Monday, October 31, 2005

Anonymous gets his wish! Pakistan Earthquake Appeal: Please, Dammit, Please

Awhile back anonymous wanted us to stop talking about baseball or something and start talking about real "hard" issues. Well here it is. and its going to be over the top, unfair, and a little bit angry. Anger is not directed at MWM.

Please, Please, Please, Please Listen.

Really listen and listen fully. Read these words.

I hope and think you are all aware that there was a massive earthquake in Northern Pakistan a few weeks ago. I don't know what kind of news about is still being covered back there in the ol US, cause I hear there were some storms and things and because those are hitting people that look and talk like us and are close enough we can't ingnore them, people are responding. I applaud this and am glad.

But here's the thing. A few weeks ago in a place you don't really know much about (doesn't bin laden live there?) in remote mountains, near a place you've never heard of called muzzafarabad there was a 7.6 earthquake. Relief efforts were slow and difficult. It's a nightmare here. A lot of people have been helped, but a lot of people have died (55,000 and counting) and more have been seriously injured (70,000). This is a huge amount but it is even more considering it is from small towns and villages. Whole districts and cities have been completely destroyed. Nobody could get anywhere for at least two days in which time, serious injury turned to death and moderate injury turned into amputation. Children don't have parents, parents don't have children, 3 million people don't have homes (3 MILLION!) and estimates are that 30% of the affected areas haven't even been reached yet! (this could be around 200,000 more people. Dead? alive? injured? homeless? nobody knows and probably all of the above) Roads are still closed and continue to be shut off with frequent rockslides.

So dang, that sucked didn't it? It sure is sad when these things happen but its over now huh?

NO!

NO it is not over!

Its bad and its getting worse.

Remember the 3 million homeless people? Most of those people live in remote mountains. you know what happens in remote mountains in november and december? Yeah winter happens and winter happens hard. and you know what happens to 3 million people when they don't have homes, food, clothing, blankets during heavy mountain winters? Yeah they all die. YEAH, THEY ALL DIE.

THEY ALL DIE.

THEY ALL DIE.

Oh sorry, am I going over the top? should I take it down a little bit? I'll just go ask the 3 MILLION PEOPLE who don't know what the hell's going on with their lives except that their brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son, uncle, cousin, aunt, nephew, dog, cat, chicken and probably all of the above just died, just got their bodies crushed beneath concrete walls, The earth stood still, the earth shook, the earth stood still, and everything is gone. Family, food, homes. And now something far worse will happen if they don't get food or shelter for the winter.

Why am I so upset? because nobody cares. Nobody gives a damn. Its two weeks after the earthquake and some major rich nations haven't even given a dime (or a euro). Rich dumb nations like our friend Uncle sam and Uncle Japan have given nonsense in terms of the money we normally use for things. THERE IS A 3-5 WEEK WINDOW OF TIME TO DELIVER WINTER SHELTER OR MOST OF THE QUAKE AFFECTED AREAS WILL BE COMPLETELY CUT OFF FROM AID AND EVERYONE WILL DIE.

So, yeah i know, these things happen all the time around the world I guess. Usually we see them and get sad or see them and eat dinner and think well shoot, there ain't nothing i can do to help it. But now there is. I'm not asking you to drop everything and fly out here (you can if you want!). But I am here, your pal, paco and my organization "The Frontiers" is working with some local partners (This guy named Liver!) to provide tents for a few villages (one of them is named piza and yes it is pronounced almost like pizza) that haven't had any aid yet. Sure we can't give the over 200,000 needed but we are trying to give a few hundred. These villages are in a place called alai a very remote area that had over 90 percent of everything destroyed.

I know most of you don't have a lot of money, but everything helps, ten people paying 10 bucks is a tent and a whole family's lives saved. Most problems in the world are not solved by just throwing money at them, but this one is, at least in the short term. Also I know that most of you are connected with churches and maybe are even in positions to say things about this. Please I need your help. You want to do something that matters? you want to save lives directly. Here it is. I'm your friend don't make me sit here and watch 2,000,000 people die. This is that big of an emregency. I am not exagerting!

