior pastor. The founder leads a church in Chapel Hill.) They print a statement in the church bulletin stating how much was collected in tithes, etc. and in what categories it was designated. And we have a comptroller to keep track of every penny. If I wanted to know what they spent on xyz all I have to do is ask.

A lot of the money goes right back out to missions, including medical and benevolence help.
posted by konolia at 8:13 PM on October 20, 2004


So, no, I won't grant you this bizarre, out-of-place rant about your otherwise reasonable concerns here in MetaTalk.

Ohferfuckssake. Lots worse shit comes down the pipe here in MeTa. Trout's brain chemistry is obviously a bit off these past few days: let's cut him some slack. It's not like he habitually abuses MeTa.

Konolia: cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:29 PM on October 20, 2004


"Apologize and redeem yourself, or extend this discussion of theology and secularism in a context that undermines your argument." - squirrel, you sound like a Jesuit, or an inquisitor.

I trust you are neither.

But I'm confused by your tone.
_______

konolia - I will. I'm tired too, and there's a place for proper sleep.
posted by troutfishing at 8:31 PM on October 20, 2004


Not only are there a whole bunch of different kinds of Christians, there's a whole bunch of different kinds of evangelical Christians. There are leftist and rightist evangelicals (though it should be noted that each thinks the other oxymoronic), I've known and know both. Some are very political, some are not. Some are enthusiastic about secular government, some are hostile to it.

I think you'll find, however, that the very most politically active fundamentalist Christians in the US today, and the ones amberglow and others have in mind, are cultural conservatives by temperment first and foremost—their religious belief does not drive their cultural values; rather, it is the most convenient scaffolding on which to hang them. If it were not fundamentalist Christianity, it would be something else.

History demonstrates that there are hugely divergent social and political values that one can suppsedly derive from the Bible. It simply isn't fair or accurate to claim that Christianity itself is of inherent political character X or Y. It's not the case for Islam, either. The core ideas of fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity are the unmediated access to Christ and God, a deliberately naive emphasis on the Scriptures, and a fascination with the Revelation to John. Nothing in that, especially, is inherently culturally or politically conservative. Historically, evangelists have been as likely to be radicals as reactionaries.

There certainly is today a subculture in American politics that aims to a certain kind of political hegomony built around a core set of cultural conservative values that are justified by religious faith. But those people have always been with us. They have always been active. And, I believe, they'd be with us given any particular dominant religious cultural context. It's a matter of temperment, an affiliation to a certain ideology that is itself not essentially about religious belief and faith. It's about power.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:36 PM on October 20, 2004


squirrel, you sound like a Jesuit, or an inquisitor

That's the first ad hominem I've ever seen you make, Trout. I'm willing to chalk it up to fatigue; and I know my tone is sharp--I'm trying to get you to make some sense of this thread. I may sound like a Jesuit(?!), but I feel like a hostage negotiator. Put... the thread... down.

Please just answer the question: regardless of your beliefs on whatever, why this MetaTalk thread? Others have pointed out that turning the gray into your personal blog could get you a time out. I'm trying to position you to explain yourself, lest people get the wrong idea and think you're a self-centered loony with delusions of grandeur.

Your ad hominem retort suggests to me that you're at a loss. Prove me wrong.
posted by squirrel at 8:49 PM on October 20, 2004


trout is one of the posters here that i would like to be around while they were experiencing the effects of datura. not that i would encourage anyone to ingest a poisonous plant just to satisfy my own curiosity about their behavior, but if it was happening anyway then yanno, interesting. i have had that stuff growing around before and see it all the time, it is actually so lovely these big alien looking flowers and then the spiky pods that you just know something is going to hatch out of and eat you, no wonder it fucks with your mind.

and i'm disappointed that the manna church has nothing to do with magic the gathering nerds obsessed with collecting land cards. there was this guy who had over a million magic basic land cards, i can not find the site though. that amuses me, weird obsessive collecting at it’s finest. the manna church should be centered around playing the secret of mana game and collecting worthless magic cards.

and a church with a built in coffee bar, a flash web site with a store?

i dunno, one of the few things about church that i enjoyed was the simplicity of it all, it felt earnest. tech-savvy churches with marketing tie-ins just seem creepy to me. what you are used to and all i guess.

looks like the red sox might pull it off. i have never been in a major league baseball stadium. something of a shame, the national pasttime and all. just recently went to st louis but didn't have free time to try and see a cards game. oh well.
posted by bargle at 8:54 PM on October 20, 2004


EB, you're right, but where are the Dorothy Days or whoever of today? Where are the loud and proud Christians fighting for justice? Why don't we see the leftish ones ever? Why aren't they out visibly fighting to retain social justice and equal rights or scientific advancement? I want to see them, in the media and speaking out.

