18.4.05

quick note: Heard of "Broken Saints"?
Amazing comic, done in flash (so I think it is better than a normal comic, it has music and stuff :), I haven't finished yet (only on ch. 4 so don't spoil anything for me). Apparently its 12 hours long. Its worth checking out:
their website: www.brokensaints.com
Comic available at: http://www.newgrounds.com/collections/brokensaints.html

16.4.05

In Response to Anthony and Aaron

First off, as you can see Aaron, you did not comment as other :)

Anthony I am surprised that someone who believes in the total constructedness of sexual identity seems to fail to apply the same concept, at least in some degree, to your idea of love. I guess my problem with the whole thrusting of the concept of desire into love is that it, in my mind, seems to rely heavily on very modern day concepts of love, and even relationships. I believe there is good reason that 1 Cor. 13 has been given to us, among other biblical texts, as guides to love. As is oft noted by those who defend homosexuality within the debate in the church, ideas were not the same then as they are now.

Its great that you can say the feelings you have for your boyfriends are often the same as those you have for God, this despite the fact that you insist on rejecting the very idea of a relationship with God. It is also natural, in my opinion, and especially so if, at least in the abstract, one accepts the idea of a 'relationship' with God. However, while I don't think this is bad, and I do believe that one of the things revealed in the incarnation of Christ is that God is here to meet us in the very historical situatedness of our lives, I have trouble when we start moving from that horizon of our existence towards aspects of God himself. I am aware that sexual desire, and love in an erotic sense, is evident in the bible, most notably in the Song of Songs, which is why I don't think I can outright say that the idea of a relationship between desire and love is wrong (I would definitely be on gaurd against replacing a modern concept of love with some kind of platonic one) but I also think that we need to seek more consistency in what we take to be God meeting us where we are and what we take to be the character/nature of God himself.

This of course leads into the whole confusing manner of what it means when we say 'God is Love'. For example, does that mean wherever we see the word 'Love' in a biblical truth assertion context (a la 1 cor. 13) we can replace the word 'God' for love? What about the idea, which I agree with that love is not a feeling, meaning that to too closely inflate love and desire is a mistake? unless we are going to say desire is not a feeling....?

I hope this isn't too confusing... just trying to think this out gets hard sometimes, so I thought I would put some of my thoughts out there.

Back to Aaron. That is some kind of thorny question :) What do you mean speaking in Christological terms? you mean the implications for his messiaship, his character, his revelation of God? All of the above and more?

I think the answer depends on a lot of other assumptions and/or doctrines one holds. It could mean nothing, or everything. It would also call into question, at least to some extent, the completeness of the biblical texts (in the sense that they communicate everything we need to know, not that they are complete as John directly contradicts). Or maybe it wouldn't, maybe its not something we need to know (a hard thing to imagine consider several of the current raging debates). To be perfectly honest, I have never considered it much, despite the multiple attempts, at a popular level, to promote such an idea.

What do you, and others (most especially anthony, i'm sure :) think it would mean? (which is my polite way of saying that I don't want to put any more thought into this right now, or that I don't have any more thought right now. Either way, someone else can start this one off, for now.)

14.4.05

I recently began reading "The Way Forward? : Christian voices on Homosexuality and the Church."

It has been very interesting, to say the least. It is a collection of articles by various authors, from differing positions. So far they have all been pro-homosexuality; some of them I have found very interesting, others very weak, and some so wishy-washy in the air that I wondered how they got into the volume.

The last one I read had a quote from a brazilian theology, Maria Clara, which I don't quite follow. "If Christians wish to assert that God is love then, in the beginning God can only be object of desire - not of necessity nor of rationality. Theology - which seeks to be reflection and talk about God and God's word - must therefore be moved and permeated in its entirety by the flame of desire... Born of desire, theology exists as theology only if it is upheld and supported by desire."

Now, I am well aware of the mysticial tradition within Christianity, but I feel like some kind of essential step has been skipped in the use of this quote (having not read the brazilian theologians work myself, I can only comment on the author who used the quote). Exactly what kind of desire are we talking about? and what is desire's place in love, most especially and pertinently 1 Cor 13 kind of love? Furthermore, exactly what does it mean, semantically and philosophically, when the bible says God is love? It seems that to jump from love to desire in a generalized, though specifically non-lustful (but still romantic), context without any explanation or defense seems rather hasty. Which is not to say romantic love is not part of Love, simply that there is more to it than that.

