General Synod 07

A back and forth over the recent Canadian Anglican General Synod.

The Church voted that same sex blessings are not in conflict with the core doctrine of the Church (e.g. Incarnation, Trinity). That resolution passed by the narrowest of margins in the House of Bishops (passed with wider margin in House of Clergy and Laity—tricameral structure).

A second resolution that would have allowed for local option to perform same sex blessings however was defeated by 2 votes in the House of Bishops–it passed in the House of Clergy and Laity.

The man interviewed, Bishop Michael Ingham is the bishop of my diocese (New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada). The interview is re-posted on a site hostile to Ingham and to those for same sex blessings (which is different than marriage). [Scroll down a bit to begin the interview section.]

But for those interested in the on-going controversy in the Anglican Church, this is a good piece to read.

This answer gives a good overview of both the conservative (non-blessing) and liberal (blessing) theological positions:

Seydlitz 77, Edmonton: There are no less than seven places in the Bible (both Old and New Testament) where homosexual behaviour is condemned. They are Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:17; Romans 1:22-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; and Jude 1:7. How can you justify behaviour that your scriptures strongly condemn?

Bishop Ingham: You say “no less than seven verses” in the Bible condemn homosexual behaviour, which of course means that only seven verses (out of thousands in Scripture) do so.

Or do they?

We need to ask several questions here. What exactly is being condemned in these verses? In what context do these condemnations appear? And what authority should these texts have?

Whole libraries have been written on these questions, and space here is limited.

Briefly, the verses in the Hebrew Bible occur in the context of the Holiness Code — a series of regulations and prohibitions covering wide areas of ancient Jewish ritual. These include things like ritual bathing for women, the preparation of food, the observance of festivals and sacrifices etc.

Most of these rules and rituals are no longer observed by Christians. The onus of proof is on those who wish to retain a few selective prohibitions, not on those who no longer regard them as normative.

Secondly, the biblical assumption is that all people are heterosexual. Thus homosexual behaviour is seen as both a personal choice and an act against nature.

This is clearly what St. Paul means when he speaks of people “exchanging natural intercourse for unnatural” in Romans 1. To exchange something is an act of will.

These and other similar passages seem to refer to homosexual acts voluntarily undertaken by heterosexual people, and this is what is condemned.

There is no biblical condemnation of natural homosexuality, nor is any consideration given in Scripture to the question of permanent lifelong committed relationships between persons of the same sex.

Thirdly, what is clearly condemned in the Bible is every form of sexual exploitation and coercion — rape, sexual manipulation, prostitution, promiscuity, child abuse, and all manner of sexual deceit and domination. These are condemned in both their homosexual and heterosexual expressions.

And lastly, by far the greater witness of Scripture is toward love, justice and compassion — especially for the outcast and despised.

These texts outnumber the seven passages you mention by so great a margin that it is puzzling to see such focus on the few at the expense of the many.

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

xxx church

Very amusing and sweet (and award winning) documentary about two Christian pastors who’ve started an anti-pornography church online ( Documentary follows them around over a few years and some hilarious moments ensue (they got to a Porn Convention with their wives in Rabbit suits….you gotta see this). Also watch for the Giant Billboard Phallus at the end.

[Shannon this one is for you.]

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

ISC Transcript

Transcript of dialgoue with Ken Wilber and a caller that’s up on the Blog. You can read it here. I commend it to everyone.

Discussion of fear in the spiritual practice, whether the 3-2-1 Process is not perhaps to shallow (argument is that it is a beginning step but an important step nonetheless), and some good stuff I think on shadow.

Shadow is one of the 3 “S”s (the s..t, shower, and shave if you will) of the spiritual traditions: shadow, states, and stages. [Shadow definitely correlates with the “s..t” aspect].

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best Analysis on Iran

From Reza Aslan and Bruce Feiler on

[Pro-dialogue with regime]. Take regime change off the table. There is no other Revolution coming–“a revolution without blood” as the Iranians say.

Aslan’s point about Iran is simple. The US government thinks it needs to impose democracy in Iran but that democracy already exists in Iran although it is weak and suppressed by the unelected autocratic elements in society.

Read more

Whenever we face such autocracies (like Soviet Russia) with a democratic base, we would talk with the regime, contain them, and then let the bubbling come from below. Even with a nuke. We are trying to de-stabilize Iran by for example funding terrorist non-Persian groups (MKK) and the black-ops that the President has authorized inside Iran. Not again Iranian interference outside the country. Not to mention the kidnapping of the Iranian diplomats–if there is proof for them being wrongdoers, show the proof.