As a non-Christian, I can only say what i see: the other ones are speaking for all of you, and they want it to appear that way, too. There are endless examples of Christians trying to turn this country into some theology-based, restrictive, scary, fundamentalist place--a place where there's no place for me and mine, or anyone at all not fitting their idea of what's right and proper.

I think i'd like to see the rest of you step up to the plate--otherwise I and many others will continue to think the fundamentalists are ok in your book, and that's why you're silent--that the majority of Christians here (the majority of the US population, btw) are in agreement with those people.
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on October 20, 2004


Squirrel - I'd say my tone was well calibrated to match yours, as in : "I won't grant you this bizarre, out-of-place rant"....."a self-centered loony with delusions of grandeur" .

Your tone undercuts your charge.

I'm merely talking - in fascination that others (you included) also keep talking. What's at stake ? Why all the energy ? This isn't about me. Not really.

But, you're not being nice. I can be less nice as well - while remaining quite polite.

Still, I've disclosed my motives. What are yours ?
_______

Ethereal Bligh - I disagree.

There are clear theological and doctrinal differences - as in the recent reinterpretations of "The Great Commission".
__________

Bargle - A church with a built in coffee bar is a church to fear. Coffee is a drug which causes the release of Adrenaline. Adrenaline is a part of the fight-or-flight response.
posted by troutfishing at 9:06 PM on October 20, 2004


...while they were experiencing the effects of datura

I'm quite fascinated with datura. A large portion of people's trip reports (many more elsewhere) are frighteningly uniform in their horror. A good number of people believe themselves to have come face to face with pure evil, so to speak. This nicely parallels the encounters with God and "goodness" many people have with other psychoactive drugs. Personally, I don't think any of these effects are metaphysical; but it does make sense to me that various parts of our brains dealing with euphoria or fear could be induced to saturate other areas of processing (sensory, decision-making and judgment, etc).

As someone who, like many, found Dante's Inferno much more interesting and compelling than Paradiso, I find that I'm more intellectually interested in chemically meeting the Devil than I am in chemically meeting God. But that's just me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:06 PM on October 20, 2004


Or - EB, I think that a fundamental shift in Christianity is underway - a shift releasing the sort of energy that once propelled the crusades.

I don't feel that to be a positive development.

No, not at all.
posted by troutfishing at 9:10 PM on October 20, 2004


EB - To paraphrase a noted ethnobotanist's experience, as explained by his Shaman - "Oh them - they're just the guardians of the outer darkness, always claiming to be the lords of everything. You just have to get past them."
posted by troutfishing at 9:15 PM on October 20, 2004


I like troutfishing's posts. they are some of the best on the whole site.

"We are Trout Fish Comments. Ten million LONG and BO-RING..."

tucker?
posted by mcsweetie at 9:15 PM on October 20, 2004


...the other ones are speaking for all of you...

Just a note: I'm an atheist; maybe I self-identified as a Christian as a child, but not even then, really. Anecdote Warning: I just had occasion the other day to recall a cross-country trip in a station wagon in 1974 with my aunts and grandparents. I was nine. The younger aunt, six years older than me, spent much of that trip attempting to convert me. I vividly recall her saying, every day, "Keith, when we get to the hotel, there will be a bathtub and I can baptize you." The point of my story is that even at nine, I was quite strong-willed and had no intention of allowing myself to be baptized by her because I didn't believe. On the other hand, I indulged her in her efforts to save me because I understood that she herself deeply believed, and that she was motivated by her love and concern for me. This anecdote is intended to explain my relationship with theists.

