Teaching Religion and Politics in Real Time Isn’t “Either-Or”

28 05 2007

Via “Fast Times @Homeschool High” blogger mom Denise re: “Teaching Religion and Politics” — updated from post-2004, electoral analysis from Beliefnet.com that divides us all into twelves “tribes” instead of just right and left polar opposites. Full report and data here.

The best part to me probably was the famous names given as an example of each type. 🙂

Although surely there’s plenty of fodder for debate — Mel Martinez for example is the new Florida Senator listed in the Latino religious tribe, but he is very conservative and I wouldn’t have considered his racial background nearly as important as his flavor of hardball politics, to this analysis anyway.

Here in the South, isn’t it disproportionately odd that we’ve had so many Catholics in prominent government roles recently?

Jeb Bush is Catholic with a Latina wife, but projected ideologically white fundamentalist-evangelical dominionism instead at many moments during his governorship, like practically kidnapping Terri Schiavo with government agents to keep her alive — maybe socially enforced paternalism is what these tribes have in common then? Her folks were Catholic too as I remember, some strange sect with a brown-robed radical monk giving speeches in the parking lot for the TV cameras, not Kerry-like or Kennedy-like or even Schwartzenegger-like at all (he’s Catholic too?? well, yeah he married a Kennedy, duh, but this connection actually never once occurred to me!)





Creating a Giant Ball of Life-Sustaining Power of Story

28 05 2007

UPDATE – Visit and bookmark Pharyngula’s mother of all “creation science” posts, fully linked. A cheerful cock of the snook to COD — I was out in nature watching stuff die without water all week, and I’m still playing catch-up inside. COD says it could take you 40 days and 40 nights to get through this, which just puts me back fretting about the rain we need so badly here . . .)

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“THE GREAT FIBROID MASS” still influencing families with its powerful creation story. Good news?

(Pun warning to literalists and those easily confused)

Daryl blogged the new creationist museum about the world being created as home to dinosaurs and humans in coexistent peace a mere 6,000 years ago, some say, and homeschoolers chimed in to help the story along. In the process I think we found its ancestor in American gospel. 🙂
Read about its “genesis” and how the myth is kept alive by the whole community here, using very mystic-political Discovery Institute-like language such as, “the sides are accumulating a material imbalance.” Apparently this community and perhaps life as they know it would end if their creation story (despite being rotten to its core, literally, and starting to stink in indisputable fact) cannot dominate us all, as THE story instead of just A story.

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And wait, there’s more, NOW how much would you pay??

Read the rest of this entry »





Are You Dog-Faced or Downright Hang-Dog for Memorial Day?

26 05 2007

Are you gung-ho Marine Corps dog-face for Memorial Day, or just hangdog, as in depressed and demoralized? Favorite Daughter has been thinking about this in her drought-parched Hammock of Death:

“Of (Puppy) Dogs and Marines” by Favorite Daughter

. . .He’s a Boston Terrier, a breed second only to the pug in its tenacious ugliness. He despises me even more than he despises the rest of the world; whenever we’re outside together, he runs to the edge of his yard and threatens me in every way he can. He once chased a garbage man up a brick mailbox. . .

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Then after she posted her middle east war meditation, she remembered a very funny (because it’s so realistic!) Barbara Hamby poem, “St. Barbara of the Dog Bite” and she read it out loud to me, doing all the accents and voices in a chortle. You won’t be able to hear it as I did, too bad for you! — but it’s from Hamby’s 1995 Delirium collection if you can find a copy, and here’s a taste:

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“Battle Cry” Calls Teens for Christ, Are You Scared Yet?

24 05 2007

ROLLING STONE, “Teenage Holy War”:

“I want an attacking church!” he shouts, his normally smooth tones raw and desperate and alarming. He isn’t just looking for followers — he wants “stalkers” who’ll bring a criminal passion to their pursuit of godliness. . .

YouTube video clips linked here.





Power of Story Rules! (truth both literal and literary)

24 05 2007

Everything I always thought I knew is true! 🙂
I could blog for months on the sheer power of “school” stories to limit and define personality and possibility, before kids are old enough to develop their own narratives — too much of kiddie lit and kid movies are all about School as Reality– and don’t even get me started on the power of Bible stories to indelibly stamp identity onto kids too young to create their own narrative paths.

Then as adults we turn all sorts of themes and facts and feelings into narrative devices, bent and twisted by every character in the book.
What defining stories are your children learning, and how well-equipped will they be to write new ones for themselves? What stories do you tell yourself about how you’re shaping their power of story with your own public and private narratives?

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Which of your own storylines will you fit this blogpost into, as you read it??

(I bet I know what story Nance is telling herself — there she goes again!)
NEW YORK TIMES
May 22, 2007
This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It)
By Benedict Carey

. . .“When we first started studying life stories, people thought it was just idle curiosity — stories, isn’t that cool?” said Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self.” “Well, we find that these narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”

Researchers have found that the human brain has a natural affinity for narrative construction. People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list, studies find; and they rate legal arguments as more convincing when built into narrative tales rather than on legal precedent.

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It is HOT . . . and dry . . .here comes the humidity but no rain . . .

22 05 2007

We’ve let our beautiful big golf course yard go without edging, trimming and mulching for a couple of years now while we worked seven days a week trying to afford to pay someone else to do it. We finally had to bite the bullet, call a hit squad of young men with ladders and loud tools to come dig us out of our overgrown warren. Some trees will have to go too, before hurricane season starts next week.

In this traditional family of unschoolers, dad just has to pay for it all but mom has been out walking around in a blue straw garden hat all afternoon in the mounting piles of clippings, getting scratched by vines and thorns and jumped on by tiny biting creatures and pounded by the relentless heat. The lawn is so blisteringly parched it might be beyond life-support at this point, and I feel pretty close to that myself . . .





Grabbing the Knife to Save Science from Christian Castration

22 05 2007

From Michael Ruse, professor at my local university (FSU) comes the 2006 book Darwinism and Its Discontents and this 2007 Skeptical Inquirer piece, “Fighting the Fundamentalists”:

. . .No greater foolishness could happen than the castration of modern science in the name of evangelical Christianity. . .
Yet at the moment, those of us against creationism live in a house divided. One group is made up of the ardent, complete atheists. They want no truck with the enemy, which they are inclined to define as any person of religious inclination—from literalist (like a Southern Baptist) to deist (like a Unitarian)—and they think that anyone who thinks otherwise is foolish, wrong, and immoral. . .

The second group is made of two subgroups. . . liberal Christians who think that evolution is God’s way of creating [and] those who have no religious belief but who think that one should collaborate with liberal Christians against a shared enemy, and who are inclined to think that science and religion are compatible.

The rhetoric is strong and nasty. . .

The Salon article linked above explains the good professor this way: Read the rest of this entry »