Thursday, March 31, 2005

pretty dumb for a bunch of smarties

John Danforth's op-ed in the NY Times yesterday deserves to be read. Danforth is a former Republican Senator and UN ambassador (he resigned not long ago). He also happens to be an Episcopalian minister who believes the Republican party has become nothing more than the political arm of the Christian conservative movement. Being a Christian and moderately conservative myself, this should either offend me or make me squeal with delight (secretly of course, or on the 700 Club).

But it doesn't. Because he's right. While my beliefs might not jive with those of Christian conservatives most of the time, I still consider myself one in the loosest of definitions. And I agree that we have a monopoly on the Republican party, which is a dangerous situation for the marketplace of ideas. Conservative Christians too often stifle opposition or criticism because of our so-called monopoly on "The Truth." What we fail to admit far too often is that we're just as prone to error as anyone else. In fact, we should be the first to acknowledge such, seeing as how we theologically hold to the depravity and fallen state of humanity.

The Republican Party is a crap party, make no mistake about it. Yet the best way to unmake it such a crap party isn't to suffocate debate, but rather to encourage it. Democrats and Republicans should be known for more than just their take on abortion or stem-cell research. The American people deserve more than just an endless debate on choice/life and human sexuality. And Republicans deserve to be known as more than just a political action group for the Christian Right.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

pretty smart for a bunch of dummies

From the March 21 issue of U.S. News:

Democratic senators and aides have been told not to refer to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by the acronym ANWR during the upcoming fight over oil drilling there. Instead, the leadership wants it called the "Arctic refuge." The reason, said a key aide: "ANWR sounds cold. 'Arctic refuge' conjures up pretty scenes and animals."

Come on, do the ladies and gents of the beltway really think that little of the American public? Can we really be that stupid?

No wait, don't answer that. anyway, I almost hit a deer tonight. The first close call of 2005 and one more sign of spring!

Monday, March 28, 2005

beg, borrow or steal

I guess you could buy these albums, too, if you're into that sort of thing.

Björk, Medulla
Dizzee Rascal, Showtime
The Comas, Conductor
Eisley, Room Noises
The Polyphonic Spree, Together We're Heavy

This is my soundtrack for spring so far.

In addition, if anyone knows, why is today a bank holiday across the United Kingdom, but not here in the States? Furthermore, why can't we have bank holidays, too? I think it's because of the stupid Protestants and their (in)famous work ethic, but I could be terribly wrong.

Sometimes, Jesus gets appalled when we don't take time off. I'm sure that's in Hebrews somewhere...

Friday, March 25, 2005

for a second there, I almost forgot my name

Do you remember that one episode of Degrassi where Ashley's dad told her he was gay? No? Ummm....then neither do I.

Also, tonight was hoodie weather. Spring is sprunging.

[P.S. I love Canadian television.]

Thursday, March 24, 2005

el palenque

Who can get 58 out of 115 biology CLEP questions right after reading Biology for Dummies in two days? Oh yeah, me. It doesn't sound all that impressive until I remind you that I just got 4 science credits in the time it takes to wash and dry a load of laundry. Now, for my next feat of strength, I think I might go to bed before 2:00am. But that would mean no Aqua Teen Hunger Force...

I am such a geek.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

burn the docket

The U.S. House of Representatives is in special session tonight, debating a bill that would give the federal courts a chance to review the Terri Schiavo case. The Senate has already given its consent. Passage of the bill would put Schiavo back on feeding tubes in order to extend her life for another trial. I don't have an opinion really, because I am not this woman's parents, neither am I her husband.

But what's got me all fiery right now is this: Where is the emergency session to forgive third world debt? Where is the emergency session to fix federal entitlement programs? Where is the emergency session to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa? Or find new ways to become less dependent on Arab oil? Or secure our ports and borders against terrorist aggressors? Or keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Or revolutionize a failing public school system?

Lights. Camera. Action. Those stories don't grab headlines anymore. So instead we debate something that will.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Regardless, Milwaukee is still one of my least favorite cities.

Where the flip did this UW-Milwaukee team come from? I thought the buzz around them was just a local thing, living some 45 minutes from Milwaukee as I do. But these guys are an exciting team to watch, more so than any team from the Big Ten over the past couple of years (yeah, even Illinois). They might not be able to match up against the Dukes and UNCs, but I'll watch 'em any day of the freaking week. Hopefully they can finish off BC so that a few million more people will be able to see them play this March.