My parents are collecting money at thier church if you are in the US then you can send a check to them. Make it out to : College Park Church
and mail it too my parents:

Paul Michelson
1632 North Jefferson
Huntington, IN 46750
USA

you can call them at 1-260-356-5518. they are nice, they answer questions you can also email me at paulphilipmichelson@yahoo.com or afghanistan@thefrontiers.org If you are out of the country there is a korean bank account you can transfer money to.

Please help. please do something about this is a disaster and an emergency on a massive scale and for once you can actually do something!

But hey its cool! Its okay, no problem if you don't help them, they don't look like you or talk like you. They aren't your religion so maybe your God hates them. I will forgive you (I won't even know) and God forgave you 2000 years ago. so don't worry about it, They live far far away in remote mountains so maybe after a while, after they die, you won't even have to think about them. You can think about I don't know, getting some new clothes or whatever it is Christians are supposed to be doing in light of the resurrection of our lord.

I will be back with more info later

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Something they can agree on?

In our never ending attempts to find something that James Dobson and Hugo Chavez can agree on, I thought today was going to be a day of success. In his weekly TV and radio show, Chavez banned Halloween, saying it is foreign to the South American way of life. His concern was based on his observation that "Families go and begin to disguise their children as witches." In Halloween he sees the US manipulating the world through a game of terror, "putting fear into other nations, putting fear into their own people".

Upon reading this story I was immediately excited about the possibility of getting Dobson and Chavez on a common position. Before writing a post about this, I thought I'd quickly search out Dobson's stance on Halloween to confirm my belief. What I found was somewhat horrifying:
While condemning the occultic connections to Halloween, "
Even here, however, there is a place for some harmless fun. Kids love to dress up and pretend. If the Halloween experience is focused on fantasy rather than on the occult, I see no harm in it. Make costumes for your children that represent fun characters, such as Mickey Mouse or an elderly grandmother, and then let them go door-to-door asking for treats."

How about Jimmy James defending having "a little harmless fun"? It's sort of great to see the communist Chavez better representing the ultra conservatives. Also, is anyone else surprised to hear Dobson defending Disney? Isn't Focus against them for Gay Days and hiding pictures of penises in their movies? Anyway, perhaps there are underlying motivations to their positions. Apparently Chavez may be motivated to ban Halloween because their were some anti-government jack-o-lanterns put out and Dobson is apparently motivated by his free-market love of "fun characters" like Disney. Anyway, here's some pics for your trick or treating fun.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Night Live

"66% of Americans think that President Bush is doing a poor job in his handling of the war. The other 34% of people think that Adam and Eve rode Dinosaurs to church."

- Tina Fey

Peace

Friday, October 28, 2005

Religiosity, a necessity for a Moral Society?

I'm reposting one of Dan's posts from Honest Over Thought, because he was curious what we thought about it. I've got some thoughts, but I have to finish Dateline then do laundry. My life is sooooo crazy!

*******************

There is an interesting article from an Arizona Campus Newspaper located here. It talks about a recent study done whose results seem to negate the necessity of religion in order to have a moral society. This article brings up some good issues about the effectiveness of religion in society, as well as the idea of America being a Christian nation.

As far as the need for religion in society, I am not sure the data described fully accounts for some of the trends that are seen. A huge factor in the occurrence of high religiosity alongside a high 'dysfunction' should be considered in the light of America's ability and pride in 'freedom', which frequently manifests itself as 'having your cake and eating it too'. Many people are religious in this country, and the freedoms that we have allow people to be more outspoken about this. But, Some of those same 'religious' folk are probably some of the 'dysfunctional' in the studies as well.

Then, if you want to look at whether America is a Christian nation, well this could open a very long and in depth discussion. I have recently been reading more on this due to my American Church History Class. A good book to read might be Noll, Hatch, and Marsden's Search for a Christian America. To say one or the other I would definitely say that America is not a Christian nation. I wonder whether it is really possible to have a truly Christian government at all. Would Scripture even allow for that?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Somebody just needs to win, already!

