Thursday, June 24, 2010

An update and some thoughts on Tom Brock

The Associated Press is reporting that Brock will keep his job as a minister. Brock was placed on leave when the article came out but looks to return to his position after an internal investigation.

If Brock is cleared of the allegations, or the church is satisfied with his penitence, the only hurdle that remains is the parishioners' acceptance of him.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Assuming that he is in accordance with the church's rules, the big test will be on how tolerant the parishioners are. (Undoubtedly that will elicit snickers from some of my readers.) Although critics may say that the Christian adages of loving the sinner and hating the sin (or "love the gays, not their conduct") are just that: sayings; I believe that there are some Christians who truly believe. I hope the parishioners live what they believe and support Brock. It would be the Christian thing to do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In defense of Tom Brock

Minneapolis magazine Lavender outed outspoken Hope Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock of Minneapolis in an expose in this month's issue. Brock is famous for comments he made last year blaming last summer's tornado on the ELCA's decision to allow actively homosexual pastors in a committed gay relationship to act as pastors.

The reporter attended confidential meetings of the gay Catholic equivalent of AA. There is no admission that he faked his way into the Gays Anonymous, but my guess is that he did. He reported on the general conduct of the group as well as Brock's struggles with his homosexuality. I would agree that Brock is somewhat of a hypocrite. But he is a hypocrite in the sense that those who believe Christians are commanded to be perfect, yet they all fall short every day--not in the sense that he lied to those around him for material gain. (His Church acknowledges that he had confessed his homosexuality to them).

Brock deserves some credit. Whether you agree with his belief that homosexuality is a sin, his strident criticisms of it, or not, he was attempting to live according to his beliefs. He didn't drag a wife into the mess. And he wasn't caught with meth. Furthermore, the only reason this got outed was because someone followed him into a confidential meeting in order to expose him. If someone hadn't violated trust and ethical codes, he wouldn't have been outed.

Although I may agree with his moral beliefs. The God-caused-the-tornado vitriol is laughable. However, I have sympathy for a man who seems like he was doing his best to be true to himself and his God.

For the Lavender article here.

For a criticism by an LGBT blog of the of the ethics of outing someone for information in an AA-type meeting here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Isn't it ironic.

It may be ironic that I like this. Meh.

A Point for John Mayer

As you may very well know, I dislike John Mayer. I think he wastes his talent on middle-of-the-road "adult contemporary alternative" shlock. In essence, he's a tool.

But I stumbled upon something that redeems him...a bit.

That beauty of a mug shot is from a 2001 arrest when Georgia police pulled Mr. Mayer over for speeding and driving without a license. The incident went un-reported (because no one cared about him in 2001) until 2009 when Mayer himself offered a reward for the fan who found the picture.

You are a massive tool, John Mayer, but kudos for being able to laugh at yourself.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Amidst classes, work and my intermittent blogging, I set a goal to record some music this summer.

I have probably made similar goals before--which I did not fulfill. Meh.

Really, regardless of whether I end up recording some of my electronic noodlings, I wanted to give a tour of my recording studio: the kitchen and laundry room of my two-bedroom apartment. The tour is replete with pictures of the amp, the three mics that I bought at Guitar Center 8 years ago on one of their weekly "SALE of the Year," and the used mixing board.

Don't you like the axe at the foot of the oven?

There you see the devastating combo of the mixing board and PC on the kitchen table. The laundry room provides a convenient showcase for the 30 Watt's second channel.

If you guys are good to me, maybe I will go through the spoken word and self-improvement records I am scouring for the hot sample of this summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Religious Conservatives Should Like Elena Kagan

Although Solicitor General Elena Kagan's Senate Confirmation Hearings do not begin for another couple of weeks. The fellows at the Volokh Conspiracy have dug up an interesting memo she wrote in her days in the Clinton White House.

A California landlord had refused to rent to a homosexual citing religious beliefs. The California Court, applying a state nondiscrimination law, said that the Constitution did not provide a religious exception in this instance to the nondiscrimination law. Kagan's memo lambasts the Court's position that the landlord could always be employed in other manners (after she sold the houses!)

Much has been debated about the significance of the conservative professors hired by Harvard Law School during Kagan's tenure as dean. The consensus seems to be that Kagan, although an unabashed liberal, has sympathy for and a willingness to listen to conservative views. How much the sympathy and open ear will translate into conservative votes is uncertain, but this memo is evidence that it may mean more than we think.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things that make me feel like a dork #47: Allergies

There is nothing that make me feel like more of a dork than having to constantly rub my nose and sneeze.

Sometimes I think that I can pull of being moderately cool, but the rubbing the nose squashes any success during allergy season. Am I alone in feeling the sting of an allergic assault on my hep?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My doppelganger

A year ago I found my doppelganger. His name is Nathaneal Read and he served in the Taibei, Taiwan Mission. Today I friended him and the craziness continued. His brother's name is Andrew! How bizarre. What are the odds! I wonder if Andrew will serve in a Swiss or French mission. That would be really odd.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Proposal for Intstant Replay

Jim Joyce blew it last night. But he had the cajones to admit it.

In what would have been the unprecedented third perfect game pitched this season, Joyce called Jason Donald safe on a close play at first. Donald hit a weak grounder to the right of first baseman Miguel Cabrera with two outs in the ninth. Cabrera fielded the ball and tossed it to the pitcher Armando Galarraga who replays show clearly beat Donald to the base.

Tigers manager Jimmy Leyland was furious. Cabrera gave Joyce a piece of his mind. Surprisingly, the only person not angry was Galarraga. He even laughed about the incident.

While most of the sports world lamented Joyce's call, I was fuming over another questionable call that ended the Twins game 2-1 last night in the 10th.

There should be some way for baseball to maintain the integrity of the game and improve calls. Come October, calls such as Phil Cuzzi's blunder in last year's Twins-Yankees series can change the momentum of the playoffs.

MLB currently allows for review of foul balls that may be home runs. Here are my suggestions for places where baseball should and shouldn't use instant replay.
  • Force outs. Particularly, close plays at first would benefit from instant replay reinforcement.
  • Third outs. Part of the problem with baseball is you can't just replay the down, but third outs the option is either the play continues or the inning is over.
  • Foul balls. These are easy calls to make. There is a line drawn on the ground. If it's out it's out, if it's in it's in.
However, I would not like to see balls and strikes called by a machine. I think any improvements in consistency would come at a heavy cost to the game.

I think there is a lot that can be gained from instant replay. In calls where there is a quick decision, having cameras to assist the umps makes it a game of skill not of chance. However, calls which may require more judgment such as determining whether a catch was made or whether a tag got there in time should be left to the umps. The idea is not to completely change the game, but improve the play.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In Honor of P-Funk Coming to Town

The P-Funk and the Mothership Connection arrives at First Ave next Monday. In honor of George Clinton and his musical vision I decided to post one of my favorit Onion articles: Mothership Descends on Hootie Concert.

For those unacquainted with these purveyors of funky music, I would recommend going through the songs on Mothership Connection or any of their singles on Grooveshark or Youtube or whatever way you semi-legally listen to music online.

Tickets are $25 and last I heard the show has yet to sell out.