Make America Great Again!

Make America Great Again!

A branding predicated on stupidity.

Those of his supporters who stop to think at all—a generous assumption, of course, to believe they may exist—must realize his solutions to the incredibly complex problems we as a nation face are about as intelligent as an underachieving high-school freshman’s. However, rather than being thrown off by this, it’s what they love about him. Like Palin, they fall head over heals for his performance. In it they see someone who’s terrified of the world around him as well, a world in constant flux, but who is, nevertheless, successful. Since we all as a culture continue to live under the illusion that intelligence is necessary for success, they see not a self-righteous, bigoted, megalomaniac who, like them, has lived for so long with his head shoved up his own ass that he’s convinced himself that his shit doesn’t stink. (How else could he stay there?) They see, instead, a man willing to speak the truth; that is, a man willing to give voice to their own worst selves—their anxious fantasies and fears. He thinks like them, and since that means he doesn’t think at all, they have no doubt about whether or not he could lead us.

The Top Ten Reasons Social Media Is Not Lame but Cool–Or, At Least It Could Be by J. Bjornson

Social media is lame man, you know. Like, if you’ve had a terrible long day and you’re laying on the couch all depressed and you pick up your phone and open Instagram and see all your friends, and all the cool people you follow, who may or may not follow you, and other people you sort of know through friends, and all of them are doing fun stuff like sailing, or surfing, or riding dolphins, but not at Sea World, cause that’s not cool man, or kissing their babies, or having picnics, or hiking in parks, or smoking bowls with the girl you’re into, or still posting pictures of Burning Man, reminding you again of all the enlightenment you missed, or doing something else rad like chilling with their cute puppy or doing yoga or something, and all you did all day was work at the grocery store and hang by yourself and try to work on your painting. And you think to yourself, goddamn my life is terrible.

That’s when social media sucks.

But there’s other times that it’s cool, and that I actually dig it, and this post is about those times.

Below I break it down for you in a simple ten part list.

1.) You can turn yourself into a brand.

That’s pretty cool man.

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Exodus International and the Problem of Biblical Interpretation

As the Supreme Court approaches its deadline to make a decision on Proposition 8 and the constitutionality of DOMA, many countries in Africa still have anti-homosexuality laws in place. Life for the LGBTQ communities in these regions is precarious at best. While the U.S.’ culture wars and legal battles make waves that sway the lives of those of us living here, the ripples gain momentum as they travel internationally and the effects become increasingly dangerous and severe.

Thus, when Exodus International — an American Christian ministry boasting a network of “260 Ministries, Professional Counselors and Churches”, all put in place to “help those affected by homosexuality” — shuts its doors it is not an isolated religious, or even American affair, but an international event with potentially huge consequences.

Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus International and a self-proclaimed success story of its program. Though, he has subsequently issued an apology for its practices. While he has apologized for the methods that Exodus has used in the past, he states that,

“I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex… I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage.”chambers

In his statement there is a trope commonly heard among conservative Christians involved in the culture wars — it’s not that they themselves hate the LGBTQ community, evolution or women leaders, it’s that the Bible, God’s word, constrains them to accept and propagate certain positions that are counter cultural. Sadly, so the trope goes, due to their belief in Scripture and its dictates, our culture construes them as hate-mongerers and backward-thinking bigots. Continue reading

Getting Lost in Uganda, Invisible Children, Speculative Reconstruction, and Why Jason Russell is Still a Rockstar, Even if he did Rock Out with His C*#k Out.

If you’re anything like me, you were already beginning to feel a bit of media fatigue by the time you heard about the Jason Russell incident in San Deigo the other night.

Moreover, if you’re anything like me, you may have felt pretty bummed out for the guy. (You may also have made some jokes at his expense at a dinner party last night, and had to admit to everyone there that it was a bit too soon as the conversation stopped, and disapproving eyes shifted in your direction. I’m not saying I did that, but you may have.)

Let’s imagine for a minute what his last couple of weeks have possibly been like. In fact, let’s start a bit further back. Suppose you were a white, Christian, college student in Southern California in the early 21st century. Suppose you were raised in a pretty affluent atmosphere, in an incredibly affluent part of this rotating spaceship we call planet earth. You decided to go to college at USC. While still in attendance there, you took a trip to Uganda and had your world torn asunder by the suffering you saw there.

If this was you, would you have had the courage, patience and vision to co-create and sustain a non-profit like IC? I can’t speak for Russell, since I don’t know him, nor can I speak for all of you. I can, however, speak for myself.

I went to Northern Uganda in January of 2006. Within Evangelical circles at that time, there was nothing more sexy than going to Africa and posting pictures of yourself with African children on your Myspace account (yes, Myspace). There were some other, more virtuous reasons as well, but the important point is that I jumped on the bandwagon. Having done so I wasn’t at all prepared for what my trip would bring me. Continue reading

Apocalyptic Dialectics

In this short essay I outline the position of rhetorical hermeneutics – Steven Mailoux’s theoretical stance – and juxtapose it with the position of apocalyptic dialectics. It is a brief sketch of a position that I think holds some promise. Apocalyptic Dialectics organizes itself through Hegel, Heidegger, Gadamer, Badiou and the Apocalyptic tradition within Christian theology.

In the following short essay I want to briefly outline the contours of rhetorical hermeneutics, and then move on to argue why, while being incredibly useful, insofar as it is unreservedly committed to a pragmatic position it is in danger of missing a larger truth; namely, the possibility of a dialectical unfolding of truth within history. Continue reading