I admit that I know far fewer leftist evangelicals than rightist ones. Why don't we see more of them? Well, first, I think it's true that they're outnumbered. But also, it's my observation that they're typically drawn to actual, practical ministry. They work with the sick and poor, not school boards. The Christian right, however, is in my experience much more concerned with pursuing political goals than um, walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

However, I'd describe my sister, an evangelical missionary and minister, as more right-wing than left-wing. But she and her ilk are not that politically active. They, too, are mostly engaged in acts of charity and missionary work. I can't speak for my sister, but I can say that I have the strong impression that she feels many of the goals that the politically active Christian right are agressively pursuing are diversions from the true work they should be performing. And so, you can see, among Christians of all political tendencies there is a division between the Bible-thumping Sunday churchgoers who rail against the homosexuals, and the ones that are, you know, feeding and sheltering the homeless. You can guess which group has my sympathies.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:20 PM on October 20, 2004


you sound like a Jesuit

That's a compliment in my book.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:24 PM on October 20, 2004


On the other hand, I indulged her in her efforts to save me because I understood that she herself deeply believed, and that she was motivated by her love and concern for me. This anecdote is intended to explain my relationship with theists.
And it's telling. Maybe indulging these people is what's happening among the mass of Christians here?

It's the pursuing of political goals that gives it a direct impact on the rest of us (and the rest of the world). So your sister feels that they're misdirecting their energy--does she do anything about that? I think there's a passivity about dealing with the Right, but it's the Right that's doing the damage--real, tangible damage.

I think i'm ascribing responsibility, or looking for someone--anyone--to counter the shit that's being done here and now in the name of Christianity. History has taught all of us about that. I know they don't listen to gay Jews like me.
posted by amberglow at 9:37 PM on October 20, 2004


Normally, I would take this offline at this point. But this thread appears to be about this thread, so I'll continue here.

I'm merely talking - in fascination that others (you included) also keep talking. What's at stake? Why all the energy? This isn't about me. Not really.

Merely talking? You've started a MetaTalk thread to declare your position on theocracy. Not about you? About what then?

What's at stake? The reputation of one my favorite posters.

Still, I've disclosed my motives. What are yours?

Initially, my motive was to get one of my favorite posters to back away from an impulsive posting error so as to save face and credibility. Face and credibility are important around here. You often come through with comments and links that skate the edge of reason so well that they illuminate an argument in a way that a more direct approach could not. Frankly, your posts often dazzle me.

It's important to me that users who I admire stick around and remain credible. I don't enjoy trying to moderate your input here, but when I see you acting in a way that could damage your reputation here, I am motivated to point it out and try to help you set it straight.

You seem to have no interest in setting anything straight, so I'll stop trying to help you. My efforts lacked good design, as evidenced by your defensive hostility. I'm sorry for that. The only thing that motivates me going forward is trying to navigate out of this corner such that we can continue to interact productively here.

In short, I wasn't trying to call you out; I was trying to let you out. I regret the effort, please accept my apology.
posted by squirrel at 9:50 PM on October 20, 2004


But this thread appears to be about this thread, so I'll continue here.

He just woke up, too, so watch out. He can go another 12 hours.


WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS METATALK POST ABOUT???


Best I can tell, it should have been an AskMe thread querying: "What were those things that the Transformers ate called?"

Troutfishing's first couple of "stop repressing my expressions of faith" comments were enough to convince me he doesn't want to be talked down. I think the best we can do is make a pile of couch cushions on the sidewalk below him and start chanting "Jump! Jump! Jump!"
posted by scarabic at 9:58 PM on October 20, 2004


Well, as I said, my sister's more conservative so it's not that she's necessarily opposed to many of the things the political Christian right is doing. But I think she believes they have their priorities wrong. Homosexuality, as I've mentioned before, is an example: in her view, it certainly is a sin, but so are a great many other things that the Christian right isn't freaked out about. She correctly sees the obsession with anti-gay stuff as more an expression of particular cultural fears and prejudices than a mandate from heaven.

To my way of seeing things, the real divide here is between the haters/fear mongerers and the lovers and the people who are trying to make the world a better place. I think the hater impulse is more than anything else xenophobic and tribalistic, and I think it finds expression in any convenient worldview at hand. This is why I don't see the problem of the dangerous Christian right as a problem exclusively and inherently associated with Christianity any more than I see Islamic fundamentalist fanatacism to be inherent to Islam or the Israeli radical right, the settlers, say, to be inherent to Judaism. I firmly believe that these people will be with us one way or another—lumping all Christians in with them, or whatever, is counter-productive. Because the particular relgious belief, or political belief, or whatever, isn't what it's all about. It's about fear and hatred, externalisation of despair, fixing blame for otherwise inexplicable misery, whatever. This is a variety of human temperment that we're a long way from eradicating.