It's a twoferone day!

Growing up big and strong

I was nearly the Montreal Expos biggest fan.

In 1994, my beloved Yankees were actually winning. These days, it's commonplace. But in the late '80s and early '90s, winning was somewhat of a novelty for the Yankees. In August 1994 they held the best record in the American League. The Expos were the best in the National League. I was primed for an amazing World Series. Then the Strike hit. The baseball card boom of the early 90s stopped on a dime and then collapsed. Lifelong fans turned away by the bushel. I warily came back the next spring, because I loved my Yankees too much. By fall, Buck Showalter had been fired and Don Mattingly was forced into retirement, both decisions made by George Steinbrenner. About the same time, the Expos decided that baseball couldn't make it in Montreal. They became a clearing house for young players -- baseball stars who found themselves traded to other teams like clockwork just as they started making the big bucks. The Expos never even came close to the World Series in the decade since '94.

The Yankees would win the Series in 1996, but it was bittersweet. The players I loved had been ousted. The very next year, I was no longer a Yankees fan. I pulled for Cleveland in the '97 ALCS, and the Padres in '98. Not five years after the Strike, I completely hated the New York Yankees. And the Expos were nothing more than a disappointment waiting for a new start elsewhere.

Baseball's been in some hot water lately, with so much in the news about "The Steroid Years" (as ESPN has taken to calling the last 10 years of the game). I watched parts of the hearings on Capitol Hill Thursday, which though absolutely full of political showboating and PR grandstanding, were still necessary in my mind. Nothing will come of the them on the Hill (as it goes with most congressional hearings), but it's given the public plenty to talk about -- and Major League Baseball plenty to fear.

I agreed with what Tony Kornheiser said that same night on PTI -- that he honestly thought that when McGuire started tearing up he was going to admit having used steroids. But he didn't. It was hard seeing one of baseball's greats get misty eyed over his past transgressions. But when push came to shove, he wouldn't admit (or even deny) a thing. Legally, he hasn't been convicted of anything. But in the court of public opinion, Mark McGuire's a liar and a cheat. If ESPN didn't have March Madness to take care of, Sportscenter might just as well be renamed the "The Steroid Years" for the next few days.

I never thought I'd see a baseball player plead the Fifth when the validity of his records were called into question. It's been a sad past few weeks for baseball. And it's a sad day for the years I grew up in, knowing that I haven't seen a season of ball yet untouched by labor disagreements or steroid usage.

But there are bright spots, like my Washington Nationals, the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes of the old Expos. That and the fact that Steinbrenner hasn't won a Series in a few years, despite carrying the biggest bankroll in all of baseball.

Go Nats.

And will somebody please give Bud Selig a new job? Make him the president of Johnson & Johnson or turn him into a lobbyist, I don't care. Just get him (and Don Fehr) away from my game.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Bush's doomed Social Security plan is a ruse to distract us from tort and bankruptcy "reform" without a real debate in the public arena? Because if it is, it's working out fabulously.

Also, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry King might be the same person. Think about it.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

my headphones could so take your headphones

I haven't been on the internet in, like, 48 hours. I'm losing interest fast. And starting to recall how much I love these things called books. Plus, mix CDs. Here is tonight's latest, a (rather belated) 2004 retrospective.

1. 7 Nation Army - Nostalgia 77
2. Outtasite (Outta Mind) - Wilco
3. I've Committed Murder (Gangstarr Remix) - Macy Gray ft. Mos Def
4. Ugly - Bubba Sparxxx
5. Happy Kid - Nada Surf
6. Shit Luck - Modest Mouse
7. Pluto - Björk
8. Stand Up Tall - Dizzee Rascal
9. Get By - Talib Kweli
10. Who the F**k? - PJ Harvey
11. Slow Hands - Interpol
12. We're All to Blame - Sum 41
13. How We Do - The Game ft. 50 Cent
14. Stand Up - Ludacris & Shawnna
15. Filthy/Gorgeous - Scissor Sisters
16. Flim Flam - The Dishes
17. A.M. Automatic - The Black Keys
18. Y Control - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
19. Galang - M.I.A.
20. Walk Idiot Walk - The Hives
21. If I Ain't Got You (Kanye West Mix) - Alicia Keys
22. When U Love Somebody - Fruit Bats

Don't hate, appreciate. (Yes, even Sum 41.) Pop music rides on the clouds, shines like the sun. Let's make a radio station. You and me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

the one before immortality

Do you remember that weird track at the end of Pearl Jam's Vitalogy? It still embarrasses me that I listened to it all the way through once. I was trying to be a good fan....

