Lesbian Duplex 113: An Open Thread

Mar. 26th, 2017 09:08 am
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Posted by Libby Anne

It’s time for another Lesbian Duplex thread! If you have a link or article or interesting thought that’s not relevant to an ongoing thread, you can share it here. If a conversation on another post has turned entirely off topic, you can bring it here also. Every so often, as the number of comments on a given Lesbian Duplex post becomes unmanageable, I put up a fresh post!Click through to read more!

Voice in the Wind: Slave Auction

Mar. 24th, 2017 03:09 pm
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Posted by Libby Anne

Next, Hadassah is given clothing. As we discussed last week, slave auctions at this time typically involved selling individuals nude. I'm curious why Rivers isn't willing to do this---after all, it's a book, it's not like she has to show Hadassah's nudity. I'm curious because I suspect it may have something to do with Hadassah's purity---Hadassah is not sexually assaulted as a captive or on the journey, and she is not made to stand naked for all to see while being sold.Click through to read more!
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Posted by Fred Clark

Writing a bad book — a hastily written, shabbily imagined, incoherent story with wrenching lapses in continuity, hilarious factual errors, and characters that do not behave in recognizably human ways — was the only way for LaHaye & Jenkins to keep their prophecy beliefs intact. Had they tried to write a better book — one in which, at a minimum, there was a semblance of continuity and in which people acted like people — they would have been forced to realize that the thing they’ve been telling themselves they believe is an impossibility.

Prison Diary: Shakedown Holiday

Mar. 24th, 2017 05:00 am
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Posted by Richard Beck

Not a whole lot for the diary today. The study didn't happen this week because of the "semi-annual shakedown."

Two times a year the prison goes on lockdown for a shakedown. During the shakedown the inmates are confided to their cells. The guards then go from cell to cell to perform a shakedown. A shakedown is a search for contraband. The guards tear the cell apart, looking through everything the inmate owns. Flipping through the pages of every book. Inspecting every container. After the shakedown the inmates pick up the mess and put their cell back together again.

Because surprise is important for the searches, the shakedown is never announced ahead of time. We get no notice. So twice a year we drive out the prison only to be told that the semi-annual shakedown has started. We turn around and go home.

The shakedown takes a few weeks to complete. It's a miserable time for the inmates. Sitting confined in your cell for weeks. Having your cell torn up.

But the shakedown does give us two holidays a year. It's a hard on the inmates, but it's nice to have a few weeks off twice a year to re-charge your batteries and spend a few Mondays in row at home with the family.

At each other’s throats

Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:52 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

We the people are beleaguered and beset. America in 2017 is an unhappy place full of unhappy people. And it's no wonder why -- what with everyone constantly trying to shove all kinds of things down one another's throats. So what are we having shoved down our throats today? Let's check.
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Posted by Libby Anne

It seems World Magazine's editor-in-chief, Marvin Olasky, is a longterm participant on Airbnb. In addition to using the service for themselves when they traveled, they also made their own home available on Airbnb when they were out of town. "We made money; Airbnb made money; the city of Austin and the state of Texas made money (15 percent of our gross revenue)," Olasky explains. But all of that was about to change.Click through to read more!

Mercy is the Lifeblood of Fasting

Mar. 23rd, 2017 05:00 am
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Posted by Richard Beck

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.
Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself.

When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.

Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.

Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor...

Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth. However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues, if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn. Therefore, do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.

--St. Peter Chrysologus
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Posted by Fred Clark

"So who were Saints Philip and James?" The question involved the namesakes of a local Catholic parish, and I couldn't be sure of the answer. There were quite a few saints that shared those names. But I suspect we can narrow down the list, because naming a church after the wrong one of those Philips would just be asking for trouble.
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Posted by Megan Schmidt

By Dan Haseltine and Jenny Eaton Dyer, PhD I stopped to wipe the sweat from my eyes when I noticed the giggling. I’d been hunched over, deep in concentration, replacing bolts in a metal form that would soon be filled with concrete. I had chosen this “low-impact” job because I had nearly fainted while mixing [Read More...]
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Posted by Libby Anne

I assisted a first grader while volunteering at a book sale at my daughter's school a few days ago; she wanted a language book with pictures and French words like her friend had found, but I couldn't find another copy. As I helped her look, the girl announced---as small children will---that she is going to be a scientist when she grew up. I told her that sounded great, and then---as she looked around---she noticed a pink sparkly barbie sticker book.Click through to read more!
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Posted by Richard Beck

For Protestants one of the more obscure parts of the Christian tradition is the Harrowing of Hell.