My sister and her husband are highly respected among their community. There is some sense that they're spiritually gifted, that they're bound to accomplish some important things. I've urged upon my sister repeatedly my hope that perhaps her and her husband's mission is to advocate creation rather than destruction, advocate redemptive love rather than vengeful hate.

There really is some big, big things happening among the evangelical Christian youth that is almost completely under the radar of the traditional Christian conservative establishment that people like you and I associated with evangelicalism. These young people do not take their cues from Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. If anything, I see a strong possibility of something very much the opposite of trout's vision: there's a huge Christian youth movement that has in many ways very different and very 21st centrury values than does the old guard. It's not right-wing or left-wing, it's something different. One way to think about it is to consider that the established American Christian fundamentalist protestant churches have sort of entrenched themselves in their power, their organization, their political goals. To a lot of young people, I think, this structure looks not very different from that protestantism was supposed to oppose. Where is Christ?, they ask. The irony of evangelical protestantism, especially in the US, is that it's essentially radical. It is always reinventing itself, always in revolution, because its essential ethos is the unmediated relationship with God and access to Scripture. Churches acrue institutional identities that are always vulnerable to being declared irrelevant. Eventually, they are. Another cycle begins.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:16 PM on October 20, 2004


squirrel - thanks, that was a masterful defusing of tension.

scarabic - except that I'm the one who has bounced off the cushions and is now standing on the sidewalk chanting jump! jump! (the building's on fire) jump! jump!

You'll see....or not : if I'm wrong, that would be fine too.

Or, if I'm right, I'd feel sad.
__________

"To my way of seeing things, the real divide here is between the haters/fear mongerers and the lovers and the people who are trying to make the world a better place." - Yes, exactly. (ouch?)

EB - I very much hope you're right or that such energy can be fostered. I've - maybe - brushed up recently against that and wondered.
posted by troutfishing at 10:22 PM on October 20, 2004


EB, you're right, but where are the Dorothy Days or whoever of today?

Out actually doing things to improve the world, rather than engaging in pointless debates on MetaFilter?

Where are the loud and proud Christians fighting for justice?

By their nature, good Christians are neither loud nor proud.
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Mt 6:1-4)
Why don't we see the leftish ones ever? Why aren't they out visibly fighting to retain social justice and equal rights or scientific advancement?

Because they're more concerned with feeding, clothing, and housing the poor?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:48 PM on October 20, 2004


...maybe make a few "cute" posts about bonsai kittens.....

Oh, please, no...not on my account!!

I think i'd like to see the rest of you step up to the plate--otherwise I and many others will continue to think the fundamentalists are ok in your book, and that's why you're silent--that the majority of Christians here (the majority of the US population, btw) are in agreement with those people.

I second amberglow's challenge and think that those who would try to deny the clear discrepancy in American public discourse and political activism between evangelical and non-evangelical Christians are either astoundingly out of touch or being intentionally disingenuous.
posted by rushmc at 11:31 PM on October 20, 2004


Feature request: RSS feed of everything Troutfishing has to say so I can display it in the sidebar of my weblog.
posted by Jimbob at 12:25 AM on October 21, 2004


Those good, quiet, progressive Christians had better take some time off from feeding and clothing the poor to take back their public image from the loud-mouthed, social conservatives that are highjacking it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 AM on October 21, 2004


I'd just like to say - to one and all - that I apologize for my self-indulgent outburst here on this Metatalk thread, which had no reason for existence except as a self indulgent ouburst that came out of a massive boiling over of frustration about this issue.

I've been avoiding looking at this subject for many a year - in part for family reasons, and in part, I guess, from an avoidance based in dread about what I'd find.

When I did, I found even more than I expected - I'm still sorting out masses of data on my computer and in my head - and the process of coming to an accomodation with that resembled, quite closely, Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Death and Dying - except for me, it may have run like this :

Denial, Depression, Bargaining, Anger, Acceptance.

That was the anger stage.

I hope I haven't too seriously alienated any friends I have here.