What a game, but how inhospitable to someone who has to work at 8AM tomorrow, maybe I won't see the end. To add some controversy to this post, the White Sox need to win this series because Hugo Chavez is rooting for them. And Ozzie likes Chavez, it would be a nice way to stick it to the admin, America's pasttime won by Venezuela's team. Nighty night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Finally, Our Voice is Heard!!!

After living under the oppressive liberal media that controls this country and the corporations in it, evangelical Christians finally have a platform to voice our opinion (note the obvious sarcasm).

My main man, Rick Warren, is branching out in an all new way. Starbucks is printing 63 quotes from writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, politicians and cultural critics. There are all sorts of quotes on all sorts of subjects, but the one that's been getting the most attention is the quote from writer Armistead Maupin saying that "life is too **** short" to hide being gay. This of course created the virtually poop storm within Christian institutions everywhere. "What should we do, we love this darn coffee but we hate all things gay." Some Christians began to protest, others acted all mad about it while they stood in line to get a vent caramel machiato, while Baylor University just asked Starbucks to remove all those cups from their campus.

But now what will Christians do. How should they respond. Let me explain. Rick Warren is getting his own quote on the back of a Starbucks cup. You can read all about it in this USA Today article. Apparently what motivated Warren wasn't the quote from the gay guy, but actually a quote about evolution from paleontologist Louise Leakey. Warren said that he was reading his cup and noticed that Starbucks was taking submissions from customers (which means my man Rick doesn't believe in protesting over some stupid quote), and he decided to make a submission. Amazingly enough Starbucks decided to put it on the cup. Here's what Warren's quote will say...

"You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your real purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny."
- The Rev. Rick Warren for Starbucks

Now there's part of me that thinks Starbucks is just doing this to try and win over the most influential segment of America (didn't we decide the last election), but there's another part of me that thinks Starbucks is just looking for interesting things to put on the back of their cups and really isn't pushing any agenda.

Whatever the case, I think it's interesting to me that there is not one mention of Jesus on the cup. I wonder if the cup appears just as Warren wrote it or if Jesus was edited off the cup.

Funniest part. I bet over 50% of the people who go to Starbucks haven't read one of those quotes because of the little cardboard sleeves that keep me from permenatly scaring my hands.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

If you're having trouble reading the script

This isn't even on CNN yet, let it be known that the MidwestMindsetters with the help of ABC and NBC nightly news broke this story.

Today the "President" met via Sattelite feed with a dozen or so American soldiers. He asked them questions about the upcoming Iraqi constitution. The only problem is that a senior pentagon official ran over the questions and the answers before the video conference, and all of it was caught on tape! The entire event--advertised as a completely spontaneous--was entirely scripted. Nothing new with our government, but just another friendly reminder that we are living in a space and time of lies, propaganda, and violence.

If this video-conferencing was scripted, it makes one wonder if the entire 5 years have been scripted. Our lives as Christians have been scripted by a script(ure) other than that of Jesus. Is this fact even going to be sobering to the white, American, middle class church? Probably not. Are we/they that far shipwrecked?

Ps. Welcome Leah, your CV is intimidating.

I finally got a woman!

well, at least I finally got a woman to sign on as a member of midwest mindset, even though her i.d. has not shown up on contributor list yet. Anyway, expect great brilliance and insight from Leah Coon in the very near future. Leah graduated from high school in 2000, did her undergradute at Harvard in two years and then completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Notre Dame last Spring. She is currently working for the pope in his attempt to make Nebraska an officially "catholic" state. Her focus is on the children. She says that the pope says that if you can win them over you're set for the next 5 generations. In addition, Leah has stared in such hit movies as "the negotiator" and "gun shy." Be kind to her, we must not scare our women friends away, although knowing leah she is not easily scared...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

if tomorrow were really tomorrows tomorrow...

Don't any of you show this to my parents, I'm giving it to them as a Christmas gift. It is official, Ryan has the best wife on the entire earth...
I don't know what else to say. It's good to have my heavenly image taken care of already...also, I'm trying to convince Karen to start working on pictures of loved ones and satan, she says if the price is right...