Also watch Aslan’s take on the recent clampdown in Iran. It’s part of a spring cycle that happens every year. And with the President’s signing order that the US would use Iranian-Americans to funnel aid to de-stabilize the regime, it is no surprise the Iranian government kidnaps Iranian-American scholars. Though those individuals were innocent.

Also, he discusses how the Iranian democracy groups do not want US aid. They may be pro-democracy in Iran but they are not in large measure pro-American foreign policy in the Middle East.

He makes a haunting point that when he recently visited Iran, people were as he says “literally looking up in the sky waiting for the bombs to drop.”

Why? Beause the policy is to still overthrow the regime forcing the regime to have no other option but pursue nuclear weapons, particularly withe recent economic squeeze which I fear gives too much power to the radicals.

According to RA, the Americans are more convinced that there is no military solution to Iran than Iran is—why the expect the bombs any day. I hope against but more than 50% convinced than bombs will drop on Iran this summer or at least before Bush leaves office.

His most important point I think is he puts to bed the idea that Ahmadinejad’s election represents a conservatization/radicalization of Iranian populace but rather the militarization of Iranian politics that has never happened before. That the President what Aslan calls “an empty” vessel for the Revolutionary Guard (RG).

Khomenei set up the RG as a parallel security and protection force against the Army and these forces have gone Frankenstein’s monster. A shadow gov’t Aslan calls them. Ahmadinejad is their guy. And the new political move is an alliance between Reformers and Pragmatist Conservatives and Clerics against the Revolutionary Cadre.

As Aslan says, opening up the country will bring regime change immediately. Others like Barnett have been saying that for a long time.

For the view that the same forces are inevitably leading to Persian expansion, Spengler in AsianTimes.

Spengler cites the still burning fires of Khomeni’s Revolution. Although it could be argued that is precisely why the revolts over oil rationing and the youth becoming isolated, party goers, Islamic chic among the girls, secret sexual encounters, and all the rest suggesting the Revolution has failed.

So the question is how to deal with the Revolutionary cadre? Spengler may be right–I hope he is wrong–but I guarantee an American strike automatically gives the store to the Ahmadinejad types.

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Article at IC

Been a little off for awhile, (Joe was sick), but we are reviving it back up again.

The piece is here.

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tariq Ramadan a Crypto-Pagan?

So says Spengler in AsianTimes. Article here.

He starts by dealing with Paul Berman’s long article in The New Republic on Ramadan. Ramadan is the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood Founder Hassan al Banna. Tariq is a controversial figure and Western writers are constantly asking whether he is a moderate bridge builder for Muslims in Europe or a closet proponent of Islamism.

Read more

But Spengler takes a very different tact. Spengler:

We find an intriguing solution to Berman’s puzzle in the work of the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), who argued that pagan society everywhere always is “totalitarian” in character, and that Islam is a form of paganism masquerading as revealed religion. I put “totalitarian” in quotation marks because Rosenzweig’s sociology of paganism predates this neologism. I summarized Rosenzweig’s still highly controversial view of Islam in a 2003 review of a German-language volume on the subject.

Spengler then quotes Rosenzweig himself (my emphasis):

In fact, the individual human stands before society as a whole: he knows that he is only a part. These wholes, with respect to which he is only a part, these species, of which he is only a representative example, have absolute power over his ethical life, although they as such are hardly absolute, but are in fact themselves only examples of the species “State” or “People”. For the isolated individual, his society is the society …

Moreover, Banna began a cult of death and love of death (more than love of life). Again a symptom of paganism–a sense of the tragic nature of life and the biosphere/the whole over the individual (turned into a part).

And the love of death means a fight for all for this whole, “the land”:

Pagans fight to the death for their land and culture, knowing that each fight might be the last, and one fight inevitably must be; for that reason all pagan culture exalts death. Parenthetically Nicholas Wade, in his recent book Before the Dawn, cites new research estimating a 40% attrition rate due to war of men in primitive society.

So if we back up historically we can see what is going on here–I argue through a basic sense of levels.

Red Islam is this paganism. Tribalism, the ummah over the individual. The love of the land (the biosphere still dominant over the noosphere) and the love of death. The connections between extremist Islamism and Fascism make sense as both red movements, pagan religions with modern weaponry. Also the mythicization of the hero-worship of say Bin Laden (the rich son who joins to the poor, kind to animals).

Blue Islam was the classical tradition which sought to unify the world under the rule of Islam–just as blue Christianity seeks/sought to do with Christianity.

This form of Islam was destroyed starting with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and culminating in the end of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. But it did not bring about an orange Islam. A breakdown not a breakthrough.