Also, thanks to Konolia for being so polite and, plans of world conquest notwithstanding, a church with a coffee bar sounds nice. I hope it's good coffee like - you know - organic shade grown Fair Trade coffee ? Your church can get that stuff from Trader Joes's for the same price as lesser beans.

As for speaking in tongues - I would like to do that, although I'd have to, to be fair, run that past my wife (who is jewish) but - more to the point get my messy life a bit more in order first.
posted by troutfishing at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2004


well, given the state of "this subject," who could blame you? :)
posted by scarabic at 9:56 AM on October 21, 2004


Yeah, there's no denying this is an important subject, and it's not going away. I look forward to more discussion and more links from trout, hopefully not in MeTa though.

Very classy to own up and apologize... even if the infraction of a bad MeTa thread is as nothing compared to unbelievable crap like this out in the real world.
posted by soyjoy at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2004


trout: Whew! I'm really glad you came through with that comment; I didn't want to have to start mentally backing away from you when I heard the unmistakeable jolt of your harsh prophetic voice around the corner. Keep the aspidistra flying, compadre!
posted by languagehat at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2004


Am I the only one tripping on the church with a coffee bar?

Rockontrout.
posted by euphorb at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2004


TheocracyFishingNazi says "You bend to my didactic point or I crush you with links! Discuss little known, menacing Christian theologies of World Domination NOW, or no soup or salad ever again!"
posted by troutfishing at 2:50 PM on October 21, 2004


So are we pro-Jesuit or anti- now? I'm so confused. I didn't think that was an insult outside of Victorian-era England.
posted by yerfatma at 3:08 PM on October 21, 2004


And those last half-dozen messages capably demonstrate why so many people need to unclench around here when a MeFi member does something out of character. Shit happens in all our lives, and it sometimes ends up reflected in our behaviour here.

Trout's temporary obsession with beating us all with cluesticks re: dominionists was an aberration. Recognized for what it is, we can choose to cut some slack and see if he come's around to sanity again... and, lo!, he does.

Ditto reklaw's outburst today. Pushed to the wall on the election bullshit, he spazzed out on the front page.

The people we gotta be concerned about are not regular users who go off the deep end on rare occassion: it's the regular users who habitually do harmful things.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:19 PM on October 21, 2004


So this broom, it vibrates?

"So are we pro-Jesuit or anti- now? I'm so confused. I didn't think that was an insult outside of Victorian-era England."

Damnable wafer-eating Papists!

(in all seriousness, glad things are...normal? once more.)
posted by solistrato at 4:56 PM on October 21, 2004


Meanwhile...... EQUIP toils away.

Things are normal, yes.
posted by troutfishing at 9:18 PM on October 21, 2004


It's been surreal. I've enjoyed it. The voice I assigned to dear trout's ASCII is HAL's eery, measured monotone; I filtered it through an ominous Confucian politeness, added just a dash of vulnerable quaver, and injected a mild chorus effect to suggest incipient schizophrenia; the final mix, expecially when played during the witching hour, is so profoundly haunting, so full of pleading dread, so motherfucking scary, that an overwhelming sense of impending doom swallows both message and messenger, forcing the agonized listener to cast it all into the nearest abyss - the abyss I like to call the I-hope-everything-is-gonna-be-OK-but-I-can't-deal-with-this-now abyss...

...which is too bad. But at least a herd of heeby-jeebies has been let loose.
And I know just the guy to herd 'em. Welcome back, troutfishing.
posted by Opus Dark at 2:00 AM on October 22, 2004


So... Everybody up for hugs and Pepsi products at the coffee bar then?
posted by taz at 3:22 AM on October 22, 2004


Jump!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 AM on October 22, 2004


Opus Dark - YOU think it's been surreal ? I'm wondering what I need to say to my born-again brother at Thanksgiving, as in....
________________

[ Trout's ThanksGiving jeremiad to a certain family member ]

"Well, _____, I know you've taught your kids that Evolution and Global Warming are lies fostered by the forces of liberal, secular humanism. I remember your verbatim rehashing of Pat Robertson's theological take on the Israelites' slaughter of the Canaanites - who you said were so utterly corrupt that to kill them - every last man woman and child - would be to prevent them from further increasing their numbers and so swelling the population of Hell.

I thought that sort of Biblical literalism was insane then - and doubly so now for what I've recently learned.