On a final note, let us all take Dusty's post as a helpful reminder to be constantly rethinking where we are right now. Is this where faithful following of Jesus would have us be? Where are we going from here? Not that we have these answers. Also, I'm sorry to include such silly thoughts with the seriousness of my own death.

"Bye for now Jake Sikora"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Death of the Academy...

I am sorry to post this on the top end of Andy's post, but people were complaining about our topics lately, so now you have this little rant and Andy's great post on the good work of Rick Warren...So make sure you read through his...Plus, it sounds like Jake is going to be posting soon on some interesting stuff...So anonymous, get off our back!

Ok, So this week I have been thinking a lot about getting my PhD. I have been saying I wanted to do this for the past several years. Now that I am actually "on pace" for it, I am really starting to second guess it. Here are some reasons why...

Higher Education is slowly dying. At the undergraduate level, it is quickly becoming the new High School. For those who go through the years required to earn doctorates, they are increasingly rewarded with less full-time tenure-track positions, and more "contract faculty" positions. Part of this has to do with the Bush administration not caring about education (from elementary through post-secondary). However, ranking reports and other forms of public outcry that make colleges and university bow to marketing over mission. Creating academic cultures is less desired, because people that have not experienced education are not having a lot to contribute to the discussion. This shows up in the push towards professional degrees (nursing, social work, etc.) being more acceptable than trypical liberal arts degrees (biology, history, sociology, etc.) Liberal Arts colleges are in this trend. Following business models of organization, which will push marketing over mission every time. So all this to say, that the environment is not conducive to making 5 more years of education seem nearly as appealing. Note, I am not necessarily picking on Huntington, however, many of the things I am saying are true for them as well. However, the trend is nationwide and in all types of institutions. I guess, my question for those of you who are considering being professors, what do you think about these issues.

On a personal note, I also, have started to feel like I want to be "doing something" now. I want to be working with people and have time to be apart of a community and enjoy people and life. I don't know if having every waking hour to do the next project or talking about my thesis is beneficial to anyone. Don't get me wrong, I strangely enjoy this, but I also feel I am being less than productive in things that matter. Especially, if I am not sure I want to do the PhD and jump into the competition of a Job market of dyiing field...Seems crazy...

Any other thoughts on the academy and what trends are encouraging or discouraging for those of us continuing in the field?

Now read Andy's post, which is better than this one...I promise!

Peace

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fully Repentant?

I think that today I would like to add my name to the list of people who publically need to appologize for being a jerk about Rick Warren. Jake made mention of this a while back, but there is some amazing things being said by Rick Warren, and not just being said, but also done.

Christianity Today has a cover article this month that 3 years ago I would have said was written by the guys over at Lark News, but it's actually true.

I was at a confrence in Atlanta last week called Catalyst, and Rick Warren paid for satalite time just to tell us about what he was up to. I thought "self promoter". Of course I'm a huge jerk, and he said some things that blew my mind.

Here's the (rough) quote from when I saw him...
"I remember being in prayer, asking God what was next in terms of the Purpose Driven Life because we had made such huge progress, and God said, "but Rick, your not doing anything for the people that I care the most about."

Here's some more quotes from the CT article
[after an encounter in africa...]
Around this time, Warren says he was driven to reexamine Scripture with "new eyes." What he found humbled him. "I found those 2,000 verses on the poor. How did I miss that? I went to Bible college, two seminaries, and I got a doctorate. How did I miss God's compassion for the poor? I was not seeing all the purposes of God.

"The church is the body of Christ. The hands and feet have been amputated and we're just a big mouth, known more for what we're against." Warren found himself praying, "God, would you use me to reattach the hands and the feet to the body of Christ, so that the whole church cares about the whole gospel in a whole new way—through the local church?"

[Kay Warren on why she cares...]
"12 million children orphaned in Africa due to AIDS."

"It was as if I fell off the donkey on the Damascus road because I had no clue. I didn't know one single orphan." For days afterward, she was haunted by that fact: 12 million orphans.

Unable to block it from her mind, Kay began to get mad at God, praying, "Leave me alone. Even if it is true, what can I do about it? I'm a white, suburban soccer mom. There is nothing I can do." But that did no good.