The word "harrowing" comes from Old English word hergian which means to plunder, seize, or capture.

The Harrowing of Hell refers to Jesus' decent into hell to break down the gates of hell to release humanity from the captivity of the Devil.

The Harrowing of Hell appears to be referred to, if only obliquely,  in a couple of passages.

For example, in his Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 Peter describes Jesus as having gone to "the realm of the dead":
Acts 2.27, 31
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.

Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.
What did Jesus do there in the realm of the dead? Passages in 1 Peter and Ephesians are used to answer this question:
1 Peter 3.18-20a
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago...

1 Peter 4.6
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

Ephesians 4.8-10
This is why it says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."
(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
The Ephesians text is ambiguous. Perhaps descending to the "lower, earthy regions" is simply a reference to the Incarnation and not the Harrowing of Hell. But 1 Peter seems to describe Jesus preaching the gospel to the dead, to "spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago."

I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the import of the Harrowing of Hell in these texts for theologies of universal reconciliation.

Specifically, in many doctrinal systems death is believed to end your moral and spiritual biography with God. Your status--Saved versus Lost--is set and fixed at death. After death your relationship with God is set in concrete, never to be changed.

But the Harrowing of Hell, one of the oldest doctrines of the church, suggests otherwise. Death did not end the moral biography of the "spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago." Death did not permanently fix an eternal fate. Christ's salvific pursuit of sinners continued after death.

For many theologies of universal reconciliation this is a key point of dispute with those who endorse eternal conscious torment, and even annihilationism. Is your relationship with God eternally fixed at the moment of death? Does God's salvific pursuit of sinners continue after death?

According to the Harrowing of Hell God pursues us, even after death.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Every facet of white evangelical Christianity as it exists in America today is based on this unspoken belief. It is the bold claim that defines the tradition, the bedrock of everything that white evangelical Christianity is and strives to be. That claim is this: Hundreds of years of slavery and a century of Jim Crow oppression had no effect on the shape of American Christianity.


Mar. 21st, 2017 12:23 pm
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Posted by thingsthatareawful

It’s Bad Advice Tuesday over at The Establishment! This week, the Bad Advisor tackles (not literally) a vengeful paramour, a baby name thief and everyone’s favorite: How Do I Force My Adult Child To Procreate Because I Want A Grandbaby Now, Dammit?????.


Read the Bad Advisor’s response to this and two more hot and toasty treats here.

What’s the Story with Visa Denials?

Mar. 21st, 2017 09:00 am
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Posted by Libby Anne

Has the rate of visa denial from these countries increased since Trump became president? We won't know for certain until visa denial data from 2017 is released next year. But if nothing else, I think these stories point to our need to the reality that our nation is nowhere near as open or welcoming to the rest of the world as we might like to think.Click through to read more!
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Posted by Richard Beck

I've written about how I've become a huge fan of Hank Williams' gospel recordings.

One of my favorite songs isn't a Hank Williams original but a cover, though Williams' cover is what brought the song to the awareness of a larger listening public.

That song is "A Tramp on the Street." When Williams recorded it the song had been bouncing around for some time among gospel and country artists, the song's exact origin of some debate among them. The cover of this song that caught Hank Williams' attention was done by Molly O'Day.

"A Tramp on the Street" was written by Grady and Hazel Cole. Starting with an image from The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16 the lyrics of Hank's cover go like this:
Only a tramp was Lazarus' sad fate,
He who lay down at the rich man’s gate.
He begged for the crumbs from the rich man to eat.
He was only a tramp found dead on the street.

He was some mother’s darling, he was some mother’s son.
Once he was fair and once he was young.
And some mother rocked him, her darling to sleep.
But they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

Jesus who died on Calvary’s tree,
He shed his life’s blood for you and for me.
They pierced his side, his hands and his feet.
Then they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

He was Mary’s own darling, he was God’s chosen son.
Once he was fair and once he was young.
Mary, she rocked him, her darling to sleep.
But they left him to die like a tramp on the street

If Jesus should come and knock on your door
For a place to come in or bread from your store
Would you welcome him in or turn him away?
Then God would deny you on that great Judgment Day.
You can hear Hank Williams sing the song here.
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Posted by Guest

    Living and Leading Change for Good: Meet the Disruptors The Forum for Theological Exploration series, Living and Leading Change for Good, invites you to meet the disruptors – theological explorers and visionary architects inspired by their Christian faith and fueled by courage.  These leaders are actively addressing civil and human rights issues and [Read More...]


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