fidesquaerens: (Default)
2012-07-20 12:15 am
Entry tags:

an oldie but a goodie

A comment over at FB reminded me of this, and it was good for a laugh. Thought I'd share.

God hates figs!!! )

(Originally posted at LJ.)
fidesquaerens: (Default)
2012-04-19 07:31 pm
Entry tags:

AO3 meme

There's a meme going around where you post your ten most-read stories at Here are my results.

Read more... )

Two take-away messages? I need to write more Harry Potter fic,and a good number of AO3 readers check out older fic. I had stories backdated to 2005 and 2006 (when they were originally posted) that had received lots of hits, even though I didn't join AO3 until much later.
fidesquaerens: (Default)
2012-04-06 09:36 pm
Entry tags:

Christian ethics: ur doing it rong

Over at FB, I've seen several people post this meme;

Read more... )

It's not that different from lots of other memes that float around there, and I feel a bit guilty for singling it out. Particularly as I'll be posting a link of this to FB and really don't want to single out my particular friends. So let me say at the start - I'm not trying to single out the people who shared this. I know they meant well, and my frustrations have to do with a much larger problem. In particular, several larger problems.

#1. Armchair Activism: I always get frustrated with altruism, activism, whatever that doesn't require any real sacrifice. The Kony2012 video is a great example of this phenomenon. You also see it in stores that make donations if you buy a certain product, like the recent October Baby that would donate ten percent of the profit to pro-life groups. Whatever practical good they do, they inoculate us. There's something we're supposed to care deeply about, but all we have to do is go to the movie, or share a YouTube video, or share a picture on FaceBook. And suddenly we feel like we've done our part.

Loving God and loving your neighbor should require more than that. It's supposed to be hard - certainly harder than sharing the news about the new Hobbit movie. And of course there's nothing wrong with doing the simple stuff either. But I know in my experience, with things like this, so often this is the end of the story. You're outraged over child soldiers, you share the video, and there's this catharsis; your angst is relieved. My faith requires more of me.

#2. The "Christian Nation" Vibe: This picture says that 97% of FB users won't repost this simple message. I bristle at drives to "won't you please forward/repost this" on principle - they strike me as manipulative even when they're not meant that way! - but here in particular it seems to assume that all FB users are the kind of people who will post Christian-themed things. There are around two billion Christians in the world, last I heard - roughly 1/3 of the world's population. And that includes people who are Catholic because they were born in Italy, or Southern Baptist because they were white and born in Atlanta, or whatever.

In lots of areas of the world, if you're born there and you don't really think that much about religion or theology, you're probably going to be a member of a certain religion. It's actually a very rare person who considers the different views on offer by the different religions and secularism, chooses the one that best matches up with his own, and is as likely to be a Buddhist or a Jew as he was a Baptist. It's a matter of identity (and of necessity - understanding theology takes a lifetime of study and living with it; not everyone can afford that). Christian Scripture pretty much teaches this fact - cf. Mt 25.

Whatever you think of people like this, it's not just that they're lazy. Acting like the whole world is Christian, let alone devout Christians, is misleading at best.

(For the record, I'm one of those Christians that feels odd about public professions of faith. Not because I'm embarrassed or anything, but because what Jesus said about using faith in God as identity - you know, the people that prayed loudly in the temple, who'd already received their reward. It's not laziness on my part, either.)

#3. He Sees You When You're Sleeping... It's the last bit that really pushes my button. You should post this picture because: "Repost if you love God. He already saw you read it. That's just insulting on many levels, as if the way I live out my faith is just because God's watching over my shoulder. It actually reminded me about another meme I've been meaning to blog about. Will just link to it because it has some triggers for domestic violence, but I can't say it any more plainly: the kind of love depicted in that picture - and that grows out of the fear implied in that last line - is not worthy of worship. Or even sharing on FaceBook. And it's definitely not worthy of God.

(Originally posted at LJ; please comment there.)
fidesquaerens: (Default)
2012-03-24 07:00 am
Entry tags:

my political compass scores

Is this really such a surprise?

Read more... )

Also, this may explain while I'll be staying home in November, and why I find international politics more interesting than domestic ones.

