Random Randomness

Time for another healthy dose of random thoughts and observations.

– My wife and I were walking around our local mall the other day and we saw a “Hurricane Simulator”. It’s basically a booth that you pay $2 to stand in and have ‘hurricane force’ winds blown at you. But here’s the kicker – the simulator only produces winds up to 78 mph. 78 mph! People, please don’t pay $2 for this. Go for a drive on the interstate with your windows down instead.

– While we were at the mall, we went into the Family Christian Store. Displayed prominently at the checkout counter was Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue: An American Life”. It struck me as odd. And it made me a little uncomfortable. I put Sarah Palin in the same category as people like Jon and Kate Gosselin and former Miss California Carrie Prejean – people that the Christian subculture have gravitated towards and elevated to hero status. The problem is that we’ve done this without any real knowledge of the people we are elevating. Jon and Kate have crashed and burned. So has Carrie Prejean. I’m not saying that Sarah Palin will, but she’s a politician and a human being, so the potential is definitely there. And I’m definitely not comfortable with her being the face of Christianity to the wider public.

– We bought gas today at the Wal-Mart in our town. The gas station there is not even 5 years old, yet I was surprised to see that the counter for regular unleaded gas on our pump was already over 1 million. That pump alone has pumped more than 1 million gallons of gas since the summer of 2006. And that’s just one pump out of 16 at this station. I think that’s incredible. It made me think about all the people who must have stood there, what was going on in their lives, what they were thinking. It made me feel small.

– It looks like tonight is “Disaster B-movie” night at the Robinson house. Just finished “Deep Blue Sea”, and now we’re moving on to “10.5 Apocalypse”. Ooh! We’ve got a Dean Cain sighting! Should be fun!

Peace.

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4 comments

  1. Joseph, your comments on Palin et al: I don’t quite know what the Christian subculture is, but I do know about the Christian “pop-culture.” And I agreed that it contains many things that have little if nothing to do with Christ or even Christendom for that matter. I don’t see Palin as anything other than an accomplished woman who happens to profess Christian faith. Like I see Mike Huckabee as an accomplished man who happens to profess Christian faith.
    Just like I view George W Bush as a spoiled brat, drunk until middle age when he discovered his Faith and became President professing his Christian faith.

    I can’t help but comment that I find your comparison of a mother of five, willing to give a handicapped child life, who was civic minded enough and accomplished enough to run for town mayor, governor and vice-president etc, with a woman whose major accomplishment is parading mostly naked in a contest, struggling to answer one question honestly and writing one book with a ghost writer more than a odd and maybe more than a little sexist. As to Jon and Kate – I have never watch a single episode of a single reality show in my life; I choose not to be submerged myself in THAT dehumanizing culture. Do you view Mike Huckabee or George Bush as equally suspect and of the ilk of Jon and Kate and Carrie?

    Pop-christian-culture (small c) bookstores have sold millions of tons of books by all sort of sinners, – Including some very famous Leaders of Christendom whose scandals were pretty gruesome. Guess what, genuine Christian bookstores, that is stores attached to Churches have sold tons of books by sinners, apostates and heretics, too. What I’m curious to learn is what you see as the “Christian sub-culture” and why it should not contain literature written by sinners? That’s the bottom line, you are a sinner, I am a sinner, Palin is a sinner, and the rest. Because one is a sinner being saved by Grace, doesn’t mean that one should be silent and never accomplish a thing until they reach deification. That would be an absurd proposition and rob us of the great works of even Saint Paul the Apostle and about half the New Testament.

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    • Great comment! I sometimes forget that not everyone uses the same terms to mean the same thing. When I get going on the Christian subculture (sometimes I use the term Christian Bubble), I’m usually bemoaning (among other things) the tendency of a large group of Christians to elevate certain people to “Hero of the Faith” status on little or no merit. The comparisons to Jon and Kate and Carrie Prejean were not intended to compare their character to Sarah Palin’s. Those comparisons were intended to show how people in the Bubble have latched onto Sarah Palin the same way they latched onto the Gosselins and Prejean, i.e. supporting them publicly, buying their books, attending their speaking engagements, etc. And this attachment seems to be for no other reason than that these people are in the public eye and claim to be Christian.