With the coming of orange leveling technology, the Islamic Reformation has begun. But that is actually leading to a re-energizing of this “pagan” (red) Islam.

The main paradigm (as both practice and worldview) in Islam is tawhid. Oneness. Oneness without manyness so says Spengler. Again holism in the worst sense. Totalitarian holism. Mythic holism where the whole/parts are mixed in all the wrong ways instead of differentiated and then re-integrated. Although mystically, what that means is clear (per the Sufis): only God is real. Everything essentially is Godhead.

In Sufism there is the distinction between al-Haqq (“The Truth”) and al-Lah (the G/god). That means the Truth (Causal/Nondual) is not defined solely as The God (High Subtle). Same distinction as God/Godhead.

What Spengler does not cover is whether there could be an emergent leap within the religion. Stage-wise to orange I mean. Tawhid then has to be re-thought. It would require a theological breakthrough involving something like oneness in relation to the individual and the community.

Because otherwise tawhid alone leads to the dominance of the wholes: land, hero leader/dictator (Sunni Arab countries), or ummah.

With the rise of that level, would transcend (and end) the shame culture, tribal law, and the anti-scientific, xenophobia, conspiratorial thinking, and racism so rampant in large swaths of the Muslim and especially Arab world. (These negative patterns are inherent to the red meme. They were important but now outdated and even pathologically destructive in relation to the contemporary later levels.)

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Not good

A kids show….

clipped from

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children’s television program was beaten to death in the show’s final episode Friday.

In the final skit, Farfour was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour’s land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a “terrorist.”

“Farfour was martyred while defending his land,” said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed “by the killers of children,” she added.

  blog it

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 11:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Freeman Dyson on Organized Complexity

clipped from

This picture of living creatures, as patterns of organization rather than collections of molecules, applies not only to bees and bacteria, butterflies and rain forests, but also to sand dunes and snowflakes, thunderstorms and hurricanes. The nonliving universe is as diverse and as dynamic as the living universe, and is also dominated by patterns of organization that are not yet understood. The reductionist physics and the reductionist molecular biology of the twentieth century will continue to be important in the twenty-first century, but they will not be dominant. The big problems, the evolution of the universe as a whole, the origin of life, the nature of human consciousness, and the evolution of the earth’s climate, cannot be understood by reducing them to elementary particles and molecules. New ways of thinking and new ways of organizing large databases will be needed.

  blog it

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 11:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Benedict Goes to China?

I hope. This has been my major hope of Benedict’s tenure: namely the normalization of relations between the Vatican and China and the reunification of the two Chinese Catholic Churches (state-sponsored and underground).

From NYTimes:

In an extraordinary open letter directed to Chinese Catholics and released on Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the suffering experienced by Catholics under Communist rule but also concluded that it was time to forgive past wrongdoings and for the underground and state-sponsored Catholic churches in China to reconcile. Openly hoping for a renewal of relations between China and the Vatican, which were suspended in the late 1950s, Pope Benedict reassured the Chinese government that the Vatican offered no political challenge to its authority, while urging the state-sponsored Catholic church to acknowledge the Vatican’s control on religious matters.

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Mason-Dixon Poll

Hillary comes out badly. In fact in the lowest spot on both accounts. Here via RCP:

Favorable/Unfavorable Ratings
Giuliani: 43/17 (+26)
Obama: 36 /21 (+15)
Thompson: 25/12 (+13)
McCain: 33/28 (+5)
Edwards: 32/28 (+4)
Romney: 24/20 (+4)
Richardson: 19/15 (+4)
Huckabee: 16 /12 (+4)
Bloomberg: 20/18 (+2)
Biden: 21/20 (+1)
Clinton: 39/42 (-3)

And worse (on electability):

Would/Would Not
Giuliani 64/36 (+28)
Thompson 62/38 (+24)
Bloomberg 61/39 (+22)
Obama 60/40 (+20)
Edwards 59/41 (+18)
McCain 58/42 (+16)
Biden 57/43 (+14)
Richardson 57/43 (+14)
Huckabee 56/44 (+12)
Romney 54/46 (+8)
Clinton 48/52 (-4)

She looks better and better in each forum and looks as it were the part and focuses on her experience. Minus some awful campaign moves (The Sopranos Celine Dion Mix), but these numbers are there and are not going to change imo no matter how well she runs a campaign.

Part of it is her fault, part of it I imagine is chalked up to prejudice. But Democrats really have to think about this one. She could win, but wow it’s an uphill fight. Republicans see that, see her still holding a substantial lead in the Primary and that has to help Rudy.

Published in: on June 29, 2007 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)