Monday, March 07, 2005

me, being other people, being me (memes...because i want to)

*Where I'm From, Where I've Been*

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

*Random LJ Haiku*

LiveJournal Haiku!
Your name:dustbowlballads
Your haiku:afloat that should be
considered rather than
raise our voices against
Created by Grahame

*Oops, I Lose*

You scored as Agnosticism. You are an agnostic. You neither believe nor disbelieve in God. You don't believe it is possible to prove the existence of God (nor lack thereof).















Which is the right religion for you?
created with

eChristian friends, worry not. Methinks a few of the questions were a bit skewed. One asked whether or not I thought God presented himself in three forms, obviously referring to the Trinity. I disagreed though, because that particular trinitarian explanation was actually deemed heretical (sometimes called Modalism or Sabellianism; there might be more names for it, too). The Orthodox formula states that God is one being who exists eternally in the three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Referring to these persons as forms is tantamount to calling them "masks" God wears for certain occasions. It's not to supposed to make sense, it's a mystery. So put your egg and h2O analogies away.


Also, it rained tonight, with thunder and lightening and everything. Earlier, we reached 60 degrees here in Wisconsin, and I wore flip-flops much to the delight of my toes. Sadly, by tomorrow night it's supposed to drop to 17 degrees. And there is still snow on the ground.

But I can't blame God, because apparently, I'm agnostic. Dammit.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

This is the you-know-what, hitting the fan. This is me, hating on big business.

This is my opening salvo. It's not much, and it won't even show as a blip on the radar. But it's my start. And it's all I've got for now.

In the old days, government was not the solution to all our problems. It was the problem. The men who founded our country had a distrust of distant, centralized government. Take a look at the Bill of Rights. It guarantees rights most American citizens now take for granted. However, when you get down to brass tacks, it's a pretty short list. That's because of Amendment X, which states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Local legislation and enforcement, power in the hands of the people, not in the hands of the centralized few.

Somewhere along the line, ideas began to change. Those folk we now call liberals had gotten the idea that a strong, centralized government was the answer to our problems. Too many of the elderly in poverty? Let's create a government pension plan (Social Security). Individuals can't afford any health care? Medicaid. Injured worker's aren't getting the care they need? Workmen's compensation. The working poor can't afford to feed their families? Food stamps. By now, the list goes on for miles.

Some liberals (at home and abroad) were naturally suspicious of anything that wasn't controlled by the government. Through a series of revolutions they claimed power in backwards countries like Russia and China. No matter what they called it, they failed. And millions of innocents lost their lives in the crossfire. This is why I can say, without much room for doubt, that communism can never work like Marx and Engels had hoped it would. These failures seemed only to prove to conservatives that liberal ideology, when taken to its natural conclusion, only suffered to screw things up.

Getting back to the framers of the Constitution. When our country was formed, the economic clash between capitalism and socialism was barely begun (though in my ignorance of economic history, I could be terribly wrong). But the conflict between big government and a loose commonwealth of states was a heated affair. Some people thought the Bill of Rights went too far, that it gathered too much power in the hands of a central place. They'd be rolling over in their graves if they'd experienced the consolidation of power over the next 200 years, whether generally by Washington, D.C., or more specifically by the executive and judicial branches at the expense of the powers of Congress. But our founders had no idea where a free market would take us by our nation's bicentennial. They had no idea how power would consolidate not just politically, but economically as well.

This is the real danger. Not simply that our central government is too powerful, but that businesses have quietly consolidated in power alongside it. I shared Kenny Dobbins' story yesterday as a preamble to this. [This is no doubt informed by Eric Schlosser's book.] The great geo-political battle of the 20th century was against the consolidation of economic freedoms under totalitarian rule. The West won that battle with its trump card in the free market system. Capitalism beat the hell out of communism, and the Berlin Wall fell. However, the geo-political battle of the 21st century will not be against any one nation-state, such as the Soviet Union, but against the consolidation of economic power under corporate rule. In case you missed it, this is exactly what I mean:

Big business is the great enemy of the 21st century. Not the free market economy. Not the accumulation of capital. But those too principles taken to their utmost selfish extreme -- the value of capital over the value of human worth.