So I ask my nearly non-existant readership :) any thoughts on Love and desire?

11.4.05

Trips and Propaganda

It's been awhile since I last posted. My mom came out to visit us in S. Korea, which was wonderful. She left today, after being here for 1.5 weeks. We already miss her, and having her here and leaving has awoken in both Kristina and I a very strong desire to come home.

We did lots while she was here. We went to Gyongju and Seoul and the DMZ tour, and did lots of games and good times. We have had the use of Kristina's brothers digital camera, and we bought our own while we were in Seoul, so if anyone wants to see pictures, of our trips, or just Korea and our apartment and stuff, let me know. I will try to figure out how to put them up here, or get on of the picture account thingies....? anyway, I will probably be putting up pictures sooner or later.

Gyongju was the capital of one of the three kingdoms that made up Korea at the time (the Silla Kingdom) for 1000 years, from approx. 0 to 1000. We kind of got historied out there, we saw sooo much stuff. But it was definitely interesting.

This weekend we did the DMZ tour, and though we didn't go very far into it, we actually stood in N. Korea (max about 4 or 5 feet from the Military Demarcation Line (MDL)....). This tour was the most interesting trip, for me anyway. They explain the situation, giving you an outline of the Korean war and the major events since then. The most recent negative event (which is definitely what they focused on, not the multiple and varied attempts being made towards unification) that they told the story of was a 2001 or 2 (I can't remember) visit by President Bush.

Some explanation first. North and South korea are technically still at war, having lived under a mere armistice agreement for the past 50 years, or a ceasefire. The two countries are seperated by a 4 km wide demilitarized zone which runs the length of teh country. In the middle of this zone is the MDL. Near the western edge of the peninsula, basically north of Seoul, lies the village of Panmunjon. It sits astride the MDL and is the place of meeting for peace talks, U.N. delegation meetings, as well as the original signing place of the ceasefire. Along the center line run 6 buildings, 3 controlled by each side (hence being able to enter north korea, while in the U.N. controlled meeting room).

In 2002 Bush visited, and while he was in that same building two N.Korean soldiers entered, tore down the American flag, and began to polish there boots with it. He didn't say exactly what the response was, except that the flags are now in a plastic display case.

The most interesting part for me was the propaganda. At every turn the tour guides are at pains to point out the negative aspects of N. Korea, and how they spew out propaganda and so on and so forth. Both North and South Korea have a village in the DMZ. The S. Korean village is called "Freedom Village" and the N. Korean village is entitled "Propaganda Village". The reasoning for this is twofold. First, there is an extensive and loud speaker system in the NK village which used to broadcast propaganda that could be heard in the SK village and teh military bases along the DMZ. Secondly, nobody lives in the village except people who take care of the buildings and raise and lower the incredibly huge NK flag that is in the centre of the village (it is 31 meters long, weighs 600lbs dry, and takes nearly 50 men to raise and lower it). Only later, and as a side note, is it mentioend that the two countries agreed to stop broadcasting propaganda AT EACH OTHER in 1991. Also, "Freedom Village" is no less a propaganda village. The people there live in modern houses, unlike most of Koreans who live in apartments, they have over 1o times as much land as the average farmer in Korea, make much more money, and don't have to pay taxes. They are also personally gaurded by Korean army and U.N. forces.

Frequent mention is also made of buildings and flags that are built opposing each other (there is a flag pole in each village, or buildings in Panmunjon). In each case NK has made sure their's are taller. However, if you pay attention, it has been a generally ongoing battle between the two countries to have the taller stuff.

I find this all interesting because, despite the focus on the negative aspects of NK, SK does most of the same things. Now, make no mistake, there is a difference of degree, and most especially character, between NK and SK, and I in no way support NK or think it is a good place. However, I do find it very interesting that, despite our better way of life, in places like the DMZ there is still active effort to decieve the populace as to the actions taken against our enemies. Many may argue that this is mere common sense, you don't broadcast what you are doing in such a way that your enemy will get word, and I am not going to disagree with that. I just wonder how many of us think about the fact that we are still lied to on a regular basis. Of course, anyone who has been paying attention to the Bush administration should have recieved this wake up call a few years ago.