After weeks, then months of anguish, she realized she faced a fateful choice. She could either pretend she did not know about the HIV/AIDS pandemic or she could become personally involved.

"I made a conscious choice to say, 'Yes.' I had a pretty good suspicion that I was saying yes to a bucket load of pain. In that moment, God shattered my heart. He just took my heart and put it through a woodchip machine. My heart came out on the other side in more pieces than I could gather back up in my arms.

"It changed the direction of my life. I will never be the same. Never. I can never go back. I became a seriously disturbed woman."

[Rick on who we should partner with]
"Find the man of peace. Bless him. He blesses you back. Who is the man of peace? He's influential and he's open. He doesn't have to be a Christian. Find a non-Christian who's influential and open—a Muslim or an atheist."

There 2 things that blow my mind about this whole thing.
1. The Warren's are incredibly candid in this article. Rick saying he had missed half the Bible blows my mind. I think most guys of his stature would probably either act like they hadn't been convicted or slowly start to talk more and more about it and act like they always cared about the poor, but he's just honest. Crazy. Kay Warren also says "I pretty much thought that anybody who had HIV was gay. If they were gay and had HIV, they probably deserved it, because they had lived a lifestyle of risk. Therefore, I didn't really have to care very much about them. Not a pretty attitude. I'm not proud of it, but it is where I was." It takes alot for people of this kind of "celebrity" to be this honest. It shows true conviction.

2. If you talk about this kind of thing with most "mature" adults in the church they often say, that in reality there's nothing we can really do, so we should just do our best to effect what we can. Warren is ok with the fact that this seems like an impossible problem, in fact he says this "God, what are the other problems that you want to tackle? God gets the most glory when you tackle the biggest giants. When David takes on Goliath, God gets glory. What are the problems so big that no one can solve them?"

I know that Rick Warren will never read this, but people who are down with him probally will. I am a HUGE jerk. I know that. I thought I knew better than Warren. I thought jokes about his book were so funny. I thought I cared more about people who weren't white or rich than Purpose Driven people. I was wrong.

Warren provided a link at the confrence so that we could check it out for ourselves.
Read the article, check out the link, see for yourself.

What's even crazier is that tons of evangelical pastors across this country are remembering what they used to be passionate about before they found out the only thing that mattered was how many people came to their church. I mean, maybe we should figure out how to do this at our church, Rick Warren's doing it, and his church is huge, right?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

i promise...

...to start posting my random website finds on my own blog instead of MM from now on, but this one really is that good. At least I think so.

I don't know if any one here is a soccer fan besides me- Jonny, I remember you used to have FIFA'03 for PS2- but even if you aren't you will be able to appretiate the absurdity of this website. Chicago's Major League Soccer team, the Chicago Fire, recently made the playoffs, and I was looking up tickets. I wanted to get tickets in the infamous "Section 8" which is the fan section, and probably the closest experience one can get to European football in the states. Anyhow, while looking at the various fan groups I found one called The Mike Ditka Street Crew. Check it out. Seriously, this is a registered fan club for a proffessional sports team.

I think I'm gonna join, and I want my name to be "Pikey."

Monday, October 03, 2005

DaVinci, Edison, and Roman Karas

Yes, this is my first post here. I thought it would be appropriate to share a story of my favorite midwesterner; my father Roman.

Never in my life has anyone presented my father with a problem he couldn't fix. VCRs, DVD players, automobiles, stock trades, real estate transactions, immigration issues, and intra-ministry disputes: he's the man you talk to.

Here's the conversation that just took place between us. A genuine Midwest Moment.

Bryan: "Leonardo DaVinci was amazing wasn't he. This guy was into everything... and he was right on for most of it. Pure genius."

Roman: "Kind of like Edison? Is that what you're saying?"

Bryan: "Yeah, exactly. A meticulous scientist and inventor. Edison was amazing, too. I read a biography of his last year."

Roman: "Huh."

Bryan: "Did you know he was born in Milan, Ohio?"

Roman. "Yep.".... long pause.

Roman: "But where was Edison born?"



I love my father.