These two giants, this corporate leviathan standing alongside our political one, make up the most dangerous one-two punch to the freedom of the individual our founders could ever have possibly imagined. The accumulation of power in Washington has made it possible for large corporations to muscle their way into the shaping and making of nation-wide laws, the executive orders of the White House, and in turn, those eligible for nomination to various government agencies and the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court.

If I'm still being obtuse, let me make this as clear as possible. Big business is the most powerful and corrupt entity in our country because of the failure of our strong centralized government. It has the power to chew people like Kenny Dobbins up and spit them out without incurring the wrath of the government, that Institution which is supposed to protect the rights and privileges of its citizens, because the federal government lies comfortably in the pocket of big business. Too put it crudely, big business had knocked out our government's teeth and pleases itself at its leisure -- whenever it wants, wherever it wants.

Neither side of the political aisle has been quick to find a way out of their little situation. Those seeking smaller government, specifically starting with the Reagan revolution, have sought to deregulate as many industries as possible, making it easier for big business to pollute our air, fire its high paying workers, refuse to pay them for work related injuries, and gulp up as many small businesses as possible. But for ideological reasons that are beyond me, those who bow to government deregulation refuse to recognize the fact that these (in)actions of our government have hurt the citizens of the United States of America.

On the other hand, big government proponents, while seeking to break apart the power of big business, have only suffered to worsen the situation by adding to the strength of a strong, central government. We've seen it time and time again -- good intentions gone awry in a maze of Washington lobbyists. Energy bills with that benefit the energy industry and not the American consumer. Environmental directives written by the gas and oil companies. Medicare prescription drug coverage that looks out for the drug companies rather than the sick.

Every time our government tries to write a bill to help the American citizen, big business swoops in with its thousands of lobbyists and billions of dollars, subverting the original intent of the law to its own private ends. Corporate America comes out aces while you and me get jack squat. Welcome to Washington, D.C., folks. You might want to cover your anus.

I don't have any solutions. I don't know enough about the game to understand how to end it. I want to say two radically opposite things at once. Get rid of our strong centralized government AND big business. Abolish them outright. But to get rid of big government, we first have to get rid of big business. And to get rid of big business, we need an even BIGGER big government, with more federal regulations, safety standards, anti-trust monitoring, worker protection and subsidized support for small business owners -- the only ones who stand a real chance of competing against corporate America.

But maybe it's time to realize that "corporate America" no longer exists in any real sense. Large corporations like Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Con-Agra, Time-Warner, insert-your-own-lesser-satan-here, are corporations bereft of any national ties except for public relations purposes. That is to say, they don't give a crap for American interests, but multi-national ones. Their business is no longer catering to the needs of the American people (if it ever really was), but lowering costs, raising margins, and pleasing stockholders. If that means moving manufacturing jobs to China, screw America. If that means moving customer service jobs to India, screw America. If that means producing beef in ways that leave animal feces in your meat infected with Salmonella, E. coli 0157:H7, and quite-possibly bovine spongiform disease (other wise known as mad-cow), screw America.

These multi-nationals have little love for America beyond the American dollar. They will screw you sideways if they can 1) make a buck off it, and 2) do it with minimal public attention. That's all they need. Willing consumers who remain ignorant consumers.

I have no idea where to go with this. I have no idea what to do, or even what to say next. It's so overwhelming that it frightens the piss out of me. It's so bewildering that I just want to roll over and die -- let someone else do something about it. I feel powerless, because I am neither big government nor big business. I'm just a person, distrustful of my government, but afraid it may be the only necessary evil big enough to take down capitalism run amok with the greed of empires and an insatiable appetite for power.

And in all honesty, I'll probably just be gobbled up right alongside everyone else.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Con-Agra can kiss my ass.

This entire excerpt is lifted from an article Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation) wrote for the quite liberal publication Mother Jones. The article finds itself in much longer form around the mid-section of Fast Food Nation, and stands as one of the most damning indictments of big business run unchecked by either the American public or the various levels of government officials who supposedly serve our interests. It's worth reading, no matter where it appeared, because this story could just as easily have happened to any one of us. It is true, and it is scary, and it will never be made into a movie because it has nothing resembling a proper resolution or a happy ending.