See, it's come to my attention that the religious right in America has drifted so far from what I define as truth, reality, and sanity that it espouses an amoral doctrine which holds that it is OK to lie, cheat, steal, rip up voter registrations, probably kill, and God know what else - all in service of the project of achieving "Dominion" over the US government and the World.

That's so far from the core teaching of Jesus, so far from the Sermon on the Mount that the devil - which you believe in and, I suppose, fear - must have given rise to that doctrine of deceit. Neither Jesus nor God did.

Somehow, the worst of the political behavior of the religious right has come to embody all that it says it loathes in America - as a culture riddled with moral relativism in the service of power and a culture of blasphemous idolatry which presumes to know and embody the will of God and endeavors to achieve, through evil means, the seizure of power in the name of God - and in name only : for those who claim most stridently to know and embody the will of God are ever - and always have been - the false prophets warned of in Biblical scripture who urge men to march in the service of evil and whose words seek to entrance and inspire in them a bloodlust, a frenzy of slaughter in the name of God. Christianity has always been afflicted with this sort of periodic recrudescence of perversion which turns Christians from the teaching of Jesus towards doctrines of savage hate : as in the Inquisitions, in the Crusades.....

But, what I really want to know though, _____, is whether - since you've been tuned into the 700 Club for the last two or three decades - you believe in Pat Robertson's call for a "Fumigation" of non-religious right elements of American society ? Do you believe in the theology of Dominionism or in this new conception of "The Great Commission" which seeks to install a talibanate of theocratic tyrants who rule the World and inflict a tortured legal code derived from literalist interpretation of the Bible ? I don't see much of the teachings of Jesus in that, and I see none of the teachings of Jesus in the obsession of the religious right with the Old Testament. If you want to truly make the Old Testament your book, convert to Judaism and study the Talmud.

Otherwise, heed the teachings of Jesus : "Ye shall know them by their fruits". Were those words of Pat Robertson's, calling for a "fumigation" merely a sick metaphor, or is that a literal fumigation to be accomplished with Zyklon B ? Do you believe that any and all acts are permissible in the service of achieving your kingdom of hell on earth ? Do you find words of hatred and the condoning of deceit in the service of power somewhere in the Gospels ? In the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps ? Has it come this far that you would look aside in pained, hand wringing acquiescence as the armies of hatred which you condone cleanse your own family members ? And - if so - why should eat sit down today and eat with you ? "Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matt 7:16 "


_____________

anyway - "The voice I assigned to dear trout's ASCII is HAL's eery, measured monotone; I filtered it through an ominous Confucian politeness, added just a dash of vulnerable quaver, and injected a mild chorus effect to suggest incipient schizophrenia" - Opus Dark, is that a standard option on your computer ? Is it a Mac ? Alas, though - schizophrenia just doesn't run in the family - and more's the shame. If I could manage that trick, I'd be able to lead a normal life.

I love the concept of not reading Metafilter but assigning various writers I like distinct voices

"at least a herd of heeby-jeebies has been let loose.
And I know just the guy to herd 'em." - It's like herding cats though, and I'm only one sheepdog. I'm working on that.
posted by troutfishing at 6:05 AM on October 22, 2004


Well, that'll make for a jolly Thanksgiving dinner!
posted by languagehat at 7:02 AM on October 22, 2004


languagehat - I guess I'd better put on some soothing music first.

You know, maybe Handel's "Messiah"........
posted by troutfishing at 9:47 AM on October 22, 2004


can i just point out that there's more than one christian tradition in this country and the conservative evangelical one may not even be the most important one? ... if pat robertson and co want a christian goverment, i think catholics are going to have something to say about that ...

i'd just suggest that you visit more than one church if you're seeking ...
posted by pyramid termite at 3:39 PM on October 22, 2004


pyramid termite - Oh, don't worry. The wannabee theocrats plan to forge a theocracy which will be quite sympatico with the priorities of the Catholic right.

Also - Gurdjieff had a little anecdote about the origin of organized religion.
posted by troutfishing at 3:44 AM on October 23, 2004


Hey, BTW trout-when can we expect you? ;-)
posted by konolia at 4:40 AM on October 23, 2004


konolia - My wife likes North Carolina. Spring?

I need to stop tapping on the computer and earn some gas money!
posted by troutfishing at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2004


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