      I of course agree that we shouldn’t dismiss these people out of hand simply because they are sinners. As you pointed out, we all are sinners, and heaven help us if God dismissed us out of hand because of our sin. But the difference I see between Prejean, the Gosselins, Sarah Palin, and the Apostle Paul is that Paul (to the best of my knowledge of his life and of scripture) never sought personal fame, wealth, political position, book deals, etc. My ire against the Gosselins and Prejean, in particular, is because I feel like they are capitalizing on the title “Christian” in order to better their own situations.

      As to your question about how I view Mike Huckabee and George W. Bush versus the Gosselins and Prejean – in general, I find most people on reality television to be desperate, self-seeking idiots. I realize that this is a gross generalization that is probably incorrect, but I just can’t figure out any other reason why people would take x-amount of days or weeks away from their families and normal lives for a chance at some money. And I definitely can’t think of any other reason why the Gosselins would continue to make decisions that will prevent their children from ever having a normal life.

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  2. Joseph, my spiritual mentor wrote a single page one day that changed me to the core. It is through the lenses of that page and a question my bishop asked me that I view Sarah Palin, and a great many others who try to do something good, try to be a positive force for change etc. One statement on the single page said, “We are sometimes called to do something worldly. We should accept the task humbly, prayerfully and with energy and not judge others who are engaged in worldly affairs, as none of us are as good at it as we think.” The question my bishop asked me about fifteen years ago was, “Father, why are all these news media people constantly painting everything that is good about America as evil and everything that is evil in society and is killing this country as good?”

    Through those lenses I don’t judge Palin’s political ambitions, nor do I expect her to be a saint while endeavoring in a worldly enterprise. I judge her actions whether they reflect the “culture of death” or the “culture of life.” The “culture of death” is strangling the good in this country and making heroes of serial liars, degenerates and propagandists; a culture that worships immorality and celebrates license, a culture that protects the guilty and slaughters the innocent. It is a culture that is destroying Christian culture and institution from the inside and from the outside. I think that clearly Ms Palin reflects the Culture of Life, and to a degree no politician in my lifetime has. Huckabee is a very close second. When I see the so-called mainstream media trying, with every exaggeration and lying slant possible, to eviscerate her I’m temped to believe there’s something very good about her.

    But none of these comments so far get to the core of the discussion, that being, “What is the Christian Bubble?” As an Orthodox Christian, I doubt there is much “Christian” about it. It is a paganized pop-culture labeled Christian. Here’s why I say this. It is an argument I’ve made many times about the nature of American Religionism. If the early church conquered the Pagan Roman Empire in three centuries, and it did, using only two weapons, Truth in Christ and the blood of the Holy Martyrs, proving the parable of the “Leaven in the Lump” “The salt with savor” etc., How can America on the other hand which claims roughly 80% of the population is “Christian” . . . how can American culture be circling the abyss as it surely is and everything that is evil be on the rise? We are the most Church going western culture. Yet our society is spinning into the abyss faster than most imagine. It proves the reverse, “Lump with no leaven” “Salt without savor”. One medium size Georgia town had the largest number of churches per captia of any city in America, and for the same period had the highest crime rate, the largest percentage of drug addicts, sexual predators, murders and robbers: It is simply a case on point.

    I don’t doubt that there is a great “cultural media Bubble” under the name, Christian. What I thoroughly doubt, in fact what I know to be the case is that it is simply a unique brand of American paganized Religionism and though ostensibly “Christian” contains little of the attributes of Christianity.

    BTW – enjoying the exchange.

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    • I’ve tried about 4 different ways to put succinctly what I mean by the “Christian Bubble”, and it’s just not coming. Suffice it to say that I believe that what I call the Bubble and you call “American paganized Religionism” are very similar, if not identical.

      Trying to think through exactly what I mean when I talk about the Bubble brings up too many thoughts to put in a comment on an unrelated post. Sometime in the next few days, I will devote a whole post to what the Bubble is and isn’t.

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