Saturday, June 29, 2002

Alone. Sometimes you find a writer that expresses exactly something you feel. Sitting alone at a café or restaurant with a good book is just perfect sometimes.
Fantastic! Credenda/Agenda just published its newest issue: Old Man Willow: In Praise of Escapism. It's a wonderful jaunt through the worlds of fantasy... Lord of the Rings... Chronicles of Narnia... Harry Potter... Defending them all against the Evangelical abhorence of such demonic tales. It hasn't been published online as of yet, but I'll give you a taste:

The modernist Christians... “don’t want to waste time on Tolkien" and end up with a shrivel of life. But, let's call them, Satanist-Christians fall the opposite way. They think Satan is alive and well and sees evangelicalism as a threat to him(!). They think Satan, having bound Christ, now rules the earth and is intent upon using Harry Potter to set us up for the Antichrist. That last clause is actually a quote.
    These believers often fear Harry Potter and Tolkien's Gandalf because of their tiny view of what happened at the cross. They have no sense of The Triumph. No sense of the defeat levelled against all things Satanic. We live in a new world. In Tolkien's terms, we live post-Mordor, and we have come back to the Shire to clean up the minor skirmishes, petty Satanisms lurking about after the war... Satan is disarmed. He still causes petty squabbles, but nothing like he did before the cross when he locked all Gentiles in darkness. That world is dead.
    Harry Potter can't be a threat. Wizardry doesn't really work. And if your kids are really tempted to join a coven then it's not a giant leap to say that you've failed miserably as a parent. Where is the ballast in your childrearing? How could that even be an option? You obviously have much more to fear from the subtleties of modern rationalism and individualism than from Potter.
    - Doug Jones, Most Real Fantasy

For those curious, I just finished the third Harry Potter book, and I don't think it's sending me to hell. In fact, I've rather enjoyed the series.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

It's hot. Every year, it seems to get hotter. I know that's a complete mix-up on my part - it's just my seasonal forgetfulness. Last summer, it was every bit as hot as it is now. Something tells me, though: It's hot earlier this time! More humid, even! Good grief!

Anyone moving to Maine from the south or midwest will be horrified to find that no houses here have air conditioning. I don't think most people here even know what AC is. They're too tough and independent... And here I am, a wimp craving air conditioning in a sea of cranky New Englanders who say this is nothing compared to the summer of '46.

I settle for driving aimlessly throughout the countryside - the wind, if still hot, provides a degree of comfort and keeps the sweat away. My usual summer music staples are fogotten. Dick Dale and the Beach Boys are just way too energetic. I listen instead to laid-back, vaguely sultry music. The Cranberries are a favorite: I play "Pretty" over and over again. It feels perfect for lolling about in the oppressive heat.

This is madness. Let's hurry and get into autumn.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Serious Kissing. This article by Bethany Patchin is quite an interesting read, especially with the responding letter below it. To wit:

...kissing between friends and even strangers is not considered anything special in Europe or many Orthodox churches. Last fall, at an Orthodox church in Maryland, I was kissed by a number of total strangers — including a couple of men. To me this was a shocking experience; culturally, the "kiss of peace" is lost to me, and that is sad. (Continuing my misadventures, this spring at a formal waltz ball, I completely bumbled the occasion when a woman tried to exchange a kiss on the cheek.) Patchin writes that "kissing is treated so nonchalantly" in our culture; I believe it is quite the opposite. Kissing has been so blown out of proportion that we cannot treat it casually. The very phrase "kiss of peace" makes no sense to a culture that only knows the "kiss of passion."

Not that I'm gonna run around kissing all and sundry with the "kiss of peace". (Not yet, anyway). But I think the church could benefit from a bit more physical contact between its members. We reformed types can be such prudes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Hello, all. This is my first foray into the world of blogging. I think that's what you call it. These new-fangled things. Go easy on me, folks!