My politics can be a bit complicated sometimes. On social justice/economics issues I tend to be liberal and value social justice over private charity. That means I have my doubts about the free market's ability to solve things, and given a choice between private charities and mandatory govt. spending that's actually efficiently done I'll choose the latter. That's because I believe very firmly that we only have those rights we have the ability to exercise, and capitalism as it's practiced today means that the wealthy - often not because they're better people, but because they're lucky - have more of the good things of life than the rest of us.

But I also recognize that governments often aren't all that efficient, that they tend to impose a one-size-fits-all approach, and that it's good for people to actually help each other voluntarily. Meaning that while in general I recognize a strong state that can redistribute the wealth as necessary (only when the market doesn't do a good enough job at that to meet peoples' basic needs), I also don't think it's the cause for every social ill.

On moral issues I recently described myself as a traditionalist, and that's true. With some important quantifications, of course; I think homophobia, racism, and misogyny is deeply immoral and I know people a few centuries ago weren't that enlightened. But I think that various traditions (religious or otherwise) are significant and inform our values in important ways - as it should be, IMO. That makes for some rather odd results like my disapproving more of casual sex than gay sex full stop. In any event, whatever I think about sexuality, family values, drug + alcohol, and the like, I tend to think government should be as neutral on those things as possible. It's the government's job to make sure that I (and each of us) can live according to our values as much as possible. People as individuals should then work out what those values are, individually and socially but not through fear of govt. compulsion. So my "culture wars" issues really don't affect my politics all that much...

The truly interesting thing is that I often took the questions differently than I think it was meant. For example, one question stated: It's a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product. I disagreed with that, not because I think that would be sad if it was what was happening but I don't. Wherever bottled water is available there's almost always decent tap water as well, virtually for free, so people who buy bottled water are buying something other than water. (Status? Convenience?) It's not the commodification of basic resources so much as the commodification of status symbols, which isn't any great surprise. But I'm sure selecting that gave the computer quite the wrong impression. Sometimes I think about these things too much, honestly.

just for fun - Lehrer's  )

H/t Dan Fincke. (He has a really interesting discussions of various limits on the quiz going on in the comment section.) You can take the quiz here.
fidesquaerens: (science)
2011-12-11 03:02 am

(no subject)

Your English is Somewhat Americanized

Hmmm... the way you speak English is very interesting. You sound like someone who grew up everywhere!

There is definitely an American influence on how you speak, but that may be just from television and movies.

It's hard to predict how you'll express yourself with language. You have a rich vocabulary.

If there's one thing for sure, it's that your way of speaking English is distinctly you.

fidesquaerens: (Default)
2011-11-16 01:50 pm

(no subject)

Over at LJ, the writer's block asks:

If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be and what would the two of you do?

J. Edgar Hoover - but only if I'd already had a few decades to get to know him. I'm talking about the fictionalized version of him we see in the recent movie, so I think that counts.

cut for spoilers )
fidesquaerens: (Default)
2011-11-05 08:07 pm

the three things m-type thing

1. Marta
2. Ms. ______ [to my students]
3. Mel [on various blogs, where I sign my name mel810]

1. blue-and-white striped t-shirt
2. jeans
3. underthings for an undescribed nature

1. a clean apartment
2. a defended dissertation proposal
3. a thirty-six hour day

(Oddly enough, in that order...)

Not going to name anyone out, because I always feel guilty when I get named. But consider yourself invited!

1. answered student emails
2. say Anonymous
3. bought late-night Chinese food

1. TS over at the university
2. Anika
3. the ISP

1. chapel
2. grade student papers
3. read a book chapter on my reading list

1. Tetley tea
2. diet coke
3. desert wines, in particular Eiswein

1. Juno's kittens
2. a trip to the zoo
3. an old "simon's cat" episode someone posted to FB
fidesquaerens: (Default)
2011-10-22 08:40 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Lifted from [profile] mrowe.

Read more... )

The first four words you see in this word salad smiley face are supposed to define you. Mine were genuine, eloquent, talented, and wrestles. That last one in particular is scarily appropriate just now, and the first three aren't too far off for how I like to imagine myself, either.