Kenny Dobbins was hired by the Monfort Beef Company in 1979. He was 24 years old, and 6 foot 5, and had no fear of the hard work in a slaughterhouse. He seemed invincible. Over the next two decades he suffered injuries working for Monfort that would have crippled or killed lesser men. He was struck by a falling 90-pound box of meat and pinned against the steel lip of a conveyor belt. He blew out a disc and had back surgery. He inhaled too much chlorine while cleaning some blood tanks and spent a month in the hospital, his lungs burned, his body covered in blisters. He damaged the rotator cuff in his left shoulder when a 10,000-pound hammer-mill cover dropped too quickly and pulled his arm straight backward. He broke a leg after stepping into a hole in the slaughterhouse's concrete floor. He got hit by a slow-moving train behind the plant, got bloodied and knocked right out of his boots, spent two weeks in the hospital, then returned to work. He shattered an ankle and had it mended with four steel pins. He got more bruises and cuts, muscle pulls and strains than he could remember.

Despite all the injuries and the pain, the frequent trips to the hospital and the metal brace that now supported one leg, Dobbins felt intensely loyal to Monfort and Con-Agra, its parent company. He'd left home at the age of 13 and never learned to read; Monfort had given him a steady job, and he was willing to do whatever the company asked. He moved from Grand Island, Nebraska, to Greeley, Colorado, to help Monfort reopen its slaughterhouse there without a union. He became an outspoken member of a group formed to keep union organizers out. He saved the life of a fellow worker—and was given a framed certificate of appreciation. And then, in December 1995, Dobbins felt a sharp pain in his chest while working in the plant. He thought it was a heart attack. According to Dobbins, the company nurse told him it was a muscle pull and sent him home. It was a heart attack, and Dobbins nearly died. While awaiting compensation for his injuries, he was fired. The company later agreed to pay him a settlement of $35,000.

Today Kenny Dobbins is disabled, with a bad heart and scarred lungs. He lives entirely off Social Security payments. He has no pension and no health insurance. His recent shoulder surgery—stemming from an old injury at the plant and costing more than $10,000—was paid by Medicare. He now feels angry beyond words at ConAgra, misused, betrayed. He's embarrassed to be receiving public assistance. "I've never had to ask for help before in my life," Dobbins says. "I've always worked. I've worked since I was 14 years old." In addition to the physical pain, the financial uncertainty, and the stress of finding enough money just to pay the rent each month, he feels humiliated.....


Read the entire text of the Mother Jones article here.

Or go read Chapters 7-8 of Fast Food Nation for enough facts to make you want to throw the book across the room. Get it from the library, borrow it from a friend, pull the copy off the shelf at Borders and grab a carpet square. Just read it.

Today is for contemplation. Tomorrow I rant.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

i am googled.

I have a few blogs. They all say the same thing, but they are spread out across the internets, little houses of mine among communities like blogger, livejournal and xanga. My blogger-blog is the only one with a site counter, which also has the amazing ability to track links to my website from other sites. Okay, maybe it's not that amazing, but it has the fun ability to track even temp links, like search engine hits. So in the interest of public disclosure, I thought I'd share some of the more random searches that brought strangers to my little blogger-blog, otherwise dramatically known as, "This Blog Could Be Your Life!"

1) Condoleea Rice - Due to a typo on my part, I left the "z" out of Condi Rice's name in one of my posts. Which, incidentally it seems, happens all the time on the internet. I've probably gotten more than a dozen hits because other people used the same typo when searching for Ms. Rice.

2) Iron and Wine - Another popular search that gets me hits. Apparently, not enough people are posting about the miraculous singing, songwriting and gee-tar playing of Mr. Sam Beam.

3) John Sanders and/or Open Theism - Because I've griped (on more than one occasion) about how my old school has been taking a crap one of my favorite people.

4) Name the oppressor in your life - If you know how Google and Yahoo work, you'll understand that while this exact phrase can be found nowhere on my blog, apparently every one of these words can be found in one of my recent posts. There are lots more like this.

5) about wisconsin quarters
6) rolling stone lindsay lohan (they were probably disappointed that there were no pics...)
7) download punch drunk love
8) druid dan (This one puzzles me, because I can't remember ever posting about druids.)
9) trevin skeens
10) (and my personal fav) bi underwear group

Also, on an unrelated note, there seems to be another This Blog Could Be Your Life, run by some school-marm from Washington (the state). My blog has been up a bit longer, but I doubt she copied the name. If she did come up with it independently, she is either my nemesis or my soulmate. I'll let you decide.

I could use a good nemesis; I've never had one. But a soulmate sounds nice, too. Cast your vote. Let your voice be heard.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hell and human freedom. More bits, now with half the carbs!

Act II: In which I begin to sound a bit like Brennan Manning (failing miserably I might add), begin with the free will propaganda, hate on Calvinism for a second or two, start repeating myself, drop the f-bomb, insult the reader, and end at a loss for words.

So like I was saying, the Bible is pretty adamant that Christ pursues everyone. And since he is actively drawing all people to him, we don't really need "salvation exceptions" for the Greeks, the Jews and the kiddies. It's not just the "good" or the "moral" and the "innocent" that Christ draws to himself. It's not even just the Christians. It really is everyone! He draws the prisoner on death row and the preacher behind the pulpit -- the apostate who's left the church and the noble savage who's never heard of the church -- philosophers, princes, prostitutes and pornographers. He draws them all to him because he loves them. Make no bones about it, he's crazy in love with everyone on the face of the earth.

Classical Theism/Calvinism winds up either A) ignoring the fact that God desires all people; or B) reverting to a sort of syrupy Universalism, where because in drawing all people to himself, God saves everyone. Regardless of their opinion of God.

But for the free will-ers, we end up with another option -- that everyone gets a choice. As God draws them near, they can either accept or reject his advances.

No one comes to the Father but by me. We always assumed this meant that one had to hear about and accept the message of Christ to come to the Father. But why?

No one comes to the Father but by me. As God literally pines after humanity, Jesus stands between us, whispering sweet nothings into our ear, "sweet nothings" of compassion and grace and forgiveness, willing that all should accept the proposal of the Father. Marry my only Son, my beloved. Jesus stands as both matchmaker and the matched. He sees that God and humanity make a heck of a pair, and does everything in his power, short of forcing us into the match, to see us accept this divine proposal.

Of course, because there is true choice and free will on our part, some are bound to reject the advances of the bridegroom, and choose another suitor. But others, be they protestant, catholic, greek, jew, hindu, buddhist, agnostic or none of the above will welcome Christ, as he draws them to himself, regardless of whether or not they said the sinner's prayer, stepped foot into a church, or even heard the name Jesus from the lips of a Christian.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. Could this end in Universalism? Perhaps. But not because God decided "in his mercy" to herd humanity like a so much chattel into heaven, but because God made such a convincing argument in the Advent of Jesus Christ that everyone ends up accepting his graceful (that is, full of grace) proposal.

But the point is, we don't know. Maybe a few people will end up choosing hell. Maybe more than a few will. But the fact that Christ pursues everyone -- all people -- regardless of the physical limitations of his Church, should give us hope. A wider hope that there will be more than just "the saved" in heaven. That it will be populated by Christians of all shapes, kinds and colors; never minding whether or not they ever heard the title "Christian" before, but rejoicing in the fact that heaven is full of the sons and daughters of God, pursued to the ends of the earth by the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

In spite of this hope, or perhaps even because of it, Christ still wants us to tell everyone we meet in this lifetime about his great love for us, that while we were still sinners, he died for us. Because while salvation might culminate in the new heaven and the new earth, in what theologians like to call the eschaton, salvation begins here, on the current earth. It begins now, in the muck and mire of subjective morality, crushing poverty, violent racism, and an international AIDS crisis. Yes, salvation comes to change hearts, but it comes to change the face of the earth, too.

So while we cling to a wide hope, based not on man's "nobility" but on Christ's desire for all people (ie, grace), at the same time we proclaim -- we claim this fact loudly and without reservation -- that salvation has come today, piercing the darkness of a fallen and fucked up world. Yeah, he's come to redeem us, in spite of our infirmities and our weaknesses, our penchants for pride and swearsies, in spite of the fact that we're all judgmental bastards and selfish little pricks, our God has come to save us, to draw us to his side, and give us all an invitation to the wedding feast to end all wedding feasts. If we can't get over the fact that the final guest list might surprise us, eternity might actually feel like an, errr.....eternity.